HARRISBURG — Gov. Tom Corbett on Wednesday said he was "personally disappointed in the lack of action" by university officials. "And I had to contain that for the last two years."
Corbett, a former state attorney general, said his office first began investigating accusations against Sandusky in 2009, after receiving a referral from the Centre County District Attorney's Office. Because of his investigatory role, he declined to comment on many of the specifics in the case.
"I am aware of many of the details in the investigation that I cannot go into," he said. "Do not bother to ask me because you will get no comment. I have disciplinary rules that I must follow as a lawyer and I will continue to follow them."
A member of the university's board of trustees, the governor said he'd rearranged his schedule to attend meetings in State College on Thursday and would attend a board meeting on Friday. Corbett discussed the issue with reporters Wednesday at a bill-signing event.
Asked about reports that veteran football coach Joe Paterno will retire at the end of the current season, Corbett said it is "unfortunate that this retirement is taking place under the cloud that is going on at the moment."
"It's a sad day. It has been a sad number of days for Penn State. It's sad that it's taking place that way. But the board still has work to do," he said.
Asked whether he believed university President Graham Spanier should keep his job, the Republican said he believes "the board is going to address that issue. At some point in time I may express my opinion to the board. But I think it's premature for me to be doing that here rather than to the board since I am a member to the board."
Without mentioned Sandusky's name, Corbett, who spent years prosecuting child-sex crimes as the U.S. Attorney in Pittsburgh and as Attorney General, was withering.
"He who preys on a child is the worst type of person in the world as far as I'm concerned," he said.
Corbett declined to second-guess the actions of then-graduate assistant Mike McQueary, who is alleged in a grand jury presentment to have witnessed Sandusky assaulting a young boy. Asked generally how he might respond if he saw such an offense,
"Let's put it this way, if I saw something like that I would have acted right away. I think everybody in this room would." He said later that it's likely more victims of Sandusky's alleged crimes will step forward.
Corbett said he believes it's possible for the university to restore its reputation but that will not come "without work."
"The board needs to act quickly and strongly as I said. The committee they have put together needs to be above reproach," he said. "The board has a duty to its students, to the alumni, and to the citizens of Pennsylvania and to the future students. Penn State's a great university. We know that. Something not very good happened. But we have to maintain that they are a great university and take the bull by the horns."
As for State College, where emotions are running high and where hundreds of students gathered outside of Paterno's home in a show of support Tuesday, Corbett appealed for continued calm.
"There are issues, there are concerns. There are emotions about this issue. It's important that they know the world is watching them," he said. The media is there, they will be watching this for quite a while. And I would hope that they would remain on their best behavior. They can show and voice their first amendment freedom, but remain on your best behavior. We are going to work on this for you. "
But even as he called for swift action by the board of trustees, Corbett said it's still important that they move with deliberation.
"I think they want to know what they're doing. They have to express that among themselves first before they go public. And I think that's important," he said. "They need to have a plan put together of how to deal with this whole thing, how to ensure it doesn't happen, how to [assure] students at the university and future students that they are dealing with this, how to assure the alumni that they will deal with this, and how to ensure that they will regain their reputation."
Pa. Gov. Corbett remarks on Penn State scandal
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