Thursday, November 10, 2011

Why Joe Paterno Was Fired: The Grand Jury Findings

I wasn't going to blog about this. I felt that all of the news organizations and other bloggers would probably inundate people with so many different articles and posts that nobody would care what I had to say anyway. Besides it seems that most reasonable, after reading the Grand Jury Report in this case, all agree that Joe Paterno had to go. The only folks who didn't feel that way seemed to be people that either did not read the findings and or just have lost their moral compass blinded by loyalty to someone they have always seen as a hero. In that case its not likely I would be changing their minds anyway.

But at this point I feel a need to blog about it because some of the reactions from last night when the Penn State Board of Trustees announced Paterno was out, both in Happy Valley on on social media, have so thoroughly disgusted me that I think I need a release.

Lets start with this, we are talking about this incident today not because of Jerry Sandusky anally raping a child around the age of 10 in the showers of the locker room at the football facility and being caught by a graduate assistant, although that is what makes this story so much more morally reprehensible.

No, we are talking about this today because six years later in 2008 the mother of another child reported to her son's school that Sandusky had sexually molested him as well. Abuse that started in or around 2007, five years after that graduate assistant, Mike McQueary, Joe Paterno, Athletic Director Tim Curley, Senior Vice President for Business and Finance Gary Schultz, University President Graham Spanier, and Executive Director of Second Mile Dr. Jack Raykovitz all had an opportunity if not a duty to stop Sandusky's serial underage rape of underage boys that stretched back at least into the mid 1990s with just one phone call to the police.

But not a single one of them placed that phone call. And we now know that their collective inaction led to at least one more little boy being molested.

These are Penn State University officials and an Executive Director of a non profit who refused to do what officials from a high school had the good sense and courage to do almost immediately in 2008, report the crime to the police.

Side note: I've seen some on social media repeating the lie that Paterno or Schultz or Curley or Spanier reported the crime to campus police. According to the Grand Jury Report that is demonstrably false. They investigated and no report was made to either a police entity nor a Child Protective Service official, which is required by law in such a situation, by any of them . And that is precisely why Curley and Schultz have been charged. Don't ask me to tell you why Paterno et al wasn't charged as well because I have no answers. I will say that if the law declares that what McQueary and Paterno did was "enough" then its obviously time to change that law.

It is precisely because of the investigation of the assaults reported in 2008 that we know anything about the other seven victims unearthed by the Grand Jury. Otherwise Sandusky would probably still be freely sexually assaulting little boys and that 2002 situation would likely still be swept under the rug.

He did "enough" or he did "what he was supposed do".

Ive heard Paterno apologists spew that garbage since the arrests and allegations came down last weekend. But if the fact that another child was molested after Paterno knew about the sexual assault Sandusky committed in the showers on a young boy isn't enough to prove what Paterno did in the aftermath wasn't enough, lets go back to 1998.

In 1998 Jerry Sandusky was Joe Paterno's Defensive Coordinator and had been for more than 20 years. It was also the year that a yet different mother had to report Sandusky for molesting her child. Where did this occur? In a shower. During the course of the investigation Sandusky both admitted to police that he had showered with this woman's little boy and possibly had sexual contact with him (he used the word "maybe"), he was also over heard by the police admitting the same directly to the child's mother.

Now I can't fathom how he wasn't charged in that case and I imagine most other reasonable people cant either. And unfortunately we may never get to the bottom of how that happened because the prosecutor assigned to the case has been missing since 2005 and is now presumed dead. However according to the Grand Jury Report Gary Shultz admitted that he was aware of the 1998 investigation and that the University Police, which are under his umbrella, reviewed the case against Sandusky. Further he admitted the similarities in the two cases of something sexually inappropriate happening between Sandusky and a child in the showers!!!

The report doesn't express whether Joe Paterno was aware of the 1998 investigation and or also saw the similarities in the two assaults, but lets look at what happened a year later in 1999. Sandusky was long thought to be the heir apparent to Paterno as Head Coach of the Penn State football team and he was in the prime of his career coaching wise at 55 years of age when suddenly he "resigned". But in the Grand Jury Report we do learn that just a year after he avoided being charged with molesting a child in 1998, Sandusky was molesting yet another little boy who was told by Sandusky himself that Paterno informed him he would not be the next Head Coach in May of 1998 shortly before he "resigned".

Don't you have to wonder what precipitated this meeting and change of heart from Paterno towards a man who had coached under him for so long and helped him win 2 National Championships? Don't you have to wonder what the justification was that Paterno gave him that day?

