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The latest on the Penn State sex scandal

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The latest on the Penn State sex scandal

From Comcast SportsNet
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) -- Just hours after stepping down, two high-ranking Penn State administrators face arraignment Monday on charges they lied to a grand jury investigating former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky and failed to properly report suspected child abuse by the ex-football coach. Late Sunday, after an emergency meeting of the board of trustees, university President Graham Spanier announced that Athletic Director Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, the school's senior vice president for business and finance, would be leaving their posts. Curley requested to be placed on administrative leave so he could devote time to his defense, and Schultz will be going back into retirement, Spanier said. Both men have maintained they are innocent of any wrongdoing in connection with the probe into whether Sandusky sexually abused eight boys -- preteens and young teenagers -- over a 15-year period. State Attorney General Linda Kelly and state police Commissioner Frank Noonan were expected to hold a 1 p.m. Monday news conference about the case a few miles from the Harrisburg court where Curley and Schultz will be arraigned. The proceeding is scheduled for immediately after that. Sandusky was arrested Saturday on charges that he preyed on boys he met through The Second Mile, a charity he founded for at-risk youths. The charity said in a statement Sunday that Sandusky has had no involvement with its programs involving children since 2008, when Sandusky told the foundation that he was being investigated on child-sex allegations. The case has rocked State College, a campus town routinely ranked among America's best places to live and nicknamed Happy Valley. Under head football coach Joe Paterno -- who testified before the grand jury and isn't considered a suspect -- the teams were revered both for winning games, including two national championships, and largely steering clear of trouble. In a statement issued Sunday, Paterno called the charges shocking. "The fact that someone we thought we knew might have harmed young people to this extent is deeply troubling," he said. "If this is true we were all fooled, along with scores of professionals trained in such things, and we grieve for the victims and their families. They are in our prayers." Sandusky spent three decades at the school running the defense. The charges against him cover the period from 1994 to 2009. Sandusky retired in 1999 but continued to use the school's facilities. University officials said Sunday they were moving to ban him from campus in the wake of the charges. Nils Frederiksen, a spokesman for the state attorney general's office, told The Associated Press on Sunday that it was premature to discuss whether Paterno might testify at trial. "That's putting the cart way ahead of the horse," he said. "We're certainly not going to be discussing the lineup of potential witnesses." The allegations against Sandusky, who started The Second Mile in 1977, range from sexual advances to touching to oral and anal sex. The young men testified before a state grand jury that they were in their early teens when some of the abuse occurred; there is evidence even younger children may have been victimized. Sandusky's attorney Joe Amendola said his client has been aware of the accusations for about three years and has maintained his innocence. "He's shaky, as you can expect," Amendola told WJAC-TV. "Being 67 years old, never having faced criminal charges in his life and having the distinguished career that he's had, these are very serious allegations." Sandusky is charged with multiple counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, corruption of minors, endangering the welfare of a child, indecent assault and unlawful contact with a minor, as well as single counts of aggravated indecent assault and attempted indecent assault. One accuser, now 27, testified that Sandusky initiated contact with a "soap battle" in the shower that led to multiple instances of involuntary sexual intercourse and indecent assault at Sandusky's hands, the grand jury report said. He said he traveled to charity functions and Penn State games with Sandusky. But when the boy resisted his advances, Sandusky threatened to send him home from the 1999 Alamo Bowl, the report said. Sandusky also gave him clothes, shoes, a snowboard, golf clubs, hockey gear and football jerseys, and even guaranteed that he could walk on to the football team, the grand jury said. He testified that Sandusky once gave him 50 to buy marijuana, drove him to purchase it and then drove him home as the boy smoked the drug. The first case to come to light was a boy who met Sandusky when he was 11 or 12, and physical contact began during his overnight stays at Sandusky's house, the grand jury said. Eventually, the boy's mother reported the sexual assault allegations to his high school, and Sandusky was banned from the child's school district in Clinton County. That triggered the state investigation that culminated