Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

09 Nov 2011

Joe Paterno Fired

UPDATE: On Wednesday night, the Penn State Board of Trustees announced they have fired Paterno as well as University President Graham Spanier.

We weren't sure about posting an XP about this story -- we're worried the conversation here could get out of hand quickly -- but this is the biggest story in football right now and we figure our readers do want somewhere to discuss it. For those of you hiding under a rock recently, former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky has been charged with sexual molestation of a number of young boys, and two top Penn State officials have been charged with failing to alert police when they investigated the allegations. So far, there are no charges against Joe Paterno, but this is obviously a big deal, and stories of this ilk tend to snowball. Please be respectful of each other and the story in the comments.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 09 Nov 2011

206 comments, Last at 11 Nov 2011, 5:08pm by tunesmith


by dmstorm22 :: Mon, 11/07/2011 - 1:56pm

If this is the reason that Joe Paterno retires, it will be a sad end to a great career. It is hard to say he deserved to go out better, though, if he really did withhold any information from his superiors (the AD), or if he was totally inactive in getting this allegation to the authorities.

by BaronFoobarstein :: Mon, 11/07/2011 - 3:31pm

It's also tremendously sad for the assaulted kids.

by dmstorm22 :: Mon, 11/07/2011 - 5:20pm

That goes without saying. They are obviously the real victims of everything that happened.

by BaronFoobarstein :: Mon, 11/07/2011 - 5:28pm

I know, and I meant no accusations towards you or anything. I agree with what you said. I just felt like saying... something, you know?

by MosesZD (not verified) :: Mon, 11/07/2011 - 6:30pm

Sorry dude. If someone tells me one of my employees is anal raping a 10-year-old boy in the showers, I'm gonna call the police and not HUSH IT UP. And while Paterno is trying to salvage his reputation by lying, as well as trying to keep out of jail, the AD is in trouble about lying about the facts that were relayed to him by Paterno.

by dmstorm22 :: Mon, 11/07/2011 - 7:17pm

If it ends up being that cut and dry, then yeah, Paterno should be roasted for not telling the police.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 11:23am

One of your employees is anally raping a 10-year-old boy in the showers.

How's that call to the police coming?

by Mash Wilson (not verified) :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 11:32am

To hell with the call to the police for the time being--if I happen upon someone raping a child, I am immediately going to intervene and stop it or die trying. To walk away from it, even if you DO go straight to the police, is unconscionable. Mike McQueary's (lack of) actions are just awful.

by QQ (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 10:42am

It is debatable if the Best action for McCrary is to barge in immediately or to call 911 so that they can catch him in the act. The upside of the 2nd option is that this way not only are there multiple witnesses but many of those witnesses are police officers which means his ability to carry on beyond that day is almost zero.

by akn :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 12:10pm

No! It's not debatable--the child is being actively raped. You intervene immediately. You yell out, you pull him off, you stop it in any way possible, as soon as possible. He's an old man and you're a 28 year old. He's not carrying a gun.

Once the child is safe, you call the police. I don't care if you detain Sandusky, but you stay with the child until the proper authority relieves you. You spare that child every second of abuse you can. Saving the child is more immediately important than "the credibility of witnesses."

I can't believe people don't know this.

by Bernie (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 1:25pm

Absolutely. Your immediate action should be to stop that assault and save that child. Fuck whatever else may happen in the future....you are morally obligated to save someone who is being abused. I am sure there would be a wealth of forensic evidence to back up your accusations of rape once the police arrive.
To do anything less is criminally negligent. There are few black and white issues in this world, but this is one of them.

by OutragedMom (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 1:54pm

Also, would the media stop referring to McQueary as the "young gradudate assistant". Before McQueary was identifed, I thought they were talking about an 22 or 23 year old "kid", not a 28 year old man. McQueary is guilty as well in my book.

by Kyle D. (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 2:51pm

Not defending McQueary, but I do think I understand him. His 28 wasn't what most of us think of when we picture a 28-year-old man. He was a grad assistant chasing his dream of being a college coach. Most of his time was spent with 18-22 year olds who probably acted younger than that much of the time. His job was totally centered on a game that most of society views as a neat pastime but ultimately trivial. The atmosphere in all college programs is that of a big family, and that was probably even more so at Penn State where grandfatherly JoePa had been in charge since before many of his players' parents had even been born. Confronted with the unthinkable, McQueary talked to the two fathers in his life--his real dad and Paterno. My suspicion is JoePa told him that it would be handled within the family and McQueary went back to work. And he made it all the way to being a full-time assistant coach as the family took care of itself.

by bigtencrazy (not verified) :: Mon, 11/07/2011 - 1:56pm


Thanks for posting.

by CoachDave :: Mon, 11/07/2011 - 2:24pm

I know the current media-driven narrative is about what JoPa knew and/or what he did or didn't do about it...and what should happen to him, etc.

I don't have anything to add to that conversation...but I'd just like to remark that I hope these boys (and anyone who is a victim of sexual abuse) get the help they need to work through this horrible situation...and it would be excellent for Penn State to try to facilitate some of this healing.

I've had some recent personal experience with a co-worker who was molested by a family member for years and he never got or sought out any professional help. And when he became a Father for the first time in his early 30s it brought back a lot of pain that he's only now working through with professional assistance. Thankfully it's helping him a lot, but this type of abuse is very deep seeded and can be quite destructive, I hope these children get the help they need now so they don't have to go through the years of pain my close friend has had to be burdened with for years.

by GlennW :: Mon, 11/07/2011 - 2:22pm

Seriously, while this is (or at least should be) very secondary to the attention to the victims and to Sandusky's criminal prosecution, this has to spell the end for Joe Paterno (at the end of the season if not sooner). Likewise as a lifelong Penn State football fan-- and a human being-- this greatly saddens me. It sounds as if Paterno met his legal responsibility to report the matter (to the extent that he knew about it) to his superiors, but still, I think he could have done more, such as prohibiting Sandusky from having any further contact or association whatsoever with the university. Or at minimum at least investigating the matter with all of the gravity that it deserves, in order to make such a decision.

Paterno's son (and attorney) Scott Paterno made a statement on his father's behalf that basically amounted to: my father was very old at the time and is now even older; he can't even fathom or comprehend such a situation. Well, I'm sorry, but if that's the case this should also disqualify you from the responsibility of fulfilling the expected duties of a college head football coach.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Mon, 11/07/2011 - 3:20pm

Without the power of retrospect, how much responsibility to take affirmative action does a coach have? He had no legal authority over Sandusky, who was retired at the time. He volunteered a second-hand story up the ladder to the people in charge of discipline and investigations, and did it against the good name of a trusted co-worker of 20 years.

In hindsight, should the allegations be proven true, I think you can make the argument that Paterno should have acted differently, but given the case circa 2002, I don't see what more he should have been expected to do. He and the GA seem to have been the only people in the story who actually acted responsibly.

by GlennW :: Mon, 11/07/2011 - 3:55pm

If you have questions or doubts and the courage of your convictions, you follow up. Hey boss, whatever became of this matter? Hey graduate assistant (who didn't just move on by the way; he's now a fulltime assistant on Paterno's staff), tell me again exactly what you saw, what you reported to the authorities and what they are doing about it. Keeping in mind of course that this isn't your garden variety offense within the program, but a devastatingly serious accusation with potentially grave future consequences for more children.

As the facts are revealed in testimony I could be proven wrong, but this really looks like a case of Paterno sticking his head in the sand. That doesn't necessarily make him culpable, just neglectful. But even neglect in such a serious matter is going to prove fatal to Paterno's job if not his reputation. It's long past time for Joe to go anyway, but I just can't see him standing on the sidelines again after this.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Mon, 11/07/2011 - 4:03pm

He's 84 years old and on his, what, second knee surgery in three years. I can't see him standing on the sidelines much longer under any circumstances.

But you're also severely projecting what Paterno did or did not do, and was or was not told. Remember, the two Penn State reps are resigning under perjury charges. Why do we assume they would have told the truth to Paterno any more than they told the truth to the authorities?

I'm yet to see any evidence that Paterno has ever been irresponsible in his actions at Penn State. So far, even in this scandal, the only criticism isn't that he was irresponsible, but that he did not go above and beyond in affirmatively libeling an ex-employee. He blew the whistle. I don't think he could be reasonably expected to also be judge, jury, and executioner.

by GlennW :: Mon, 11/07/2011 - 4:40pm

I'm not talking about anything so extreme as making libelous public statements. I'm talking about following up with your superiors, and if necessary the authorities if nothing is happening to your satisfaction. A graduate assistant has come to you in tears as a witness to sexual abuse of a minor, and (even if you're inclined to trust your old friend) nothing ever comes of it while the old friend continues to enjoy full access to the athletic facilities (until *last week*!)? That's not going to fly as an excuse if/when the crap finally hits the fan.

The statement of the PA State Police Commissioner, expressing this opinion far better than I could hope to:

State police Commissioner Frank Noonan said, as far as state police can tell, Paterno fulfilled his legal requirement to report.

"But somebody has to question about what I would consider the moral requirements for a human being that knows of sexual things that are taking place with a child," Noonan said. "I think you have the moral responsibility, anyone. 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."

by Marko :: Mon, 11/07/2011 - 5:02pm

Completely agree.

I can't see how Paterno lasts past this season. Jim Tressel lost his job after a scandal that compared to this is an utterly trivial matter. Based on what has been reported, Paterno's failure to do more to report and stop this activity is truly shocking.

by DaveZ (not verified) :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 12:36pm

"scandal that compared to this"? You comparing memorabilia for tattoos and some undeservered wages to raping young boys? Really?

by RickD :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 12:47pm

You missed the rest of the sentence, didn't you?

"...is an utterly trivial matter."

Just a shout out to the world: "compare" doesn't mean "claim are nearly equal." I know that's how sportscasters use the word, but it's really not what the dictionary definition is.

by Mr Shush :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 7:26am

I actually assumed DaveZ was taking a sarcastic pop at people who think that to compare two things is to equate them, but maybe I have a rose-tinted view of the world/FO posters.

by Andrew Potter :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 12:57pm

No, he isn't. Read again.

"...scandal that, compared to this, is an utterly trivial matter."

by Andrew Potter :: Mon, 11/07/2011 - 6:42pm

Nowadays, I would expect that most organisations of this nature will have a formal Child Protection Policy in place with a fairly clearly defined procedure for what to do if abuse is so much as suspected. Policies like this are usually written with the aid of the relevant legal and professional bodies, then staff are trained in exactly what their roles and responsibilities are within that policy. If the college has a policy, and Paterno followed that policy, then I think it's wrong to criticise him for expecting that others would fulfil their roles too.

I don't know anything about this story beyond what's in this XP, but in my experience most people - even otherwise very aware and intelligent people - simply have no idea what to do in that sort of situation. (I've dealt professionally with a similar situation in the past few months. I had to explicitly say to two different people "call the police" because they just froze under the shock of it all.) That's why such policies exist in the first place. I'd be very reluctant to criticise Paterno without more knowledge of his expected part in alerting the authorities, and while I absolutely understand where the commissioner is coming from I feel that his comments don't really take that into account.

Now of course, if Penn State doesn't have a CPP then that's a whole other issue.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 11:30am

Making a heinous accusation to the authorities from less than a first-hand account is not something to be done lightly. The mere accusation is essentially career-ending for the accused. It's the Scarlet Letter in today's society. So after making the report and sending the reporter to the authorities who have jurisdiction, Paterno had the further, apparently moral, requirement, after an apparent lack of prosecution, to further report the matter outside the university legal system (which itself contains a full police department)?

