HARRISBURG Pa. (Reuters) - The son of Joe Paterno, the legendary Penn State football coach and boss of convicted child sex abuser Jerry Sandusky, said in a new book that he was propositioned by a pedophile - possibly a university professor who molested a series of boys - at age 13.
Jay Paterno said he never told his father about that day in the summer of 1981, which is described in “Paterno Legacy: Enduring Lessons from the Life and Death of My Father,” published by Triumph Books, a sports publishing house in Chicago.
“I told no one in my family what had happened to me. I feared that I’d be judged,” Jay Paterno wrote in the book.
Joe Paterno died at age 85 in January 2012, months before a report found he and other school leaders covered up Sandusky’s sexual abuse of boys to protect the university’s football program, and as a result the attacks continued.
Sandusky, 70, who coached as Paterno’s defensive coordinator, is serving 30 to 60 years in prison for sexually abusing 10 boys, some in the locker room showers.
Both Paternos lost their jobs in the scandal, and the younger Paterno, also an assistant football coach, this week filed a million-dollar lawsuit against Penn State for loss of reputation.
In the book obtained by Reuters on Thursday, Jay Paterno said the pedophile approached him at a bus stop in the Park Forest Village section of State College. The encounter left him confused and upset, Paterno said, and he ran away.
Paterno, who Reuters was unable to immediately reach, never names the pedophile.
Police files obtained by Reuters said a Penn State geosciences professor, Antonio Lasaga, was arrested for molesting two younger boys at the Park Forest Village pool on Aug. 27, 1981. The charges were later dropped.
Lasaga moved on to Yale University in 1984 and was arrested there in 1998 for child pornography and molesting a boy. He was convicted of both charges and is presently serving a federal prison term.
Paterno says his father was conservative, even clueless about sex, and speculates that might have influenced how he handled Sandusky. He tells a story about his father wondering aloud at a coaches meeting how two of his players could have had sex with a Penn State coed, who had filed a complaint, at the same time.
On a walk with his son in the last months of his life, the elder Paterno expressed puzzlement about Sandusky’s rape of boys and said he never knew it was going on.
“Jay, he fooled me,” the coach is quoted in the book as telling his son.
Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Eric Walsh