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  1. #1

    The Sex Abuse Scandal at PSU

    Shocking accusations at Penn State. I'm curious why DBR speculates that this may result in Joe Paterno's ouster given that preliminary reports suggest he was one of the people that reported the alleged misconduct instead of covering it up. Do suggestions of his removal or retirement have more to do with his age or does someone think he was involved?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Lynchburg, VA

    Penn State Scandal

    I just finished reading the grand jury report and it's hard to know where to begin. As mentioned on the front page, this scandal is nothing like the Duke Lacrosse case. There are multiple credible witnesses and the testimony of the victims and witnesses paint a consistent and compelling picture of Sandusky's MO. I can't think of an similar situation (testimony of multiple victims and at least three independent eye witnesses) where allegations of sexual abuse turned out to be false. This is going to end very badly for Sandusky. It's also likely to end badly for PSU, the football program, and Joe Paterno.

    As a former PSU grad student I'm sickened and depressed by the way this was handled by PSU administrators, and if the grand jury report accurately describes what the GA told Paterno, I think there's a good chance he is coaching his last season. I oversee a coaching staff of five assistant coaches and two GAs and I can't imagine having one of my GAs report a similar situation and not taking it to the police. Again, if the reports of Paterno's involvement are accurate, I don't fault him for not knowing about Sandusky's behavior and I don't fault him for going to his AD first. I even understand how he might violate PA's 48 hour reporting requirement while he waits to see how the administration handles things. However, once the administration decided to handle this with what can't be reasonably characterized as even a slap on the wrist, Paterno should have held the administration accountable and forced them to file a police report. It also seems inexcusable that Paterno didn't either unilaterally ban Sandusky from all football facilities or, if he lacked the legal power to do so, at least push the university to ban Sandusky pending a full police investigation.

    It's just an incredibly sad story and a horrible stain on a university and coach that seemed to have a long legacy of doing things the right way.

  3. #3
    Can you paraphrase the GJ report? Media in PA is reporting Paterno was credited by the GJ with reporting what he had heard. I thought the accusations surfaced long after Sandusky retired but maybe I'm wrong?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by SMO View Post
    Can you paraphrase the GJ report? Media in PA is reporting Paterno was credited by the GJ with reporting what he had heard. I thought the accusations surfaced long after Sandusky retired but maybe I'm wrong?
    Here's the link to the report.

    Sandusky holds emeritus status with Penn State. ln addition to the regular privileges of a
    professor emeritus, he had an office and a telephone in the Lasch Building. The status allowed
    him access to all recreational facilities, a parking pass for a vehicle, access to a Penn State
    account for the internet, listing in the faculty directory, faculty discounts at the bookstore and
    educational privileges for himself and eligible dependents. These and other privileges were
    negotiated when Sandusky retired in 1999. Sandusky continued to use University facilities as per
    his retirement agreement. As a retired coach, Sandusky had unlimited access to the football
    facilities, including the locker rooms.
    So, while Sandusky wasn't a member of the coaching staff when Paterno became aware of the allegations, he had an office in the football building and approved access to all football facilities.

    Paterno is credited with reporting the allegations to the AD, which is a good start but not enough given the horrific nature of the act the GA allegedly reported:

    The graduate assistant and his father decided that the graduate assistant had to report what
    he had seen to Coach Joe Paterno ("Paterno"), head football coach of Pemi [sic] State. The next
    morning, a Saturday, the graduate assistant telephoned Paterno and went to Paterno's home,
    where he reported what he had seen.

    Joseph V. Paterno testified to receiving the graduate assistant's report at his home on a
    Saturday morning. Paterno testified that the graduate assistant was very upset. Paterno called
    Tim Curley ("Curley"), Penn State Athletic Director and Paterno's immediate superior, to his
    home the very next day, a Sunday, and reported to him that the graduate assistant had seen Jerry
    Sandusky in the Lasch Building showers fondling or doing something of a sexual nature to a
    young boy.

    Approximately one and a half weeks later, the graduate assistant was called to a meeting
    with Penn State Athletic Director Curley and Senior Vice President for Finance and Business
    Gary Schultz ("Schultz").

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
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    Durham
    The GJ report is impossible to paraphrase. I only got through the first two victims' accounts and had to stop.