The Gang of 88 thought they had a moral responsibility in the Duke lacrosse case. Shame the accusations were unfounded. Where do the players go to get their good names back? How is taking justice unto yourself not itself also morally reckless?

What also gets lost here is that the police had their chance in 1998, and they did nothing about it after a full investigation either.

by GlennW :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 12:05pm

> What also gets lost here is that the police had their chance in 1998, and they did nothing about it after a full investigation either.

Campus police! The same campus police overseen by Schultz. Plus, according to the grand jury the 1998 allegations weren't nearly as serious (i.e. "only" taking showers together) as the ones that came later. Still, the prior allegations should have served as a huge red flag to all involved later on.

> So after making the report and sending the reporter to the authorities who have jurisdiction, Paterno had the further, apparently moral, requirement, after an apparent lack of prosecution, to further report the matter outside the university legal system

Yes. Just as the state police commissioner stated. As another poster wrote, there really should be a university policy in place that requires *all* employees to come forward on the record when an allegation of child abuse is made, just so that there are no remaining doubts around what to do in such a situation (ludicrously Schultz's attorneys have claimed that he had no such legal obligation-- and oh yeah, the statute of limitations has expired anyway). I don't think such a policy should need to be a substitute for common sense and decency though.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 2:34pm

The 1998 investigation involved the Centre County DA, so it obviously reached beyond campus borders.

"Just as the state police commissioner stated." This would be the commissioner of the police who failed in their role four years before the current events? What's their moral obligation? And this still doesn't address my question of what happens in the event that Sandusky is actually innocent. Does Paterno have a moral obligation to tar an innocent man? Or is omniscience required as well?

by GlennW :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 3:24pm

The matter of a man's reputation is a fair point of consideration but it must be weighed against the potential future danger to more children, if for no other reason. This is why as opposed to many other offenses there are specific laws in place regarding mandatory reporting of any evidence or allegation of child abuse-- hence the indictments of Curley and Schultz-- because such abused children are typically unable to speak for themselves.

So what about Paterno's situation? A graduate assistant whom you have no reason to distrust comes to you distraught about a sex act of some nature between Sandusky and a child. I'm sorry, I think that story has to go to the police, and if your superiors are unwilling to do so then as a person in a high position of responsibility at the university you take care of it yourself. Even if you believe your old friend *might be* innocent (only *might be*-- I don't know how you can know beyond a doubt that he's an "innocent man") you've got to come forward, even if only holding out the hope that (legally mandated) confidentiality will be preserved. I'm not so naive to believe that the police won't leak such information or that it might otherwise be revealed during an investigation, but I don't have a better solution than that, when the choice is between your loyalty to an old friend and the possible future abuse of more children.

by sundown (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 12:00pm

The Duke deal is quite different from this case. There were no independent third party witnesses in the Duke case. Here, a grad assistant who worked directly for Paterno--and was repeatedly promoted afterwards--witnessed the anal rape of 10 year old. Pretty hard to mistake that for something other than what it is. And while taking it to the authorities isn't something to be done lightly, it is the law. If JoePa and PSU had totally cut ties with Sandusky after this, then maybe you could have a bit of sympathy for them--though leaving him free to continue abusing kids would still have been heinous--but they didn't even go that far. They gave him office space on campus and he was seen using the weight room just a few days ago. He was there the whole time, buddy-buddy with everbody, enjoying all kinds of perks.

And looking back knowing what we know now, there are real questions about what JoePa and company may have known prior to this incident. The heir apparent to be head coach suddenly retires and leaves football completely---that doesn't happen very often. He could have went and been a head coach elsewhere if he was tired of waiting for JoePa to retire, but instead he quits his longtime assistant job but stays right there at PSU running this charity he'd been successfully running while he was coaching. Did JoePa and Penn State force him out to try to distance themselves a bit? And let's not forget that this was years ago, so the argument that an 84-year-old guy couldn't have been with it enough to know what was going on won't hold water in this case.

by Noah Arkadia :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 9:50pm

After looking at the known facts in more detail, I think you're absolutely to right to stand by Paterno. It's clear to me that being an icon puts a person in the difficult position of being idealized and held to vastly superior standards. Regardless of what Paterno might or might not have done, there are many people who are to blame for what happened and he is not one of them. If my 80-year old grandpa had done what Paterno did, I'd be proud of him for taking positive action, not critical.

We are number one. All others are number two, or lower.

by RickD :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 12:40pm

Here's my interpretation...

At some point, JoePa figured out what was going on. I don't think he "stuck his head in the sand." Rather, he forced Sandusky to retire at the age of 55, when ordinarily Sandusky would have been in line for a head coaching job either at Penn State or another major university.

To that extent, JoePa addressed the problem. But what he didn't do was call the cops. He put the image of Penn State football and his own image ahead of any duty to call the police. In doing so, he followed a time-honored tradition followed by many school districts and the Catholic Church, among others.

If I were associated with Penn State, I would want to see Paterno resign at the end of the season. I would not be content with having two assistants being hung out to dry as scapegoats.

by GlennW :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 1:36pm

I also have my strong suspicions that Sandusky's "resignation" in 1999 was related to the 1998 campus police investigation (if not more than that), and not just his realization that he would never eventually become head coach for other reasons. Whether Paterno knew about this or not I don't know, but the university certainly did. But beyond anyone contacting outside legal authorities, Sandusky was still allowed to run around the athletic facilities with these young children from his foundation! Mind-boggling, really.

by Packer Pete (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 8:23am

These weren't random individuals to Paterno. His graduate assistant reported to him that his long-time defensive coordinator was having sexual contact with a child in Penn State facilities, both people well known to Paterno. Calling the police to investigate the matter is not libel by any definition. I didn't see any indication that Paterno even approached Sandusky to challenge him. Both McQuery and Paterno failed their moral responsibilities to contact police immediately, electing instead to kick it up the organizational chart and then watching Sandusky to continue to come and go at Penn State the following years.

A sad ending to a great career, but this issue is far to substantial for Penn State to sweep under the carpet.

by Andrew Potter :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 12:46pm

I didn't see any indication that Paterno even approached Sandusky to challenge him.

Nor should he have. Challenging a suspected abuser yourself is one of the big "no-nos" and, assuming the appropriate training was in place, something he would have been told specifically not to do. Assuming the allegations are true, it lets the abuser know somebody's on to them, which has all kinds of repercussions for secrecy and conduct and can make an investigation into suspected abuse much, much harder.

by Anon (not verified) :: Mon, 11/07/2011 - 2:48pm

Sorry if this is out of place, but for the non-American, non-lawyer community, why are these people being indicted? Have these acusations been proved true? I mean, is Sardusky guilty of those things and has been convicted?

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Mon, 11/07/2011 - 3:16pm

Indicted, in American jurisprudence, basically means a grand jury (a pre-jury, if you will) found the evidence to be sufficiently compelling to proceed to a full criminal trial.

Basically, nothing has been proven yet, and no one is going to prison yet. There is enough evidence that it's not openly fantasy. It's a low hurdle, and still early. It's been remarked that in the American legal system, you can indict a ham sandwich.

by Marko :: Mon, 11/07/2011 - 3:28pm

Adding to the above, the two administrators are being charged for covering up the scandal. As stated in the linked article, Curley (the school's athletic director) and Schultz (the school's vice president for finance and business) "are accused of failing to alert police -- as required by state law -- of their investigation of the allegations." They also face other charges such as perjury (for lying to the grand jury, which did not find their testimony to be credible).

by gfagasg (not verified) :: Mon, 11/07/2011 - 2:57pm

"Indicted" just means they are being formally charged; the prosecutors have convinced a jury that there is enough evidence that there should be a trial. The trial will be held later, and that determines guilt or innocence.


by zlionsfan :: Mon, 11/07/2011 - 3:03pm

The two officials have also stepped down from their posts. Curley has requested and been granted administrative leave, and Schultz has gone back into retirement.

by brad008 :: Mon, 11/07/2011 - 3:22pm

Tried to read the entire 23 page indictment, but was unable to get by "Victim 2". Overcome with loathing, anger and incomprehension...directed not at just Sandusky for raping a child but also at Curley, Schultz, Spanier, and Paterno for 1) trying to cover up what they knew and 2)not taking action to prevent further molestations of young kids over the next 7 years.There was even a 1998 shower "incident" with Sandusky and a child that should have set off loud alarm bells four years earlier. Can not express my disgust. Can not imagine how many other children Sandusky molested since starting the Second Mile in 1977. Can not guess at how many child molestations that SHOULD HAVE BEEN PREVENTED by actions by Curley, Schultz, Spanier, and even Paterno. Good-bye JoPa! You used to be a great man. Now you too are just a pathetic, dirty old man.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Mon, 11/07/2011 - 4:09pm

Not to be too much of a killjoy in the lynching party, but the Duke Rape Scandal had a fairly tragic indictment as well. It's just none of it turned out to have actually happened. Let's not take this as gospel just yet -- we've at best only heard one half of it, and none of the evidence has been examined thoroughly.

by Floyd (not verified) :: Mon, 11/07/2011 - 4:27pm

Sure, due process and all that. But to try and equate this to the Duke lacrosse case? Come on. And really, to think that there is a possibility that none of this actually happened (multiple victims, two seperate third-party eyewitness accounts) is delusional.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 11:53am

The initial media hyperbole made the Duke case appear pretty open-and-shut, too.


It's interesting that Duke's own internal reports indicate an assumption that the players were guilty.

by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 2:47pm

The Duke analogy would be stronger if there had been multiple women, who did not know each other, alleging that they had been assaulted in seperate incidents. It is not impossible for multiple alleged victims to fabricate accounts, especially with an unethical prosecutor involved, as has been seen in prominent child abuse witch-hunts in Massachussetts, Florida, and California, among other places. The alleged victims were much younger in those instances, however, and thus their testimony was much easier to manipulate, especially with the junk science of recovered memories. Nor were there adult eyewitness accounts of assaults taking place. The chance of these charges being completely fabricated is extremely small. Havind said that, of course, all involved deserve a fair trial, with a vigorous defense. None of the accused seem to be of a background which would preclude a vigorous defense.

by sundown (not verified) :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 6:28pm

The Duke scandal lacked any independent third party witnesses. In this case, the PSU grad assistant walked in on Sandusky and a 10 year old boy having sex. Pretty damning. But strictly speaking, whether that event actually occurred isn't the issue. The issue is that the Penn State officials didn't turn it over to authorities as law required. Nobody seems to be contesting the point that the story was passed up the chain. Penn State's statements have just argued over the technicalities of whether the law actually required them to report it.

by GlennW :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 6:39pm

Yes. In particular Schultz's attorney's claim that the responsibility for reporting the matter rested not with Schultz and Penn State but with Second Mile (with Sandusky effectively running Second Mile) is a bad, sick joke.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 10:05am

The issue is that the Penn State officials didn't turn it over to authorities as law required.

If that's the issue, then why is the target Paterno -- the only person in the chain who was not a direct witness or did not have authority?

by GlennW :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 11:20am

McQueary was the only direct witness (for the 2002 incident) and he came to Paterno first. And certainly Paterno is not the only "target" here-- he's not one of the parties being indicted. But what's your definition of "authority"? Why does authority apply to the Athletic Director but not the Head Coach? Who exactly is the appropriate authority to finally step up and act on such a matter, and does it have to be one person to the exclusion of everyone else? Where does the buck stop? I think you're failing to see this situation for what it is-- a systematic failure at best and an intentional cover-up at worst, in which ALL in the chain of command are complicit when ultimately nothing is done about such a serious matter.

Joe Paterno can't be the most influential and respected man at the university when it's convenient but a helpless employee when it's gravely inconvenient. That rationale might keep him out of jail, but it greatly damages his reputation and rightly so. "Joe Didn't Know" just isn't going to fly in the real world.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 12:35am

Why does authority apply to the Athletic Director but not the Head Coach?

