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Joe Paterno, Graham Spanier fired
November 10, 2011 5:15 AM   Subscribe

Joe Paterno, Head Coach of the Penn State football team, and Graham Spanier, Penn State President, have been fired by the Penn State Board of Trustees amid allegations that they did little to address the (alleged) sexual molestation of children at the hands of Jerry Sandusky, the ex-defensive coach of the team. And as day follows night, Penn State students rioted, overturning a news van, shattering car windows, and tearing down street signs. Previously
posted by sutt (819 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
That's right...the only thing worth getting worked up and rioting over in this world, if you are a college student, is justifiably losing a football coach. Nothing else to take action over. Nope.
posted by spicynuts at 5:18 AM on November 10, 2011 [61 favorites]


My school had a riot in the mid-1980s because the college town passed a law during the summer that put restrictions on large parties (and by large, I mean keggers with attendance in the hundreds, which were routine on weekends). So, I can't really point fingers here. Still, I hope that a lot of the students get calls from their parents in the morning, asking if they really want to die on that particular hill, so to speak.
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:22 AM on November 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


What a wasted ruin Paterno's career has become. Had he done more than just the barest minimum necessary to help a helpless child, he could have been the heroic/paternal/mentor figure most everyone assumed him to be.

Now he's the biggest asterisk in sports history, and revealed as a weak and cowardly man.

I'm not even going to comment on the "rioting" students. I'm sure they'll be ashamed of themselves when they sober up in 10 or 15 years.
posted by PapaLobo at 5:23 AM on November 10, 2011 [34 favorites]


So the investigation lasted three years and even after the report, they are just getting around to arresting this guy now?
posted by theredpen at 5:23 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


That'll learn 'em not to fuck with our bread and circuses.
posted by indubitable at 5:24 AM on November 10, 2011 [39 favorites]


An example of the PSU student mentality. Unbelievable.

(You should read some of her other stuff too. It is actually scary)
posted by lampshade at 5:25 AM on November 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


How well are the reasons for the firing being transmitted from the school to the students? Is it one of those "librul media is forcing us into apologizing for something we never did" stories there?
posted by DU at 5:25 AM on November 10, 2011


I think about how there were reports and complaints going back many more years, and hell, that kind of makes me want to overturn a car, too! stomps out to driveway Seriously, christ, this is awful.
posted by theredpen at 5:26 AM on November 10, 2011


Finally I know where to sell these "My coach protected pedophiles and all I got was this flipped news van" shirts I made a while ago...
posted by cloeburner at 5:28 AM on November 10, 2011 [26 favorites]


Probably going to be a slow thread as the links are all quite substantial and people will be absorbed in reading them before rushing to post an opinion.
posted by Wolfdog at 5:29 AM on November 10, 2011 [46 favorites]


I've been snarking deeply about how Paterno was going to come out of this fray as untouched as before, so count me as one of the people gobsmacked by his firing.

If there wasn't an existing system of protecting the system - letting players, coaching staff, and administrators get away with anything in order to let the program as a whole run untouched and unafraid - Sandusky would not have been able to do what he did for so long. As it is, the local law enforcement, campus police, school administrators, and faculty were also all either complicit in sustaining the immunity of the sports program or intimidated into it. Once those kids were in State College, PA, there was literally nobody to help them.

Anybody who lives in a small town dominated by a major university will occasionally hear, if not witness, things local athletes can get away with that anybody else would be arrested for or, if they were national figures, be publicly shamed for. Penn State is a very large school, State College fairly isolated, giving the university even more leverage over local politics and reporting than other schools could expect.

Punishing your most prominent figures as quickly as possible is the most effective way to look like you're coming clean. Dithering and stonewalling prolongs the investigation and with time it might become curious about you. As the saying goes, it's not the crime, it's the coverup. Thankfully in this case, the accused is going to trial, and key participants in the coverup are being punished for it. But every local official who gets to fire somebody else is as likely to have just as much blood on their own hands, either with regards to this event or to something else.

It should be making you wonder what else might have been going on that still hasn't been revealed, when something this heinous could perpetuate successfully for so long.
posted by ardgedee at 5:30 AM on November 10, 2011 [22 favorites]


What a bunch of dicks.

The guy protected a child molester. What else do you need to know before you think it's ok to fire the guy?
posted by ged at 5:30 AM on November 10, 2011 [10 favorites]


Disgusting. I guess to Penn State students this Paterno guy is like some kinda pope.

Good for Penn State for firing this pope for his papal disregard of the sexual abuse of children. Now the secular state needs to press charges across the board. The whole story I imagine is much worse than we know.
posted by three blind mice at 5:32 AM on November 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


Sigh. Glad that I flunked out of State Penn and my resume only shows my Pitt degree.
posted by octothorpe at 5:32 AM on November 10, 2011 [7 favorites]


I'm sure the students are rioting because sexual assault isn't taken seriously enough in this country and white men of power tend to get away with child molestation, right? I bet they want to send a message loud and clear that they won't stand for this anymore. Yeah, I'm sure that is what this is all about, because why on earth would anyone riot in honor of someone who protected a child molester? Oh wait. They are that crazy? Nevermind.
posted by zachlipton at 5:32 AM on November 10, 2011 [10 favorites]


(Rome America Penn State) prefers (gladiatorial proactive war football) victories at the human cost of (Christians civilians children).

We know that sports are a proxy for all manner of social identity and emotional security.

The anger and outcry at this latest debacle probably has little to do with the reality of the situation and all the more to do with Penn State losing it's religion. It's not that the fans really prefer a champion football team at any price, but rather that they're very disappointed at wrapping up their legacy with hidden perversion. None of them molested any children, but they're paying the price anyway.
posted by nickrussell at 5:34 AM on November 10, 2011 [24 favorites]


"Publicity is like poison; it doesn't hurt unless you swallow it." - Joe Paterno. More plum quotes from the Paterno archive here.
posted by wensink at 5:36 AM on November 10, 2011


Imagine being that then-10-year-old kid, or any of the other victims, now, watching those students on the news.

Those are the only people whose feelings I give a shit about in this.

I'm sure they'll be ashamed of themselves when they sober up in 10 or 15 years.

Or in 10 or 15 minutes, when their parents see their pictures on the news and give them a call.
posted by mediareport at 5:37 AM on November 10, 2011 [11 favorites]


I don't see why Paterno got fired, I mean (reads links. Thinks about links. Thinks about Paterno's response to incidents)....oh.

I see.
posted by glaucon at 5:38 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Or in 10 or 15 minutes, when their parents see their pictures on the news and give them a call.

Do you really think that their parents are going to say, 'Hey, calm down. He protected a pedophile, remember?'

This is America. The students' parents are going to call the University on behalf of their idiot children and threaten to pull tuition payments and special gifts. There's going to be so much bitchin' and moanin' from the alumni, ALL FOR THE SAKE OF SPORTS.
posted by glaucon at 5:40 AM on November 10, 2011 [21 favorites]


If This American Life's segment on Penn State hadn't convinced me that Penn State was no longer a functioning university at the undergraduate level, these riots would certainly have done so. The small group of peaceful student counter-protesters ("Paterno is not a victim") are the only ones who come off well here.

As an expat with a degree from a large US university, I am frightened by the number of comments I've heard in the last 8 hours along the lines of "this confirms why US undergrad degrees are worthless."

I have seen first hand how hard it is to get people from outside the US to take a US degree (other than perhaps one from Harvard, Yale or MIT) seriously, and remember all too well employers coming to speak to us at my grad school, explaining what the Americans should put on our CVs to show that we had a "Real education, rather than Animal House." I just hope that this mass display of stupidity and moral failure only permanently taints the name of Penn State, which deserves it, rather than every US school with "University of" or "State" in the name.
posted by Wylla at 5:40 AM on November 10, 2011 [28 favorites]


I had thought he was basically untouchable; I'm glad that I was wrong and they fired his ass.

There's a history to students rioting at Penn State, so I doubt that this was totally unexpected.
posted by Forktine at 5:40 AM on November 10, 2011


So back in Middle School, there was an old man who the district hired to teach us Latin. His name was Raymond O. Leneweaver and we all thought that he was a relatively harmless (though completely inept) magister. Turns out, he was a former priest and a child molester with a rap sheet going back to the 1960s, and we didn't find out about it until the Philadelphia Archdiocese released his name with a bunch of others when I was in tenth or eleventh grade.

You see, despite many of his colleagues in the Church knowing about his past, nobody ever reported him to the police. They kicked it up the ladder because they had faith that their institution would deal with the matter fairly.

The Institution did not deal with the matter fairly. They swept Raymond O. Leneweaver under the rug, shuffled him from parish to parish, and when he retired of his own volition, they didn't say a damn thing when he went to teach at my school. Silence.

This is all to say that big institutions like the Church or even our Dear Old State don't always do a good job of dealing with embarrassing/illegal activity. There's strong incentive to handle matters internally in order to save face, so hearing about abuse and kicking it up the ladder just doesn't work in a lot of these situations.
posted by The White Hat at 5:44 AM on November 10, 2011 [8 favorites]


Fuck Penn State students. Fuck em.

Years and years too late, but props to the trustees for cleaning house over there.

Did I say FUCK Penn State students?
posted by Joseph Gurl at 5:45 AM on November 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


And as day follows night, Penn State students rioted, overturning a news van, shattering car windows, and tearing down street signs.

Have fun being immortalized in screenshots of others' Facebook feeds doing your utmost to protest the entirely fair treatment of a man who didn't have the fucking spine to go to the police with credible allegations of child molestations.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 5:53 AM on November 10, 2011 [9 favorites]


Universities need to get out of the business of professional sports, gambling, and merchandising. I hope they dig deep on this one, I suspect there were a LOT of very important people that were aware of this situation and did nothing about it.
posted by HuronBob at 5:54 AM on November 10, 2011 [31 favorites]


three blind mice: "Disgusting. I guess to Penn State students this Paterno guy is like some kinda pope."

The irony of that statement is depressing.
posted by schmod at 5:56 AM on November 10, 2011 [12 favorites]


Despite my previous joking comment, I would like to state I've been following this situation and I am seriously disgusted by the actions of so many people in State College. It is unfathomable to me that students would riot in response to Paterno's necessary and overdue firing. Penn State needs to disband their football program, it is clear that it does more harm than good to the school's administration, student body and reputation.
posted by cloeburner at 5:58 AM on November 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Imho, you're all being too harsh, universities must train students for their larger role in life.
posted by jeffburdges at 5:59 AM on November 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Fuck Penn State students. Fuck em.

Even the tens of thousands of Penn State students who support the Board's decision?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 6:00 AM on November 10, 2011 [26 favorites]


Penn State University, the academic institution, exists primarily as a vehicle granting Penn State football access to the NCAA. This fact should guide whether or not you find this response surprising.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 6:02 AM on November 10, 2011 [9 favorites]


How much physical or moral courage does it take, upon seeing adult raping a (presumably crying) child against a wall, to at least say, "What the fuck are you doing?"

To see that and then silently leave...

That is going to haunt me.
posted by Trurl at 6:04 AM on November 10, 2011 [25 favorites]


Penn State needs to disband their football program, it is clear that it does more harm than good to the school's administration, student body and reputation.

Before I comment, I'd like to make it clear that I do NOT support Paterno or any of the other men who swept this under the rug. There's a special circle of hell for them all.

But what you're calling for would, in essence, kill a town. The livelihood of many people, many small businesses, are wrapped up deeply into the cult of Penn State football. Not just in State College proper, but in many of the smaller central PA towns in the surrounding area. Many of those people don't support Paterno or the other men, and feel that the cleaning house is a long time coming. But a town doesn't deserve to be destroyed further because of the actions of these men. They've already done enough.
posted by librarianamy at 6:05 AM on November 10, 2011 [8 favorites]


tens of thousands of Penn State students who support the Board's decision?

(Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates, do you have any evidence of that? Last I checked, the only support from students for the Board's decision was one very small counterprotest. Any data at all to suggest that the majority of Penn State undergrads are on the side of the demonstrators?

Dixiecupdrinking: Penn State University, the academic institution, exists primarily as a vehicle granting Penn State football access to the NCAA. This fact should guide whether or not you find this response surprising.

This.
posted by Wylla at 6:07 AM on November 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


How much physical or moral courage does it take, upon seeing adult raping a (presumably crying) child against a wall, to at least say, "What the fuck are you doing?"

Yeah, I don't think that's what happened.
posted by valkyryn at 6:08 AM on November 10, 2011 [6 favorites]


Oh man. I bet that class discussion in Ethics 101 is going to be fun today!
posted by Saxon Kane at 6:08 AM on November 10, 2011 [7 favorites]


So, I do not support the actions of Penn State students, who should be focused on respecting the true victims and, if they don't choose to do so, focusing on their studies.

However: you could imagine a cynical student -- knowing that some members of the Board previously wanted Paterno to resign for win/loss and health reasons but were stymied by his refusal and deterred by the prospect of a public outcry, and further guessing that the Trustees would not have acted now as they did if they hadn't felt public pressure to do so -- might react by attempting to mitigate the tide of public opinion.

It's too late, and wrong in failing to grasp that the Board's decision was substantively justified. But it's not wrong in perceiving that what mattered to the Board was largely what it could get away with, and trying to respond precisely in that vein. One might credit them, begrudgingly, for learning.

P.S. Ideally universities will reflect on this episode and think about the dynamic they set in effect when they allow sports coaches to become the BMOCs.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 6:10 AM on November 10, 2011 [3 favorites]




Penn State needs to disband their football program, it is clear that it does more harm than good to the school's administration, student body and reputation.

I'd be willing to argue that this is true of just about every college football program. Sports programs are actually pretty big expenses for most institutions, and the money that gets spent on them could be spent on, say lowering tuition. I don't have any undergraduate debt, and my college didn't have much of a sports program to speak of, but if I knew that a decent chunk of my financial millstone had gone into a circus for jocks, I'd be way more pissed about my student debt than I already am.
posted by valkyryn at 6:11 AM on November 10, 2011 [9 favorites]


Probably going to be a slow thread as the links are all quite substantial and people will be absorbed in reading them before rushing to post an opinion.

This has been in the news all week. People following the story already know what's in those links.
posted by kmz at 6:11 AM on November 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


Last I checked, the only support from students for the Board's decision was one very small counterprotest. Any data at all to suggest that the majority of Penn State undergrads are on the side of the demonstrators?

Wylla, I know this is going to sound like "silent majority" rhetoric, but I think the students who supported the board's decision weren't nearly as... demonstrative as a bunch of drunken football-crazed fans.
posted by dhens at 6:11 AM on November 10, 2011 [6 favorites]


librarianamy Woops. I meant to say temporarily disband the program until every last employee with a connection to Sandusky is gone. I accidentally deleted that sentence in my haste.
posted by cloeburner at 6:12 AM on November 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


“Of course we’re going to riot,” he said. “What do they expect when they tell us at 10 o’clock that they fired our football coach?”

Of course.
posted by The Deej at 6:12 AM on November 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


But what you're calling for would, in essence, kill a town. The livelihood of many people, many small businesses, are wrapped up deeply into the cult of Penn State football. Not just in State College proper, but in many of the smaller central PA towns in the surrounding area. Many of those people don't support Paterno or the other men, and feel that the cleaning house is a long time coming. But a town doesn't deserve to be destroyed further because of the actions of these men. They've already done enough.

If we agree that colleges shouldn't exist primarily to field a football team, it seems like a given that an entire town should not exist to support a collegiate football program. Certainly, I don't want more completely innocent people to be out of work, but the balance absolutely has to change to be, say, 90% academics/10% athletics, and the future interests of the guy selling replica jerseys and Penn State hats doesn't factor into the decision of what kind of community a university is supposed to be.
posted by zachlipton at 6:13 AM on November 10, 2011 [37 favorites]


Is this going to change the value of the Penn State 2 in my Hot Death Uno deck?
posted by davelog at 6:14 AM on November 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


dhens - check out the TAL segment I linked above, and then follow up with the listing for Penn State in any good college guide: there is no reason whatsoever to believe that the vast majority of Penn State students are not supporters of of the football program, rather than the counter-demonstration.
posted by Wylla at 6:15 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


My mind can't stop imagining the shower rape from the POV of the kid. Like, he's being raped, he's at the mercy of this man he had trusted, and in the middle of that horror McQueary walks in. He sees them. They see him. And I can't help but imagine that the kid had one brief instantaneous flicker of hope that this other grown-up would intervene and make it stop happening, only to have McQueary turn tail and run home to daddy. It's utterly devastating to think of what that child must've felt in that moment.

I just want to burn the entire fucking football program to the ground and salt the earth. I want every person who has even a tenuous connection to this shit fired, sued, prosecuted, incarcerated and ostracized from society.
posted by shiu mai baby at 6:15 AM on November 10, 2011 [60 favorites]


How much physical or moral courage does it take, upon seeing adult raping a (presumably crying) child against a wall, to at least say, "What the fuck are you doing?"

Yeah, I don't think that's what happened.


I took this as talking about what Mike McQueary did / did not do, not Paterno.
posted by aught at 6:16 AM on November 10, 2011 [5 favorites]


My husband came home with a garbled version of this story after working last night.

1) Pen State shut down their football program
2) Because the head coach was caught molesting guys on the team.

We were confused as to the status of college football players as to whether or not they would be considered minors when it came to sexual relations with a coach. So I promised to look it up when I got out of bed. This just gives you an idea of how this strange this story might appear to anyone not paying attention to details.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:17 AM on November 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


Why wasn't McQueary fired?
posted by Pax at 6:18 AM on November 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


(And I know that baying for blood isn't helpful at this point; it's just that I literally cannot imagine sweeping this under the rug or turning a blind eye on the destruction of at-risk kids -- any kid, for that matter -- all for the sake of one's career and alma mater.)
posted by shiu mai baby at 6:19 AM on November 10, 2011


Any data at all to suggest that the majority of Penn State undergrads are on the side of the demonstrators?

There are tens of thousands of Penn State students who are NOT undergrads, first of all. Second of all, as a member of the community who interacts with undergrads and graduate students, I'd say that this is a very emotional time for lots of people, but that most people understand the poverty of judgment and leadership and realize that these decisions needed to be made. Last night, those people stayed in their homes.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 6:19 AM on November 10, 2011 [5 favorites]


Holy Shit. According to the guy who predicted this story 7 months ago there is so much more to be unveiled, apparently Sandusky's organization pimped kids out to wealthy donors.

I am sick.


Fuck temporary disbanding the football team, State College needs to be disbanded from the continental US.
posted by cloeburner at 6:20 AM on November 10, 2011 [8 favorites]


Wylla --

Well, I guess your internet reading trumps my living in State College for 6 years, my bad. 1.) I refuse to believe that all the people who supported the football program supported JoePa in the light of the scandal (many of my friends, rabid Penn State fans, reacted with disgust to last night's events), and 2.) the students who "supported" Paterno last night are, unfortunately, much more visible than those who did not.
posted by dhens at 6:20 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why wasn't McQueary fired?

A person who stays within the power hierarchy ("keeps it in the family") is generally rewarded, not punished.
posted by gerryblog at 6:21 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why wasn't McQueary fired?

In the stories I've read, he was referred to as a grad student- did he finish his studies and leave?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:21 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just remember that through all of this, Penn State was the by-the-book college football team. Squeaky clean. Haircuts that you could set your watch by.

Imagine the horrors that transpire at the more "barbaric" colleges.

I lived in Gainesville, Florida (where UF is) for a few years, and the football team absolutely ruled that small isolated town. They could get away with anything.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 6:21 AM on November 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


I can sort of understand McQueary's actions in the moment. I'd like to say I would have been able to do something, but I haven't been in that situation.

The fucking shit part though, is the not doing anything about it for a whole fucking decade. I don't understand how McQueary could even stand to be in the same room as Sandusky after that.

Why wasn't McQueary fired?

I can only assume and hope that he will be. No idea why not yet.
posted by kmz at 6:22 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


An example of the PSU student mentality. Unbelievable.

(You should read some of her other stuff too. It is actually scary)


Do these... do these 20-year-olds who have spent their entire post-puberty lives amidst total internet saturation truly not understand that potential employers quite often Google their names?

I mean, I quite often worry and flat-out assume that something I've written on my blog, in a cartoon, hell even on this site could be a hazard for future employment... but I feel better in comparison since at least I've never defended child rape on Twitter.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:22 AM on November 10, 2011 [16 favorites]


Even if this is just a minority of Penn State students that there is anyone who is demonstrating in favor of child molesters and their enablers is a disgrace.
posted by tommasz at 6:22 AM on November 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


Why wasn't McQueary fired?

He probably will be, but I don't think he bears anywhere near as much responsibility as Paterno and the other higher-ups.

I mean, it speaks to the criticism a lot of people have made about college athletics - for the big-name football programs, they may as well be a church. JoePa was pope, and Sandusky was...probably a super-senior cardinal. Imagine a person who's never once questioned church hierarchy/doctrine, walking in on one of their most prominent religious leaders doing something like that. I would like to think I would've intervened, but I might've frozen, too.
posted by downing street memo at 6:22 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


did he finish his studies and leave?


No - he is an assistant coach now. AKA he got promoted
posted by JPD at 6:22 AM on November 10, 2011


It's not that the fans really prefer a champion football team at any price, but rather that they're very disappointed at wrapping up their legacy with hidden perversion. None of them molested any children, but they're paying the price anyway.

I am not a football fan, but I have trouble seeing how the people who are paying a price in this story are the fans.
posted by jeather at 6:23 AM on November 10, 2011 [14 favorites]


In the stories I've read, he was referred to as a grad student- did he finish his studies and leave?

He was a grad assistant back then and is now an assistant coach for Penn State.

A person who stays within the power hierarchy ("keeps it in the family") is generally rewarded, not punished.

You mean people like Paterno and Spanier?
posted by kmz at 6:23 AM on November 10, 2011


They did a better job than the Catholic Church. I would love to see Bishops who participated in the coverups fired. Never happen.
posted by mermayd at 6:23 AM on November 10, 2011 [9 favorites]


Is McQueary likely to face any criminal charges?
posted by Ollie at 6:24 AM on November 10, 2011


In October, an Indiana University professor conducted valuations of the football programs of public US universities. Penn State came in #3, with an estimated value of $446.9 million.

Deep Throat said it best: Follow the money.
posted by argonauta at 6:24 AM on November 10, 2011 [8 favorites]


You mean people like Paterno and Spanier?

Well, they've been punished now that it's public after a decade. But the question was why McQueary wasn't punished for not intervening after witnessing an attack on a child and not reporting it to the police; my point is that he did what unaccountable hierarchies like, he took it to his superior to deal with "in house."
posted by gerryblog at 6:25 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why wasn't McQueary fired?

In the stories I've read, he was referred to as a grad student- did he finish his studies and leave?


He's an assistant coach there.
posted by Pax at 6:26 AM on November 10, 2011


Could everybody who doesn't like sports please not use this as an opportunity to push their agenda? Sports aren't going away and they're not the cause of corruption. Stick the fucking story.
posted by grubi at 6:26 AM on November 10, 2011 [10 favorites]


How much physical or moral courage does it take, upon seeing adult raping a (presumably crying) child against a wall, to at least say, "What the fuck are you doing?"

Yeah, I don't think that's what happened.

posted by valkyryn at 9:08 AM on November 10

Yeah, it is what happened.

An Aspiring Coach in the Middle of a Scandal

"But on Friday, March 1, 2002, in an episode that those close to McQueary say left him shocked and confused — and that would return to haunt his life and the fortunes of his university years later — he entered the locker room in Penn State’s Lasch Football Building at about 9:30 p.m. to put a new pair of shoes in his locker and pick up some recruiting tapes, according to the report of the grand jury that investigated the allegations involving Sandusky. Coaches commonly keep late hours but not so much in the off-season months, like March. Besides, the lights were not on in the offices, but toward the locker room. That is not usual. And a shower was running.

According to the report, McQueary heard 'rhythmic, slapping sounds,' which he believed to be those of sexual activity. He walked to his locker, opened it and put his sneakers inside. He then turned his head and looked into the shower.

He has said under oath that he saw Sandusky raping what appeared to be a 10-year-old boy. He immediately left, met with his father and determined he would report the incident to Paterno, according to prosecutors."
posted by mlis at 6:26 AM on November 10, 2011 [10 favorites]


He probably will be, but I don't think he bears anywhere near as much responsibility as Paterno and the other higher-ups.

Yeah, I completely disagree with this. In my mind, he's only a fraction of a hair's breadth better than Sandusky himself. "You don't know how you'd react in that situation, blah, blah, blah" HORSESHIT.

A kid was being anally raped. McQueary saw it happening! It wasn't even a suggestion of impropriety, or misinterpreting what he was seeing. Maybe I'm naive and just assume the best in people, but I'd bet a million dollars that most people would've intervened, and not skittered away and abandoned a child who was being attacked like that.
posted by shiu mai baby at 6:26 AM on November 10, 2011 [14 favorites]


Why wasn't McQueary fired?

He probably will be, but I don't think he bears anywhere near as much responsibility as Paterno and the other higher-ups.


McQueary SAW IT. He didn't hear it from someone else (like Paterno, who did get fired). He was a grad student, an adult. He should have called 911.
posted by Pax at 6:28 AM on November 10, 2011 [15 favorites]


Rewil, thanks so much for that link.

"I'll go on record as saying the pep rally outside Paterno's home Tuesday night was easily the most embarrassing display in the history of modern higher education, and it was fueled by a clueless puppet more focused on Nebraska than the real world around him. " - Eric Wilbur hits the nail on the head.

dhens - let me repeat - there is absolutely nothing to suggest that the majority of Penn State undergrad students don't support the sentiments expressed by the rioters. I won't believe this until I see something, anything, that even suggests it could be the case.

The reason I pointed to the TAL segment is that it gives fairly recent numbers of students who participate in the party culture and football tailgating, and also is full of statements by administrators admitting that the 'party school' culture and the football team are really very important recruitment tools for Penn. It also makes clear that the majority of town residents, who aren't students, have issues with the drinking and football culture, and that student support is so strong that their objections don't accomplish much.
posted by Wylla at 6:28 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sports aren't going away and they're not the cause of corruption.

Wait... are you saying that the fanaticism and financial pull of college athletics at a high-tier sports college like Penn has nothing to do with internal corruption, such as the systematic protection of a child predator, for the sake of protecting said prestige and financial investment?

Because of you are I would like to present some contrasting evidence right now in the form of every goddamn thing that everyone has been pointing out about this.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:28 AM on November 10, 2011 [32 favorites]


But the question was why McQueary wasn't punished for not intervening after witnessing an attack on a child and not reporting it to the police;

I assumed the question was why wasn't McQueary fired now, along with Paterno and Spanier.

For that matter, I don't understand why Tim Curley hasn't been fired. He's still on paid admin leave as far as I know.
posted by kmz at 6:29 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd bet a million dollars that most people would've intervened.

I recall a whole lot of literature that suggests people overestimate their capacity for heroic intervention.

Anyway, not at all defending the inaction, and agree that the guy should lose his job.
posted by downing street memo at 6:29 AM on November 10, 2011 [7 favorites]


Maybe I'm naive and just assume the best in people, but I'd bet a million dollars that most people would've intervened, and not skittered away and abandoned a child who was being attacked like that.
posted by shiu mai baby at 9:26 AM on November 10 [+] [!]


I dunno, ask Kitty Genovese.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 6:30 AM on November 10, 2011 [11 favorites]


Is McQueary likely to face any criminal charges?

No, he is cooperating with investigators and it's his testimony that blew this all up. Is he a moral failure? Probably. If he did see a child getting raped and didn't do everything in his power to see that guy locked up, then he should be gone. For people who don't know about Penn State football, McQueary is sort of the proxy coach anyway. He's the big red-haired guy on the sidelines who calls in the offensive plays. If he is the new face of Penn State and Penn State football then it's a problem for the university and he should be relieved of that position. At the least, suspended until the rest of the season as the rest of the legal proceedings play out.

The university is a huge force that, contrary to public opinion, is much more than its football team. The Board of Trustees was right to pull this band-aid off quickly, no matter how painful for some in the short term. Get all of these guys out of here as quickly as possible and move forward for the good of the students who are here now, the alumni who've graduated, and the people who rely on the university to make a living.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 6:30 AM on November 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


From the NYT "rioted" link:

Paul Howard, 24, an aerospace engineering student, jeered the police.

“Of course we’re going to riot,” he said. “What do they expect when they tell us at 10 o’clock that they fired our football coach?”


On the one hand, what

On the other: Announcing the firing at 10 pm seems monumentally stupid. Riots can happen during the day, I suppose, but the nighttime announcement seems to guarantee one.
posted by rtha at 6:30 AM on November 10, 2011 [8 favorites]


Why wasn't McQueary fired?

My question is, why wasn't he arrested? How is it legal to witness the rape of a child and NOT immediately call the police. Like right there, in the shower?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:30 AM on November 10, 2011 [7 favorites]


I have not heard of any report of Paterno witnessing in person any of Sandusky's acts.
The report I heard was that he learned of it from a Graduate Assistant (? I think). Paterno took this information and informed his superiors. Before I jump on the burn Paterno bandwagon, I'd really like to know *precisely* what Joe was told. If "Hey, Coach, Sandusky's groping a ten year in the shower right now" that would be one thing. If it was "Hey, Coach, I'm weirded out by Sandusky's behavior around kids" is a completely different thing, with shades of gray in between.

Somewhat related, on the news I heard an official from Penn St. say they fired Paterno immediately because they were concerned about the Penn St "brand". Note that they didn't say "We fired Paterno because we hold our employees to the highest ethical standard", no, they said, we will fire anyone that tarnishes are good name. Which to me means that it's the court of public opinion that drove the firing (and likely prior bad blood)

Parterno reported the incident ... he may indeed be guilty of doing too little, but he didn't just sit on it. But now he is the story. Not Sandusky, or any systemic failures. This was at once both pathetic and brilliant of the Penn St board. The board successfully succeeded in focusing the majority of the uncomfortable questions towards Paterno and away school.

Firing Paterno immediately *may* have been justified ... but it shouldn't have been handled to ensure it wouldn't become the focus of attention. I might be too cynical, but I can't help but wonder if this was a planned PR move by the school.
posted by forforf at 6:31 AM on November 10, 2011 [13 favorites]


I'd bet a million dollars that most people would've intervened.

I recall a whole lot of literature that suggests people overestimate their capacity for heroic intervention.


I don't want to judge a person who was put in a very difficult position, but I think the point a lot of people are making about this is that the intervention wouldn't have had to be very "heroic." If he'd even said "What are you doing?" it would have stopped the immediate rape; backing silently out of the room allowed it to continue that night, just as bringing it to his boss rather than the police allowed it continue for years.
posted by gerryblog at 6:32 AM on November 10, 2011 [7 favorites]


An example of the PSU student mentality. Unbelievable.

(You should read some of her other stuff too. It is actually scary)


Now we know what school @FriendFromHS dropped out of.

I hope some day these kids wake up from their epic hangovers and realize that they are goddamn stupid to think that football matters jack shit compared to raping ten-year-olds.
posted by entropone at 6:32 AM on November 10, 2011


Paterno is a horrific asshole who felt that making millions of dollars and keeping his school and team away from any scandal was more important that children - 10 year old children from being raped and who knows what else was done. There is no punishment too severe for Paterno, Spanier, McQueary and the rest.

The fact that so many people are defending any of them, trying to justify their actions is disgusting.

The question is not just why McQueary wasn't punished for not intervening, not stopping the rape, but why was he promoted after he maintained his silence. Hmmm.....
posted by 2manyusernames at 6:33 AM on November 10, 2011 [5 favorites]


Here's that article from April 2011 cloeburner mentions above, by Mark Madden. It's remarkably ahead of the curve on this.
posted by mediareport at 6:34 AM on November 10, 2011 [6 favorites]


entropone, for a split second, I read your comment as referring to PLU, rather than PSU...leading to a surreal image of an untraconservative, Lutheran riot of religious liberal arts students.
posted by Wylla at 6:34 AM on November 10, 2011


My question is, why wasn't he arrested? How is it legal to witness the rape of a child and NOT immediately call the police. Like right there, in the shower?

Maybe PA law is different, but he probably wasn't legally required to report the crime to the police. He was (probably, IANAL) legally required to report what he saw to his supervisor. He did that.

He still should have called 911.
posted by rtha at 6:35 AM on November 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


Parterno reported the incident ... he may indeed be guilty of doing too little, but he didn't just sit on it. But now he is the story. Not Sandusky, or any systemic failures. This was at once both pathetic and brilliant of the Penn St board. The board successfully succeeded in focusing the majority of the uncomfortable questions towards Paterno and away school.

Unfortunately, the story was already all about Paterno. He's the face of Penn State as much as Steve Jobs was at Apple or Bill Gates was at Microsoft.

And while he may have done the legal minimum, that's not the moral minimum.
posted by kmz at 6:38 AM on November 10, 2011 [8 favorites]


That's odd to me because in many professions (teacher, medical, counselor, etc) that have contact with children you are legally obligated to report suspected abuse. He saw actual abuse and did nothing.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:40 AM on November 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


I get the bystander effect, I do, but I also believe that it is less applicable when it comes to kids. Kitty Genovese was stabbed in hear apartment, and if I remember correctly, no one actually saw it happening. People witness domestic abuse all the time and do nothing, which is deplorable, but even there there's the sense of intruding on a familial unit that can cause hesitation.

But most human beings are hard-wired to protect the young, and this was a spectacular failure of that instinct on the part of McQueary. As others have pointed out, he didn't even skulk away and call 911. It's unfathomable to me that he did nothing that could've helped that poor kid.
posted by shiu mai baby at 6:42 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sandusky, Penn State case timeline

I've been snarking deeply about how Paterno was going to come out of this fray as untouched as before, so count me as one of the people gobsmacked by his firing.

Earlier this week he announced he would retire at the end of the season; Penn State has three more games on the schedule.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:42 AM on November 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


That's the thing, though, SLoG - depending on their role, they may be required only to report it to their supervisor, not law enforcement. I don't know the particulars of that, though. Perhaps one of our legal eagles can clear things up.
posted by rtha at 6:42 AM on November 10, 2011


That's odd to me because in many professions (teacher, medical, counselor, etc) that have contact with children you are legally obligated to report suspected abuse. He saw actual abuse and did nothing.

Think a lot of those rules came after the Catholic Church scandal, which (I think) these events would have pre-dated.
posted by downing street memo at 6:42 AM on November 10, 2011


It is probable that Paterno knew or had suspicions about Sandusky before he heard about the rape.

posted by longdaysjourney at 6:43 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


When you live in a small town, and if you live there for a while, you’re bound to meet a variety of people. And if you live there long enough, the role those people play in your life and in your town are bound to change.

The first time I met Graham Spanier was when he was new to Penn State. I was running a bookstore at the time, and that bookstore had a secret club called the Sushi Club. One Saturday night every month, after we closed for business, we’d open the store to the “members” of the sushi club, who’d pay their “dues” and in return get a plate of fresh made sushi, made by a premier Japanese sushi chef who by circumstance happened to settle in this small college town. Graham was invited by a faculty member who was also a club member. He knew this couple from his previous life as an academic, they were in the same department years before, when Graham studied family counseling, particularly crisis counseling. I knew he was the new President of the university and I was excited about meeting him. But he was very quiet. He didn’t talk much to the 60 or so other club members who had also come for dinner that night. He did what a lot of people did though, he read books. He read some philosophy, mostly Continental, some history, and some African-American studies. I was impressed. Though I wondered if he was in those sections because they were so secluded. His wife was more social and also seemed to enjoy the unusual event. Almost all the club members were either faculty, administrators, or worked in government. Ray Gricar was also a club member. I don’t remember if he was in attendance that particular night but it was very probable.

Graham’s thoughtfulness was evident in a lot of the things he did. He had a radio show that looked at controversial issues that often benefited from work done at Penn State. Every new school year Graham would go down to the dorms and help students move in. Literally carried things from their cars up to their rooms, usually for several hours, not just gesture, he really helped. He played washboard for a local Dixie band. He was even know to bust out the occasional magic trick.

I also know his successor through the bookstore. Rodney Erickson shopped at the bookstore back when he was still primarily a scholar of Human Geography. Eventually he became provost, and now he’s our new president.

My wife is a local so her ties to the story go even deeper. She went to high school here in State Collge with Mike McQuery, where she was the equipment manager for the football team he played quarterback on. She also dated one of Jerry Sandusky sons. It’s worth noting how many of the Penn State football staff are actually locals, who usually played for the high school before going on to play for the university. Sandusky’s other son would play for Penn State that same year.

