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Sandusky Charged
November 6, 2011 5:05 AM   Subscribe

After three years of investigation, the Pennsylvania Attorney General's office has charged former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky with 40 counts related to sexual abuse of young boys. The disturbing grand jury report can be read here. Two top school officials have been charged with perjury and failure to report in connection with the case, and University President Graham Spanier offers unequivocal support of his colleagues. More recommended reading: Putting loyalty to the many, the program, in front of the victimization of even the one, a child.
posted by acyeager (207 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
Disgusting and vile. All involved should be suspended immediately and, if the allegations are confirmed in court, the principals in this case (Paterno, Curley, Schultz, Spanier) should be terminated. They were concerned enough to release Sandusky in 1999; three years later, he was still bringing boys to campus and taking showers with them. When a grad assistant witnessed the rape of a young boy in campus showers in 2002, the administration decided simply to ban Sandusky from bringing more boys to campus. Law enforcement was not notified.

Burn the entire rotten vile thing to the ground. Then, for good measure, nuke it from orbit and burn it again.

Interestingly (but presumably just coincidentally), the DA during the original charges was none other than Ray Gricar, previously discussed on the blue in this post.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 5:17 AM on November 6, 2011 [13 favorites]


looks like JoPa reported it and they didn't do anything with his report.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:18 AM on November 6, 2011


Whoa. Ray Gricar, the guy who disappeared after trashing his computer? Huh.
posted by likeso at 5:18 AM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Paterno definitely learned of this creep's actions in 2002 and possibly a few years earlier. He was made aware of the details from an eyewitness. This guy was his subordinate, yet he retained his job and an office in the Penn State football complex until 2009. JoPa is god in Happy Valley. Sandusky could not have remained anywhere near the campus without Joe's blessing.
posted by Shike at 5:20 AM on November 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


The way they revere their football program, consider this another church scandal.
posted by dglynn at 5:21 AM on November 6, 2011 [36 favorites]


There were two eye-witnesses - a graduate assistant and a janitor. Both of them should have phoned the police.

I don't really understand why campuses seem to be a place above the law. I heard a radio program a while ago about how, on many US campuses, the police won't come out to investigate rapes of adult women - but insist that it goes through the campus security and/or student discipline. But it isn't plagiarism - it's a crime.
posted by jb at 5:29 AM on November 6, 2011 [8 favorites]


In case anyone runs into a registration page on the last link, this print version url may work.
posted by taz at 5:31 AM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Jerry Sandusky wrote a book.
posted by geekyguy at 5:47 AM on November 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


heard a radio program a while ago about how, on many US campuses, the police won't come out to investigate rapes of adult women - but insist that it goes through the campus security and/or student discipline.

I don't know anything about that radio program, but: What a lot of people don't realize is that often, campus police are "real" police, with the same authority and responsibility as any other city/town police department. If that's the case, then it's now the local town's jurisdiction, but that of the campus police department.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 6:02 AM on November 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


I really have a hard time seeing the value of college football, and it's related abusive, immoral, greed based practices (other than, of course, as an "end justifies the means" tool to suck money out of alums and a way to create self perpetuating cash machines for venues, jerseys, and $3 bottles of water sold to you when you can't bring your own into the stadium under the guise of "security").
posted by HuronBob at 6:07 AM on November 6, 2011 [16 favorites]


Say it ain't so, Joe.
posted by hal9k at 6:07 AM on November 6, 2011


Reminds me of a sort of similar story from the late 90's at Yale. At the time I was a new professor at a different University and one of my undergraduate students was accepted into the Yale PhD program. I was so proud of his accomplishments. Then, about mid-way through his first fall semester at Yale, the FBI raided his department and arrested his PhD adviser for child sexual molestation and child pornography. I think it was one of his other graduate students who tipped off the FBI. Today, 12 years later, that former Yale professor is rotting in prison, where he belongs.

I think anyone who knew about this and covered it up should be immediately fired. And perhaps that is a crime also? And I would not be surprised if certain administrators at the very top of Penn State also knew about this but covered it up. Anything to protect football and the reputation of the university.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 6:11 AM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


dglynn: "The way they revere their football program, consider this another church scandal."

Consider me one of the congregants and this is really upsetting to me. This is ugly and it looks like the university has handled it terribly.
posted by octothorpe at 6:12 AM on November 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


This is terrible in so many ways. The Second Mile is a large organization that seemed to do a lot of good work. All of that is now also in question. I am stunned, disappointed, and hurt. I don't know shit about football, but Jo Paterno doubled the size of the library here on campus, the library I work for. He seems like a good man. What did he know and when? He's worked with Sandusky for decades. What was he told? I just feel nauseous. This has rocked our community.

Here's the local coverage.

Penn State Alma Mater:
May no act of ours bring shame
To one heart that loves thy name,
May our lives but swell thy fame,
Dear old State, dear old State.
posted by Toekneesan at 6:13 AM on November 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


The pedophile in plain sight in an academic setting is a pretty common trope, it seems to me. At my high school, it was common knowledge that you didn't go into the shower when one particular teacher was in there. And yet he'd been there for decades, and no one ever did anything.
posted by killdevil at 6:27 AM on November 6, 2011


I don't know anything about that radio program, but: What a lot of people don't realize is that often, campus police are "real" police, with the same authority and responsibility as any other city/town police department. If that's the case, then it's now the local town's jurisdiction, but that of the campus police department.

Honest question: How did this system come about and why does it work that way? Is a university campus not technically part of the city, or what?
posted by LastOfHisKind at 6:34 AM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yes, in the case of the University Park campus, the university is under it's own jurisdiction. It doesn't have it's own judicial system, but it does provide it's own police and emergency services. The town is State College, but the university address is University Park. They even have their own airport where again, they handle policing issues, at least those not covered by TSA.
posted by Toekneesan at 6:39 AM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is a university campus not technically part of the city, or what?

Many universities are quite a bit bigger than the city they're in; their police force would be way too small. And if it's a state-owned university, the city can't tax it.
posted by jfuller at 6:43 AM on November 6, 2011


Here's the Pennsylvania state law authorizing campus police. As jfuller mentions, it wouldn't be fair for the local municipality to have the shoulder the burden of policing a campus that often has a larger population than the whole rest of the town.
posted by octothorpe at 6:47 AM on November 6, 2011


Honest question: How did this system come about and why does it work that way?
I'm not sure about the history, but in most cases I think the university and surrounding municipalities find it to be a mutually-beneficial arrangement. Cities often hugely resent having to provide services to universities, which are non-profits and don't pay taxes. And universities sometimes want to take a less-confrontational approach to policing students than local police forces might be willing to stick to. Keep in mind that there are often pretty big tensions between university students and members of the surrounding communities, and local police are members of the surrounding communities. You could see a situation arising where disputes about policing could exacerbate those tensions, particularly since most policing on university campuses is really small-scale stuff having to do with alcohol infractions and noise complaints and whatnot.

There are significant problems with the system, though, especially when there are crimes that the university might want to minimize or cover up.

I shouldn't be shocked by this story, because I'm slowly coming around to the idea that the culture of big-time college football is truly evil, but I've got to admit that I still am shocked. The guy was literally caught raping a child, and nobody said "hey, maybe we should call the cops" or even "hey, maybe he shouldn't run a program for at-risk children anymore?"
posted by craichead at 6:57 AM on November 6, 2011 [8 favorites]


What people are willing to permit in order to not have their interests harmed... disturbs me.
posted by Mooski at 7:05 AM on November 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


The way they revere their football program, consider this another church scandal.

I know this is just a joke, but in a way I think it's right: unaccountable power is what sets the stage for abuse. We're going to keep discovering these kinds of scandals wherever you see people with enough power to squelch complaints, whether because of deference to religious authority or to coaching authority.

We can't pretend this is "somebody else's problem": any institution that incorporates these kinds of authority and deference is at risk. I think a lot of the jokes about priests, celibacy, and altar boys serve to disguise this plain fact: power leads to abuse unless it is tempered by accountability.
posted by anotherpanacea at 7:09 AM on November 6, 2011 [9 favorites]


I wasn't making a joke.
posted by dglynn at 7:26 AM on November 6, 2011


power leads to abuse unless it is tempered by accountability

I think power leads to abuse, period. I personally think power should be treated like a radioactive substance: the only things that can truly protect you are greater distance and shorter exposure.
posted by Mooski at 7:28 AM on November 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


University police departments are corrupt to the core. This is even true of the unremarkable community college with no major sports program I attended 30 years ago; it is completely unsurprising that they would go to this length to shield a critical member of a football organization with such vast power to bring in alumni donations.
posted by localroger at 7:30 AM on November 6, 2011


The radio program was NPR, probably All Things Considered - and in the cases of student-perpetrators with student victims, the campus police weren't even
involved - it went to academic discipline as if it were a simple academic offence - which was insane.

This is a bit of a derail, but the reason I thought of it was because the graduate assistant who witnessed an assault went to a campus official (the head coach) rather than the police. I know that in that situation I would have been shocked, maybe a bit in denial (surely I didn't see what I thought I saw), and very disturbed. But I would hope that everyone knows now that sexual assault is a crime that must be reported to the police, regardless of jurisdiction -- and in the case of a child, to child welfare services as well.
posted by jb at 7:56 AM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


But I would hope that everyone knows now that sexual assault is a crime that must be reported to the police, regardless of jurisdiction

In the course of trying to figure out whether there was any recourse re: the faculty member who had developed a very unhealthy obsession with my girlfriend, we discovered that there had been three murders of female students, one on campus, within a four year period which had been quietly swept under the rug even though the pattern fairly screamed "serial killer" and anyone conversant with the habits of certain student/faculty groups could suggest a handful of faculty members who probably should have been interviewed.

The real cops defer to the campus cops even on criminal matters involving students or university property. And the campus cops defer to the administration. And the administration does not want a scandal. The possibility that a predator is murdering your students isn't nearly the problem a scandal would be, and so it goes.
posted by localroger at 8:08 AM on November 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


Cancel the football program.

Really, this calls for a "nuke the site from orbit,. it's the only way to be sure." approach.
posted by ocschwar at 8:11 AM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Cancel the football program.

Okay, I'll let everybody know.
posted by joe lisboa at 8:16 AM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Everyone keeps bringing up the graduate student and the janitor, but the mother in those documents that was able to record her conversation with Sandusky where he acknowledged he showered with her son and others -- and yet she didn't ensure that this man was brought down.. that's what disgusts me most.

I don't think I would ever end my mission to call this man out on what he did after he admitted it to me, and especially if he violated my own son. Did she get paid off or something? I'm confused why we didn't hear more about that particular case.
posted by june made him a gemini at 8:19 AM on November 6, 2011


Cancel the football program.

And every organized religion, academic institution, non-profit, or other institution that's ever had a history of not being accountable for it's actions. Can we be serious? There are people who covered this up criminally. Let's go after them. Then look around at the institutions you are part of that don't have a procedure for handling allegations and think about it.

I heard a radio program a while ago about how, on many US campuses, the police won't come out to investigate rapes of adult women - but insist that it goes through the campus security and/or student discipline. But it isn't plagiarism - it's a crime.

I find this hard to believe. If police have jurisdiction, they should investigate. Although, maybe there is some confusion about which universities have their own autonomous police force. In any event, all the California universities seem to have both an academic discipline process to handle student suspensions, etc... and their own state police departments to handle the criminal end of things.

Honest question: How did this system come about and why does it work that way? Is a university campus not technically part of the city, or what?

In California at least, both CSUPD and UCPD are state police officers, and are responsible for policing the jurisdiction within 1 mile of university property.