Because the AD controls facility access, not the coach. In 2002, Sandusky is a retired coach and an emeritus faculty member. In 2002, JoePa has no authority, disciplinary or otherwise, over Sandusky.

by sundown (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 12:05pm

At the very least Paterno would have had the authority to keep Sandusky from using PSU facilities for his charity that was a front for his hobby of raping children. But, Sandusky continued to have office space, apparently at no cost, on campus long after this. He was seen using the Penn State weight room just a few days ago.

by GlennW :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 12:19pm

This is just more pointing to the University Guidebook and proclaiming, "see, I met my obligations!" (if your summation of Paterno's technical authority is even accurate). Of course Joe Paterno is a person of authority at Penn State, far beyond the trivial matter of facility access. Kudos to the Board of Trustees for grasping the obvious.

by sundown (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 12:39pm

Aaron Brooks has been posting here for a long time, but I've never seen anything as bizarre as the arguments he's been making on this case. Talk about Paterno having his head in the sand...Aaron is right in the sand with him.

by Kal :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 6:26pm

Paterno is a target because, simply, he is the major power at Penn State. The AD was his mouthpiece and was chosen by him over 20 years ago. He is the most powerful man on Penn State campus and one of the most powerful men in Pennsylvania. He knew about the reports of abuse in 1998 (which is likely why Sandusky resigned in 1999) and then found out about this, and continued to do nothing.

If Paterno had wanted something done, it would have happened.

by panthersnbraves :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 1:29pm

The only two things I have to add to this is 1) I wonder why Paterno can be fired, but the assistant not. He, like Paterno, told his superiors, but did not call the police, nor insisted on followups. 2) How much of this is through the lens of a decade's worth of knowledge? I work with scouting through my local church, and have been trained on the processes by BOTH organizations. I know that anyone who works with kids nowadays gets some sort of training on how to identify and how to avoid being in a situation where accusations can even be made. How much of that existed 13 years ago? I do not recall anything like there is now.

by Mash Wilson (not verified) :: Mon, 11/07/2011 - 4:46pm

If what I read in the indictment is true, I am deeply disturbed that the people that knew SOMETHING horrible was going on (most notably McQueary and Paterno) didn't go out of their way to make certain this was thoroughly investigated. I can't even imagine hearing about (much less *seeing*) what is described here, telling someone above me about it and forgetting about it. That would be reprehensible.

by Theo :: Mon, 11/07/2011 - 5:14pm

This is not stealing ice cream from the vending machine, this is molesting kids who put their trust in you.
No one ever should get away with that.

by sundown (not verified) :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 6:37pm

I agree there is plenty of blame to go around, but I place a WHOLE lot more blame on Paterno than McQueary. He was a grad assistant just trying to break into coaching and he walks in on this well respected senior member of the program engaged in something truly unspeakable. He dutifully reports it to Paterno, who has god-like hold over the program and the university in general. McQueary's ability to follow-up and get answers from the people above him would have been extremely limited. Paterno, on the other hand, was in a position to find out exactly what was going on, yet chose not to ask any questions about this stunning report concerning his longtime friend and assistant. And, in fact, Paterno and PSU allowed Sandusky to keep offices at the college and he was still using their facilities as of last week.

by Subrata Sircar :: Mon, 11/07/2011 - 5:35pm

I'm not a Penn State fan, but as a Michigan fan I've seen/heard a lot about Joe Paterno.

His public statement (and the rumors of his testimony, as well as his assistant's) both boil down to this line (from http://espn.go.com/blog/bigten/post/_/id/37765/joe-paterno-statement-on-...):
"It was obvious that the witness was distraught over what he saw, but he at no time related to me the very specific actions contained in the Grand Jury report."

Put another way, if the assistant came to him and said "Something bad might have just happened with Coach Sandusky and a kid", that's very different from "Coach Sandusky was in the showers with a screaming 10-year-old". (For one thing in that context "kid==player" and not "minor".)

Based on what I know about Joe Paterno (full disclosure: actually shook his hand once, but can't say I know him at all) I would give him the benefit of the doubt that what he was told was closer to the first than the second. Certainly the grand jury and police force, who know much more than we do, are giving him the benefit of the doubt.

Now, if the assistant was to testify that he said something closer to the second than the first, that would be different. Until he does, we're left with judging what might have happened with what we know of the parties involved. The Paterno I know by reputation, whose former players would walk through Hell for him, having heard something close to the latter, would have walked down to the showers and booted Sandusky into the parking lot without bothering to clear a path.

by Mash Wilson (not verified) :: Mon, 11/07/2011 - 5:52pm

It is entirely possible, if the allegations of perjury are true, that Paterno *did* follow up and ask what was going on and the AD lied to him too, told him it had been investigated and no wrongdoing was found. I do not think anyone would be surprised to discover the Athletic Department is or was keeping Paterno in the dark about whatever they can.

We don't know enough to be sure of what happened, but it seems pretty near certain something horrible happened.

by Mash Wilson (not verified) :: Mon, 11/07/2011 - 5:55pm

Also it seems very, very odd (and troubling) to me that if McQueary was (per the testimony you cited) "distraught over what he saw", that he did not go straight to the police with it. Then again, football teams have a very strong "we take care of ourselves, everything stays within the team" ethic and in Penn State World, going to Joe Paterno is akin to going to God. So I don't know what McQueary was thinking.

by sundown (not verified) :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 6:43pm

I don't want to give McQueary a total pass, but I think your god comment is exactly what happened. Anything remotely concerning PSU football happens and you report it to JoePa. End of story. McQueary was nothing but a grad assistant at the time. He must have known that Sandusky and Paterno were tight--it must have taken a lot of courage to tell Paterno about it at all, but he manned up and did it. The disappointing thing is that everybody in a leadership position above McQueary either stuck their head in the sand or actively sought to cover it up.

by Bernie (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 2:00pm

Bullshit. He didn't man up to shit. If you catch someone in the act of sexually abusing a child, you stop it then and there, and protect the child. THAT is manning up. If you see that and the first thoughts through your head is that this may screw up your future in athletics, then you have a seriously broken world perspective. He had a moral duty to save that child, and he did nothing. His actions absolutely disgust me. Let's not pretend that anything he did constituted any kind of noble act. I hope he's ashamed of himself.

by GlennW :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 11:03am

It's simply not credible that Paterno might have been confused as to whether the victim in this incident was a young boy or perhaps one of his players. Even Paterno has admitted this in his grand jury testimony. When I posted yesterday I was unaware of the grand jury testimony that Paterno went to his superiors with the information that Sandusky was "in the Lasch Building showers fondling or doing something of a sexual nature to a young boy". Now, even if Paterno wasn't aware of Sandusky's "very specific actions" (which I don't buy for a second), the graduate assistant's report (as recounted by Paterno himself) is more than enough to demand further investigation by the legal authorities.

It's all over for Joe Paterno. I'll be surprised and disgusted if he makes it through the week in his position as head coach of Penn State football.

by Mash Wilson (not verified) :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 11:29am

He'll finish the season and then retire. Or die. (Cringing, I know, but I am seriously not ruling this out--it would not surprise me if he goes out akin to how Charles Schulz did.) I can't imagine Paterno is going to resign/retire midseason, and I can't imagine anyone is going to fire him. Especially since no one has actually been convicted of anything yet.

Rumor on the street here in PA is that the governor is presently meeting with the Board at Penn State, negotiating the terms of Graham Spanier's resignation.

by Trow28 (not verified) :: Mon, 11/07/2011 - 8:17pm

I grew up in north central PA, went to Penn State, and have been a die hard fan since my earliest memories. I've been mortified and half in shock since I heard the story, and worse the details.

Please give Joe Pa the benefit of the doubt here. If it is reveiled that he even knew some of what was going on, then I agree, he must go and leave his dignity/reputation/trust behind. I highly doubt that is the case though. I agree with subrata (pause for big ten kumbaja moment). Something went down, but Coach never knew the full details of what happened. Put yourself in his shoes. Something goes down with your friend of 32 years, who you've been to war with about 12 times a year. I think you chalk it up as a mis-understanding too, report it so that it gets cleared up. Let due process take it's course and give your friend the opportunity to clear his good name.

by Tri Shanku (not verified) :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 9:54am

What I found surprising -- even assuming that Paterno did not get all the details, although he knew it was "of a sexual nature" -- was that Paterno did not intervene. If I know that an old friend is in shower with a child, I would drag the friend out of the shower and will at least try to make sure he does not do it again -- for his sake, and of course for the sake of the children.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 10:08am

Paterno wasn't informed until the day after. I doubt even Penn State has enough hot water for a shower that long.

by Kal :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 6:30pm


Not for a second.

He had repeated reports about this man molesting children. The second time he had an eyewitness report that Sandusky was in the shower with a child doing something sexual. And he was apparently totally fine that for the next 9 years, that guy could totally walk around Penn State, in the football buildings, and didn't have a problem with him.

In 2007 when he brought a kid to a PSU practice, JoePa didn't find that a bit curious? McQueary didn't?

Sorry, but while JoePa has done a great many good things for football they don't mean anything when he could have stopped countless rapes of children and failed to do so because his program was more important.

by rots (not verified) :: Mon, 11/07/2011 - 8:28pm

A: Who the hell doesnt call the cops!? I am sorry..I see a child getting raped i am calling the cops.
B: JoePa - what a ridiculous cop out to say that he fulfilled his obligations. There are codes that are greater than legal codes.
C: All the Penn St officials/coaches were utterly negligent in making literally zero attempt to find and identify that poor child. They only thought of covering their own asses, to hell w/that kid.
D: I am sure it wont but i pray that finally puts a stake in to the endless hagiographies of all football coaches. Its a dirty, slimy business that is manned by dirty slimy ppl. No one can stay clean while wallowing in the filth that major college athletics is comprised of. JoePa needs to be thrown out on his ass and never let back in
E: Penn St needs to do whatever it takes to find and offer up support services to all of these kids and their families.

by alaano (not verified) :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 7:47am

What Paterno has claimed is plausible deniability. It may or may not be true that he GA did not tell him specifics.

From where I sit, it doesn't make much difference. The GA says "coach, I saw something disturbing with Coach Sandusky and a minor." Paterno is then morally bound to elicit the specifics. If he didn't, then his only reasoning is ass-covering. Which is disgusting. And shows that even at the most ethically motivated college programs, things are pretty rotten.

by Andrew Potter :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 11:39am

The GA says "coach, I saw something disturbing with Coach Sandusky and a minor." Paterno is then morally bound to elicit the specifics.

No, he absolutely is not. He's morally bound to inform the authorities. It's -their- job to elicit any specifics, not his.

by panthersnbraves :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 1:37pm

wondering if he didn't hear anything for a while, and then the AD and Pres say "It is being investigated." At that point, (without the benefit of hindsight), has he done enough?

by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 2:27pm

This is about as awful a story that can be imagined, short of mass murder. The only possible defense I could see for Paterno, ethically speaking, is if he followed up with his superiors after reporting the 2002 incident to them, and they lied to him regarding what they had found about Sandusky's behavior. As trivial as an old man's reputation is, compared to the atrocities that these boys were subjected to, I do hope that this turns out to the case.

Nearly every time I think there may be exceptions to my belief, that no person should hold the same job for much more than 20 years, if that job puts one in a position of significant authority/responsibility, my belief is shown to be sound.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 2:39pm

What does tenure have to do with anything?