    It sounds like Joe Pa became aware in 2002, 3 years after Sandusky's retirement. He then reported it to the AD, but it isn't clear to me if he did anything beyond that, even after A LOT of time passed and it was obvious that no legal action had been taken against Sandusky despite allegations involving actions that anyone would know are grievous criminal acts. I think that's the issue - even though he reported it to his superior, that wasn't enough. He himself needed to go to the authorities if no one else was. Anyone who knew about the allegations and also knew that no legal action was being taken was complicit in keeping this man out and about and potential putting further young boys at risk.

    I love Joe Pa. I respect him immensely. But everyone - and I mean everyone - is fallible. Sad.

  6. #6
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    Feb 2007
    Location
    Steamboat Springs, CO

    Yuck and More Yuck

    Quote Originally Posted by SMO View Post
    Shocking accusations at Penn State. I'm curious why DBR speculates that this may result in Joe Paterno's ouster given that preliminary reports suggest he was one of the people that reported the alleged misconduct instead of covering it up. Do suggestions of his removal or retirement have more to do with his age or does someone think he was involved?
    Quote Originally Posted by SMO View Post
    Can you paraphrase the GJ report? Media in PA is reporting Paterno was credited by the GJ with reporting what he had heard. I thought the accusations surfaced long after Sandusky retired but maybe I'm wrong?
    Sandusky retired in 1999, but as others have said, retained an office at PSU and had access to the facilities. The reported incident at Penn State occurred in 2002, although there was another graphic incident witnessed by Penn State employees at some point.

    I would say that Penn State was "stupidly loyal" to a long-time coach and two university officials are likely guilty of perjury. There is no evidence that Penn State severed ties with Sandusky.

    sagegrouse

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Lewisville, NC
    Very disturbing and ugly situation. I've been a Penn State fan for years, and my father, brother, and uncle went to school there.

    Report from Harrisburg Patriot-News website

    A source close to the investigation told The Patriot-News that head coach Joe Paterno will not be charged, and was praised by prosecutors for handling himself appropriately.
    Although the situation is not similar to the false accusations against Duke lacrosse players, I think it is reasonable to see how the situation plays out before assuming wrong-doing on the part of the Penn State adminstrators.

  8. #8
    this is a tricky topic. imo, if JoePa was aware of these extremely serious accusations (which it sounds very likely he was), and he had reason to believe that the law, forget about the university, was not aware of them (which some have hinted at, but may be a legitimate question), then he clearly erred in not being personally sure the law was brought into the picture.

    in this hypothetical i'm not saying JoePa is a terrible person, but he clearly did not exemplify the leadership that is expected given his role and was necessary for the situation. let's hope this is not the case, as i think most of us see JoePa as one of the good guys in a sport where we keep seeing bad examples; it would be sad to see him as an ineffectual leader in such a serious matter.

    (shout out to coach cut for his fantastic job in all aspects of his role!)

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by mph View Post
    Here's the link to the report.



    So, while Sandusky wasn't a member of the coaching staff when Paterno became aware of the allegations, he had an office in the football building and approved access to all football facilities.

    Paterno is credited with reporting the allegations to the AD, which is a good start but not enough given the horrific nature of the act the GA allegedly reported:
    I wonder why Paterno is being praised by prosecutors...I heard he will be a witness for the state...incentive to testify or did he really do the right things?

    One thing I really don't get is why the primary witness, the GA, didn't report it to police. Or maybe he did after nothing happened?

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by roywhite View Post
    Although the situation is not similar to the false accusations against Duke lacrosse players, I think it is reasonable to see how the situation plays out before assuming wrong-doing on the part of the Penn State adminstrators.
    I agree with this and just want to clarify that I think there's significantly more doubt about what transpired between the GA, Paterno, and the administration than about Sandusky's guilt. I really hope there's more to the story than what's been reported by the grand jury.

    Quote Originally Posted by SMO View Post
    I wonder why Paterno is being praised by prosecutors...I heard he will be a witness for the state...incentive to testify or did he really do the right things?

    One thing I really don't get is why the primary witness, the GA, didn't report it to police. Or maybe he did after nothing happened?
    Based on what we can glean from the report, it seems like grand jury believed Paterno testified truthfully. Someone with legal expertise will have weigh in on whether or not Paterno met the legal requirements for reporting suspicions of child abuse. It's possible that he was only legally required to report this to his superiors and then became their responsibility to file a police report. I don't know.

