I posted this on Facebook on Sunday (22 January). The response was amazing:
I’m having trouble with all the Joe Paterno worship I’m seeing today. Yeah, he was a “winning football coach” and all, but when he found out one of his assistant coaches was raping little boys in his spare time (even on campus!), he did the very minimum required by law (reported it to his supervisor). He did NOT make sure it stopped, he did NOT make sure that the police had been notified, he did NOT fire the assistant coach, he did NOT apparently follow up at all. Seems to me that failure to act as a human being WAY outweighs being good at a freaking GAME. Who seriously disagrees with that? Really: if you still respect the man, tell me WHY.
Defending the Indefensible
In less than 24 hours, more than 150 people clicked “Like” to that statement and question, and there are nearly that many comments, too.
A lot of those comments are copied below, so that those who missed the debate on Facebook — and those who aren’t on Facebook — can see the alarming direction it took.
Yes, a majority agree that the worship of a sports figure over actual harm being done to children is simply wrong. But there was also a tiny few who can’t stand to have anything ugly come between themselves and the fallible humans (dare I say false idols?!) they worship.
I’ve put their names in red so they stand out better, since in many ways theirs are the more interesting.
I’m posting this to promote more dialogue in the face of losing subscribers over this. It’s true: incredibly, several people have already unsubscribed from True over my daring to ask “WHY”!
Yet I refuse to be silent, and maybe you’ll see why if you take the time to read it all — it’s long, but it’s a fascinating glimpse into what I think are some really warped thought processes: they demand to let their bias kill the messenger and (literally!) screw the children: “My idol worship must prevail!”
Note: Despite the length of this, I’ve not copied all the comments, just enough to get a full flavor. I’ve “nested” the comments as much as I can so that you can follow the flow of conversation more easily; it’s roughly in time order (some comments combined and nested to make reading easier).
Last, remember that on Facebook, there are no italics, bold, etc., so for emphasis ALL CAPS is common.
Ellen, a teacher in Maine: I’ve been thinking the same thing, Randy. Unbelievable. Disgusting.
Rene in Ohio: Thank you.
Deanna, a minister in Ohio: I agree with you Randy. Nothing ever makes abuse “ok” not even being a winning football coach.
Will in California: Randy, I disagree with you on this. There is absolutely no proof, no evidence, just words said by some men who claim these things happened and the tale told by a sleazy guy who is unbelievably weird. I support Paterno and Sandusky and I would like to see concrete proof of these allegations.
I will forever believe that his death was hastened by Penn State’s lack of willingness to get the details and discover the truth of the matter before bowing to public pressure and media lies. Show me the evidence! Bleep the media and the public, the board’s job is to protect and serve the school, not the public whim. Long live JoePa!
Dee in Washington DC: Will, I’m not sure which sleazy guy you are referring to, but the fact that JoePa *admitted* that he had reported Sandusky and did not follow-up on it makes me think there might have been some truth to the allegations.
Michelle in California: Will – it seems the public and the media were THE ONLY ONES TALKING ABOUT THIS because Paterno and the school tried to cover it up.
Whether or not Sandusky is guilty or innocent, he needs to be investigated. The fact that this has been swept under the rug for DECADES is what makes this whole thing disgusting and why “JoPa” as you call him is just as disgusting.
Sue in Colorado: Turns my stomach to see such worship for a pedophile protector, but it is more common than we think. Those boys are affected 100% of the rest of their lives. Winning football games does not make a great man.
Aaron in Washington DC: Will, not to piss all over the parade or anything, but have you read this?
Grand Jury report [PDF, 973K — WARNING: contains some graphic descriptions of sexual abuse of children aged 11-12 (victim 1), about 10 (victim 2), “between 7th and 8th grade” (victim 3), 12 or 13 (victim 4), 7 or 8 (victims 5 and 6), about 12 (victim 7), 11-13 (victim 8).]