in charges Saturday. But the report also alleges much earlier instances of abuse and details failed efforts to stop it by some who became aware of what was happening. Another child, known only as a boy about 11 to 13, was seen by a janitor pinned against a wall while Sandusky performed oral sex on him in fall 2000, the grand jury said. And in 2002, Kelly said, a graduate assistant saw Sandusky sexually assault a naked boy, estimated to be about 10 years old, in a team locker room shower. The grad student and his father reported what he saw to Paterno, who immediately told Curley, prosecutors said. The two school administrators fielded the complaint from the graduate assistant and from Paterno. Two people familiar with the investigation confirmed the identity of the graduate assistant as Mike McQueary, now the team's wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator. The two spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the names in the grand jury report haven't been publicly released. McQueary's father, John, said his son was out of town on a recruiting trip Sunday, and he declined to comment about the case or say whether they were the two named in the grand jury report. "I know it's online, and I know it's available," John McQueary told the AP. "I have gone out of my way not to read it for a number of reasons." Curley and Schultz met with the graduate assistant about a week and a half after the attack was reported, Kelly said. "Despite a powerful eyewitness statement about the sexual assault of a child, this incident was not reported to any law enforcement or child protective agency, as required by Pennsylvania law," Kelly said. There's no indication that anyone at school attempted to find the boy or follow up with the witness, she said. Schultz's lawyer, Thomas J. Farrell, told The Associated Press on Sunday that the mandated reporting rules only apply to people who come into direct contact with children. He also said the statute of limitations for the summary offense with which Schultz is charged is two years, so it expired in 2004. The grand jury report that lays out the accusations against the men cites the state's Child Protective Services Law, which requires immediate reporting by doctors, nurses, school administrators, teachers, day care workers, police and others. Neither Schultz nor Curley appear to have had direct contact with the boys Sandusky is accused of abusing. The law "applies only to children under the care and supervision of the organization for which he works, and that's Penn State, it's not The Second Mile," Farrell said of his client. "This child, from what we know, was a Second Mile child." Messages left later Sunday seeking comment from Frederiksen with the attorney general's office, and from Curley's lawyer, Caroline Roberto, weren't immediately returned. Farrell said it was accurate to say the allegations against Curley are legally flawed in the same manner. Farrell said he plans to seek dismissal at the earliest opportunity. "Now, tomorrow is probably not the appropriate time," Farrell said Sunday. "We'll bring every legal challenge that is appropriate, and I think quite a few are appropriate." As a summary offense, failure to report suspected child abuse carries up to three months in jail and a 200 fine. "As far as my research shows, there has never been a reported criminal decision under this statute, and the civil decisions go our way," he said. Curley and Schultz also are accused of perjury for their testimony to the grand jury that issued a 23-page report on the matter Friday, the day before state prosecutors charged them. Sandusky was arrested Saturday and charged with 40 criminal counts. Curley denied that the assistant had reported anything of a sexual nature, calling it "merely horsing around,'" the grand jury report said. But he also testified that he barred Sandusky from bringing children onto campus and that he advised Spanier, the school president, of the matter. The grand jury said Curley was lying, Kelly said, adding that it also deemed portions of Schultz's testimony not to be credible. Schultz told the jurors he also knew of a 1998 investigation involving sexually inappropriate behavior by Sandusky with a boy in the showers the football team used. But despite his job overseeing campus police, he never reported the 2002 allegations to any authorities, "never sought or received a police report on the 1998 incident and never attempted to learn the identity of the child in the shower in 2002," the jurors wrote. "No one from the university did so." Farrell said Schultz "should have been required only to report it to his supervisor, which he did." Schultz reports to Spanier, who testified before the grand jury that Schultz and Curley came to him with a report that a staff member was uncomfortable because he'd seen Sandusky "horsing around" with a boy. Spanier wasn't charged. About the perjury charge, Farrell said: "We're going to have a lot of issues with that, both factual and legal. I think there's a very strong defense here." The university is paying legal costs for Curley and Schultz because the allegations against them concern how they fulfilled their responsibilities as employees, spokeswoman Lisa Powers said.