Only four years on the job didn't keep Dave Bliss from covering up one player murdering another at Baylor.

by Kyle D. (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 2:35pm

One of the most interesting columns on this I've read brought up Dave Bliss. One of his assistants refused to go along with the coverup and turned Bliss in. He did the right thing. But the poor guy has essentially been blacklisted from coaching ever since. No good deed goes unpunished. McQueary reported the incident to JoePa and then just went back to work and he ended up a full assistant. Sad commentary on how the coaching profession views loyalty.

by GlennW :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 3:41pm

> The only possible defense I could see for Paterno, ethically speaking, is if he followed up with his superiors after reporting the 2002 incident to them, and they lied to him regarding what they had found about Sandusky's behavior.

Yep. That's the only possible ethical defense that I can come up with too, however weak. It just doesn't appear that this is what happened though, based on Paterno's own prepared statement ("as Coach Sandusky was retired from our coaching staff at that time, I referred the matter to university administrators") and known grand jury testimony. But I'll reserve judgment in this one area, that perhaps an administrative failure or cover-up somehow escaped the wrath of Paterno's better judgment. And, as much as I hate to say it, perhaps in part due to his age Paterno's judgment and level of attentiveness really weren't what they once were.

by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 3:54pm

We really fool ourselves when we don't think it likely that a guy in his mid 70s will have the quality of his judgement decline from what it was when he was 60. Hell, just having a lower energy level often means that what needs to happen won't happen. Now, "compared to what?", is a perfectly reasonable inquiry, especially when faced with a binary choice, like in an election. However, if the opportunity exists to select a successor from the wider universe, having a guy stay in a very important job, with the job's full responsibilities, after many decades in the job, deep into his seventies, to say nothing of eighties, is probably not a good idea.

by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 3:13pm

I did not write the word "tenure" did I?. I said that people should not stay in jobs, especially jobs which entail a great deal of authority/responsibility, for much more than 20 years. In my experience, people begin to slip after being in a job too long, and what they would would have earlier found unacceptable, in either themselves and/or in those they have responsibility for, they begin to wrongly tolerate.

Dave Bliss has always been a creep, in all likelihood. Your example of him does nothing to counter my inclination.

(edit) If you meant "tenure" in the generic sense, as opposed to the specific sense in regards to educational institutions, then, again, I can only rely on my observation that it is more likely that corners get cut, and liberties get taken, when even the best of leaders stay in a job too long.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 4:43pm

I meant tenure generically, in the sense of "consecutive years in a position".

My example demonstrates that rapid turnover is no curative for performance. Recent scandals have involved coaches from a wide variety of job durations. Basically, it does not correlate with performance.

by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 7:53pm

There is no "curative for performance', if the standard is that any incidence of failure shows a policy is inadequate, and if a roughly 20 year limit on holding a job counts as "rapid turnover" in your world, well, we just are not speaking the same language.

Look, if you wish to maintain that there is no correlation between spending decades in a job, and having one's performance slip, as the decades pass, you just go right ahead.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 10:17am

You asserted the grass is always greener. Please, defend your statement.

by Will Allen :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 2:49pm

No, I did not. You apparently are unaware of what the term "always" means.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 12:38am

Nearly every time I think there may be exceptions to my belief, that no person should hold the same job for much more than 20 years, if that job puts one in a position of significant authority/responsibility, my belief is shown to be sound.

I admire your pedantic equivocation.

The grass is only nearly always greener.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 1:27am

I appreciate the fact that your understanding of language is so rudimentary that you have failed to understand the nature of a qualifying phrase.....

"hold the same job for much more than 20 years"

.....or the meaning of the sentences....

"Now, "compared to what?", is a perfectly reasonable inquiry, especially when faced with a binary choice, like in an election. However, if the opportunity exists to select a successor from the wider universe, having a guy stay in a very important job, with the job's full responsibilities, after many decades in the job, deep into his seventies, to say nothing of eighties, is probably not a good idea."

......and have thus insipidly concluded that what I have written is somehow close to claiming that "the grass is always greener".

Look, it is quite plain that you are either dishonest, or don't know what words mean (must I also educate you on the meaning of "rapidly"?), thus I will invite you to ignore my posts, since they confuse you to such a large degree. I will be happy to ignore yours, since I do not wish to bear any resposibility for your literacy, or lack thereof.

by Kurt :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 12:37pm

With all due respect, your logic is way off on this one.

"If A then B" is NOT equivalent to "If B then A". Will's statement does not in any way imply that all authority figures with less than 20+ years of tenure are squeaky clean. Always/nearly always has nothing to do with the issue.

It's as if Will had said "All birds are blue", and you responded "What does being a bird have to do with it? This fish over here is blue." If you want to argue with him, go find a yellow bird.

by PatsFan :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 2:04pm

And in fact "if A then B" is equivalent to "if not-B then not-A".

by justanothersteve :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 8:31pm

I really wasn't paying much attention to this story before. The more I hear about this story, the worse it sounds. Yesterday I was waiting to see what the true story was. Now, it's as simple as JoePa must go. Today.

by Kyle D. (not verified) :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 10:44pm

You've hit on the central point, at least for me: Nobody wanted to know the truth. Paterno didn't want to know, none of the other PSU officials did anything to find out what happened, nobody even tried to track down the kid. And now their defense is that the law technically didn't require Penn State to report the abuse, that was something Sandusky's charity was supposed to do, as if Sandusky was going to turn himself in. I hope enabling a child molester was worth your careers, guys.

by Mash Wilson :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 10:58pm

In a context like this I rather dislike the term "child molester" for its dilution of what happened. If the contents of the indictment are anywhere close to true, Sandusky is a serial child rapist. One of the very most horrible abominations imaginable.

by Mr. Guest to you (not verified) :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 11:31pm

You need to copy those words 100,000 times and then release those pamphlets over Philly. Shame on you, Joe.

by Lvess :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 12:28am

An earlier poster noted that there was an investigation by the local District Attorney in 1998. That DA disappeared in 2005 under mysterious circumstances in 2005 and his government-issued laptop was fished out of the river a few months later. Google Centre County DA Disappearance and read what comes up.

I'm not usually a conspiracy person but first you wonder why no charges were filed after the first investigation....

by Mash Wilson :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 12:42am

I can't clearly remember the details anymore, but I remember there was speculation the DA had better watch his back during the few days before he disappeared. He was making a public show of going after a local crime boss/corruption kingpin or something. I don't think his murder has anything to do with the Sandusky case, at any rate.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 11:08am

That DA's brother also died under identical circumstances 9 years earlier. Whether he was murdered and made to look like his brother's suicide, or whether a particularly consistent kind of mental unbalance just ran in the family is an open question.

I think trying to link his 2005 disappearance to his closed 1998 investigation of Sandusky is the kind of superstitious thinking that would embarrass a pigeon.

by panthersnbraves :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 1:43pm

all true, but it does make questioning him about his findings a leetle bit harder, no?

by JanethD (not verified) :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 1:46am

Charges involving claimed sexual abuse of young men by previous Penn State football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky have called the conduct of head coach Joe Paterno into question. The New York Daily News reports that Sandusky apparently sexually abused an underage child in the Penn State locker room during the 2002 season. According to the attorneys’ interpretation of related child abuse statutes, the legendary Coach Paterno, 84, is “an innocent bystander” who will not face criminal charges for not going to the authorities first when he learned of Sandusky’s alleged act of child abuse. Source: Fallout from Sandusky abuse case brings Paterno into question

by Mash Wilson :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 11:22am

From the Not Surprising File, Penn State is expected to announce today that Paterno is going to retire at season's end.

by bigtencrazy (not verified) :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 12:38pm

I seriously doubt the Board can wait until season's end.

If Paterno were in leadership at a Fortune 500 company in a similar circumstance his retirement would begin immediately.

Gotta think that will happen here as well.

by Mash Wilson :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 1:09pm

Obviously this is little more than rumormongering on my part, but rumors are that the Board asked Paterno for his resignation late last night or early this morning, and Paterno responded by sending word to the press that he would retire at season's end. Essentially refusing to resign and daring the Board to fire him. To be continued...

by MilkmanDanimal :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 1:34pm

I would bet considerable sums of money the board will fire him within the next few days. Barring some significant new news released to the public showing that Paterno did everything he could be expected to do in this situation, this is about as toxic of a situation you could expect to see.

by mawbrew :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 1:50pm

I think it's probably in the University's best interest to let Paterno finish the season at this point. He's got tons of goodwill banked with alumi and fans. But if I'm a Board member I am seriously pissed that Paterno is trying to tell me how to do my job in addressing a scandal that he helped create. What an imperious attitude!

I think if they let him finish the season (assuming he keeps his mouth shut and doesn't try to justify his original decision any more), the media criticism will be relatively mild. Most will want to let the old guy get out with at least a bit of dignity.

They could also let him finish the regular season and decline to participate in any bowl games. But I think that only happens if Paterno keeps going out of his way to get under their skin.

by Seth D. (not verified) :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 1:59pm

First off: Thanks so much to the FO community for providing the most thoughtful, thorough discussion of this issue I've been able to find anywhere on the web.

As I see it: Joe was a 76 year old man, still prominent but with less control of the world he supposedly ruled every day. He still had power, but was slowing down. A graduate assistant tells him Sandusky was doing something to a kid in the shower. Maybe he said "raping a child." Maybe he said "something inappropriate." Seems like, from Paterno's testimony, which the Jury found credible, it was closer to latter than former.

What Paterno knew: Something may have happened in 1998. But the DA there didn't even prosecute, let alone convict. Sandusky had a long prominent career, had worked with/interacted with hundreds of kids, including six adopted ones of his own, without ever being charged with any crimes. Also, the GA talking to Paterno didn't find it serious enough to a) intervene and stop the much-older Sandusky, b) call 911, or c) even report it the same day. Maybe he's protecting his career, but maybe he's unclear what exactly he saw.

Paterno's Options: Penn State, like every Pennsylvania public school, has procedures for educators or coaches informed of child abuse. They report it to the counselor/administrator who takes over the case and takes appropriate action. If there's a violent felony in progress, you have to call police immediately, but Paterno's hearing about this the next day.

If Paterno deviates from procedure and calls the cops directly, the story will come out and a firestorm will ensue. "Joe Paterno Accuses Longtime Assistant of Child Rape: Legend Bypasses School Procedure to Go Directly to Police." And guilty or not, Sandusky is ruined forever. If he's innocent he's got a rock-solid lawsuit against Paterno and Penn State which will, in one way or another, hurt students. If Paterno *knows* this will stop future child abuse, this is a small price to pay, but if he's not sure?

What Paterno Does: Follows procedure. Quickly informs the Athletic Director. Calls him on Sunday, in fact. AD informs Chief of campus police. They take over the case, and take a statement from the GA. At this point, he leaves it up to them. As in '98, no charges are brought.

What Happens Next: At some point, the chief of University Police and the Athletic Director allegedly lie. Maybe to Paterno along with others, maybe not. Paterno does not personally follow up, nor raise questions when Sandusky is still allowed to work with kids. Maybe he assumes Sandusky has been cleared. Maybe he shouldn't assume that. But maybe he feels like this is out of his area of expertise and anyway he can't be objective when considering his long-time assistant, so he stays out of it. All we know is that the grand jury found no wrongdoing by Paterno.

I guess it's easy to say, and many are saying, that it should be a no brainer to step in and use whatever power/influence you have when there's even the chance to protect a kid. It's a harder thing to say, but no less true, that it's a very serious thing to use your personal power to ruin someone's life based on your suspicions.

