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Joe Paterno, the Penn State football coach who preached success with honor for half a century but whose legend was shattered by a child sex abuse scandal, said Wednesday he will retire at the end of this season.

Paterno said he was ”absolutely devastated” by the case, in which his onetime heir apparent, Jerry Sandusky, has been charged with molesting eight boys in 15 years, including at the Penn State football complex.

He said he hoped the team could finish its season with ”dignity and determination.”

The school’s board of trustees could still force Paterno to leave immediately. It also could take action against the university president, Graham Spanier.

Paterno said the trustees, who had been considering his fate, should ”not spend a single minute discussing my status” and have more important matters to address.

The 84-year-old Paterno has been engulfed by outrage that he did not take more action after a graduate assistant, Mike McQueary, came to him in 2002 and reported seeing Sandusky in the Penn State showers with a 10-year-old boy. Paterno notified the athletic director, Tim Curley, and a vice president, Gary Schultz.

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