It reads like a NAMBLA library book. Do you seriously think that none of this happened? I think it’s about time we stop this nonsensical bullshit about sports and start focusing on something more important that the fantasy league. Screw sports, the money wasted on it and everything they stand for.
Will responds: All of you are missing my point, where is the proof that these “boys” were even being molested or anything else? We are too quick to assume that charges equal guilt. Sandusky is innocent until evidence proves otherwise. Isn’t that what our justice system is all about?I grant you that Sandusky is weird, even perverted, but that is not a criminal offense as far as I know. If it were, more than 75% of this nation would be locked away!
Is no one willing to answer my posts? Whatever happened to innocence before guilt?
I’ll answer you, Will: it DOES NOT MATTER if the allegations are true — even though they likely are. The POINT is that it needed to be investigated. He had information, and chose to keep quiet. THAT is unconscionable. THAT is what I’m talking about. The delay instituted by himself (AND the “supervisors” above him) made it HARDER to get at the truth and, if true, made it HARDER on the boys involved. That is ALSO unconscionable.
Will, I do commend you for having the guts to say what you think. But you keep putting “boys” in quotation marks, and excuse it because they are now apparently men. That’s half the point: they were CHILDREN. Not “college boys” but school-aged KIDS. This deserved investigation LONG before it came to light, but it didn’t get that investigation because of Joe. I can’t dismiss this as “Oh, it’s probably just stories” …being told by MANY people. A conspiracy? Riiiight. Sorry, but I can’t dismiss it that easily.
Cheryl in New York: What people will (not) do in the name of winning games is disgusting and shows where priorities are, and they are NOT in the right place. That anyone would make excuses for someone who does nothing to make sure children are not being assaulted/abused is inexcusable, and that kind of refusal to act should be punishable by, at the very least, a long suspension without pay. To refuse to act is to allow evil to flourish.
Amazing how people justify inaction and explain it away.
John in Virginia: I have no children of my own; but I can NOT understand how anyone who does could possibly overlook this. If the JANITOR mopping the floors in the locker room saw what happened EVERYONE would expect more to have been done. He did nothing to cause the problem, but his INACTIONS allowed it to continue; how many more boys were assaulted because “Joe” did NOTHING?
Robb in New Hampshire: By all accounts, Joe knew well before anyone else relevant knew and before literally anything was done. I’m not ready to have a jury convict him on my belief of such news reports, but if that’s the case, he’s *almost* as much as a scumbag as sandusky for, essentially, looking the other way. To put his football achievements ahead of disregarding such a disgusting act just comes down to how serious your priorites are. Good luck with what you see in the mirror.
How does it go? For evil to prevail all it takes is for good men to do nothing? Thanks Joe, thanks for nothing.
Will replies: I DO NOT protect or defend pedos, but I do defend and support all when justice must be done. These “boys” now men, I assume, are likely creating a false story. These accusers should step forward and publicly announce their intentions, otherwise this case has no merits for even existing. That is all I have to say on this. Thank you.
Miriam, a teacher in California: Will, I believe you are speaking with the best intentions but you have absolutely NO idea how this level of child abuse works. You need to do a minimum of reading or speaking with experts before you throw such strong assumptions into the ring. You have every right to your opinion, but you are *****massively***** uninformed.
People who have been anally raped very often take years to even recall the event — or they become rapists themselves. (Often, child rapists can’t recall their actions, either. Once they realize what they’ve done, they are often suicidal.) That is why it is so easy for perpetrators to stay safely in the shadows. We all want to look in the other direction. No one wants to face what horrors are done to children. And that includes many of the people who are horrified at this event…but believe that it is a rare occurrence. Seeing the truth of it makes the world seem too evil.
You are right that, according to the law, an indicted person is innocent until proven guilty. But some indictments come with more solid supporting evidence than others. But absolutely, the legal court is different than the court of public opinion, and we should be careful how far we go with our community judgments.
Good news is that we are beginning to see the light. I do believe that someday, children will be safer than they are today.
