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Penn State President Ousted Amid Sex Abuse Scandal

The Huffington Post   Leah Finnegan and Rebecca Harrington   First Posted: 11/09/11 10:24 PM ET   Updated: 11/09/11 10:49 PM ET

It's official: Graham Spanier is no longer president of Penn State University after a 16-year tenure.

In an emergency meeting Wednesday, Penn State's Board of Trustees unanimously decided that it was not in the best interest of the school for Spanier and longtime head football coach Joe Paterno to continue working there in the wake of a massive sexual abuse scandal at the university.

Spanier, a sociologist by training, had been president of the university since 1995. It was revealed this week that during Spanier's time as the head of the school, former Nittany Lions defensive coach Jerry Sandusky allegedly sexually abused at least nine children on and off the Penn State campus. According to an explosive Grand Jury report released Saturday, Spanier was informed that Sandusky had allegedly anally raped a child on campus in 2002. However, the then-president took no further action beyond banning Sandusky from campus -- a ruling that ultimately went unenforced. Spanier maintains he was only made aware of the full extent of the charges against Sandusky last month. (See a full timeline of the scandal here.)

In a statement released after his ouster was announced, Spanier wrote that he was "heartbroken to think that any child may have been hurt" and that he has "deep convictions about the need to protect children and youth." He wrote that he would "never hesitate to report a crime if I had any suspicion that one had been committed." Read the full statement here.

The scandal has already cost two other top officials their jobs. Athletic Director Tim Curley and Senior Vice President Gary Schultz resigned from their positions this week. Earlier Wednesday, the school's board told Spanier he could resign or be fired. (Read about the key players in the scandal here.)

The Department of Education announced Wednesday that it will launch full investigation into the events that have transpired at Penn State.

Scenes from the controversy:

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  • Penn State President Graham Spanier, left, was ousted as allegations of a child sex abuse scandal consumed campus.

  • Spanier in happier times.

  • STATE COLLEGE, PA - NOVEMBER 08: Protestors hold up signs outside the Administration building on the campus of Penn State University calling for the resignatation of the school's president on November 8, 2011 in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

  • STATE COLLEGE, PA - NOVEMBER 08: Penn State University head football coach Joe Paterno talks from inside his home to a large group of students who gathered at his house on November 8, 2011 in State College, Pennsylvania. Behind Paterno is his son Scott Paterno (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

  • UNIVERSITY PARK, PA - NOVEMBER 08: A statue of Penn State University head football coach Joe Paterno is seen outside of Beaver Stadium on November 8, 2011 in University Park, Pennsylvania. Amid allegations that former assistant Jerry Sandusky was involved with child sex abuse, Paterno's weekly news conference was canceled about an hour before it was scheduled to occur. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

  • STATE COLLEGE, PA - NOVEMBER 08: Penn State University head football coach Joe Paterno (C) is greeted by a large group of students after arriving at his home, November 8, 2011 in State College, Pennsylvania. Behind Paterno is his son Scott Paterno (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

  • UNIVERSITY PARK, PA - NOVEMBER 08: Students camp outside of Beaver Stadium on November 8, 2011 in University Park, Pennsylvania. Amid allegations that former assistant Jerry Sandusky was involved with child sex abuse, Joe Paterno's weekly news conference was canceled about an hour before it was scheduled to occur. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

  • HARRISBURG, PA - NOVEMBER 7: Penn State athletic director Tim Curley walks out of the Magisterial District Court after being arraigned on charges of perjury and failure to report under Pennsylvania's child protective services law on November 7, 2011 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Curley and Penn State university vice president Gary Schultz have resigned, and will face arraignment on charges they lied to a grand jury investigating suspected child abuse involving the university's former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

  • HARRISBURG, PA - NOVEMBER 7: Penn State university vice president Gary Schultz walks into the Magisterial District Court to be arraigned on charges of perjury and failure to report under Pennsylvania's child protective services law on November 7, 2011 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Schultz and Penn State athletic director Tim Curley have resigned, and will face arraignment on charges they lied to a grand jury investigating suspected child abuse involving the university's former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

  • UNIVERSITY PARK, PA - NOVEMBER 08: Penn State University head football coach Joe Paterno leaves the team's football building on November 8, 2011 in University Park, Pennsylvania. Amid allegations that former assistant Jerry Sandusky was involved with child sex abuse, Paterno's weekly news conference was canceled about an hour before it was scheduled to occur. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

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