STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP)—Penn State President Graham Spanier, a familysociologist and therapist who led the mammoth university system for 16 years,saw his tenure as one of the nation’s longest-serving college presidents endWednesday because of a campus child sex abuse scandal.Spanier, among the highest-paid college presidents in the country, had comeunder fire over the past several days for his handling of allegations that aPenn State assistant football coach, Jerry Sandusky, had sexually abused atleast eight boys over more than a decade. He was fired Wednesday night forfailing to tell authorities about an allegation of child molestation in a campuslocker room shower. The sex abuse scandal also claimed long-serving head coach Joe Paterno, whohad announced Wednesday that this would be his last season in Happy Valley butwasn’t given the chance to continue coaching, and two other top administrators,who stepped down earlier this week after being charged with perjury in the case.The ousters of Spanier and Paterno were announced Wednesday night byuniversity trustees.“It is in the best interests of the university that a change in leadership(must be made) to deal with the difficult issues that we are facing,” John P.Surma, vice chairman of the university’s board of trustees, said at a pressconference.The trustees said school Provost and Executive Vice President RodneyErickson will be the interim president while the football team’s defensivecoordinator, Tom Bradley, will serve as interim coach.Sandusky, considered Paterno’s likely successor before he retired in 1999,was charged last week with molesting eight boys over a 15-year period. He hasdenied the charges.A grand jury report said at least two of the assaults were witnessed oncampus—and one of those was reported to Spanier. But the university presidentdid not tell authorities about the reported attack on a young boy, which afootball team graduate assistant claimed to have seen in 2002. The graduatestudent’s accusation was passed up the chain of command to Spanier, but he saidthe seriousness of the encounter was not conveyed to him.The grand jury report said Spanier described the episode as “Jerry Sanduskyin the football building locker area in the shower … with a younger child andthey were horsing around in the shower.”Spanier said in a statement Wednesday night that he was “stunned andoutraged to learn that any predatory act might have occurred in a universityfacility” and would have reported a crime if he’d suspected one had beencommitted.“I am heartbroken to think that any child may have been hurt and have deepconvictions about the need to protect children and youth,” he said. “Myheartfelt sympathies go out to all those who may have been victimized.”The investigation is continuing. State Attorney General Linda Kelly saidMonday that Paterno is not a target of the inquiry into how the school handledthe matter, but she refused to say the same for Spanier.State police Commissioner Frank Noonan earlier this week criticized schoolofficials’ handling of the allegations, saying “a football coach or auniversity president or the guy sweeping the building” had a moralresponsibility to call police if they suspected a child was being sexuallyabused. He also said Penn State had “a culture that did nothing to stop it orprevent it from happening to others.”Calls for Spanier’s ouster by newspapers, online groups and petitionsmushroomed in recent days, many supported by upset and disillusioned alumni.The 63-year-old Spanier had led Penn State since 1995, and his contract wasto run through 2015. The university system, headquartered in State College,includes 96,000 students on 24 campuses and has an annual budget of about $4.3billion.Spanier earned more than $800,500 in annual base pay, deferred compensationand retirement contributions, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. Hetold The Associated Press earlier this year that he considered his salary, whichwas set by trustees, to be “very generous” and that it “feels peculiar forsomeone who grew up in a poor family.”Spanier has donated more than $1 million to the university. He also hasoverseen $3 billion in philanthropic contributions to Penn State during histenure, according to his biography.Spanier is well known in academics and athletics, both inside and outsidePennsylvania. He heads the Bowl Championship Series presidential oversightcommittee, hosts a sports talk show on the Big Ten’s television network andpreviously led the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.Penn State is a state-related institution that receives some public fundingbut is not under direct state control.Spanier is trained as a family sociologist, demographer and marriage andfamily therapist. He first served in Happy Valley from 1973 to 1982 as a memberof the faculty and in three administrative positions in the College of Healthand Human Development.He later went on to serve as chancellor of the University ofNebraska-Lincoln, provost and vice president for academic affairs at OregonState University and vice provost for undergraduate studies at the StateUniversity of New York at Stony Brook.He received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Iowa State University,followed by a doctorate in sociology from Northwestern University.He said Wednesday it had been his “great privilege and honor” to servePenn State for more than 25 years, including the past 16 as president.“I will continue to serve the university in every way possible andcelebrate the greatness of Penn State,” he said.Spanier and his wife, an English professor at the university, have twochildren, both Penn State graduates.Penn State student body President T.J. Bard, who said he has worked closelywith Spanier over the past two years, called the president “a phenomenal leaderfor this university.”“That’s not something that should be overlooked very quickly,” he said.Associated Press writers Kathy Matheson and Patrick Walters in Philadelphiacontributed to this report.