Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Joe Pa, What Are Your Thoughts?

I grew up with college football and have been following it closely for over 30 years.

I have always thought Joe Paterno, the head football coach for Penn State, was a good and honorable guy. He seemed to run a clean program.

This has all changed of course in the last few days. Along with the child sex abuse scandal going on there, we have been hearing that all may not have been well at Penn State. Stories have come out about a man who ran roughshod and ignored the wishes of college administrators. Whether this is true or not is not very relevant at this point, just mentioning it because it shows that everything is not always as it seems.

For those who have not followed the story closely, this is a good article on it.

Basically an ex-assistant coach ran a camp for boys and would bring them to the football facilities to meet players and coaches and use the workout equipment. The coach was sexually assaulting these young men, some as young as 10.

The coach has been charged with sexual assault of children and the Athletic Director and a VP of the college have been charged with covering up the abuse and lying to a grand jury. The cover-up charges stem from an instance of assault in the locker room in 2002. There are now allegations that 2 other instances occurred in 1998 in which college officials knew about and did not report.

Initially it appeared Paterno was simply guilty of a bad choice in his coach and friend.

Then it came out that he knew about the assault but continued his association with the coach for the last 9 years. The assistant coach was banned from bringing kids onto campus but was still a regular visitor there, being seen working out on the campus as recently as last week when the story began to break.

Now it seems Paterno may have been a part of the cover-up.

The story on the 2002 incident is that a graduate assistant heard sounds of possible sexual activity in a shower/bathroom (I have heard 2 different accounts) that the assistant coach was in alone with a 10 year old boy.

Paterno notified school officials, not the police, and the alleged cover-up began.

He now claims he did not know the extent of what had happened in the room with the child. Wouldn't you ask your friend about this? He apparently did not and not only continued his association and friendship with the assistant coach, he continued to let him visit the facilities - as long as he didn't bring children with him.

Now we have this

But Paterno -- who has not been accused of any criminal wrongdoing -- showed me all I need to know about him as a man when he waited a full day to relay a witness' account of rhythmic slapping noises emanating from a shower occupied by Sandusky and that poor 10-year-old boy.


The interesting thing here is this. At the top I told how rumors are coming out that Paterno did as he pleased on campus. Ran over the administrators. Now he is hiding behind them and saying he notified the administration of the abuse and is escaping legal jeopardy so far. Is this believable considering that it appears he ran things in the athletic department?

Also, a little irony. The very same administration he has supposedly spent the last decade or two running over are now convening a special panel to decide his fate. Maybe a little payback time?

So, what do you think about this? Is retirement enough? Should he be allowed to finish the season? What about criminal charges?


Z said...

I hate to think it but criminal charges don't seem out of place....if not telling is a crime. Which I feel it is.
ten year old boys; and with firsthand accounts? (this is no "he said/he said" here)

What a terrible end of a stellar career whatever happens.

And another hero falls.
Poor America.
But, mostly, those POOR BOYS.

sue hanes said...

Chuck - To me this is a travesty.

Again we seem to have a sports
tragedy - and the tragedy is that sports comes before anything else.

Sports fans cannot bring themselves to see that their 'hero' is really a jerk.

Sports has become bigger than itself.

Time after time this happens.

Joe Paterno is the one who should get the blame as if he himself molested those boys.

And these diehard sports fans had a 'hand' on it too.

It is shameful.

Z said...

Chuck, you've probably heard by now that they FIRED Joe Paterno tonight! wow

Chuck said...

Z, I think he should be charged. This wiped out everything he has accomplished

Sue, students went to his house and cheered him on. His players gave him a standing ovation. He will walk away a hero still

Z, I have now. We were watching TV and I did not have a news site up. I thought this whole retirement thing was a game by him. I think he thought it would hold the university off. I think it was the right decision. This is the only way they will get past this.

Always On Watch said...

Pedophilia is a horrible crime.

Those complicit in the cover up should face the full weight of the law.

sue hanes said...

Chuck - This is a prime example of what has turned me against spectator hero sports.

I still like the championship matches in any sport - to see the skills of best against best.

But this obsession people have with sports is so - almost sad in a way.

Of making heroes of people who are not.

And how sad that Joe Paterno lived in denial of his guilt because he could not come out from behind his own iconic symbol.

He didn't have the guts to take a stand against what was really important vs the hoopla.

Unfortunately this is like the problem of roaches - when you see one there are most likely many more.

Mustang said...

According to the AP:

“In 1998, victim 6 is taken into the locker rooms and showers when he is 11 years old. When Victim 6 is dropped off at home, his hair is wet from showering with Sandusky. His mother reports the incident to the university police, who investigate.

“Detective Ronald Schreffler testifies that he and State College Police Department Detective Ralph Ralston, with the consent of the mother of Victim 6, eavesdrop on two conversations the mother of Victim 6 has with Sandusky. Sandusky says he has showered with other boys and Victim 6's mother tries to make Sandusky promise never to shower with a boy again but he will not. At the end of the second conversation, after Sandusky is told he cannot see Victim 6 anymore, Schreffler testifies Sandusky says, ''I understand. I was wrong. I wish I could get forgiveness. I know I won't get it from you. I wish I were dead.''

