Unless you’re Amish (if so why are you reading this?) you’ve heard about the sickening Jerry Sandusky sex-scandal that is blowing up in the faces of the Penn State Board of Trustees.
I had mixed feelings at first about this issue. I was mad at JoePa for not doing more about this situation. Why didn’t he make more noise? Why didn’t he go further than the AD?
Legally, JoePa did what he was supposed to do. One of his staff, Mike McQueary, allegedly saw Sandusky sodomizing “a 10-year old boy” in the showers sometime in 2002. McQueary told Paterno about this the next day. The day after that, Paterno had Tim Curly, Penn State Athletic Director, over to his house to relay these allegations. That was the extent of Joe’s legal liability. He was not required to to more by the law.
Should he have? In hindsight, absolutely. Without the benefit of hindsight it’s hard to tell. Having been in a supervisory position before, I know that when you report things like this to your superiors they don’t tell you the outcome of any investigations performed. If you ask, they still won’t tell you. You can only trust that your superiors are doing the right thing, morally.
And that’s what Joe did. He had no idea there were other victims. He didn’t even know the full extent of what McQueary allegedly saw until he was subpoenaed by a grand jury earlier this year. He had been told that Sandusky had been “fondling or doing something of a sexual nature to a young boy.” And that was just hearsay to him. He had no evidence. He didn’t see it happen. For all he knew the University investigated it but found no wrong-doing.
My questions are many. Why didn’t Tim Curley do anything with this information? Why didn’t he report this claim to the law, as is required? If what Mike McQueary saw actually happened, why did he walk away instead of kicking Sandusky’s ass right then and there? And why is Paterno being crucified for doing nothing wrong?
Paterno issued this statement on Sunday:
“If true, the nature and amount of charges made are very shocking to me and all Penn Staters. While I did what I was supposed to with the one charge brought to my attention, like anyone else involved I can’t help but be deeply saddened these matters are alleged to have occurred.
“Sue and I have devoted our lives to helping young people reach their potential. The fact that someone we thought we knew might have harmed young people to this extent is deeply troubling. If this is true we were all fooled, along with scores of professionals trained in such things, and we grieve for the victims and their families. They are in our prayers.
“As my grand jury testimony stated, I was informed in 2002 by an assistant coach that he had witnessed an incident in the shower of our locker room facility. 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. Regardless, it was clear that the witness saw something inappropriate involving Mr. Sandusky. As Coach Sandusky was retired from our coaching staff at that time, I referred the matter to university administrators.
“I understand that people are upset and angry, but let’s be fair and let the legal process unfold. In the meantime I would ask all Penn Staters to continue to trust in what that name represents, continue to pursue their lives every day with high ideals and not let these events shake their beliefs nor who they are.”
As you can tell from the statement, JoePa had no idea these allegations were true. Joe did what he was required to do. He didn’t cover anything up. Were I him, I’d be contacting a lawyer immediately to sue for defamation and wrongful termination.
There are many people calling for JoePa’s head. Many alleging that JoePa should have done more. All of these people are doing so with the benefit of hindsight. Those people have no idea how they would have handled it at the time and in the circumstances he was in. It’s easy to say shoulda, coulda, woulda now that nearly 20 other kids have stepped forward as victims, but in 2002 JoePa knew of only one alleged accusation.
I disagree with the termination of Joe Paterno. Athletic Director Tim Curry and PSU vice president for finance and business Gary Schultz have been charged with perjury for not reporting the accusations. They should be, and probably will be, fired. They covered this up, not Paterno.
Joe Paterno is being wrongly crucified for this heinous crime spree and people need to look at this situation logically and rationally before condemning him.