With former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky imprisoned following his conviction on 45 of 48 counts of sexual abuse against 10 young boys, the attention is turning towards those at Penn State University who may have enabled the sexual predator or turned a blind eye toward the abuse.

According to a CNN report, former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno may have played a more prominent role in the University's handling of the situation than had previously been known. Information obtained by CNN indicates that PSU president Graham Spanier approved via email a decision by athletic director Tim Curley -- who, along with retired vice president Gary Schultz, faces criminal charges alleging that he didn't report the crimes -- to hold off on reporting Sandusky in 2001. The report details emails allegedly exchanged between Spanier, Curley and Schultz and suggests that a conversation between Curley and Paterno may have altered a plan to report Sandusky to the Department of Welfare.

"After giving it more thought and talking it over with Joe yesterday, I am uncomfortable with what we agreed were the next steps," Curley wrote, per CNN.

CLICK HERE for more on these Penn State emails.

NBC News had previously reported on the discovery of Spanier's emails from 2001 discussing the incident reported at that time. KDKA in Pittsburgh, the local CBS TV affiliate, also reported that Schultz had a "secret file" pertaining to Sandusky.

When Sandusky's initial arrest first rocked the Penn State campus in November 2011, the 23-page grand jury report indicated Paterno was notified by assistant coach Mike McQueary of the 2001 incident of abuse involving the team's former defensive coordinator. Prosecutors said Paterno, who was fired days after the first arrest, informed Curley, the athletic director at the time.

Shortly after Sandusky's initial arrest, Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan publicly chastised Paterno. After admitting that the winningest coach in college football history met his legal requirement by reporting the abuse to his superiors, Noonan went to say that Paterno should have done more given the nature of the allegations.

"I think you have the moral responsibility, anyone," Noonan said during a press conference. "Not whether you're a football coach or a university president or the guy sweeping the building. I think you have a moral responsibility to call us."

In an interview with the Washington Post not long after he was fired, Paterno indicated that he had left the situation to his superiors.

"I just did what I thought was best," he told the Post. "I talked to people that I thought would be, if there was a problem, that would be following up on it."

Months later, and after Paterno's death in January 2012, the details of the emails reported by CNN and NBC indicate that perhaps Paterno played a more active role in the situation at Penn State than he had indicated.

Dan McGinn, a spokesperson for the Paterno family, defended the late coach to CNN saying he did the right thing.

All captions via AP
Loading Slideshow...
  • Jerry Sandusky

    Role: Former assistant football coach and founder of The Second Mile charity for children, accused of molesting boys over a 15-year period. Background: Arrested in November after a long investigation by a statewide grand jury. He had been a very successful defensive coach for the Nittany Lions for 30 years, and prosecutors say he used his fame in the community to attract victims. Charges: Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, indecent assault of a young child, unlawful contact with minors, corruption of minors, endangering the welfare of children. Status: Awaits trial, with jury selection scheduled for Tuesday.

  • Dottie Sandusky

    Role: Married to Jerry Sandusky. Background: Dottie Sandusky has stood by her husband, posting his bail, accompanying him to court proceedings and issuing a statement in December that proclaimed his innocence and said accusers were making up stories. She is not charged.

  • Tim Curley

    Role: Penn State athletic director, on leave while he fights criminal charges for actions related to the Sandusky scandal. Background: Curley fielded a complaint about Sandusky in a team shower with a boy in early 2001, and told a grand jury he instructed Sandusky not to be inside Penn State athletic facilities with any young people. Charges: Failure to properly report suspected child abuse and perjury for lying to the grand jury. He's not on trial with Sandusky, denies the allegations and is seeking to have the charges dismissed.

  • Gary Schultz

    Role: Penn State vice president for business and finance, now retired. Background: Schultz told the grand jury that head coach Joe Paterno and assistant Mike McQueary reported the 2001 shower incident "in a very general way" but did not provide details. Charges: Failure to properly report suspected child abuse and perjury for lying to the grand jury. He's not on trial with Sandusky, denies the allegations and is seeking to have the charges dismissed.

  • Mike McQueary

    Role: Assistant Penn State football coach. Was a graduate assistant in 2001, when he says he witnessed Jerry Sandusky and a boy naked together in a team shower. McQueary took his complaint to Paterno, who alerted university administrators. Background: McQueary testified at a court hearing in December that he "believed Jerry was sexually molesting" the boy and "having some type of intercourse with him."

  • Joe Amendola

    Role: Defense attorney for Jerry Sandusky. Background: Amendola has been second-guessed for allowing Sandusky to go on network television and speak at length with a reporter for The New York Times after his arrest. Has won several legal battles for Sandusky, including getting him released on bail and fighting the prosecution's effort to have the case heard by a jury from outside the State College area. His office is in State College.

  • Karl Rominger

    Role: Another defense attorney for Jerry Sandusky. Background: Rominger suggested in media interviews that Sandusky might have been teaching "basic hygiene skills" to some of the youths, such as how to put soap on their bodies. His office is in Carlisle.

  • Joseph McGettigan III

    Role: Lead prosecutor. Background: McGettigan, currently senior deputy attorney general, is a veteran prosecutor with stints in the Philadelphia and Delaware County district attorneys' offices and the U.S. attorney's office. McGettigan prosecuted John du Pont, the chemical fortune heir who killed an Olympic gold medal-winning wrestler at his palatial estate in 1996. He's known as an aggressive, feisty lawyer.

  • John Cleland

    Role: Judge presiding over Sandusky's trial. Background: Cleland is a semi-retired senior judge from McKean County in western Pennsylvania. Known as courteous and fair-minded, Cleland previously chaired a state panel that investigated a nationally reported scandal in Luzerne County involving the trading of juvenile-detention suspects for cash.

  • Joe Paterno

    Role: The longtime football coach was told by McQueary in 2001 that he saw Sandusky and Victim No. 2 in a shower on the Penn State campus and, in turn, told Curley and Schultz. Background: The head coach at Penn State from 1966 through 2011, and major college football's winningest, he offered to resign at the end of the 2011 season amid the uproar after Sandusky's arrest Nov. 6. The Penn State Board of Trustees, however, ousted him for what was called his "failure of leadership" surrounding allegations about Sandusky. He died of lung cancer Jan. 22.

  • Sue Paterno

    Role: Married to Paterno for almost 50 years, she raised five children with him and passionately defended her husband during the scandal and after he died. It's unclear whether she might testify.

  • Tom Corbett

    Role: Now the governor of Pennsylvania, he was attorney general when the investigation into Sandusky was launched by state prosecutors. Background: Corbett is an ex-officio member of the Penn State Board of Trustees, although he did not actively participate until after Sandusky was charged in December.

  • Linda Kelly

    Role: Pennsylvania attorney general, whose office is prosecuting Sandusky. Background: A career prosecutor in the Pittsburgh area, Kelly inherited the Sandusky probe from Corbett when she was confirmed as his temporary successor as attorney general. She leaves office in January.

  • Frank Noonan

    Role: Pennsylvania State Police commissioner. Background: Noonan garnered national attention two days after Sandusky's arrest when he criticized Paterno, a Penn State and sports icon, for failing his "moral responsibility" to do more when McQueary told him of the 2001 shower incident.

  • Jack Raykovitz

    Role: Former CEO of The Second Mile, the charity Jerry Sandusky founded. Background: Raykovitz led the charity for almost 30 years and was a longtime friend of Sandusky's. Raykovitz testified before the grand jury that recommended indicting Sandusky on child abuse charges. He resigned from The Second Mile soon after the scandal broke, and board members later complained that Raykovitz hadn't told them enough about earlier allegations against Sandusky.