I believe most of the land-grant universities and public universities in the US are set up similarly and are effectively fully autonomous from the local municipalities.

For the historical context, I'd start with the wikipedia article Town and Gown.
posted by BrotherCaine at 8:22 AM on November 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


Here's a glowing Sports Illustrated article from 1999 about Sandusky's involvement with Second Mile.
posted by mudpuppie at 8:25 AM on November 6, 2011


Several sources have identified the graduate assistant in the report as current assistant coach Mike McQueary

Call me crazy, but I'd like to think I would have intervened and immediately called police if I were to witness the raping of a little boy, even if he were my "superior"
posted by acyeager at 8:33 AM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


but the mother in those documents that was able to record her conversation with Sandusky where he acknowledged he showered with her son and others -- and yet she didn't ensure that this man was brought down.. that's what disgusts me most.
Sandusky recruited all of his victims (or the ones we know about... more on that in a minute) from a program that he started for at-risk boys. The mother did go to the police, and they didn't act on the tapes. I wouldn't assume that she was in a position to ensure that a powerful man, backed up by even more powerful people, was brought down. Parents whose children end up in those programs are generally parents who don't have a ton of resources or authority.

One of the articles says that Sandusky and his wife were foster parents who adopted several children. All eight of the current alleged victims were kids who he met through the Second Mile foundation, but I'm wondering if we're not going to find out about other victims who were among his foster kids.

Ugh. What a horrifying story.
posted by craichead at 8:37 AM on November 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


I would not be too quick to judge the mother from this limited amount of information, june made him a gemini. Sometimes children who are victims of sexual assault feel revictimized by police questioning, or being forced to testify on the stand. In addition, victims of child sexual abuse often fear being marked publicly as a victim as much as or more than they fear another attack by the predator who harmed them. Fear of spending their lives branded as somehow tainted or broken is one of the primary reasons why so many children fail to report sexual abuse after the first assault.

It could be that her son was depressed or even suicidal and she was afraid that pushing him to confront his accuser in court would push him over the edge. It could be that the family felt threatened and feared retribution -- this is a wealthy and powerful man we are talking about here. It could be that they were worried they did not have enough evidence to win at trial, and/or could not afford good legal help, and did not want to try only to fail. Even adult victims of sexual assault often fail to pursue justice.

Of course ideally the mother would have pursued the man who harmed her son to the ends of the Earth to keep him from harming her own son again or harming another child. But ideally every child would be treated fairly by the justice system. Ideally every family would have access to legal and psychological help they would need to build a case. Ideally a child would not spend the rest of his life fearing being stigmatized for being the victim of an assault that was not his fault.

Really ideally, children would not be victimized by sexual predators in the first place.
posted by BlueJae at 8:45 AM on November 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


Everyone keeps bringing up the graduate student and the janitor, but the mother in those documents that was able to record her conversation with Sandusky where he acknowledged he showered with her son and others -- and yet she didn't ensure that this man was brought down.. that's what disgusts me most.

What do you mean? She had already gone to the campus police (it's their jurisdiction) and was participating in a sting operation for them. They decided to do nothing after that. I don't really know what more someone in her position could do. There were those who had so much more power and authority who knew about this and did nothing.

Same with the grad student; he reported what he saw to the head of the campus police, Schultz. I'm glad Schultz has been indicted for his part in this.
posted by Danila at 8:49 AM on November 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


The mother did go to the police, BlueJae. Here's what the NYTimes has to say about it:
Mr. Schultz testified to the grand jury that there was a similar incident involving a young boy in the football shower with Mr. Sandusky in 1998. The mother of that boy confronted Mr. Sandusky at her home, with two police detectives listening to the conversation. He told the woman, according to testimony by one of the detectives: “I was wrong. I wish I could get forgiveness. I know I won’t get it from you. I wish I were dead.”

Mr. Schultz, whose position includes oversight of the university police, testified that he did not know that the university police produced a lengthy report about the 1998 incident. The grand jury found the assertions by him that the 2002 allegations were “not that serious” and that he and Mr. Curley “had no indication that a crime had occurred” contradictory to other testimony.
It doesn't sound like the mother was the one who was negligent here.
posted by craichead at 8:50 AM on November 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


I think June's criticism of the mother is based on a misreading of what happened. She did go to the police, and Acyeager's link has some additional detail about that along with more recent comment from the mother. It's probably better to quash that derail and move back to the subject of the post.
posted by red clover at 8:51 AM on November 6, 2011


Ray Gricar was probably murdered over this case, and don't think for a minute his colleagues the other prosecutors weren't aware of that probability-- and don't be surprised, then, that no one else in authority was particularly eager to pursue it.
posted by jamjam at 8:57 AM on November 6, 2011


I don't know about the moral aspects, but Paterno did not violate a law. Pennsylvania's mandated reporter law requires him to notify his superior, who then has the responsibility to notify police:

§ 42.42. Suspected child abuse—mandated reporting requirements.
(a) General rule. Under 23 Pa.C.S. § 6311 (relating to persons required to report suspected child abuse), licensees who, in the course of the employment, occupation or practice of their profession, come into contact with children shall report or cause a report to be made to the Department of Public Welfare 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.

(b) Staff members of public or private agencies, institutions and facilities. Licensees 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. Upon notification by the licensee, the person in charge or the designated agent shall assume the responsibility and have the legal obligation to report or cause a report to be made in accordance with subsections (a), (c) and (d).
posted by Ironmouth at 9:00 AM on November 6, 2011


The Amazon reviews have already started - Touched: The Jerry Sandusky Story
posted by Danila at 9:08 AM on November 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yikes, that's a really unfortunate book title.
posted by octothorpe at 9:15 AM on November 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


There's a difference between breaking the law and relinquishing responsibility, Ironmouth. I don't think JoePa should go to jail, but I do think he has proven incapable of running the Penn State football program.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 9:21 AM on November 6, 2011


There's a difference between breaking the law and relinquishing responsibility, Ironmouth. I don't think JoePa should go to jail, but I do think he has proven incapable of running the Penn State football program.


No disagreement there.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:23 AM on November 6, 2011


LastOfHisKind:Honest question: How did this system come about and why does it work that way? Is a university campus not technically part of the city, or what?

Many univerisity towns are at odds with their student population. Rather than deal with the "slack-jawed yokels vs spoiled rich brats" dynamic, they each draw their own lines in the sand and keep campus problems dealt with on campus and off-campus problems dealt with the civilian authorities.

Not to mention that the schools had a vested interest in keeping students from being dragged through the criminal system for "kids will be kids" offenses.

This arrangement is fine for open container or weed offenses, but pales in comparison to real felonies.
posted by dr_dank at 9:26 AM on November 6, 2011


When I saw this thread on the blue I was really curious how it would go over, somehow I'm not shocked at the length to which we've gone to make this about religion. Academia has different and deep issues with money, ego, and a habit of harboring tyrants while forcing the people around them to rely on their whim that goes beyond modern religion and football.

I certainly won't think of Penn State football the same way ever again, but Jesus Christ: “I wish to say that Tim Curley and Gary Schultz have my unconditional support,” is such a wildly wrong thing for a university president to say in this context I don't know what to think. I just hope he somehow doesn't know what unconditional means.
posted by Blasdelb at 9:36 AM on November 6, 2011


Interesting to see how two institutions with medieval roots (the catholic church and a popular American college football program, embedded in a University) respond so remarkably alike to a pedophile in their midst.
posted by mecran01 at 10:23 AM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't think JoePa should go to jail, but I do think he has proven incapable of running the Penn State football program.

You're not the only one who thinks so, certainly. Bob Ford's column lays it out pretty clearly:
The fictional Joe Paterno would have said, "Hey, this is awful, but we have to clean it up. We have to do the right thing. It's going to look bad for us, but you can't let something like this go. We have to get Jerry some help, and we have to make sure he doesn't hurt any kids."

The real Paterno, as nearly as can be determined from the indictments, passed the information to Curley and then washed his hands. He apparently didn't follow up when there was no further investigation. He apparently didn't ask questions when Sandusky continued to enjoy his emeritus status on campus, complete with an office and access to the same building in which the alleged assault took place.
posted by gladly at 10:31 AM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Cancel the football program.

You're right, of course, but Pennsylvania will never, ever do this. Nothing short of a cataclysmic geological event will end Penn State football.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:39 AM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


The worst part of this whole mess to me, other than the actual assault of course, was Penn State President Graham Spanier's statement about the indictement:

The allegations about a former coach are troubling, and it is appropriate that they be investigated thoroughly. Protecting children requires the utmost vigilance.

With regard to the other presentments, I wish to say that Tim Curley and Gary Schultz have my unconditional support. I have known and worked daily with Tim and Gary for more than 16 years. I have complete confidence in how they have handled the allegations about a former University employee.

Tim Curley and Gary Schultz operate at the highest levels of honesty, integrity and compassion. I am confident the record will show that these charges are groundless and that they conducted themselves professionally and appropriately.
Curley and Schultz are the two official accused of the coverup, not the assault. How anyone with a modicum of intellectual honesty can offer unconditional support for people accused of not reporting a sex crime against a minor is beyond me.

Plus the fact that he starts by saying the "Protecting children requires the utmost vigilance", then goes on to unconditionally defend the people who failed in that vigilance.

He might as well have just come out and said "These guys are my buddies, and they make the University a shit-ton of money, so unless they raped kids themselves I'm going to use all my influence to keep them out of trouble". When your statements can be deconstructed by an Ethics 101 student, maybe you shouldn't be in a position of moral authority over anyone.
posted by auto-correct at 11:17 AM on November 6, 2011 [17 favorites]


If Penn State athletic coaches and administrators could look the other way when a 10-year-old is sexually assaulted on campus by a prominent former coach, what wouldn't they do? What could possibly be beyond their capability to accept in order to protect the "good name" of the program?

Yeah, I do wonder what else has gone on. Does it get more serious than this?? Child rape in the locker room. Paterno didn't break the law and is apparently cooperating now, but this happened in 2002. How do you go all those years with Sandusky still around? It also isn't the first time any of these officials heard Sandusky was doing things to children, as they were all aware of the 1998 case investigated by their University Police.

So that leads me to wonder what else has been swept under the rug. The vilest accusation one can make short of murdering the kid, and they could actually live with doing nothing about it. What else?
posted by Danila at 11:31 AM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Cancel the football program.

let me guess...you're the guy who comes into sports-related threads and says "whats a foot ball?"

I don't know about the moral aspects, but Paterno did not violate a law. Pennsylvania's mandated reporter law requires him to notify his superior, who then has the responsibility to notify police:

You're right...but what the fuck, paterno. If i was paterno, i'd be kicking people's ass all over penn...and my actions would rank right up there with moses and shit.

Why the fuck did this hero of the big10 not use his clout to get this scumbag put in prison?

So yeah..., you didnt do anything illegal...although depending on the proximity of relationship to the kids, you might be a tortfeasor who owed a duty of care to the victims. But i dont think you deserve the accolades of a coach who left under honorable circumstances.

Fucking disgusting.
posted by hal_c_on at 11:55 AM on November 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


Absolutely vile - I'm furious as someone who pays taxes to support this institution, and a human being. I cannot believe the response by the university president.
posted by chinston at 12:34 PM on November 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


let me guess...you're the guy who comes into sports-related threads and says "whats a foot ball?"


Yes, I am, though not literally, of course.