David in Arkansas: Some of the comments here confirm what I’ve long suspected: too many people are willing to give athletes (and their coaches) a free pass. I guess winning the next game is more important than an individual’s safety or well being.
Kevin in Colorado: I can shed a tear for the passing of a great man who did more good for this world before breakfast than 99% of the rest of the population. Sandusky is a scumbag, no doubt about it, but to target Paterno for everything that has happened… bullshit in my book.
Michelle in California: Kevin – no one is saying to target him for everything. However, he is still responsible for not doing more to protect those boys. He did the absolute minimum he had to do, which says that he cared more about protecting Sandusky (or maybe just protecting his football team/staff) than protecting CHILDREN.
Brandon in Missouri: Anyone that would hurt children or allow them to be hurt is deserving of disdain, not hero worship. If he had simply been a decent human being, it would have stopped. Instead, he was selfish and cowardly. For that he deserves to be remembered… it overrides whatever accomplishments he had as a coach.
As a human he’s disgusting. As an educator he’s reprehensible.
Jack in Colorado: I really don’t condone “trial by media” and the circus of criticism it spawns. Certainly we should all know by now that what we read in the news or is portrayed on TV news magazines should be taken with a million grains of salt. The quality of journalism today is certainly suspect. So, why should we swallow what has been fed us in this case? Joe Paterno should ultimately be remembered for his efforts to raise the academic standards for his athletic program at Penn State and for the athletes he coached. A modest and generous man.
Aaron in Washington DC: I’m not swallowing nothing, I read the fricken testimony from the court.
Shane in Texas: Looks to me as if fingers are not being pointed in all directions that they need to be!! If all of this happened in 2002, then more than Joe and Sandusky should be in their way to hell!!! 9 years is totally unacceptable for nothing to be “investigated”. Not saying anyone is guilty of committing the act, but not making sure the allegations are investigated in a timely matter is just as disturbing as the act!!!
Neil in Canada: Right, there’s the other cliché argument, as I predicted. Blame the victims, and if that fails, shoot the messenger. The media must be circumspect, always. After all, they tell us stuff, sometimes inaccurately. better to rely on bloggers who have no motives, right?
All except, yeah, that court testimony. But, the victims must be out for something, like the fame and glory that comes from an old man sticking his penis up your anus. Right? Sheesh.
Anna in Nevada: When sports are more important than people’s lives, something is very wrong with American priorities.
Eric in Pennsylvania: All of you seem to think you know the whole story, but none of you know anything except what the media wants you to know. I for one am going to leave the judging of Joe Paterno to God.
Randy, who was Joe supposed to fire? By the time anything was reported to Joe, Sandusky had been retired for 3 years.
Make up your mind: the media knows nothing and lies, except when they print evidence that backs up your side?
To answer your question, yes: according to the timeline compiled by CNN, Sandusky retired in 1999, and Paterno was told what was going on in 2002. However, after his retirement, Sandusky stayed on at the university as a “volunteer” coach, and brought children as young as “7 or 8” to the university where, according to witnesses cited by the Grand Jury, Sandusky anally and orally raped those children on campus in the locker room showers and elsewhere. It was only then that Sandusky’s locker room keys were “confiscated” and he was told to stop bringing the children from his organization to campus anymore.
Three or four years later, CNN summarizes, Sandusky was grooming yet another child, and a year or so after that, “A wrestling coach at the high school where Sandusky is volunteering allegedly surprises Sandusky and a boy ‘lying on their sides, in physical contact, face to face on a mat’ in a cramped weight room. Sandusky jumps to his feet and tells the coach the two were just working on wrestling moves, the coach later recalls in grand jury testimony.
As time goes on, Sandusky allegedly begins to spend more time with the boy, taking him to sporting events and giving him gifts, including golf clubs, a computer, cash and clothes. During this period, according to the grand jury report, Sandusky allegedly performs oral sex on the boy more than 20 times, and the boy performs oral sex on him once.”
