The child sex scandal at Penn State University reverberated Thursday on multiple fronts, touching everything from promotional buttons to superstar athletes to bowl bids as state and national media raced to keep track.
A vague post in an Internet forum for Penn State fans led investigators probing sex-abuse allegations against Jerry Sandusky to assistant coach Mike McQueary, a key witness in the broader cover-up case against top university officials, the New York Times reported Thursday.
McQueary told the grand jury that charged Sandusky with sexual abuse of children that he saw the assistant coach raping a boy in the Penn State football locker room showers in 2002, according to the grand jury's presentment.
Although McQueary testified he reported the alleged incident to head coach Joe Paterno, athletic director Tim Curley and university Vice President Gary Schultz, no investigation followed. Curley and Schultz testified McQueary reported inappropriate conduct but not sexual conduct, the presentment says.
The grand jury found McQueary's testimony more credible than Curley's or Schultz's and charged the university executives with failing to report the abuse and perjury.
Also Thursday, attorneys from central Pennsylvania said they were contacted by people who reported being abused by Sandusky as long ago as the 1970s, when the former defensive coordinator founded the The Second Mile charity, the Patriot-News newspaper in Harrisburg reported.
Harrisburg lawyer Ben Andreozzi said in a statement that he has a client who will testify that Sandusky sexually assaulted him. The attorney promised information on additional victims later this week.
As threats of litigation gathered, the Pittsburgh law firm Reed Smith confirmed it has been hired by the Penn State board of trustees to represent the university in issues related to the case, The Associated Press reported.
Fallout from the scandal cost former Penn State and Pittsburgh Steelers star running back Franco Harris his endorsement deal with a western Pennsylvania racetrack casino.
And national auto services advertiser Cars.com took steps to distance itself from the scandal by pulling advertising from ESPN that is to air during Penn State's game Saturday against Ohio State, the Philadelphia Daily News reported.
Citizens' Bank scrambled to recall promotional buttons with slogans that are geared toward Penn State's opponents and could be viewed as distasteful in light of the Sandusky scandal, the Patriot-News reported. The pin for this week's matchup against Ohio State reads "Much Ado About Nuttin," and the Wisconsin State badge says "Brie 'em to Their Knees."
Harris, the former Penn State and Steelers running back, touched off a storm of criticism when he opined publicly that the Penn State trustees "made a bad decision" in dismissing Paterno. He noted he was "disappointed" in the board and that school officials had "no courage."
In addition to losing his contract with The Meadows, a racetrack 25 miles south of Pittsburgh, Harris was asked by Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl to step down as chairman of the Pittsburgh Promise scholarship program for the city's public school students.
But as some organizations distanced themselves from the scandal, the chief administrative officer of the Rose Bowl said the Nittany Lions will be free to play in the post-season game if they win the Big Ten title.
Kevin Ash said Thursday that the Rose Bowl would let the Big Ten decide if there is a reason its champion shouldn't play the Pac 12 winner in Pasadena, Calif., on Jan. 2.
"Whoever the champions are," Ash said, "we'll welcome [them] with open arms."
Some called for Penn State to forgo a bowl game appearance in the wake of the scandal.
Penn State President Rod Erickson didn't give a definitive answer last week when asked about a prospective bowl bid.
"We'll wait and see at the appropriate time what decision is made," Erickson said. "At this point, the expectation would be where they deserve to play, they will play."
A commission being set up by Pennsylvania lawmakers will consider changes to state law as a result of the scandal. The plan was described as being in the planning stage, including meetings of leaders and their aides.
There have been other proposals for legislative action in Harrisburg, as well as in Washington, where U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., has introduced a bill that would strengthen child-abuse reporting requirements.
On Thursday, U.S. Rep. George Miller of California said scandals at Penn State and the Citadel in South Carolina demonstrated a need for the House Education and the Workforce Committee to study potential changes to federal laws that protect children and students.
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