US college fined £39m over sex abuse


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The Independent US

An American college at the centre of a child sex abuse scandal has been fined $60 million (£39 million).

But the country's National Collegiate Athletic Association stopped short of shutting down Penn State's entire football programme.

Other sanctions include being stripped of all once-legendary coach Joe Paterno's victories from 1998-2011.

Jerry Sandusky, a former Penn State assistant coach, was found guilty in June of sexually abusing several young boys, at times on campus, sometimes after finding them through the charity he founded for at-risk youths.

The NCAA action came in the wake of a devastating report asserting that top university officials buried child sex abuse allegations against Sandusky more than a decade ago.

The investigative report by former FBI Director Louis Freeh found that Paterno and three other top Penn State administrators concealed sex abuse claims against Sandusky.

The NCAA said the fine is equivalent to the annual gross revenue of the football programme. The money must be paid into an endowment for external groups preventing child sexual abuse or assisting victims.

"Football will never again be placed ahead of educating, nurturing and protecting young people," NCAA President Mark Emmert said.

Mr Emmert cautioned last week that he had not ruled out the possibility of shutting down the football programme altogether, saying he had "never seen anything as egregious" as the Sandusky scandal.

"Against this backdrop, Penn State accepts the penalties and corrective actions announced today by the NCAA," Penn State president Rodney Erickson said.