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Public Statements

Fox News "Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace" - Transcript

Interview

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Date:
Location: Unknown

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So, let me ask you directly: why did the board vote to fire Joe Paterno? What did you believe he did wrong?

GOV. TOM CORBETT: Well, Chris, I believe the board voted to fire both Paterno and President Spanier because they lost confidence in their ability to lead. I said that a number of times over the course of this weekend.

WALLACE: And what's specifically in Paterno's actions led you to that loss of confidence?

CORBETT: Well, those deliberations to the board, and I'm not going to into what the deliberations were. In my mind, I agreed with the board's decision. It's a unanimous decision that based upon all that appeared before them, that the ability to lead Penn State through this time and in the future, they no longer had confidence in him to do that.

WALLACE: But, Governor, let me point out -- these are just allegations. Joe Paterno, who had spent half a century at Penn State, did not have an opportunity to offer a full defense. Why not let him finish his season and retire as he offered to do?

CORBETT: Well, as I said, there are deliberations that were part of the board of trustees, and those are questions that should go to the chairman and the vice chairman of the board of trustees and speaking on behalf. I'm just a member of the board of trustees.

I gave them one statement. I had one sentence that I gave throughout the entire period of time in the deliberations and it was this, that we have to remember the children. And I think a lot of it has to do with that.

WALLACE: I'm not sure, Governor, why, you know, you are a member of the board of trustees, a voting member. You voted to fire Paterno. You're also the governor of the state.

Why are you being so secretive about your own feelings about the case?

CORBETT: Well, my feelings of the case are pretty well-known.

WALLACE: How about coach Paterno, though?

CORBETT: Well, Chris, I started this investigation. I have a responsibility to see that investigation continued. I did. As governor, I have a requirement to make sure that we protect the children of Pennsylvania. That's my focus on this.

As to the actions of Mr. Paterno, the attorney general made a determination that he had not at this point in time done anything that would be of a criminal nature. But in my opinion, when you don't follow through, when you don't continue on to make sure that actions are taken, then I lose confidence in your ability to lead. That would be the case here.

WALLACE: Let me follow up on that, because Penn State and Paterno, I think it's fair to say, were considered models of what's right in the college football. The team motto for the football team is success with honor. And yet, in this case, the coach and school seemed to have been more concerned about protecting the program than those eight boys Jerry Sandusky allegedly abused over 15 years.

Governor, how do you explain that, especially in Penn State?

CORBETT: Well, Chris, I have to sit back and take a look at what happened. You all will make your determinations and conclusions based upon what you see. What I saw was a failure to act. And I've always have said, your actions speak louder than your words. That should not have been able to continue. I have to be careful what I say because I'm under ethical in this investigation as to what I can and can't say. But the actions or the failure to act while maybe not criminal caused me not to have confidence in the president and in the coach.

WALLACE: But I'm asking you a more general question, sir. How did the Penn State program and college go so far off of the tracts when this had been held up as a model of what was right in college football?

CORBETT: Well, Chris, I think that's exactly what the investigation, the internal investigation by Rod Erickson and by Ken Frazier who is given the special assignment to conduct this investigation. My secretary of education, Ron Tomalis, that's what they are to determine at this point in time.

I can't answer that question for you. If I knew how that happened, I'd be happy to give you that answer.

But that investigation is going to be done and to make a determination of why when reports were made, there was no follow up, what happened? Is it caused boy a fear of reporting? Is it caused by a lack of understanding of this kind of action needs to be reported to law enforcement authorities and up the chain? Is it a fear of a harm of reputation to the institution? That is, I think, the goal of Ken Frazier and his committee.

WALLACE: Let's talk about Second Mile, the charity that Jerry Sandusky helped form for disadvantaged kids that quite frankly gave him access to these young boys. Should actions be taken against the charity or the CEO who allegedly was told about some of these abuses as far back 2002?

CORBETT: Again, keeping in mind that there is an investigation, a federal -- a state and an attorney general investigation on going. I'm going to be very careful here. The attorney general's office has a security section and I'm sure that they will be taking a look to see what happened at that point in time. That needs to be done.

There needs to be a determination of what was communicated from the executive director of that association to the board members and chairman of the board. And I believe that that association -- that organization is having a meeting here today or tomorrow of the board members to determine what the future is of the Second Mile.

It's unfortunate that the purpose of the Second Mile was the purpose. If you talk to people who have worked with Second Mile, it has done great work. And if it should seize to exist, I am hopeful that other organizations will pick up the work that they did. We need to reach out to these children. We need to give them guidance.

But in this case, as the allegations indicate, some of it was used to pick on some children and the term was used, grooming, groom those children for Mr. Sandusky's purposes. WALLACE: Finally, we have about a minute left, Governor. There has been talk and it's nothing more than talk about more victims or the possibility that others were involved in abusing these kids. Can you assure the people of Pennsylvania and the nation that this scandal is over, or is possible that there is more to it than we now know?

CORBETT: Well, as the attorney general has an ongoing investigation. And I don't get the details because I'm no longer the attorney general. But in looking at other cases like this, it would not be uncommon to find other victims, because when the word gets out, when people understand that authorities are actually doing something about this, that they may be believed, then more people come forward in other investigations.

If I'm to speculate, I wouldn't be surprised if we had more victims come forward. That's why the attorney and the state police have put up numbers for people to call if they've been a victim.

WALLACE: So, this scandal may be even bigger, sir?

CORBETT: There could be more victims, that's right.

WALLACE: Governor Corbett, we're going to have to leave it on that very chilling note. Thank you so much for coming in today to talk with us, sir.

CORBETT: Thank you very much.

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