In hindsight, Paterno would have been a hero if he'd publicly demanded the police go after Sandusky. He would indeed have saved some boys from abuse. Now, he doesn't get to be a hero. But from what he knew at the time, he's not a villain either. I think he did his job, others didn't do theirs. If everybody involved did their jobs properly, Sandusky would have been stopped, with or without Paterno going above and beyond. That's why I don't think he should be tarred and feathered. He could have done more, but what he did should have been enough, and I don't think there's proof he knew it wasn't.

by Mash Wilson :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 2:11pm

This is the best-presented "Paterno bears no blame in this" argument I have yet seen. I do not think you are correct--I think, with great sadness, that there is a lot of reason to believe Paterno knew Sandusky was a child predator and chose to look the other way for years--but this is an excellent summary of the pro-Paterno viewpoint.

by GlennW :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 2:48pm

Agreed. You have the 1998 incident which was investigated and ostensibly dismissed because it was deemed to be a matter of Sandusky "only" showering with a boy-- not enough evidence to proceed further-- strangely followed coincidentally by Sandusky's early retirement in 1999. Okay, I'll hold my nose and buy that one. Then there's the 2002 incident which take the allegations to another more sickening level entirely. Penn State officials-- including Paterno-- are seriously waiting for strike three (or four, or five) before acting?

If anyone hasn't seen Paterno's latest statement, here's the most revealing part of it: "This is a tragedy. It is one of the great sorrows of my life. With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more." With the possible exception of the "hindsight" disclaimer, these are my sentiments exactly. Joe didn't do enough, not nearly enough. And he knows it.

by Red Dwarf (not verified) :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 3:44pm

"This is a tragedy. It is one of the great sorrows of my life. With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more."

"With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more about that subordinate of mine caught raping a child in the shower."

I don't know how those people I saw on SportsCenter marching in support of Paterno will be able to sleep at night when they realize exactly what they're doing (I'm being charitable and assuming they don't have all the facts). What an appalling spectacle.

by Will Allen :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 4:19pm

I'm not defending Paterno, but has the grand jury testimony been leaked, which establishes that the GA testfied that he explcitly told Paterno that Sandusky was raping the child?

by GlennW :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 4:55pm

There's no leak to my knowledge. In the grand jury indictment there's discrepancy and ambiguity between the explicit details McQueary says he observed and then reported to Paterno, and the more vague description ("something of a sexual nature") Paterno claims he heard from McQueary and then reported to the AD Curley. A major discrepancy in fact, which is bound to be a point of contention in court.

by Will Allen :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 5:16pm

Trials, conducted by skilled attorneys and jurists, are often a good way to gain insight as to what was likely to have happened, and what did not happen. I think it a vanishingly small chance that Sandusky is not a rapist. I think it a vanishingly small chance that the two administratiors indicted did not act with gross negligence, and no better than roughly a 30% chance that they did not commit perjury, along with knowingly covering for a rapist. Until I know more about what the GA has testified to, regarding what words he used, when reporting to Paterno what he saw, and what Paterno was subsequently told, if anything, by the administrators, well after Paterno reported to them, I really don't have a feel for whether Paterno was an old guy who had slipped a good way, or was guilty of gross negligence, and covering for a rapist, as much as the administrators.

by alaano (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 1:06pm

As I said earlier in this thread, what difference does it make how much the GA told Paterno? The GA told enough to warrant informing his superiors. So Joe's sitting there. He knows about the 1998 investigation. He's morally bound to inquire as to the exact nature of what the GA saw. In this case not knowing is no defense, but rather further evidence of (moral) culpability.

by Andrew Potter :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 1:33pm

He's morally bound to inquire as to the exact nature of what the GA saw.

No, he isn't. That's a job for a police officer. He's morally bound to report what the GA told him.

by GlennW :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 4:33pm

I'm not an alumnus, but speaking as a native Pennsylvanian, longtime Penn State and Paterno fan myself (at least previously) and a sometimes visitor to Happy Valley, you have to understand the love these college kids have (or had) for Paterno. I don't share in their overt expressions here, but I'm going to write off these demonstrations of support to a combination of youthful naivety and idealism and blind faith. I don't really blame the kids for clinging to their beloved icon, at least not in the immediacy of these developments.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 12:43am

Could you be more patronizing?

by GlennW :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 12:12pm

Sorry it came off that way (and by the way, could you be more personally insulting?-- not just with me, obviously). I still believe this to be the essential truth. Kids flocking to the streets and screaming "we love you Joe!" and the like are showing heartfelt emotional support, more so than coherent demands for justice. That's my opinion. And like I said, I don't blame them for that.

by mawbrew :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 3:59pm

"strangely followed coincidentally by Sandusky's early retirement in 1999. Okay, I'll hold my nose and buy that one."

If they are serious about an investigation, they Penn State folks need to address this too. I had the same reaction as you, the timing of his retirement and the 1998 incident smells bad.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 12:41am

The grand jury disagrees with you.

by mawbrew :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 2:52pm

"Also, the GA talking to Paterno didn't find it serious enough to a) intervene and stop the much-older Sandusky, b) call 911, or c) even report it the same day. Maybe he's protecting his career, but maybe he's unclear what exactly he saw."

The GA can certainly be faulted for not intervening at the time, but we don't tend to expect the same quality of judgement from 23 year old kids as from university administrators and football coaches. Perhaps he thought it would be best to follow University procedure.

I think based on his grand jury testimony it's apparent that the GA was very clear on what he saw. I think it's also clear based on the indictments against the AD and the other other University administrator that the GA claims he told them exactly what he saw.

Exactly what he told Paterno is unclear (at least to me). He may have tried to soften his description to Paterno to save the old guy some discomfort. I don't know, but that seems plausible. And I hope it's the case because if Paterno got the full rundown and just passed the buck, that would be terribly sad.

by Will Allen :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 3:07pm

I'm not going to defend Paterno against charges of being grossly negligent unless I know more than I do now, but let's be clear with regard to the GA's behavior; it is not the procedure of Penn State University to refrain from immediate intervention, when a person witnesses a rape in progress.

by mawbrew :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 3:22pm

That was intended as sarcasm, sorry for the confusion. With the benefit of hindsight it was a poor choice.

by Will Allen :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 3:40pm

Sorry I misread it. Text would sometimes be improved with the information conveyed by a tone of voice.

by GlennW :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 3:25pm

Likewise I'd like to see this "university procedure" that prohibits a person-- any person-- from going to the police after hearing a first-hand witness's report of a rape. Especially if no one ever acts on that report. Such chain-of-command absolution doesn't exist even in the military, for god's sake.

by Seth D. (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 1:45am

I saw a very interesting comment to Maureen Dowd's piece in the NYT addressing this exact point. The person commenting had 17 years experience investigating allegations of criminal child sexual abuse in Pennsylvania. They stated that they had *never* been contacted directly by a teacher or coach who took an initial report of abuse, or suspected abuse. Rather, procedure was to refer to a counselor or administrator.

The reason, I believe, is that in the educational setting counselors/administrators are best trained to determine what is going on. If there is suspicion of crime, law enforcement comes in. Even there, however, administration input can be very important. For example, officers pulling a child straight out of class could be traumatic, which a counselor would realize.

Of course, where there is clearly a crime -like here- the administrator must call police immediately. That's probably why the two administrators are being charged. But generally it seems like police action on schools, when not in response to an emergency, should go through professionals trained to work with them. So, at least based on this one anecdote, it seems like its not unusual for teachers/coaches to not go directly to police.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 1:55am

Sorry, I don't buy it. When you have this kind of allegation, there are two options; either it's the truth, or the person making the allegation is making it up and could never again be trusted again after investigation. McQueary made the allegation years ago, and he's apparently still respected enough that he was made an assistant coach at PSU. This tells me that he's not somebody simply making up horrific, wild allegations about anal rape of a child and tarring the "good name" of a highly-respected defensive coordinator like Sandusky.

When these allegations are initially made years ago, they either destroy the reputations of the accuser or the accusee. Neither happened. However, Paterno, as the head coach, had to step up and do something here. Either Sandusky is a monster, or McQueary is a liar, and there is no middle ground.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 2:11am

Again, you have not read the GA's testimony regarding what he specifically reported to Paterno. Paterno's behavior may be every bit as bad as you describe, or it may be the case that Paterno was simply the typical 75 year old with lowered inclination to expend extra energy exploring matters that don't fit with his view of the world.

by Andrew Potter :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 3:21am

Or it may be that the university's child protection policy said "do this" so that's what he did, mistakenly trusting that the person he referred it to would do their part.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 10:48am

I've read the grand jury investigation (23 pages and I managed not to vomit once), but not McQueary's specific testimony. That being said, Paterno doesn't get a pass here. If he's a doddering fool who just doesn't bother to pay attention (which is really the best scenario for him here), then he's past the point of being a coach. I do think that's the case, that he was so wrapped up in his world he didn't want to bother noticing things that didn't fit into his happy life. That doesn't mean he's devoid of responsibility to act either way on the allegations.

I'll say it again; when these allegations came out, either the GA or Sandusky should be irrevocably tarnished. Either one of the parties is a liar of epic proportions, or one is a pervert, and one of them had to leave the program immediately. Sandusky was gently (GENTLY!) pushed out the door, McQueary stuck around, and Joe Paterno, as head coach, was in a position of responsibility where he (and several others, like the AD) had to do something. From that day forward, they're all complicit.

by sundown (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 12:15pm

Exactly. No way does McQueary stay around there unless JoePa was fully aware of what had happened. If McQueary is seen as a liar or some sort of idiot who could mistake some harmless horseplay for sex with a child, he's out of there by the end of the day. But, he gets promoted and is an assistant coach today. A way of keeping things quiet by keeping him in the family? It certainly can be viewed that way.

by Andrew Potter :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 3:26am

That's how it works here in the UK too. The professional bodies trained to deal with this even recommend a policy format that appoints within the organization a person (or two people, in case the appointed person is accused) to whom the allegations should be taken, who will be specifically trained in what further action to take.

by GlennW :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 12:31pm

Oh, I agree that the matter is best handled by going through the proper channels. I'm just saying that if no action was taken following such a report and the concerned party believes there should have been, there's no "university policy" that prohibits direct action.

by Kal :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 6:37pm

Ultimately it doesn't matter; Paterno's decision was to suspend Sandusky from doing 2nd mile activities at the main campus. That was it. Why would McQueary think this is acceptable? When is 'doing something with a 10 year old of a sexual nature' equivalent to losing your local college permissions?

It's just baffling. Paterno reported that he was told things were of a sexual nature. You hear this and do...what? You just let him hang out? He maintains his coach emeritus status. He retains his office. He is allowed to bring kids to practice in 2007. He brings kids to bowl games.