This is a fucking university. Go dig up all the standard reasons for having a football program, and reconcile those arguments with what happened here.
posted by ocschwar at 12:44 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would very much like to know if Paterno was immunized by the AG before testifying to the grand jury.
posted by chinston at 12:50 PM on November 6, 2011


I'm a PSU alum and have been just sick about this. Coach Paterno may officially report to the athletic director and may have fulfilled his legal obligation to report what he knew to his superior, but there's no question about "who's the boss". Paterno needs to step down.
posted by sciencejock at 1:10 PM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Paterno needs to step down.
I assume he will step down. He's 80-something, and presumably his career was going to end soon anyway. But that seems staggeringly insufficient. Someone needs to figure out what the fuck was wrong with the institution as a whole, and our culture more generally, that allowed this to happen.
posted by craichead at 1:17 PM on November 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


I would very much like to know if Paterno was immunized by the AG before testifying to the grand jury.

Not a lawyer, but why would he need immunity? Ironmouth's cite seems pretty clear that the reporting requirement is satisfied by reporting to "the person in charge of the institution, school facility or agency," which would be the athletic director.

I hesitate a bit to go against the grain, because you always run the risk of being seen as condoning the abuse, but I'd be pretty troubled by a law--or even an absolute moral principle--that would require Paterno to follow-up with police if the alleged abuser appears to have not been punished. He (unlike the graduate assistant) did not actually see anything--do we really want a society where people have a legal obligation to report a hearsay allegation not only to superiors who have the ability to investigate (which makes good sense to me), but also to conduct follow-up investigations? In this particular case, that might have helped (if the allegations against the athletic director and VP for finance are indeed true), but as a general principle, I think it has serious problems. What if an investigation is properly conducted and an allegation turns out to be groundless? For Paterno, or anyone, to continue to investigate in that scenario would create a very real risk of destroying an innocent person's reputation. Unfortunately, in this case, trust in the athletic director appears to have been misplaced, if the allegations in the indictment are true, but there isn't a perfect solution that will always capture actual abusers without wrecking the innocent. I'm unconvinced Paterno's handling was inadequate based on what's now publicly known.
posted by dsfan at 1:22 PM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


JoePa may have done nothing illegal, but I don't think it's a coincidence that the charges came out one week AFTER he broke the Div. 1 coaching victories record and not earlier.
posted by zeugitai_guy at 1:23 PM on November 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


There's just too much here. From earlier comment:

Several sources have identified the graduate assistant in the report as current assistant coach Mike McQueary

Former star quarterback, current head of recruiting for the football program Mike McQueary? Not some random student who had since moved on from the university. Not someone whose accusations the higher-ups (including Paterno) could have distrusted, because if anyone thought he was lying would he really be as involved in the program as he is to this day? And again I think of Joe Pa, who works side by side with McQueary regularly. I've seen a number of Penn State fans claim that Joe couldn't have necessarily known that the athletic director and VP did nothing with the case, but he's working beside the guy who told him he saw a child being raped in their locker rooms. They're both just doing...nothing.

How could he...how could they...


The worst part of this whole mess to me, other than the actual assault of course, was Penn State President Graham Spanier's statement about the indictement:


And god, speaking of Spanier, he too knew about McQueary's accusation in 2002. Spanier personally approved of the steps taken by the officials, namely, taking away the molestor's keys to the locker room and banning him from bringing the children from his program onto campus. Although I note that Jerry Sandusky was a coach for Penn State's youth football camp (ages 9-14) until 2009 (when this investigation began), so none of them had a problem with him being around kids that they placed in his care, just no more disadvantaged youth taken into their showers. They didn't even try to distance the organization from him.
posted by Danila at 2:14 PM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Just ... wow. I used to work as an academic advisor at a Big Ten school, and I thought I was beyond being shocked by any kind of sleazy, self-serving, exploitative behavior on the part of college athletic programs. I was wrong.
posted by Kat Allison at 2:14 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


College football is organized crime.
posted by Fnarf at 2:17 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


OK, this is weird:

Former Centre County DA Ray Gricar's reasons for not pursuing case against Jerry Sandusky [in 1998!] are unknown


Also, the famous Penn State creamery has a flavor of ice cream named after Sandusky (Sandusky Blitz) and there is a childcare center on campus (!) named after Gary Schultz.
posted by dhens at 2:20 PM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't think an outsider can really appreciate what this is doing to the Penn State community. The alumni are about to march on Old Main with torches and pitchforks.

Joe is gone, and everything good he did is now tarnished. Curley and Spanier are gone. The university will be suffering the aftershocks of this for years.

I feel like vomiting whenever I think about this horrific situation. How could they do this?
posted by Chrysostom at 2:47 PM on November 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


College football is organized crime.
posted by Fnarf


Fnarf, although you may be trying to make a point about the business involved in the game at a more macro level, to call college football "organized crime" is an erroneous oversimplification.
posted by msali at 2:50 PM on November 6, 2011


Speaking as a PSU alum myself, I find I'm more disappointed than surprised by this news.
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:19 PM on November 6, 2011


I don't think an outsider can really appreciate what this is doing to the Penn State community. The alumni are about to march on Old Main with torches and pitchforks.

"The university is paying legal costs for Curley and Schultz because the allegations against them concern how they fulfilled their responsibilities as employees, spokeswoman Lisa Powers said."
posted by iviken at 3:30 PM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm also sickened by the argument that I'm starting to hear that these officials only had a legal responsibility to protect students in their charge, and that since these boys were Second Mile kids and not PSU students there's no culpability. Balderdash!

From one of the lawyers: "The law "applies only to children under the care and supervision of the organization for which he works, and that's Penn State, it's not The Second Mile," Farrell said of his client. "This child, from what we know, was a Second Mile child."

Sickening.
posted by sciencejock at 3:45 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


dsfan, that's why the Pennsylvania law strikes me as peculiar. In Iowa and Maryland, two states in which I've been bound by mandatory reporter laws, there is no hand-off of responsibility. If I suspect (or know) that a child is being abused, I have to make the report, and I'm the one that's liable if no report is made. This strikes me as a better way of doing things.
First of all, you don't add those extra layers of remove in, so the athletic director isn't deciding whether or not to report something Joe Paterno told him a grad assistant said. The grad assistant makes the report.
Secondly, the person who had the suspicion of abuse knows if the report was accepted and if an investigation occurred. I don't blame the grad assistant; he did exactly what he was supposed to do. Under PA state law, he wasn't supposed to make the report. My question is, "Why not?" You don't need to be a mental or moral giant to make a report of possible abuse. You just need to know that an adult raping a child is not okay, and act accordingly. By forcing people to surrender responsibility, the law also ensures that possible witnesses don't necessarily know if any investigation ever occurred. They can't bring to light a cover-up that they don't know happened.
posted by epj at 4:23 PM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Fnarf, although you may be trying to make a point about the business involved in the game at a more macro level, to call college football "organized crime" is an erroneous oversimplification.

Not erroneous, not an oversimplification.

For further evidence, may I suggest you read the recent book by Ken Armstrong and Nick Perry, "Scoreboard, Baby: A Story of College Football, Crime, and Complicity", about the shocking reign of thuggery at the University of Washington a decade ago.

The shocking part of that story wasn't the variety of crimes committed by athletes disguised as "students"; individual crimes, not even rape and attempted murder, are not enough to merit the adjective "organized". No, what was shocking was the system of protection in place at the UW to manage criminal incidents, and in nearly every level of local government, devoted to protecting the athletes and the program against, well, anything at all. The DISTRICT ATTORNEY told the raped girl's mother that hey, she should be grateful her daughter is still alive. No charges.

All of the people involved in that coverup have been rewarded. Barbara Hedges, the AD during the scandal, was recently elected to the NCAA athletic director's Hall of Fame. Rick Neuheisel, the coach, has earned tens of millions of dollars since then.

This situation prevails at pretty much every large university program. I'm sure you can find the examples yourself. Again, it's not about the crimes, it's about the organization covering up. After all, nothing but NOTHING is more important to modern universities than football. At most large universities, the president answers to the athletic director, not the other way around; and the football coach almost always earns more, often ten or twenty times as much.

Notice that at the "clean" UW program now, the university is being destroyed by budget cuts, with tuition rising year after year at unprecedented rates, while at the same time the money was miraculously found to rebuild the football stadium. Football owns the UW. They own most universities today.

Now consider college football from the angle of the players. Their bodies are destroyed entertaining their audiences, yet they are not paid. To a lot more people than just me that reeks of slavery. The general argument is that they receive a valuable college education, but nobody really believes that -- football players live separately from real students, eat meals separately from real students, take different classes than real students, and receive limitless one-on-one tutoring, including in extreme cases the taking of exams, that is not available to real students. In exchange, they receive an education in violence, a one-in-a-thousand shot at a pro career, and in most cases the lifelong inability to climb stairs. Their life expectancy is twenty or thirty years less than yours or mine.

I don't think organized crime is an exaggeration at all.
posted by Fnarf at 4:58 PM on November 6, 2011 [35 favorites]


Paterno's statement.
posted by Toekneesan at 5:02 PM on November 6, 2011


Newspapers might be identifying the "graduate assistant" based on unnamed sources, but until his identity is confirmed (or refuted) I don't think it's especially okay to excoriate anyone.
posted by red clover at 5:32 PM on November 6, 2011


epj-

I've never been a mandatory reporter, and can't see any scenario where I would be. But would this requirement be triggered by someone else telling you that he or she witnessed something illegal against an unknown victim? Looking at Maryland's website, it seems like they are anticipating direct evidence when they say that the report must be made after the "contact, examination, treatment or other circumstances" that lead one to suspect the abuse.

It's certainly a horrible situation, and if the grand jury report is true, the Penn State administration dropped the ball terribly. I just worry that bad situations create an impulse for well-intended but not necessarily fully thought-out laws. I mean, if Paterno's statement above is true, he didn't even know the specifics of the allegation. I'm not certain a law which would require a report of "I have hearsay evidence that this person committed an unknown sexual act against an unidentified minor victim" doesn't create some problems of its own.
posted by dsfan at 5:37 PM on November 6, 2011


"It was obvious that the witness was distraught over what he saw, but he at no time related to me the very specific actions contained in the Grand Jury report. Regardless, it was clear that the witness saw something inappropriate involving Mr. Sandusky. As Coach Sandusky was retired from our coaching staff at that time, I referred the matter to university administrators."

What does this mean? I mean, seriously? Given that the upper level guys are being prosecuted for not reporting, then the only way for Paterno to not know details they did is if the assistant said "I saw this horrible thing that Sandusky did but for some reason I am giving you no specific details!" Then Paterno would have had to reply "Oh, well, that is perfectly normal, can't imagine why I'd be interested in any allegations involving my highly-respected once right-hand man whom I still associate with and I'll refer this matter to administrators without further thought."

Because any other details would have involved boys, Sandusky, and showers, and given the history of allegations against Sandusky then Paterno not doing a whit more when he saw the university administrators drop it is morally reprehensible, though legally fine.
posted by schroedinger at 5:48 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


What I'm betting is that nobody in the AG's office can bring themselves to bring charges against THE Joe Paterno in a child sex abuse case.
posted by schroedinger at 5:50 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


dsfan, in examining the laws, it doesn't seem that reporting based on secondhand information is legally required *unless you also work with the child and have a reasonable belief that what you heard is true*. However, I don't think Joe Paterno would be a mandatory reporter, because he doesn't usually (ever?) work with children under age 18 as a part of his job. Also, in Maryland or Iowa, the burden of reporting would rest on the graduate assistant first. Joe Paterno *might* be vulnerable to charges for not making a report, though I think that's unlikely, but his responsibility would be secondary because, as you say, he wasn't the witness.