Yet Paterno still allowed Sandusky to “work” on campus as a “volunteer” coach. That is what I am talking about when I say Paterno chose not to “fire” him — to get him away from the youths that Paterno is responsible for.
Maxim in New Jersey: This is a highly inappropriate discussion in a social forum that appears on many ‘Walls’ in Facebook. The range of comments resemble the sort of postings that appear in a blog or following an opinion piece in the media; and the use of graphic words intended for ‘shock’ value borders on obscene. Randy, I’ve been a follower of you for many years, but this crossed a line.
My Reply: Maxim, hide the post if it disturbs you. If people can openly worship a man like that, I can object to it. If you don’t like it, STOP READING. One other thing: words aren’t “obscene” — actions are. That you would object to the words without objecting to the actions is, IMO, obscene in itself.
David in California: “In hindsight, I wish I had done more.” -Joe Paterno (Source)
Joe Paterno wasn’t just the coach of the Penn St. Nittany Lions football team. He was considered to be more powerful than the university president. Beyond that, he was a leader of the community. Look at how he is still revered by people like Will. As he admitted, he should have done more.
If you don’t think he should have done more, answer this one question: If it had been your son Sandusky was raping in the Penn St. locker room showers, would you have wanted Coach Paterno to have done more?
He could have called the police. He could have sat down with the guy who worked for him for 20 years and made sure he got into serious rehab if he weren’t going to jail. He could have tipped off a reporter. There are countless ways that he as a leader of his community and one who was so revered could have done SOMETHING.
“All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing…” or in this case, to do the minimum required by law.
Colleen in New Jersey: As head coach, JP was in a position to back up the men who DID see as they made eyewitness reports, without fear of losing their jobs or being blackballed in the NCAA. Maxim: It IS an ugly issue. That’s why we need to talk about it. If not now, when? If not us, who? Abuse happens when people like us turn our backs and ignore it.
Maxim: Anyone under age 13 on [Facebook] has irresponsible parents, which is another whole set of problems. Anyone 13 or over needs to know about this topic (if they don’t already) and has heard worse language in school. Get with the program here!
DiAnn in Texas: All I could say say go ahead and blackball me because I would be calling the TV station myself if that is what it took to get that pedophile fired. You know the main reason WHY there are so many pedophiles now days? Because people tolerate it! As long as they are getting something they want they look the other way.
Aaron in Washington, DC: He got away with it because people dont want to hear things like some creepy old fricken guy touched some kids. So they cover their eyes, ears, nose, and yell “LALALALALALALALA I can’t hear you!!! I Don’t believe you!!!!!!! LALALALALALALALALA,” idiots. Grow up and realize that your support of these slimy people is why this happens. You’re at fault, yes you, I hold you accountable.
Cheryl in New York: Eric, if you’re upset because people have read factual documents such as the grand jury testimony and made up their minds based on that, you’re the one with the problem, because we made informed decisions. Can you say the same?
Maxim, you are absolutely out of line telling Randy to close and delete this thread. If you don’t like it, then don’t read it. There is nothing here that’s any more vulgar or explicit than what’s said by middle and high school students. We’re far less vulgar and explicit, and there’s nothing here that’s immature or undisciplined. We’re being far more civil, polite, and courteous than many blogs and message boards I’ve visited. I’d love to what what damage you’re referring to when you say the damage has already been done. What are we saying here that wasn’t said by the media well before now? If you’re worried about impressionable young minds being corrupted, you’re barking up the wrong tree.
Maxim, again: Randy, and others, foul language and references to sexual organs is extraneous to this discussion. Facebook is a social medium that is frequented by young people; it is a not a private blog, and it is not a closed group. Permit to suggest that I am not some uptight religious person; my views are very liberal, but I have had to deal with parents and organizations that are concerned about the consequences of immature and undisciplined behavior in social mediums. Don’t try to dismiss my comments by telling me to hide it; I already have done just that, but the damage is already done. Take this sort of discussion elsewhere, and do it forthrightly; don’t play word games of offended virtue or free speech. Once again, close and delete this thread.