Cole Hamels explains how Cubs can survive an intense final week

Cole Hamels explains how Cubs can survive an intense final week

Cole Hamels has been here before.

A major reason why the Cubs acquired the veteran left-handed pitcher before the trade deadline was his vast postseason experience (98.1 innings) and a knowledge of what it takes to make it to — and succeed in — October.

Nobody expected him to pitch to a 1.00 ERA in his first seven starts in a Cubs uniform, so this regression that's come over his last few outings isn't anything to panic about.

Hamels lost his second straight start Monday night against the Pirates, serving up a two-out, two-run homer to Francisco Cervelli in the first inning, staking his club to a deficit they could not overcome in a 5-1 loss that left them just 1.5 games up on the Brewers in the division.

"Shoot, givin' up home runs sucks," Hamels said. "I can't shy away from it — I do give 'em up. I have given 'em up in my career. I try to minimize the damage to mostly solos.

"But at the same time, when you give them up in the first inning when you're at home, it definitely doesn't set the momentum and it creates that sort of extra game that you have to play because now you're trying to come from behind. They've obviously already done some damage and you've gotta play with that in your head of what could come throughout a game."

Really, that wasn't even the story of Monday's game.

It was the lack of offense, as Hamels provided the only run off Jameson Taillon — a 437-foot homer in the third inning he hit with a 105 mph exit velocity.

The Cubs' roller coaster offense has been a major talking point the last couple weeks of the season and figures to be the Achilles' heel of this team in October...whether that's in the NL wild-card game or in the NLDS.

In fairness to the Cubs, Taillon has been carving up every lineup he faces lately as he enters the conversation as one of the true "aces" in the game today. 

"Sometimes, you just run into the wrong guy," Joe Maddon said. "... They have a nice rotation that has given us a hard time. We have to somehow overcome that. They are good, but we gotta do better.

"The at-bats early were really well done and then Taillon just started getting command of his curveball, also. He was dropping that in when he was behind in the count for strikes.

"...Early on, I thought we had a pretty good shot, but then he just settled in and turned it up a bit."

So with the Brewers hot on their heels, what do the Cubs need to do the rest of this week against a team like the Pirates that would relish playing spoiler?

Hamels is in the midst of his 13th MLB season and he provided his perspective of how the next six days should go:

"I think I've played this game long enough — when you have an opportunity to be a spoiler, it creates a little bit more energy in the clubhouse and you play for a little bit more to kinda disrupt what's going on," he said. "For us, we just have to keep our focus and keep to the gameplan and go out there and just try to either execute pitches or execute at-bats inning by inning. 

"We do have the talent and from what I've seen, we definitely know how to put up runs — it just hasn't happened this past week. And so I think for what we're trying to do and what we're trying to accomplish, just not try to overdo it. 

"Really just try to get back to the basics from the first pitch from the first inning and just plug away. I think if we're able to do that, good things will happen and we'll be able to overcome any sort of obstacle of what's kind of narrowing down in the last six games."

We're about to find out if the Cubs are up to the task.

Projecting the Cubs playoff roster: How should the October rotation line up?

Projecting the Cubs playoff roster: How should the October rotation line up?

If you had to pick just one Cubs starting pitcher to take the hill in a must-win game in October, who would you go with? 

Jon Lester, the guy with a ridiculous resume of postseason success?

Kyle Hendricks, aka "The Professor" who is as cold as ice and been the Cubs' best pitcher over the last six weeks?

Cole Hamels, the wily veteran and former World Series MVP who has been rejuvenated since coming over in a midseason trade?

There's a legit case to be made for all three pitchers to start either a wild-card game (Cubs are crossing their fingers they don't need to worry about that) or Game 1 of the NLDS next week.

Hamels, however, looks to be falling back slightly in the race after giving up another homer Monday night — a long two-out blast to Francisco Cervelli in the first inning of the Cubs' 4-1 loss.

It was the sixth homer Hamels has allowed in his last four starts, but that was the only damage he was charged with Monday night as the only other run scored was unearned thanks to Kris Bryant's error.

"Shoot, givin' up home runs sucks," Hamels said. "I can't shy away from it — I do give 'em up. I have given 'em up in my career. I try to minimize the damage to mostly solos."

The 34-year-old Hamels still has a 2.60 ERA in a Cubs uniform and even chipped in with the bat, drilling a 437-foot homer to the centerfield bleachers for the Cubs' only run off Pittsburgh ace Jameson Taillon.

With one start remaining for each pitcher, it appears to be down to Hendricks or Lester for role of Game 1 starter.

After another gem Sunday against the White Sox, Hendricks now sports a 1.37 ERA and 0.79 WHIP over his last six starts. He has set a new career high in innings pitched (191) after tossing 16.1 frames over his last two starts and certainly looks to be peaking at just the right time for the Cubs.

Lester, meanwhile, got through a little midseason hiccup and has been fantastic over the last month-plus, as well. He boasts a 1.96 ERA and 1.23 WHIP over his last seven starts and his postseason resume speaks for itself — 9-7, 2.55 ERA, 1.03 WHIP in 148 innings. 

Right now, my money's on Hendricks to start Game 1, as he did last season in Washington D.C. Lester would likely follow, with Hamels after that and Jose Quintana filling out the rotation (again, assuming the Cubs are playing the NLDS and not the wild-card game).

Of course, the Cubs have to get to the postseason first and though they're close to locking up a fourth straight playoff berth, they still have to fend off the hard-charging Brewers.

