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Paterno family speaks at child abuse forum - abc27 WHTM

Paterno family speaks at child abuse forum

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

Sue Paterno, widow of former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, and their son, Jay, were in Harrisburg to speak about child abuse prevention Wednesday morning.

The Paternos admitted they didn't know the signs of child abuse when a sexual predator was right in front them, and said they never thought former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky - a man known for helping underprivileged children - was sexually abusing boys he met through his charity.

"I worked with Jerry Sandusky for several years," said Jay Paterno, a former Penn State assistant football coach. "My own children were around him. My own children were around him at youth soccer games. I didn't see anything."

"We were among those who were ignorant of the magnitude of the problem," Sue Paterno said.

The Paterno family spoke at a child abuse prevention month breakfast sponsored by the Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance at the Hilton Harrisburg.

"If there is one thing that I have learned in the last year and half, it is this sad fact child abuse offenders don't need enablers, but the people who protect them do need enables for good," Jay Paterno said.

Their appearance didn't come without controversy. Joe Paterno lost his job in the wake of child sex-abuse charges filed against his former assistant.

"There are people who say the Paternos are not the right people to speak out about child abuse," said Angela Liddle, executive director of the Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance. "My response to that is a very strong, 'who are wrong people to speak out about child abuse?' "

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