The only time I ever really talked to Joe Paterno was the time he almost hit my bike with his car. I remember thinking it was odd that the passenger side view mirror of his car has held on with a rubberband. With all the money he made? He hadn’t gotten that fixed? I’d been to a few fund raisers or administrative events where he was present, but I can’t say I knew him. I can’t remember what I said to him that morning at the stop light where I caught up to him, but I don’t think it was polite. He looked at me and just kind of waved me off, rolled up his window. It was then that I realized who he was. He drove away and I went to work.

If I had any opinion of all of this worth sharing, I guess I’d say that these are all human beings. The students, the administrators, those of us who work and live here, those who failed us so spectacularly. We don’t know everything yet. Evil lurked in this beautiful place, and many of us had no idea. Right now a lot of people are painting Penn State with a broad brush. Please remember it is not one person, one class, one administrator. It is an enormous group of human beings, fallible human beings, who came together in the name of learning, not football. This is not us. Please try and understand the sorrow and disappointment of those students, and this entire community.
posted by Toekneesan at 6:44 AM on November 10, 2011 [65 favorites]


I went to Penn State and there were a couple of riots, about basketball or something. I believe certain people choose to go to Penn State -- at least partially -- so they can get to be in a riot.
posted by Straw Cab at 6:45 AM on November 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


mondo here, dejectedly reporting from the belly of the beast.

I wish I could say I thought this entire disgusting episode would change my university's (and other Big State U's) attitude about the role of sports in higher ed, but there's just too much money in it for that to happen. I'm glad the trustees finally took action, though it is obviously too late. But the farce that is "amateur" college football will go on.

I had a research meeting with a colleague yesterday in the grad student union, and it was surreal because, as life went on as usual (if ivory tower life is ever "usual"), every single, huge flat panel screen had talking heads with the Penn State logo behind, over chyrons saying "child molestation scandal", or the like...

The most cogent statement I've read so far is from nickrussel:
The anger and outcry at this latest debacle probably has little to do with the reality of the situation and all the more to do with Penn State losing it's religion.
I actually had three students ask me what I thought of the situation over the past few days after class (to my surprise--I'm teach an applied math course), and I told them exactly the same thing. The exaggerated view of these "educators", as having some elevated level of moral authority and/or life wisdom, is only the prelude to a fall of this magnitude. That being said, outside of football, most athletics on US campuses is still genuinely amateur, and I'm sure many of the coaches and athletes do what they do out of love (disclaimer: I'm not a jock, nor a big sports fan.) In fact, all of the money from football at Penn State goes to pay for the rest of the athletics programs on campus (so we are told...). My only quibble with what nickrussel says is that one needs to be clear that this is Penn State's official religion--most people here do not participate in drinking (or mixing) the Cool-Aid--and that goes for faculty and students.

On the other hand, the broad-brush statements about how the entire University community sucks, because these crimes were commited, or, more laughably, because Ira Glass said so (BTW, he didn't say that; and another disclaimer, I liked that episode quite a bit) or what not... well, those statements are every bit as stupid as the rioting students. Among the stupid comments, Wylla's takes the cake:
I have seen first hand how hard it is to get people from outside the US to take a US degree (other than perhaps one from Harvard, Yale or MIT) seriously, and remember all too well employers coming to speak to us at my grad school, explaining what the Americans should put on our CVs to show that we had a "Real education, rather than Animal House."
Well, I've seen first hand how this is not true. Some Euro-doofus recruiter you spoke with has seen Animal House and thinks that adequately summarizes university life in America? Color me unimpressed. I suppose those same idiots think our cops are like Bruce Willis in Die Hard, and that we have lots of vampires roaming around our high schools...

Look, this University is the size of a small city. Most of us here don't give a rat's ass about the football-mania, and will continue to do our best as educators and students. One guy committed horrible crimes. A handful of others either actively or through indifference covered it up. Let the chips fall where they may. But don't think for a minute that this sums up all of life here. To do so is, essentially, to fall for the same media hype that lusts after scandal and gives more importance to celebrity, sports, and sex scandals than it does to looming ecological catastrophe and global financial thievery of unprecedented scale. (There's been no frog-marching on that front yet, has there? No. Didn't think so.)
posted by mondo dentro at 6:46 AM on November 10, 2011 [46 favorites]


This whole thing is difficult to read and I am sorry I read any of it. I just don't have the words. You see a kid who needs help, you help him. To literally turn your back on a child being raped and walk away. . . I don't know how McQueary can live with himself.
posted by mlis at 6:46 AM on November 10, 2011 [6 favorites]


Penn State sex abuse scandal made federal case; U.S. Department of Education announces it will investigate university

The Penn State sex abuse scandal became a federal case on Wednesday, when the U.S. Department of Education announced it would investigate whether the university complied with crime disclosure policies.
The Education Department said it notified university officials of the investigation in a letter on Wednesday. The Office of Civil Rights will also review the case to determine if further action is necessary.

posted by Floydd at 6:50 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sorry, just refreshed myself on the Kitty Genovese story. She was stabbed in a parking lot in the middle of the night, not in her own apartment.
posted by shiu mai baby at 6:50 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I thought about the Genovese case too. But at least there, each of the neighbors might have imagined that someone else had already called the police.

McQueary knew he was the sole witness to a child being raped. And he walked away. AFAIC, he made himself an accomplice after the fact.
posted by Trurl at 6:50 AM on November 10, 2011 [7 favorites]


Well, I can understand why more people didn't speak out, it probably wouldn't have interested anybody, outside of a small circle of friends.
posted by HuronBob at 6:52 AM on November 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


All the students who rioted should be expelled.

If they think the football is that important, then they have no idea what the university is there for, and they do not belong there.
posted by ocschwar at 6:52 AM on November 10, 2011 [7 favorites]


The culture of college-level sports is astonishing.

A few years back I attended a school where the coach's chief distinction was his longevity as a coach. Players I spoke with described a man who spent practices drinking in the locker room while assistants ran the team. When I questioned people on the college staff regarding this man's continued presence as a coach, I got reactions suggesting I was nothing short of monstrous for even suggesting the guy should step down, and that he was somehow above scrutiny.

That same year the QB broke a woman's arm when he drove drunkenly across the quad in the middle of the night with his lights off.

And this was a small school.

Not quite child abuse--one of our culture's few remaining taboos--but still.
posted by kinnakeet at 6:53 AM on November 10, 2011 [7 favorites]


My question is, why wasn't he arrested?

Because he is part of the Penn State football team.

Why wasn't McQueary fired?

Because he is part of the Penn State football team.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 6:54 AM on November 10, 2011 [13 favorites]


Yes, I can't help but liken it to murder-- if McQueary had seen a ten year old getting stabbed to death in the showers would he have slunk away and told his supervisor? I don't think so. So why would he not do something about a rape? Did he think the rapist was too holy to be touched? Was McQueary more worried about his job than the child? It stinks to me. Stinks to high heaven.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:54 AM on November 10, 2011 [7 favorites]


How is it legal to witness the rape of a child and NOT immediately call the police. Like right there, in the shower?

The law does not impose all the requirements of morality. There is no general duty to report crimes. Most states do require certain persons to report suspected child abuse, but most states--including Pennsylvania--limit this requirement to certain persons, e.g. school teachers, social workers, health care professionals, attorneys, etc. While McQueary may have failed morally for not reporting what he saw to the police, but he did not commit any crimes as far as I can tell. Same goes for Paterno.

This is not an ideal state of affairs, but it's certainly a defensible one. "Use every man after his desert, and who should 'scape whipping?" If the legal system imposed penalties for each and every moral failing, there'd be no time or resources left to deal with "real" crimes like theft, arson, and homicide. More than that, there's no real consensus about moral standards anymore. Even if there is something like a consensus about this particular issue, the negatives associated with adding additional criminal convictions to what is already a tragic situation are real, and a reasonable polity could choose to do things this way.
posted by valkyryn at 6:55 AM on November 10, 2011 [6 favorites]


kmz: "Parterno reported the incident ... he may indeed be guilty of doing too little, but he didn't just sit on it. But now he is the story. Not Sandusky, or any systemic failures. This was at once both pathetic and brilliant of the Penn St board. The board successfully succeeded in focusing the majority of the uncomfortable questions towards Paterno and away school.

Unfortunately, the story was already all about Paterno. He's the face of Penn State as much as Steve Jobs was at Apple or Bill Gates was at Microsoft.

And while he may have done the legal minimum, that's not the moral minimum.
"

You're right. His actions didn't meet the moral minimum by a wide wide wide margin. To just report it to your boss and not do anything further is bad enough. To know about the rapes and to see the rapist at work everyday and not do anything is truly disgusting beyond any measure. It is obvious he was complicit with the coverup. If not, he could have easily demanded that Sadusky be fired at the very least.
posted by 2manyusernames at 6:56 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


If I was the victim's mother, I'd be calling for McQueary's head on a platter.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:56 AM on November 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


All the students who rioted should be expelled. If they think the football is that important, then they have no idea what the university is there for, and they do not belong there.

NPR played tape of a student in the early hours of the demonstration: It's pretty dull so far but I don't know what will happen later...
posted by Trurl at 6:57 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Mondo dentro - I've lived in the UK for many years now - it's not just one "Euro-doofus" who has a negative view of US undergraduate life here. The behavior of students at Penn state, at my alma mater, and at other large US schools seriously lowers the perceived value of US undergraduate education here, and makes it very difficult for those with undergrad degrees to get them taken seriously when searching for professional employment.

I finally removed Phi Beta Kappa from my CV after I realised that it was being mistaken for a sorority name. I realised this after I was quizzed about US frat culture in two seperate job interviews, neither of them with the "Euro-doofus" who gave us (very useful) CV advice in my (UK) grad program. The real behavior of US athletes, fraternity and sorority members (not movies) had created an impression that made it hard for me to get taken seriously with that on there.

Since you are doing a grad degree at Penn State, and may want to look for work or a postdoc or something overseas, I suggest that you come to terms with this, rather than mudslinging.

(Oh, and the numbers in the TAL segment mostly come from official university sources, rather than TAL itself...it's the flattering portrait of the non-university adults in the town that comes from TAL.)
posted by Wylla at 6:58 AM on November 10, 2011 [7 favorites]


How much physical or moral courage does it take, upon seeing adult raping a (presumably crying) child against a wall, to at least say, "What the fuck are you doing?"

To see that and then silently leave...

That is going to haunt me.
posted by Trurl at 9:04 AM on November 10 [4 favorites +] [!]


Never was a big fan of Joe Pa, but am a big fan of the truth. No one is accusing Coach of seeing a kid getting raped in a shower and doing nothing. He was told a vague story about strange behaviour of one of the former assistant coaches. As the coach was no longer on his staff, he reported the vague story to the AD. Joe Pa's supposed failure is in not becoming an investigative reporter and following up the story and pursuing it.

Again, these kids are the victims here, but Joe Pa is not the criminal.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 6:59 AM on November 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


College football is rotten!

http://theclassical.org/post/12519296701/college-football-is-rotten
posted by Postroad at 7:00 AM on November 10, 2011


Sorry, my earlier link didn't make it.

http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2011/11/the-many-lies-of-joe-paterno

In the winter of 2002, he was for the first time dealing with genuine discontent in the PSU fan base about the state of the program. There were rumblings that, if he didn’t get things turned around soon, the administration would put serious pressure on him to quit. Then, on March 2nd, he got a phone call from a member of his staff, informing him that he had seen his former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky sodomizing a ten-year-old child in the football locker room (the staff member’s version of the conversation) or “fondling or doing something of a sexual nature” to the ten-year-old boy in the otherwise empty, locked building, at 8:30 on a Friday night (Paterno’s version, which he gave as sworn testimony before a grand jury).

It’s hardly speculative to conclude that, in March of 2002, Joe Paterno was well aware that, if what he had just heard about Sandusky became public, it would likely cost him his job — especially since a full-blown criminal investigation of the matter would probably reveal that Paterno knew about an earlier investigation of Sandusky in 1998, which was inexplicably dropped, shortly before Sandusky’s all-too-convenient “retirement” from the PSU staff.


I suspect we will be finding out a lot more about what Joe Paterno knew and exactly when he knew it as the investigations proceed.
posted by longdaysjourney at 7:01 AM on November 10, 2011 [7 favorites]


The sister of one of the victims, and a current PSU student, reports in.

“I’ve been going to minimal classes, because every class I go to I get sick to my stomach. People are making jokes about it. I understand they don’t know I’m involved and it was my brother, but it’s still really hard to swallow that.”
posted by snickerdoodle at 7:02 AM on November 10, 2011 [11 favorites]



The law does not impose all the requirements of morality. There is no general duty to report crimes


Oh, yes there is. I don't know about PA, but MA has the Duty To Act law. If you witness a violent crime, you call for help or you're criminally liable. It's called raising the hue and cry, and failure to do it has been a crime dating back to the Plantagenet dynasty, so I can't imagine PA letting it slide.

That has nothing to do with mandated reporting laws. Those only pertain to reasonable suspicions, not to witnessing a rape first hand.
posted by ocschwar at 7:02 AM on November 10, 2011


Joe Pa is not the criminal

Perhaps not (I don't know enough about the particulars to weigh in on that, but like some others I suspect he knew/suspected more than he let on) but he did have a profound moral and ethical failing in not following up on this. He needed to go.
posted by dhens at 7:03 AM on November 10, 2011


He was told a vague story about strange behaviour of one of the former assistant coaches.

JohnnyGunn, wrong, read the article I linked. McQueary told Paterno what he witnessed.
posted by mlis at 7:04 AM on November 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


Maybe I'm naive and just assume the best in people, but I'd bet a million dollars that most people would've intervened, and not skittered away and abandoned a child who was being attacked like that.

I doubt it, sadly. I don't know if it's been mentioned in this fast-moving thread (it was in the previous one though), but there was another incident where a janitor allegedly saw Sandusky performing oral sex on a child. The janitor was a Korean War veteran who had "seen people with their guts blowed out, arms dismembered," and even he isn't depicted as intervening to stop the incident.
posted by dsfan at 7:06 AM on November 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Snickerdoodle, if I understand the article you linked and the timeline linked earlier, the woman quoted is the sister of the boy whose rape was witnessed by the janitor who can not testify any more for medical reasons...so she's got to be even more upset. The witness who let her brother down, unlike McQueary, can't even be called to account about this, and can't help bring anyone to justice.

The boy whose attach McQueary saw, as I understand, hasn't been identified.
posted by Wylla at 7:07 AM on November 10, 2011


The real tragedy here is just how unsurprising this all was.

If we're all rolling our eyes, and saying "Of course this happened in a college football program," everyone who implicitly supports those programs is just as complicit. We've known that these athletic programs are fundamentally corrupt for some time now, and haven't done a damn thing about it.

This reminds me of the Duke Lacrosse scandal, which was only surprising because the accusations turned out to be false. Even people close to the team and players involved automatically assumed the accusations were true, because, hey, that's the sort of thing that college sports teams do.
posted by schmod at 7:07 AM on November 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


I have seen first hand how hard it is to get people from outside the US to take a US degree (other than perhaps one from Harvard, Yale or MIT) seriously

To be fair, it's often hard to get people from inside the US to take a US undergraduate degree from many institutions seriously. Especially people who attended Harvard, Yale or MIT.
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:14 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Parterno reported the incident ... he may indeed be guilty of doing too little, but he didn't just sit on it.

Paterno did the absolute minimum. When you're the fucking God of Happy Valley, your word carries a shit-ton of weight. With but a word, Paterno could have had an investigation started immediately. He coulf have fired the perp immediately. His word is all-but law at Penn State. With great power, etc.

But, instead, he did the absolute fucking minimum required.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:16 AM on November 10, 2011 [5 favorites]


Wylla: Since you are doing a grad degree at Penn State, and may want to look for work or a postdoc or something overseas, I suggest that you come to terms with this, rather than mudslinging.

I'm a prof, not a grad student. I have people actively invite me and my students abroad on a semi-regular basis. Apparently, these people don't have access to the same high-quality information you do. And I'm not a big fish--others travel and interact productively with international entities much, much more than I do.

I stand by my "mudslinging", as you call it. If some guy told you that the Kardashians or Jersey Shore--or actual behavior of real nouveau riche Iranian-Americans or guido-esque Italian Americans--were making people think ill of those ethnicities... does that mean they are accurately representing the truth? Or just how things "look". Does that mean, if you were of Iranian or Italian descent, you should hide it?

I'm an American. I've had to live with "shame" on many fronts for my entire conscious life. I can assure you I've had a lot more to deal with because of the wars of Bush I and II (or most of the US's entire foreign policy since WWII)--not to mention much of the cultural South--than I've ever had to deal with from our Animal House college culture.

See? We're two different people, with two different experiences. Careful how you generalize. Penn State is huge. There are thousands (millions?) of interactions between our faculty and students and the wider world every year.
posted by mondo dentro at 7:20 AM on November 10, 2011 [11 favorites]


Scalzi: Omelas State University.
At Pennsylvania State University, a grown man found a blameless child being put through hell. Other grown men learned of it. Each of them had to make their choice, and decide, fundamentally, whether the continuation of their utopia — or at very least the illusion of their utopia — was worth the pain and suffering of that one child. Through their actions, and their inactions, we know the choice they made.
posted by gerryblog at 7:22 AM on November 10, 2011 [9 favorites]


Listening to the radio on the drive home from work last night, I was sickened to hear Paterno explain he would only retire after finishing the rest of the season. By the time I got home he was fired. So there is justice in this world.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:23 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sports talk radio in Philly has been incredible the past few days. I'd give a listen if you are following this story closely.

I'd go easier on the students, this is an emotional reaction that will settle down as this whole thing sinks in more. I hear pretty much nobody defending Paterno outside of the State College bubble. Paterno really was the personification of Penn State, he isn't an average football coach, Pope is probably the right title and the parallels are unavoidable.

If you want to get really scared, read about Ray Gricar and tell me his disappearance couldn't be linked to this considering how extreme this story is getting.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:25 AM on November 10, 2011 [8 favorites]


Let's say McQueary called the cops when it happened. How could he prove what he saw? The anonymous at-risk kid would be long gone by the time the police arrive. Unless you can point the cops to the kid to collect evidence & testimony, it's "he said/she said".

Without a smoking gun to hand over to the cops, McQueary torpedoes his career and becomes the villain of the school for "spreading lies". Given how football is king in State College, he probably would have been run out town anyway even if he had airtight evidence of the incident.
posted by dr_dank at 7:25 AM on November 10, 2011 [8 favorites]


Think a lot of those rules came after the Catholic Church scandal, which (I think) these events would have pre-dated.

No, Paterno and McQueary didn't do the fucking minimum required. As organizers of athletic camps, they're child care workers under state mandatory reporting law. State mandatory reporting law mandates reporting to child welfare offices, not internally within the organization to be swept under the rug. Had either of them done the minimum required, a confidential report would have been filed in 2002, rather than 2009 after Sandusky had been permitted to run athletic camps at satellite campuses.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 7:27 AM on November 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


furiousxgeorge: If you want to get really scared, read about Ray Gricar and tell me his disappearance couldn't be linked to this considering how extreme this story is getting.

I just mentioned this to my wife last night... and then I thought "naaawww... that's crazy..." Then I thought "maybe not".
posted by mondo dentro at 7:28 AM on November 10, 2011


Maybe I'm naive and just assume the best in people, but I'd bet a million dollars that most people would've intervened

You are naive. The only remotely surprising thing about this story is that people are actually being charged and fired.
posted by enn at 7:28 AM on November 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


Let's say McQueary called the cops when it happened. How could he prove what he saw? The anonymous at-risk kid would be long gone by the time the police arrive. Unless you can point the cops to the kid to collect evidence & testimony, it's "he said/she said".


So what?

If the cops had been called in 2002, the scare would have forced Sandusky to disengage from the boys back then, cutting down the number of victims by 80%.
posted by ocschwar at 7:28 AM on November 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


The law does not impose all the requirements of morality. There is no general duty to report crimes

Oh, yes there is. I don't know about PA, but MA has the Duty To Act law.


See, that actually proves my point. If there was a general duty to report, Massachusetts wouldn't have needed to pass a law to that effect. For example, there is a general, common law duty to use reasonable care in the operation of motor vehicles, so no state has any law imposing that requirement. But there is no general, common law duty to report child abuse to the authorities, so the states had to pass laws imposing that requirement. Some of those laws impose a broader duty than others.

Massachusetts is one of a distinct minority of states that have imposed such a duty, not limited to child abuse, on everyone. There's a good article about the status of laws that impose penalties for those that do not get involved in ongoing crimes or other situations here.
posted by valkyryn at 7:28 AM on November 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


As organizers of athletic camps, they're child care workers under state mandatory reporting law.

I highly doubt that.
posted by valkyryn at 7:29 AM on November 10, 2011


dr_dank: How about calling the cops and then pulling Sandusky off the 10 year old boy? Cops arrive, you've got the perp and the victim there. Cue medical exams and confirmation.
posted by adamp88 at 7:30 AM on November 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


McQueary conceivably could have sequestered either Sandusky or the child; it's likely Sandusky would have fled upon confrontation. He could have stolen the man's clothes, his keys. He could have called the cops immediately and hoped they arrived in time. He could have hoped an investigation would turn up more evidence, as we now know it almost certainly would have; he hoped his bravery would have inspired others to come forward as well.

Again, I don't want to judge because I've never been a situation in which my self-interest so directly conflicted basic morality. But it's clear McQueary failed that test.
posted by gerryblog at 7:30 AM on November 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


he [could have hoped] his bravery
posted by gerryblog at 7:32 AM on November 10, 2011


If the cops had been called in 2002, the scare would have forced Sandusky to disengage from the boys back then, cutting down the number of victims by 80%.

Except that in 1998, Sandusky was caught on tape admitting to a mom that he was inappropriate in the shower with her son, and nothing happened. Not to excuse McQuery, but if he knew that, I could see why he'd want JoePa on his side before confronting Sandusky.

On the other hand, the fact that nobody acted after the second incident of wrongdoing is mindboggling.
posted by snickerdoodle at 7:32 AM on November 10, 2011


See, that actually proves my point. If there was a general duty to report, Massachusetts wouldn't have needed to pass a law to that effect. For example, there is a general, common law duty

That general duty to report has been part of English law (and not just common law) since William the Conqueror. All MA did with that law was modernize the wording.
posted by ocschwar at 7:32 AM on November 10, 2011


So why would he not do something about a rape? Did he think the rapist was too holy to be touched? Was McQueary more worried about his job than the child? It stinks to me. Stinks to high heaven.

My suspicion...

When McQueary witnessed the rape, he was already well aware of Sandusky's reputation... that it's something that was talked about in hushed tones and disturbing jokes.

If this was his first time seeing something grotesque that he thought might be considered "acceptable" within the program, he'd be more inclined to essentially ask the program's ruler if this was crossing the line of keep-it-quiet acceptability or if it's what everyone knew was happening all the time.

Maybe that's not point-on... But there are little gaps and mysteries in the story (e.g. Why didn't McQueary call the cops?) that are indicative of much. bigger. things. that are yet to be revealed. And those things will likely come out in the metric shit-ton of court cases that are going to entangle the university and these participants going forward.



I'd also add... Anyone who thinks they should go easy on Joe Paterno should consider that maybe they are going easy on him.
posted by pokermonk at 7:35 AM on November 10, 2011 [12 favorites]


Not sure if anyone has posted the grand jury report [pdf] (via)

Also, IANAL, but from what I've read in terms of McQueary's and Paterno's guilt: Under Pennsylvania's Child Protective Services Law, certain individuals, including teachers and school administrators, have a legal obligation to immediately report suspected child abuse to child protective services or law enforcement, or to a "person in charge" (supervisor), who must then report the alleged abuse to the authorities. (via Sports Illustrated probably via Subchapter B. Abuse of Students in School from pacode.com)
posted by czytm at 7:35 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


He coulf have fired the perp immediately.

Sandusky wasn't still working there at the time, just FYI.
posted by Pax at 7:38 AM on November 10, 2011


IANAL either, but the thing with the reporting law you link is that it refers to responsibility towards students. The kids involved here were not students of the university.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:39 AM on November 10, 2011


My guess is that the reason that McQueary did nothing and went home to his dad for advice instead of knocking the crap out of Sandusky is that he, Sandusky, was still running part of the football operation under the covers and McQueary was looking out for his career.
posted by jsavimbi at 7:39 AM on November 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


mondo dentro - good for you and your students for distinguishing yourselves from the pack - I've gotten employed overseas, too. US degree from a big sports school is a disadvantage because of the idea that students in the US party instead of working. It's not a total stumbling block, especially if one follows the advice of people (like the "euro-doofus") who help you counteract the negative image and present yourself well, and if you have a very 'academic' major. In your field, academia, coming from a good department which is known in your field helps, too, I'm sure. (I'm assuming that your department is good and well known since your students get invites, etc.)

None of this changes the fact that frats and football culture darken the reputation of US undergrad degrees abroad (and in the US!), and that Penn uses just these elements as its calling card, which is reprehensible, and attracts students who do things like this an exacerbate the issue. Despite the assertions of several Penn Staters on this thread, I have yet to see much indication that the sentiment of Penn State students is not generally in favor of the football program and the coach over the child victims. I'd like to believe that, but there's lots to suggest that the opposite is the case.

This also has little to do with various negative associations with Bush, IMHO. (Many people I encounter seem to assume that "those" Americans rarely travel or live abroad, so those issues have had less direct impact, in my experience. I'm more likely to be asked to insult other Americans to prove I'm 'not like that' than have it assumed I'm 'like that' politically. When Obama was elected, people heard my accent and congratulated me, assuming without asking that I'd voted for him, which I had. In general, people just felt that those Americans they didn't like didn't have passports. YMMV.)
posted by Wylla at 7:40 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Without a smoking gun to hand over to the cops, McQueary torpedoes his career and becomes the villain of the school for "spreading lies". Given how football is king in State College, he probably would have been run out town anyway even if he had airtight evidence of the incident.

PA's mandatory reporting law protects the identity of reporters in most cases. Mandatory reporters are not required to provide a "smoking gun," they are obligated to report suspicions of abuse to an agency that can conduct an investigation if warranted.

Here is the relevant law (emphasis added):
A person who, in the course of
employment, occupation or practice of a profession, comes into
contact with children
shall report or cause a report to be made
in accordance with section 6313 (relating to reporting
procedure) when the person has reasonable cause to suspect, on
the basis of medical, professional or other training and
experience, that a child under the care, supervision, guidance
or training of that person or of an agency, institution,
organization or other entity with which that person is
affiliated is a victim of child abuse, including child abuse by
an individual who is not a perpetrator.

(c) Staff members of institutions, etc.--Whenever a person
is required to report under subsection (b) in the capacity as a
member of the staff of a medical or other public or private
institution, school, facility or agency, that person shall
immediately notify the person in charge of the institution,
school, facility or agency or the designated agent of the person
in charge.
So, someone at the institution failed the law here.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 7:40 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I just keep wondering if that 10 year old boy saw McQueary witnessing what was going on, and thinking about the stab of hope he would have felt that the abuse might stop, and then the utter hopeless which must have followed when nothing changed.
posted by something something at 7:42 AM on November 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


This story made me think of John Shallenberger, Pennsylvanian millionaire, pedophile, creep extraordinaire. He helped facilitate the American Boychoir scandal. As a donor he made sure a pedophile was in charge of the choir (having replaced another pedophile). It seems he did keep ties to Penn State. Could he have ties to Sandusky or his original hiring?
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:42 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wylla-- I did a postgrad degree in the UK, coming from a small, well-respected liberal arts college (Division 3, represent!). I never had any accusations that my degree represented an "Animal House" environment, nor did anyone make such disparaging comments about the state of education. Frankly, given the student riots this year, and the generally horrific drunken state of affairs at night near any UK uni, that would be fairly amusing. Please don't use this incident to axe-grind with your own dissatisfaction over your degree, or particular field. What happened was horrific and insane, and exposes a great deal of rot within the hierarchy of the football team. Believe it or not, many, many people who went to PSU, work with PSU, work at PSU, or have family care a great deal about academics and about the lives of these poor kids. One group of mild rioters (A broken car window? One flipped van? This isn't actually that impressive) doesn't stand for the whole of the system.
posted by jetlagaddict at 7:43 AM on November 10, 2011 [24 favorites]


jetlagaddict: "Believe it or not, many, many people who went to PSU, work with PSU, work at PSU, or have family care a great deal about academics and about the lives of these poor kids. One group of mild rioters (A broken car window? One flipped van? This isn't actually that impressive) doesn't stand for the whole of the system."

This. Thank you.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:44 AM on November 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Despite the assertions of several Penn Staters on this thread, I have yet to see much indication that the sentiment of Penn State students is not generally in favor of the football program and the coach over the child victims. I'd like to believe that, but there's lots to suggest that the opposite is the case.

You're asking the Penn Staters to prove a negative.

For the record, I have a degree from a "party school", regularly interact with Europeans and other furriners, and not once have I experienced the slightest derision over "frats and football culture". Not that Europeans would have any particular superiority in that regard.
posted by downing street memo at 7:45 AM on November 10, 2011 [7 favorites]


Just saw coverage of last night's events at Penn State, including Joe P's speech to the crowd that had gathered outside his home. Just before reentering his house, he asked the audience to "pray for the victims."

Prayer, of course, being a far more effective method of justice than reporting his pedophile underling to the police.

I don't think he understands what he did wrong.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 7:51 AM on November 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


The janitor was a Korean War veteran who had "seen people with their guts blowed out, arms dismembered," and even he isn't depicted as intervening to stop the incident.

Nor did any of the other employees at the Physical Plant office that he told in 2000. Nor did anyone at Second Mile, and Second Mile was allegedly informed of the 2002 incident after the grand jury. There's plenty of moral failing to go around here.
posted by gladly at 7:52 AM on November 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


Let's say McQueary called the cops when it happened. How could he prove what he saw? The anonymous at-risk kid would be long gone by the time the police arrive. Unless you can point the cops to the kid to collect evidence & testimony, it's "he said/she said".

Without a smoking gun to hand over to the cops, McQueary torpedoes his career and becomes the villain of the school for "spreading lies". Given how football is king in State College, he probably would have been run out town anyway even if he had airtight evidence of the incident.


No, the cops (assuming they were not completely corrupt) interview the boy, and start an investigation, presumably interviewing the many, many, other children this person had contact with. Evidence starts to accumulate. Who can say whether he would have been convicted, but he would have been subject to scrutiny and at the very least, not allowed continued access to children.

Frankly, if your moral choice is "possibly ruin my career" vs. "letting a child rapist continue to rape," then you, if you want to continue to live as a decent human being, have to step up and do it. Because the suffering of having to find a new career is nothing at all compared to the suffering of those kids. Nothing at all.
posted by emjaybee at 7:54 AM on November 10, 2011 [11 favorites]


I genuinely don't understand the whole "I'll report this crime to my boss" thing. I mean in general, not just from Paterno; you hear about that sort of thing happening fairly frequently.

Your boss is not the police. WTF.
posted by Flunkie at 7:55 AM on November 10, 2011 [7 favorites]


Flunkie, see the post about the grand jury above. In many places (including apparently PA) the legal obligation to report is fulfilled by reporting the suspicion to one's superior, who is then required to report the crime to the proper authorities.

I've seen in other sites people are defending Paterno on the grounds that *he* fulfilled this obligation as well, in telling the athletic director. I'm not convinced by that, but perhaps there is a case to be made.
posted by gerryblog at 7:59 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Jetlagaddict - I am very happy with both my degree and my field, thanks so much - no complaints or axes to grind there! I went to a big sports school, not a "a small, well-respected liberal arts college", which may explain our different exposure to stereotypes of big sports schools. I live overseas, have lived elsewhere overseas, and am married to a "furriner". I also readily admit that a lot of the generalizations about US football schools are true a lot of the time.

If you look at my original comment, you will see that it started with As an expat with a degree from a large US university, I am frightened by the number of comments I've heard in the last 8 hours along the lines of "this confirms why US undergrad degrees are worthless."
I am reacting to the comments I am hearing about this incident, today, from people around me. YMMV.

You're asking the Penn Staters to prove a negative.

No - I am asking them to give some, any, indication that their statements (the supporters of the football program are a tiny minority, most of the students are in favor of firing Paterno, it's just a few bad apples etc.) - might be true. I have seen no such indication, and many indications that the majority opinion, at least among undergrads, supports the sentiment of the rioters if not their actions. See, for example, the article about the victim's sister, who clearly loves and doesn't blame Penn, and also reports skipping most of her classes because they are filled with people making tasteless jokes about the crimes.
posted by Wylla at 7:59 AM on November 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


Penn State has three more games on the schedule.

I honestly don't see how they can even play the rest of the season. It's going to be a circus, a dangerous circus of 100k+ friendly or hostile fans with a significant portion inebriated with the added charge of everything that's been going on. They should just forfeit the season now and take the consequences.
posted by kmz at 8:00 AM on November 10, 2011 [10 favorites]


Flunkie, it's part of college culture; you don't go to the regular cops, but campus cops first. Which has caused a lot of problems historically, as with women who report campus rapes and then never see any real action taken.

Doesn't really excuse anybody, in my view.
posted by emjaybee at 8:00 AM on November 10, 2011 [5 favorites]


McQueary grew up in State College and played football under Sandusky - more than likely he also was probably completely traumatized by the horrific act he witnessed, compounded by the fact it was done by somebody he had looked up to and respected for his entire childhood and collegiate career.

This is /not/ excusing him for not following up, but it could explain some of his initial inaction.
posted by Burritos Inc. at 8:02 AM on November 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


I honestly don't see how they can even play the rest of the season.

Except that they are tops in the Big 10, and ranked 12th in the nation.

If you think flipping a single news van was bad, imagine what is going to happen if they forfeit the rest of the games. It is going to be a circus either way.
posted by King Bee at 8:03 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


No - I am asking them to give some, any, indication that their statements (the supporters of the football program are a tiny minority, most of the students are in favor of firing Paterno, it's just a few bad apples etc.) - might be true. I have seen no such indication, and many indications that the majority opinion, at least among undergrads, supports the sentiment of the rioters if not their actions. See, for example, the article about the victim's sister, who clearly loves and doesn't blame Penn, and also reports skipping most of her classes because they are filled with people making tasteless jokes about the crimes.

Apparently all manner of logical fallacies are okay when you're bashing American culture and sports.
posted by downing street memo at 8:04 AM on November 10, 2011 [5 favorites]


It is going to be a circus either way.

True, true. They should at least move the Nebraska game somewhere else though.
posted by kmz at 8:06 AM on November 10, 2011


Agreed. At least the Nebraska game is the last home game.
posted by King Bee at 8:07 AM on November 10, 2011


Another stomach turning development: Sandusky and the Second Mile Foundation may have been pimping out kids to rich donors.
posted by reenum at 8:09 AM on November 10, 2011


The law does not impose all the requirements of morality. There is no general duty to report crimes.

Whether it's legal or not, what's happened here seems the best justification I've ever heard for firing people on the basis of morals clauses. Paterno says jump, and a whole community of young adults says "How high?" That's a guy who needs to be way more above board than this.
posted by Apropos of Something at 8:11 AM on November 10, 2011


See, for example, the article about the victim's sister, who clearly loves and doesn't blame Penn, and also reports skipping most of her classes because they are filled with people making tasteless jokes about the crimes.

That's not Penn State. That's youth and callous humor. The same thing happened with Columbine, except the jokes were worse and the victims had actually been murdered.

The Animal House thing is a silly derail. Let it go.
posted by red clover at 8:11 AM on November 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


The NPR reporter also described how Paterno would follow up with professors on the academic standing of his players. The host contrasted with this Paterno doing nothing to inquire after the welfare of Sandusky's rape victims. And there was really nothing for the reporter to say.
posted by Trurl at 8:12 AM on November 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


Here's my thing: Usually when the wheels of 'justice' turn this fast, and this kind of amputation occurs, there's a lot of cover your ass happening. There are hints Sandusky had things going on (like procuring kids for others) that sound like he was involved with a group of pederasts.
posted by Trochanter at 8:16 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


hints Sandusky had things going on

Oops, as per reenum.
posted by Trochanter at 8:17 AM on November 10, 2011


Perhaps I should have followed Metafilter procedure and just said "Cite?" the first time someone said "Most Penn State students don't support this!"

I am in no way bashing American culture and sports - in what way is the disgusting behavior of the Penn State rioters or of McQueary a good representation of American culture and/or sports? I think Joe Darby and the Roncalli High School JV girls softball team are more representative of US culture and sports, luckily for all of us. The rioters are just jerks who make us all (even klutzes like me who have no business anywhere near any sort of sporting activity) look bad.

Agree with red clover that this is a derail. Lets just stop.
posted by Wylla at 8:17 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wylla- I have seen no such indication, and many indications that the majority opinion, at least among undergrads, supports the sentiment of the rioters if not their actions.