No, Maxim: I will NOT be censored. I will NOT allow the worshipers to be the only voice here. I will NOT stand idly by and say nothing, and for you to suggest I do so is, as I said, obscene. That you repeat it is reprehensible.
Aaron in Washington DC: Why try to censure it? Does the truth scare you? He could have gone to the cops, and then people today would have been like “yeah, that guy was awesome, he set fire to Sandusky, remember that?” but he didn’t.
Neil in Canada: Maxim: References to sexual organs offends you or someone else? We all got ’em. Your puritanical stance is an attempt at censorship. The very crux of this matter is that a man used his sexual organs to violate a young boy. If there was ever a time to write the word penis, this would be it.
Dee in Washington DC: Maxim, Facebook is an open forum, but Randy’s page is Randy’s page. You can control what your friends see on YOUR page, but you cannot dictate what he wants to post on HIS page or what discussions I want to see. As Randy said, if you are offended by the discussion, hide it so that it does not show up on your own FB page. You can also “unfollow” the discussion so you don’t have to see any additional updates.
Mark, a college professor in Minnesota: Randy, thanks for calling it for what it is. Paterno may have been a “nice guy”, but he was the beneficiary of a cult of personality constructed by various Athletic Directors to enrich the PSU coffers. If he had any inkling to do the right thing, they were trumped by the need to keep the myth alive. And Maxim, sexual assault is a violent crime committed with and against genitalia. Call it what it is and quit trying to sanitize the act with manufactured outrage.
Bill in Pennsylvania: I was wondering who was going to step up and ask the tough questions. I should have guessed it would be you Randy. The fact that he did the minimum where the safety of young people were diminishes the legend and the man.
Tig in California: And to add to the actual discussion – I went and read the report that was linked to from here. It seems various people believed there to be some truth to the accusations – he was banned from various sorts of access to the kids over time – but because there were not enough reports to authorities, the situation continued – putting more young boys in danger. ‘Not at this school’ isn’t enough.
Robert, location unknown: Randy, I’m sorry to see you badmouthing a man who just died. Especially since you and many of your commenters have a somewhat skewed viewpoint here. One of the 2 people JoePa reported the info he had to was the man in charge of the Penn State Police Department. The other was the University President. Can you think of anyone more appropriate? And once that info was passed on, the proper authorities were responsible for follow-up. Joe was the FOOTBALL coach, not the POLICE coach. He had no authority or responsibility to hold their hand while they did their job. Further, McQueery’s story seems to be twisting in so many directions, nobody really knows what he actually saw – including him. What has remained constant is JoePa’s story of the limited and sketchy info he was given by McQueery who told Joe he MIGHT have seen something that MIGHT have been inappropriate. But did you notice who was still on the sidelines coaching until his life was threatened? And even thgen, he was put on an administrative leave WITH PAY! Penn State Administrators and Trustees flubbed this big time and JoePa’s reputation should not be sullied by their screw-ups. For now, I am considering cancelling all contact with you and your pages and sites. I find it difficult to support someone with a public forum who uses it to defile others without sorting through ALL of the FACTS leaviong emotion aside.
My Reply: It’s astonishing to me that asking WHY is considered “badmouthing.”
Miriam in California: Robert, I find that people who say we should put emotion aside are rarely doing so at the time.
I do actually wonder if Joe Paterno may have simply been more clueless and less culpable than some…but I don’t see how anyone could allow their colleague and friend to continue to work with children after knowing that something occurred that was clearly very concerning. I can’t imagine any responsible person not following through with the persons to whom he reported. No moral excuse for that is in my sights. What am I missing? Seriously, I would like to know if you would just report and then get back to business as usual.
Colleen in New Jersey: Robert: Our point is that there was inadequate follow through. JoPa, the trustees, the Penn State Campus Police, all of the adults who knew SOMETHING did precious little with that knowledge, and children suffered as a result. Football, and adult careers, were more important, apparently. We teach children to say no, and run to tell a trusted adult immediately. (Reportedly, one kid did, and his mother challenged Sandusky, to no avail…) It is then up to the ADULTS to follow through, and keep on with the follow-through, until appropriate results occur.
