Joe Paterno, the longtime Penn State University football coach fired in the fallout from child sex abuse allegations against former assistant Jerry Sandusky, says he was unsure how to handle the first report about Sandusky that reached him in 2002.
"I didn't know exactly how to handle it and I was afraid to do something that might jeopardize what the university procedure was," Paterno told The Washington Post.
"So I backed away and turned it over to some other people, people I thought would have a little more expertise than I did. It didn't work out that way."
Paterno made his comments in an interview with Post sports columnist Sally Jenkins published on the paper's website on Saturday afternoon. They were his first extensive public statements since being dismissed by the university in November.
Paterno, 85, was admitted to a hospital in State College, Pennsylvania, on Friday because of complications from cancer treatments. Jenkins interviewed Paterno at his home this week.
Paterno was fired for failing to tell police what he knew about child sex abuse allegations against Sandusky. Also fired was university President Graham Spanier.
Sandusky faces 52 charges stemming from accusations by 10 men who say he sexually molested them as juveniles over a 15-year period. Sandusky, 67, has maintained his innocence.
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