I would just add that it's only 11:00 AM in PA right now; the rioting happened a bare twelve hours ago. I'm not in State College, though I have numerous friends who graduated or grew up there, and they are all flat-out disgusted at the accusations. There hasn't really been enough time in EST to get a lot of good news reporting out, though, so maybe give the riot reactions a little more time. Saying, "God, that's repulsive, I can't believe it" doesn't make for nearly as good a story as "[I'm an intoxicated twenty-something who hopefully gave a fake name to the NYT because this quote is hilarious]".

(And I am sorry, I should have been clear-- virtually no one in my uni dorm knew there was such a difference between a college and a university. While it might have made a difference in my admission, it was never a big deal, and no one really assumed being American meant anything about my partying history.)
posted by jetlagaddict at 8:19 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wylla: "I am asking them to give some, any, indication that their statements (the supporters of the football program are a tiny minority, most of the students are in favor of firing Paterno, it's just a few bad apples etc.) - might be true."

Well, there's this guy.

Yes, a bunch of drunk clowns jump in with their unconditional support for Paterno while he's explaining himself, but trying to get a sense of the majority opinion during a riot has a small problem with sampling bias. The fact that there was even one guy willing to go on camera in the middle of the riot to express this viewpoint suggests to me that there might be a lot of silent support for his position among people who were sitting in their dorm rooms last night, and certainly, once you get out of the undergrad State College bubble, a whole lot of graduate students and alumni who were very disappointed in the rioting, and supportive of the Board's decision.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:19 AM on November 10, 2011


Wylla, sorry, should have previewed!
posted by jetlagaddict at 8:20 AM on November 10, 2011


Penn State is also the land-grant/agricultural Pennsylvania school. I get PSU grads in my program regularly, partly because the out-of-state/in-state costs between University of Pennsylvania and most public programs in the field are not that different.

My students wouldn't have had time to riot/protest/give quotes to the press. They were meeting pre-reqs, getting research and animal handling experience and extra-curriculars to be well-rounded and working their tails off to get a shot at admissions. Head down and go straight through.

Jackholes (students, and people in general) tend to have a lot more free time to spread the ugliness around. I attended a school with riots (and people traveling in from other communities for the purpose of rioting), and ugly athletic shenanigans of various kinds. Quite frankly, even if I had thought "hey, rioting, what a great plan--I can only hope that property destruction and a criminal record will really move the admissions committee!" I just didn't have the damn time on a Saturday night--let alone a weeknight. I had time to think/say "Oh, God--there are some real tools here." I was young and stupid enough to believe that people wouldn't assume that unless I was out livejournalling (back in the day) my objections, I obviously supported the riots or other shenanigans just because I attended the same school.
posted by Uniformitarianism Now! at 8:21 AM on November 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


pennophile [pen-uh-fahyl]
noun, psychiatry
a supporter of Joe Paterno and the Penn State football team.

Also, pennophiliac.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:22 AM on November 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


So, someone at the institution failed the law here.

Still highly unlikely. Penn State is a university. The vast majority of students are adults. Dealing with children is not something that most university employees, including athletics staff, have to do as part of the course and scope of their employment. Tangential connection with kids at off-campus athletic camps is unlikely to transform them into mandatory reporters, especially since the alleged abuse didn't happen at any of those camps.

And the very statute you cite makes it clear that this suspicion is connected with professional interaction with kids, not happening across a horrific scene in a shower where kids aren't supposed to be anyway.
posted by valkyryn at 8:22 AM on November 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Never was a big fan of Joe Pa, but am a big fan of the truth. No one is accusing Coach of seeing a kid getting raped in a shower and doing nothing. He was told a vague story about strange behaviour of one of the former assistant coaches. As the coach was no longer on his staff, he reported the vague story to the AD. Joe Pa's supposed failure is in not becoming an investigative reporter and following up the story and pursuing it.

i have to say that one adult referring to another as 'joe pa' and the capitalization of his title as if he were the fucking jehovah add a level of creepiness to this sad defense of criminal inaction.
posted by fallacy of the beard at 8:25 AM on November 10, 2011 [9 favorites]


My sister and I (I am a dude btw) were sexually abused by our uncle when we were kids. My mom was, and still is, a drug addict and would leave us at our uncles house for days at a time. So, let me tell you how child molestors operate.

My sister and I were 6 and 4 respectively and what he would do was read us stories and fairy tales and have us act them out. So hansel & gretel or red riding hood or take your pick, we had a huge book with tons of those type of stories in them and we would act out all of the stories at his direction. The first couple would be by the book and (in hindsight I now know) he would ad little things to the stories that we would act out, a kiss here and there, a hug, taking off a shirt, you get the picture, but only one or two little things per story. Then we would get to sleeping beauty. Obviously we couldn't read yet and because our mother was an addict and our dad not around, we had never really heard these stories and certainly had not seen these disney movies so we did not know all of this stuff wasn't in the stories. Anyway, back to sleeping beauty. I know y'all see where this is headed and I don't want to be too graphic, but I as the prince had to try many different ways to resucitate my sister the sleeping beauty, but nothing worked, which is when Brave Knight Robert (of course played by my uncle) would show up and ...well, you get the picture.

This went on repeatedly over a period of about 6 months until my mom was arrested for trying to sell us or trade us for drugs and my dad was located and given custody of us and we were raised by him and my step mom and had decent upbringing. Thing was my sister and I did not know what we hae been doing was wrongso we continued doing things, really just going through motions you know, and my dad and step mom were like what the hell is going on and so we told them, but they never reported anything, because they knew we would never be around Brave Knight Robert anymore.

Well, when we got older and began to understand what was right and wrong I became concerned about my uncles children, my cousins. Though I never really knew them, we all lived in the same small town so I knew of them. When I was a teenager I asked my parents if we coulld go to the police about him because he now had kids that were 7 or 8 and they talked about it and discussed it with a lawyer friend and decided that no, we could not got to the police because there was nothing they could do and that it would ruin peoples lives, not ever saying anything about the possibility that it was ruining my cousins lives, like it could have done mine. This angered and frustrated me to no end. It made me think that my dad did not believe us that this had happened, and years later I found out that that was the case.

When I was 18 my uncle died in an accident where he was driving drunk and crashed into a house, no one else was injured. As my cousins got older I eventually became close with them and sure enough my uncle had abused them using the same method, same stories, as he had us and no doubt other children. So that's what molestors do, they practice there method on kids, find one that works and use it over and over.

A lot has been made about the power of the penn state football program and that that is why this went un repported and there is some truth to that, but a bigger problem I think is just a moral cowardice in general that people would rather do what is easy than what is right. We saw in joepa and several others there just like I saw it in my dad and stepmom, only they had nothing to lose, but took the easy road anyway. Its incredibly sad.
posted by holdkris99 at 8:25 AM on November 10, 2011 [70 favorites]


That general duty to report has been part of English law (and not just common law) since William the Conqueror. All MA did with that law was modernize the wording.

Wrong. Just wrong. You're talking about the "hue and cry," which is a different thing than what we're talking about here. And it wasn't part of the common law, it was a statute, 13 Edw. I cc. 1 and 4, (1285), one which hasn't been in force for centuries and was quickly rejected by English courts as soon as they had a chance to do so as an imposition by Norman occupiers who couldn't be bothered to do actual damn law enforcement.

While it is certainly a crime to make a false report, in the vast majority of US jurisdictions, it is not a crime to fail to report. This is the common law position, and while a few states have deviated from it, Pennsylvania has not, as far as I can tell.
posted by valkyryn at 8:26 AM on November 10, 2011 [13 favorites]


fallacy of the beard: "i have to say that one adult referring to another as 'joe pa' and the capitalization of his title as if he were the fucking jehovah add a level of creepiness to this sad defense of criminal inaction."

Uh. His name is Joe Paterno. It's a well-known nickname, but it's also an abbreviation of his names. Generally we capitalize given names and surnames aroud here.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:29 AM on November 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


I think fallacy of the beard was commenting on the capitalization of "Coach".
posted by Elementary Penguin at 8:31 AM on November 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


damn, valkyryn dropping some thirteenth century knowledge
posted by chinston at 8:31 AM on November 10, 2011 [5 favorites]


To see that and then silently leave...

Can't get over that either. The lack of courage McQueary showed in that moment is the point of the spear of corruption here. Can any reasonably strong man reading this imagine backing quietly out of that locker room, rather than extracting half of Sandusky's teeth before calling the police?

The mythology of football, college athletics, all that Teddy Roosevelt/YMCA bullshit, is rooted in the idea that athletic competition turns boys into men (and, to a lesser and more recent extent in American patriarchal cultural history, girls into women).

We have clear evidence here that big league college athletics turns boys into sexual chattel, and men into downright yellow-bellied cowards.
posted by spitbull at 8:33 AM on November 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


Elementary Penguin: "I think fallacy of the beard was commenting on the capitalization of "Coach"."

Ah, I missed that. Yeah, that's kind weird and gratuitous.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:35 AM on November 10, 2011


Can any reasonably strong man reading this imagine backing quietly out of that locker room, rather than extracting half of Sandusky's teeth before calling the police?

All you can do is hope you'd do better. Again, evidence suggests that people overestimate their capacity to act clearly and decisively when faced with a crisis.

We have clear evidence here that big league college athletics turns boys into sexual chattel, and men into downright yellow-bellied cowards.

Oh, for the love of God.
posted by downing street memo at 8:35 AM on November 10, 2011 [15 favorites]


Uh. His name is Joe Paterno. It's a well-known nickname, but it's also an abbreviation of his names. Generally we capitalize given names and surnames aroud here.

yeah, i get that, but there's still a sickening familiarity here. the abbreviated nickname in this context is kinda like hearing old followers talk about 'charlie' manson; the 'pa' aspect is strangely paternalistic on its own, not to mention in the context of a man-on-boy rape story; and the capitalization of 'coach' is quasi-religious. seriously, the whole comment creeps me the fuck out.
posted by fallacy of the beard at 8:39 AM on November 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


"All you can do is hope you'd do better. Again, evidence suggests that people overestimate their capacity to act clearly and decisively when faced with a crisis."

He didn't have to be "heroic", all he had to do was walk into the shower and say "What's going on?" or "Stop that." No violence, no knocking out of teeth. Just a word or two. Or even slam a locker to let Sandusky know someone was there and he should probably stop what he was doing.
posted by MikeMc at 8:40 AM on November 10, 2011 [7 favorites]


Can any reasonably strong man reading this imagine backing quietly out of that locker room, rather than extracting half of Sandusky's teeth before calling the police?

Unfortunately, I think most men would first mull-over whether Sandusky was their superior or not. The very real need to remain gainfully employed in this country has a very real effect on people's thinking.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:40 AM on November 10, 2011 [5 favorites]


For the love of God, what, downing street memo? Are you so far above it all that a mere sneering putdown is sufficient to make the counterargument? What is the counterbalancing good of big league college sports?
posted by spitbull at 8:41 AM on November 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


All you can do is hope you'd do better. Again, evidence suggests that people overestimate their capacity to act clearly and decisively when faced with a crisis.

I've had guns pointed at me in anger, and been the first at the scene of two fatal accidents. I know exactly how I act in a crisis.
posted by spitbull at 8:42 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


And what "crisis?" You're a strapping young football coach ("student" makes it sound like he was a boy) and an athlete, confronted with a much older man raping a young boy.

If you are afraid to intervene in that situation, you should go back to wearing knee pants.
posted by spitbull at 8:43 AM on November 10, 2011 [5 favorites]


I genuinely don't understand the whole "I'll report this crime to my boss" thing. I mean in general, not just from Paterno; you hear about that sort of thing happening fairly frequently.

Your boss is not the police. WTF.


THIS. A million times this. Call your fucking boss and I say, "I just called the police because I caught so-and-so assaulting a child. I'm waiting here with the kid for the police ." And you stay with that child until the police arrive.

You don't leave, call your dad, and report it the next day to your boss.
posted by shoesietart at 8:45 AM on November 10, 2011 [5 favorites]


No "shock of the moment" defense of McQueary will stand up. He knowingly kept this secret for years.
posted by Trurl at 8:46 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Elementary Penguin: "I think fallacy of the beard was commenting on the capitalization of "Coach"."

Ah, I missed that. Yeah, that's kind weird and gratuitous.


Maybe he thought this story was about Craig T. Nelson.
posted by Saxon Kane at 8:47 AM on November 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


downing street memo:

> Not that Europeans would have any particular superiority in that regard.

The problem is not just football-related violence per se, the problem is that "football culture" is deeply rooted in many American universities - which are supposed to be the places of learning.

European countries might have problems with football vandalism (though as far as I could say the problem is bigger in England/UK and significantly smaller in continental Europe) - but these meatheads have nothing to do with universities, and you don't see universities defending players/coaches/any other sport-related criminals, like in JoePa case. Or in this one; or in many other cases.
posted by egor83 at 8:49 AM on November 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


European countries might have problems with football vandalism (though as far as I could say the problem is bigger in England/UK and significantly smaller in continental Europe) - but these meatheads have nothing to do with universities, and you don't see universities defending players/coaches/any other sport-related criminals, like in JoePa case. Or in this one; or in many other cases.


They do, however, have a problem with students and alcohol and rioting, without any connection to sports.
posted by ocschwar at 8:55 AM on November 10, 2011


valkyryn, just to be clear for bystanders, there was a common law offense, misprision of felony, though, which has now been abolished in the UK and which in U.S. Federal Law requires active concealment.
posted by Jahaza at 8:58 AM on November 10, 2011


And the very statute you cite makes it clear that this suspicion is connected with professional interaction with kids, not happening across a horrific scene in a shower where kids aren't supposed to be anyway.

That's what I was going to say - this will depend on the nexus between Sandusky and PSU, which depend on facts I don't think the general public necessarily has right now.
posted by Pax at 9:00 AM on November 10, 2011


One moment of absurd slight levity in all this: Ashton Kutcher has temporarily stopped tweeting after he put his feet and pretty much every possible other body part in his mouth and made a Tweet supportive of Paterno before having any inkling of what happened.
posted by kmz at 9:02 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


[comments removed - we absolutely don't wish that people get raped here, period.]
posted by jessamyn at 9:02 AM on November 10, 2011 [22 favorites]


i have to say that one adult referring to another as 'joe pa' and the capitalization of his title as if he were the fucking jehovah add a level of creepiness to this sad defense of criminal inaction.

The rules I was taught in middle school would require you to capitalize "Coach" there. Similarly, I was taught to write "Did you ask Mom?" (vs. "Did you ask your mom?"), "You'd better call Doc" (vs. "You'd better call the doctor") and for that matter "I dunno, you'll have to ask Dickbreath over there" (vs. "You'll have to ask that dickbreath over there").

If I address someone as "Dickbreath," does that mean I've mistaken them for Jehovah?

I know you disagree with JohnnyGunn about this. But seriously, address what he actually said and don't start combing his spelling and punctuation for hidden signs of creepiness.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:03 AM on November 10, 2011 [13 favorites]




And the very statute you cite makes it clear that this suspicion is connected with professional interaction with kids, not happening across a horrific scene in a shower where kids aren't supposed to be anyway.

That's what I was going to say - this will depend on the nexus between Sandusky and PSU, which depend on facts I don't think the general public necessarily has right now.


That is, the nexus at the time of the crime.
posted by Pax at 9:03 AM on November 10, 2011


Ah, I missed that. Yeah, that's kind weird and gratuitous.

Honestly, I think in a lot of American society it is pretty common. I am not by any means a big sports person and when I was in high school at Small Midwestern Prep School we called any teacher who was also an athletic instructor "Coach $LASTNAME", even one who had only been a coach for one year, 6 years prior. I'm not sure it is that unusual, just habit.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 9:04 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think it's just habit. On sports shows that have former coaches as one of the talking heads, they are generally just called "Coach" (Ditka, Dungy, Cowher, etc).
posted by King Bee at 9:05 AM on November 10, 2011


I stated this in the other thread and I'll restate this here.

I don't think anyone in this thread, unless they are victims of abuse themselves, have ever witnesses anything as horrific as child rape, much less child rape involving a beloved mentor as Sandusky was to McQueary.

It is well-documented that most people, when confronted with horrors, completely panic and blank out. I believe there was an article on Metafilter earlier discussing a plane crash where most crash survivors were so traumatized they remained on the plane and burned to death rather than escaping. On 9/11 there are numerous accounts of office workers not attempting to escape, instead remaining at their desks while the buildings fell. It is not uncommon in serious war zones to witness even soldiers acting completely irrationally in the face of death and destruction, trying to rescue a comerade even though they're completely blown in half.

If you read the grand jury report, you would know another eyewitness is a janitor who was a Korean war vet. He saw Sandusky performing oral sex on a boy in 2000. He didn't help either--he panicked, ran, and when he recounted the incident to coworkers and higher ups he was so traumatized they all thought he was having a heart attack. He directly stated that he had seen many awful things in the war, but nothing as terrible as that.

SO. We would all like to imagine that we would enact our terrible revenge fantasies on Sandusky if put in that position. But none of us have ever been in that position. McQueary was nearly 30 and he ran to his father. Is that evidence of his cowardice, or evidence that what he saw was so deeply traumatizing that in that moment a grown man turned back into a child?

This does not, in any way excuse his later 10 years of inaction. I would like to believe I would have done differently than McQueary. But after reading the grand jury testimony and realizing how deeply affecting those images must have been I don't know if I would have held myself together any better than McQueary did.
posted by schroedinger at 9:06 AM on November 10, 2011 [40 favorites]


ocschwar:
Yes, there are problems with students and alcohol. Do universities protect those guilty?

European student riots of late were meaningful, if I may call it that: mostly about economy - increase in fees, tuition, stuff like that. I haven't heard about any European university protecting one of its athletes from prosecution; I can't remember any student riot in Europe being triggered by firing/conviction of any athlete/coach as a result of a crime or a cover-up.
posted by egor83 at 9:07 AM on November 10, 2011


I recommend Andrew Sullivan's eloquent take on last night's Happy Valley response to Paterno's firing: "Something is Rotten at Penn State".
posted by Creosote at 9:09 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


SO. We would all like to imagine that we would enact our terrible revenge fantasies on Sandusky if put in that position.

One word: "HEY!". One word that would have stopped him in his tracks. "HEY!". Didn't even need to stick around for Sandusky to see who said it. "HEY!" you've been seen. "HEY!" you'd better stop there are people around. "HEY!" somebody knows what you're doing...
posted by MikeMc at 9:15 AM on November 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


The Onion weighs in.
posted by schmod at 9:15 AM on November 10, 2011 [7 favorites]


On sports shows that have former coaches as one of the talking heads, they are generally just called "Coach" (Ditka, Dungy, Cowher, etc).

Yes. Similar: "Officer/Constable/Sheriff", "Dean", and related: "Mr./Mdm. Mayor/President".

There are many roles where a title collapses this way. Mike Krzyzewski of Duke is almost universally known and addressed as "Coach K", which neatly solves the problem of figuring out how to pronounce his last name.*

I'm completely unsurprised to see someone who was the head coach of a large team for basically as long as I've been alive being addressed both as "Coach" and by a diminutive such as "joe pa".


*Shoo-Shev-Sky. Yes, there is only one S and a very distinct lack of H in his name. The "transliteration" of Slavic languages is a complicated affair, doubly so when complicated by immigration officials.
posted by eriko at 9:19 AM on November 10, 2011


yeah, i get that, but there's still a sickening familiarity here. the abbreviated nickname in this context is kinda like hearing old followers talk about 'charlie' manson; the 'pa' aspect is strangely paternalistic on its own, not to mention in the context of a man-on-boy rape story; and the capitalization of 'coach' is quasi-religious. seriously, the whole comment creeps me the fuck out.

You're getting all upset about the wrong things here.
posted by coolguymichael at 9:21 AM on November 10, 2011 [7 favorites]


One word: "HEY!". One word that would have stopped him in his tracks. "HEY!". Didn't even need to stick around for Sandusky to see who said it. "HEY!" you've been seen. "HEY!" you'd better stop there are people around. "HEY!" somebody knows what you're doing...

You totally missed the point of my post. If you are in a traumatized state, you are not weighing "Maybe I could say 'Hey', maybe not intervene, blah blah blah" your brain is "FIGHT FLIGHT FLIGHT FLIGHT FLIGHT FLIGHT OH MY GOD FLIGHT OH MY GOD WHERE DO FEET GO OH MY GOD".

You are ascribing rationality to a situation where McQueary may very well have had none to speak of.
posted by schroedinger at 9:22 AM on November 10, 2011 [5 favorites]


There is an argument I've heard that Joe didn't know the severity of the incident in 2002 because it was described to him as "horse play" in the showers, not anal rape of a young boy. Is Joe that ignorant? (senile?). Joe knew pretty much everything going on in and around the football program. I believe he knew of the previously revealed indiscretions of his friend. See Sandusky timeline. He may not have known the extent of the perversion but he had to wonder (know) his buddy was a pedophile.

Many are saying that Paterno made one mistake which should not sully a distinguished career. I disagree. My belief is that every morning from 2002 on, when Joe woke up and squinted into the mirror, was another day that he failed to notify the "proper" authorities. No, not just one mistake but several thousand days of mistakes.

Joe - iff you wanted to be revered then you should have done your duty and protected those who could not protect themselves. You protected your buddy and you sir are a rat.
posted by incandissonance at 9:23 AM on November 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


Also, with regards to what Joe did and didn't know--in the grand jury report he says McQueary told him Sandusky was involved in sexual activity with a child. So whether or not McQueary told him it was anal sex, "sexual activity" + "child" + "shower" should theoretically equal "what the fuck calling the police now."
posted by schroedinger at 9:24 AM on November 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


Have any of you seen a picture of McQueary?

He's a huge strapping young man with the look of someone who could take out a professional boxer, let alone a freaky old coach.

Don't give me this "crisis" analogy. It's false. It's special pleading. Mr. McQueary was in no physical danger in that locker room, of any sort. There were no guns pointed at him, no blood and guts on the floor in front of him, no need to act in a short instant, since he was in there for at least several minutes. The most he risked was his job and the reputation of his organization, which we now know came first. He had no reason to be afraid physically.

Cowardice, pure and simple.
posted by spitbull at 9:26 AM on November 10, 2011 [13 favorites]


We would all like to imagine that we would enact our terrible revenge fantasies on Sandusky if put in that position. But none of us have ever been in that position. McQueary was nearly 30 and he ran to his father. Is that evidence of his cowardice, or evidence that what he saw was so deeply traumatizing that in that moment a grown man turned back into a child?

i'm having a hard time with it, because i'm usually incredibly generous when it comes to people in horrific situations. but though you mention it at the end, it seems overly accommodating to overlook the millions of moments after 'that moment' when he might have done something decent, knowing that some kid was suffering its aftermath, knowing that any number of kids were likely at risk. for all his struggles--and yeah, we haven't heard his side of it completely--at some point he valued his loyalty to this program or this set of people over his compassion for this kid and anonymous others, whose struggles were far more challenging.

and really didn't mean to create a debate over usage and such. johnnygunn's defense of parterno was lame enough, but personally i thought that (especially for someone who is ostensibly not a fan of the guy) these little elements of deference were a kind of icky flavor enhancer.
posted by fallacy of the beard at 9:27 AM on November 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


SO. We would all like to imagine that we would enact our terrible revenge fantasies on Sandusky if put in that position.

One word: "HEY!". One word that would have stopped him in his tracks. "HEY!". Didn't even need to stick around for Sandusky to see who said it. "HEY!" you've been seen. "HEY!" you'd better stop there are people around. "HEY!" somebody knows what you're doing...


Yeah, I've got to admit, I'd think I'd shout out something or scream in that situation. Not because I'd have any thought about stopping the incident, but because that's a natural reaction to seeing something that's really fucking horrifying.

Staying quiet seems like a much more calculated reaction.
posted by dinty_moore at 9:28 AM on November 10, 2011 [5 favorites]


How revered is this guy among the people?
I'm not a Christian, but

In a way, as JoePa is being put through all this, it seems to me kind of like the story of JC dying, to save everybody else.
Amazing. And that's not out of line with the rest of that thread.
posted by ignignokt at 9:29 AM on November 10, 2011


I finally removed Phi Beta Kappa from my CV after I realised that it was being mistaken for a sorority name.

I know the job market's tough, but do you really want to work for someone that stupid?
posted by aught at 9:31 AM on November 10, 2011 [5 favorites]


"You are ascribing rationality to a situation where McQueary may very well have had none to speak of."

OK fine, but what about after the "OH MY GOD FLIGHT OH MY GOD WHERE DO FEET GO OH MY GOD" stage? An hour later? A day later? A week later? A month later? At some point he had to recover his senses. Let's be frank here, McQueary cared more about his standing with the Penn State football program than he did about the child rape he witnessed. His actions after the incident make that crystal clear. McQueary's conduct is inexcusable.
posted by MikeMc at 9:33 AM on November 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


yeah, i get that, but there's still a sickening familiarity here. the abbreviated nickname in this context is kinda like hearing old followers talk about 'charlie' manson; the 'pa' aspect is strangely paternalistic on its own, not to mention in the context of a man-on-boy rape story; and the capitalization of 'coach' is quasi-religious. seriously, the whole comment creeps me the fuck out.

There is enough to be outraged here without over-analyzing comments to mine for outrage fuel.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:33 AM on November 10, 2011 [7 favorites]


I am not trying to excuse McQueary's later actions. I said that in my original comment.

I'm saying people here are demonstrating a dramatic lack of understanding of the nature of psychological trauma and are likely underestimating the trauma of actually seeing a child raped in person. I read an account the other day of a man who does photo processing and technical work for social work cases. One of them involved blowing up and refining child pornography a man had made of his children for a criminal trial. All he was doing was blowing these pictures up and he still has nightmares.

You do not need to be in direct physical danger to be traumatized. You do not always yell and scream. Freezing up and going silent is an incredibly common reaction to trauma.

For the third time: this doesn't excuse McQueary's later inaction the next day, and the next, and the next ten years. But it is highly likely that in the moment he panicked and shut down.
posted by schroedinger at 9:35 AM on November 10, 2011 [12 favorites]


And McQueary was a former quarterback. If athletics does not teach you how to act decisively and with maximum purpose under stressful conditions, then a huge discourse that justifies the educational value of sports is just plain wrong, which was my point above.

I suppose one could point to Pat Tillman, for example, and say there is an someone whose college sports career helped produce a singularly brave and ethically aware human being, although my guess is he was too good for college sports, just like he was too good for the US Army.
posted by spitbull at 9:36 AM on November 10, 2011 [7 favorites]


Mike Krzyzewski of Duke is almost universally known and addressed as "Coach K"

At this point I'm waiting for the revelation that Coach K (of all the hard words Sporcle has helped me learn to spell, I still never remember his or Yaz's full names) once buried bodies for mob friends or something.

How revered is this guy among the people?

For those that don't follow sports (and I'm only a casual sports fan and I'm not from Pennsylvania), Paterno was to his fans a living legend. Even while other longtime coaches had bad reps (Bobby Bowden) or were disgraced (Jim Tressel), Paterno was seen as one of the good guys. And he had ridiculous longevity. When the Berlin Wall was built, he had already been an assistant coach at Penn State for 10 years. Five years later he became head coach and here we are 45 years later. I've heard him called the most important man in Pennsylvania and one of the most significant coaches in American sports history, and I can't really disagree.

All of this, of course, only makes his (in)actions all the more despicable.

So whether or not McQueary told him it was anal sex, "sexual activity" + "child" + "shower" should theoretically equal "what the fuck calling the police now."

Yes, exactly. Paterno's own testimony says that McQueary told him about fondling and/or sexual activity. There's nothing ambivalent about that. Unless you're going to claim the grand jury testimony transcript is wrong, there's no excusing Paterno.
posted by kmz at 9:38 AM on November 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


valkyryn: Nonsense. Modern universities serve more than just their undergraduate students, and those outreach efforts are often part of the job description. If university athletic departments don't want to be held to mandatory reporting laws, they need to stop making support of youth athletics and youth fans an important part of their brand.

If you put your trademark on the event, have your head coach run the event, host the event in your facilities, and charge the parents money for the event, I think there's a strong argument that the connection is more than tangental. Any time you're taking money to work with kids for a few hours, you assume a duty of care which includes mandatory reporting.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 9:38 AM on November 10, 2011 [7 favorites]


We send 18 year old young men and women into battle where they are shot at and sometimes killed expecting them to nonetheless follow orders and face danger and act ethically.

Can we not expect even a fraction as much fortitude from former quarterbacks?
posted by spitbull at 9:38 AM on November 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


In a way, as JoePa is being put through all this, it seems to me kind of like the story of JC dying, to save everybody else.

Well, yes. Since sports professionals are among the most corrupt people on the planet, large amounts of bullshit have to somehow reconcile the population to continuing to support them.
posted by telstar at 9:41 AM on November 10, 2011


There is no excusing so many of those involved...

From page 19-20 of the grand jury report:
"Detective Schreffler testified that he and State College Police Department Detective Ralph Ralston, with the consent of the mother of Victim 6, eavesdropped on two conversations the mother of Victim 6 had with Sandusky... The mother of Victim 6 confronted Sandusky about showering with her son, the effect it had on her son (...) At the conclusion of the second conversation, after Sandusky was told he could not see Victim 6 anymore, Sandusky said, "I understand. I was wrong. I wish I could get forgiveness. I know I won't get it from you. I wish I were dead." Detective Ralston and the mother of Victim 6 confirm these conversations."

From page 19:
After a lengthy investigation by University Police Detective Ronald Shreffler, the investigation was closed after then-Center County District Attorney Ray Gricar decided there would be no criminal charges. Shreffler testified that he was told to close the investigation by the director of the campus police, Thomas Harmon. That investigation included a second child... who was subjected to nearly identical treatment as Victim 6, according to Detective Schreffler.
posted by czytm at 9:47 AM on November 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


I am not trying to excuse McQueary's later actions. I said that in my original comment.

yeah, i got that. it only appeared that you were diminishing his later actions by making them a kind of afterthought to all that concern about this horribly traumatic thing he went through.
posted by fallacy of the beard at 9:48 AM on November 10, 2011


We send 18 year old young men and women into battle where they are shot at and sometimes killed expecting them to nonetheless follow orders and face danger and act ethically.

Can we not expect even a fraction as much fortitude from former quarterbacks?


Those men and women are trained in boot camp to act rationally under fire. People need to be trained to act rationally because otherwise they don't. You have to have those physical actions practiced so that your body responds when your brain is not. Soldiers are exposed to loud noises and war simulations to teach them to keep their heads. Firefighters are required to do simulations involving actual fire so they don't freak the fuck out when they need to save someone from a burning house. You know fire drills in schools? In businesses? In public buildings? Those are not to annoy you. They are a hope that in an actual emergency situation people will be able to automatically respond in a way that saves lives.

In the article I spoke about earlier, the one with a plane crash, a man and his wife escaped. The wife panicked and shut down. The only reason she is alive is because her husband got her out. And he got her out because he had experience with emergency situations and had spent the time while the plane was taking off carefully studying emergency exit protocols. Not because he was just extra-brave and that much more of a man. His body and mind responded rationally because he readied them to.

I don't think anyone readies themselves for witnessing child rape.
posted by schroedinger at 9:48 AM on November 10, 2011 [14 favorites]


Call it "traumatized" if you want. I call what that victim was going through "trauma." Unless McQueary was having flashbacks to being raped himself -- a possibility I admit I hadn't considered, and which would be the sole fact that would ameliorate what is otherwise cowardice to me -- I dispute the usage of "traumatized" to characterize the state of mind in which he would have been indecisive and left the room without acting to intervene.

I know the fight or flight response all too well. Twice in my life I have had someone point a gun at me aggressively, once in a holdup where I was responsible for the rest of the people working in the business. I've seen a 9 year old child die on the ground in front of me while I tried useless CPR. I was first on scene to an accident in which an old man hit by a car was losing brain matter on the street in front of me and the 911 operator was instructing me to turn him over so he didn't drown in it. In all those cases my legs felt like lead, my brain was screaming run, my heart was pumping so loud I could feel it in my throat, and my conscience was saying "do something, you idiot."

I cannot imagine being so traumatized by witnessing a rape of a child by an adult who posed absolutely no physical threat to me that I would quietly walk out of the room, never mind how I would act in subsequent hours, days, or years. Sorry, don't see it. Can't imagine it. Wouldn't be able to live with myself afterward if I didn't immediately do something to make it right.

That used to just be called "cowardice." Now we excuse it as "trauma?"
posted by spitbull at 9:52 AM on November 10, 2011 [6 favorites]


And please, it's not 9/11 or a plane crash. The analogy, as I said, does not hold any water.

I'm done. I've made my point. Outta here.
posted by spitbull at 9:53 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


You don't have to be a hero to call 911 when you see a crime being committed. I've done it, and I'm the biggest coward around.

I don't know why McQueary didn't physically intervene, and I'm not going to second-guess him on that. The part where he didn't contact the police is the part where I am going to second-guess him. He failed to protect children from being raped.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:54 AM on November 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


And yes, maybe McQueary was traumatized in the moment. Who knows.

But after the event, he was thinking clearly enough to get on the phone and talk about what he saw--the problem was that he got on the phone to his dad, not to the police or child protective services or anyone who could have helped the child who was being raped.

If we don't take "call the police when you actually see a child being raped" as a basic standard of human decency, where do we draw the line?
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:57 AM on November 10, 2011 [12 favorites]


Pretty sure everyone talking about trauma has said it is no excuse for later actions.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:59 AM on November 10, 2011 [9 favorites]




In response to the fairly well-established psychological concept of overestimating our ability to act in clear, decisive ways in the face of trauma, people on the blue...overestimate their ability to act in clear, decisive ways in the face of trauma.
posted by downing street memo at 10:00 AM on November 10, 2011 [11 favorites]


And, of course, it doesn't explain the later silence (although we really have no idea if he remained silent or not).
posted by downing street memo at 10:01 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think is just a moral cowardice in general that people would rather do what is easy than what is right.

"People don't do what they believe in, they do what's most convenient and then they repent." -- Bob Dylan, Brownsville Girl
posted by localroger at 10:01 AM on November 10, 2011


McQueary won't be head coach, but he will still fulfill his normal role, either from the sideline or box.
posted by King Bee at 10:02 AM on November 10, 2011


McQueary to coach Penn State on Saturday

Yeah they need to fire him too, right now. And they should not be letting one single fan into that stadium if they play that game, which they should not.

The entire coaching staff is tainted by this, god knows what all of them knows about this. The house cleaning needs to be total.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:02 AM on November 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


"McQueary to coach Penn State on Saturday" - wtf. You thought there were riots last night? Wait until Sautrday. I'll join 'em.
posted by 8dot3 at 10:03 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


McQueary to coach Penn State on Saturday

Just... what the fuck. What. The. Fuck. I don't understand this at all.
posted by kmz at 10:03 AM on November 10, 2011 [7 favorites]


furiousxgeorge: wouldn't canceling the game for a team which has championship aspirations (they are currently first place in the Big 10) result in even more rioting for a place where football is king?

I don't know what to do, ugh.
posted by King Bee at 10:04 AM on November 10, 2011


McQueary to coach Penn State on Saturday


I say we take off and nuke the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.
posted by ocschwar at 10:06 AM on November 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Saturday is going to be such a clusterfuck. Are the WBC idiots still showing up? Maybe people can unite in hating them.
posted by kmz at 10:06 AM on November 10, 2011


furiousxgeorge: "Yeah they need to fire him too, right now."

This. Up until just this moment, I'd somehow neglected to realize that he still had a job.
posted by schmod at 10:06 AM on November 10, 2011


furiousxgeorge: wouldn't canceling the game for a team which has championship aspirations (they are currently first place in the Big 10) result in even more rioting for a place where football is king?


Let them riot. Just make sure they can only foul their own nest.
posted by ocschwar at 10:08 AM on November 10, 2011


As usual, the Onion is overmatched by reality:

Watching the protests mount on the street, Harrisburg attorney Benjamin D. Andreozzi issued a statement questioning the board's decision to terminate Spanier and Paterno without consulting with alleged victims.

Andreozzi said he has been advising some of them along with Plymouth Meeting-based nonprofit Let Go, Let Peace Come In, a foundation formed to counsel victims of sexual assault. Organization founder Peter S. Pellulo could not immediately be reached for comment.

"They should have considered these victims watch TV and are aware of the students' reaction, and may not want to be associated with the downfall of Mr. Paterno," Andreozzi said. "The school instead elected to do what it felt was in its own best interest at the time. Isn't that what put the school in this position in the first place?"

posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 10:08 AM on November 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


Wolfdog: Probably going to be a slow thread as the links are all quite substantial and people will be absorbed in reading them before rushing to post an opinion.

kmz: This has been in the news all week. People following the story already know what's in those links.

kmz, you oughta check into that whooshing sound just overhead.
posted by IAmBroom at 10:08 AM on November 10, 2011


Let them riot. Just make sure they can only foul their own nest.