Pete in Virginia:Robert: it’s the fact that he did not follow through. He should have fired the assistant coach right then and there end of story. But you ask who would have been more appropriate to complain to – how about the local police department? IF he had done what was necessary then… but he didn’t. He put the university’s name and football program ahead of the well being of children.
Robert, you want facts? Fine. JoPa was told about Sandusky “fondling or doing something of a sexual nature to a young boy” by McQuery. JoPa tells Tim Curley the Athletic Director who later denies being told. The next day McQuery is in a meeting with Curley and Sr VP, director of Finance Gary Shultz who had “oversight” of the campus Police. And yet somehow Sandusky was STILL there. AND when all of this comes to head, Curley and Shultz abandon ship.
David in Arkansas: I guess Robert only listens to sources that agree with his biased & predetermined opinions. Heaven forfend he get confused by the facts.
Robert’s Reply: Pete, wipe the emotion out of your eyes and read what I said and what you said. Sandusky was no longer an assistant coach at the time so he couldn’t be fired. Joe also was not told what exactly happened so firing anyone would open him to major lawsuits. And can you get more local of a police department than the Penn State Police who police the campus where this allegedly occurred???
I’ve read all the facts, David. Maybe you should read them or change your profile pic to a more appropriate Obama logo. See ya Randy, I really don’t nbeed you or your liberal, judgemental idiots.
My Reply: Oh, here we go again! If you can’t argue the merits, sputter out the biggest epithet you can think of (“liberal!”), and then take your ball and run home, crying all the way.
Poor, poor Robert unsubscribed from True, repeating his complaint:
Robert: “You and your followers here and on FaceBook have gone way too liberal and feel it is fair to bash even the recently departed. Your rant about Joe Paterno was undeserved, unnecessary and unsupported by the facts. I thought you had more charachter than this but when I tried to address it to you on FB, I was attacked by your blithering idiot followers there. They can buy as many of your GOOH Free cards as they want, it won’t help them. And your comments in This is True are marginally funny at best anymore. Most are just plain insulting or cruel. A grand slide from where you were a few years ago when I first began following you. I guess the election of Obama not only financially bankrupted this Nation, but comedically bankrupted you. See ‘ya!”
Dee in Washington DC: Randy, thanks for hosting this very interesting discussion. It’s really made me think – and I know how you love doing that! 🙂 I saw a bit on TV where someone said, “Don’t pray for [JoePa], pray TO him – he’s a saint!” I think that kind of statement is what we are talking about.
Joe Paterno was a great football coach who was known as someone who took seriously his role of developing young men into responsible adults. He was not a saint however, he was human, and he made human mistakes. He got blinded by almighty football and didn’t act when he should have to protect children. Maybe he just couldn’t believe anything like that could have happened and just mentally pushed it under the rug (you know, the “LALALALALA I know nothing” syndrome). Whatever. He obviously had a positive effect on many many people, but he made a serious misstep that encouraged horrible behaviorand destroyed many other lives.
I don’t celebrate his death and I do understand people mourning his passing. I feel very sorry for him and his family, but I feel sorrier for the children who suffered because he (and the rest of Penn State) did not stop Sandusky.
Will stated “These accusers should step forward and publicly announce their intentions, otherwise this case has no merits for even existing.”
I believe it takes great courage for any rape victim to even give evidence in court, much less speak up publicly. And it’s especially difficult in a case where the victim is a child and the rapist is someone is supposedly “helping” them. I think Randy stated it quite clearly: the issue here is not really whether the crimes were actually committed, but that the accusations were not only not investigated, but were swept under a rug. One wonders if McQueary had seen a complete stranger abusing a 10-year-old in his local gym, would it have been investigated?
The Attempt at Censorship: Shoot the Messenger!