As we always do with this column, we'll line up how the Cubs' playoff roster and Game 1 lineup might look RIGHT NOW, in which case, the Cubs would be hosting the winner of the wild-card game. The Brewers are currently the first wild-card team, which means they will host the one-game playoff and as such, we'll project them to win thanks to homefield advantage.

If Milwaukee throws Jhoulys Chacin in the wild-card game, they would probably start lefty Wade Miley in Game 1 of the NLDS. Here's how the Cubs might line up against Miley:

1. Daniel Murphy - 2B
2. Ben Zobrist - RF
3. Javy Baez - SS
4. Anthony Rizzo - 1B
5. Kris Bryant - 3B
6. Albert Almora Jr. - CF
7. Willson Contreras - C
8. Kyle Hendricks - P
9. Kyle Schwarber - LF

It's tough to put Schwarber so low in the order when he's entered the final week of the regular season as the Cubs' hottest hitter, but those splits are real. He just hit his first homer of the season off a lefty Sunday and sports a .671 OPS vs. southpaws compared to an .884 OPS against righties.

Addison Russell would normally find his way in the lineup against a left-handed pitcher — moving Baez to third base and Bryant to left field — but he's on administrative leave and his status for the postseason is currently unknown. 

David Bote could also get the start at third base and push Bryant to left against a southpaw this October. Bote hasn't done much at the plate since his ultimate grand slam in mid-August, but he still boasts a .903 OPS against lefties.

The Cubs could also opt to go with Jason Heyward in the outfield against lefties, playing right and pushing Zobrist to left. There are several options at Maddon's disposal and everything will likely change on a game-to-game basis, as per usual.

The real key to this lineup — especially against lefties — will be Bryant. He sat out Sunday to let his "fatigued" shoulder rest and was back in the lineup Monday, but he's been a shell of his former self since the middle of May when he first injured that left shoulder.

If he's right, he'll probably be hitting second for the Cubs in October. But since he's struggled to get going, Maddon has opted for Zobrist in the 2-hole behind Murphy of late.

This lineup would leave the Cubs' bench looking like this:

Victor Caratini
Jason Heyward
David Bote
Terrance Gore
Tommy La Stella
Ian Happ

With Russell's status unclear, there's a clear spot on the postseason roster for Happ, who we had outside the bubble last week in this column

Assuming Russell is not available for October, the only other position player options would be Taylor Davis or Mike Freeman and the only way those guys would find their way on a postseason roster would be due to injury.

The Cubs have utilized 14 position players in the past and this bench of six guys would figure to provide Maddon with plenty of options, including Gore's gamebreaking speed.

Starting rotation

Kyle Hendricks
Jon Lester
Cole Hamels
Jose Quintana

As we've discussed earlier, Hendricks has had a fantastic week and will be riding a heck of a hot streak into October if he can have a solid final start. 

Bullpen

Pedro Strop
Jesse Chavez
Justin Wilson
Steve Cishek
Carl Edwards Jr.
Mike Montgomery
Jorge De La Rosa

A lot has changed here over the last week, with Brandon Morrow ruled out for the season and Strop feeling good after his hamstring injury.

Maddon said Strop was feeling really good over the weekend and kind of bouncing around with excitement as he nears a return.

Could he still make an appearance in a game this week before the regular season ends?

It's possible.

"The difference is that he's able to throw," Maddon said. "Had he not been able to throw while he's going through all this, then it'd be a different story entirely. But he's been able to keep his arm moving, pretty much at 100 percent almost. So as his leg feels better, his arm's ready to go."

That would be a huge boost to this bullpen as the postseason draws near, depending on how effective Strop can be with what will be roughly two weeks off in between appearances by the time he does make it back.

The final bullpen spot sure looks like De La Rosa's to lose at the moment. 

Dillon Maples was making a potential push as a darkhorse candidate but struggled against the White Sox and probably has pitched his way out of contention.

Maddon went to both Jaime Garcia and Alec Mills Monday night in what was a Cubs deficit, but still a close game and if the Cubs need an extra arm, those may be the two guys lobbying for the final spot. 

If Strop suffers a setback or is unable to find his form enough to where he is not active for a postseason series, Mills may be the better bet. Garcia has far more experience, but it'd be hard to see the Cubs roll with four lefties in the bullpen and the right-handed Mills has impressed this season with the Cubs (2.87 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, 19 Ks in 15.2 IP).

The other good news for this unit is they've actually been pretty well rested of late. After a really tough stretch, Maddon has not had to lean on his best relievers much over the last 10 days, so they should be rested and freseh for the final week of the regular season and into October, especially if the Cubs can lock up the division and get Monday through Wednesday off next week.