Riots do not work this way. I honestly think they got it out of their system and reality will sink in soon. They better get used to football not being king anymore because I doubt the program ever recovers enough to field a top team any time soon.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:11 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I could do without the weird sports analogies about what McQueary should have done, but at least people in the sports world are immediately saying that having McQueary coach on Saturday is a bad idea
posted by King Bee at 10:11 AM on November 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


The only way it makes sense to me that McQueary still has a job is that he knows more than he has told and their is still an active cover up with people still employed at or connected with the university. Nothing else makes sense
posted by holdkris99 at 10:11 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


What whooshing sound? Wolfdog was sarcastically implying that people were posting without RTFA. I was pointing out that a lot of people already had.
posted by kmz at 10:12 AM on November 10, 2011


Wylla --

Well, I guess your internet reading fact reporting trumps my living in State College for 6 years hopes and assumptions, my bad.


FTFY, dhens.


I refuse to believe that all the people who supported the football program supported JoePa in the light of the scandal (many of my friends, rabid Penn State fans, reacted with disgust to last night's events), and 2.) the students who "supported" Paterno last night are, unfortunately, much more visible than those who did not.


There's your problem in the first four words.
posted by IAmBroom at 10:12 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Defensive coordinator Tom Bradley, who was appointed Penn State interim coach in the wake of a shakeup that has claimed the jobs of Joe Paterno and other university leaders, said Thursday it will be a "game-time decision" whether McQueary will coach from the sideline or the press box
It will be a "game-time decision" exactly how brazenly we will flaunt decency.
posted by Flunkie at 10:13 AM on November 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well, at least the three-year investigation wasn't concluded and Paterno wasn't fired until just after he broke the all time Division I wins record, literally in the most recent game Penn State played. Quoth Sports Illustrated:

But we should still salute him. In a sport filled with misguided, misbehaved or flat-out devious individuals, JoePa remains our moral compass, as he has for more than five decades. No. 409 may be largely symbolic, but it's another excuse to celebrate one of the most important figures ever to roam a sideline. He doesn't roam them anymore, but he did so long enough to put himself in this position.

Boy, what a difference two weeks makes.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 10:15 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you drop a Ming vase onto a tile floor, it breaks. It doesn't matter how often you've handled similar vases without dropping them, it doesn't matter if it was intentional or accidental- hell, it doesn't matter if you've spent your life collecting and restoring the things. You might be an otherwise good person, you might be a worthless sack of shit.

None of that will put the vase back together if you drop it, and it won't be any less broken because you didn't intend for it to happen.

Sometimes when you do something, there are Consequences.
posted by Mooski at 10:17 AM on November 10, 2011 [7 favorites]


From what I've read of coaching job descriptions, they have some degree of authority over the facilities. It seems a bit odd to me that Paterno couldn't do a thing about an emeritus using access to the facilities to "shower with" and rape kids other than pass the buck.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 10:22 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


IamBroom, thanks but please don't keep the derail going.

"They should have considered these victims watch TV and are aware of the students' reaction, and may not want to be associated with the downfall of Mr. Paterno," Andreozzi said. "The school instead elected to do what it felt was in its own best interest at the time. Isn't that what put the school in this position in the first place?"

Yikes - that's hinting that the victims should be afraid of being "unmasked"...and comparing the firing decision to the original cover-up. This guy is the victims' consultant or advocate?
posted by Wylla at 10:23 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Has seriously nobody ever heard of hindsight bias? A random lowly assistant of questionable credibility discloses he witnessed "horsing around" in the showers means one should immediately call the cops and ruin a colleague's life? Ridiculous. JoePa did what any reasonable person would have done in the same situation: report it higher up. Scapegoating him purely for the media frenzy is a despicable, purely political thing to do. What a shitty school. Regardless of the coach's legacy, PennState will never recover from this. It will always be the school that housed a child-rape factory for years then blamed it all on an old man, the man who put that school on the map.
posted by norabarnacl3 at 10:24 AM on November 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


If university athletic departments don't want to be held to mandatory reporting laws, they need to stop making support of youth athletics and youth fans an important part of their brand.

You show me one situation where a university athletic department has been held to a mandatory reporting law like Pennsylvania's and I'll change my tune.

Until then, I maintain that you're full of it.
posted by valkyryn at 10:26 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am from central PA and an alum of PSU, class of '90. My brother is a newspaper reporter that was in downtown State College last night covering the bullshit. My facebook friends are a mix of locals, many of whom are PSU employees and grads. The overwhelming majority of them (including myself) thought Joe should go and the sooner the better. Anyone whose life was/ is touched by Penn State University -not PSU football - was irate that someone for whom we held such regard could act so recklessly and selfishly, endangering not just young boys but our venerable institution as well.
posted by sciencejock at 10:26 AM on November 10, 2011 [7 favorites]


A random lowly assistant of questionable credibility discloses he witnessed "horsing around" in the showers means one should immediately call the cops and ruin a colleague's life?

oh come on, i'm sure you can minimize it more than that!
posted by fallacy of the beard at 10:27 AM on November 10, 2011 [24 favorites]


A random lowly assistant of questionable credibility discloses he witnessed "horsing around" in the showers means one should immediately call the cops and ruin a colleague's life? Ridiculous. JoePa did what any reasonable person would have done in the same situation: report it higher up. Scapegoating him purely for the media frenzy is a despicable, purely political thing to do.

It's not like Paterno testified to the grand jury that McQueary told him he saw Sandusky engaged in a sex act with a child or something.
posted by schroedinger at 10:29 AM on November 10, 2011 [8 favorites]


A random lowly assistant of questionable credibility discloses he witnessed "horsing around" in the showers

Why would McQueary's credibility have been questionable back then? And “fondling or doing something of a sexual nature” is not "horsing around". Hell, even "horsing around" when you're talking about a naked 50+ year old man and a 10 year old boy in the showers should set off some fucking red flags!
posted by kmz at 10:30 AM on November 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'll come back in to make one more comment that just occurred to me after actually reading some of the grand jury report myself.

What's more likely, that a big, strapping young quarterback-turned-student-coach came upon a scene of utter horror (which, again, posed no threat to him physically, nor required any instantaneous reaction time, the element of falsehood I find in analogies to soldiers under fire or plane crash victims, both of whom have mere seconds to make life or death calls) and deliberately, calmly, folded his fucking socks up and quietly left the room because he was *traumatized?*

Or that he knew already what he was seeing, knew Sandusky's reputation as a molester, knew that the system had configured itself in order to protect this guy, knew that intervening directly could cost him his job and piss of Holy Joe Paterno, and made a callous, calculated, thought-out decision, during the *several minutes* he had to process what he was seeing, not only not to intervene, but to call his dad and report only to the coach.

As good diagnosticians say, when you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras. Chances are you'll be right.
posted by spitbull at 10:30 AM on November 10, 2011 [13 favorites]


A random lowly assistant of questionable credibility

A strapping young former quarterback with coaching (ie formal educational) responsibilities, you mean?
posted by spitbull at 10:31 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


If I was the victim's mother, I'd be calling for McQueary's head on a platter.

If I was the victim, McQueary would need to live in fear for the rest of his life.
posted by notreally at 10:36 AM on November 10, 2011


The horseplay language is directly from some of the testimony in the Grand Jury report.

"Curley testified that the graduate assistant reported to them that "inappropriate conduct" or activity that made him "uncomfortable" occurred in the Lasch Building shower in March 2002. Curley specifically denied that the graduate assistant reported anal sex or anything of a sexual nature whatsoever and termed the conduct as merely "horsing around"

I don't know why you would be believing this testimony, but there it is.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:37 AM on November 10, 2011


Some of the weirdest and most uncomfortable conversations of my adult life were with adults who knew I was being, at best, physically abused, but did nothing, in order to protect the abuser, whom they knew (mandatory reporters, every one of them, too). 20 years later, when the extent of the physical, sexual and emotional abuse became common knowledge, they were all very ashamed and assured me they'd never look away like that again. Not one told me of another child they protected.

People have an amazing capacity to not see what makes them uncomfortable. And there are few things that make people more uncomfortable than a child being raped. These weren't bad people. They were devoted to children. And they let me be beaten and raped for years.
posted by QIbHom at 10:38 AM on November 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


Has seriously nobody ever heard of hindsight bias? A random lowly assistant of questionable credibility discloses he witnessed "horsing around" in the showers means one should immediately call the cops and ruin a colleague's life? Ridiculous. JoePa did what any reasonable person would have done in the same situation: report it higher up. Scapegoating him purely for the media frenzy is a despicable, purely political thing to do. What a shitty school. Regardless of the coach's legacy, PennState will never recover from this. It will always be the school that housed a child-rape factory for years then blamed it all on an old man, the man who put that school on the map.

HAH HAH! Good one norabarnacl3! Well played!
posted by Floydd at 10:39 AM on November 10, 2011


Never was a big fan of Joe Pa, but am a big fan of the truth. No one is accusing Coach of seeing a kid getting raped in a shower and doing nothing...

JohnnyGunn, Trurl's entire commentary (that you are replying to in the quote above) was about McQueary's actions. Save your defense of "Joe Pa" for discussions that involve him.
posted by IAmBroom at 10:40 AM on November 10, 2011


Seriously spitbull, do you extend your judgement to the Korean war veteran? A janitor saw Sandusky performing oral sex on a boy in 2000, freaked, and reported to a fellow employee that he had "fought in the [Korean] war . . . seen people with their guts blowed out, arms dismembered . . . I just saw something I'd never forget." His fellow employees thought he was having a heart attack. You are arguing that people who do not act rationally while witnessing something that is worse than a battlefield are cowards. Seriously?
posted by schroedinger at 10:55 AM on November 10, 2011 [8 favorites]


The horseplay language is directly from some of the testimony in the Grand Jury report.

"Curley testified that the graduate assistant reported to them that "inappropriate conduct" or activity that made him "uncomfortable" occurred in the Lasch Building shower in March 2002. Curley specifically denied that the graduate assistant reported anal sex or anything of a sexual nature whatsoever and termed the conduct as merely "horsing around"

I don't know why you would be believing this testimony, but there it is...


Worth mentioning this sentence on p. 11 of the Grand Jury report: The Grand Jury finds that portions of the testimony of Tim Curley and Gary Shultz are not credible.
posted by mediareport at 10:57 AM on November 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


Like, I don't know shit about McQueary. But I think it is really fucking arrogant of you to assume that you know what you would do in a situation that fucked up a war veteran--and you would do better than said veteran.
posted by schroedinger at 10:57 AM on November 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yes, I was referring to McQueary. And I agree with the person upthread who said there must be an unsavory explanation behind the fact that McQueary has not been fired yet. Letting him set foot on campus - let alone coaching Saturday's game - completely negates whatever damage control they may have hoped to accomplish by firing Paterno.

As for Paterno himself, he had more power than anyone else here. One word from him could have gotten rid of the child rapist on his staff. His moral culpability here is absolute. He deserves to die in disgrace.
posted by Trurl at 11:01 AM on November 10, 2011


You show me one situation where a university athletic department has been held to a mandatory reporting law like Pennsylvania's and I'll change my tune.

Well, we just have to look at Penn State for an example where two administrators were just charged with violation of the law in this case.

I can see a loophole in the law, not on the grounds that the institution is a University, since a University may very well sponsor pediatric hospitals, after-school programs, day care centers, and camps. But on the relationship between Sandusky as head of The Second Mile and Penn State Athletics. But on the other hand, since Sandusky was using his association with the University as a coach emeritus to access University property.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 11:04 AM on November 10, 2011


Well, we just have to look at Penn State for an example where two administrators were just charged with violation of the law in this case.

They were charged with perjury, not with failure to report.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 11:10 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Remaining Penn State Question.
posted by ericb at 11:12 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


It seems a bit odd to me that Paterno couldn't do a thing about an emeritus using access to the facilities to "shower with" and rape kids other than pass the buck.

He could have and should have. I think the question Valkyryn and others is whether he was required to by law. Neither he nor McQueary needed any "authority" over the facilities to call 911.
posted by Pax at 11:12 AM on November 10, 2011


"Athletic Director Tim Curley, 57, and Senior Vice President Gary Schultz, 62, were charged with perjury and failure to report the allegations." -source.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 11:14 AM on November 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm a bit surprised people seem to be more upset at the rioters than at the offending parties.

I suppose it's easier to castigate the face of stupidity that allows evil of flourish than stare at the face of evil itself.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:15 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


My mistake. I thought the criminal charges against them were simply the charges of perjury. Thanks for correcting me.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 11:15 AM on November 10, 2011


McQueary should be fired, along with anyone else employed by the program who had concrete information and failed to act. Anything else is an unsatisfactory response by the board. Have to clean the house on this one, even if you don't have a football program left at the end of the day.
posted by Kwine at 11:19 AM on November 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't think there's anything fundamentally incompatible with the views that (a) Joe Paterno totally fucked up in how he handled the situation over the course of many years, and (b) the Penn State Board of Trustees has totally fucked up their handling the situation over the course of a few days. Obviously, the gravity of Paterno's error far exceeds the gravity of the trustee board's errors, and Joe had a much longer time to do the right thing, but one should be allowed to hold both views in their head at once, and express disappointment at (b) while also being far more heartbroken and outraged at (a).

There is no scorecard for measuring Paterno's contributions to the school and the lives of the students over 60 years against the immeasurable pain and trauma he caused by his inaction on the Sandusky situation when it was brought to his attention, but I think a vast majority of my fellow Penn Staters would agree with me that if a single child was harmed after Paterno dropped the ball, then his net effect on society is a negative one, and all of his enriching the lives of students and athletes is a rounding error by comparison to what he allowed to happen on his watch.

However, what we really don't know right now, and I think this gets to the center of why some people see the Board of Trustees' actions as problematic, is how much of Joe's mistakes were due to him personally choosing to look other way (or, worse, actively covering up for his assistant coach) versus how much was him being told by University officials to stay out of it because they were taking ownership of the situation, and him trusting that those above him were doing the right thing. If it's the latter, then you can't discount the possibility that the Board used Paterno as a sacrificial lamb to hand to the masses, so they would be distracted from the far worse sins of those who actively participated in the cover-up, including Tim Curley, who still has his job, or perhaps members of the Board of Trustees themselves (President Spanier served as that board's secretary.)

Even if Joe's sins fall into the "of omission" category, they are still grave mistakes, with grave consequences, and termination was justifiable based on those mistakes. But this looks to many like a case of taking the right action for the wrong reasons -- to protect themselves or others in the University -- and I think a lot of observers smell a rat, and feel like the Trustees just wanted to get off the front page of the paper so they can protect more of the real perpetrators of injustice inside the administration.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:21 AM on November 10, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'm a bit surprised people seem to be more upset at the rioters than at the offending parties.

wow, are you going to be embarrassed when you get around to reading the thread.
posted by fallacy of the beard at 11:22 AM on November 10, 2011 [12 favorites]


I'm a bit surprised people seem to be more upset at the rioters than at the offending parties.

I don't see that at all. I see people flabbergasted that people rioted as an (assumed) display of mass disapproval for the firing of Jo Pa. Frankly, they, and I, can be upset at the rioters, AND the administration, AND the minimizers, AND the jokers on the internet, AND the perpetrators, AND Ashton Kutcher. In fact, I am so full-bore horrified by the actions of so many people that I don't even.
posted by Ink-stained wretch at 11:24 AM on November 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


As for Paterno himself, he had more power than anyone else here. One word from him could have gotten rid of the child rapist on his staff.

Again, Sandusky was not on staff at that time.
posted by Pax at 11:24 AM on November 10, 2011


Emblazoned next to the statue of Joe Paterno on campus: “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."

In that case, you might want to make sure your actions line up with your words.
posted by book 'em dano at 11:25 AM on November 10, 2011


how much of Joe's mistakes were due to him personally choosing to look other way (or, worse, actively covering up for his assistant coach) versus how much was him being told by University officials to stay out of it because they were taking ownership of the situation, and him trusting that those above him were doing the right thing

The problem with the latter alternative is that, as I understand it, Paterno considered himself (and was treated as) above the board. This is the man, after all, who was asked by the board to resign in 2004 and just plain said, "No."
posted by devinemissk at 11:25 AM on November 10, 2011


I'm a bit surprised people seem to be more upset at the rioters than at the offending parties.

I'm not sure why you think that this is the case, but for my part, I know that the sheer lunacy of the rioters compounds my fury at the mindlessness of the perpetrators. "JoePa" was out on his motherfucking porch the other night rallying with a bunch of chuckleheaded students holding aloft "We Love you JoePa" signs and hollering, "I love you too! We are all Penn State! Rah rah rah!"

He devoted about five mumbled "pray for the victims etc." words to the incidents and then the rest of it all was a big fat Paterno love-in.
posted by blucevalo at 11:27 AM on November 10, 2011


(Paterno was hollering)
posted by blucevalo at 11:27 AM on November 10, 2011


I heard someone mention on ESPN that McQueary hasn't been fired yet due to some sort of whistleblower protection laws. I'm not sure I understand that or if it's even true, but it may be more than yet another example of administrative incompetence on the part of Penn State. I tend to lean towards ongoing incompetence, but there you have it.
posted by feloniousmonk at 11:28 AM on November 10, 2011


As for Paterno himself, he had more power than anyone else here. One word from him could have gotten rid of the child rapist on his staff.

Again, Sandusky was not on staff at that time.


He was still allowed to hang around the facilities and bring children with him which is just insane. Sandusky was using the glamor of his connection to the program to lure victims.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:30 AM on November 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


devinemissk: "The problem with the latter alternative is that, as I understand it, Paterno considered himself (and was treated as) above the board. This is the man, after all, who was asked by the board to resign in 2004 and just plain said, "No.""

I might also consider myself able to fly without mechanical assistance, but gravity would have the deciding vote on the matter.

Besides, what you're talking about is a canard perpetrated by sports media.
Mr. Paterno has had a contentious relationship with some members of the Board of Trustees. In 2004, Mr. Spanier, Mr. Curley and select board members twice went to his house in efforts to get him to retire. Mr. Paterno declined, and the moment was looked at in the narrative of Paterno’s career as an instance of his overcoming adversity.
Joe still had some supporters on the board in 2004, and I don't think there was ever an official vote on whether to ask him to resign -- instead, some guys who wanted him to go asked him to go quietly and he called their bluff. Had they really wanted him gone, he'd have been gone.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:33 AM on November 10, 2011


I heard someone mention on ESPN that McQueary hasn't been fired yet due to some sort of whistleblower protection laws. I'm not sure I understand that or if it's even true, but it may be more than yet another example of administrative incompetence on the part of Penn State.

Or it could mean that McQueary blew the whistle. It's possible he finally realized that the promises he had received from those above him were empty and he went to investigators with his knowledge. Or his conscience got the better of him. Granted, he was 7 years too late, but perhaps that is what is going on. No idea if that's true or not. Ultimately, many unanswered questions regarding McQueary. What exactly did he tell Paterno. What exactly did he see.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 11:33 AM on November 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


It would be great to see the "silent majority" of students and alumni who fully support the Board of Trustees come out this weekend with a rally of their own.
posted by malocchio at 11:34 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I took it to be in reference to the initial report he made, but there was no other explanation of it, so I don't know.
posted by feloniousmonk at 11:35 AM on November 10, 2011


The people who are imagining how well they would've reacted in McQueary's place without having experienced anything similar are deluding themselves. I can think of at Least two child molesters that are alive and free. The family members they abused and the others that witnessed it, and the still others that have since learned about it haven't been able to go through the further trauma of turning them in. And they Know how horrifying it all was Personally.

Yes, McQueary should have said something immediately, and yes, I'd like to think we will all be a little more likely to speak up the second we become aware of wrong-doing. But eviscerating McQueary because we know we'd have behaved differently is creepily self-congratulatory.
posted by ldthomps at 11:36 AM on November 10, 2011 [6 favorites]


Well, whatever McQueary should have done, I'll bet he's wishing now that he had kept his mouth shut.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 11:39 AM on November 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Just by way of maintaining some level of nuance: I think generational issues do come into play somewhat when we talk about missing obvious "red flags." To put things in perspective, Joe Paterno was born in 1926. When he was born, Sigmund Freud was still alive-- and would be for another 13 years. Is it entirely fair to assume he would have construed the narrative in the way that seems obviously valid to all of us now?

I ask only because in discussions with my own parents (20+ years Paterno's juniors), it's emerged that they sincerely believe the following about pedophilia:
(1) that it's is an utterly bizarre and unaccountable behavior, so anomalous that its occurrence almost has the feel of urban-legend or sci-fi material; and
(2) that as a corollary, of course you can totally tell immediately if someone is "weird" that way, just by being around them. Pedophiles, in their mind, are the stuff of cartoons-- drooling, leering, unshaven old men in back alleys, or fey priests in sacristies-- but not really, by definition, nice, wholesome, masculine, happily-married family men with successful football careers.

I think it's easy to underestimate the extent to which being of the two-girls-one-cup generation of sexual overeducation gives us a way to read something like an observed incident of "sexual horseplay" as obviously part of a well-understood, destruction pattern of deviant behavior that will continue until forcibly stopped by the law. For someone of a much earlier era, with a much narrower experiential range of "normal" sexuality, I can easily believe that something like this would fall so far off the spectrum as to be virtually incomprehensible-- like someone entering the room in five minutes and telling you they saw your significant other flaying a cat and having sex with the corpse, for instance. You wouldn't believe it at the time, and if the report was later discussed in a meeting and apparently debunked, you'd readily assume that the whole thing had somehow been a simple misunderstanding.

I don't know that I'd trust anyone of that generation-- who hadn't been specifically educated about the way pedophilia works-- to make what we'd today consider an appropriate response to a report like McQueary's. And I don't think I'd necessarily jump to the conclusion that a failure to do so was a criminal instance of good-old-boy-ism or willful deceit. Not that I think Paterno should be back on the job, of course, but I don't know that I'll consider his seat reserved in Hell until I hear more about how the whole thing went down.
posted by Bardolph at 11:43 AM on November 10, 2011 [13 favorites]


You know, yesterday, I saw a sign that said "honk if you love JoePa." I thought to myself "I wish there was something I could do that is the opposite of a honk." The students who rioted in support of Paterno are easy to think about. From what I read, there were 2000-3000 of them. Penn State's main campus has 44000 students. I guess 3000 is a majority of 44000? Like someone said before, the students who did not support Paterno were at home trying not to get rocks and tear gas thrown at them...
posted by dhens at 11:45 AM on November 10, 2011


Given all that's gone on so far, I feel like this has the potential to get way worse. What if McQueary doesn't wish he had kept his mouth shut and instead wishes he could tell the world that he didn't go to the cops because Paterno told him not to or he'd ruin him, but he's being restrained legally by whatever factor? I feel like it's too soon to hang him out to dry for it, but I also really don't want to sound like I'm coming out defending his actions or anything like that. He should've gone to the cops, damn the torpedoes. I just think that the facts of this case get worse by the day and we just don't know the full extent of this coverup yet.
posted by feloniousmonk at 11:45 AM on November 10, 2011


But eviscerating McQueary because we know we'd have behaved differently is creepily self-congratulatory.

I am not entirely sure I would have behaved better than McQueary did. I hope I would; I like to imagine I would. But I am not sure that I would, and I don't think I'm particularly unusual. However, that makes it understandable, not moral. If I acted as McQueary did (from what I read of the story) -- not just responding badly in the moment but also continuing not to follow up on the issue -- then I would have acted wrongly. Maybe it's natural to do it, but it's still ethically shitty.
posted by jeather at 11:49 AM on November 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


He was still allowed to hang around the facilities and bring children with him which is just insane. Sandusky was using the glamor of his connection to the program to lure victims.

Don't get me wrong - I think Paterno should have called the police (after McQueary failed to), so it wouldn't have come to Paterno exercising authority over PSU facilities (which he certainly could have done if the allegations had been milder or more vague).
posted by Pax at 11:50 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


re: McQueary;

It sounds to me like McQueary's report became significantly watered down as it went 'up the line,' resulting in no police investigation. I can easily imagine that he watered down the description a bit when reporting to Paterno, who probably watered down the description again reporting it up to the athletics director. Mandatory reporting _should be_ to a supervisor _and_ someone in an agency who deals with this kind of thing for a living. Because most institutions aren't equipped to deal with this kind of shit amongst their leadership.
posted by kaibutsu at 11:52 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bardolph, I get where you are going (remembering my grandparents ignoring newspaper accounts of priest molester scandals of a priest-friend at their parish), but Paterno may have been born in 1926, but, really, he's very much a 21st century person, too. You can't be a public figure, around young people all the time, and not have evolved to where he would have known what he should have done in this situation.

He put his program and himself first.
posted by Pax at 11:56 AM on November 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


Emblazoned next to the statue of Joe Paterno on campus...

Do not make monuments to the living, for they can still disgrace the stone.
posted by mr_roboto at 11:57 AM on November 10, 2011 [21 favorites]


"I wish there was something I could do that is the opposite of a honk."

There is!
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:58 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


restrained legally

He sure as shit isn't being legally restrained from resigning his post in contrition.

Or if that's too heroic an effort to expect, might he not at least sit out Saturday's game?
posted by Trurl at 12:01 PM on November 10, 2011


Anyone who is even slightly excusing Paterno's inaction is missing one very obvious factors in this situation.

For the past 45 years Joe Paterno has had the job of recruiting, teaching, mentoring, and motivating young men. And he has done so better than anyone at the highest level of his profession. Anyone who has ever been involved in sports at any level knows that a coach has to know more than just how to throw a ball around. It requires the ability to motivate those under you towards a common goal. It takes an uncanny ability to assess the abilities, character, talent and flaws of those that you lead. Add to that the team bonding aspect of team sports, the close quarters, the us vs. them mentality, team travel, the amount of time that coaches and players spend together, the shared emotion of victory and loss, as well as the pretty rigid code of "masculine" behavior that goes along with organized football in this country.

Paterno was the very epitome of all of that for 40 plus years. There's no way in hell you can read that grand jury report of the worst kind of predatory behavior and come away thinking that Paterno didn't know what this man who worked underneath him for 30 years was capable of. Despite all of his power, influence and experience as a leader of men, he did nothing. As far as I'm concerned he's the worst kind of coward, and a failure as a human being.
posted by billyfleetwood at 12:01 PM on November 10, 2011 [16 favorites]


Whoa ... after reading the timeline of events (which kirkaracha posted above and others have commented on) I am stunned that others had reported child sex abuse before and after McQueary's witnessing the shower rape ... and this guy continued unfettered.

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

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

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

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

....


Fall 2000
A janitor named James Calhoun observes Sandusky in the showers of the Lasch Football Building with a young boy, known as Victim 8, pinned up against the wall, performing oral sex on the boy. He tells other janitorial staff immediately. Fellow Office of Physical Plant employee Ronald Petrosky cleans the showers at Lasch and sees Sandusky and the boy, who he describes as being between the ages of 11 and 13.

Calhoun tells other physical plant employees what he saw, including Jay Witherite, his immediate supervisor. Witherite tells him to whom he should report the incident. Calhoun was a temporary employee and never makes a report. Victim 8's identity is unknown.
Unbelievable.
posted by ericb at 12:02 PM on November 10, 2011


I don't know that I'd trust anyone of that generation-- who hadn't been specifically educated about the way pedophilia works-- to make what we'd today consider an appropriate response to a report like McQueary's.

according to the grand jury report, paterno characterized the shower-room report as involving fondling or doing something of a sexual nature to a young boy. had one of his own sons been the target, i don't think peterno would have had any such confusion.
posted by fallacy of the beard at 12:24 PM on November 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


This piece from the Harrisburg Patriot-News provides some insight on how this was allowed to go on for so long:
In 1998, a boy who was 12 at the time told police that Sandusky had showered with him in the Penn State football locker room during a tour. The boy claimed Sandusky assaulted him during the shower.

During our own investigation, years later, the mother told us that she had been specifically instructed by state police not to speak with reporters.

No charges were filed against Sandusky in 1998. With the mother cowed into silence, the incident remained buried.
Tragic on so many levels. I really want to know what sort of pressure the State Police put on her, and why.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:24 PM on November 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


"Athletic Director Tim Curley, 57, and Senior Vice President Gary Schultz, 62, were charged with perjury and failure to report the allegations."

Fair enough. Now we'll see how that plays out. I still think it's a stretch.
posted by valkyryn at 12:28 PM on November 10, 2011


Man, the more I think about it the more it seems this goes beyond just the athletic department and school admins. State police covering it up too? DAs dropping charges? More than just Penn State needs to clean house.
posted by kmz at 12:39 PM on November 10, 2011


One thing not mentioned by any of our legal scholars in all of this is the Clery Act "which requires federally funded institutions to disclose any information on a crime that may pose a public threat."

All of the people involved that swept Sandusky's actions under the rug--and that's the conclusion I draw from 500 miles away--had a duty to disclose to the local authorities and to pursue this matter and to disclose it to students as well.

C'mon, those of you still on campuses as students or faculty, don't you get texts or emails when there's a suspicious activity that's been reported on campus? I know we do at our house.

I have former colleague who got the ziggy for failure to report under Clery. Jim Vick, the VP of student affairs, got the report from the director of public safety. They both, a la Paterno (according to the testimony & news reports) carried it upwards. They were both put up as the patsies. My friend, Vick, was one of those who was initially dismissed. I really do believe that he reported the investigation to former president Fallon, who (again, only on personal talks with others, not with Fallon) told Cindy Hall & Vick to stonewall the Ypsi police & the parents until they could do a little more investigation. Fallon only wound up getting EMU in more trouble, and the Regents did the same thing that PSU's board did yesterday. Others, I am sure, will fall.

The thing is, there were only a few people who wanted to hush things up in hopes of not getting the U a bad name. They were misguided, not evil, and nothing they did or failed to do would have saved any lives. In the case of PSU, there was an active pedophile with access to the facilities even after the 1999 resignation. Only after another incident (2002? 2004?) was Sandusky barred from taking the Second Line youths into the PSU facilities.

IANAL but in my estimation, Clery covers the failure to report here, and Paterno and up deserve the swift axe of termination.

That said, I have colleagues on faculty at PSU and a dozen or so friends who are PSU grads. ALL of them are horrified at the reports, and even those who feel that this is not how they remember Paterno (and probably not how they will remember Paterno) they all feel his firiing is necessary and justified along with the termination of anyone else who had knowledge of the situation and failed to--at the least--report Sandusky to the external authorities.

PSU is a fine institution and it will survive this terrible situation. Our thoughts should be in support of the victims of Sandusky, who were the only innocents here. PSU admin will learn from this as did EMU. No one in admin at EMU is unfamiliar NOW with the Clery act. Soon, PSU will be quite familiar with it. Odd though, that they weren't already familiar. Jeanne Clery was a student at Lehigh, about 150 miles away.
posted by beelzbubba at 12:40 PM on November 10, 2011 [6 favorites]


PSU should take whatever dollars they owe the coach/administrators involved for the rest of the year and buy up every last minute of advertsing for this weekend's game and dedicate that time to PSA's dealing with the victim's of sexual abuse. get the proper message out there and never let this type of thing happen again, ever anywhere.
posted by OHenryPacey at 12:44 PM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


OHenryPacey: I agree, but PSU should do a lot of things that they won't end up doing.
posted by weinbot at 12:46 PM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just want to note that this scandal made for some great team names at trivia last night.
posted by maryr at 12:47 PM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


One thing not mentioned by any of our legal scholars in all of this is the Clery Act "which requires federally funded institutions to disclose any information on a crime that may pose a public threat."

I don't think the current charges are under the Clery Act, but that's clearly the focus of the pending Department of Education investigation.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:51 PM on November 10, 2011


Just came across this old comment from Paterno in 2006 before a bowl game when the opposing school kicked a player off the team for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman:

"He may not have even known what he was getting into. … A cute girl knocks on the door. What do you do? Thank God they don't knock on my door. I'd refer them to a couple of other rooms."

I say kill PSU football until everyone on campus who today sees this guy as a martyr has graduated, transferred, resigned or been fired. Until that happens, the rot will remain.
posted by dry white toast at 12:52 PM on November 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


One thing not mentioned by any of our legal scholars in all of this is the Clery Act "which requires federally funded institutions to disclose any information on a crime that may pose a public threat."
Though not a legal scholar, I linked to a mention it up here, belzbubba
posted by Floydd at 12:53 PM on November 10, 2011


"He may not have even known what he was getting into. … A cute girl knocks on the door. What do you do? Thank God they don't knock on my door. I'd refer them to a couple of other rooms."

JFC. Burn. Burn it all down.
posted by kmz at 12:55 PM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wonder how many sportswriters are complicit in this, and other colleges as well. At bottom it's a small world. One of the premier defensive coordinators in the game, on the biggest college football stage there is, retires at 55 and nobody asks why? No offers from other programs? It stretches credulity to propose that many, many people were not aware of Sandusky's "issue" from the time he was forced out. The Mark Madden article from seven months ago says as much.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 12:55 PM on November 10, 2011 [5 favorites]


One thing not mentioned by any of our legal scholars in all of this is the Clery Act "which requires federally funded institutions to disclose any information on a crime that may pose a public threat."
Though not a legal scholar, I linked to a mention it up here, belzbubba


I must have missed that, Floydd, sorry. I was directing my comment at those who keep arguing back & forth over whether there's a law covering reporting this under PA law. Doesn't matter. There's a federal law pertaining to institutions of higher education.
posted by beelzbubba at 12:59 PM on November 10, 2011


You are arguing that people who do not act rationally while witnessing something that is worse than a battlefield are cowards. Seriously?

Why yes I do. Veteran or not. Calhoun, in addition, was an older man, a temporary employee, and he did report what he had seen immediately to his own supervisor. Unlike McQueary, he had no obligations as an educator (which still doesn't excuse anything). And this was two years earlier than McQueary's witnessing. I tend to doubt Calhoun had any prior knowledge of Sandusky's criminality, but I tend to doubt that McQueary didn't.

I really cannot believe this is an argument worth having. It says a lot about the extent of denial some people are capable of. If you are a responsible adult, and you see a small child being raped, and face no physical threat to yourself, and you do nothing to intervene or even to immediately report the crime, you're a coward. End of story. Cry me a damn river about your traumatized soul, or how seeing something like that is worse than seeing blood and guts on the battlefield. No it's not. Your life is not endangered as it would be on any battlefield. No one is dead, yet. And the victim is a child. A child!

I can absolutely assure you that as a professional educator myself and a man who's been on the scene for gory traumatic episodes and been the victim of a violent crime, that there is no way I'd walk out of that room without hitting the damn fire alarms, screaming bloody murder, and protecting that child. The reason any of the various people (and it's not just Calhoun and McQueary) did not do so cannot be chalked up to failing to "act rationally" due to "trauma." That's excuse making, and that's all it is. If it was your child in that shower, you wouldn't dream of excusing such utter failures on the part of any of these people to man the fuck up.

Unreal.
posted by spitbull at 1:00 PM on November 10, 2011 [8 favorites]


I genuinely don't understand the whole "I'll report this crime to my boss" thing. I mean in general, not just from Paterno; you hear about that sort of thing happening fairly frequently.

Our school has a policy in place where we are required to report incidents to our superiors, with the understanding that our superiors will then call the police. Ostensibly, this is so that our superior can contact all necessary parties to make sure the police are directed to the correct location when they arrive on campus - and so that everyone who might be required to be involved in talking to the police, parents, or other involved can be summoned.

To whit, they don't want to be surprised and unprepared for a police visit.

While this makes sense, if I'm in Paterno's shoes, and I report this up the ladder, and I don't see blue lights on campus within the hour, I'm going to want to know why and I'm going to start asking a lot of questions. If the response I get is that they're not calling the police, I'd be between a rock and a hard place. I like to think I'd call the police myself at that point.

If I'm in McQuaery' shoes, I would have called the police immediately and, I suppose, gotten in trouble for not following protocol. One would hope that I wouldn't be fired and, if I was, that there would be some public outcry on my behalf.

Long story short, there are legitimate reasons for the "report up the ladder" process at academic institutions, but if the crime is especially heinous, dude, call the 911 and get the police and an ambulance.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:01 PM on November 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Speaking of Mark Madden, has anyone linked to the story he put out on the radio yesterday that said sandusky was pimping kids to big name donors through the Second Mile Foundation? I would like to dismass it as rumor, bur Madden has been right about a lot of things so far.
posted by holdkris99 at 1:01 PM on November 10, 2011


spitbull: I really cannot believe this is an argument worth having. It says a lot about the extent of denial some people are capable of. If you are a responsible adult, and you see a small child being raped, and face no physical threat to yourself, and you do nothing to intervene or even to immediately report the crime, you're a coward.