    But, it's important to distinguish between his legal and moral culpability. To this point, there doesn't seem to be any evidence that Paterno broke the law, but there's reason to doubt his judgement in taking reasonable steps to prevent someone associated with his football program from sexually abusing children. Doubt doesn't equate to guilt, but the GA's grand jury testimony is troubling to say the least.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by mph View Post
    I agree with this and just want to clarify that I think there's significantly more doubt about what transpired between the GA, Paterno, and the administration than about Sandusky's guilt. I really hope there's more to the story than what's been reported by the grand jury.



    Based on what we can glean from the report, it seems like grand jury believed Paterno testified truthfully. Someone with legal expertise will have weigh in on whether or not Paterno met the legal requirements for reporting suspicions of child abuse. It's possible that he was only legally required to report this to his superiors and then became their responsibility to file a police report. I don't know.

    But, it's important to distinguish between his legal and moral culpability. To this point, there doesn't seem to be any evidence that Paterno broke the law, but there's reason to doubt his judgement in taking reasonable steps to prevent someone associated with his football program from sexually abusing children. Doubt doesn't equate to guilt, but the GA's grand jury testimony is troubling to say the least.
    Criticism from afar is quite easy. We do not have the facts about this matter. Given that Jo Pa has a successful, honorable career - without any evidence of breaking rules or tolerating the breaking of rules - that spans a period that exceeds the existence of many, if not most, of the posters on this board, I am withholding any assignment of culpability or condemnation until MANY more facts and timelines are known.

    Some people, due to their exemplary and honorable life and deeds, are entitled to no less.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by mph View Post
    I agree with this and just want to clarify that I think there's significantly more doubt about what transpired between the GA, Paterno, and the administration than about Sandusky's guilt. I really hope there's more to the story than what's been reported by the grand jury.



    Based on what we can glean from the report, it seems like grand jury believed Paterno testified truthfully. Someone with legal expertise will have weigh in on whether or not Paterno met the legal requirements for reporting suspicions of child abuse. It's possible that he was only legally required to report this to his superiors and then became their responsibility to file a police report. I don't know.

    But, it's important to distinguish between his legal and moral culpability. To this point, there doesn't seem to be any evidence that Paterno broke the law, but there's reason to doubt his judgement in taking reasonable steps to prevent someone associated with his football program from sexually abusing children
    . Doubt doesn't equate to guilt, but the GA's grand jury testimony is troubling to say the least.
    A couple points here:

    1. not a laywer either, but from what I've read, Paterno did fulfill his legal obligation in reporting what he had heard from the Grad. Asst. to his superior, the Athletic Director, and did so in timely fashion. With second-hand knowledge, was he in some way obligated (even ethically) to take this further? Did the graduate assistant tell Paterno or other administrators the same story (in graphic detail) that he later told the grand jury? It's not clear.

    2. Jerry Sandusky was not on the football staff in 2002 when this particular incident and report took place. Sandusky retired in 1999; as part of his retirement package, he had an office in the football office complex and access to the facilities; as I understand it, that's not an unusual perk for a long-time PSU coach. Now, the grand jury record indicates that Sandusky engaged in this kind of contact at least going back to the early 1990's. Was there any awareness of this on Paterno's part? Did it factor into Sandusky's (forced?) retirement?

    I hope these things get sorted out; the athletic director Curley has been accused of perjury. The President, Graham Spanier, has indicated strong support for Curley.
    The overall system did not work if an apparent sexual predator operated under their noses for years. Yuck.

  13. #13
    I am in "Penn State" land and have many friends and family members who went there (including my husband). For years, all I heard was how great of a program PSU football was, and how "clean" they were. I kept my mouth shut b/c on the surface, they appeared clean. But, living about 2-3 hours away from the university, every little thing those players did was on the news....every arrest....every party. I cannot believe the number of arrests that have occurred in that program over the years and it seemed, at least to me, the repercussions were non-existent. For what? To continue the winning tradition?

    Now, I am quite sure these types of things (arrests) occur in other programs, and I know being close to the university has heightened my awareness. However, no one really ever questioned Joe Pa's reactions and the way he handled his players' "extracurricular" activities. I will be VERY interested to see how this plays out for him. Unfortunately, he's a god around here and I think untouchable....but I do think he may have coached his last season. Time to move on...record is broken, mission accomplished.

