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PSU president answers questions about scandal - abc27 WHTM

PSU president answers questions about scandal

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STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (WHTM) -

The clock breaks the silence at Penn State's Old Main every hour. The seeming serenity of the campus was shattered by Jerry Sandusky last November.

"I go to bed thinking about, I wake up at night thinking about, and get up in the morning thinking about," Penn State President Rodney Erickson said Tuesday. "How could this have happened at a place I thought I knew pretty well?"

Erickson has been at Penn State since the 70's and swears he never heard a rumor, whisper or innuendo about the predator in his midst. Outsiders insist the whole town must have known Sandusky's secret.

"I don't think the whole town knew. I certainly didn't know," Erickson said.

But Erickson did know the four men the Freeh Report says covered up Sandusky's actions. He blames it on a compartmentalized university with what he calls "administrative silos" that didn't communicate with each other; something he's trying to break.

"So it's not a couple people wrestling with an issue and the right or wrong of an issue," Erickson said, "but it's the whole group around the table."

Erickson promises a fair treatment of victims. He's setting up a process to deal with them and their attorneys. He'd like to settle out of court and out of the public eye.

He insists no tax, tuition, or donor dollars will be used on the scandal. He says insurance will pay most. Interest payments from past loans the rest.

Former president Graham Spanier is still on the payroll. He remains a tenured professor because he had held that position throughout his employment at Penn State, according to Erickson.

Tenured professors are not easily removed. Neither are bronze statues to coaching legends.

"The actions or inactions that Coach Paterno took will have a lasting negative consequence for his legacy," Erickson said. "We need to look at the various aspects of this."

Erickson wants Penn State to become a national leader in the prevention and treatment of child abuse.

"We are going to learn from this. We're going to make the appropriate changes and we're going to look deeply at our culture," Erickson said. "We're going to emerge from this a better, stronger university."

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