This says what I was trying to say much more directly.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:02 PM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


During our own investigation, years later, the mother told us that she had been specifically instructed by state police not to speak with reporters.

Incredible.

What is now known and public is, as the saying goes, just the 'tip of the iceberg!'
posted by ericb at 1:06 PM on November 10, 2011


Here is the link to the Madden comments.
posted by holdkris99 at 1:08 PM on November 10, 2011


Mark Madden: "They should cancel the rest of Penn State’s season"

also:

Joe Paterno comes from a different time. None of what I’m saying is justified because everything that has happened there is no justifying. I’m sure you guys understand me when I say that, but Joe Paterno comes from a time where you covered this kinda thing up. Back in the day all you thought about is what the neighbors knew and the neighbors thought of you. Joe Paterno comes from a time where something like this happened you swept it under the rug and got on with it the best you can, and I’m sure that’s what Paterno was thinking. I’m sure Paterno can’t believe all this has come to light in the fashion it has.
posted by Challahtronix at 1:09 PM on November 10, 2011


For those who were looking of proof for lack of PSU support: Proud PSU for RAINN

Also, for those who want to be able to do something besides scream over this entire thing, a RAINN donation isn't a horrible idea. It made me feel a little better, at least.
posted by dinty_moore at 1:10 PM on November 10, 2011 [9 favorites]


Thanks for posting that, Dinty_moore: that's great to see.
posted by Wylla at 1:14 PM on November 10, 2011


In his statements following his firing, Paterno indeed sounded like a very old man who couldn't quite understand how all this had happened. All the more reason for having dumped him.

He wanted to finish out the season and make a dignified departure? Fuck you, "Coach".
posted by Trurl at 1:15 PM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


holdkris99: "Madden has been right about a lot of things so far."

And blind pigs find truffles occasionally. Mark Madden is a carnival barker. The reason "prominent journalists" didn't come out with those rumors is because they couldn't corroborate them. But Mark Madden does what's best for Mark Madden under the guise of doing a service to the community.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:17 PM on November 10, 2011




Anyone who can defend the actions of any one of the jointly and severally responsible adults in this situation as "failing to act rationally" due to being rendered "uncomfortable" or even being "traumatized" must not be a parent and should never become an educator. You know who was uncomfortable and traumatized?

The kids Sandusky raped. That's who. Probably for life.

Fuck the lot of these football-first idiots, starting with Paterno. They all deserve to be publicly disgraced at a minimum, and severely punished at a maximum. That will give the next "traumatized" witness of a child rape something to think about when he's weighing his options and considering slinking out of the room without a peep like a scared little lemming.

Bottom line is they thought they had more to fear from intervening than from keeping quiet. Their fight or flight responses were working just fine. But what they were fleeing was not just the trauma of seeing something heinous. It was the fear of Joe Paterno and the kind of community that produces mob demonstrations in defense of the protectors of child rapists.

That needs to change, for all the victims everywhere. And it will change only if we don't make excuses for failure to act.
posted by spitbull at 1:25 PM on November 10, 2011 [11 favorites]


Not allowed on the field, but still allowed on the payroll.

Also, gerryblog, I think that by going onto the field, McQueary might actually be risking physical harm. He's not exactly a guy that blends in real easy.
posted by weinbot at 1:28 PM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


PSU Board of Trustees asks that assistant coach Mike McQueary NOT be allowed on the field Saturday.

I agree with that. It sounds like whoever is in charge at PSU football, just can't get past the fact that a football game loss pales in comparison with the sexual abuse of a child. At least the BoT has had a couple of positive actions. First the firing of the coach and now this.

Just goes further to show just how sick the entire PSU football culture is that it would even consider having a game in the first place.....much less whether there would be a staffer even tangentially involved with the entire affair.
posted by lampshade at 1:29 PM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


They could unilaterally fire the university president and Jesus-in-cleats and they have to ask that McQueary at least be kept off field?

WTF??
posted by Trurl at 1:29 PM on November 10, 2011 [6 favorites]


There's gotta be all kinds of shit going on behind the scenes that we don't know about yet. And who knows if we'll ever get the full truth.
posted by kmz at 1:31 PM on November 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


And you know what? I bet there is not a woman on the face of this earth who would have walked out of that locker room without that child in her arms. My "man up" was a bit sexist.
posted by spitbull at 1:33 PM on November 10, 2011 [9 favorites]


They could unilaterally fire the university president and Jesus-in-cleats and they have to ask that McQueary at least be kept off field?

This lends more credence to the theory that he is currently under whistleblower employment protection. Although, sure they could suspend him with pay or something? The fact that they are asking him to not take the field suggests their hands are tied.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 1:34 PM on November 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


To all the people saying, "you don't know what you do if you were in McQueary's situation and witnessed what he did": Fuck that. I know exactly what I would do and that would be to call 911 and report a rape, immediately. This is a no brainer. I'm not a parent, or a cop and I have very little experience with small children. What I do have is a pair of balls. McQueary is a coward.
posted by gagglezoomer at 1:35 PM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Really? Not a woman on the face of the Earth could find someone she trusts committing child abuse and not act to stop it there and then?

I think there might be evidence against that one.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:35 PM on November 10, 2011 [10 favorites]


Just goes further to show just how sick the entire PSU football culture is that it would even consider having a game in the first place

That's why I say its dead til everyone's gone. Leaving anyone connected to the affair in place just allows the culture to perpetuate itself. You need to rebuild the culture from the roots.
posted by dry white toast at 1:36 PM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah probably, but I think part of the problem here was that this was a boy's club disguised as a football program.
posted by spitbull at 1:37 PM on November 10, 2011


Aw, I was going to take that bet, too.
posted by Errant at 1:37 PM on November 10, 2011


(For the record: McQueary's failure to go to the authorities after it became clear his report to Paterno had no effect is absolutely fucking deplorable. The fact that he froze up when confronted with something so utterly alien as his coach and mentor raping a little boy is sad, and tragic for the victim, but not remotely on the same level as his persistent silence long after the event.)
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:38 PM on November 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


Grrrr, can't stop thinking about it.

"Horseplay?"
1) grown man
2) naked
3) in a shower
4) with a strange 10-year-old
5) well after business hours.

I can think of exceptional cases where this isn't creepy and suspicious (dad helping a disabled child). But they're pretty darn exceptional for American culture.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 1:38 PM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


tonycpsu: I understand that about Madden and any kind of radio shock jock, which is why I debated posting it. Time will tell.
posted by holdkris99 at 1:40 PM on November 10, 2011


Penn State Could Owe Victims More Than $100 Million

The Penn State University football program is worth more than $50 million each year to the university. But according to one estimate, the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse case could cost the university more than $100 million in civil suits alone.
posted by Floydd at 1:46 PM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


PSU Scandal Stirs Debate Over Abuse Reporting Laws
When Joe Paterno, the ousted Penn State football coach, was confronted with a possible case of child rape, he notified his bosses rather than call the police or the child-abuse hotline. That was all Pennsylvania law required him to do, yet in most other states the failure to call could be a crime.

In more than 40 states, the prevailing policy is that such reports must be made to police or child-protection authorities swiftly and directly, with no option for delegating the task to others and then not following through.

Already, the Penn State scandal has sparked calls for Pennsylvania to toughen its law. State Rep. Kevin Boyle says he will introduce a bill that would require mandated reporters - including school and hospital employees - to notify police themselves rather than pass their information on to superiors at work.

"It is clear that a loophole exists in our law," Boyle said. "My legislation would close that loophole by requiring those who are aware of the abuse to report it to law enforcement authorities, rather than simply following an in-house chain of command."

A review by The Associated Press of the abuse-reporting laws of all 50 states showed that Pennsylvania is one of only about a half-dozen states where the protocol for staff members of schools, hospitals and other institutions is to notify the person in charge in the event of suspected child abuse. That superior is then legally obliged to report to the authorities.

In the Penn State case, the superiors notified in 2002 by Paterno - the athletic director, Tim Curley, and a vice president, Gary Schultz - have been charged with failing to report the suspected abuse. They deny wrongdoing. State authorities say that failure enabled former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky to perpetrate additional sexual assaults on boys. Through a lawyer, he says he is innocent.

According to a 2010 database compiled by the National District Attorney's Association, other states with provisions resembling Pennsylvania's - giving institutional staff the option of reporting suspected abuse to their superiors - include Virginia, Georgia, Massachusetts, Missouri and South Dakota.

These policies "defy common sense and should be changed," said Victor Veith, a former prosecutor who heads the National Child Protection Training Center in Winona, Minn.

The policy, as it unfolded at Penn State, risks "putting the fox in charge of the henhouse," wrote social worker Julia Tilley, a Penn State graduate, in an op-ed this week for the Patriot-News of Harrisburg, Pa.

Far more prevalent across the country are laws that mandate informing law enforcement authorities. In some states, such as Michigan, New York and Hawaii, the employees must also notify the person in charge at their institution. But many of the laws explicitly warn that informing one's superior does not relieve the employee of the obligation to personally report the suspected abuse to outside authorities. || more ...
posted by ericb at 1:49 PM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Society will lionize Paterno just like we Lionized Michael Jackson after he died.
posted by Renoroc at 1:51 PM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


And you know what? I bet there is not a woman on the face of this earth who would have walked out of that locker room without that child in her arms. My "man up" was a bit sexist.

I have no idea what I would do in those circumstances because whenever I try to picture myself in that situation I literally feel nauseated and want to curl into a little ball from the horror of it. It would be like walking out of the world and into hell.

Since I have no experience with walking into hell, I'm not going to claim that I would be a great heroine. I will do what I always do, which is to hope that I do the right thing if something similar ever happened to me, and pray that it never does.
posted by winna at 1:51 PM on November 10, 2011 [15 favorites]


You're dead right, winna, and I think that's all anyone CAN do. You really can't know. You can only hope.
posted by Trochanter at 1:55 PM on November 10, 2011


I'd like to think the Penn State students were rioting because they found out that all of Paterno's principles and teachings were built on such a corrupt system of lies and withheld criminal information.

But I guess that is expecting too much of them. They were rioting because they are young and full of adrenaline and testosterone and probably didn't have all the facts.
posted by Rashomon at 1:57 PM on November 10, 2011


I've been subpoenaed by a University court (in Canada the universities have full court authority) while I was an undergraduate student to testify in a case. I'm certainly not tough, a leader of men or a knight in shining armour but I am also not a coward. What I learned from the case is that I let things pass I shouldn't have. I failed to support people who I should have. I missed, ignored or minimized things that in retrospect I shouldn't have. I was also just one of about 40 people of various levels of authority and responsibility who did exactly the same things.

It is easy to jump on the morality bandwagon and talk big about what you would have done and condemn those who have done less than you imagine your idealized heroic self would do. I used to be that way about a lot of things in life until life taught me otherwise. I judged people who were unfaithful until I was. I judged people who used illness as an excuse until I needed to. I judged people who failed until I did. I was an obnoxious righteous inexperienced prick who was virtuous only by virtue of never yet facing any real challenges.

So before you work yourself up in a self congratulatory righteous lather for how virtuous your imagined behaviour would be take a moment and reflect on the times you have actually failed and ask yourself how you would be judged by the morality mob for your failure. There is some weird seductive self validating pleasure in directing the destructive power of moral outrage at other people but if any of the people under condemnation here committed suicide tomorrow would you still feel good about what you said here today? How about if they just have their lives destroyed and spend their remaining years depressed? How about if they just lose their livelihood? Or maybe they just lose all their friends? Half their friends? What level of pain do you want to inflict on another human being because they were wrong?
posted by srboisvert at 1:59 PM on November 10, 2011 [52 favorites]


I'm curious how many other college borards, presidents, ADs etc are meeting right now to make sure there are no coverups of any kind going on in their own program or making sure everyone has their story straight.
posted by holdkris99 at 2:01 PM on November 10, 2011


And you know what? I bet there is not a woman on the face of this earth who would have walked out of that locker room without that child in her arms. My "man up" was a bit sexist.
...
To all the people saying, "you don't know what you do if you were in McQueary's situation and witnessed what he did": Fuck that. I know exactly what I would do and that would be to call 911 and report a rape, immediately. This is a no brainer. I'm not a parent, or a cop and I have very little experience with small children. What I do have is a pair of balls.


Millions of children have unwanted or abusive sexual experiences. Many of them believe, correctly, that someone else knows or should know about their situation, but does little or nothing to protect them. Some tell adults what’s going on, seeking protection and help, only to be met with disbelief, denial, blame, or even punishment.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 2:02 PM on November 10, 2011 [8 favorites]


Worth a mention, as I haven't seen it in the comments, but Sandusky, after being charged with 40 criminal counts related to sexual abuse of young boys, is free on $100,000 bail.

Lawyer folks, is that $ amount typical in cases like this?
posted by wensink at 2:02 PM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Anyone who can defend the actions of any one of the jointly and severally responsible adults in this situation as "failing to act rationally" due to being rendered "uncomfortable" or even being "traumatized" must not be a parent ...

This got me thinking -- is Sandusky a parent?

Yep.
"Sandusky is married and has six adopted children. He [and his wife] also took in foster children."*
Where there's smoke, there's fire. We're likely to hear horrid stories involving the kids who passed through that household.
posted by ericb at 2:05 PM on November 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


srboisvert, I wish I could favorite your comment a thousand times. Thanks for your honesty and for telling it like it is.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 2:06 PM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm curious how many other college borards, presidents, ADs etc are meeting right now to make sure there are no coverups of any kind going on in their own program or making sure everyone has their story straight.

That's the good that can come of this.

And maybe some of us can, by hearing this story, be made a bit better prepared to do the right thing if confronted by something like this.
posted by Trochanter at 2:07 PM on November 10, 2011


Speaking of Mark Madden, has anyone linked to the story he put out on the radio yesterday that said sandusky was pimping kids to big name donors through the Second Mile Foundation?

cloeburner posted a link to the audio broadcast above.
posted by ericb at 2:15 PM on November 10, 2011


Is it unreasonable to expect the University to cancel the remaining games? And if they don't, shouldn't Nebraska and Ohio State refuse to play? "Sure, NCAA, give us an L. See how that goes over."
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 2:19 PM on November 10, 2011


ericb, it has been mentioned several times. "Pimping" and "kids" in the same sentence makes me ill.
posted by futz at 2:21 PM on November 10, 2011


This does nothing but reaffirm my position that big business sports and University level academics have no place with one another.
posted by codacorolla at 2:22 PM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Penn State Is Quiet After A Night Of Rioting In Wake Of Alleged Sex Scandal -- "Today, students held quieter gatherings on campus today to express solidarity with the alleged rape victims."
posted by ericb at 2:23 PM on November 10, 2011


The people who are imagining how well they would've reacted in McQueary's place without having experienced anything similar

The people who assume that nobody here has ever reported a rape to the police should probably think twice.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:25 PM on November 10, 2011 [7 favorites]


ericb, it has been mentioned several times.

I know.

I should have italicized the sentence: Speaking of Mark Madden, has anyone linked to the story he put out on the radio yesterday that said sandusky was pimping kids to big name donors through the Second Mile Foundation? to indicate that I was answering holdkris99's question (those are his words) above.
posted by ericb at 2:27 PM on November 10, 2011


If McQueary did not immediately intervene when he encountered Sandusky in the shower, then everything he did after that follows. McQueary knew that nothing would happen to Sandusky if he called the cops. The cops are not the good guys here. Nothing had happened to Sandusky when he was caught before and it's likely that nothing would happen this time. On the other hand, McQueary's career would be over. So he did the thing that made sense given the politics of the Penn State football program. He made it Joe Paterno's problem. By doing that he gained some leverage over Paterno. To me it reads like a reprehensible, amoral path to chose but there is a logic to it. He should be fired but he's far less culpable than everyone above in the hierarchy.

I believe that I would have acted to save the kid but I could be wrong. I'm not defending McQueary's inaction but I see the amoral logic behind it.
posted by rdr at 2:30 PM on November 10, 2011 [5 favorites]


From the PSU student newspaper, The Daily Collegian ...

VP Sims: 'a tremendous amount of pain and sense of loss' -- "Vice President for Student Affairs Damon Sims said the recent events at Penn State remind him of the pain and suffering after 9/11."

Jesus Fuckin' Christ. Really?
posted by ericb at 2:30 PM on November 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


"It is easy to jump on the morality bandwagon and talk big about what you would have done and condemn those who have done less than you imagine your idealized heroic self would do."


I've really been thinking about this and I began to wonder what McQueary would have done if he was walking down the street and came across a complete stranger raping a young child in an alley. I somehow doubt his reaction would have been to walk and call his father. I would be willing to bet he would have at least dialed 911 and not just went home and called dad (and even if he did dad would have probably told him to call the police). That's where the outrage comes in, that he had to think about it because of the PSU football program and his place in it. If that was his little sister being raped he wouldn't have called Joe Pa and let him handle it.
posted by MikeMc at 2:30 PM on November 10, 2011 [11 favorites]




The people who assume that nobody here has ever reported a rape to the police should probably think twice.

Most people haven't had your life experience. I hope you're able to use that to help more people in need.

The rest of us have no idea how we'd act, internet posturing aside. The "rape" aspect of things isn't the only salient feature here; the specific personalities involved are important too. Like I said above, to that community, JoePa is the pope and Sandusky was a respected cardinal. That's important, too.
posted by downing street memo at 2:33 PM on November 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


From the Opinion page of The Daily Collegian ...

Scandal Overshadows The Big Day -- "FOR nine weeks, the Nittany Lions football team quietly and somewhat surprisingly continued to win and place itself atop Big Ten standings. Now, with the first of three vital games just days away, the players who fuel the program are being pushed to the wayside while we concentrate on the past non-football-related decisions of a few."
posted by ericb at 2:34 PM on November 10, 2011


"A crime like this, it's hard to even take its measure"

That's what I keep thinking of when reading this. And mostly, I think we are, by and large, incapable of processing, let alone comprehending, Sandusky here. The Monster at the middle of all this. But it's hard for me to transfer my horror over the events to McQueary. He didn't act the way he should have, and should be taken to task for it, but he's not the monster here. He is evidence of a fucked-up system.

I see and appreciate spitbull's point of view. Listening to ESPN all week, they seem to share it, and it's hard to disagree. But I can imagine McQueary, as physically capable and mentally alert as he might have been, simply not having the emotional maturity at the time to properly handle the situation. Yes, he was a grown man, but still a young man, and one who had grown up in State College and been in a large part and in a very real sense raised by the PSU Football program. He didn't act immediately, but he did take what he saw and seemingly was unable to sensibly process to his father, an authority figure separate from the program, and then took the information to the most powerful person in State College (and incidentally, almost certainly the highest-salaried government employee in the Commonwealth, for whatever that's worth) in the hopes that Paterno would know what to do.

It wasn't enough, for sure. It wasn't nearly enough, but it was more than almost anyone else in the situation did, and so I can't really fix him as the villain here. Nobody (aside from the victims) acted properly here. But I think we settle on McQueary because we know his name and it's easiest for us to imagine ourselves in his position, or what we imagine his position to have been.

Onto Paterno, a very good friend of mine has been a little wary of his firing, not because he's a Penn State fan or anything like that, but because it smells like a witch-hunt to him. He agrees that Peterno should have done more, but feels like the press and the public are calling for more blood for the blood god and that Paterno is getting hit with this simply because he's the most household of all the names. I can't follow him there, but I see what he's saying. To me, of all the people who did nothing, Tim Curley is the most egregious offender. Tim Curley who is on indefinite administrative leave and has not yet been fired by the University.Tim Curley who was informed of the news and did basically nothing. Tim Curley who is a name people don't really know (if you're still wondering, he's the Athletic Director who Paterno informed.)

But I will not let Paterno off the hook. McQueary was still fairly young and subordinate to Sandusky in a fucked-up world where the Nittany Lions are a religion. Peterno, on the other hand, was his superior and had known him closely for decades. Paterno had no reason to fear reprisal, and had more power than anyone else to stop it. Hell, this wouldn't be ideal due to the severity of the crimes, but Paterno could have even dealt with it quietly at no risk to the program itself. He did the absolute minimum, possibly trusting that Curley would do nothing at all without his express say-so. Fuck him.

According to the legal experts talking to ESPN it appears that McQueary is either (a) being protected by whistleblower laws (which, sick as it might make most people, still makes a bit of sense) (b) under investigation by counsel to see if whistleblower laws even apply in his circumstances, or (c) simply being aided by the State's Attorney's office to keep from alienating him as a friendly witness against Sandusky.

As for cancelling the season, I get it. I truly do. The rot at the top needs to be dealt with. But the students in the program right now have absolutely nothing to do with this aside from wearing the same general laundry of the people who did so much harm and evil under secret years ago. As Someone on ESPN last night said, "do not make the mistake of calling these students 'victims,' because that's a word that needs to be reserved for the actual 'victims,' but they are collateral damage right now, and they didn't do anything to earn that that we know of." (Paraphrasing.)
posted by Navelgazer at 2:35 PM on November 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


To me, it's pretty obvious that McQueary was acting out of self-preservation. There are lots of people who don't report these kinds of things because they have something to lose. I mean, they're still rapist-enabling monsters, but I think the gain/loss calculation overrides the primal protective instinct more times far more than we'd like to admit.
posted by desjardins at 2:38 PM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Somewhat related, on the news I heard an official from Penn St. say they fired Paterno immediately because they were concerned about the Penn St "brand".

Also from the Opinion page of The Daily Collegian ...

Scandal Tarnishes PSU's Brand.
posted by ericb at 2:40 PM on November 10, 2011


Of course they're worried about the Penn State brand. Great work, detectives.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 2:41 PM on November 10, 2011


Call it posturing and compare it to whatever other ethically challenging situation you like . . . infidelity? As I've said, having been in plenty of horrific situations in my life, and not always having acted as bravely as I wish I had, I *still* have no doubt about how I would act in McQueary's situation, and I find it unbelievable that anyone else would have any doubt. As MikeMc put it above, imagine seeing the same thing happening in an alley as you walked down the street, but this time it's a stranger raping a kid. It is not a judgment call.
posted by spitbull at 2:46 PM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


God forbid the blameless players lose an opportunity to play football. Let's not lose track of what's important.

Then let's jump ahead to Saturday's game. The players run on to the field, with McQueary looking on from the skybox. The stadium erupts into cheers.

Imagine those cheers echoing in the ears of the rape victims.
posted by Trurl at 2:46 PM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Glad McQueary's not getting to coach Saturday's game. Can't call the cops, shouldn't call plays.

(And man, unfortunate name.)
posted by klangklangston at 2:46 PM on November 10, 2011


srboisvert: I think there's room for victim-offender reconciliation. But, Sandusky was caught three times in five years, and was allowed to use his status as coach emeritus to continue to work with youth agencies and the University for another seven years.

I don't want blood; I want change. This is just an echo of what we saw with the BSA and the Catholic Church. What does it take to make reporting of offenders more reflexive than circling the wagons?

If failing to report sexual child abuse by someone who receives emeritus status and privilege isn't a career-killer, what is? If failing to report sexual child abuse by someone using your place of business isn't a career-killer, what is?

I can't help but think that it were Joe Emeritus Faculty who still hangs out in the English department accused of using University computers to trade child porn, that action would be swift and decisive.

These Premises Are Alarmed: Is it unreasonable to expect the University to cancel the remaining games? And if they don't, shouldn't Nebraska and Ohio State refuse to play? "Sure, NCAA, give us an L. See how that goes over."

I don't have cites right now, but multiple teams in the 50s and 60s refused to play against segregated schools or accept housing and accommodation in segregated communities.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 2:53 PM on November 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


(Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates: "Of course they're worried about the Penn State brand. Great work, detectives."

Seriously. Some folks posting here seem incapable of realizing that humans can keep multiple thoughts in their head, even thoughts that may be in tension with each other. Of course the Penn State official is worried about the Penn State brand, but that doesn't mean he/she doesn't give a shit about the victims, it just means that he/she happened to talk about something else and someone quoted them. And, of course the Collegian's football editor is going to write about the effect on the football team, but he also says there's no comparison between the pain felt by the victims with anything that's going on with the football team. Maybe the guy is personally heartbroken and devastated by the story, but he's trying to focus on his job, which is talking about football.

It's not like there is a shortage of real villains in this story that we need to go after these bit players.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:54 PM on November 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


But it's hard for me to transfer my horror over the events to McQueary.

Try thinking of him doing nothing when, years later, Sandusky started showing up at Penn State with young kids again.
posted by mediareport at 2:55 PM on November 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Anyone who can defend the actions of any one of the jointly and severally responsible adults in this situation as "failing to act rationally" due to being rendered "uncomfortable" or even being "traumatized" must not be a parent and should never become an educator. You know who was uncomfortable and traumatized?


spitbull, I don't know what horse you rode in on, but as I said, you are awfully sure that, as winna said, when walking into hell you would know what to do. And maybe you would--having had experiences in traumatic situations, you would be in a better position to collect yourself and deal with it. Furthermore, your entire argument seems to rest on the idea that seeing a child raped is somehow easier to deal with than physical threat to oneself, such as on a battlefield. As the janitor's statements attest, this is not the case. He found witnessing the rape of the child to be worse than what he saw on the battlefield. Honestly, I find the entire argument over whether a child rape was enough to cause trauma disgusting. I can't believe that you are insisting that some people might not be able to handle a sight like that.

I am not excusing McQueary's actions. I am not excusing Paterno's actions. I am not excusing anyone's actions. The fact that this sat for so long is fucking reprehensible on the part of everyone who kept quiet.

Saying that McQueary may have been traumatized in the moment is not implying that the children weren't, that the kids weren't hurt or somehow less of victims, and your characterization of my argument as such is disingenuous at best. Your seeming assertion that someone's physical safety in a situation is the only determinant of the existence of trauma, thus completely ignoring the psychological component of trauma, goes in the face of every psychological study involving the nature of trauma and its effects on the psyche.

If you are to argue that someone, when confronted with hell, may immediately enter a "flight" response, panic, and act irrationally in a way that does not alleviate the situation cowards, then you are calling many, many people cowards. You are calling the natural human response cowardice. And maybe it is. But that is a pretty wide brush you've got there.

Given your other comments in this thread, I think your arguments about McQueary are less about this whole case and more about something you personally have against football and "strapping young quarterbacks".
posted by schroedinger at 2:58 PM on November 10, 2011 [8 favorites]


It is not a judgment call.

No one is saying that they think he did the right thing. People are trying to understand how or why he did what he did. Even though what the guy did was reprehensible, the fact is that he did it. Past tense. Some people are trying to understand it. No one can 100% know how they would have acted, though some people may have more certaintude than others. It would be great if this really touchy thread could possibly not turn into more and more aggressive arguing about what a person might or might not have done faced with an identical situation which we should all hope we never have to face.Sometimes people can't understand other people, it happens.

spitbull, I know this has you really upset, but you mentioned possibly taking a breather earlier and that might still be a good idea.
posted by jessamyn at 2:59 PM on November 10, 2011 [13 favorites]


mediareport: that's a fair point, though I can't say based on the timeline whether McQueary had any knowledge of Sandusky's later dealings (which appear, again based on the timeline, to have taken place largely off-campus post-2002) (as another addendum, I don't necessarily know everything there is to know here, so please inform me if I'm misinformed about anything.)

But yeah, looking over the timeline, I can say a few things from personal experience. I've often been a member of tight, highly-incestuous groups in high-stress situations where most of us would immediately go to a superior with almost any incident before going to the cops with it, simply because we don't know the cops and they don't know us and the person in charge is supposed to best know how to handle things. Not that the police wouldn't be called, but that there is someone who we would immediately contact in order to contact the police. It's not right, but I get it.

What I cannot imagine happening in those circumstances is waiting a day. According to our timeline, McQueary sees the incident at night, goes to discuss with his dad what to do about it, and meets with Paterno in the morning. Not the best thing to do, at all, but many here including myself have given possible outlines of his thought process during this time.

Paterno calls Curley the next day.Paterno got the news presumably after breakfast, had a couple of meals, went to sleep, and called his "superior" the next damn day. What the hell was he doing on March 2nd? Because it looks a lot like damage control. And if the defense of Paterno is "well, why is he being charged with not taking the investigation onto his own shoulders?" the answer should be, "because he was almost certainly doing just that on 3/2/2002, but not in the good way."

Speaking of "what were they doing for a day?" This broke on the blue on Sunday morning. I listen to ESPN pretty much whenever I'm driving, and thought it was bizarre on Sunday that they didn't mention it (at least when I was listening.) Since Monday morning, it's been all they've talked about. I guess NFL Highlights were more important? What the hell were they doing all day Sunday?
posted by Navelgazer at 3:14 PM on November 10, 2011


I know people are really beating the drum about whether or not McQueary acted appropriately at the moment of the event and after. Before passing judgment and calling him a monster, consider the fact that Victim 2 appears in the Grand Jury testimony at all. Never in the presentment is it made clear how the investigators became aware of Victim 2. Certainly McQueary should have acted sooner - much, much sooner - to alert authorities of what he witnessed. But to claim that he did not care about the victim(s) or that he was unperturbed by the presence of Sandusky on and off campus is, I think, at this point, unfounded.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 3:21 PM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Buzz Bissinger (Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and the author of Friday Night Lights and Three Nights in August):
"I think the answer to the question of inaction is simple. It wasn’t a matter of university officials and football staffers in Happy Valley not wanting to deal with it (which they didn’t), or not following up (which they didn’t), or having better things to do like attending Friday-night football pep rallies. There is no great conspiracy theory at work.

What happened, or more accurately did not happen, goes to the core of evil that major college sports programs in this country have become, equivalent to Mafia families in which the code of omertà rules and coaches and staff always close ranks around their own, even if it means letting someone who was first accused of inappropriate sexual conduct in 1998 continue to roam."
posted by ericb at 3:24 PM on November 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


I remember being taught in Freshman English that you can always ignore anything that comes before a "but" in a sentence knowing the author does not consider it important.

From the college newspaper: Scandal overshadows the big day

"It’s important to say that the boys identified as victims in the grand jury presentment are the ones who were truly hurt in all of this and can’t be compared to members of the 2011 team.

But, the current football program, specifically those who take the field each Saturday, deserve the recognition and support that has been a trademark of Penn State for so long.
"
posted by Blasdelb at 3:29 PM on November 10, 2011 [6 favorites]


Oh, and wensibk, to answer you question, $100,000 does seem low to me in these circumstances, but in my limited experience bail is tied to not just the severity of the crime, but largely to income and flight risk as well as other factors. It could well be that $100K is enough to assure the court that he will be present at trial while not being "excessive," and the court might have taken into account the nature of the charges and the treatment he was likely to receive in county (or wherever) as a result of those charges.

Personally, I'd guess him more of a suicide risk than anything else right now, but that's a horrible thing to speculate about.
posted by Navelgazer at 3:29 PM on November 10, 2011


What happened, or more accurately did not happen, goes to the core of evil that major college sports programs in this country have become, equivalent to Mafia families in which the code of omertà rules and coaches and staff always close ranks around their own, even if it means letting someone who was first accused of inappropriate sexual conduct in 1998 continue to roam.

You know, as a feminist sports fan this argument makes my blood boil. Because it's wrong. Paterno didn't do that much about child sex abuse, not because he saw it as a major crime that needed extensive covering up, but because he didn't think child sex abuse was that big a deal. College football isn't the evil here, any more than the Catholic Church, or the Boy Scouts of America, or the Air Force Academy, or any of the other organizations that face endemic sex abuse scandals are.

Our culture simply doesn't see sexual assault or sexual abuse as that big a deal, no matter how outraged we pretend we are when a truly egregious case comes to light. Sandusky confessed on tape to police and nothing happened. For sports journalists to take this scandal and use it to basically further the drumbeat of corruption in college sports (which exists, I have talked about it on the blue before) strikes me as both ignorant of the culture of sexual crime in America and baldly opportunistic. A lot of people are talking about how outraged they are right now, but I truly doubt they will give a fuck a month from now. And I don't think anyone is going to be more likely to believe children when they come forward in the future, or work to protect children in actual ways, or do anything other than sputter for a few weeks and then move on.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 3:35 PM on November 10, 2011 [19 favorites]


There's gotta be all kinds of shit going on behind the scenes that we don't know about yet. And who knows if we'll ever get the full truth.

When is the book coming out and who is going to write it?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 3:39 PM on November 10, 2011


and they have to ask that McQueary at least be kept off field?

I'm assuming this must have something to do with whistle blower laws?

re: How we'd respond in this situation.

I can only speak for myself, but I'm an educator. As an educator, I've always believed that my first responsibility is for the safety of children. Not just the children in my classes, but any child on my campus. For me, the situation is a no-brainer all the way up and down the ladder. At every step, the question asked should have been "what is best for the child?" Stop the rape, call the police, call CPS, report to my superiors and follow up if they don't take action, do something - anything - to help the child. Its not because I think I'm better than anyone else that I'd do that - its because that's my job and I've been trained to do that.

So, for me, there's absolutely no ambiguity about how respond, but, as I said, I'm an educator and I have a clear first responsibility.

To draw the Catholic Church metaphor that people have mentioned already, there were clearly people within that hierarchy who believed their first responsibility was to the Church, not the children. It appears that there arewere people at the Penn State program who believed their first responsibility was to Penn State, not children. Heck, our country is run by a fair number of people who believe their first responsibility is to be re-elected, or to their donors or shareholders or whatever, not children.

And, perhaps, there are circumstances where McQueary did exactly the right thing and we just don't know what those circumstances are. In all seriousness, maybe he thought he might be in physical danger, too, and was following something like Step 3 in Sam Harris' self defense plan.

Returning to the Catholic Church analogy, the horror of the child abuse at the hands of Catholic priests was compounded by the fact that the Church was complicit in covering up the abuse. I propose that everyone who was part of the internal hierarchy that failed to protect Catholic children deserves a share of the blame and should have been removed from service. I feel the same way about the Penn State situation and believe, as others in this thread have written, that the whole system needs to be washed clean.

In my opinion, a system - be it a religious system, political system, or university system - that allows heinous crimes to go unreported is a broken system.

Its challenging to repair a system, though, I don't deny it. I'm in a system where protecting children (because if they're not feeling safe, how can we possibly ask them to learn?) is paramount. The Penn State football system is not one that was designed for protecting children - indeed, why should there even be a 10 year old in the locker room? McQueary wasn't trained to deal with the situation and had spent years following coach's orders. Maybe he was a coward, maybe he was just cowed. Regardless of why he didn't do anything immediately, if his belief was that he needed to follow the rules of the system instead of protecting that child, that system needs to be replaced and so does he.

Anyhow, its easy to blame the system, but systems are made out of people. If you don't replace the people in a broken system, the system has a way of surviving.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:42 PM on November 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


But, the current football program, specifically those who take the field each Saturday, deserve the recognition and support that has been a trademark of Penn State for so long."

I mean the players probably have no involvement in this and have dedicated their lives to this sport so I don't want to get on their backs, but really the lack of perspective here is stunning.

Support for the team at this time represents support for the broken institution as well, and for coaches still on staff who damn well probably knew more about this than is yet apparent.

OTOH, the players can kind of go to hell if this is true:

Penn State University Radio reporting rumor that senior players will refuse to play Saturday in protest of Paterno's firing.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:45 PM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


And, perhaps, there are circumstances where McQueary did exactly the right thing and we just don't know what those circumstances are.

When you can come up with such a set of circumstances, I for one will be fascinated to hear it.
posted by Trurl at 3:45 PM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I know people are really beating the drum about whether or not McQueary acted appropriately at the moment of the event and after. Before passing judgment and calling him a monster, consider the fact that Victim 2 appears in the Grand Jury testimony at all.

Yes, I noticed the same thing. They don't actually know who that child was, if I'm reading it correctly. Can pretty much guarantee it wasn't Paterno or Curley or Schultz or Spanier who told the prosecutors about the 2002 incident which was clearly a coverup. I think it is because of McQueary's testimony that the grand jury knew about that incident and charged Sandusky with crimes against the unknown victim. It is because McQueary directly contradicted all of his superiors and told the truth about what he saw that the Vice President and Athletic Director have been charged with perjury.

McQueary is a key witness for the prosecution as his testimony is the foundation of their case against the university officials as well as the entire basis of the charges around "Victim 2". If not for McQueary speaking up, no one would know about that little boy. But if he had only spoken up and kept speaking up a lot sooner, maybe the prosecutors would know the child's name, and maybe more children would not have been hurt.