Also, for what it's worth, I have reported based on an adult's report of what a child said. I was in a mandatory reporter position, I believed that the adult was telling the truth about what the child had said, and I felt ethically obligated to make a report to accompany theirs. I don't think I was legally bound to report, but my perception of my ethical obligation, and my belief that the young child would not repeat to me what he had told the other adult, was enough.
posted by epj at 5:52 PM on November 6, 2011


An example (from 2007) of the extent to which the football program here engenders "loyalty" among many fans:

State College police are examining an anonymous letter that was slipped under the door of the residents of an apartment where an assault occurred last weekend that reportedly involves several members of the Penn State team.

"I want you to realize that you have the power now to press charges or drop them. Legally, the ball is in your hands. However, you can be a hero in this situation and forgive the attackers for what they have done. There is no question that what they did was wrong, and now you can show them the mercy they failed to show you. This isn't about payback, this is about doing what is good for everyone," states the letter, which is signed "The voice of the Penn State student body."

posted by dhens at 5:53 PM on November 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


What I'm betting is that nobody in the AG's office can bring themselves to bring charges against THE Joe Paterno in a child sex abuse case.

From The (Harrisburg) Patriot-News: "Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno did the right thing and reported an eye-witness report of child sex abuse by Jerry Sandusky in the football locker room in 2002, according to the indictment released this morning by the state Attorney General.

"A source close to the investigation tells The Patriot-News that Paterno will not be charged, and will be a prosecution witness who will testify."
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:14 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


However, I don't think Joe Paterno would be a mandatory reporter, because he doesn't usually (ever?) work with children under age 18 as a part of his job.
At least in my state, there's a separate set of mandatory reporting laws that govern some people on college campuses. They assume you're dealing with adult victims and I think may be somewhat more geared towards allowing sexual assault survivors to have some say in how they proceed. Also, not everyone who works at a college or university is a mandatory reporter. I think it's probably much more complicated than the laws covering people who work with children.
posted by craichead at 6:24 PM on November 6, 2011


Yeah, JoPa reported it, but he's not off the hook. If the sexual abuse continued and he didn't have the fucking courtesy to call 911 directly, fuck him and his program and his legacy.
posted by bardic at 7:55 PM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


If I were Paterno, I would not rest easy based on Ironmouth's quote. First of all, the Pa Code is administrative regulations, not the text of the statute. And it's not even clear that it would apply to Paterno (and therefore protect him) since it seems to apply only for "a child coming before them in their professional or official capacity." Which I wouldn't say is the case here. I'm not saying that Paterno should be found guilty of a crime based on the public facts at this point, but just that he isnt obviously home free and there could be other facts known to the government at this point or of course to the man himself which could rightly subject him to punishment. This plus the fact that he seem to be already on board as a government witness makes me think he has probably been immunized, for what it's worth.
posted by chinston at 7:56 PM on November 6, 2011


Whatever - this is kind of a technical point. Because fuck these guys.
posted by chinston at 7:57 PM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Not having read the grand jury report, I didn't realize it was quite this bad:

"The former grad assistant told the grand jury that he'd caught Sandusky subjecting the boy to anal intercourse and said he reported what he'd seen to Paterno during a meeting at Paterno's home the next day. Paterno then met with Curley and, according to the grand jury summary, told the AD that the assistant had seen Sandusky "fondling or doing something of a sexual nature to a young boy."

The assistant later met with Curley and Schultz, saying he'd witnessed what he believed to be anal sex."

(Link)

I'm surprised McQueary could stomach working in the program after having seen the response of three of his supervisors to what he told them. Even if I was so confused as to think that contacting the police was not my call to make, I would rather sort through the garbage for recyclables than work for any of those men.
posted by BigSky at 7:59 PM on November 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


We discovered that there had been three murders of female students, one on campus, within a four year period which had been quietly swept under the rug . . . . The real cops defer to the campus cops even on criminal matters involving students or university property. And the campus cops defer to the administration. And the administration does not want a scandal -- posted by localroger

Sorry, I call bullshit. There is no way that any campus police force has ever had sole jurisdiction over a murder investigation, let alone a series of them, in the US. Are you claiming that these three murders were "swept under the rug" as in not investigated at all? Because that would of course be a very serious charge, much more so when you go on to imply that the "serial killer" you suspect still walks free as a member of the faculty because he (presumably he) was protected by the campus police and administration. If your story were true, it would make Penn State's conduct here look like penny ante bullshit. Would you care to name the campus where you claim there were three uninvestigated murders and the administration is covering up the existence of a serial killer?

Didn't think so.
posted by spitbull at 3:49 AM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Update from the Patriot-News: Penn State executives step down in wake of case against Jerry Sandusky

"STATE COLLEGE — Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley and school administrator Gary Schultz have stepped down amid allegations of an explosive child-sex abuse scandal and cover-up in Happy Valley."
posted by MonkeyToes at 3:57 AM on November 7, 2011


I would bet a hundred to one that Paterno has consulted with the most expensive attorneys in the state of Pennsylvania every step of the way regarding his conduct in this grotesque matter. I was reading an essay by Martha Nussbaum just the other day where she pointed out offhand that what is honorable and ethical and respectable is something totally different than what a modern American lawyer is going to advise you to do in most real-life situations.
posted by bukvich at 4:56 AM on November 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm surprised McQueary could stomach working in the program after having seen the response of three of his supervisors to what he told them. Even if I was so confused as to think that contacting the police was not my call to make, I would rather sort through the garbage for recyclables than work for any of those men.

This is assuming that McQueary told Paterno and Curley the same thing he told prosecutors. Somebody is clearly lying - to believe the prosecution, the liars are Paterno, Curley, and Schultz. But to believe those men, the liar is McQueary. Why would he lie? Perhaps that phone call to his father? "Don't rock the boat, son, just tell them that you saw something that looked bad and leave it at that. You're still working your way up the ladder." Which was fine until Sandusky got pulled in and they started building a case against a serial sexual predator, at which point perhaps his conscience got the best of him. Who knows. I agree that McQueary's silence is odd. Perhaps he lied about the extent to which he detailed the abuse to Paterno. Perhaps he didn't lie and it's been eating away at him and he's been cooperating with investigators for years now. Perhaps it's somewhere in between. I hope that the truth comes out so measures can be put in place to avoid this in the future - I think the most simple fix is that if you are an eyewitness you must report to law enforcement. And if a subordinate comes to you with details of sexual abuse, you advise your superiors and also advise the subordinate to immediately discuss the matter with authorities.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 5:04 AM on November 7, 2011


iviken: "I don't think an outsider can really appreciate what this is doing to the Penn State community. The alumni are about to march on Old Main with torches and pitchforks.

"The university is paying legal costs for Curley and Schultz because the allegations against them concern how they fulfilled their responsibilities as employees, spokeswoman Lisa Powers said."
"

Um, and? The administration is distinct from the Penn State community as a whole. I can think of about 50 things I disagree with the administration on, not least their actions here.
posted by Chrysostom at 5:58 AM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Joe Posnanski is in the middle of writing a biography of Joe Paterno and has spent the last few months living in State College--his column about being in the middle of writing about these subjects as the story is breaking.
posted by gladly at 7:08 AM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wonder what will happen to the JoePa statue:

"They ask me what I’d like written about me when I’m gone. I hope they write I made Penn State a better place, not just that I was a good football coach."

Although, as Toekneesan said, he did literally double the size of the library here. Still...
posted by dhens at 8:54 AM on November 7, 2011


Good Drew Magary bit on this.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:57 AM on November 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Regarding the unconditional support comment, I can't help but be reminded of a former supervisor I once had. One day, he stops showing up at work. A few days later, U.S. Marshals come in and take a bunch of stuff out of his office.

Months go by without any further word on what has just happened, until finally one day the tv news is announcing that the guy is being extradited from China. Turns out he'd been making videos of himself raping his daughter, and that our employer had been helping him hide out in China, hiding his salary under a false name.

It seemed that the guy who'd brought him into the company was a big believer in loyalty to his core crew, that had been with him through multiple tech startups. I always wondered if he ever felt like that trust he'd place in K_____ was something to regret.
posted by No1UKnow at 10:50 AM on November 7, 2011


Sandusky continued using Penn State football facilities until as recently as last week.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 10:57 AM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Now consider college football from the angle of the players. Their bodies are destroyed entertaining their audiences, yet they are not paid. To a lot more people than just me that reeks of slavery.

On the same topic.
posted by blucevalo at 11:25 AM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


let me guess...you're the guy who comes into sports-related threads and says "whats a foot ball?"


Yes, I am, though not literally, of course.

This is a fucking university. Go dig up all the standard reasons for having a football program, and reconcile those arguments with what happened here.
posted by ocschwar at 12:44 PM on November 6 [1 favorite +] [!]


please don't play.

Your argument can be used at EVERY university that has a pervy faculty member of any department by the supporters of whatever successful sport.

"georgetown is a fucking basketball school. Figure out all the reasons for having a law school, and reconcile it with the disgusting thing that happened here"

"notre dame is a football school. Figure out the reasons for having a Biology dept and reconcile it with the disgusting thing that happened here."

Shit, you're just setting up an administrative war zone with even more ammunition.


This is a shitty case about administration just passing the buck here...and it resulting in something that isnt just criminal, but really really really gross to fucking EVERYONE in the world. In the coming months, no doubt we will hear about this kind of stuff more often (either because more people are reporting it, or because the news is latching on to this stuff dispropportionately...more likely), and its going to start coming out of university academic departments as well.

Just check out the askme questions about university administration/faculty doing weird creepy things...
posted by hal_c_on at 11:39 AM on November 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Although, as Toekneesan said, he did literally double the size of the library here. Still...

yeah, but so did harry potter, twilight, and Nicholas sparks at many local libraries. And i aint giving any one of those bastards a statue.
posted by hal_c_on at 11:42 AM on November 7, 2011


Even considering the probability that Paterno is hiding behind a wall of legalese to cover his ass, the sheer impenetrable vapidity of the statement issued in his name is mind-boggling.

"The fact that someone we thought we knew might have harmed young people to this extent is deeply troubling. If this is true we were all fooled, along with scores of professionals trained in such things, and we grieve for the victims and their families. They are in our prayers." I'm sure your prayers are going to help the untold number of kids this man is alleged to have scarred for life. And if it's true that Paterno was truly fooled, he's a bigger imbecile than anyone would have thought possible. But it's not likely that he was actually fooled. Let alone "scores of professionals trained in SUCH THINGS AS SHALL REMAIN NAMELESS."
posted by blucevalo at 12:50 PM on November 7, 2011


The administration is distinct from the Penn State community as a whole. I can think of about 50 things I disagree with the administration on, not least their actions here.

Chrysostom, that was my point. From comments found here:

"Why is the school paying legal costs for these bozos? I'd be really upset if I was paying tuition right now."

"I will not be making a donation to my alma mater until Spanier, Paterno, Curley, and Schultz are all gone."
posted by iviken at 2:24 PM on November 7, 2011


a friend posted this link on fb.

Diane Rehm Show - Penn State Case

"Two Penn State administrators face charges of failure to report alleged sexual abuse of boys. Legal requirements when abuse is suspected and what help is available for victims.

Guests
Frank Cervone Support Center for Child Advocates.
Jeffrey Rosen professor of law at The George Washington University; legal affairs editor at The New Republic.
Nikki Sample therapist and residential program coordinator at Child Help's Alice C. Tyler Village, in Lignum, Virginia."

tomorrow at 10 am EST.
posted by sio42 at 2:26 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Cancel the football program.

let me guess...you're the guy who comes into sports-related threads and says "whats a foot ball?"


I didn't make the original comment. But I thought that same thing. In fact, I'll take it a step further. A part of me hopes that this is the tipping point for the collapse of the miasmic sewer that college football has become. Tear it all down and start again.