Who does that?

by RickD :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 1:51pm

It's not baffling, it's just distasteful to admit what's going on here. McQueary participated in a cover-up. Based on assurances that Sandusky would not be on campus ever again (or something like that), he put the interests of Penn State's reputation ahead of anything else.

by Kyle D. (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 2:25pm

They clearly never promised him that Sandusky would never again be on campus because they let Sandusky have an office on campus and he was seen using the football weight room just last week. That makes things much worse imo because it must have been obvious to McQueary that nothing had been done. But he got promoted to being a full assistant. The Penn State football family was taking care of things in their own way.

by alaano (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 1:09pm

Also, unlike Paterno who would be insulated from repercussions to nearly any action, the GA likely sees his career dreams go up in smoke if he confronts Sandusky and his superiors on the matter or calls the cops. Not that he was wrong not to do so, but he was in a weak position vis a vis Paterno.

by MurphyZero :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 10:47pm

Good summary of some of the discussion on Paterno. An ESPN writer, Michael Weinreb, who grew up with McQueary and Paterno's and Sandusky's kids provides some enlightenment at http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/7205085/growing-penn-state. For McQueary, it wasn't just a coach he was watching do this. It was someone he knew as a classmate's (perhaps even friend--article didn't specify) father, before he ever came to Penn State. I didn't know them as they were several years behind me at Park Forest, but I wonder how much that changed his reaction. Remember, for McQueary to act, does he help a child, who he does not know, or irrevocably affect people he has known since childhood. That moral dilemma is what allows folks to go to war--I don't care what happens to folks I don't know if it helps those I do or have aligned myself with. He obviously went one way at first or at least inaction, but went to his father for further guidance, who pushed him on the path to Paterno.

by GlennW :: Fri, 11/11/2011 - 11:48am

Excellent point. Everyone says that they'd take immediate and complete action (and certainly they should), but when it comes to loved ones and respected figures, so many just don't, out of the shame of the act or for whatever other reasons. Even parents of the affected children don't! This is classic with child abuse.

by Noah Arkadia :: Fri, 11/11/2011 - 1:44pm

Exactly. When it's only talk, everyone's a hero. But when the bullet's are flying, it's not that easy or clear cut all of a sudden

We are number one. All others are number two, or lower.

by Mash Wilson :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 2:06pm

For what it's worth Paterno has a lot of support from the student body. His alumni support is less, but still considerable. Alumni support for Paterno is about what it's always been, really; older alumni have wanted him gone for a decade now, younger alumni are more in line with the student body that adores him.

by Horribly inappropriate book (not verified) :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 9:07pm


Please tell me this is not real. The reader reviews have exploded on this one.

by Mash Wilson :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 11:18pm

Update: Paterno has been fired.

I am surprised.

by Marko :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 11:34pm

Based on all that has been reported over the past few days, the only surprise to me is that this didn't happen yesterday or earlier today. Obviously the PSU Board of Trustees wanted to thoroughly consider everything before making their decision.

I expect that in the next few days or weeks the Stagg-Paterno Trophy will be renamed the Stagg Trophy.

by GlennW :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 11:50pm

Yeah, I'm not surprised at all. I don't think the Board had any other choice. Even if you give Paterno the benefit of the doubt and reserve judgment on how all of this plays out (and I'll try to do that myself), how does Joe Paterno coach some stupid football games under these circumstances?

My father, who is a Penn State fan of 65 years and only a few years younger than Paterno, called me tonight to ask: "What the hell was Joe Paterno thinking?" Hell if anyone but Joe can answer that question, and hopefully he will in time. Coaching another game? Who cares?

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 12:51am

And what a sad show it was by the Surma and the Board of Trustees. Non-answers, evasions, not possessing the courage to fire the man to his face. I wonder when Surma's going to have the courage to hand in his resignation? Knowing his ilk, he'll have a long career.

by sundown (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 1:02pm

In the midst of all this, the biggest injustice for you is JoePa not getting canned face-to-face? Really?

by MurphyZero :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 11:02pm

I have been a long time Paterno fan, but honestly I thought he stayed too long from a football perspective. Before the scandal broke, I felt he should retire after the season. After, I agreed with his desire to retire after the season. But when the Board fired him, I didn't feel it was a bad decision either. But remember, that decision followed one to establish an inquiry into the events on Monday (dates and details may be a little wrong) All of a sudden they change their minds (federal investigation and non stop media coverage does that.) The Board of Trustees is ultimately responsible for all things at PSU. Since the failures of leadership have apparently been long term, the past and current Board of Trustees exhibits, what's the NCAA term? a true lack of institutional control. Not bringing Joe in, not realizing what might happen--announcing it at night, really? Hence I believe that the Board should also go. Penn State needs to start fresh. They'll have a new coach, a new president, but the board will be the same, and I am not really sure the problem(s) will be fixed.

by Mash Wilson :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 11:34pm

Obviously the Board of Trustees has access to more information than I do, but I'm not sure (based on what I know) that insisting Paterno has to be fired RIGHT NOW is warranted, or wise. You can fire him next week, but you can't un-fire him.

by poboy :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 12:33am

The Board is right to fire him now. The last thing they need is 100k fans cheering on someone who is associated (fairly or otherwise) with child rape. That might play okay in Happy Valley, but not so much in the rest of the country.

And that's just home games. What happens when Penn State plays in Columbus? It'll be ugly enough without Paterno.

The man had to go.

by BroncosGuyAgain :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 12:59am

The grand jury report is available on numerous websites. If you want to understand the details of what took place, who was complicit, etc., give it a read. If you want to sleep tonight, do not read it.

This episode is extraordinarily sad, despicable, and depressing.

I understand Aaron's mixed feelings regarding posting this XP. And much of the ensuing commentary is emotionally charged, understandably. Let's all remember there are several victims -- child victims -- who have been significantly hurt, possibly irreparably. We all want to believe in heroes. Then again, read the grand jury report. Unless you want to sleep.

by Dennis :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 12:59am

The two comments I heard that best sum up what Paterno did or didn't do are:

When they say he "fulfilled his obligation" that means he did the minimum. It's one thing to do the minimum when the crime is trading jerseys for tattoos. It's another to do the minimum when child molestation is involved.


What would Paterno have done if it was his child? Would he have just told his boss, or would he actually have made an attempt to stop it?

by Raiderjoe :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 1:04am

Not going to read 106 messagrs but so if reprat anything thagvreason why. Joe had to go.

Want to knkw why Patermo did very little. Whay kind of man hears about bear hugs and wrestling matches and shower sex assault betwwen 60 someyhjng creep- thug asst coaxh and then allow same guy to hang atound campus and have overnight sleeping football camps with little boys. Makes wonder if Paterno had affair with Sandusky. If not thrn why didnt Paterno tattle on him more or kick compleltely offf campusss.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 1:43am

I feel bad for my Penn State alumni friends. but shut the hell up now and realize your icon was complicit in the ANAL RAPE OF A 10-YEAR-OLD!

It's a disgusting story and one of the singly worst stories to come out of sports I can think of in my lifetime (and no, I don't consider that to be hyperbole in any way). I've always rooted for Penn State just because I loved how goofy Paterno looked on the sideline. At this point, this is a story that will infect Paterno's legacy forever, and he'll be the child-anal-rape-covering all-time wins leader for Division 1 football, fair or no. He will never be thought of again without this story, and it's a shame he apparently did the legal minimum and no more and allowed it to destroy such a great legacy.

To quote:

"All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing."

by Will Allen :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 2:05am

I'm not defending Paterno, nor even criticizing his firing, but if he was complicit in a rape, he would have been charged with a crime. It is simply wrong to make that assertion.

Until I read sworn testimony from the GA regarding what he specifically reported to Paterno, and read testimony from Paterno regarding what was said to him, I really can't form a strong opinion on Paterno's behavior. I certainly suspect that he was grossly negligent, which, again, does not make it accurate to say that he was complicit in a rape. I would also like to know if Paterno ever followed up with the two administrators after he reported to them, and what, if anything, Paterno was told by those two administrators about what they had found. I'd also like to read a full explanation, under oath, of Sandusky's resignation from the coaching staff in 1998.

It'll all likely come out in time now, and even if the most generous interpretation of events turns out to be true, in terms of repairing Paterno's reputation, I can't really fault the firing. Sports entertainemt is in the business of marketing irrational warm and fuzzy feelings, and there ain't much of that in Happy Valley these days.

by akn :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 4:57am

Read the full Grand Jury report--which is based on sworn testimony.

McQuery (the GA) specifically states that he reported explicit sexual abuse (including anal sex, not some wishy washy "improper conduct" or "inappropriate behavior") to all parties (his father, Paterno, Curly, and Shultz) when he was interviewed by them. The Grand Jury specifically found McQuery's version of events to be very credible.

This is in contrast to Paterno, Curly, and Shultz, who (under sworn testimony) stated that they only received vague reports of inappropriate behavior, without any specific reference to sexual activity. The Grand Jury specifically found their testimony to be not credible and further claimed that Curly and Shultz could be found guilty of lying to the Grand Jury (on top of failure to report). Unfortunately, the Grand Jury did not specifically mention what they thought of Paterno's testimony, but I find it hard to believe he was the only one who did not know of the explicit abuse.

All parties--McQuery, his father, Paterno, Curly, and Shultz--are ethically liable for their failure to act. They may have even passively covered up Spanier's activity (banning him from bringing kids to campus is evidence of covering up). The Grand Jury cites the relevant statutes regarding reporting of sexual abuse of minors--namely that subordinates are required to report up the chain and the local administrative authority is legally responsible for reporting to local police and child protective services. So Paterno is technically off the hook legally because he wasn't the highest administrator (though functionally, he carries a lot more weight than those above him). However, depending on what he said to the Grand Jury, he may have been perjurious (the report makes no specific conclusion of Paterno). Certainly Curly and/or Shultz were legally responsible.

Ironically, in addition to the 1998 report (in which the police were notified but were unable to file charges do to the vagueness of the alleged activity), the Grand Jury also noted an even earlier unreported incident where a low level janitor found Sandusky performing oral sex on a boy in the showers as well. He reported this to senior janitorial staff, who ultimately told this lowly janitor it was up to him if he wanted to inform the coaching staff and/or police himself. He was only a temp, and he ultimately left without telling anyone. No one else was told and nothing else was done.

But all this obscures the complete lack of ethics, of basic decency, of not following up. There is no excuse for that.

I was a medical student not too long ago. We were constantly drilled that we are always required to intervene, report and follow up any child abuse that we find. This applied to everyone in the healthcare chain--from the physician to the nurse to the medical student as well. As a student, I may not have been strictly legally responsible, but it violates our medical code of ethics, which physicians hold to just as strongly as the law. In fact, I had a medical boards questions specifically asking me what I was to do in a situation analogous to this Penn State thing. In other words, my ability to graduate from medical school and get a license depended on me knowing that I needed to act and follow up if I were in McQuery's (or any of the coaching staff's) situation.

Paterno and co are not physicians, but they are faculty in an educational institution with huge influence over the minds of young people. In this situation, their ethics should be no different than that which was drilled into me. Anything less is indefensible.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 11:51am

Yeah, I don't specifically dispute the Grand Jury report; I just prefer, when forming a strong judgement regarding the specific nature of a conversation between two people, to read the direct testimony, as opposed to a third party's summary.

My guess would be that an old man, in a position of great influence and power, but with greatly declining energy level, heard what he wanted to hear, and did not make a strong effort to do what was right for children who were in danger.

by akn :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 12:15pm

He apparently still has energy to coach a top ten college football program every week. And I don't know how you turn "raping a boy in the showers" into "what he wanted to hear."

by Will Allen :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 12:37pm

Oh, good grief, would you stop pretending that you have read the grand jury testimony? Is it really so hard to refrain from saying you "know" things that you don't "know"? The guy is fired (which I certainly have no objection to), there are going to be trials, in which sworn testimony, subject to cross examination, will be open for all to see. Why the nonsensical desire to pretend to be in possession of information before that information has been made available?

Also, if you think heading up an organization chart is proof of that person's ability to have the needed energy and attention span to run that organization, you simply are extremely ignorant of organizational dynamics. I've know quite a few mega-successful business owners. None of them were nearly as good at doing what needed to be done at age 75 as they were even 10 years earlier. Most of then had the good sense to recognize it, and to not hold the same position of responsibility for that long. The ones that didn't came to regret it, or the people around them did.

by akn :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 1:02pm

I never claimed to have read the Grand Jury testimony, only its summary report and its conclusions. That is the best available evidence currently, and since it is based on sworn testimony (as in under penalty of perjury, carrying the same weight as testifying in open court), I'm inclined to believe it more than various media reports. I don't know where you got the idea that I have access to more information to you--I cited the source of all my information in the first sentence I wrote.