And that’s enough — except for Maxim, who sent me a private message to say that he had reported the discussion thread to Facebook — since I won’t censor it upon his demand, he thought he should report it to a higher authority (Facebook) in an attempt to get them to enforce the censorship he demands:
Maxim: I’ve already blocked your thread. Take it up with Facebook; they have the message, and that second notice was just a professional courtesy. One last point, we’ve both been around the block; we are both professional writers, but you are a young man compared to me. You will have to deal with the issues that I mentioned without support from wise and mature people; that leaves you with people who see it as fun to indulge in foul language. Good luck with that.
Perhaps Maxim is a writer (just color me skeptical), but he’s not what I would ever consider a professional: someone talks about what this whole thing is really about — anal rape — and he’s so squeemish about the use of the proper word for the weapon used (gasp! a penis!) that he demands censorship?
No professional writer I could respect would ever do that. We don’t need a “freedom of speech” right for speech we like — it’s only for speech that we dislike, makes us uncomfortable, delves into topics we don’t want to hear about, but that needs to be brought into the open.
And that’s why this whole thing is here: Maxim’s threat. In the unlikely event that Facebook does censor it based on one squeamish idiot’s complaint, I want it on my site so that I can ensure this discussion is available.
Stand Up and Be Counted!
Again, more than one has unsubscribed from my mailing list because of it. Will you replace those idol worshipers? If you’re not already a subscriber to This is True (“Thought-provoking entertainment”), please scroll to the form on this page and proudly enter your address for my newsletter. Already a subscriber? Consider upgrading to a paid subscription to really show support for this kind of discussion, and to get more of my work each week.
Yep, some 13+ kids read my original comment, and perhaps read all or some of the comments thread too. Good! As others have said, they’ve heard the words before, and if they’re not aware of the fact that some of the “responsible” adults around them commit sexual atrocities upon the very children they’re supposed to protect, then it’s time they became aware.
Anal and oral rape is an ugly subject? You bet it is, and I want youngsters to know that it’s OK to say no, and if it happens anyway, they need to know that the police and other authorities do want to help them and put the bad people into jail. (“People” because it’s not just men: women sexually abuse children too, even if not as much.)
Looking the Other Way Enables Pedophiles
The sexual abuse of children is simply not right, and to cover it up, to demand that this ugly subject be hidden from view like it’s not happening, is part of what makes it possible for pedophiles to continue their abuse.
Last word, for now, goes to this comment on Facebook:
James in Colorado: Correct me if I am wrong. It is the PLAYERS that win the game. It is the PLAYERS, not the coach. While I admit that the coach “makes the decisions” on what plays to make, but again its the PLAYERS that make it happen. I don’t think any coach deserves to be called a WINNER. Just my opinion. Feel free to correct me if my perceptions are wrong about who wins the game.
Well sure. But who takes — and gets! — credit for the wins, especially over time? That’s what we’re all talking about: the utter worship of the wrong people. Good call, James.
July 2012 Update
Again, my January posting simply asked the question of why there was such reverence for a man who allowed child rape to continue under his nose. There was a lot of anger over such a question: Paterno “did so much” for football, Penn State, and the students in his program!
As if sacrificing young children to a predator somehow was OK because he did good things for young men.
Not in my world it doesn’t. Not even if it was “just” one.
Sandusky was charged on 5 November 2011 with seven counts of involuntary deviant sexual intercourse, eight counts of corruption of minors, eight counts of endangering the welfare of a child, seven counts of indecent assault, and other offenses. Only then was he banned from the Penn State campus. He was found guilty on 22 June 2012 of 45 of the 48 counts against him. He has not yet been sentenced, but faces a minimum of 60 years, and as much as 442 years, in prison.
But let’s look at the results of exhaustive investigation into Paterno’s acts — mostly of omission.