And this is from someone born and bred on the NFL and division 1 college football.

Shame on JoePa.
posted by cjets at 4:46 PM on November 7, 2011


A kind of gray pallor has fallen over our community. Our heroes have failed us spectacularly, right before our eyes. I had a meeting at Paterno Library this afternoon and I went by the Gary Schulz Child Care Center on the way. Media people were taking pictures of the sign outside the building. A colleague told me they’ve added security to keep television crews from setting up outside the building and filming innocent 5 and 6 year olds to emphasize the irony. He has a child there. He didn’t really appreciate the irony.

I've lived here for twenty years and watched these careers. I've met Paterno, Spanier, Gricar, and Curley. They all seemed like good, decent men. Outside of this they seemed to have been stellar administrators. Outside of this.

It’s so very sad. We’ve failed to protect children; the simplest of instructions, an instinct, really. Men who thought it was their job to protect a program appear to have ignored terrible abuse. Horrific abuse. The campus is a sad and broken place today. We all feel it. Our world is forever changed. And this has only just begun.
posted by Toekneesan at 5:57 PM on November 7, 2011 [6 favorites]


iviken: "Chrysostom, that was my point."

Sorry I misunderstood you, iviken.

I agree. I took my sons to the PSU-Illinois game the other week...I don't know when I'll have the heart to go back. They certainly won't be getting a dime from me for some time.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:28 PM on November 7, 2011


Count me in as another heartbroken alum (and one who worked for the campus police in college--yes, they are real police officers). I was a student when the Paterno Library opened and always admired JoePa for his dedication to the university as a whole, and not just the football program. Every new piece of this story that comes out just makes me sadder and sadder. I've never been ashamed of my alma mater before, but the way this has been handled (especially Spanier's statement) makes me feel sick.
posted by leesh at 7:40 PM on November 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


The Harrisburg Patriot-News has had excellent coverage of this story. Here's an article from this morning: Mothers of two of Jerry Sandusky's alleged victims lash out at Penn State officials' handling of scandal.
posted by MegoSteve at 4:27 AM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


spitbull -- Sorry, I call bullshit.

And this is what makes it possible for such abuses to continue.

It's really very simple. The two murders that occurred off but near campus are simply treated as separate, isolated, and tragically insoluble crimes. For the murder on campus the campus cops are brought in, and being the experts are generally deferred to. They don't need "sole discretion," they just need to not follow up obvious clues.

I won't name the campus because it's all far in the past and none of the people involved is there any more. But it is foolish to think such things don't happen. Such things happen with depressing regularity wherever you have power and motivation.
posted by localroger at 4:50 AM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Joe Paterno is apparently giving a press conference later this afternoon. This is a horrible idea. I live in State College and for the past four years have listened to Paterno give press conferences on the local radio station. Nobody mishears, misunderstands, or avoids question like Joe Paterno. If you ask him about the run defense the Nittany Lions utilized in their previous game, he may respond by listing the players he has recruited from Akron. If you ask him about how the Lions were able to pull off the fake punt in the game that happened three days ago, he may simply tell you that there were no fake punts in that game. People are going to be shocked, I think, that this man is employed at all, let alone the head of a prominent football program. He has good days and bad days but the bad days are pretty bad. The best case scenario is that he reads a prepared statement announcing his retirement. It would be the best for him, the school, the program, and hopefully the investigation.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 5:13 AM on November 8, 2011


Local blogger That's Church does a better job saying how I feel about this than I've been able to.
posted by octothorpe at 5:42 AM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


From the (Harrisburg) Patriot-News, a few lines that crystallize my sadness over this situation:

'Purely from an ethical standpoint, how specific did the story need to be for Paterno to simply immediately call police himself?

"Had it been his grandson in the shower with Sandusky and McQueary reported to him any version of inappropriate behavior, would Paterno have merely called his technical “superior” and left it at that?"

He may have been correct, legally, and I'm sure that the internal situation is complicated by campus politics, personal relationships, national scrutiny, and money-money-money...but hey, Joe--did you ever feel outrage? Ever have a come-to-Jesus moment with this guy? Did you feel shame for not doing the entirety of the right thing? Did you keep your own grandkids away from this guy? How can you face us now?

I'm neutral on Penn State football, but as a Pennsylvanian I am deeply shamed by these men.

Also from the article: "It was dispensed to media late Monday that only football questions will be answered."
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:46 AM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Joe Paterno is apparently giving a press conference later this afternoon.

Apparently, it's been cancelled.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:16 AM on November 8, 2011


According to the New York Times, looks like Paterno's ouster is imminent.
posted by downing street memo at 9:30 AM on November 8, 2011


"Had it been his grandson in the shower with Sandusky and McQueary reported to him any version of inappropriate behavior, would Paterno have merely called his technical “superior” and left it at that?"

I hate this argument so much. Every time it's trotted out, I hear, "You're possibly being objective. Be biased. Raise the kind of furious bias that one can only muster when It's Happening To You." There's a reason our avatar of justice is blindfolded.

I am gravely disappointed in JoePa. But assuming the allegations are true, I reserve the most bile for Sandusky of course, Curley and Schulz, who covered it up, and McQueary (if he is the unnamed GA), who actually saw it happen and didn't go to police.

Paterno had a chance to do a brave thing, which would be to take matters into his own hands one way or another, and he didn't. He probably didn't want to believe it about such a longtime colleague and, I'm sure, close friend. It's certainly an uncommon situation that not a lot of us (hearing someone say that a close, decades-long friend is doing something unconscionable) can relate to. They are not easy shoes to put yourself in, no matter how much outrage at Paterno you can muster in this thread. That's the easy part.

The link Chrysostom provided encapsulates my feelings pretty well:

Blowing the whistle is the exception to the rule. The fact that Paterno, deemed by many to be the Gold Standard for how a football coach ought to conduct himself, isn't immune to it should tell you something. Because I'm fairly certain that despite all this, Paterno remains a good and decent person. It's not like he's gonna rip off a mask to reveal that he's John Wayne Gacy underneath. All the charming things you read about JoePa in the past aren't suddenly all lies.

Sandusky was Paterno's colleague (and one would assume friend) for over three decades. So imagine someone coming up to you and telling you that your friend of 30 years was raping a kid in the shower. Would you believe it? Would you want to believe it? Probably not the first time you hear it. Would you go to the police?

We'd all like to think we'd do the noble thing when faced with such a seemingly obvious choice. The truth is, we might not. It's impossible to read the Sandusky allegations and not get a vivid mental image of what took place. It's enough to make you want to throw up, and I say that as someone who had a near miss with this sort of thing. It's enough to make you cry out for blood and ask why no one did anything. The outrage comes naturally. But underneath that outrage, there is a real sadness and fear, the idea that "good" people can still be hard-wired for self-preservation, even when faced with the ugliest truths. Even JoePa. Even you.


For the benefit of non-US readers of this, I'm trying to think of an equivalent of just how much Joe Paterno is respected nationally, how much he is that "gold standard." The best equivalent I can think of is if this had happened to Sir Alex Ferguson.
posted by mreleganza at 9:34 AM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


It sort of feels like the graduate assistant is getting off pretty lightly in the shitstorm here. I mean, who SEES a kid being sodomized and doesn't at very least call 911, nevermind physically intervene? I mean, you get 5 seconds to do a cartoon head-shake to make sure you're seeing what you're seeing and then you raise some fucking hell. You don't CALL YOUR DAD and then, the next day, go to your boss! I call my dad when my car breaks down, I'm pretty sure he did his dad duty in raising me to believe that I need to act when I witness a serious crime and I don't need a refresher course.

Is it just a function of what kind of environment he was in that he even had to think about this and then came up with such a pass the buck option? Why isn't he being rained on harder? Why aren't we talking about how he failed to act in the most major way? I get that Paterno's the bigger name here and his actions are also seriously wrong, but as far as I can tell the only involvement he should even have had in the first place is showing up the next day, wondering why his buddy wasn't around and being informed he was already in jail.
posted by marylynn at 9:50 AM on November 8, 2011 [8 favorites]


mreleganza, it must be hideously complicated for Paterno. He's not a villain. People are not stupid for having cheered for him, and his teams, for all this time. I'm upset at Paterno's statement, a piece of p.r. that's clearly been carefully crafted and legally reviewed, and that is so, so far removed from the salt-of-the-earth, sensible persona he projects. He may have done the minimally legally/politically required thing, but that's a hell of a long way from having done the *right* thing, especially in the minds of the many, many sensible and salt-of-the-earth Penn State football fans who have long allied themselves with this decent guy. No, the right thing doesn't have to involve fury and self-righteous anger. But it calls for something more than half-hearted compliance. Paterno may have said and done more than we know about right now...but right now, it stuns me to think that Paterno thought he did enough. I'm sure he has been walking a tightrope here, but I can't square it with the public persona he has cultivated for so long. Maybe what he did do was something that he could square with his conscience. It looks like something else from outside the situation.

I'm also disturbed that the first response was not the human one of "rescue the child from harm RIGHT NOW" but "Oh shit, my job, the program, my personal alliances" and et cetera, and that tells me how deeply loyalty skewed basic human decency here, especially in the case of the GA. That carries with it an implication about relative human worth--that it is, at some level, acceptable that a number of kids *who did nothing to deserve it* become the collateral damage of a sick appetite belonging to a highly-regarded, highly-profitable and well-connected man. That's systemic rot that has been hidden, protected, rewarded, ignored; it's outrageous and heartbreaking and deeply, deeply wrong.

I really, really hope that the kids involved get the compassionate help they need, even now. And that the justice system will work.
posted by MonkeyToes at 10:27 AM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


For the benefit of non-US readers of this, I'm trying to think of an equivalent of just how much Joe Paterno is respected nationally, how much he is that "gold standard." The best equivalent I can think of is if this had happened to Sir Alex Ferguson.

An awful lot of us non-US readers who are not Penn State alums or from Pennsylvania or football fans are not quite getting it either. Seriously, I would not have recognized his name as someone I was supposed to have heard of until this happened, and I grew up in a college sports-loving household (but in the ACC so more basketball than football because frankly the ACC mostly sucked in football throughout my childhood).

I expect in general conversation that most everyone has heard of Coach K or Dean Smith, but I don't expect everyone in the US or even most people to think very highly of them (in fact, in my experience most people hate one or the other of them quite a lot). And I sure as hell wouldn't give either of them a pass if something like this had been going on with one of their assistants. So, yeah, I think you probably need to explain the reverence in which you hold Paterno to more than just a few non-US readers.
posted by hydropsyche at 10:43 AM on November 8, 2011


That should obviously be "An awful lot of us US readers..."
posted by hydropsyche at 10:44 AM on November 8, 2011


The New York Times is reporting that Paterno will soon be out.
posted by MegoSteve at 10:59 AM on November 8, 2011


Hydropsyche, that piece of my comment was merely about the scale of which Paterno is, in college football circles, basically treated with genuflection. That genuflection has been pretty well absolute the last couple of decades, much more so than Krzyzewski and Smith.

*I* don't revere him, especially in light of these events. I *can* spare a moment to consider things from a non-pitchforks-and-torches POV, wrt Paterno and Paterno's role only, as I did in the rest of my post.
posted by mreleganza at 11:03 AM on November 8, 2011


The front page of today's Harrisburg Patriot-News
posted by MegoSteve at 11:09 AM on November 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


> A part of me hopes that this is the tipping point for the collapse of the miasmic sewer that college football has become.

That may well happen.

And:

> Is it just a function of what kind of environment he was in that he even had to think about this and then came up with such a pass the buck option?

