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Penn State's Interim President: 'My Heart Aches'

"My heart aches for the victims and the families and my mind searches for answers," Penn State University's interim president, Rodney Erickson, just said at the opening of a meeting of the school's board of trustees.

WPVI-TV is streaming the meeting here.

Erickson was referring, of course, to the arrest last weekend of former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky for the alleged sexual abuse of at least eight young boys over the past decade, and the aftershocks that this week led to the firing of head coach Joe Paterno and school President Graham Spanier.

Sandusky says he's innocent. Paterno has not been charged with any crime. But Paterno has come under fire because a grand jury report says that after being told in 2002 about an incident involving Sandusky and a young boy in the Penn State locker room, he informed the school's athletic director but took no other action and did not prevent Sandusky (who had retired in 1999) to continue coming on campus.

Erickson also said this morning that the scandal is "a tragedy for many lives and it will take all of us some time to come to grips with the full magnitude of the damage that has been done."

But, he added, "I want all Penn Staters to know that our future is still bright" and that "our core values ... will define this university long after we've gone." Those values: "honesty, integrity, excellence and community."

Later today, the trustees plan to appoint a special committee to "determine what failures occurred" at the university.

Update at 12:50 p.m. ET: Trustee Kenneth Frazier, the CEO of drug giant Merck & Co., will chair the special investigations committee, the university says. In a statement, the school adds that "the complete committee membership will be determined and announced in the near future and is expected to be composed of a majority of Board of Trustee members with representatives from each of the board's constituencies as well as representatives of the Penn State community including faculty, students and alumni."

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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