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Joe Paterno's widow says they were ignorant about sexual predators

April 10, 2013|By Houston Mitchell
  • Sue Paterno, shown here in January, spoke at a child abuse prevention breakfast on Wednesday.
Sue Paterno, shown here in January, spoke at a child abuse prevention breakfast… (Patrick Smith / Getty Images )

Sue Paterno, the widow of Joe Paterno, says she and her husband were ignorant about sexual predators like Jerry Sandusky.

"We were among those who were ignorant of the magnitude of the problem," Sue Paterno said Wednesday at a Child Abuse Prevention Month breakfast sponsored by the Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance in Harrisburg, Pa.

The Paternos' son, Jay Paterno, also spoke, saying, "I worked with Jerry Sandusky for several years. My own children were around him. My own children were around him at youth soccer games. I didn't see anything."

Sue Paterno said she was horrified to learn Sandusky sexually abused several young boys and that she and her husband, the longtime Penn State football coach, had unknowingly helped Sandusky “groom” the boys he abused, believing he was helping them find a better life.

A probe completed last summer accused Joe Paterno and others at Penn State of covering up an abuse allegation about Sandusky to shield the university from bad publicity. Paterno's family denies he had knowledge of Sandusky's crimes.

Sandusky was convicted in 2012 on 45 counts of sexual abuse and sentenced to a minimum of 30 years in prison.

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