This is the nature of power and its inevitable co-mingled corruption. The environment is one in which there are regulations which are cheated routinely. Laws are broken routinely. I would like to believe I would have done differently, but I was not in that situation so do not really know how I would behaved. This is a classic slippery slope horrible consequence. You ignore academic cheating. You ignore the recruitment bribes. You ignore the weed and the coke getting passed around. You ignore the domestic abuse and the date rape. You may even ignore burglary.

(How anybody would think domestic abuse and date rape are less egregious than burglary is pretty damn bizarre to begin with, but I think that is a fair reading of the history of NCAA Division I football and basketball.)

I am not at all shocked that these guys thought they could ignore forcible rape of a minor, forcible rape of a dozen minors, forcible rape of dozens of minors. Horrified, yes. Shocked? No way. Covering up transgressions is part of the job description for a major college athletic program in America in 2011.
posted by bukvich at 12:13 PM on November 8, 2011


Reading the Patriot-News, with more details - why didn't the grad assistant run into the shower and stop it? How could he have just witnessed it, no matter how distraught, and not wanted to run in and protect the child? It wasn't something which was suspicious - it was clear rape and assault.

I would hope that if I ever saw anyone in that situation - child, grown adult being held against their will - I would run in to pull their attacker off them.
posted by jb at 12:14 PM on November 8, 2011


Scott Paterno, Joe's son, claims no one has asked him to step down.
posted by Toekneesan at 1:16 PM on November 8, 2011


BTW, oddly enough we've published not one, but two books on what's wrong with college football.
posted by Toekneesan at 1:27 PM on November 8, 2011


Scott Paterno, previously, "When I was a little kid, my mother told me not to lie. She said lies were dangerous because you had to keep lying to cover your first lie. Eventually, you lost the truth in a mountain of lies. That is what we have here. There are so many separate events that are all linked by one theme: They all were politically beneficial for the president. 56 plus deaths. Several fires. Numerous bureaucratic snafu's. Sexual harassment. Drug use. Financial impropriety. Cover-ups and damage control. Certainly abuse of power. Lies, lies, and more lies. That is the real Bill Clinton."
posted by drezdn at 1:52 PM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


drezdn, perhaps I am dense, but is that a real quote from somewhere? What is the context? Ironic/pathetic if it is.
posted by futz at 2:03 PM on November 8, 2011


futz: source
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 2:04 PM on November 8, 2011


Woody, JoePa, Tress... Why is it that only Michigan's Schembechler remains the only Big Ten legend not forced to resign in scandal? Hopefully this serves as an example that promotes this never happening again (though, sigh, sadly it won't) and I hope the State College community arises stronger after this (though preferably they wait until after their 11/19 meetup with OSU to do so) and I hope some of the energy being directed in outrage is also going towards healing the victims.
posted by midmarch snowman at 3:13 PM on November 8, 2011


Growing Up Penn State: The end of everything at State College by Michael Weinreb
posted by Toekneesan at 3:44 PM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


It sort of feels like the graduate assistant is getting off pretty lightly in the shitstorm here.

This. This this this.

Some article I read today referenced the "slapping sound" that he heard that drew his attention to what was going on the shower. I cannot -- cannot -- get that detail out of my head. Or the image of the kid, no doubt praying for someone to rescue him, maybe seeing the grad assistant, maybe not ... but later finding out that someone saw the attack while it was in progress and did nothing.

I could not care less about Paterno. He saw nothing, he passed along an allegation that he had no direct knowledge of. But this guy, whomever he is -- even if he can't be prosecuted (is "failure to stop a crime" a crime?) I sure as hell hope he faces a civil penalty. Perhaps enough to give the child victim here a comfortable life and access to the best counseling money can buy.

I have no idea how a man who saw this but didn't stop it would live with himself.
posted by anastasiav at 4:10 PM on November 8, 2011 [6 favorites]


Failure to stop a crime is a crime in the case of, say, the mandated reporting everyone is talking about. Mandated reporting sets the minimum action required by people in cases where it might be hard to know exactly what happens: a teacher who regularly sees a kid wearing the same clothes and getting skinnier every day or a doctor who sees suspicious bruising. It sets the floor. But that doesn't mean that's ALL anyone can do - it just requires you to do the bare minimum so you can't later say "Well, I never SAW it happen so I wasn't sure..." because it almost never happens right in front of you.

And that's the legal floor, nevermind the ethical one. I don't even understand how that graduate assistant looked at Sandusky ever again. I really don't. And the notion he did is the second most fucked up part of a seriously fucked up story.
posted by marylynn at 5:07 PM on November 8, 2011


Ad a PSU ex-student, I am so troubled by this whole situation. For people unfamiliar with Joe Paterno, you must understand that this is a name that is synonymous with wholesomeness. Penn State Football prided itself on turning out leaders in the mold of the coach: studious, team-minded, and winners every one.
JoePa himself endorsed a local brand of bread on television commercials. He was that admired and squeeeaky clean. It was all an image of course, but it was an image that people really wanted to believe in.
There was also a flavor of ice cream named after him at the creamery- "Peachy Paterno."
I only had it once, because as a graduate student I couldn't afford to buy food at the creamery. IIRC, it was a fairly bland ice cream full of hard frozen chunks of fruit. I'm trying to find the significance of that.
Truly, I was never a football fan (again, graduate student, couldn't afford it), and I couldn't care less about the outcome of a bowl game (those are football, right?) Still, my heart is aching for the communities around State College. For a depressed rural area, winning games were a big deal. And there are all of these tiny hamlets around the Happy Valley, where the only business is a hotel that is only open for football and graduation... I worry for those people.

And those poor little boys. We let you down. Shame on us.
posted by pickypicky at 6:08 PM on November 8, 2011


Tonight, outside Joe's house.
posted by Toekneesan at 7:28 PM on November 8, 2011


And on the opposite end of the spectrum, students are at Old Main apparently calling for Spanier to be fired.
posted by leesh at 7:40 PM on November 8, 2011


JoePa does have his supporters.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:56 PM on November 8, 2011


Throughout my undergrad years at Penn State, I was fortunate enough to participate in my fraternity's annual Second Mile Christmas Party, during which we hosted 50-60 kids from the organization for an afternoon of games, crafts, Christmas movies, and a visit with Santa himself. I served as Santa one of those years, and I was moved to tears listening to how modest their Christmas lists were. Hearing that the founder of the organization could terrorize these defenseless kids who already had such a difficult start in life makes me sick, and when you add in the fact that he got away with it for so many years, and was able to commit more crimes while still being involved with the Second Mile and the University... There really are no words to describe how horrifying that is.

As if that wasn't enough, we have the University's pathetic PR response. President Graham Spanier's first statement on this incredibly sensitive issue trumpeted his "unconditional support" for the administration stooges who protected Sandusky. Seriously, PSU PR team? At best, these guys were woefully clueless on matters they should have been clueful on, and at worst, they participated in a criminal cover-up for a sexual predator. Closing ranks around these guys was an unforgivable own goal for Penn State, over and above the tragedy of the crimes themselves, one that they seem to be trying to make worse with each new move they've made since the grand jury report was released.

Then, there's JoePa. None of us knows yet exactly what he knew and when he knew it, but his initial statement certainly didn't seem to match up with what the grand jury report says he knew. It's possible that there's an explanation for that, and since Joe is testifying against Sandusky in court, we'll hopefully get this cleared up. But, as someone who has the utmost respect for what Paterno has done between the lines and outside of them (and who has an art print of Joe in his game room and a half gallon of Peachy Paterno in the freezer) it will be devastating to learn that he was more aware of the details of this than he's admitted to so far.

The real tragedy is for these kids and their families, though -- a local Fox affiliate reported tonight that the number of reported victims is now closer to 20. I hope that long after the media vultures have packed up their cameras and microphones, someone can get to the bottom of why exactly this was allowed to happen for so long. The story as we know it already has many points of failure, from Mike McQueary's failure to stop the assult in the shower, to Paterno's apparent lack of attention to the matter, to The Second Mile's allowing Sandusky to remain involved long after questions were raised... But there's so much we don't know, and if anything good at all can come out of this catastrophe, I hope that we learn enough about how this all happened so that the story can serve as a template for how not to respond to these tragedies in the future.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:11 PM on November 8, 2011 [5 favorites]


(Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates: "JoePa does have his supporters."

That students are rallying to support him just makes me ill. What the hell?
posted by octothorpe at 8:18 PM on November 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


octothorpe: "That students are rallying to support him just makes me ill. What the hell?"

Yeah, it's quite unseemly. Paterno's earned a lot of goodwill over the decades for his stewardship of the football program and his generosity in giving back to the University, but there's a time for "WE ARE... PENN STATE!" chants, and there's a time for somber reflection in your dorm room. Even if you think he has a good explanation for his inaction, voicing support for him before he's leveled with the public about his involvement is an insult to the victims and their families.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:30 PM on November 8, 2011 [5 favorites]


I saw the huge crowds of students on College Avenue tonight rushing Old Main (the central administrative building of the university) on my bus ride home. I thought they were protesting against the university's inaction. Instead, I came home and saw that they were simultaneously supporting JoePa and calling for Spanier to resign (!?) One of the pictures in the slideshow shows someone carrying a handmade sign calling attention to the good deeds of THON (the annual Penn State dance marathon that raises money for pediatric cancer research). THON's slogan is "FTK" (For the Kids). Christ.

In other news, the Penn State business cards I had made up to hand out at academic conferences are ready for me to pick up....
posted by dhens at 12:04 AM on November 9, 2011


AP says JoePa will retire at the end of the seaso. Assuming he cooperates fully with the investigation, that's probably a just outcome.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:16 AM on November 9, 2011


I am absolutely devastated by the developments in this case. I grieve for the children and their families, and I pray for their comfort and relief.

I have come to work every day for the last 61 years with one clear goal in mind: To serve the best interests of this university and the young men who have been entrusted to my care. I have the same goal today.

That's why I have decided to announce my retirement effective at the end of this season. At this moment the Board of Trustees should not spend a single minute discussing my status. They have far more important matters to address. I want to make this as easy for them as I possibly can. This is a tragedy. It is one of the great sorrows of my life. With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more.

My goals now are to keep my commitments to my players and staff and finish the season with dignity and determination. And then I will spend the rest of my life doing everything I can to help this University. -- Joe Paterno
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:35 AM on November 9, 2011


Thanks for that, (A)H&(W)O. Looks like that statement is getting picked up by the newswires, too.
posted by devinemissk at 7:43 AM on November 9, 2011


Yes, thanks, (A)H&(W)O, was coming here to post that. Oh, and here's the earlier, lame official statement from the Board of Trustees, calling for a committee to investigate.

A committee does not suffice. Spanier must go.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:52 AM on November 9, 2011


Implicit in Paterno's statement is that the response by those in charge (including himself) was insufficient. Clearly Spanier is done, as are Curley and Schultz. Paterno is, from all accounts, a tough s.o.b. and many expect him to unload on Spanier with both barrels now that he has nothing to lose. I still don't know how he can do that while squaring his own inaction. At this point I'm most interested in what will happen to McQueary, as he is young and still may have a career ahead of him. The local sports radio host is demanding that he be fired immediately, and it will be interesting to see if any of the ire turns his way and to what degree.

As for who will take charge of this rudderless ship, I have heard Tom Ridge's name bandied about. That seems to me like a reasonable solution for the interim - a man with stature who is respected in Pennsylvania and who can serve for a few years before finding a true replacement.

And finally, local outlets are now reporting that the number of accusers has risen to nearly 20. This is not being reported nationally so I'm hesitant to link to anything or trust those reports. It is not surprising that this predator had many more victims but it is just so sad.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:01 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


(Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates: "As for who will take charge of this rudderless ship, I have heard Tom Ridge's name bandied about. That seems to me like a reasonable solution for the interim - a man with stature who is respected in Pennsylvania and who can serve for a few years before finding a true replacement."