    There are no words for Sandusky. My brother played football for his son at Albright College, and his ethics were questionable as well. Allowing players to drink before games....pre-season player skits which resulted in one player setting himself on fire. Glad to say my brother left the program after two seasons.

  14. #14
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    Columbus, Ohio
    Penn State is saying that the grad assistant did not tell Joe Pa or anyone else that he witnessed an anal rape of an adolescent.

    Penn State's response to being alerted to what the grad student had seen? They prohibited Sandusky from bringing children from the Second Mile program onto campus. That was it. They did not alert the authorities.

    As far as I'm concerned, that is criminal. They permitted a sexual predator to continue using Second Mile as an incubator for his perversions.

    Joe Pa should resign tomorrow morning.

  15. #15
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    Feb 2007
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    Lynchburg, VA
    Just in time.

    Penn State says it is barring from campus a former football coach accused of sexually assaulting eight boys...

  16. #16
    The link to the GJ report provided above also includes Mike Wise's column for today. It would appear that the WaPo stands firmly behind Wise's conjecturing.
    I'm no fan of Wise's, I remember how he pilloried the lax team, but he brings some pretty strong coffee the this horrible PSU affair.

    The fans must be completely devastated.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Corey View Post
    Penn State is saying that the grad assistant did not tell Joe Pa or anyone else that he witnessed an anal rape of an adolescent.

    Penn State's response to being alerted to what the grad student had seen? They prohibited Sandusky from bringing children from the Second Mile program onto campus. That was it. They did not alert the authorities.

    As far as I'm concerned, that is criminal. They permitted a sexual predator to continue using Second Mile as an incubator for his perversions.

    Joe Pa should resign tomorrow morning.
    Some due process perhaps?

    I'm sure you have some reason for saying that Joe Pa should resign tomorrow morning?
    Could you elaborate and be specific?

    Paterno's testimony to the grand jury was apparently that the grad. assistant did inform him of the incident, and that Paterno did report it to the Athletic Director.
    And you know that Sandusky was not on the football staff at that time?

  18. #18
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    Columbus, Ohio
    Paterno was aware that someone in charge of an organization that dealt exclusively with children had done something inappropriate with a child--be it sexual assault, inappropriate touching, or whatever else was communicated from the grad assistant to paterno--and all he did was report it up the ladder?

    Furthermore, Sandusky had been investigated for child molestation in 1998.

    Even after the 2002 incident, Sandusky maintained his involvement with the organization for another seven years. And my understanding is that according to the grand jury report, he continued bringing children to games, and so on and so forth.

    Being naked with a child in a University shower, if nothing else, is bad enough. And yet the only punitive measure that the grand jury found to have been taken was the prohibition of Sandusky bringing children from the organization to campus.
    Last edited by Mike Corey; 11-06-2011 at 12:51 PM.

  19. #19
    Is Jerry Sandusky related to Alex Sandusky who played for the Baltimore Colts in the 50's?

  20. #20
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    Philly
    I think that it important for everyone to remember that despite multiple witnesses, all of whom seem credible, and the incredibly insidious nature of the allegations, no one has been found guilty of anything. I don't really care if there was a video in which he identified himself before committing the crime, due process must be observed. That being said, there are actions that Penn State should have taken immediately. You can't fire people over potential allegations, but those directly implicated including Curley and Schultz should be suspended with pay pending the final outcome of their cases.

    As for Paterno, there is a delicate balance with the appropriate course of action as this is workplace related. His first course of action in alerting his immediate supervisor is absolutely correct. You don't have to take something that you heard from a second hand source and go completely outside the chain of command. Passing it up the ladder is appropriate to have it investigated. Could he have taken it to the police if he wanted, absolutely. It is never inappropriate to contact the police if you think there is something illegal going on. Where he erred was not following up with anyone to insure that the allegations were properly investigated. In this case that certainly appeared to be a big deal because of how those above him conducted themselves, but you can't judge the severity of what Paterno did wrong based on how the inappropriate actions of those above him made this case worse than what it should have been. What Paterno did does not appear to be illegal and we have to take that part of it at face value. It certainly hurts his reputation that he did not take further action but I personally don't believe that it comes close to outweighing all of the positives that he has done for that community over the years.
    Pratt '09
    GO DUKE!

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