“Jerry Lauro, an investigator with the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, testifies he and Schreffler interviewed Sandusky, and that Sandusky admits showering naked with Victim 6, admits to hugging Victim 6 while in the shower and admits that it was wrong.

“The case is closed after then-Centre County District Attorney Ray Gricar decides there will be no criminal charge.”

So while there is plenty of criticism for Paterno’s role in this horror story, Pennsylvania law enforcement appears to be the chief enabler here … let the chips fall where they may.

DaBlade said...

Can't help having saddness for the senior student athletes who had no knowledge of any of this and now play their last home game this sat. (senior day) after devoting their lives to their sport..

Brooke said...

Anyone involved should be charged, including, IMO, the people who walked in on the horrific act and did not immediately STOP IT and or AT LEAST call the police right then and there.


Ticker said...

Pa Law has this to say on reporting of child abuse:
(b) Staff members of public or private agencies, institutions and facilities. RNs, LPNs and CRNPs who are staff members of a medical or other public or private institution, school, facility or agency, and who, in the course of their employment, occupation or practice of their profession, come into contact with children shall immediately notify the person in charge of the institution, school, facility or agency or the designated agent of the person in charge when they have reasonable cause to suspect on the basis of their professional or other training or experience, that a child coming before them in their professional or official capacity is a victim of child abuse.

Paterno is employed by a public institution, namely Penn State. He was mandated to report to LAW ENFORCEMENT OR TO THE DEPARTMENT (CPS) He failed to do so making him complicit in the abuse of these children.
By not reporting he became an enabler of this individual to continue to abuse children. By not reporting he is guilty of covering up such action and thus he becomes a part of such action by knowledge of the fact.
That's the law folks in about every state that I know of.
The school has every right to terminate him and he should be by all rights prosecuted as part of the abuse.

Ticker said...

Unless the Campus police are sworn officers of the law under PA law thus making them officers of the court they are not required BY LAW to report to CPS, morally yes, legally no. From what I can find on searching Campus police at Penn State are no more than "security guards" (rent a cop). Morally they should have reported to outside law enforcement but by PA law they were not required to do so. They report to the Administration of Penn State who would legally been responsible for reporting such actions. That would follow PA State Law on Child Abuse.
It appears according to Mustangs post that CPS did an interview and that the County Attorney says NO CASE and let it drop. His makes the investigator for CPS and the Country also complicit in this as well. Unfortunately County Attorneys are 'political creatures" and want to hold their jobs. If he had pursued the case as he should have the powers that be at Penn State would have had his head.
So as we see the coverup was from TOP down at Penn State and ALL heads should roll. I damn sure would push for jail time for all of those involved.

MK said...

If he knew what some pedophile was up to and did nothing and continued to associate with said pedophile for years, he's no hero to me.

I'm not sure that knowing of a crime and keeping quiet about it is also crime, that's for the authorities to determine, hopefully in this instance it is a crime.

As a parent, i'd be most alarmed that someone who is supposed to be a role model for children is apparently so indifferent to them. What are the fools supporting him cheering for, are they morally bankrupt?

Alligator said...

Corrupt people, running a corrupt system, all to protect the corrupt "god" of college athletics. I lost interest in college sports long, long ago because of the over-emphasis on it in life. Maybe the victims should sue the University of Pennsylvania the way the Catholic Church was sued. Looks like there is potentially a lot of blame to go around.

Mustang said...

I suppose punishing the university through civil action is one way to exact retribution … except the people you really punish are students or their parents who will ultimately experience increases in tuition and fees.

Chuck said...

AOW, I very much agree

Sue, more than one columnist has written that we need to look past this to the career Paterno has had and remember him for that. This is idiocy.

Mustang, I can't argue with that. I think in the end there will be plenty of blame to go around

DaBlade, they did get shafted

Brooke, why didn't they knock him on his butt then and call the police? The graduate assistant that caught him, and didn't call the police either, will be coaching this Saturday at PSU

Ticker, good info. I think that essentially anyone involved in this should go to jail including Paterno

MK, What are the fools supporting him cheering for, are they morally bankrupt?

The entire Penn State community has a lot to answer for

Alligator, I still like college sports because they are still a little less sleazier than the pros although the gap is narrowing rapidly.

There was an interesting take by a radio host (who actually reported on a rumor about this in April). He pointed out that the abuser coach, Sandusky, "retired" at the age of 55. He was a good coach with a lot of national respect. 55 is fairly young age nowadays for a college coach. His question was, why didn't anyone else in the country try to offer him a job? His speculation is that this incident was known outside of PSU. It's not impossible there are a LOT more people that knew about this than we will ever realize.

cube said...

I couldn't live with myself if I had walked onto a scene such as that and had not called the police. I wouldn't have called my father... I wouldn't have called the school administrator... I would've called the police. What were these people thinking? Well, I guess thinking wasn't part of the protocol.

Z said...

As you could see from my post, I'm with DaBlade.
I've seen too many interviews of desperate Penn State students who are humiliated as if they did anything wrong. It's ugly all the way around. But mostly for the abused children and the students.

what a horror these grown men allowed to happen ...