God, no. Not Tom "Duct Tape" Ridge. I hope PSU's bench is not that shallow.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:03 AM on November 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


On NPR this morning they said there were 40 accusers, but I wondered if they were confusing the number of accusers with counts in the indictment. I think there are going to end up being a whole lot of victims, though.
posted by craichead at 8:03 AM on November 9, 2011


Westboro Baptist will be coming to State College to protest during the football game on Saturday.

It is on their website but I won't link to it here. Here is a site for constantly updated news.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:18 AM on November 9, 2011


Thank God Paterno's out. Doesn't excuse a damn thing, but "At this moment the Board of Trustees should not spend a single minute discussing my status. They have far more important matters to address." is, at least, to my eyes, a wholly true statement., which has been rare from most parties involved so far.

Further, although I have no idea if they had done it, any sort of independent board eventually calling for Paterno's resignation would have, probably, been seen as having done their job once they got Paterno and/or Spanier out of there. I hope that Paterno taking his firing out of the equation means that real investigating/change could take place.

The cynic in me doesn't count on it. But that same cynic is pretty shocked how affected he's been by this whole situation. I'm not a Penn State fan, but as someone who, despite being trounced on in my youth by a hypermasculine culture, still has a very strong love for the idea of -- and individual men who have dedicated their lives to -- using sports to "turn boys into men", this whole ugly mess has made me physically ill (yet for some reason needing to read and listen to as much detail about it as possible); it's a parallel that's obvious and has been made elsewhere, but this week, I understand a lot more how lots of Catholics have felt recently.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:34 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


When the Board meets tonight, they may consider the possibility of violence at the games. Could they be held culpable? Saturday is the last home game, then Ohio State and Wisconsin; what will the student chants be? If Nebraska fans start up on Saturday, how will the Penn State fans respond? I don't think there is any possibility of there not being ugliness.

A question for those who know more: are conspiracy charges possible? Paterno's 2007 salary was over a half-a-million, McQueary was given a coaches position, everyone resigning made money while maintaining a cover-up.

Sad, sickening, incredible, predictable.
posted by dragonsi55 at 8:36 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ben Jones's Twitter feed is another good source for breaking info.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:54 AM on November 9, 2011


(Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates: "Westboro Baptist will be coming to State College to protest during the football game on Saturday."

Reading this, I have the sickest feeling that somebody is going to finally make one of these assholes the martyrs they so long to be. Talk about being a match at a powderkeg. The only good that can come of this is that it will give all sides a common foe.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:15 AM on November 9, 2011


Yes Mike I don't see how violence can be avoided. Emotions will already be hot. People will be drinking. I hope that security is up for the challenge and I hope that people refrain from harming others - I just don't see how that will be possible.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 9:19 AM on November 9, 2011


Me too. I hope I'm proven wrong and that if I'm not, security will be up for it. But it's hard not to imagine the worst case scenario. I mean, whenever I think too much about the whole thing, I just want to punch something. And that's not generally my reaction to... anything.

dragonsi55: " Sad, sickening, incredible, predictable."

The fact that Sports Illustrated published this:

Every Parent's Nightmare
The child molester has found a home in the world of youth sports, where as a coach he can gain the trust and loyalty of kids -- and then prey on them


Just three months before it published this:

Last Call
Jerry Sandusky, the dean of Linebacker U, is leaving Penn State after 32 years to devote himself to a different kind of coaching


is just one of many believable-only-in-hindsight occurrences here.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:28 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Down Goes Spanier.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:19 AM on November 9, 2011


MCMikeNamara, wow, you're right on the timing.

I used the 'Every Parents Nightmare' piece as the basis for an interactive theater character for State Police officers and brass. They hated me. Look at Matt Millens eyes about 4..5 minutes of this conversation; there were about 50 sets of those eyes in the room. Even the Baylor murder coverup of Patrick Dennehy didn't leave the perpetrator free to commit more crimes.

Biggest scandal in college sports history. I hope the board gets it before more people get hurt.
posted by dragonsi55 at 10:23 AM on November 9, 2011


It's really very simple. The two murders that occurred off but near campus are simply treated as separate, isolated, and tragically insoluble crimes. For the murder on campus the campus cops are brought in, and being the experts are generally deferred to. They don't need "sole discretion," they just need to not follow up obvious clues. - posted by localroger

That's very different from your initial claim. And it's not a complete answer. I don't believe that any American university would leave the investigation of a murder on its campus up to its campus police force. At a minimum, state police investigators would be involved, and they have both jurisdiction, capacity, and reason to examine patterns that extend beyond the campus.

Many, many serial killings are treated as isolated incidents for many years until connections get made, or appear. In fact, that's true of most serial killings. That 2 off campus murders were not linked to each other (presumably by a police force or forces not answerable to school administrators) is not dispositive of a coverup, let alone one involving a third murder on the campus.

I get that some faculty member at this campus creeped out your girlfriend, which sucks and should be punishable -- and is the kind of thing that often is swept under the rug. But I think you are lashing out in anger and making an unsustainable allegation, or one that if true would be an enormous, unthinkable scandal you might want to document and pursue if you really think it's true that a serial killer roams free because of corrupt campus law enforcement somewhere.

I'd really have to see proof (as in the name of the school) to believe that any US university would allow its own cops to investigate an on-campus murder, and either refuse or decline investigations by outside authorities. In fact, I doubt very much that is legal anywhere. Indian reservations are sovereign states, and even they are required to bring in the FBI and/or state police for serious violent crime investigations under jurisdictional agreements they all have.

There's plenty that is awful and corrupt about US university administration in general, and campus policing in particular. But making wild, unsubstantiated, and effectively anonymous claims that some US university somewhere is sheltering a serial killer on its faculty in full knowledge of that fact is absurd unless you have proof. And if you do, you should be doing more than griping on Metafilter about it.
posted by spitbull at 10:35 AM on November 9, 2011


Spanier is likely to be gone by the end of the day.
posted by dhens at 10:37 AM on November 9, 2011


Here's what you wrote, localroger:

we discovered that there had been three murders of female students, one on campus, within a four year period which had been quietly swept under the rug even though the pattern fairly screamed "serial killer" and anyone conversant with the habits of certain student/faculty groups could suggest a handful of faculty members who probably should have been interviewed.


"Conversant with the habits of certain student/faculty groups . . . [including] faculty members who probably should have been interviewed" is a powerful insinuation. And how, by the way, would you possibly know who was interviewed anyway?
posted by spitbull at 10:38 AM on November 9, 2011


Depraved indifference.

That's the term I was looking for.
posted by dragonsi55 at 10:48 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


There are so many people involved in this who did nothing, its incredible. Lets start with the guy who witnessed it and didn't stop it and didn't go to the police, Coach Joe, the administrators, the mom who confronted him and the police officers listening to her....why did nobody do ANYTHING? Thats a least 7 adults who knew about it, not to mention all the eye-winking about Sandusky that must have been going around before all this.

Even if you did the legally right thing, how do you live with yourself that you didn't do more? You sat by and condoned the "consequences" of him raping a boy that was basically a "you can do that but don't do it on our property" message. How do you live with yourself. Yeah joe, go pray for them. Thats about as helpful as what you did 5 years ago.
posted by aacheson at 12:31 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is why we shouldn't put people on stamps until they've been dead a while:

Stagg family may have issues with Paterno scandal

Amos Alonzo Stagg’s name being attached to the Big Ten football championship trophy may have to be reevaluated if Joe Paterno is found to be “complicit” in the Jerry Sandusky scandal according to Stagg's great grandson.



I found this story when doing a search on a Twitter item I found oddly compelling -- that with Paterno's retirement, 2012 will be the first time that either Stagg or Paterno wasn't on the sidelines of a college football game (as player or coach) since 1884. Tradition doesn't have to be dangerous, but considering the man, the length of his tenure, and how it compares to the entire history of the game like makes you realize just how someone can be so deified -- and how unchecked power can lead to pretty fucking horrible things.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:32 PM on November 9, 2011


We are, but you are not.
posted by anotherpanacea at 1:35 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


spitbull -- And how, by the way, would you possibly know who was interviewed anyway?

We read the police reports. They are public records, you know. When we called the real police to suggest there was something they might look into, they told us to call the campus police and liaison with them. Yes, over murders. At that point we decided the police were not our friends, justice was not on the menu, and it might be wiser and healthier to remove ourselves from the situation than to pursue it.

The name of the school would not prove anything because this happened thirty years ago. None of the people we interacted with are still there. However, my own father was a college professor (at a different school) and I got much insight into the relations between faculty, management, maintenance, and security from him. This is why I am confident things are as I suspected and have not generally changed except possibly to get worse.
posted by localroger at 2:36 PM on November 9, 2011


"At this moment the Board of Trustees should not spend a single minute discussing my status. They have far more important matters to address."

If he had said this while tendering an immediate resignation, I'd maybe buy it. As it is, it reads pretty disingenuous to me.

There needs to be a wholesale gutting of the program and administration. From McQueary and Paterno up to Spanier. Don't even let them resign, fire their asses.
posted by kmz at 2:58 PM on November 9, 2011


Santorum nominated Sandusky for "Angels in Adoption" award.
posted by drezdn at 3:36 PM on November 9, 2011


"...I do know this. There's a due process that you're entitled to, and I want to see that process come forth...I get mad and, uh...it's pretty disturbing"..."Who is Jerry Sandusky? He's your next door neighbor."—Matt Millen on Sport Center.
posted by Toekneesan at 5:48 PM on November 9, 2011


Some article I read today referenced the "slapping sound" that he heard that drew his attention to what was going on the shower. I cannot -- cannot -- get that detail out of my head. Or the image of the kid, no doubt praying for someone to rescue him, maybe seeing the grad assistant, maybe not ... but later finding out that someone saw the attack while it was in progress and did nothing.

Of all of the reactions of the people involved in this, McQueary's is actually the most understandable to me. The image probably traumatized him. The guy panicked and called his dad--if that's not an indication he was instantly regressing I don't know what is.

For reference, if you read the grand jury report you learn there was a janitor who saw Sandusky giving oral sex to a boy in the showers in 2000. The janitor also bolted, and proceeded to have a breakdown so severe multiple people thought he was having a heart attack. He was a Korean war vet and stated that he'd seen many horrible things, but nothing as terrible as what he just saw.

McQueary saw Sandusky not giving oral, but anally raping a boy. Can you imagine anything worse? If a war veteran had a traumatic breakdown, how do any of us know how we would react in that kind of situation? We can visualize what we'd like to do now, but when it's actually happening right before your eyes? And the perpetrator is someone you deeply admire?