What kind of energy or attention to you believe it necessary to follow up on report of abuse? A few phone calls, a few meetings, a call into the police or the district attorney. How is this any more taxing than what Paterno does every day? Do you literally believe Penn State pays him millions every year to go into his office and take a nap?

by Will Allen :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 1:34pm

If you haven't read the grand jury testimony, then it is disingenuous for you to imply, by the use of quotation marks, that Paterno was told that a rape was witnessed. You don't know that, even before we consider that two people in a conversation can have greatly conflicting accounts of what was said. The Grand Jury report certainly suggests that the GA may have told Paterno that he witnessed a rape, but until we actually hear or read the testimony from the GA, we don't know for a fact that the GA has testified that he told Paterno that he witnessed a rape.

What kind of energy does it take to investigate a report of wrongdoing by a trusted friend and associate of multiple decades? You really need to ask this?
Very commonly, people, when faced with a matter which causes them great discomfort, due to it requiring them to believe people they have great affection for have done awful things, fail to summon the emotional energy needed to face the matter, and elderly people are far less likely to have the energy for it. This is why I have stated repeatedly in this thread that it is generally a bad idea for a person to hold the same position of authority for multiple decades, well into his seventies, to say nothing of eighties.

by akn :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 2:10pm

I'm sorry, let me fix that for you:

I'm don't know how you turn explicit sexual contact with a boy in the showers (as paraphrased by the Grand Jury report and was found to be very credible) into "what he wanted to hear" (which is quoting you).

Does that change anything? The information I'm drawing on is a summary of sworn testimony. Not the exact words, I grant you, but what it summarizes carries the same weight under the law, and its conclusions about what McQueary related to his higher ups were quite clear.

What kind of energy does it take to investigate a report of wrongdoing by a trusted friend and associate of multiple decades? You really need to ask this?

Yes, because you just turned sexual assault of a minor into "wrongdoing by a trusted friend" and "great discomfort" and "awful things." If we're talking about illegal kickbacks by boosters and other white collar nonsense the NCAA is usually concerned with, then yes, some hesitation and unwillingness to face the truth may be understandable. But this is a violent act towards a minor. Energy should not be an issue, no matter how well you know the offender.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 2:28pm

As I said, I don't draw strong conclusions about what has been testified to, regarding the nature of a conversation between two people, based upon a third party's summary. When I read or hear the direct testimony itself, that is when I form strong opinions about what the conversation between two people entailed.

You seem to be of the impression that what you and I think people "should" do has some bearing on what human beings actually are. Call me a cynic, but I think this is really quite naive.

by akn :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 5:22pm

Ethics (which was my original point) is by definition what people "should" do, regardless of who they are. There's nothing naive about that.

Dismissing, minimizing, or rationalizing such failure, simply because of your low assumptions of what people "actually are," is the very essence of cynicism. I feel sorry for you.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 5:43pm

I feel sorry for you that years of education has produced in you the belief that to find bad behavior predictable is to minimize it or rationalize it.

by CoachDave :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 6:21pm

An "ignore" function would be of great value right about now.

by akn :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 6:52pm

Predictable? There must be an epidemic of college coach pedophiles with colleagues who cover it up that I've missed.

by GlennW :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 7:10pm

While occurring at a relatively small percentage, I wouldn't assume that sexual abuse of children is any less prevalent in and around the world of collegiate athletics than just about anywhere else in society (although the church probably was an exception in its high incidence of abuse). Just off the top of my head, in the sporting world alone we've seen child sexual predation (and the failure to promptly address it) in Canadian junior hockey (Theo Fleury et al) and with the Boston Red Sox in the 1970s. If 10 years ago you'd given me the estimated numbers on such occurences across society I probably wouldn't have believed you, but I do now.

by akn :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 10:52pm

Your anecdotal evidence notwithstanding, the epidemiology of extrafamilial pedophilia shows that onset is highest in the 20s-30s, with high recidivism lasting till the 50s, dropping off sharply in the 60s. There is also a strong comorbidity with mood disorders and prior sexual abuse. So while Sandusky's methods fit the profile, many aspects do not. There's no evidence I could find specifically about the sporting world.

by Mr Shush :: Fri, 11/11/2011 - 7:49am

Hang on a minute. Sure, as of now we have evidence only of abuse by Sandusky between ages 50 and 65. That doesn't mean he didn't begin such crimes at a much younger age (on his own adopted children, perhaps - this could be a case in which the line between intra-familial and extra-familial is rather blurry). We also don't know whether he suffers from any mood disorders or was himself sexually abused. The only thing we can say with confidence is atypical is that he continued in this behaviour into his 60s.

by GlennW :: Fri, 11/11/2011 - 11:18am

That's all fine, and I don't dispute your facts. All I'm saying is that sexual abuse of chidren may be so prevalent enough in society in general that we really shouldn't be so shocked when it manifests itself within a collegiate football program.

Theo Fleury is now an advocate on child sexual abuse, and he makes the claim that worldwide 1 in 5 boys and 1 in 3 girls are at some point sexually abused in some form-- he calls it the "greatest epidemic in the world". Now even if those numbers aren't nearly accurate and are reduced by a factor of 100 or even 1000 at an American college sports program, do the math. Given perfect exposure of the crime (which just doesn't happen), you're going to see incidences of such abuse in almost every walk of life. Do I personally believe this to be the case? Based on everything I've seen and heard over the past 10 years, yes I do.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 7:12pm

The logic questions on the SAT were a problem for you, weren't they?

by akn :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 11:34pm

Ad hominem, the last refuge of the cognitively impaired.

As far as SATs, I'll show you mine if you show me yours...

by Will Allen :: Fri, 11/11/2011 - 12:12am

Apparently, you don't know what "ad hominem" means, either. Here's a clue. A sarcastic remark, which asserts that another's grasp of logic is quite poor, as evidenced by falsely implying that a phenomena must be common in order for it to be predictable, is not an ad hominem remark. I'll ignore for now your dishonesty in ignoring the fact that I plainly stated that I did not find Sandusky's behavior predictable, but only the poor management of the crisis by someone who had been in a job too long, and who had a cult of personality constructed around him. Look, your grasp of the words you employ is quite poor, you are not honest in your arguments, and your grasp of logic is deplorable. None of these observed facts is an ad hominem remark. Got it?

by GlennW :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 6:17pm

Isn't the ethical failure that actually occurred here validation of such cynicism to an extreme? I don't consider myself a cynic, but I'm thinking of becoming one.

by GlennW :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 2:18pm

I mostly agree with you about longevity on a job as it does tend to breed complacency, contempt and even delusions of grandeur, but all of those factors condemn rather than excuse inaction on such a serious matter. Advanced age I might more consider, but Paterno was 75 in 2002 and still pretty sharp by my observation (he's slipped considerably in the last five years), and while a (healthy) person's energy level and attentiveness at age 75 might cause them to falter in such things as decisions on a football field, again, I don't think something like this accusation just slips through the mind's cracks.

No, I still think Paterno's only possible good defense is the aforementioned possibility that he really wasn't told much and then was lied to or misled after the fact. A less excusable defense is that as a flawed human being he just couldn't comprehend such a vile matter involving a trusted friend and lapsed into a state of total denial. I would say that last possibility can and does occur regardless of age though.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 2:40pm

I'm really not trying to mount a defense of Paterno; he is the guy who, in my view, likely was very possesed of enough hubris to think he would not see his capabilities decline greatly as he worked well into his fourth decade on the job. The smartest people I know are the ones who give up authority and power willingly because they know they weren't as good as they once were, and that the cult of personality which is developing is exceedingly bad. Paterno, sadly, was not that smart.

I guess what I am trying to say is that while Sandusky's behavior shocks me, mostly because my inclination is to think that serial rapists of nonfamily members usually are exposed prior to age 67, I find Paterno's behavior to be not all that surprising, in an old guy who has held the same job for decades, in a setting where he has been essentially worshipped by the masses.

by GlennW :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 1:30pm

I see Will's point here-- he's just trying to be fair to Joe Paterno based on the fundamental tenets of our justice system (and as he says, this is a separate issue from the decision to dismiss Paterno). Paterno deserves that much. But how do I *think* this is going to play out for Paterno, when the case goes to the courts? Very badly, worse than the situation as it currently exists. I am just unable to elevate my suspension of disbelief to the level required in order to believe that Paterno-- old or not-- knew as little as he now claims he does. But I could be dead wrong, of course.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 1:51pm

I suspect that the most damning aspect of this matter will be, when all the cards are on the table, that well before 2002, Paterno and/or others had good reason to believe that Sandusky was enough of a threat to children that he could not be a member of the Penn State coaching staff any longer, yet they continued to allow him to use state property in the operation of a charity which gave him access to, and control of children. But I certainly don't know that.

The person who could do the most, of course, to illuminate this sordid mess is Sandusky himself, and given he faces dying in prison, getting him to say anything may be tough. As much as I despise the fact that our prisons are cesspools of torture, the only way to get Sandusky to help bring this atrocity into the sunlight may be to offer him his choice of prisons (I just can't see a prosecutor being so blind as to offer his something less than what is, at age 67, essentially a life sentence), especially since there is a possible Federal Government role in this. If Sandusky becomes devoid of any hope of avoiding dying behind bars, and he doesn't kill himself, the prospect of spending the rest of his days in a minimum security Federal lock-up, or even a lower security state prison, as opposed to a state facility which houses the worst of the worst, may be enough of a incentive for him to give a full account.

by Kyle D. (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 2:18pm

Totally agree your first paragraph. Looking back now, Sandusky's sudden retirement from coaching looks very, very odd. He was the heir apparent and he just up and quits coaching? He doesn't go someplace else to fulfill his dream of being a head coach, he doesn't move along to do something completely different, he just stays at Penn State. Very much looks like they were keeping things inside the family. Shades of how the priest scandals were handled by the Catholic Church.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 2:44pm

I remember thinking at the time that it was quite strange. However, I certainly did not suspect anything of a criminal nature.

by mawbrew :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 3:05pm

Thinking about it, I wonder if the 1998 incident and their reaction to it, didn't play a role in how they dealt with the 2002 incident. Pure speculation on my part, but it's easy to imagine that everyone aware of the 1998 incident just decided to let Sandusky retire rather than have that incident become public. After all, they could rationalize that nothing terribly bad happened then. Yeah, it was alarming and wierd in the extreme (thus he had to go) but not terrible. And we get rid of him so this will be the end of it.

Fast forward to the 2002 incident. Now if this goes public their handling of the 1998 incident comes under scrutiny. I can imagine them thinking 'We are going to get crucified when people learn this.' And so to shield themselves from criticism of the earlier episode they sell themselves out completely and bury the 2002 rape. If this is close to right (and it may be way off) the real question is who knew about the 1998 incident and helped bury it.

Frankly I struggle to come up with any other explantion for why they wouldn't do more in 2002. Yeah, there will be a scandle but the University would be pretty insulated from it (obviously aside from the 1998 incident)

by Will Allen :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 5:02pm

Having now read the grand jury report, my suspicions are similar to yours. I really want to know who was aware of the specific nature of what Sandusky was investigated for in 1998.

The state needs to flip Sandusky, which is hard, but not impossible, when a guy is going to, in all likelihood, die in prison.

by Balaji (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 3:06am

I don't know what percentage of the blame exactly was Paterno's, but he clearly had to be fired, as did each and every administration official involved in the cover-up.

I was surprised to hear that McQueary wasn't fired - I feel like more ire should be directed in his direction. He saw a child being raped in front of him and did nothing? It may not have been illegal (I'm not familiar with PA law), but my God, man, how can you sleep at night?

by mawbrew :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 9:37am

I suspect McQueary is tortured by this. I can't defend his inaction, but I can envision how an otherwise decent 23 year old kid would be so stunned by what he came across that it took longer for him to process what was going on than it did for Sandusky to complete his crime.

