Paterno kin unaware they might be called in Sandusky's defense

Posted: June 08, 2012

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - The wife and son of late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno said Thursday they were unaware that Jerry Sandusky's defense planned to call them as witnesses at his trial.

In an e-mailed statement, Sue and Jay Paterno declined to comment further and said they would not be making any other public statements throughout the proceedings, which are scheduled for opening arguments in Bellefonte, Pa., on Monday.

"The only directive Joe Paterno gave to his family is that they should pursue the truth, while forcefully defending the honor and integrity of Penn State," the statement read. "This is the course the family has carefully followed during this extraordinary process."

Both Paternos were named on a list of potential defense witnesses shown during the jury selection process earlier this week, although attorneys said at the time that they had not yet issued any subpoenas.

Barred by a judicial gag order, Sandusky's lawyer Joseph Amendola was not available to comment Thursday on what testimony they might provide.

Sandusky worked for three decades under Joe Paterno, much of that time as defensive coordinator for a university known in football circles as "Linebacker U." But Sandusky's arrest on 52 counts of child sex abuse last year dealt a sharp blow to Joe Paterno's fortunes.

The university's board of trustees fired the longtime head coach in November for not doing more when allegations against Sandusky were first brought to his attention in 2001. He died of lung cancer two months later.

Since then, Paterno's family, including Sue and Jay, has staunchly defended his reputation and occasionally issued sharply-worded statements critical of university leaders.

Sandusky, 68, stands accused of molesting 10 boys over a 15 year period. He has denied the charges and is expected to take his case before a jury Monday.

Other potential witnesses named by state prosecutors and defense lawyers include former university president Graham B. Spanier, who also lost his job in the wake of Sandusky's arrest, and Mike McQueary, a Penn State assistant football coach who made the 2001 accusations against Sandusky to Paterno.


Contact Jeremy Roebuck at 267-564-5218 or jroebuck@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @jeremyrroebuck.

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