Out of bounds

Penn State sex-abuse scandal was grossly mishandled by highest officials

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In 46 years of Joe Paterno’s coaching football at Penn State, there’s never been a worse fumble.

Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno may have committed the fumble of his career in his handling of a sex-abuse scandal involving former defensive coach Jerry Sandusky.  File/Associated Press
File/Associated Press
Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno may have committed the fumble of his career in his handling of a sex-abuse scandal involving former defensive coach Jerry Sandusky.

Maybe in all of sports history.

The legendary coach and several superiors were warned back in 2002 that a former Nittany Lions defensive coach who still had an office at Penn State, Jerry Sandusky, had been caught by a graduate assistant violating a young boy in the school’s showers. The graduate assistant told Paterno. Paterno told an awkwardly sanitized version to the athletic director and so on.

Their response? They asked Sandusky not to bring children on campus anymore.

No call to police. No reaching out to the victim – who turned out to be one of eight young boys allegedly abused by Sandusky from 1994-2008, some up to 20 times. They didn’t even take Sandusky’s office away from him.

They covered it up. And then, authorities allege, two officials allegedly covered up the cover-up: Athletic Director Tim Curley and university Vice President Gary Schultz are accused of lying to a grand jury about it.

Yes, Paterno notified his superiors. But, as a front-page Harrisburg (Pa.) Patriot-News editorial notes, “When Paterno heard that the milquetoast response was to ban Sandusky from bringing kids on campus – a ban that (athletic director) Curley himself called unenforceable – there is no indication Joe ever went to (university President Graham) Spanier to warn him that this could be far more serious.”

In short, multiple fumbles. What were these men thinking? They had an eyewitness to one of the most vile crimes known to man – the sexual assault of a child – and on their property and allegedly by a man in their midst. And they came a whisker away from doing absolutely nothing about it. And what little they did do was patently offensive: In effect, they told him to take it elsewhere.

It’s difficult to put into words how out-of-bounds these men’s actions were. There’s much debate in Pennsylvania about who should go and when. Curley and Schultz are already gone, the former on leave, the latter to retirement. The Patriot-News says President Spanier and Paterno should go too, although the beloved coach should be allowed an honorable discharge after the season. University officials appeared to be working Tuesday on Paterno’s exit.

It’s a good bet if a player had dropped as many balls as these guys have, Paterno would’ve yanked their stumps off the field post haste.

All we know is, they all let those boys down and fed them to an apparent wolf. Wherever they go and when, they’ll have to live with that.

Comments (7) Add comment
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curly123053
4236
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curly123053 11/09/11 - 12:20 am
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Why didn't the graduate

Why didn't the graduate assistant report this crime to the police when it happened? Why didn't coach Paterno report this to the police!? Everyone of them had a moral duty to report this crime back in 2002. Paterno must go!

Craig Spinks
817
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Craig Spinks 11/09/11 - 02:46 am
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Sound familiar: A subtitute

Sound familiar: A subtitute teacher, child molestation allegations, and local public school officials?

Riverman1
79508
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Riverman1 11/09/11 - 04:28 am
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Paterno and all of them

Paterno and all of them should go. I suppose Paterno was technically not breaking the law because he reported it to the university which has its own police force that the university is in charge of, but that is no excuse for not doing more. Paterno is in his 80's and obviously not capable of making decisions anymore. Clean house and restore the pride of Penn State and Happy Valley.

avidreader
2989
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avidreader 11/09/11 - 06:39 am
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I'm not sure about the laws

I'm not sure about the laws in Pa., but in Georgia, it is an EDUCATOR's legal responsibility to report child abuse to an administrator, who in turn is bound to report the incident to legal authorities. This applies to all public educational facilities including colleges and universities. How can these Pennsylvania cretons live with themselves knowing that one of their own is a child molestor?

I'm guessing that multi-millions of dollars in gate receipts and recruitment positions would have been adversely affected had someone followed up with the accusations.

However, I have a sneaky feeling that Paterno will ride into the sunset unscathed and allow his buddies to take the heat.

harley_52
22173
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harley_52 11/09/11 - 05:09 pm
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Right on, Riverman1. Fire

Right on, Riverman1.

Fire them all, today.

Riverman1
79508
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Riverman1 11/09/11 - 06:54 pm
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Let's think about this for a

Let's think about this for a second. The graduate assistant who is now on Paterno's staff saw Sandusky nude with a 10 year old boy doing the unspeakable. He told Paterno who obviously trusts the assistant because he hired him later. This assistant was 26 years old at the time. Why didn't he walk in that shower and grab that child away from this idiot? That's the first thing that should have been done. There comes a time to say the heck with your career and any other thing you are worried about when a little boy is at stake.

Paterno has more power than the AD or college president if the truth is told. After he was told about Sandusky he allowed him to keep an office in the athletic department for 10 years? Paterno never followed up when Sandusky wasn't even arrested? He let that little boy (and other boys) stay in that situation for years.

The only break I'll give Joe Pa is he is senile. More reason to go immediately.

TheArmyWife
0
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TheArmyWife 11/09/11 - 07:24 pm
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I would greatly appreciate

I would greatly appreciate the media focusing their attention on the graduate assistant who witnessed the crime and failed to intervene. What is the statute of limitations for prosecuting child endangerment and neglect in Pennsylvania? Start with him and then work through all the others who failed to act properly. It does strike me odd that people are losing their jobs when the accused molester is still "innocent until proven guilty". I don't disagree with the actions, just find them a bit backwards.

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