He sat on it for ten years, like the rest of them, and that I find sickening. But his immediate actions then, in that locker room? We'd all like to think we'd rush in and stop it. But I don't think anyone can judge unless they've been there.
posted by schroedinger at 6:52 PM on November 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


Paterno getting the axe, according to the Twitterati.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 6:57 PM on November 9, 2011


WGAL local news saying Paterno out immediately.
posted by sio42 at 7:15 PM on November 9, 2011


ESPN saying Paterno is gone.
posted by barnacles at 7:17 PM on November 9, 2011


Paterno and Spanier out. Should be interesting to see if anything's left in Happy Valley in the morning.
posted by schroedinger at 7:17 PM on November 9, 2011


FOX43 news in York/Harrisburg is showing a live stream of the Board of Trustees press conference.

tense does not describe it.
posted by sio42 at 7:19 PM on November 9, 2011


sio42: "FOX43 news in York/Harrisburg is showing a live stream of the Board of Trustees press conference.

tense does not describe it
"

Here's another stream. Tense, indeed. The questions are angry and aggressive – would that reporters could be so intense all the time and not when their favorite coach got canned!
posted by barnacles at 7:27 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Rather: "... not just when their favorite coach got canned."
posted by barnacles at 7:30 PM on November 9, 2011


i hear ya. i'd love to see Romney face video tape of his flops.

but anyways...

one of the reporters just asked the board vicechair if he knew students were rioting downtown.
he said "no, cause i'm at this meeting."

any truth to this rioting? anyone in state college reading this?
posted by sio42 at 7:33 PM on November 9, 2011


Yes I'm in SC. I hope the students don't burn our town down. But I have heard of no rioting yet. Congregating, yes but rioting, no.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:37 PM on November 9, 2011


sio42: I am in my office on campus right now, and I literally just saw a ton of undergrads running around and yelling as I saw your question. Couldn't make out what they were saying. Frankly, I'm glad I'll be out of town on Saturday. It's probably going to be ugly.
posted by dhens at 7:38 PM on November 9, 2011


(Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates: Remember, this is what some of them did when Penn State won a major football game a few years ago...
posted by dhens at 7:40 PM on November 9, 2011


Twitter says quiet as of a few minutes ago. Students at Joe shrine, but quiet. People probably in shock more than anything.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:45 PM on November 9, 2011


the Fox43 reporter onsite was calling the gathering "riots" and then the newsroom reporter said they had to be careful with the word riots and seems to just be a rally right now.
posted by sio42 at 7:52 PM on November 9, 2011


There had been a prayer service at the Lion Shrine (not the JoePa statue) at 10PM for the victims.
posted by dhens at 7:53 PM on November 9, 2011


I wonder if the board knows something the rest of us don't. Even with all of this, I would have thought that through the end of the season was fine for his (in)actions. Maybe they figure that if he ended up leading them to a bowl game or something, it would be harder to enforce a resignation or to let him go at that point.
posted by sio42 at 7:57 PM on November 9, 2011


Yes, having trouble getting video of the presser, but that was apparently something the BOT got pressed hard on. "So you don't rush to judgement when learning the facts but you do rush to judgment when dismissing Coach Paterno?"
posted by Chrysostom at 8:00 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


You can't let the guy who knew of a child rape and didn't do anything continue to be the face of your large public university. That's business. This is grown up stuff now, not football. It was the only decision they could have possibly made.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:01 PM on November 9, 2011 [6 favorites]


On Penn State: Victimhood can be so lonely
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:02 PM on November 9, 2011


But Curley-the guy charged with a crime-is still employed? And BOT apparently had no good answer for that?
posted by Chrysostom at 8:13 PM on November 9, 2011


Curley will get the boot, too. In due time. The big difference is that Curley is not coaching a nationally televised football game on Saturday. They had to act to prevent Paterno from taking the field again.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:16 PM on November 9, 2011


(Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates: "The big difference is that Curley is not coaching a nationally televised football game on Saturday. They had to act to prevent Paterno from taking the field again."

Yeah, but the optics of it are horrible, and firing Curley would be perfectly justifiable either way. There was no good reason to fire Joe without also firing Curley.

I just hope there's a State College for me to go back to.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:18 PM on November 9, 2011


Yes, having trouble getting video of the presser, but that was apparently something the BOT got pressed hard on. "So you don't rush to judgement when learning the facts but you do rush to judgment when dismissing Coach Paterno?"

The audio I was listening to cut in and out, probably due to the fact it was a local station overwhelmed with traffic, but that was one of the most all-around embarrassing press conferences I have ever heard. From (what seemed to be) the local media's undisguised outrage, to Surma's (apparently CEO of US Steel) answers to questions that he doesn't know the facts but that these were "careful deliberations," absolutely no one looked good there.

One reporter said something to the effect of "so you won't rush to judgment on the facts but you will on dismissing Paterno," and Surma frankly had no credible answer whatsoever. I'd have some respect for the trustees if they had said something like AHaWO above (although "didn't do anything" is a bit stronger than I would have it for Paterno personally) and said "look, we have to run the school and move on," but to pretend it was a careful process just made them look foolish, in my opinion.
posted by dsfan at 8:19 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


tonycpsu, OnwardStateFeed is reporting on student actions. Still pretty peaceful, they say.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:20 PM on November 9, 2011


Chrysostom: "tonycpsu, OnwardStateFeed is reporting on student actions. Still pretty peaceful, they say."

Yeah. Most recent update: "We have a stampede: reports of tear gas. From what I've seen, there was no reason to deploy it. Students rush towards west campus."

I lived right there on Beaver canyon for 4 of my 5 years there during the late 90s, and saw those riots up close. As soon as the cops bring out the tear gas, it's usually all downhill from there.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:24 PM on November 9, 2011


One reporter said something to the effect of "so you won't rush to judgment on the facts but you will on dismissing Paterno," and Surma frankly had no credible answer whatsoever.

Uhhh, what judgement is rushed here? What facts are hidden? There is a freakin' grand jury report where Paterno says that McQueary told him there was sexual contact between Sandusky and a boy, and all Paterno did was pass it on up. If what he told the press is true and Paterno didn't actually know any details, then it means he perjured himself on the stand. So either the guy is lying in court and claiming he knew details he didn't, or he's lying to the media and when told about sexual contact between Sandusky and kids he let the issue sit.

I seriously don't know how it's "rushing to dismissal" to say that maybe a guy who covered for a fucking child rapist should not be employed by the university, especially when that guy is the most powerful man in Happy Valley and of anyone had the power to do the most about the issue.
posted by schroedinger at 8:31 PM on November 9, 2011


Spitbull - the University of Arizona police were in charge of a murder investigation when one student murdered her roommate. This was about 4 years ago when I worked there. I'm on my phone so no link.
posted by nestor_makhno at 8:37 PM on November 9, 2011


schroedinger--

Maybe I was unclear, my point was that something like your response could have been reasonable, although, really, we're talking about an 84-year-old man recalling conversations from nearly a decade ago, perjury isn't the only explanation for discrepancies (now, that may mean you don't want that person as the public face of your institution, and that's not unreasonable). But he didn't even say that. It was just "we don't really know anything" but then it was a "careful" process, which is not credible.
posted by dsfan at 8:44 PM on November 9, 2011


Surma wasn't awesome, but I thought he was OK in the face of unbridled raw unjournalistic bullshit from the Paterno PR team. I mean "reporters".
posted by kmz at 8:50 PM on November 9, 2011


kmz: "Surma wasn't awesome, but I thought he was OK in the face of unbridled raw unjournalistic bullshit from the Paterno PR team. I mean "reporters"."

Some of the reporters were a bit too rabid in their questioning, but the trustees allowed that to happen by not controlling the presser more -- calling on individuals one at a time, etc. Total PR 101 stuff that you'd expect a major university to be able to handle.

They're basically reacting with their lizard brains right now -- nothing about this is controlled or thought through.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:54 PM on November 9, 2011


Surma wasn't awesome, but I thought he was OK in the face of unbridled raw unjournalistic bullshit from the Paterno PR team. I mean "reporters".

You'll get no argument from me on the reporters, that was ridiculous. Disagree on Surma, and it's already being reported that he was lying when he said the board contacted Paterno by phone. I also am highly skeptical of their claims that the decision was unanimous given reports from earlier in the day that the board was split on whether to fire the president. Are these the most important things in the world? Of course not, but do I think these are people with dedication to the truth? Not at all.

I think tonycpsu is right--whether it was the right decision or not, I just don't think they have a handle on what they are doing, it's purely reactive.
posted by dsfan at 9:02 PM on November 9, 2011


Apparently some of the people asking questions at the conference were students, not journalists.
posted by rewil at 9:09 PM on November 9, 2011


Penn State didn't check credentials. PR 101 indeed; what the hell.
posted by rewil at 9:13 PM on November 9, 2011


rewil: "Penn State didn't check credentials. PR 101 indeed; what the hell."

Amazing that Benjy Bronk didn't parachute in.

Reports of car and light pole tippings on ESPN now. Not what Joe would have wanted.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:18 PM on November 9, 2011


Reports of car and light pole tippings on ESPN now. Not what Joe would have wanted.

I'm done with this for the night, but this is a sad reaction. Why hold a press conference at 10 pm at night anyway? Why not hold it tomorrow morning, 8 a.m., wouldn't it be much easier to control a crowd from the outset? Just seems like asking for trouble.
posted by dsfan at 9:21 PM on November 9, 2011


The Daily Collegian (Penn State's student newspaper) has a twitter feed ... picture of overturned news van so far ... I do not understand the culture at the University that seems to make "riots" happen all of the time.

I grew up in State College and went to Penn State. This whole situation is disgusting and sad. It's shame that Paterno's career ended this way, but it's a bigger shame that a man who presented himself as honorable didn't stand up. I hope Jerry Sandusky is punished appropriately.
posted by backwords at 9:23 PM on November 9, 2011


I was reading the Twitter feeds of some Penn State supporters, and saw gems like joe pa fired and Casey anthony went free... people r crazy.

If these are the leaders of tomorrow, we're in big trouble.
posted by reenum at 9:49 PM on November 9, 2011


No, the leaders of tomorrow mostly graduate from places like Harvard or Bob Jones University.
posted by dirigibleman at 10:02 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


As a Vancouverite, the only relief I get out of this whole shit-show is that someone else has decided to make a play for the "most ill-conceived riot of 2011" title.

It needs to be noted that PSU students are also organizing vigils for tomorrow in honour of the real victims. So good for the good guys, and screw the people in the streets tonight who think college football is more important than child abuse.
posted by auto-correct at 10:24 PM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


So these kids are rioting because some football coach who shielded a fucking child molester got justly shitcanned?

Fuck them. At this very moment, students are facing down cops at UC Berkeley. Earlier today, cops looked around for cameras and, not seeing any, beat the shit out of some kids. Guess which one's on cnn.com?
posted by the_bone at 10:31 PM on November 9, 2011


Some video of the press conference has surfaced.

Student morons seem to be dispersing, heading home. Guess that could have been worse.

Still, what a shit show this has been. The school will not fully recover from this for decades. And, of course, Sandusky's victims never will.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:33 PM on November 9, 2011


[characterizing your comment as "flamebait" doesnt mean it's okay to post it here. You have MeTa as an option.]
posted by jessamyn at 6:31 AM on November 10, 2011


Or the image of the kid, no doubt praying for someone to rescue him, maybe seeing the grad assistant, maybe not ... but later finding out that someone saw the attack while it was in progress and did nothing.

The Grand Jury report said that the assistant testified that both the boy and Sandusky saw him.

I find that maybe the most sickening bit in a whole lot of sickening things about the whole case.

First, in all those years following, the assistant (McQueary I guess) knew what Sandusky was capable of and Sandusky knew he knew. Would Sandusky not take this (and the lack of prosecution afterwards) as tacit acceptance? No wonder he acted like he thought himself immune in the years that followed, continuing to bring kids to games and practices and workouts. He'd been caught in the act and allowed to continue.

Second, and worse, that poor child. The shame and humiliation of being abused and then seen being abused, and then the betrayal of finding out that nothing was going to happen to stop it. From his perspective, it probably felt like adults just think this kind of thing is okay. Or that he really did deserve it or had asked for it or whatever other awful things abused kids often feel.

So yeah, I agree with you, anastasiav,
I have no idea how a man who saw this but didn't stop it would live with himself.
posted by torticat at 3:19 PM on November 10, 2011


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