Right now I personally see it this way:

There is Sandusky, who is a rapist and predator who terrified children (one of the boys said you just weren't allowed to saw no to him for anything). He is what he is and did what he did. But he would not have gotten away with it for so long and hurt so many if not for literally dozens of people who put something else as a priority over the pain of those children. District Attorney Gricar. The janitor, his coworkers, his supervisor (who, when told one of your employees saw a child being raped, simply says "well this is who you should report it to" and moves on). The Second Mile board members (who were informed in 2002 that Sandusky was being "inappropriate", not to mention 1998 and who knows when else). This is a drum I beat in a lot of discussions concerning rape and sexual assault because I am absolutely convinced that the coverups and excuses are the water that allows the evil seed to sprout and grow stronger.

It is my personal experience that people either do not take these crimes seriously enough and make strange excuses or they take it so "seriously" that they think it's best to hush up about it like you're whistling past the graveyard. I strongly believe that this is the norm. Children especially are not believed and have no power. Whether we're working them to death in factories, slaughtering them wholesale in wars or just putting it out of our minds when we know they are being raped, we can be very cruel to children and treat them inhumanely. Every time I ask myself how McQueary could see what he saw and not spend every day trying to do something, anything about it, I am instantly reminded of those I know who saw similar things and yet somehow went on with their lives.
posted by Danila at 3:49 PM on November 10, 2011 [11 favorites]


spitbull and schroedinger, you two realize that you're just repeating the same arguments at each other, right?
posted by desjardins at 3:51 PM on November 10, 2011


Oh, and as for the scenario where you see a child being raped in an alley by a stranger, this happens every day all over the world, they're called prostitutes, and very rarely does anyone do anything at all.
posted by Danila at 3:52 PM on November 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


And, perhaps, there are circumstances where McQueary did exactly the right thing and we just don't know what those circumstances are.

When you can come up with such a set of circumstances, I for one will be fascinated to hear it.


Sandusky founded a charitable organization for the express purpose of molesting children in plain sight and providing them to other rich child molesters and, YES THIS IS HIGHLY SPECULATIVE AND PROBABLY DID NOT HAPPEN, possibly killed or had killed a district attorney who sniffed around the whole thing, and was under the protection of literally the most powerful man at Penn State?

And instead of going to the police who had Sandusky confessing on tape to molesting a child and apparently just didn't care, McQueary went to the ONE person in State College who could possibly reign the man in? And when that man didn't do one fucking thing to stop it, McQueary (again, possibly) initiated a grand jury investigation?

I don't think my take is entirely right, but I don't think the take where McQueary acts in bald-faced self-preservation is right, either. And I think that the fact that he is still employed when Paterno, the college president and the chief of the campus police are not probably indicates there is more to this story that will emerge in the coming days or weeks.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 3:52 PM on November 10, 2011 [2 favorites]




spitbull and schroedinger, you two realize that you're just repeating the same arguments at each other, right?


Yeah, I do. I'm done.

And sorry about that jessamyn. I guess this story really does have me worked up.
posted by spitbull at 3:59 PM on November 10, 2011


PROBABLY DID NOT HAPPEN

You'll get no argument from me there.

But let's say it did. McQueary's silence would have been perhaps an understandable thing. But "exactly the right thing"?
posted by Trurl at 4:00 PM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sports Illustrated Article from 1982:
It hasn't bothered Sandusky that The Second Mile thus far has kept him from leaving Penn State. "Many people have talked to me about hiring him," says Paterno, "but Jerry's been reluctant to talk to them because of all the commitments he has in this area." A couple of head-coaching jobs at the college level have come and gone, as well as inquiries from Oakland and Tampa Bay about interviewing Sandusky to become a pro assistant. "A long time ago Jerry really wanted to be a head coach," says Dottie, "but now there are so many things going that he never mentions it anymore."

"I'm concerned about his future," says Paterno, who spent 16 years as an assistant to Rip Engle at Penn State. "I'm proud of everything that he and Dottie have done, and I certainly wouldn't like to lose him, but I'd hate to see him lose his chance to be a head coach."
Sandusky turned down NFL jobs because of his "commitment" to Second Mile.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:07 PM on November 10, 2011


A blog entry by Joe Posnaski, a great sportswriter who is writing a book on Paterno.
posted by dfan at 4:13 PM on November 10, 2011 [5 favorites]


Trutl: When you can come up with such a set of circumstances, I for one will be fascinated to hear it.

To be clear, I was using that "perhaps" statement as a rhetorical device and followed it up with a statement that was a somewhat farfetched grasp at creating a reason (the Rule #3 thing). I'm in the "he should have called the police immediately" camp, but I wasn't there and have no idea what went through his head. He clearly didn't think that protecting the child was his first priority, though, which is something alien and revolting to me. Since I can't understand how protecting the child wasn't his first priority, I can't claim to understand why he did anything he did. I want to believe that he thought he was doing the right thing for the kid, but all evidence suggests he didn't and I don't get that at all.

The point I was trying to make in that entire post was that they should all be fired and that the whole Penn State administrative system including the football program needs to be rebuilt, both in terms of personnel and policies. McQuary and everyone involved were part of a system that allowed kids to be raped. Everyone who allowed a system like that to function needs to be excluded from the any new system they create.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:15 PM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


You want spin, I'll give you spin:
If Joe Paterno quits now, he will go out under a cloud that will last for eternity, not just for him but for Penn State University as a whole. It may be out of his hands, the forces of mass hysteria being what they are, but the only way Paterno could preserve one of America's proudest college legacies would be to stay and fight, or at least try.

Amid the nationwide fury over the Penn State sex scandal, there has been no indication thus far that iconic head football coach Paterno did anything illegal in connection with the allegations of sexual misconduct by a former assistant coach.

Nevertheless, flocks of Chicken Littles are screeching that Penn State's sky is falling and Paterno should have done more once he was told the assistant was having sex, or was doing something untoward, with a young boy in a locker room shower.
So now the 10 year old victim is "having sex" with Sandusky. Nice.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:17 PM on November 10, 2011


That Joe Posnaski post is... remarkable.
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:24 PM on November 10, 2011


Thinking a bit more on McQueary, I'm noticing that the guy played high school football in State College, PA, possibly met Sandusky or Paterno through youth football, was recruited by them for his college career, and returned to start a coaching career under them.

Which says to me that there's a fair bit more emotional history going on among the three men beyond, "assistant coach failed to blow the whistle loud enough." I don't think it makes his deferring to Paterno on this the right thing to do, but it does make it more comprehensible to me.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 4:25 PM on November 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Remember, McQueary could have seen that little boy being raped in the shower, turned around, and not said anything to anybody. If you think there are several people at Penn State who actually did this, you are lying to yourself. A locker room shower is not a very private place.
posted by Foam Pants at 4:26 PM on November 10, 2011


Foam Pants: "A locker room shower is not a very private place."

It is at 9:30pm on the Friday night before the beginning of Spring Break in a facility that only people associated with the football team can get into.
posted by tonycpsu at 4:32 PM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


NBC News: Paterno hires criminal defense lawyer.
posted by ericb at 4:38 PM on November 10, 2011


I read the Posnarski post as well, and yeah, it's good, and I think it comes from the right place. But it's not his fault that I literally had to keep from vomiting in my mouth at this sentence:

"I walk by the library that he and his wife Sue built almost every day."

Because I went to NYU. The Elmer Holmes Bobst Library at NYU is one of the largest libraries in the world, and sits towering over the southeast corner of Washington Sqare, and was named for a man who repeatedly and notoriously molested his grandchildren. Getting a library named after you doesn't mean shit.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:39 PM on November 10, 2011


"Remember, McQueary could have seen that little boy being raped in the shower, turned around, and not said anything to anybody."

He could have, but he didn't, he chose a middle path that led to a dead end. I know I'm getting all kinds of bent out of shape at McQueary but my younger son just turned 10 last week and the idea that someone could witness something like that and then have to discuss it, to weigh options before attempting to do the right thing both angers me and breaks my heart.
posted by MikeMc at 4:41 PM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


"I walk by the library that he and his wife Sue built almost every day."

See now, I also stopped at the sentence, but it was to think: man, they were busy, building a new library nearly every day.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 4:43 PM on November 10, 2011 [9 favorites]



He [McQueary] could have, but he didn't, he chose a middle path that led to a dead end.

He went to someone who had the power and authority to do something, and was let down. Let's be clear - we don't know what pressures and forces McQueary faced. We do know that Paterno had more power than he did, and did far less.

At this point, I'm reserving judgement on McQueary. Too many questions and assumptions. Paterno's role is more straightforward, and troubling because of it.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 4:45 PM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I read the Posnarski post as well, and yeah, it's good, and I think it comes from the right place. But it's not his fault that I literally had to keep from vomiting in my mouth at this sentence:

via Deadspin, Posnarski teaches a class in the Communications department: Comm 497G: Joe Paterno, Communications & the Media.

Extra bonus: Deadspin has a collection of player Tweets, including this from wide receiver Mike Wallace, "This is almost like a modern day crucifixion."
posted by wensink at 4:50 PM on November 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Because I went to NYU. The Elmer Holmes Bobst Library at NYU is one of the largest libraries in the world, and sits towering over the southeast corner of Washington Sqare, and was named for a man who repeatedly and notoriously molested his grandchildren."

Do you have a good cite for that handy? The dude's wikipedia page needs some serious editing
posted by Blasdelb at 4:52 PM on November 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


NBC News: Paterno hires criminal defense lawyer.

Smart play, Coach.
posted by Trurl at 5:06 PM on November 10, 2011


Yeah, first I've heard that about Bobst. Really?
posted by spitbull at 5:08 PM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


A quick googling shows unnattributed sources themselves, but it is not an unknown reputation. Moreover, when I was there it was a fact (or perhaps "fact") forthrightly mentioned by the RA's, tour-guides, administration and so forth. There's a hell of a lot of shame around that building, even before the suicides, and NYU seemed to want to get out in front of it.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:16 PM on November 10, 2011


As near as I can tell Bobst was accused twice (1, 2) and both cases were thrown out. So accused molestor: yes. Convicted: no.
posted by jessamyn at 5:17 PM on November 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


Thanks, Jess!
posted by Navelgazer at 5:21 PM on November 10, 2011


Also, Paterno, according to ESPN, hired the same criminal attorney who handled G.H.W. Bush during the Iran Contra scandal. There was some speculation that there would be an attempt to make McQueary the "Ollie North" of this scandal.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:24 PM on November 10, 2011


Yeah there's no love for Elmer Bobst among the general NYU population. Everyone knows and talks about the antisemitism and sexual abuse- students and faculty. Pretty common to call it the "tower of terror" or the "atrium of horror" and things like that too.
posted by Thin Lizzy at 5:30 PM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


You know, this scene has been running through my head all day. I was kind of hoping that Paterno and any of the other guys who knew about this would step up to the plate and say something along these lines.

We are supposed to fight for the people who cannot fight for themselves.
posted by triggerfinger at 5:30 PM on November 10, 2011


triggerfinger: Ryan Rusillo ("of the Scott Van Pelt Show" as is almost instinctive) was calling for the exact same thing tonight, quoting that scene.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:40 PM on November 10, 2011


Also, just because I keep forgetting to mention this. It's neither here nor there, really, but the Kitty Genovese thing isn't nearly as simple as people remember. The papers went for far more sensationalism than was actually there. She was raped and murdered in the courtyard of the apartment complex, but it was actually in a dark portico, which made the action almost impossible to make out. The number of "witnesses" the papers gave was based upon who was thought to be home and awake in the complex at the time, rather than any number of people actually watching or listening to the event, and a number of those people who did see or hear the event did, in fact, call the police.

(We studied this case fairly intently in my law school clinic. Just because something is in the record doesn't make the media any more lustful for truth over fear and sensationalism back then than they are today.)
posted by Navelgazer at 5:50 PM on November 10, 2011 [6 favorites]


From a Talk
by Yevgeny Yevtushenko (Soviet era poet)

They tell me: "Man, you are brave!"
But I'm not.
Bravery never was my vice.
I only thought it unworthy
to be as cowardly as some I saw around.

I never tried to push the world out of orbit.
I just laughed at the pompous,
poked fun at the bogus.
I wrote verses.
Never denunciations
I tried to say what I thought - loud enough to be heard.

But a time will come to remember
and burn with shame:
when we shall have done with dishonesty and plain lies
with those
strange times
when a man who was simply honest
was called brave.

1960
(translations by Albert C. Todd & Anselm Hollo)

Had only one of these people been "simply honest", several young boys' lives would have been much different. Instead there's this......horror.
posted by but no cigar at 5:52 PM on November 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


via Deadspin, Posnarski teaches a class in the Communications department: Comm 497G: Joe Paterno, Communications & the Media.

Yes. He talks about that in his post. From the tweets from that class in the Deadspins article.
"The only thing people remember about Woody Hayes is that he hit a player. I don't want that to happen to Joe. He didn't hit a player."
Wow. Well. Yes. Whatever comes out in the trial, he certainly didn't hit a player.
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:05 PM on November 10, 2011


This whole story is so disturbing. I recently heard Gloria Steinem give a talk, and she mentioned how she'll yell at people who are being mean to their kids. She said even if it doesn't help the situation, it helps the kid by letting them know someone noticed and it is not ok that they are being treated like that. I can't imagine what this kid felt like that someone noticed they were being raped and just walked away.
posted by katinka-katinka at 6:38 PM on November 10, 2011 [4 favorites]




Bravery never was my vice.
I only thought it unworthy
to be as cowardly as some I saw around.


Exactly. McQueary and countless others did not think that what they saw around them was something to act against. It was something they could ignore out of existence.
posted by dogrose at 7:23 PM on November 10, 2011


furiousxgeorge, ha, I did flip the bird at the house. I don't think anyone was home at the time.

dinty_moore, thanks for the link. I donated.

One last, disturbing thought. This news was made public literally one week after Paterno gets the record for most wins (October 29 -- November 4). I don't think it would be too much of a stretch to think that someone sat on it until "our" coach could get his record.
posted by dhens at 7:25 PM on November 10, 2011




Before passing judgment and calling [McQueary] a monster, consider the fact that Victim 2 appears in the Grand Jury testimony at all. Never in the presentment is it made clear how the investigators became aware of Victim 2.

I seriously doubt it was because McQueary volunteered the information. He was interviewed in December 2010, almost 2 years *after* a teen boy and his family had the incredible courage to go to the cops in 2009 (thus starting the investigation, as per the timeline):

March 27, 2002 (approximate)
The graduate assistant hears from Curley. He is told that Sandusky's locker room keys are taken away and that the incident has been reported to The Second Mile. The graduate assistant is never questioned by university police and no other entity conducts an investigation until the graduate assistant testifies in grand jury in December 2010...

Early 2009
An investigation by the Pennsylvania attorney general begins when a Clinton County, Pa., teen boy tells authorities that Sandusky has inappropriately touched him several times over a four-year period.


Of course I can't know for sure that McQueary wasn't working behind the scenes for years to bring the molester to justice, but given the current timeline the idea that it might have been McQueary who got things rolling after years of silence strikes me as less than laughable. But in deference to your call for fairness, and to the fact that we'll learn much more once the lawsuits and trials begin, I'll admit it's a remote possibility. Much more likely, I think, is that the Grand Jury got around to McQueary's story after pursuing the teen boy's lead, and called him to testify after hearing about the incident he saw from other people first.

Guess we'll see which turns out to be right.
posted by mediareport at 7:39 PM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Column by NFL Network analyst and 10-year NFL veteran Heath Evans about sexual abuse and loyalty (Evans' wife was sexually abused as a child and he has a foundation to help victims of childhood sexual abuse).
"Loyalty does not stand by and turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to heinous crimes against children. Loyalty does not take the easy way out of an uncomfortable situation. Loyalty does not place more value on friendship or public perception than on what is morally right and wrong!"
posted by MikeMc at 7:40 PM on November 10, 2011 [10 favorites]


RE: homunculus's link, if/when the thing does go to trial, will the victims' identities need to be sorted out, and will they have to testify? I imagine that would just be absolutely horrible. I'm thinking about some of the boys, like Victim 2 for instance, who is probably about 19 or so now. Either he's gone through a ton of therapy, or buried this thing deep, and now it's all over the place again. Ugh.
posted by King Bee at 7:44 PM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Either he's gone through a ton of therapy, or buried this thing deep

...or killed himself. I was talking to a forensic psychologist today who thinks it very likely at least some of Sandusky's victims will commit suicide.
posted by mediareport at 7:48 PM on November 10, 2011


Man, that didn't even enter my head. Horrible.
posted by King Bee at 7:48 PM on November 10, 2011


McQueary will not attend game on Saturday: The school cited "multiple threats" as the reason for McQueary's absence Saturday against No. 19 Nebraska.
posted by King Bee at 7:56 PM on November 10, 2011


The school cited "multiple threats" as the reason for McQueary's absence Saturday against No. 19 Nebraska.

And this is something that bugs me about all of this. Not that McQueary won't be there. That's almost certainly for the best. Rather, that Bradley, the interim coach, is the spokeman for making these "moral" calls.

Tom Bradley was promoted to defensive coordinator as Sandusky's successor. His name only appears in the media as the guy taking over after this scandal, after the clearing of house, but really?

Sandusky retired out of nowhere at 55. Bradley was called up to replace him. Do we honestly believe Bradley didn't know what was going on? That he just took the job without a question as to how it opened, or knowing about his predescesor's reputation?

But Tom Bradley stayed quiet, it seems, and so now it's cool to have him out there coaching, while the guy who did stick his neck out, a little bit, and imperfectly, catches the shit.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:16 PM on November 10, 2011 [5 favorites]


Not original:

Penn State : State Penn
posted by imjustsaying at 8:33 PM on November 10, 2011


It's hard for me to believe that Sandusky was the only child rapist in his circles. His boldness makes it seem likely that he was being protected by people who were also child rapists.
posted by cell divide at 8:45 PM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


From the 11/6 statement made by Second Mile:

As The Second Mile’s CEO Jack Raykovitz testified to the Grand Jury, he was informed in 2002 by Pennsylvania State University Athletic Director Tim Curley that an individual had reported to Mr. Curley that he was uncomfortable about seeing Jerry Sandusky in the locker room shower with a youth. Mr. Curley also shared that the information had been internally reviewed and that there was no finding of wrongdoing. At no time was The Second Mile made aware of the very serious allegations contained in the Grand Jury report.
posted by argonauta at 9:07 PM on November 10, 2011


Just by way of maintaining some level of nuance: I think generational issues do come into play somewhat when we talk about missing obvious "red flags." To put things in perspective, Joe Paterno was born in 1926. When he was born, Sigmund Freud was still alive-- and would be for another 13 years. Is it entirely fair to assume he would have construed the narrative in the way that seems obviously valid to all of us now?

Sure, lots of societal attitudes have changed. But we're not talking about ancient Rome, here. 1926 wasn't so long ago that there would be a TOTALLY FOREIGN context in which to understand the appropriateness of a grown man raping little boys in the university locker room.
posted by desuetude at 10:16 PM on November 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


David Locke (Utah Jazz radio announcer) asked a lot of good-get-right-to-the-heart-of-things questions (some of which have been asked here) that sum up all the different things people are asking. It's a Google Plus link and I have no idea if that will even work so I'll reproduce the questions here (they were written before Paterno was fired).
1) How could the graduate assistant, Mike McQuery who saw what Jerry Sandusky was doing to the 10 year boy not stop it? He called his dad instead.

2) What was he scared of that he called his dad? Why was their any doubt in how he should react?

3) How is the then graduate assistant now assistant coach still on the staff and working at Penn State if he saw what happened and no one ever did anything about it?

4) How did Joe Paterno hear the words: 10 year old boy, Sandusky and shower and not act?

5) How every time after hearing those three phrases together did Paterno not question things when he saw Sandusky with another child, at his charity events, etc

6) How did two other victims go to the child services of College Station and have their claims get dismissed?

7) How did campus police not react to a 1998 episode where Sandusky was in a shower with a 11 year old boy.

8) How when 2 years later when a janitor saw Sandusky performing a sex act on a child did the his supervisor not report it

8) How did Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, who was university VP over police, not react when told the story from McQuery

9) Who looks a man in the eye and says "you can't bring children here anymore." but somehow implies it is ok to take them elsewhere

10) HOW DOES A PRESIDENT OF A UNIVERSITY BURY SOMETHING LIKE THIS?

11) How was Sundusky allowed to be working out in the Penn State locker-room last week? Last week? Everyone knew what was going on.

Each of these questions can have individual answers, but collectively there is one unthinkable answer.

THE PENN STATE FOOTBALL PROGRAM WAS AN ENABLER TO CHILD ABUSE. THE CULTURE OF PENN STATE FOOTBALL WAS SUCH THAT NO ONE WAS WILLING TO ASK THE QUESTIONS, TAKE THE ACTION AND DO WHAT WAS OBVIOUSLY RIGHT. THE PENN STATE FOOTBALL PROGRAM WAS AN ENABLE TO CHILD ABUSE.

We have learned over the past that stories evolve and change. New details emerge. However, most of these details are these peoples own testimony in a grand jury statement not accusations or claims.

NO ONE HAD THE STRENGTH TO BE A WHISTLE BLOWER. EVERYONE WAS SCARED. SCARED OF WHO AND WHAT?

PATERNO SHOULD NOT COACH SATURDAY AND PENN STATE NEEDS TO SERIOUSLY CONSIDER THE CANCELLATION OF ITS FOOTBALL PROGRAM. THINGS THIS FILTHY NEED TO BE ERADICATED.
posted by Danila at 10:25 PM on November 10, 2011 [13 favorites]




"One of Sandusky’s alleged victims reportedly came with him to San Antonio when Penn State played a bowl game there.

Jerry Sandusky is accused of taking “Victim 4” to the 1999 Alamo Bowl. That accuser, now 27, testified he was listed as a member of the Sandusky family party for the 1999 Alamo Bowl.

When the boy resisted his advances, Sandusky threatened to send him home from the Alamo Bowl, the report said."
posted by futz at 2:46 AM on November 11, 2011


I haven't seen mention in this post of Sandusky's autobiography: Touched: The Jerry Sandusky Story

And it isn't a link from The Onion.
posted by futz at 4:30 AM on November 11, 2011


I bit all my nails down to the quick while reading this story. I knew it would be triggering but it wasn't like I had any hope of cocooning and ignoring it, not since it's been bouncing around the media echo chamber all week. It makes me sick to my stomach and jittery and I hate everyone involved in the situation. I've got some very distinctly stabby feelings about this and I'm really glad I'm nowhere near Pennsylvania right now.
posted by i feel possessed at 5:08 AM on November 11, 2011


In all seriousness, maybe he thought he might be in physical danger, too, and was following something like Step 3 in Sam Harris' self defense plan.

I'm wondering whether or not it occurred to McQuery that Sandusky could have killed (or beaten) the boy later that night? How did he know that, while he was talking to his Dad about it, this poor kid wasn't being buried in a shallow grave somewhere?
posted by stinkycheese at 5:50 AM on November 11, 2011 [1 favorite]



I'm wondering whether or not it occurred to McQuery that Sandusky could have killed (or beaten) the boy later that night?


Or that the simple mechanics of getting fucked anally posed a serious health risk to the boy and that said fucking needed to be stopped forthwith.
posted by ocschwar at 6:08 AM on November 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Of course. *rolls eyes*

I'm just saying that, if there was someone at that scene in physical danger, it was the boy. Pedophiles do sometimes kill those they rape, especially if they believe they may be in danger of being caught. No one had yet mentioned that McQuery left a scene that could well have resulted in much greater physical damage to the boy than that which he was witnessing. I just bought that was relevant, and I wonder whether McQuery ever considered that.
posted by stinkycheese at 6:22 AM on November 11, 2011


*thought that was relevant
posted by stinkycheese at 6:23 AM on November 11, 2011


One of Joe Paterno's enduring legacies will be as the guy you use to explain that anyone can have a moral blind spot. Maybe his example will help those who will face similar challenges.

For nine years at least, by Paterno's own sworn testimony, the coach had a pretty good idea one of his closest guys was preying on boys, but didn't stop him. Didn't get him scolded, fired, charged, or kept away from kids. Didn't even talk to him about sexually abusing a 10-year-old, according to Paterno's son. Maybe he thought it could all just go away, however impossible that seems in hindsight.

So that was bad enough. What I cannot comprehend is what happened after a grand jury drove through the barricade of secrets, right into JoePa's grandfatherly lap. He and his crew just went on with football season.

And nothing happened to the man Paterno and everyone protected all these years. Not even after getting drilled detail by detail, under oath, in the grand jury witness chair. Sandusky didn't even get his parking pass, office and bookstore discount taken away. He was working out in JoePa's weight room until the week he finally got perp-walked. Even though everyone who mattered, all his old friends, knew what was coming any day.

So the freight train is coming, its headlights rounding the bend. A car carrying the most honored men at Penn State is stalled out on the tracks. The whistle blew, the ground was shaking.

Tell me, why did no one open the door and run?
posted by Andrew Galarneau at 6:30 AM on November 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


For a clear, updated synopsis to the case laid out by prosecutors:

Sarah Ganim of the Harrisburg Patriot-News, distills out what is known so far about the four times from 1998 to 2008 that Jerry Sandusky was reported to, and cleared by, Penn State authorities, district attorneys, child protection investigators, a non-profit troubled children's charity, university police, administrators and football coaches.
posted by Andrew Galarneau at 6:56 AM on November 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Just to clarify, because it keeps popping up in this thread: even though Sandusky had access to the football facilities, he was not employed by Penn State at the time of the 2002 incident. At that time, he was not one of Paterno's "closest guys" and there would have been no way for Paterno to fire a man he did not employ. In fact, it seems as though Paterno was not in contact with Sandusky at all after the 2002 event, which, though strange in its own right, does not imply a strong relationship between the two men. Did Paterno fail his moral obligation to confront and interrogate Sandusky about his behavior? Yes. Did he fail in his obligation to remove Sandusky from his staff? No - that would have been impossible.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 6:59 AM on November 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


futz: I haven't seen mention in this post of Sandusky's autobiography: Touched: The Jerry Sandusky Story

The gods of irony handed this one down on a silver platter, didn't they?
posted by dr_dank at 7:06 AM on November 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


" At that time, he was not one of Paterno's "closest guys" and there would have been no way for Paterno to fire a man he did not employ."

True, Sandusky held an emeritus position but was no longer employed by the PSU football program, but...don't think for a minute that JoePa couldn't have had Sandusky barred from the football facilities. And there's a reason he was no longer one of Paterno's "closest guys" and that's one of the unanswered questions here. Why did Sandusky retire in his prime? He passed on other possible Division I and NFL jobs to stay near his victim pool and I have a sneaking suspicion that his early retirement had more to do with his chicken-hawk tendencies than the fact that he wasn't going to be head coach at Penn State.
posted by MikeMc at 7:18 AM on November 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


True, Sandusky held an emeritus position but was no longer employed by the PSU football program, but...don't think for a minute that JoePa couldn't have had Sandusky barred from the football facilities.

Okay, I won't. And I don't. And I haven't from the moment this started.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:22 AM on November 11, 2011


Just to clarify, because it keeps popping up in this thread: even though Sandusky had access to the football facilities, he was not employed by Penn State at the time of the 2002 incident. At that time, he was not one of Paterno's "closest guys" and there would have been no way for Paterno to fire a man he did not employ.

At least one article I read referred to Sandusky as an emeritus faculty. In many institutions, emeritus faculty choose to volunteer, teach part-time, supervise student work, and might keep a desk. From the reports, it looks like that Sandusky maintained volunteer and semi-professional relationships with the football program and athletics department since he was assisting in workout sessions and organizing youth camps for them.

You can certainly fire volunteers, and almost all organizations that make use of volunteers have bylaws for doing so. In Sandusky's case, the action should have been to:
1) take his keys
2) tell him not to show up to events and practices
3) tell him the department is going to cooperate with law enforcement
4) inform security that he's barred from the property
5) escort him to his vehicle.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 7:25 AM on November 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think this is a pretty insightful and honest look at this from a former Penn Stater's point of view.
The kids who marched in the streets last night — it wasn’t a riot; the lampposts in Beaver Canyon get torn down for everything from St. Patrick’s Day to a busy night during Arts Fest — might have said they were doing it in support of their beloved JoePa, but it wasn’t really about that. It was about the value of what they’re at Penn State for. Most of them are going to graduate twenty to fifty thousand dollars in debt, much more than they would pay to go to one of the many Commonwealth Campuses across Pennsylvania. Part of what they’re paying for is the experience in State College, and for almost 50 years, that experience depends on having a team to be proud of, and a school that others admire.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:25 AM on November 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yes, Sandusky was no longer on the Penn State payroll, but he was still a welcome member of the Penn State football family. The grand jury report said he had full run of the facilities and the school had no way to monitor him, or who he could bring into their buildings.

Paterno could have ended that but did not.

He could not have removed him from the staff, but he could have stripped him of the Penn State Football God aura Sandusky needed to do things like continue to run his teen football camps on Penn State campuses as late as 2008.

And be a full-time volunteer football coach at that Clinton County high school, where (according to the presentment) he could take Victim 1 out of class whenever he liked.
posted by Andrew Galarneau at 7:30 AM on November 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


You can certainly fire volunteers

I can? Me? I probably couldn't have fired Sandusky. Neither, I'm guessing, could the coach of the football team. I'm pretty sure that Curley was the only person legally capable of terminating Sandusky's emeritus status. If you want to argue that Curley made his decisions based off of his consultations with Paterno, that's fine, and I'd probably be willing to believe that that was the M.O.

If you've read my comments in this thread and the last, I've stated unequivocally that Paterno failed miserably in his handling of the 2002 event and that he should have been terminated immediately. However, to claim that he should have fired his assistant coach is just a plain mangling of the facts, and I want to correct it.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:31 AM on November 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Joe Paterno was the highest paid employee at Penn State.

from the article:

"All you have to do is look at the salaries. Penn State is only required to report the figures for state officials and its highest-paid employees. Which is why you won't find on the list Paterno's presumptive immediate superior, Tim Curley, the man to whom Paterno relayed his graduate assistant's now-infamous eyewitness account and thus apparently met the minimum standard needed to wriggle free of any legal liability. Of course, Curley is not Paterno's boss in any meaningful sense of the word. Don't believe me? Take a gander at this story from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. It includes a scene in which Spanier and Curley showed up at Paterno's house in 2004 in an unsuccessful attempt to force him out as coach..."

I don't really buy into the idea that Joe Paterno didn't know exactly what was going on with Sandusky and his parade of little boys. To do so requires such a huge suspension of disbelief that I might also start believing in Santa again, were I to pull it off.

Deadspin's coverage of this has been extensive. It's worth a look, if you haven't gone there yet.
posted by palomar at 7:49 AM on November 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


OMFG.

Senator Rick Santorum honored Jerry Sandusky with a “Congressional Angels in Adoption” award in 2002.

Christ on a freaking crutch, this is the Olympics of irony we're witnessing here. I can't wait until Dan Savage gets a hold of this.

I know I said I'd leave it, but somewhere up there someone once again suggested McQueary might have felt physically threatened. Sandusky was (and is) a brawny guy, but come on, a former defensive end (on go the ironies!) who's been wearing a suit for years at 58 years old, versus a really big 28 year old star quarterback who's doing the heavy physical work of a junior coach.
posted by spitbull at 7:58 AM on November 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


"I can? Me? I probably couldn't have fired Sandusky. Neither, I'm guessing, could the coach of the football team."

That's absurd. Emeritus positions are rare positions of honor in academia, Sandusky could not have gotten his without the enthusiastically expressed support of his supervisor. Paterno could have easily remained a coward, failed to address this head on, and still quietly worked to remove Sandusky's Football God status and access, and so could a lot of other people.
posted by Blasdelb at 7:59 AM on November 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


ahold, not a hold
posted by spitbull at 7:59 AM on November 11, 2011


I apologize if I keep hammering this, but I'm speaking strictly literally when I say that Joe Paterno could not have fired Jerry Sandusky, who was not an assistant coach in 2002. Some people seem to think that Paterno could have called old Jer into his office and told him, you're fired, don't come back. That wasn't something Paterno could do at the time of the incident in 2002. Could he have worked tirelessly to push for Curley or Spanier to remove Sandusky permanently from campus or, further, arrested? Yes, obviously. That's the whole point of this scandal. It's the reason why Paterno was fired. It's the reason why Paterno has had to testify to a Grand Jury. I have no idea why these two ideas are incompatible.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:10 AM on November 11, 2011


I know I said I'd leave it, but somewhere up there someone once again suggested McQueary might have felt physically threatened. Sandusky was (and is) a brawny guy, but come on, a former defensive end (on go the ironies!) who's been wearing a suit for years at 58 years old, versus a really big 28 year old star quarterback who's doing the heavy physical work of a junior coach.

One of the DA's who investigated Sandusky has disappeared and been presumed dead.

Related ? Given what I know about small town college football politics, it's not outside the realm of possibilities - though we may never know.

I would imagine McQueary was less concerned about his immediate safety and more about long term outcomes.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:12 AM on November 11, 2011


From the Patriot-News article linked above:

Sandusky was barred from the school as soon as this victim made allegations against him, and Kelly praised the school district for acting appropriately.

The mother has told The Patriot-News she was upset to hear the district being commended.

“They told me to go home and think about what I wanted to do, and I was not happy,” she said. “They said I needed to think about how that would impact my son if I said something like that. I went home and got [my son] and we came to [Children and Youth Services] immediately.”


The quote makes it sound like school officials didn't want the case to be made public. Is there any reliable confirmation that school officials met their minimum reporting requirements?

It's one (terrible) thing for the Penn State administration to sweep this under the rug. But school officials? I really hope I'm misunderstanding the victim's mother.
posted by compartment at 8:14 AM on November 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Jerry Sandusky is accused of taking “Victim 4” to the 1999 Alamo Bowl.

Does this not open him to federal prosecution under the Mann Act?
posted by Trurl at 8:21 AM on November 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


I would imagine McQueary was less concerned about his immediate safety and more about long term outcomes.

Well, under any reasonable theory of criminal state of mind relevant to constructing a defense, that does away with the possibility that he was so shocked or traumatized that he couldn't think straight, doesn't it!

I think the case for a link to the disappearance of prosecutor Ray Gricar, while compelling to consider, is not factually in evidence at the moment. If this case goes there, or where Mark Madden is saying it might go, all hell is going to break loose.
posted by spitbull at 8:22 AM on November 11, 2011


spitbull, what the fuck is up with you against McQueary? You can't let go of the idea that he might have been shocked about the child rape, can you?
posted by schroedinger at 8:33 AM on November 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Penn State Scandal: Mother of Alleged Victim Says Son Was Afraid to Tell Sandusky 'No'

"On one occasion a school wrestling coach witnessed inappropriate touching between the two in a secluded weight room, according to the grand jury presentment. "

This just keeps getting sicker and sicker. It's starting to seem that the number of people who were willing to look the other way to keep the peace in Pennsylvania is going to end up somewhere in the high dozens, matched perhaps by the number of people who felt (or were made to feel) powerless to do anything to stop it.

The folks who are saying we need to have a lengthy national discussion on the power of college football and consider what we can do to greatly reduce it are right on.
posted by lord_wolf at 8:35 AM on November 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


The quote makes it sound like school officials didn't want the case to be made public....
It's one (terrible) thing for the Penn State administration to sweep this under the rug. But school officials? I really hope I'm misunderstanding the victim's mother.

I'm actually kind of glad to see that quote from the mother in that case because I've been wondering the same thing ever since I read her news account of how the case came to light. It's been on my mind in light of the many, many people (everywhere) who have said that the normal response when you know about child sex abuse is to "do something about it".

This is the case that began the big investigation that brought down this whole ball of wax, the principal was reportedly crying in her office as her student told her what Sandusky had done to him...and the school was NOT going to report. Everybody knows schools are supposed to report immediately if a child alleges sexual abuse but they tried to warn her away from reporting. Again, again, another institution where the first instinct is to sweep this under the rug. What if she had decided not to go forward with it and just be satisfied with Sandusky not volunteering there anymore?

Look at all the barriers these victims have to go through. My main ire is for the institutions that throw up obstacles or cover up even the most heinous things.

What went on at Penn State is at another level. Sandusky was seen with a child at a closed Penn State football practice in 2007. He ran an official Penn State youth football camp until 2009. That's why I can't really buy that there was no more Paterno could do, even if you can find an excuse for 2002. They were all more than on notice. You would think that for their own self-preservation they wouldn't have wanted him anywhere around them.
posted by Danila at 8:40 AM on November 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


"The quote makes it sound like school officials didn't want the case to be made public."

As bad as this may sound they may have been thinking about the boy and how other boys in the school would treat him if it came he was sexually abused by a man. Think about the potential for homophobic bullying. Maybe they just wanted them to be sure that the wanted to proceed despite that possibility. But perhaps I'm being too generous to the school.
posted by MikeMc at 8:44 AM on November 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


"As near as I can tell Bobst was accused twice (1, 2) and both cases were thrown out. So accused molestor: yes. Convicted: no."