After not acting that night, the easiest thing for McQueary to do would be to just pretend nothing happened. Because any time he tells his story the first question he's going to answer is the one you asked (you did nothing?). To his credit, he did report it.

I do think that when it became clear that the university was going to sweep this under the rug, he needed to go to the cops on his own. He was the witness. He knew what he saw. And at that point he had plenty of time to consider it and make the right choice.

by nuclearbdgr :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 11:41am

I believe McQueary was 28 at the time, not 23.

by mawbrew :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 12:56pm

I couldn't find his exact age in a quick search (I'm technology impaired) but what I did see makes it clear he was older than I had assumed (28 seems very consistent with having graduated in 1997). Thanks for pointing this out. It certainly makes a considerable difference in my few of the situation. I would expect a 28 year old to handle it much better. A 28 year old shouldn't need to ask dad.

by Red Dwarf (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 3:46pm

23 isn't exactly a childish age, either, just for the record. Certainly old enough to know what to do after witnessing the anal rape of a child without calling Daddy.

by Anonymosity (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 3:46am

It's pretty clear that Aaron Brooks Go is a troll. Can someone at FO kill his post privileges (or whatever you do to trolls... turn him to stone?)?

I am sick of all the "this incident shouldn't overshadow Paterno's great career" chatter. Probably the key decision in Paterno's life came when he heard the report about his defensive coordinator anally raping a young boy in the Penn State showers. His decision was to pass it up the chain of command, with apparently no desire to follow up, figure out if the claims were true, try to help the boy, nothing. Maybe there's not a legal obligation there, but there is certainly a human one. To me that tells me enough about Joe Paterno's character that we should do our best to forget about him and whatever it was he and his buddies stood for.

by rageon :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 9:44am

I keep hearing, over and over, that Paterno should have followed up. To who? For what? If he thinks it got reported to the police, there's nothing else to do. Where is he going to get information? He can't just call up the local police and be met with a "Hey Joe Pa, lemme dig this super-confidential file out for a second. Want me to fax you a copy." Details on cases of that nature are not going to be accessible until perhaps changes are filed. I'm just not sure who he was to follow-up with, and what he would have been expected to do.

by mawbrew :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 10:10am

I think one of the legitimate critisisms of Paterno is that he never followed up with the University officials that he reffered McQueary to. Even if you accept Paterno's position that all he was told was that there was something of a 'sexual nature' going on, that's an extremely serious claim. It's a claim that we would expect someone to be concerned enough about to make sure (not just assume) that it was handled appropriately.

by rageon :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 10:51am

Again, though, I think he would have been met with "It's being taken care of, that's all we can say." Is he then supposed to check up on that person, and then the next, etc... My point is basically that there is just no way to go looking for details on something like this.

I've reported suspected crimes before. And I didn't once think to followup and see what happened. I figured that if the cops had enough evidence, they would prosecute, and if not, they wouldn't. I don't consider myself a bad person for that.

by mawbrew :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 12:39pm

Do you really think they could have dismissed Paterno that easily if he had pushed it? Seriously? This was guy so big (at the time) he could refuse their push for him to resign and not have them fire him. I don't think there is any way Paterno doesn't get a legit answer on this.

I don't think the comparison to follow-up once the cops are involved is a valid one. The cops (and prosecutors) deal with this stuff everyday and it's their job. I'm guessing most coaches and AD's never have to. Especially when the alledged criminal is a long time friend/coworker.

by sundown (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 1:09pm

The problem is that you're arguing they might have stonewalled him IF he'd followed up. But it sounds like he never even gave them that opportunity because he never did follow up. And while you may have reported crimes in the past, you were not the head of a major college football program dealing with a matter concerning your longtime friend and assistant. JoePa had numerous reasons to want to know what came of the matter: Possible negative impacts to the college, the program and him personally, concern over what was going to happen to his friend... Even if he didn't care about the victim at all, he still would have wanted to know what the outcome was.

by Kal :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 2:33pm

There's a difference between reporting suspected crimes and having an eyewitness tell you of a rape. Especially after you already knew the said perpetrator had been involved in investigations with this.

by justanothersteve :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 11:38am

First, I want to say upfront that if the facts are what they seem to be there is no way Paterno can be excused from any blame. I also have very strong feelings about this because years ago I found out a very good friend had been molested several times by her stepfather while she was still a teen (and with the knowledge of her mother). However, I do have to say I can see how it might have happened. Too often, we blind ourselves to things we'd just rather not deal with. I had a friend from high school who, when we went away to college, I also roomed with. We eventually became best friends. I watched him slow go paranoid schizophrenic. Yet even after I went with him to a psychiatrist, I couldn't accept that my friend was mentally ill. It took the benefit of hindsight for me and joining the military to straighten my own life out to finally accept this.

Now, I am in no way equating mental illness to child sexual abuse. But sometimes we just block out stuff we don't want to deal with. It's human nature. I believe this is what Paterno did. He probably even thinks he heard what he says he remembers, even if the words used were actually much more graphic.

There is nothing good here. Not for Paterno. Not for Penn State. And mostly, not for all the kids who suffered.

by Depressedbythewholething (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 11:52am

I realize it doesn't add much to the conversation but every time I hear about something like this I think of an Ed Harris line from 'Gone Baby Gone':

Detective Remy Bressant: I mean, the father's got him in this crack den, subsisting on twinkies and ass-whippings, and this little boy just wants someone to tell him that he's doing a good job. You're worried what's Catholic? I mean, kids forgive. Kids don't judge. Kids turn the other cheek. What do they get for it? So I went back out there, I put an ounce of heroin on the living room floor, and I sent the father on a ride, seven to life.

Patrick Kenzie: That's was the right thing?

Detective Remy Bressant: Fucking A! You gotta take a side. You molest a child, you beat a child, you're not on my side. If you see me coming, you better run, because I am gonna lay you the fuck down! Easy.

by Joshua Northey (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 12:10pm

One of the biggest things I hope is taken away from all this is that the media needs to stop deifying people who are good at one specific thing and who otherwise are probably just people. You would think Joe Paterno cured cancer, or single handedly won a war, not that he simply coached a football team for 50 years.

ESPN, et cetera have been profiting off of the narratives casting these men as gods for decades. Turning them into gods makes it a lot easier for this type of thing to happen. Obviously they are not 1/100th as complicit as the people at Penn State, but I have seen very little soul searching about how the sports media environment helps enable things like this to happen.

If you are successful in sports there is no shortage of people who are happy to craft a narrative claiming you are basically a flawless individual. Then everyone is so shocked and betrayed when later on these people turn out to be just normal people with the same grave flaws as everyone else.

I have personally known a several professional athletes, and frankly a lot of them are anti-social hyper-competitive A-holes. Yet from the coverage of them you would think they were the most stable, loving, well-meaning group of guys you ever met. Certainly some of them are, just as some garbage men are really exemplary individuals. But like garbage men some of them are terrible people.

by sundown (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 12:25pm

Up until now, there was no reason not to build up the legend of JoePa. They were a clean program, he'd been their coach longer than many of us have been alive, and there was nothing to suggest he wasn't a great teacher and leader. We may never know what exactly led to this horrific series of inactions on his and Penn State's part. Was it purely fear of having the legend tarnished and the university getting a black eye? Was JoePa's friendship with Sandusky so great he couldn't bring himself to turn the guy in or fully believe what the guy was capable of? A mixture of all these things?

by Will Allen :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 12:42pm

"Building up a legend" is too often synonymous with "constructing a cult of personality", and that is never a good thing, no matter how non-malicious the personality, or how much good the personality has accomplished, because the construct inhibits the rational examination of events going forward.

by Kyle D. (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 2:07pm

The media builds a lot of people up, but in the case of Joe Paterno his legend was completely built on reality. He didn't need the media's help. The guy had coached at the same school for four decades, they'd never been in trouble with the NCAA, he was the all-time win leader. He didn't need the media to construct a cult of personality because that had been created within Penn State many, many years prior. How many coaches get to pick the athletic director they'll (allegedly) be reporting to?

by Will Allen :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 2:18pm

No person's legend is completely built on reality; that is why it is called a legend. He did great things. He wasn't a Saint. It appears as if he may have done some truly awful things, and it is likely that the cult which was constructed, with or without the action of mass media, delayed those awful things, or the awful things that others did, from being examined in a timely manner.

by GlennW :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 3:11pm

> Was it purely fear of having the legend tarnished and the university getting a black eye?

To me there's some irony in the belief (well, my belief) that had Sandusky been turned in and subsequently arrested in 2002 (or even earlier), that the university and the "Legend of Paterno" wouldn't have been tarnished much at all, at least not in the long haul. Yes, Jerry Sandusky was a famous, respected and trusted longtime assistant. But none of us can know everything that is going on in someone else's secretive private life. When you do find out about such wrongdoing, stand up to it and eliminate it, you're doing all that you possibly could, and unequivocably the right thing. I see no shame in that, except to Sandusky.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 4:54pm

The most likely explation to me is that the failure to completely ban Sandusky from all state owned facilities in 1998, after the DA declined to prosecute (now, having read the grand jury report, I can see why the DA may not have believed he could gain a conviction), caused people, perhaps including Paterno, to panic in 2002, when the GA made his report. I really want to know who was aware of the specific nature of the 1998 police investigation.

I now also suspect, after reading the grand jury report, that obtaining the perjury convictions against Schultz and Curley, assuming they have a skilled defense, is not going to be more than a 50-50 proposition, which is not to say that I don't believe they perjured themselves. Perjury convictions are often hard to obtain, and the nature of what these two are alleged to have lied about, the content of a conversation that no other party heard, is particularly hard to prove to the high standard of beyond a reasonable doubt. The grand jury standard of finding McQuerry very credible won't be enough.

Sandusky is a goner though, and if the state can flip him, perhaps with a promise of the prison of his choice in which to die, then things could change dramatically. I hope they succeed.

by GlennW :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 6:35pm

> The most likely explation to me is that the failure to completely ban Sandusky from all state owned facilities in 1998, after the DA declined to prosecute (now, having read the grand jury report, I can see why the DA may not have believed he could gain a conviction), caused people, perhaps including Paterno, to panic in 2002

If so, what an awful decision. First and foremost with regard to the victims of course, but even still, after a proper outside investigation was apparently conducted in 1998 and no charges brought forth by the DA (whom I have seen described as thorough, competent, and unbiased by normal standards), I do not think the damages to reputations so great as to necessitate a cover-up in 2002. But that's just my calculation.

I agree about the difficulties in gaining convictions against Curley and Schultz. Paterno has handed them a ready-made defense with his story of reporting an incident of only an unspecified nature. A defense lawyer is going to highlight precisely where the message got mangled, and that may very well be with Paterno.

by GlennW :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 6:39pm

Duplicate removed...

by andrew :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 2:45pm
by LionInAZ (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 7:59pm

Damn straight.

by tunesmith :: Fri, 11/11/2011 - 5:08pm

That's some amazingly brutal writing.

by manmachine (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 8:22pm

I attended a small college near Penn State in the mid 90's (when they were undefeated in '94). Although a football fan of Penn State, I was still somewhat shocked to hear that students and Joe Paterno continue to say things like "we are Penn State" in the face of the scandal, as if football and the school name are far more important than the lives of those young victims. The coach and the school failed miserably in protecting children.

Now looking at college football: it is purely entertainment, a business. It is revered in many cities and towns across the country, but the game and NCAA are hypocritical. Nowadays, I like pro football a lot more, because it makes no pretense about its virtues.