(Reuters) - A child sexual abuse scandal brought down one of the most iconic names in American sports on Wednesday as Penn State University football coach Joe Paterno said he would retire amid criticism he did not do enough to stop the alleged crimes by a former assistant coach.
The situation was a tragedy and "one of the great sorrows of my life," Paterno, 84, said in a statement, adding he would retire at the end of this season. "With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more," Paterno said of his actions years ago after learning of the allegations about long-time assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.
Sandusky allegedly recruited his victims from "The Second Mile," a charity he founded to help troubled children, and subjected them to a pattern of escalating abuse. A preliminary hearing originally set for Wednesday was postponed to December 7.
Former athletic director Tim Curley and former finance official Gary Schultz were charged on Monday with failing to alert police after they were told Sandusky was seen sodomizing a young boy in the locker room showers in 2002. They were also charged with perjury in their statements to a grand jury.
1994: Victim 7 meets Sandusky through The Second Mile at about the age of 10.
1994-95: Boy known as Victim 6 meets Sandusky at Second Mile picnic when he was 7 or 8.
1995-96: Boy known as Victim 5 meets Sandusky through Second Mile when he is 7 or 8.
1996-97: Boy known as Victim 4, age 12 or 13, meets Sandusky in Second Mile program.
1998: According to the grand jury report, an 11-year-old boy’s mother called university police to complain after finding out her son had showered with Sandusky. A state Department of Public Welfare investigator told the grand jury that Sandusky had showered with the boy (Victim 6) and hugged him and “admitted that it was wrong” and promised to not shower with the boy again. The case is closed after then-Centre County District Attorney Ray Gricar decides there will be no criminal charge.
Penn State students have gone on the rampage after Joe Paterno, one of the most famous coaches in American sport, was sacked amid a child abuse scandal. Mr Paterno, 84, has been accused of failing to act over allegations of molestation by a long-serving assistant, Jerry Sandusky.
University President Graham Spanier was also dismissed with immediate effect.
College football is hugely popular in the US, drawing massive TV audiences on Saturdays and filling vast stadiums.
Scores of police and state troopers, some in riot gear, tried to clear the streets, and some officers used pepper spray to disperse demonstrators.
Witnesses say rocks and bottles were thrown, a lamp-post was knocked over and a news van overturned