Thanks jessamyn! Yay for reference librarians!

Now edited with a quick note
posted by Blasdelb at 8:57 AM on November 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Danila, from what I recall the school was asking the mom if they should report because they were afraid the boy would be bullied and ostracized. She chose the reporting option. I didn't get that they refused to report.

I am really glad to hear Victim 1 is being lauded in the media (as should the other victims who spoke). He knew the potential consequences and came out anyway. His mom should be praised as well--we'd all hope the default would be to believe your kid and advocate them when they tell you they've been abused, but given the number of parents who don't he is lucky she's awesome.
posted by schroedinger at 9:04 AM on November 11, 2011


For those who may have missed it, yesterday's presser with interim head coach Tom Bradley. Bradley became defensive coordinator after Sandusky retired in 1999.

A whole lot of "I can't comment on that due to the ongoing investigation," but a couple of interesting nuggets:

Q. [14:50 mark] When these allegations first surfaced, were you aware that Coach Sandusky was still on campus, still had an office, still working out? And if so, what did you do about that? What was your feeling?

A. Yes I was aware of that. This was taken to a higher authority that was handling that.

Q. [23:06 mark] When you replaced Jerry Sandusky in 2000, what was your understanding of why he was leaving at the age of 55 or so?

A. Coach Sandusky got, there was a retirement package that was presented early for a lot of state employees. Coach Sandusky, he was a professor here at the university, he was on the tenure track and he had the opportunity to retire and get, I believe, his 35 years.
posted by wensink at 9:12 AM on November 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


spitbull, what the fuck is up with you . . .?

Two years ago, I was the first adult on the scene of a terrible accident. I found myself confronted with the broken, lifeless body of a nine year old boy, at least 10 minutes before emergency services would arrive, and rusty cpr skills. I couldn't save him. Later it turned out that he couldn't have been saved anyway, so I was ethically off the hook, as it were. But I've never been able to forget it. My body felt like it weighed 600 pounds and there was this screaming sound in my head as I tried to figure out what to to do that made it very hard to think. I'm an atheist, but I prayed. I wished I were anywhere else in the world. I was afraid whatever I tried would only make it worse. The 15 minutes it actually took for the ESU to arrive seemed like 15 hours.

That's what the fuck is up with me. Having been there, I judge my own response as inadequate, but knowing what I know about what goes through your head when you are confronted with a child in mortal trouble, I judge no response as pathetic. My anger at McQueary is probably just a displaced way I deal with the enduring trauma of that experience, so it's unfair I suppose. I wasn't trying to sound confrontational about it in my recent comment. It just struck me that the state of mind in which one would consider longer-term implications is incompatible with the state of mind under which one might shirk one's core ethical obligation in the face of an awful scene.

Peace.
posted by spitbull at 9:22 AM on November 11, 2011 [17 favorites]


The only way anybody's actions make any sense at all in this horrible story is if everybody already knew that there was institutional support for Sandusky, no matter what, at every step of the way. That is what I find most disturbing - McQueary's actions only make sense if he already had some knowledge that something like this was going on, and that he wouldn't be successful in fighting it because Sandusky had the unwavering support of the higher-ups. I mean, the first allegation (that we know of) was in 1998, well before McQueary saw him in the locker room. He seems to have been forced to retire after that incident, despite having been Paterno's heir apparent, and it makes sense that the reason for his unexpected retirement would be well-known by those close to the team.

The janitors all seemed to know that they would be fired if they spoke up. The police didn't even want to investigate, the media was somehow silent about all of this, and the victim's school is arguably even too cowed to do anything about it ("what might happen to your son" if it gets reported is pretty close to a threat, honestly, and not something I would expect to hear from a school charged with protecting kids). The way they fired Paterno is even bizarre; they sent him an anonymous envelope with a phone number to call, and when he called, they told him he was fired. What the hell is going on there?

Second Mile is even more fucked up, one of the most fucked up things I have ever heard - they knew about the first allegation back in 1998 and still went on to pay him $456,000 over the next 10 years to keep hanging out with little boys. The other admin people at Second Mile were also very, very well compensated for a charity. Sandusky founded Second Mile way the hell back in 1977 - god only knows what else is going to come out about those early years.

There has to be more to this story, none of these details fit together without some really high-powered support for Sandusky (and well beyond the "OMG think of the football program" stuff).
posted by dialetheia at 9:31 AM on November 11, 2011 [14 favorites]


schroedinger, I'm not saying the school didn't care about the boy or were outright refusing to report it. But they have to report it. For many children they are the first line of defense because they don't have anyone at home who can help them. Reporting abuse is not supposed to be optional and certainly the parent should not have felt any pressure not to report. That's the opposite direction from where they should have gone and I understand why she's still angry about it.
posted by Danila at 9:35 AM on November 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Joe Paterno was the highest paid employee at Penn State.

Honestly I'm surprised he's only paid 200k more than the President of the university. I'm still a Longhorn fan but I do cringe when I think about Mack Brown's $5.1 million salary. He's the highest paid public employee in Texas by a giant margin.
posted by kmz at 9:44 AM on November 11, 2011


kmz: "Joe Paterno was the highest paid employee at Penn State.

Honestly I'm surprised he's only paid 200k more than the President of the university. I'm still a Longhorn fan but I do cringe when I think about Mack Brown's $5.1 million salary. He's the highest paid public employee in Texas by a giant margin.
"

Yes, and that speaks to the fact that Joe's weight was not defined by his salary, but what he meant to the institution's branding and name recognition. He was synonymous with the football team's motto, "Success with Honor." Obviously, that's in shambles now.

But, yeah, his salary used to be a big question mark, with sports reporters breathlessly complaining about how the University used state law loopholes to avoid disclosing it. Once those loopholes were closed, and PSU was forced to report his salary, everyone was like "Oh, that's it? Really?"

In any event, Joe gave/gives so much of his wealth back to the University that it's really a red herring. So is the idea that he was able to face down his superiors back in 2004 -- Curley may have wanted a change, but a majority of the Board of Trustees didn't. If my boss's bosses still want me around, my boss probably isn't going to be able to fire me.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:56 AM on November 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


a displaced way I deal with the enduring trauma

And it is trauma -- I want to make sure I am not heard as diminishing the traumatization that can ensue from seeing some things in this world up close -- the worst element of which is persistent guilt that I didn't succeed, which is impervious to the knowledge that I couldn't have succeeded no matter what I knew or did. I still feel like a failure.

I knew the boy's family and community well. I most certainly considered closely, even in my near state of panic, how my actions would be evaluated either way the situation turned out. It is possible to be traumatized, to consider the larger implications of your actions, and to override the panic reaction through an act of will. To do so is an act of bravery as well. Perhaps characterizing the failure to act as cowardice is too much. But it is certainly a lack of bravery, and football is supposed to be a brave man's sport.

That is all I am saying.
posted by spitbull at 10:05 AM on November 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


"McQueary is a guy who once stepped in and broke up a player-related knife fight in a campus dining hall — a fight police admit could have been very ugly. But this week, he is getting blasted by the public for doing too little." *
Speaks volumes about McQueary's character and priorities.
posted by ericb at 10:07 AM on November 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


(Arsinio): You, personally, are better than pretending not to understand basic English grammar like the indefinite you.

Head coaches have primary supervisory responsibility for the football team's staff, students, and volunteers. They also have primary responsibility for enforcing university and NCAA policy. So the buck primarily rests with Paterno.

The argument that Sandusky had more rights as a retired volunteer than as a tenure-track faculty coach strikes me as just plain silly. Departments are under no obligation to accept volunteer service, much give office space, keys, and coveted access to a top-ranked football team to a volunteer caught violating the law and university policy.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 10:07 AM on November 11, 2011 [6 favorites]


The only way anybody's actions make any sense at all in this horrible story is if everybody already knew that there was institutional support for Sandusky, no matter what, at every step of the way. That is what I find most disturbing - McQueary's actions only make sense if he already had some knowledge that something like this was going on, and that he wouldn't be successful in fighting it because Sandusky had the unwavering support of the higher-ups. I mean, the first allegation (that we know of) was in 1998, well before McQueary saw him in the locker room.

It's seems to be the picture painted. When the local cops are essentially warning off complainants... it sounds like a nasty thriller or horror story where you discover the whole village is in on it.
posted by rodgerd at 10:43 AM on November 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


I want to make sure I am not heard as diminishing the traumatization that can ensue from seeing some things in this world up close

Thank you for saying this. I've been very bothered by the way you have seemed to blithely dismiss any non-physical traumatic experience as inconsequential or irrelevant, and it's good to know that that's a mistaken impression.

I think that bravery loses its value if it is the default expectation. I don't think holding people in contempt for their inability to override the panic reaction is a good way to treat those in difficult or traumatizing situations. I share your belief that it can be overcome with effort, but as someone with PTSD, I am fairly unsurprised when it's not overcome, because not overriding it is more or less the norm.

My stance on this is that McQueary may have experienced such a trauma reaction, or he may not have. We're not going to know, I don't think. If he did experience that reaction, it would explain his behavior in that moment, but it wouldn't excuse or justify it. I personally would still find him culpable for failing to act, even if action was close to impossible. But at the same time, I would be able to understand why he failed to act. I don't find those ideas to be incompatible.

His conduct over the intervening years, however, tips the scale towards moral cowardice and/or institutional corruption. I am not inclined to give him or anyone else involved the benefit of the doubt or let them off the hook due to the trauma of the situation, even as I can accept that they may have experienced real trauma themselves. I think what people are saying here, for the most part, is that trauma may -- may -- explain his failure in that moment. I don't think anyone here is saying, oh, that's all right then.
posted by Errant at 11:14 AM on November 11, 2011 [8 favorites]


ESPN: No One, It Seems, Knows Jerry Sandusky.
posted by ericb at 11:14 AM on November 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sports Illustrated: Penn State Tragedy Shows Danger Of Making Coaches False Idols.
posted by ericb at 11:16 AM on November 11, 2011


It is possible to be traumatized, to consider the larger implications of your actions, and to override the panic reaction through an act of will.

I appreciate your willingness to explain more where you're coming from. I still think you're insisting on a thing as fact that can't realistically be insisted on. This was possible for you - to act in the face of panic and uncertainty - but it is demonstrably not something that every human is capable of.

I've had a few experiences over the years where I've found myself intervening in situations that were verging on violence; all three times I found myself telling two complete strangers (different strangers all times!) to calm down or stop that or whatever. In one instance, I was suddenly stepping between two guys who looked like they were about to throw punches. I didn't think about it beforehand; it was never a conscious decision. It was pure reaction.

But I've also hesitated and agonized over whether or not to call the cops when upstairs neighbors were having giant, screaming, throwing-things fights. Sometimes it was because I couldn't quite decide if I was hearing what I thought I was hearing; sometimes it was because I wasn't sure what would happen when the cops showed up - it would be clear that I was the only person who could have called 911, and I had to live there. Sometimes I called but mostly I didn't.

I find I can't condemn McQueary for not leaping into the shower to save the kid. But in the following days, weeks, years, when it became clear that nothing would be done, and he did nothing himself - that's a different matter, and I will think poorly of him for that.
posted by rtha at 11:20 AM on November 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


In any event, Joe gave/gives so much of his wealth back to the University that it's really a red herring. So is the idea that he was able to face down his superiors back in 2004 -- Curley may have wanted a change, but a majority of the Board of Trustees didn't. If my boss's bosses still want me around, my boss probably isn't going to be able to fire me.

How is ANY of that a red herring, when it clearly indicates that Joe Paterno had exactly the kind of power that could sweep this shit under the rug? If your boss's boss likes you enough to override your firing, how exactly does that make you a powerless individual who just follows orders like a good soldier? If your fucking name is on the library where you work, how does that mean you are powerless?

Please, get real. I am not that stupid, I refuse to believe that you are either.
posted by palomar at 11:29 AM on November 11, 2011


palomar: "How is ANY of that a red herring, when it clearly indicates that Joe Paterno had exactly the kind of power that could sweep this shit under the rug? If your boss's boss likes you enough to override your firing, how exactly does that make you a powerless individual who just follows orders like a good soldier? If your fucking name is on the library where you work, how does that mean you are powerless?

Please, get real. I am not that stupid, I refuse to believe that you are either.
"

I was speaking specifically to the point that his high salary somehow reflected on his immortality, and suggesting it wasn't his salary, but his stature. So, I think we're in violent agreement.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:35 AM on November 11, 2011


So, McQueary got in the middle of a knife-fight to break it up but was paralyzed with fear or trauma or something in the shower room. I am not seeing it.
posted by mlis at 11:37 AM on November 11, 2011


What is this strange mural that Sandusky is in? Are those tentacles and a child's hand print on his knee? Very odd. The artist painted Sandusky out of the mural. Anyone know the story behind this?
posted by futz at 11:42 AM on November 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Deadspin has some info on the mural.
posted by futz at 11:50 AM on November 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Head coaches have primary supervisory responsibility for the football team's staff, students, and volunteers. They also have primary responsibility for enforcing university and NCAA policy. So the buck primarily rests with Paterno.

I'm clearly not making my point clearly so I'll step out of this derail.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 11:53 AM on November 11, 2011


Good clip of ESPN analyst Jon Ritchie, who grew up in Central Pennsylvania, played football, and knew Sandusky very well. His description of imagining how he may have reacted to the assault in the shower seems relevant to the discussion of various reactions to trauma.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:23 PM on November 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand I see ericb posted the same link earlier in the thread.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:35 PM on November 11, 2011


I feel you can pretty much be sure if you are posting a link that ericb has found it first. He's just that on top of things.
posted by Danila at 12:39 PM on November 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


WTAE: [PA Detective says] No Link Between Missing DA, Sandusky

At least that's settled.
posted by wensink at 12:45 PM on November 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


I missed it the first time around and it was illuminating, so thanks.
posted by Errant at 12:46 PM on November 11, 2011


Jane Leavy writes a powerful recollection of assault, the abuse suffered by Mickey Mantle, and the events at Penn State.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:49 PM on November 11, 2011


That's a nice find and a good read, (A)Ha(W)O.
posted by janell at 12:56 PM on November 11, 2011


BTW --Penn State is holding a press conference in a few minutes. You can watch it live here.
posted by ericb at 12:59 PM on November 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


McQueary has been placed on 'administrative leave.'
posted by ericb at 1:06 PM on November 11, 2011


NBC Philadelphia: Sandusky's House - Next to Playground - Vandalized Cinder blocks crash through a window in Jerry Sandusky’s house, which happens to be next to an elementary school and playground

posted by wensink at 1:14 PM on November 11, 2011


From the press conference: "Some individuals were afraid to make known what they might have seen."

I've frequently wondered why the word "individuals" has come to replace the word "people" in situations like this. And now it occurs to me that calling them individuals reduces group/organizational/institutional culpability ... a few bad apples, and all that.
posted by compartment at 1:18 PM on November 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


The nature of honor is such that one is required to act according to a moral obligation to others that is greater than your obligation to yourself. Even the most highly trained soldier is terrified to advance into a hail of bullets, but does so because his or her comrades are doing it as well. The ability to override panic and act honorably -- the more so when the only risk to you is social and emotional and not physical -- is something we must expect from morally educated adults, and something we work hard, or should, to instill in the moral education of children. Speaking as a man who was once a boy (and who grew up in a more sexist era), this concept of honor was an essential ideological basis for the esteem in which participation in sports of any sort was couched, usually shorthanded as learning to be "a man."

Drop the gender specificity, and the limitation of the concept to physical courage or ability, and I see nothing wrong with this standard of conduct as the basis for moral education in general.

Dishonorable conduct can sometimes be explained, when it proves impossible to override a justifiable, organic sort of fear. We understand when a soldier freaks out and turns back to leave his/her colleagues to face the bullets. It's human. You do have to be trained to run into a burning building or enemy fire, and even all the training in the world does not override a fear that is buried deep in our psychological makeup by tens of thousands of years of evolution.

But by definition it cannot be excused, in my opinion, when the risk one avoids is disproportionately minimal -- let's say, losing your job or opening yourself up to harsh criticism or losing the respect of a mentor -- by comparison to the consequences of not acting, in this case the soul death of a child, never mind the immediate physical harm being done to him.

So I'll drop "cowardice" as my characterization of McQueary's actions, or lack thereof, no matter what his motivations. And I'll substitute "dishonorable."

But I still don't understand how a grown man could walk out of that room quietly. A boy, maybe. But not a man. I never will.
posted by spitbull at 1:23 PM on November 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yes -- and the interim President is trying to separate the students and faculty from these 'individuals' and is attempting to clarify that the university is not soley defined by its football program. Problem is -- it has been defined as such for so long. Last night a MSNBC commentator said that Paterno was seen as the "King of Happy Valley" and argued that he and the University had great power and sway in the local community. The football program was/is so integral to the identity of the University and area, if not for many in the State
posted by ericb at 1:26 PM on November 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


But I still don't understand how a grown man could walk out of that room quietly.

Which fact you have made more than abundantly clear in your comments here. We get it.
posted by cortex at 1:28 PM on November 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


'Dishonorable' and 'disgraceful.'
posted by ericb at 1:28 PM on November 11, 2011


The nature of honor is such that one is required to act according to a moral obligation to others that is greater than your obligation to yourself.

Does this not mean that our entire way of life, one based on striving to make money and "get ahead" (of others) is dishonorable?

I'm not disputing what you say here, nor do I intend this as a derail. It seems like a good question, given the way in which we are all tempted to see these events as a lens through which to look at our society.
posted by mondo dentro at 1:29 PM on November 11, 2011


But I still don't understand how a grown man could walk out of that room quietly.

You should watch the video clip that ericb and I linked to above. It may not be a sufficient explanation for you, but it is an explanation.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 1:30 PM on November 11, 2011


The football program was/is so integral to the identity of the University and area, if not for many in the State.

The interesting thing is how this is most definitely not the case for the faculty, our funding agencies, the government, and industrial partners. It is merely a gloss, at best, on what we do. For me and many others, it has always been a distraction.

And I know this same disconnect occurs at all big schools that have a football "persona" and an ambitious academic inner life.
posted by mondo dentro at 1:32 PM on November 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


WTAE: [PA Detective says] No Link Between Missing DA, Sandusky

At least that's settled.

The man investigating the 2005 disappearance of a central Pennsylvania prosecutor doesn't believe it is linked to the prosecutor's 1998 decision to not file child-sex charges against former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

Still, Bellefonte police Detective Matthew Rickard tells The Associated Press he'll review how Centre County District Attorney Ray Gricar handled the 1998 allegations -- just to be thorough.


So yeah, obviously a longshot but definitely not settled.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:34 PM on November 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


George Will: The Irresistible Force Of College Football.
posted by ericb at 1:35 PM on November 11, 2011


NCAA May Look Into Sanctioning Penn State.
posted by ericb at 1:38 PM on November 11, 2011


"Which fact you have made more than abundantly clear in your comments here. We get it."

cortex, I get how spitbull's initial slew of contributions to this thread were problematic and how frustrating that must be as a mod before they left it temporarily. Though I don't see why spitbull's comments after their, imo classy and justified, return to clarify and explain their feelings should be mocked or seen as problematic at all.

I just mostly want to say thank you to spitbull for returning and sharing your experience with us.
posted by Blasdelb at 1:40 PM on November 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Does this not mean that our entire way of life, one based on striving to make money and "get ahead" (of others) is dishonorable?

Of course it is.

There has to be more to this story, none of these details fit together without some really high-powered support for Sandusky (and well beyond the "OMG think of the football program" stuff).

Yeah, that's kind of what I've settled on as well. There's no way a guy like McQueary runs home and calls his dad instead of 911 unless he knew Sandusky was untouchable.

Jon Ritchie puts the situation well, but I still think there's more to the McQueary story.

"This is just the beginning of the most horrific story in college sports."

I hate to agree, but yeah, I think this story is going to get much worse.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:47 PM on November 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Penn State Scandal: "More Victims To Come"
“The explosive scandal at Penn State that cost football coach Joe Paterno his job could turn into a long legal fight involving the alleged child sex abuse victims.

Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who has represented hundreds of victims of sexual abuse by clergymen -- and who won millions of dollars in settlements with Boston's Roman Catholic archdiocese -- said on ‘The Early Show’ more victims are bound to come forward in the Penn State case.

‘This is the tip of the sexual abuse iceberg,’ he said. ‘You have children at a very young age reporting this, but the accounts state that children have come forward over the course of 15 years. They will be coming forward for decades. Individuals who have been sexually molested have coping skills that allow them to come forward when it's time. And individuals will come forward, and (by) then they are 40, 50, 60 years old, to report this abuse. Just recently, an 86-year-old man contacted me and said he'd been carrying around abuse for 80 years, and it was time to do something about it.’

He added, ‘Once a victim comes forward, it empowers others to come forward. They feel encouraged, they feel empowered, and they feel as though they are not alone. Victims of sexual abuse feel alone. They feel like they are the only ones it happened to. They feel isolated, they feel embarrassed, they feel ashamed -- even though they shouldn't -- just like in the Catholic cases. But once one victim comes forward, they feel empowered.’

…. As for the university, Garabedian said that, in firing those allegedly close to the situation, the institution is trying to control its image.

‘It's spin control,’ he said. ‘... They want to look good. This is what institutions do in these sorts of cases. They distance themselves from all the participants, from all the supervisors who knew, from the perpetrator, and they act as though -- 'Well, we did the best we could. We got rid of everybody. And so let's move on with life. Maybe 10, 20, 30, 50 years down the line this will be fine.’

He added, ‘Penn State is talking about themselves and not talking about the victims. It's all about the victims. ... They have made it about themselves, just like the Catholic Church made it about themselves. (The victims are saying,) 'Why aren't they bringing us into the fold, why aren't they telling the truth, why aren't they having educational classes, why aren't they reaching out to us?' And they are not doing so because it's all about Penn State. And it's all about money and power. It's all about self-preservation for Penn State.’”
posted by ericb at 2:04 PM on November 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Thanks Blasdelb, and sorry cortex. I am not trying to make anyone share my view or to dominate the thread with my particular hangup here. In fact, if anything, I've changed my view (thanks for that pointer Arsenio) and tried to see McQueary as less than a monster, and to understand how a general culture of dishonorableness could produce what looks like dishonorable conduct by an individual who *thought he was doing the honorable thing at the time,* even. I do think there are moral lessons to be taken from this story that extend well beyond the immediate context, beyond situations where children are being abused, and that go to larger issues about the character of our society ("our" meaning American, sorry non-US mefites). I do think one problem with our culture (and economy) is a lack of moral honor or corresponding sense of moral obligation to do something to improve the well being of the weakest among us.

I'm not nostalgic. One can point to ways in which honor has become a deprecated concept in society, but when it was less deprecated, it was no more to be counted on. Surely, this would have all be swept more easily under the rug 20 or 40 years ago, and no doubt it was. We haven't taken childhood sexual abuse seriously -- with concepts like mandated reporting -- until just the last few decades, and there is much wrong with how seriously (but stupidly) we treat it now. While (given all I've written above) I would never propose this as an excuse for Jerry Sandusky's conduct, I think it's also clear that the agency of a child molester is complex, sometimes a product of prior abuse, sometimes of mental illness, though almost always a product of a decision to act abominably in full knowledge of the potential consequences , thus rational, thus punishable; and regardless, the safety of the community depends on making no excuses for the worst of criminals, who prey on the most innocent.

Honorable people can be corrupted by dishonorable institutions. Institutions can also warp a person's innate sense of honor to the point that unprincipled means are justified by preservationist ends and a higher obligation to the institution itself (although, as Andrew Sullivan points out today, both Penn State and the Catholic Church would have been much more institutionally rational *not* to cover up their crimes and scandals in the longer run, which, duh, but it's still a compelling point).

Anyway, I really will end up here, with apologies for over-commenting, sincerely. Some combination of factors is making this story really get to me, mostly the story I told above. I'll take my anger out by yelling at the TV screen some more instead.
posted by spitbull at 2:07 PM on November 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


But I still don't understand how a grown man could walk out of that room quietly.

As someone who has experienced sexual abuse first-hand (Catholic priest version), McQueary's behavior is not at all surprising. Stoicism aside, people do shitty things to one another all the time.

And here's the legacy: 30+ years later, in this relatively anonymous [safe] space, my heart is racing and palms sweating after making this disclosure. Private shame made public is...terrifying.
posted by wensink at 2:08 PM on November 11, 2011 [32 favorites]


I thought the Jon Ritchie bit was good. Man's been doing a lot of soul searching. Seems to have had an effect on Spitbull, which is good. Good on you.

And, wensink, to quote Team America: If there's still a world left when this is all over, I'd like to buy you a beer.
posted by Trochanter at 2:16 PM on November 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


*hugs wensink*
posted by futz at 2:20 PM on November 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Ok, now Paterno has a lawyer. Officially.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 2:28 PM on November 11, 2011




(Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates: "Ok, now Paterno has a lawyer. Officially."

Definitely the right move. Lionel Hutz would provide better representation than Scott Paterno, and even if he feels like he has no criminal liability, there's going to be an avalanche of civil litigation for years to come.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:44 PM on November 11, 2011


You know, part of me wonders what the Paterno family nest egg is looking like right now. He has been well paid over many years, but he did dump a lot of money into that library. Why wouldn't Penn State feel a duty to pay for Paterno's representation the same way they are doing for Curley and Schultz?
posted by tonycpsu at 2:47 PM on November 11, 2011


many hugs for you, wensik. You were and are innocent; all the guilt and shame should rightfully be borne by those who did this to you and those who covered it up. I believe you and I'm happy to share this site with you.
posted by KathrynT at 3:02 PM on November 11, 2011 [6 favorites]


They had the perfect opportunity for a cover-up, "thank you, Jerry, good bye, you'll get your pension at the top of the month." At any point, Sandusky could have joined the horde of higher-education retirees who clean out the office, turn in the keys, putter in the garden, and work odd jobs.

Instead, they let him keep the office and keys. They let him putter around the training room. They gave him odd jobs running youth camps and clinics. They gave him bowl tickets. And they continued doing it for over a decade.

That strikes me as very weird and exceptional. And I don't see how Sandusky could keep getting those privileges if Paterno didn't want him around.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 3:03 PM on November 11, 2011 [7 favorites]


"Why wouldn't Penn State feel a duty to pay for Paterno's representation the same way they are doing for Curley and Schultz?"

They have insurance that covers representation for employees accused of a crime related to their job, which Paterno has not yet been.
posted by Blasdelb at 3:05 PM on November 11, 2011


I know that McQueary being on the field or at the game would be a safety issue, I know that they are saying that there have been death threats, I get it. But it really pisses me off that "safety" only applies to Penn State protecting its own kind.
posted by futz at 3:22 PM on November 11, 2011




Thanks very much, folks. @Trochanter I've got the second (and third) round.
posted by wensink at 3:24 PM on November 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


Hmm. At first I assumed the threats against McQueary were from people who think he should have done more to help the victims and stop the abuse, or from disgruntled PSU fans. But after reading the Grand Jury findings (which are NSFL), and since finding out that he has whistleblower protection, I wonder if the threats might be from people who want to shut him up and keep him from testifying any more.

In their report, the Grand Jury repeatedly calls McQueary a "very credible witness," and his testimony is used as the sole basis for the failure-to-report charges against Curley and Schultz (both of whose credibilities are explicitly called into question). Really, McQueary's testimony is the linchpin in the case against Penn State's administration, because Schultz and Curley and everyone else tried to claim that they were merely told of some vague "horsing around" activity. McQueary's testimony that he told them about the rape in explicit terms is key to connecting these incidents back to the university's administration.

And if there's even a tiny grain of truth to the rumors about Sandusky using Second Mile as a way to pimp children out to wealthy donors (shudder), well... I wouldn't be too surprised if someone was threatening McQueary to shut him up. I dismissed that rumor as unbelievable at first, but given how fucking weird and unexplainable everything else in this case seems to be, I'm not so sure anymore. Dan Bernstein from CBS fuels the rumor, tweeting, "FYI: names are being x-checked w/Sandusky's Second Mile, and there are other older adult men with "curious" relationships. Only the start"

In other related news, it seems Sandusky was still recruiting for Penn State as recently as this year.
posted by dialetheia at 4:01 PM on November 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


(Ack, sorry - I couldn't figure out how to link directly to Bernstein's tweet, but here's a link that includes it)
posted by dialetheia at 4:03 PM on November 11, 2011


Apparently that kid is lying. Someone called the AD of his school and he said that the kid wasn't even recruited by Penn State at all.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 4:11 PM on November 11, 2011


This Washington Post story states that the father of the kid claimed Sandusky "attended a football camp for players of Polynesian descent in Utah last year and encouraged players to play for coach Joe Paterno". The original "recruiting" story has been updated to add:

WYFF News 4 has called and emailed Penn State to find out if Sandusky was still scouting or recruiting for Penn State recently in the Upstate. No one from the University has commented. Ah Ching’s coach, Greer High School’s Will Young, says he is not aware anyone representing Penn State attended a spring game. Ah Ching stands by his story that Sandusky was in the stands.
posted by Challahtronix at 4:30 PM on November 11, 2011


Apparently that kid is lying. Someone called the AD of his school and he said that the kid wasn't even recruited by Penn State at all.

Sure, because Sandusky wouldn't have lied to the kid to get him alone, or anything.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 4:33 PM on November 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Unless you were being sarcastic, which you might have been. I can not imagine how Sandusky's victims feel right now, because just peripherally observing this case is putting me on edge (as it seems to be for many of us in this thread who all seem to basically agree with each other, even). I truly cannot imagine what it is like to be in the eye of this hurricane while dealing with the fallout of sexual abuse.

Not trying to compare my frustrations with the coverage of this case with ANYTHING the victims are/might be/could be feeling. At all.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 4:37 PM on November 11, 2011


What? I don't even understand what you're implying.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 4:38 PM on November 11, 2011


Did Sandusky use his charity to find victims? [video].
posted by ericb at 4:40 PM on November 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm saying, given the other stuff swirling around this case, I don't think it's, like, out of the question that Sandusky lied to a young football player about the possibility of being recruited by Penn State for the express purpose of molesting the kid.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 4:41 PM on November 11, 2011


Well, I think it's preposterous to think that with his charity, resources, connections, and known victims in Centre County that Sandusky would travel to South Carolina to pursue a kid under the guise of Penn State football. It's an extraordinary claim and until someone other than the kid or his dad confirms I'm going to go on assuming it's somebody trying to get a few minutes of attention. Especially now that the kid's coach is denying the claim. Not saying it's impossible, just that it seems really really unlikely.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 4:47 PM on November 11, 2011


Snarl Furillo: "I'm saying, given the other stuff swirling around this case, I don't think it's, like, out of the question that Sandusky lied to a young football player about the possibility of being recruited by Penn State for the express purpose of molesting the kid."

I'd consider that a strong possibility, but that's quite different from working for the University in an official capacity, which is what I think of when I read "recruting for Penn State." The school certainly didn't do enough to sever ties to Sandusky, but nothing we know now suggests he was "recruiting" in any official capacity.
posted by tonycpsu at 4:48 PM on November 11, 2011


Thanks for the video, ericb. I notice they reported that there is no evidence that Second Mile knew of the 1998 allegations, but this Deadspin story points out that Wendell Courtney, the Penn State lawyer who reviewed the police reports for the 1998 incident, has also been Second Mile's lawyer for 13 years (starting before 1998).
posted by dialetheia at 4:49 PM on November 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


"It's an extraordinary claim and until someone other than the kid or his dad confirms I'm going to go on assuming it's somebody trying to get a few minutes of attention."

That is a terrible, awful, and shameful thing to say and I hope you think hard about it.

This isn't a happy kind of attention, not everywhere is as welcoming to abuse survivors as Metafilter is, and apparently even Metafilter is not as welcoming as we might hope. His claim is not that far fetched and he literally has nothing to gain but disbelief for coming forward unless he can demonstrate to a civil court that the balance of probabilities states that he was abused. I'd rather trust that civil court's judgement on the veracity of the claim than some projecting asshole on the internet and just show support and solidarity, if only because most abuse survivors find nothing but disbelief.
posted by Blasdelb at 5:06 PM on November 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


it's preposterous to think that with his charity, resources, connections, and known victims in Centre County

Not that this proves anything at all, but I think he had already been blocked from getting anywhere near the Second Mile kids by this point - this was after the Grand Jury investigation began. If anything, it makes more sense that he would look for victims farther afield once suspicion began to mount at home. The kid's father backing him up and claiming a second contact with Sandusky also makes it harder for me to dismiss his claims, but you're right, it could still be a hoax I suppose. In any event, Sandusky certainly wasn't working with Penn State at this point, and I'm sorry to have implied otherwise.

It wouldn't really surprise me in the least, though, if Sandusky was still exaggerating his connection to the university to make contact with kids. I assume all of this stuff is being investigated and we'll find out soon enough.
posted by dialetheia at 5:11 PM on November 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Are we talking about the same person? I'm talking about the kid who said he was recruited by Penn State and Sandusky came to visit him. The kid's coach was contacted and said that Penn State wasn't recruiting the kid. For Sandusky to travel to South Carolina to pursue a kid is just really far from his MO, according to the facts presented in the Grand Jury presentment. I'm not calling a single abuse victim a liar, nor would I.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 5:12 PM on November 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think that once people start calling you an asshole it's time to call it a day. So, I'm out. No offense intended to anyone in this thread. Lots of cross-talk and probably some crossed wires there.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 5:15 PM on November 11, 2011


According to their official statement, Sandusky was separated from any children-facing program or activity through Second Mile after he informed them of abuse allegations made in 2008.
posted by Errant at 5:16 PM on November 11, 2011


I'm beginning to think that Sandusky may have had some dirt on Paterno/Penn State and that ensured Paterno's and the administration's silence. This would explain a lot. The fact that Sandusky "retired" at the very young age of 55 but continued to enjoy all of the privileges of member of the AD is telling. CNN is reporting that Paterno was terse and left after a few minutes at Sandusky's retirement party. Apparently that was puzzling to many of the attendees. Whether or not this is an accurate report, I don't know.
posted by futz at 5:40 PM on November 11, 2011


futz: "I'm beginning to think that Sandusky may have had some dirt on Paterno/Penn State and that ensured Paterno's and the administration's silence. This would explain a lot. The fact that Sandusky "retired" at the very young age of 55 but continued to enjoy all of the privileges of member of the AD is telling. CNN is reporting that Paterno was terse and left after a few minutes at Sandusky's retirement party. Apparently that was puzzling to many of the attendees. Whether or not this is an accurate report, I don't know."

Yeah, now we're getting into the "reading way too much into minute details" phase. There's reason to question why Sandusky still had privileges on campus, but to try to read anything into the fact that Paterno was "terse" and left a retirement party early is silly.
posted by tonycpsu at 5:47 PM on November 11, 2011


Of course it is probably just as or more likely that the football program was just protecting its own reputation and Sandusky had no dirt.

ugh, either way.
posted by futz at 5:49 PM on November 11, 2011


He was the dirt.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:53 PM on November 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


furiousxgeorge: "He was the dirt."

Yeah, this.
posted by tonycpsu at 5:54 PM on November 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was just saying that CNN was reporting (grain of salt) that Paterno only stayed for 5 minutes at his potential successors retirement party. Obviously hearsay...
posted by futz at 5:54 PM on November 11, 2011


"He was the dirt."

I totally agree.
posted by futz at 5:56 PM on November 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's an extraordinary claim and until someone other than the kid or his dad confirms I'm going to go on assuming it's somebody trying to get a few minutes of attention. Especially now that the kid's coach is denying the claim. Not saying it's impossible, just that it seems really really unlikely.

So, I have taken a break for dinner and am now, hopefully, better able to convey my point in re: recruiting. Basically, I think the following chain of events is entirely possible:

1. Sandusky is well-known in prep and college football circles as a high-profile former DI football coach with a particular interest in disadvantaged/underprivileged kids, and an even more particular interest in disadvantaged/underprivileged athletes.
2. In that capacity, he's invited to speak at a summer football camp for underprivileged API football players, where he talks up Penn State, his long-time employer.
3. He particularly notices a talented running back, Ah Ching, and maybe says something to the kid- who is a rising junior at this point- to the tune of, "Penn State would be a great fit for you" or "You would do really well in Coach Paterno's system." Ah Ching interprets this as an unofficial recruiting overture, and Sandusky might or might not have intended it that way.
4. Sandusky is, who knows, on vacation or snowbirding or visiting his sick mother or in the hunt for more children to molest or unofficially recruiting for Penn State, or some combination therein, and swings through South Carolina, where he goes to Ah Ching's football game. He does this in the spring, when it's a recruiting violation, so he does it unofficially, either with or without Paterno's/the football program's knowledge, and he doesn't talk to the kid's coach.
5. Ah Ching, who is now in his official recruiting season, tells a reporter, "Yeah, Sandusky showed up at one of my spring games and told me Penn State was interested in me, and I might have considered Penn State before, but now I won't."