In a story headlined Louis Freeh report on PSU attacks Joe Paterno’s judgment and integrity, the Philadelphia Inquirer says “the scathing Pennsylvania State University report” faults Paterno personally for his role in allowing the sexual abuse of children to continue. Just some of the tidbits:
- The idea that Paterno was not really aware of the ’98 incident “is completely contradicted by the evidence,” says the author of the Penn State report, former FBI Director Louis Freeh. Rather, he says, Paterno “followed the case closely.”
- Paterno “was the key to a decision by top university officials to back away from alerting state authorities to a 2001 shower incident involving a boy.” The university didn’t report that case because athletic department director Timothy Curley convinced them not to “after talking it over with Joe.” Apparently, Paterno pointed out that reporting it would trigger “an official, outside investigation” which would have brought bad publicity to the school.
- “The facts are the facts,” Freeh said. Paterno “was an integral part of an active effort to conceal” Sandusky’s sexual abuse of children as young as 7 years old.
- Nike chairman Phil Knight “had been one of the coach’s staunchest supporters,” but with the report making it clear that Paterno was personally involved in shielding Sandusky, which enabled him to continue raping children, Knight “decided to change the name of the Joe Paterno Child Development Center at its Oregon headquarters.”
- Once police did get the allegations, they concluded that Paterno was “an active participant in an administrative effort to ‘conceal critical facts’ and preserve the reputation of the university’s signature athletic program.”
- In fact, Freeh says, “There was no indication Coach Paterno called in his assistants and said, ‘Let’s make sure Sandusky doesn’t bring any more kids into the showers.'” Instead, “Joe did give [Sandusky] the option to continue to coach as long as he [Paterno] was the coach,” Curley wrote in a 1999 email. When Sandusky retired in 1999 (but continued on as a “volunteer” and allowed to keep his key to get into the gym and lockerroom anytime he wished), Paterno praised him as a “person of great character and integrity” even though he was well aware of multiple reports of Sandusky raping children on campus. Sandusky was allowed to retire “not as a suspected child predator but as a valued member of the Penn State football legacy,” Freeh’s report says.
How “exhaustive” was Freeh’s report? Extremely: it was built on interviews with 430 witnesses and the review of 3.5 million documents (such as emails), but not including any reports that Paterno and Curley made to law enforcement officials as required by law — because they never made any such report about what they knew.
Paterno died before he could be brought to answer for his crimes — yes, crimes of not protecting the children he knew were being abused by Sandusky. Curley, meanwhile, is awaiting trial on charges of committing perjury in front of a grand jury, and failure to report suspected child abuse.
The newspaper reports that even Penn State alumni are starting to call for the university to remove Paterno’s statue from outside Beaver Stadium because of his criminal failure to report what he knew Sandusky was doing on campus. Plans for renaming the stadium for Paterno have been scrapped.
The reporter who interviewed Paterno shortly before he died, where he repeatedly said on the record he knew nothing about what Sandusky was doing, now says Paterno is “a liar” and “a hubristic, indictable hypocrite.” Yep. That story, titled “Joe Paterno, at the End, Showed More Interest In His Legacy Than Jerry Sandusky’s Victims” is here.
The bottom line: it was rather obvious that Paterno knew what was going on, and it has been clearly proven that he did nothing to stop it. Those who covered their ears and screamed “Not true!” and/or stomped away from my telling the truth were and are wrong, and their actions are what child molesters count on so they can continue to defile our children. Yes, those of you who refused — and especially those who still refuse — to hold Paterno accountable help perpetuate child rape. Truly, how can you sleep at night?
- - -
This page is an example of This is True’s style of “Thought-Provoking Entertainment”. True is a newsletter that uses “weird news” as a vehicle to explore the human condition, and bring up questions about society — in an entertaining way. If you enjoyed this page, consider scrolling up to the top of the page for a free email subscription.
To really support True, sign up for a paid subscription to the much-expanded “Premium” edition:
Q: Why would I want to pay more than the regular rate?
A: To support the publication to help it thrive and stay online, and this kind of support means less future need for price increases (and smaller increases when they do happen), which enables more people to upgrade. This option was requested by existing Premium subscribers.