Biggest of all don't you have to believe that Joe Paterno, who many have thought over the years was the most powerful man in Pennsylvania and many more have been sure was the most powerful man in Happy Valley, knew all about the 1998 investigation?

And if that was indeed the case how can anyone look themselves in the mirror and believe that Paterno did "enough" in 2002 when a very similar assault occurred, and when he knew that Sandusky was never reported to police and instead was just "disciplined" by the Athletic Director. I mean Sandusky was still allowed on campus at least up until last year. Am I or you or anybody else supposed to believe that Paterno never saw him on campus over the last 9 years acting as if nothing ever happened?

While I'm at it I have to point out how absurd going to the Athletic Director about someone who is no longer employed by the University is. What exactly was the Athletic Director going to do? He couldn't fire him, he couldn't suspend him. I suppose he could have rescinded his privileges on campus but he didn't even do that. Instead he "banned" Sandusky from bringing kids on campus with him, as if the kids just there was the problem. And Curley himself admitted the "ban" wasn't even enforceable. The Grand Jury Report doesn't explicitly saw Paterno was told what the "punishment" would be for Sandusky but it does say McQueary, the graduate assistant, was told. I'll let you draw your own conclusions as to whether Paterno was told too but in my ind its not even a question.

For some reason when discussing Paterno's firing some people bring up McQueary and the fact that he hasn't been fired yet as some reason to be upset or push back on the idea Paterno deserved to be. Well for me its simple. They both deserve to be fired and probably prosecuted for not reporting the assault to police. McQueary may in fact deserve to be fired more than Paterno, but that doesn't change the fact that Paterno deserved to be fired too.

Let's keep in mind that the Grand Jury found that Schultz and Curley had lied to them and yet Paterno released a statement shortly after the story broke that closely echoed their testimony and contradicted his own. In my mind that alone is enough reason to lump him right with those scumbags and bring him up on charges as well. However, again, the law may be unfortunately be on his side even if common decency isn't.

When the story first came out I saw the words "graduate assistant" and immediately assumed he was fresh out of college. But it turns out McQueary was 28 years old when he witnessed Sandusky raping a little boy in the shower. That's plenty old enough to be man enough to step in and stop the assault and protect that child, but he didn't. One detail that I missed until today was that McQueary didn't immediately leave after he witnessed the assault. According to the Grand Jury Report he was still at the complex when he called his Dad to tell him what happened. And how sorry does a father have to be to tell his 28 year old son to leave the complex and allow that assault to continue?

Pretty damned sorry in my opinion.

Another thing I hadn't realized until I read a profile on McQueary today was that he was the quarterback for Penn State while Sandusky was still the Defensive Coordinator. So i think its safe to say he was familiar with the man. And yet from that day until now he never, not once, picked up the phone to call the police after it was apparent nothing was being done to bring him to justice. No, instead he stayed at Penn State and rose through the ranks all while Sandusky was still enjoying his retirement as well as access to the campus.

So you're damn right he should be thrown out on his ear as well.

But that's the point. They all should.

And that included Joe Paterno.

So far there have been reports that 12 or more new victims have come forward since last weekend. Unfortunately I think its likely there will be even more. And many of them may be victims who were assaulted after 2002. We already know of at least one and one was more than enough to clean house. Because even one more victim after 2002 exposes one undeniable truth.

None of the people who had an opportunity and a moral responsibility to end this back then did "enough".

And they all probably should've been fired long before now.


  1. Sadly, I agree with everything you said here. I've probably said so in other forums, but I am 4th generation PSU alum. Joe has been coach my entire life. My grandparents played cards with he and his wife. My grandfather was a professor at PSU. I say all that because for me, this thing hits such an emotional place. I'm disgusted by all of them. I can't believe no one went to the police RIGHT AWAY or even grabbed that little boy in the shower, wrapped a towel around him and kicked Sandusky's ass. But at the same time, something I believed in (the values of PSU and PSU football) is a complete farce and it's emotional and hard to even explain.

    I read through the grand jury report on Monday. I wrote my blog post right after - and I don't even know how to explain the range of emotions that I am feeling - sadness, anger, disappointment, disgust - you name it, I feel it.

    I agree, they all need to go. Clean house and let that university get back to business. Very, very sad times in Happy Valley.

  2. I agree. They all need to be gone. And you know there were others that knew.. Men go home and tell their wives, etc. 0 sympathy to any of the coaching staff. I'm so disgusted, and sad for the victims. HOW did the Grad Asst. NOT immediately stop it? and then immediately call the police? This story will get worse and I wonder what's going on at other sports programs at other universities............. Dest N

  3. They should all be arrested and charged for harboring a child rapist. Guess that's why most have criminal attorneys right now.