Report: Paterno used email to sway officials at Penn State on off-field issues

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Paterno claimed he never used email, but a new report refutes that claim. (AP)  
Paterno claimed he never used email, but a new report refutes that claim. (AP)  

The late Joe Paterno used email to try to wrest control from Penn State officials over issues on and off the field, according to emails obtained by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Previously, Paterno had claimed to never use email. However, the Chronicle's report showed he used email in dealing with a 2007 beating incident involving football players.

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During the investigation of convicted child sex abuser Jerry Sandusky, Paterno claimed to have handed over the information he knew from a 2001 on-campus incident involving Sandusky and a 10-year-old boy.

However, Paterno testified he was not involved in the disciplinary action of the former assistant football coach. A CNN report last week refuted that, reporting on emails that showed Paterno may have influenced former athletic director Tim Curley from turning the case over to the proper authorities.

Sandusky was convicted last month on 45 of 48 counts of sexual abuse against children, including the 2001 incident.

While dealing with a 2007 disciplinary case that surrounded an off-campus fight involving about two dozen football players, Paterno wrote to university president Graham B. Spanier and Curley using the an email account under the name of assistant coach Sandi Segursky.

"I want to make sure everyone understands that the discipline of the players involved will be handled by me as soon as I am comfortable that I know all the facts," said the April 7, 2007 email, which was signed "Joe."

"This is my understanding as well," Spanier responded.

The Chronicle's story detailed how Paterno oversaw the police investigation and ultimately handed down the punishment for the players involved.

Last week, CNN reported it read but did not possess emails that said Spanier, Curly and then vice president Gary Schultz decided to handle the issue in a "humane and upfront way" rather than alert authorities about the suspected abuse after discussing it with Paterno.

Schultz and Curley are facing alleged perjury charges for failing to report child sex abuse. They have pled not guilty.

Sandusky continued to have access to the Penn State football facilities after resigning as defensive coordinator in 1999. On Feb. 9, 2001, assistant football coach Mike McQueary said he witnessed Sandusky sexually abusing a 10-year-old boy in the showers of the football facility.

It was determined at the trial that Sandusky sexually abused four other boys after the 2001 incident. His punishment then called for him lose his keys to the campus building and to be barred from bringing children to the football facility.

The emails, dated February 26-28, 2001, show Spanier knew about the incident McQueary reported and said the university could be "vulnerable" for not reporting the incident, CNN reported.

"The only downside for us is if the message [to Sandusky] isn't 'heard' and acted upon, and we then become vulnerable for not having reported it," Spanier purportedly writes.

The alleged emails referred to Sandusky only as "the subject" and "the person." Children were called the "guests."

Spanier, Schultz and Curley have said McQueary reported inappropriate conduct. The alleged emails show the three men could face bigger charges for not reporting the incident to the proper authorities.

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