I think one of the things that is going to come out as this story continues to develop is that Sandusky was doing shit like this as recently as last year, even if he didn't assault kids in that capacity. Basically, I think it's possible, and maybe even likely, that he was acting as an unofficial recruiter for the program. Even without the abuse angle, it's potentially a recruiting violation.

Will strive to be more clear in future.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 5:56 PM on November 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


"He was the dirt."

All I was saying was that perhaps there is even more dirt to go around. The investigation is early. It was a hypothesis, not a belief chiseled on stone.
posted by futz at 6:04 PM on November 11, 2011


Of course it is probably just as or more likely that the football program was just protecting its own reputation

Doesn't this still seem like a lot of obfuscation and effort over a guy who hadn't even worked there for years, though? It doesn't seem reasonable that so many people would go to so much trouble in 2002 just to protect some vague idea of The Program, especially since Sandusky hadn't worked there since 1998. Hell, the 1998 allegation was actually pretty tame compared to the other stuff that has come out - he was basically just accused of "showering with a kid and hugging him" in that one (still ugly, but you can sort of see how they might be convinced to give him the benefit of the doubt). The prosecutor chose not to follow up because there was little evidence of conclusive wrongdoing. It makes sense that the university might not want to make a big deal of it since he was still working there, and it looks like he was pushed into retiring shortly thereafter.

But covering up the 2002 incident makes no sense at all in that context. Why would they cover for him at that point? There wouldn't have been much blowback over the 1998 incident - the DA chose not to pursue that, not the university; they ostensibly did the right thing when it happened in 98. And he wasn't even with the program then. So why the kid-gloves treatment in that case? I guess it might make sense if there was even more extensive knowledge of his abuse than has been detailed to the Grand Jury, and there were other incidents involving Sandusky that they wanted to cover up - but I can't wrap my head around why the university would have covered up the 2002 incident when they wouldn't really have that much to lose by reporting it.

Anyway, I have no idea what other reasons they might have had to cover all of this up, but I think it's interesting to note that Paterno's personal affection for Sandusky didn't appear to be one of those reasons (so thanks for posting that, futz!).
posted by dialetheia at 6:09 PM on November 11, 2011


The terse visit at the retirement part would be consistent with the idea that Paterno knew something about Sandusky.
posted by drezdn at 6:10 PM on November 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


The estimable Marcy Wheeler of Firedoglake has been covering this, and has posted an interesting analysis of the grand jury presentment. It's a bit heavy on speculative scenarios, but she's a wizard when it comes to untangling these things so I think it's worth reading.
posted by tonycpsu at 6:11 PM on November 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


drezdn: "The terse visit at the retirement part would be consistent with the idea that Paterno knew something about Sandusky."

futz's insinuation was that Sandusky may have known something about Paterno. It's quite likely Paterno knew something about Sandusky, but we don't really know how much he knew at this point.
posted by tonycpsu at 6:15 PM on November 11, 2011


It's an extraordinary claim and until someone other than the kid or his dad confirms I'm going to go on assuming it's somebody trying to get a few minutes of attention.

Good lord. I'll add my impression that the above is an astonishingly horrid and stupid thing to say. Sandusky's *entire* mode of operating was using football connections to fuck young boys. To state in public that you think a young boy who's now coming forward is making shit up to get attention, based on....NOTHING is truly disgusting.

I have no idea what the person who posted it thinks he's trying to accomplish in this thread, but am happy to see him realize he needs to take a break.
posted by mediareport at 6:17 PM on November 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Oh, and since we're apparently all about fact-checking, this:

McQueary in protective custody.

is not the case at all. I assume Arsenio's link has been updated since he saw and posted it, but someone should note that he was apparently trying to make a joke when he told his players he was in protective custody:

When players asked, "Coach, where are you? Can we see you?" McQueary responded, “No, I'm actually in protective custody. I'm not in State College.”

However, several hours later, Sports Information Director Jeff Nelson said that McQueary was not in protective custody - that his characterization was not true, raising the prospect that it was an attempt at black humor that fell flat. The players did not get the joke and were still shaken by the comment when the call ended.

posted by mediareport at 6:24 PM on November 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


tonycpsu's linkd to Marcy Wheeler's speculation about how the Grand Jury found out about each of the victims is very much worth reading. Thanks, tonycpsu.
posted by mediareport at 6:32 PM on November 11, 2011


The kid you are talking about is not claiming that he was assaulted, abused, or otherwise taken advantage of. He's not even saying that he had much of a conversation with Sandusky or that he spent all that much time with him. All he's said is that he met Sandusky at a football camp and then later Sandusky came to one of his football games and talked to him for a bit. That is literally all that he's said. If you think it's morally reprehensible to suspect that someone might be lying about someone else going to a football game, that's ok, but I think your meter's a little off, perhaps understandably so.

The original news report reads like one of those local news "here's a local connection to the big news story". The entire purpose of that article is to highlight a local football player who was thinking about going to Penn State and is now not thinking about going to Penn State. That's all they're about, at this point. It's just an anecdote meant to illustrate that the college might suffer in admissions next year(no shit). Might Sandusky have had abusive plans for Ching? Sure, he might have, obviously there's no reason not to suspect that. But Ching's not claiming that anything like that happened, at least not at the moment.

There's a big leap between doubting the story of a kid who says he met Sandusky a couple times at public events and doubting the story of someone who claims to have been abused by him, and no one's doing the latter. I don't see any reason to doubt Ching's story, but your outrage over someone doing so is all out of proportion.

Here's Adam Ah Ching's latest tweet: "Just got interviewed by Wyff4 im gonna be on the news #hellyeah". The idea that the person who wrote that tweet might be lying or exaggerating to get attention is not reprehensible or disgusting or all that far-fetched, even though I don't think he is. (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates is not the bad guy here, and there are already plenty of real villains to go around.
posted by Errant at 6:49 PM on November 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Back to make a final statement to try to clarify what I was saying earlier. First of all, I have no idea where mediareport or Blasdelb got the impression that I was questioning anybody's testimony or claim that they were abused by Sandusky. I agree that that would be strange and reprehensible. Again, though, not really sure how you took any of my comments and deduced that that was what I was doing.

What I was doing was questioning the claim made by a kid in South Carolina that he was recruited by Penn State, who sent Sandusky as a proxy. First of all, it's a rite of passage for high school athletes to lie about being recruited by big time programs. This happens all the time. Harmless stuff, mostly - kids trying to sound bigger than their britches. But second of all, it would be insane for Penn State to send Sandusky on a recruiting trip because a) it would have violated NCAA recruiting regulations and b) this guy is a retired coach who many on staff knew to be a child molester. Now, if we consider simply that Sandusky was pursuing this kid as a target, then I would also find that extremely odd. From the limited bit of knowledge that we have, Sandusky's sphere of influence was central Pennsylvania. He groomed kids for months and years before initiating sexual contact. So going to see a football player he liked with the hope of molesting him later? Holding camps in Utah and visiting kids in South Carolina? It doesn't line up with anything we've read about the guy. Granted, perhaps later in life he changed his tactics and became more aggressive in his pursuits, but it seems as though most serial molesters find a pattern and stick with it. And finally, the fact that the kid's own football coach doesn't have any idea about Penn State coming to recruit the kid makes me even more suspect.

I thank Snarl Furrilo for laying out what he/she considers to be a potentially plausible case for how it all lines up. I'm still not completely seeing it, but that doesn't mean it's out of the realm of possibility. If it is indeed the case that Sandusky was traveling to South Carolina to meet possible victims, and was doing so under the auspices of Penn State, then I think that's an enormously important new angle to this story. In addition to altering the known behavior of Sandusky, that information would clearly put this case on a federal level (someone mentioned above the Alamo Bowl and, yes, there is a federal investigation currently ongoing).

I probably shouldn't have used "preposterous" in my first comment - that was too far. But I stand by "extraordinary" as a way to describe the likelihood of this guy getting recruited by either Penn State or Sandusky. And if I'm wrong, I'm wrong. This should be really easy to figure out and I'm sure we'll know in the morning whether the story holds up or not. As offended as you might be at my statement, I'll be equally offended if it turns out that this kid is using the tragedy for to garner a few lulz among friends.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 6:56 PM on November 11, 2011


I guess it might make sense if there was even more extensive knowledge of his abuse than has been detailed to the Grand Jury, and there were other incidents involving Sandusky that they wanted to cover up - but I can't wrap my head around why the university would have covered up the 2002 incident when they wouldn't really have that much to lose by reporting it.

A lot of thoughts going through my head but ultimately I think it always comes back to football and money. It's hard to exaggerate just how important Penn State football is to that region. Very powerful people care very, very much. So I want to know what was happening football-wise when McQueary walked in on Sandusky raping a child.

In March 2002 the Nittany Lions were coming off of back-to-back losing seasons - after having experienced only one losing season in all of Paterno's tenure, and that one many years prior. That's also two seasons with no Bowl appearances (huge money-makers). I have to wonder how much pressure was on the program and on the school at that point. They went on to have a winning season, and then back-to-back losers again. After those seasons we know President Spanier tried to force Paterno out but was unsuccessful. That might not have been the angle they took in 2002 but there had to be intense pressure because as goes the team, so goes Happy Valley.

Just the uncertainty of it all would make Sandusky and his "problems" highly unwelcome if made public, or so I speculate. It would be highly inconvenient for that kind of scandal to arise just when the future of the program is shaky. That might play into what they had to lose by letting this come to light.

And again, I think it is obvious that Sandusky as molestor was well-known in at least some circles at that time. So it's not like it was necessarily a shock to those who tried to bury it. They also had experience burying the Sandusky problem because they had done it before, four years earlier when everyone expected Paterno to retire.

Another thing is just how important Sandusky was to Penn State. He wasn't just some retired employee who didn't matter. He was second only to Paterno during the glory years. He was Paterno's "annointed successor". He was part of the program for decades. I don't quite know how it works in college football but in pro football the defensive coordinator is almost as important as the head coach and is very well known. These allegations would never have been a minor issue for the school and the football program.

I think maybe it comes down to control; it always comes down to control when you're dealing with powerful people and powerful pressure. Early 2002 was not a great time for the football program and may likewise not have been a great time for the school or Happy Valley in general. There was already a loss of control due to the circumstances and Sandusky might have been too much. They were always trying to control the situation and one grad assistant seeing something he shouldn't have seen is not enough to let that go.
posted by Danila at 7:15 PM on November 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


Regarding the victim timeline, it seems obvious to me that investigators found out about Victim 2 because of McQueary. All of McQueary's superiors played dumb or lied about their knowledge of the victim and Sandusky, and two of them are now up for perjury over that testimony, so it seems fairly clear that none of them willingly brought that situation up.

I would guess that as word got out about the investigation, McQueary volunteered the information. Guilty conscience, maybe. Or maybe a mix of that and the birth of his first kid (she's be 2 now--so she'd have been born as the investigation was kicking off)?
posted by schroedinger at 8:02 PM on November 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


What the hell happened to this guy that he could do these things and live with himself?

Was he born broken? Did somebody or something break him? Is he really human? How could he do this? How could he bring this horror to the most innocent, vulnerable and trusting members of our species?

My God, I'm literally sick. What of these boys? These victims? What can we do to comfort them now that human contact has been betrayed? How can they ever trust again? Are they broken too? Is this what they have come to expect from us?

I'm so sad and sickened by this. I'm so fucking angry.

If I lash out at you in anger, please understand that it has nothing to do with you. It's this part of the human condition that I just can't accept. If you lash out at me, I'll try to do the same.

But goddammit, this really sucks. I'm really pissed off.
posted by stubby phillips at 8:15 PM on November 11, 2011


Don't most pedophiles stick to their preferred age group? Going after a high school kid seems out of character for someone who'd previously assaulted 10 year olds. not impossible by any means, just seems odd.
posted by desjardins at 9:22 PM on November 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


So I lived with a pedophile for a year. Obviously, I didn't know at the time that he was raping my best friend's little brother on the regular. No one did. What's worse is that he saved my life by taking me in when I had nowhere else to go and was committed to living on the street. I think he's obviated that debt.

The thing is, he was a really nice guy. I considered him a friend and an ally. In our group of friends, he was a mentor of sorts, or at least a friendly adult face.

He was carrying on an irregular sexual relationship with a bisexual friend of mine. We all knew about it, it wasn't a secret. It was a little weird that he was fucking an 18 year old, especially my friend who was bipolar and kind of crazy, but they were both cool so it was fine.

But my friend was the crazy one. DT was the rock solid adult. So when my friend told us that he had been raped, we didn't believe him. It was obviously a story he was telling because they'd had a fight or broken up or whatever. We stopped being his friend for a while. I'm never going to make amends for that.

DT came on to me once, late at night and high on painkillers. We were talking about sex, as we often did. This time it was more specific, more explicit. We were in his room and he was lying in bed from the pain of whatever. In the darkness, I saw him moving under the covers, and I'm pretty sure he was masturbating or about to. I got out of there. The next day, we were back to normal, and we didn't speak of it again. I chalked it up to the drugs.

So when I was in the police station, giving my deposition, I told them I didn't know anything. I felt so helpless, there being questioned, because I didn't know anything and I only had a vague uneasy feeling. I didn't know that my friend was being raped 30 feet from my door, by the man who saved my life. I didn't know. But fuck me, I should have.

As for my friend? He's an inveterate alcoholic, grimly bent on drinking himself to death. His mother, having lost one son to suicide already, has committed herself to saving this one. I hope she wins. I'm not sure she will. That's what it does, sometimes. It's always different.

Anyway. I've gone on long enough, and I want a drink. The victims are destroyed, sometimes forever. The bystanders are rendered accomplice by ignorance. I lived with this dude for a year, and I was as close to him as I could be. What makes someone do something like this? I have no fucking idea.
posted by Errant at 9:24 PM on November 11, 2011 [13 favorites]


Friday night's candlelight vigil.
posted by dhens at 9:58 PM on November 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Spencer Hall: You never know these things at the time. Like many of those capable of the unthinkable, Sandusky was a pillar of the community: a football coach, a mentor, a father of six, and the founder of a charity that may have done great good in the community. Unsticking that figure from the community and replacing it with someone capable of real monstrosity will never, ever be complete. There will always be the memory of the former, the unsullied, the framework of the person not completely annihilated by the horror of the present. Not him, you'll think. Not Jerry.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:37 PM on November 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Joe Paterno and the Law.
A pretty detailed summary of the legal issues, potential arguments/counterarguments, etc.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:04 PM on November 11, 2011


I lived with this dude for a year, and I was as close to him as I could be. What makes someone do something like this? I have no fucking idea.

My son is five. Ever since the news broke, both my husband and I have continued to make a point to tell him - over and over again - how he can always tell us anything, and how no one is allowed to touch him in ways that make him uncomfortable. And then we hug him.

I'm sure he thinks we're nuts. I just hope that some of it sticks. I wish I could sort out a way to set in his mind the idea that he can scream and he can run and he can put up a fight ... and that, most of all, that we will always believe him and always protect him. But at five, I can't quite sort out how to do that without scaring him half to death.
posted by anastasiav at 11:11 PM on November 11, 2011


I'm not a parent and I probably won't be. But I think you prove to your kids that they can tell you about the big stuff by believing them about the little stuff. Even when they're in flights of fancy, go with them. Don't tell them they're wrong until you have to, and then explain as best you can the aberration of discord. As much as having children is a journey, they are on a journey of their own, and the more you accompany them, the more trust they'll have. But, like I said, I'm not a parent, so I don't know.
posted by Errant at 12:33 AM on November 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


(Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates, if I were you and I was still wondering why so many folks got so upset I'd reread that first comment of yours on the topic a couple more times.
posted by Blasdelb at 2:30 AM on November 12, 2011


The guy's own athletic director is calling him a liar in public. The way you and mediareport have treated (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates is, in my opinion, completely out of proportion to any comment he's made, including the one you linked, and though I doubt he needs it, I think you owe him an apology. You have treated him like he was excusing child abuse or implicitly calling for the silence of victims. Far from anything he's said being repugnant, I think the way you are both insulting him without justification is abhorrent.
posted by Errant at 4:40 AM on November 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


The kid you are talking about is not claiming that he was assaulted, abused, or otherwise taken advantage of.

I definitely apologize for rushing in anger. I had a last straw moment and picked the wrong last straw without paying attention; I still have no idea what some folks think they're doing in this thread, but I was wrong in thinking one of them was calling an abused kid a liar. Again, I apologize for that.
posted by mediareport at 4:54 AM on November 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


The victims are destroyed, sometimes forever.

There is a seriously elevated risk of suicide in people who've been victims of sexual assault. It's higher when the assault is repeated over a long period of time. Throw in the football and media circus around this one and it's a good bet one or more of the almost-certain-to-increase number of victims will attempt suicide in years to come. Given the time frame, I'd be suprised if one or more haven't tried already.
posted by mediareport at 5:02 AM on November 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


The criminal allegations against Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State assistant football coach accused of sexually abusing young boys, have prompted questions about what officials at Penn State knew and when.

But the public’s access to e-mails, phone records and other potentially critical evidence is restricted because Penn State has a special exemption from having to disclose a host of information that state agencies and many other state universities are forced to divulge under Pennsylvania’s Right to Know Law.

posted by futz at 5:31 AM on November 12, 2011


The victims are destroyed, sometimes forever.

I don't want to go into a lot of detail here (and I have told my story at least twice on MetaFilter) but I am living proof that not all sexual abuse victims are destroyed. I was raped repeatedly as a 5 year old, disassociated myself from "her" (the victim) kept my secret for 20 years and came out just fine. So it is not inevitable that all abused children are destroyed. Look around you. A lot of folks you know have probably been sexually abused and you never even suspected it.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:38 AM on November 12, 2011 [9 favorites]


Yeah, I mean, I'm proof of that. I'm just fine.

Right?

The debate over whether abuse destroys people or not is a frustrating one to me, because dammit it sure does destroy some people and dammit I would like for their humanity to be honored. When people say, "Hey, it happened to me, I'm fine, you can be fine too with the right intent and the right actions!" it really ignores the huge variablity of what kinds of support the person had BEFORE the abusive experience, how long and what actually happened during the abuse, what kind of other supportive or harmful factors happened in their lives-- how sensitive their biological system was already made up to be to have deep emotions in response to the environment. On and on.

I dislike when it turns into a matter. But here's the deal, why should we make a decision about whether it does or doesn't destroy people? And what is destroyed? Most everyone I know has been altered by their experiences. Most everyone is coping with something. Some of us there are too may negtives that happen at just the wrong times and in just the wrong ways and not even good things to carry us through and we aren't ever able to recover from some of that.

Like if I hadn't been dissociating for two years I don't think I would have had the temperoparietal abnormalities in brain functioning and siezure patterns, and if my mother hadn't been dissociating her whole childhood I don't think she or I would have the same memory problems. Severe crippling memory problems. I can't remember what I'm doing, where anything is, where I'm supposed to be, what day is it?

My point is that abuse sucks, it does tend to alter brain functioning permanently from all that I've read, and that can turn out to be alteration that makes it really difficult to function, or it can turn out not to ruin everything. I was also exposed to prenatal drug use and that a similar thing. Some kids come out obviously drug addicted and biologically altered by the exposure, some kids come out looking fine and behave ok but have immune system problems and later emotional problems. So who knows, what the crap made everything suck but I have spend a lot of time around people broken by child abuse and life who can never hold jobs and are so behaviorally and emotionally altered they can never have normal relationships that last or feel like they make it. Sometimes they DO, and sometimes they do and then everything falls apart again.

I guess my point is, there are people who life has really deeply broken. I believe that we can and should find better ways to support them while honoring who they are and what they've been through. (I.e. not pressuming that turning people with deep pain into magically the same as everyone else is the goal for everyone. Pressuming that if people need extra support on an ongoing basis we should try to provide it etc.)

Some people deal with things in their own way and are fortunate that they can find ways to feel good and have fun and be ok. I think the ability to work and have relationships is what makes or breaks it for a lot of people. If you can't manage to make it through the days at work, everything IS fucked.

Sorry this is long. When I was in highschool I basically lived with a bunch of broken people, couch surfing, drug users, etc. I later worked on the same street doing outreach with homeless young adults. Some of the same people were still there and I still love them and I will scream to eternity that for many it is not their fault, even if their behaviors themselves are part of the problem, they are doing all they can to hold on to life and it doesn't look pretty to anyone else, but I understand. I simultaneously have hope for everyone that exists and will defend to anyone the people who fall. Sometimes this world breaks down good strong people. With will and intentions to survive and love and fight to be every bit as strong as anyone elses.

But, you know, being broken isn't always so bad. Sometimes you can find ways to have good times even when everything is broken. Maybe you can't hold a job or get through school, but you can team up with others and laugh and there are all kinds of nice drugs out there to make the days better. Or if you can manage to find a job where they understand you're weird and manage to pay rent then you know, you can be and stuff. And maybe normal people won't ever like you, but you know. Doesn't mean you can't have fun with other broken weird people? If you can find them, and they aren't so broken they act out the abusive thoughts/behaviors that linger within them. Which is quite common in my experience. Sigh.
posted by xarnop at 7:10 AM on November 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh to be clear Secret Life of Gravy, I both agree with your statement and did not think you were saying, ""Hey, it happened to me, I'm fine, you can be fine too with the right intent and the right actions!"

I've just seen these kinds of conversations go that way, so I was pointing out that really deciding for someone else whether they will be ruined is not entirely fair. Let's let people decide what they feel about their experiences and if they are falling apart, help them: instead of marking them as damaged goods and then avoiding them forever.
posted by xarnop at 7:14 AM on November 12, 2011


Xarnop, I'm pretty sure that no one here is saying "Abused kids are always/can always be just fine." What I was seeing is this idea that if you were abused as a child you are always "broken" beyond repair. In fact my beloved husband was just saying something to that effect when we were talking about this case-- "How do you ever get over something so horrible; these kids are ruined for life." And I had to gently remind him that I am not ruined.

Which is not to say that abuse is ever forgivable or that those who kept silent should feel any less guilty.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:36 AM on November 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


mediareport, thank you for the apology. I totally get that in an emotional thread like this, it can be easy to draw a hasty conclusion or misinterpret a comment. And of course it doesn't help when a member who is loaded for bear goes double-barrel on someone for no good reason. So, I get that it happens and I appreciate the fact that you're backing off your earlier comments. Anyway, for those who are interested, a local reporter in Charleston is trying to track down the veracity of the allegation. He is updating what he finds here. And another article: Report That Sandusky Was Still Recruiting For Penn State Appears To Be False.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:25 AM on November 12, 2011


"Our source with the All-Poly Camp was dismayed that the football camp was being dragged into this ongoing scandal and wondered if Ah Ching and his father Otto were using Penn State's troubles to get attention."
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:32 AM on November 12, 2011


I’m usually appalled at the protectiveness I find in the behavior of typical parents. I’d long thought we’d overemphasized statistically rare threats and had reached a point where we’re actually doing harm to our kids. Stifling their curiosity with our requirement to remain near by and under constant direct supervision. That wasn’t how I grew up and I didn’t want to raise my kids that way.

From a completely academic perspective, a scholar and an acquaintance of mine here on campus, Philip Jenkins (his book) has done quite a bit of work on moral panics, specifically those involving pedophiles. He had me convinced that our reaction to the risk of pedophilia was way out of proportion to the actual statistical risk they pose.

So when I did eventually become a parent myself, I approached this issue from what is now called the free-range kid movement. I have allowed my kids to play outside, by them selves, since they were five. Of course we live in the country, where homes aren’t particularly close together. When we’re at the park, I watch them, but go out of my way to do it clandestinely. I wanted to let them be kids. To have fun, and climb, and break things, and smear, and investigate, and learn. And they have. But maybe I was wrong.

Friends of ours, like-thinking parents who also sent their kids to the same crunchy child care co-operative we did, live in the same neighborhood as Jerry Sandusky. We assume he’s home because he’s out on bond. I don’t think he’s supposed to be traveling. His home also overlooks an elementary school, which our friend’s children attend. The elementary school has issued a statement that they are aware of his proximity and have increased security.

The students showed up en masse for a vigil for the victims last night, and the stadium is currently receiving bomb threats. For football? All of this, for a stupid game. I got an email from the library stating that for the time being, when asked, tell people we are not changing the library's name. But the sign came down off the Gary Schulz Child Care Center on Wednesday. We’re painting Sandusky out of our history. And yet there he sits, in his house, next to our elementary school.

May this never happen to your community.
posted by Toekneesan at 8:38 AM on November 12, 2011 [7 favorites]


So when I did eventually become a parent myself, I approached this issue from what is now called the free-range kid movement. I have allowed my kids to play outside, by them selves, since they were five. Of course we live in the country, where homes aren’t particularly close together. When we’re at the park, I watch them, but go out of my way to do it clandestinely. I wanted to let them be kids. To have fun, and climb, and break things, and smear, and investigate, and learn. And they have. But maybe I was wrong.

I don't think you were. We are, collectively, terrified of the wrong thing: that rare stranger who comes along and snatches your kid from the front yard. It's not that this never happens, but it doesn't happen anywhere near as much as everyone seems to think it does. It is much, much more likely that if a kid is going to be abused or molested, it will be by someone the family knows and trusts. This is something that we don't want to believe can happen, and so we kind of pretend it doesn't. This mindset is part of what leads to things like this, at PSU, and the Catholic Church.
posted by rtha at 9:04 AM on November 12, 2011 [11 favorites]


Secret Life of Gravy, xarnop, I apologize for generalizing more broadly than I should have. I'm in no way an expert, but I have known many survivors (my preferred term) of sexual abuse, and, yes, some of them are mostly ok, and, yes, it's far more common than is usually discussed. What I meant to say is that it is obviously a terrible injury that, for some people, is impossible to overcome. I did not mean to say that survivors are broken irreparably nor that abuse should or will irretrievably define their future life, and I certainly apologize for that or any similar implication. I was more florid than I should have been.
posted by Errant at 9:06 AM on November 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


I have the Penn State-Nebraska game on now, btw. It's incredibly surreal. (ESPN for those who have that.)
posted by rtha at 9:07 AM on November 12, 2011


Fwiw (A)H&(W)O, waking up, I'm sorry too. I couldn't figure out what you could be replying to up-thread and only saw someone calling a kid an attention seeking liar in a child abuse thread. I now wish I had made the connection to the recruiting story.

I couldn't figure out who you could possibly be talking about if it wasn't Victim 1 with a garbled biographical detail and some school official who hadn't read the grand jury report. I had read the WYFF story separately from the thread, didn't remember that the kid was in SC, and didn't think it could relate because that kid wasn't alleging that Paterno was seeking him for anything other than football and the recruiting story didn't relate to Sandusky's MO in the slightest.

The story reads like a kid who didn't think that the reporter he was machismoing at might turn him into national news, was shocked by the response, and dug in. It really is an incredibly thin article that didn't mean anything before it was published and wouldn't mean anything if it wern't for internet obsessives like us. I'm still not sure that it is especially appropriate to pile onto Ah Ching with strong language if only because the victims who haven't come forward yet, who have likely been hiding in fear of reactions like that for up to or at least half their lives, are more important than he is.
posted by Blasdelb at 9:28 AM on November 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's incredibly surreal. (ESPN for those who have that.)

Like the row of shirtless men with "Support the Kids" written on their chest?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:31 AM on November 12, 2011


I have the Penn State-Nebraska game on now, btw. It's incredibly surreal. (ESPN for those who have that.)

Ditto. The surreality comes from how it's all going on completely as usual.

I'm 50% waiting for someone to self-immolate on the field in protest, 50% expecting the team to unexpectedly do the right thing and forfeit partway through, and 75% expecting them to be selfish babies and pretend no one was raped and how dare anyone ask them to give up their right to throw a ball around.

And 90% waiting for some player or another to give a post-game interview whining about how this has ruined their senior day wahhhh.
posted by badgermushroomSNAKE at 9:32 AM on November 12, 2011


Blasdelb, no worries. Crossed wires. It happens.

I'm still not sure that it is especially appropriate to pile onto Ah Ching with strong language if only because the victims who haven't come forward yet, who have likely been hiding in fear of reactions like that for up to or at least half their lives, are more important than he is.

Well, opinions differ I guess, but I think it's appropriate to use very, very strong language to let people know that lying about this case to garner personal attention is a very, very irresponsible thing to do for exactly the reason you mention.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 9:36 AM on November 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


The public tears have been shed and shown. Now, back to the snark. From Deadspin, Lee Corso Asks "Where’s That Little Kid" As ESPN Gameday Cuts To Penn State Huddle
posted by wensink at 9:44 AM on November 12, 2011


badgermushroomSNAKE: "Ditto. The surreality comes from how it's all going on completely as usual. "

And canceling the game (or the season, or tearing down Beaver Stadium entirely) would do what, exactly?
posted by tonycpsu at 10:30 AM on November 12, 2011


Like the row of shirtless men with "Support the Kids" written on their chest?

Yeah, that does look weird, especially if you're not familiar with some of the traditions of Penn State. "For the Kids" is a reference to THON, the world's largest student-run philanthropy event. It's a big thing here - the students gear up for it all year round.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 10:44 AM on November 12, 2011


I just caught part of an ad where the interim president was talking: he said that this was a terrible thing that's happened somethingsomethingsomething and it was time to move forward and rebuild their honor somethingsomething.

Time to move forward? Fuck you.
posted by rtha at 10:58 AM on November 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


rtha: "I just caught part of an ad where the interim president was talking: he said that this was a terrible thing that's happened somethingsomethingsomething and it was time to move forward and rebuild their honor somethingsomething.

Time to move forward? Fuck you.
"

Would you prefer they moved backward to the part where they were covering up for a criminal child rapist?
posted by tonycpsu at 11:03 AM on November 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


And canceling the game (or the season, or tearing down Beaver Stadium entirely) would do what, exactly?


To me? It would be an acknowledgement of the magnitude of the failure of the team's leaders, athletic program, and university to protect children. And that's the job of the university, to make young people better. I honestly can't believe they're playing today.

If I were Nebraska, ESPN, or any of the sponsors or advertisers, I would want nothing to do with it.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 11:04 AM on November 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


These Premises Are Alarmed: "To me? It would be an acknowledgement of the magnitude of the failure of the team's leaders, athletic program, and university to protect children. And that's the job of the university, to make young people better. I honestly can't believe they're playing today."

I see the focus on whether the game is played or not as a contraposition of the same faulty logic that drove those who participated in the cover-up. A game is just a game, and that's as true now as it was then.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:11 AM on November 12, 2011




If it's "just a game", then what's the big loss of canceling it?
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 11:20 AM on November 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


These Premises Are Alarmed: "If it's "just a game", then what's the big loss of canceling it?"

There isn't, really. There's some financial loss to both schools, the NCAA, etc. but nothing I'd lose any sleep over.

My only wishes relevant to this situation are to see justice brought to Sandusky and those who allowed this to happen, and to clean out anyone who participated in the cover-up. Whether today's game is played or not has no bearing on either of those outcomes.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:25 AM on November 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


As difficult as it would have been considering all of the money involved, I think that PSU should have taken the high road and cancelled the rest of the season.
As it stands they are, quite literally, in a no-win situation. The team is nowhere near as good as the record suggests, and they are likely to lose the three remaining games anyway. Cancelling would have sent the only message that really matters, which is that the magnitude of this tragedy far outweighs any concerns for the football program.
this will naturally engender a lot of boo hoo what about the athletes who had nothing to do with this, but my answer to that is that guess what, that's life, and sometimes shitty things happen and it doesn't turn out the way you planned. it's an excellent lesson for everyone at penn state to learn this week. far better than the rather thin 'it's time to heal, time to move on' rhetoric that we've heard today.
I'm a lifelong Penn State football fan. grew up in harrisburg. i've followed this story closely, and can't believe what i am seeing and hearing.
posted by OHenryPacey at 11:29 AM on November 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


Would you prefer they moved backward to the part where they were covering up for a criminal child rapist?

Of course not. But in our current cultural discourse, "moving forward" always seems to mean "Can we just stop talking about this already? We said we're sorry, so please STFU about it already." Maybe that's not what he meant, but whichever PR person put that statement together was tone-deaf, in my opinion, in using that phrasing.

The best way for them to "move forward" is to be as transparent and forthcoming as possible in their assessment of the failings and shortcomings that allowed this to happen over so many years.

This discussion has gone really pretty well; even when people have had misunderstandings and hurled unfortunate words at each other, we have apologized to one another when it became clear that there was a misunderstanding. I think your sarcasm is unhelpful and unnecessary.
posted by rtha at 11:29 AM on November 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's certainly not "time to move forward" when just about everyone agrees that there's more to learn in the coming days and when so many questions are still unanswered. We're not metaphorically going anywhere for a while yet.
posted by Errant at 11:36 AM on November 12, 2011


rtha: "Of course not. But in our current cultural discourse, "moving forward" always seems to mean "Can we just stop talking about this already? We said we're sorry, so please STFU about it already." Maybe that's not what he meant, but whichever PR person put that statement together was tone-deaf, in my opinion, in using that phrasing.
"

In context, his actual phrasing:
"Although we cannot go back to business as usual, our university must move forward."
That's an acknowledgement that they've made significant mistakes, and rather than dwelling on them, they want to right those wrongs, and move forward. The only way to interpret it otherwise is if you (a) redact the first part of it with "blah"s as you did, and (b) doubt the sincerity of his words when he expresses sorrow for the victims and a desire to correct the mistakes.

As for the sarcasm, I was reacting to what I perceived as dishonest cherry-picking and redaction of Erickson's statement to fit your narrative. That's no excuse, though, and I will try to curb it as we move forward in this discussion. *wink*
posted by tonycpsu at 11:40 AM on November 12, 2011


I redacted the statement because, as I hope I made clear, I only caught part of it. I am perhaps overly wary of the motives of people who use phrases like "move forward," because based on my experience, it has generally meant "please stop talking about this." If I'd written his statement, I would have put greater emphasis on "we are serious as shit about breaking down what broke down so this never, ever happens again, because we are horribly ashamed that this happened and we let it."
posted by rtha at 11:45 AM on November 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


And canceling the game (or the season, or tearing down Beaver Stadium entirely) would do what, exactly?

Cancelling the game would be an acknowledgement that the team had been propped up and profited off by, for years, a corrupt system which cannot be allowed to continue profiting. It would have been an acknowledgement that the players were sickened by the use of their team to protect a rapist and could not stomach being trotted out today when they don't know who else on their staff knew about these abuses. Or even just an acknowledgement that it twists a knife in the gut of every victim to see the team pretending nothing happened and taking their (possible, though not likely at this point) win and "celebrating" it if it happens.

But frankly, when I said I was disgusted that the game went on "completely as usual"? I would have been comforted to see a thirty-second apology statement read. I would have been comforted to see the coaching staff wearing black, or students holding up "we're sorry" signs. I would have been comforted by seeing even one player look sickened to be back on that field, rather than elated. Cancelling the game was not the only possible method of acknowledgement here, though it may well have been the most powerful.
posted by badgermushroomSNAKE at 11:47 AM on November 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


USA Today - Sandusky's Neighbor Fears for Safety

"When they started rioting downtown it's like 'Oh God, what if they direct this anger toward Jerry?' " he said. "Are they going to come here?"

Kletchka said his neighbors, who he spoke with on occasion and would see at neighborhood gatherings, have "gone about their usual routine" since the charges were filed. He hasn't spoken with them since.

As the allegations continue, Sandusky's lawyer has said his client is innocent.

The Sandusky's vehicles remain in the two-car garage, their backyard patio furniture is strapped down under tarps in preparation for the winter and the "Be still and know that I am God" sticker still clings to their garage door. Stickers promoting home security systems are on the front door and the wooden "Welcome" sign has the words "The Sanduskys" brushed inside of a heart.

posted by wensink at 12:02 PM on November 12, 2011




OHenryPacey: "Cancelling would have sent the only message that really matters, which is that the magnitude of this tragedy far outweighs any concerns for the football program."

My point is that there's no relationship between the magnitude of the tragedy and the concerns for the football program, and that we should, as a society, be able to keep our focus on the tragedy while at the same time letting some kids who weren't part of that tragedy play a football game.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:36 PM on November 12, 2011


Yeah, that didn't come out right at all. I mean that there's no relationship between the magnitude of the tragedy and the concerns of the football program on the field today. Obviously, the program has a large set of problems that it needs to address as the investigations continue, and a lot of work to do to rebuild trust in the institution. But nothing they did or didn't do today on the turf was going to change that.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:39 PM on November 12, 2011


Since many people seem to be focusing on symbolism, you can't beat the symbolism of Penn State quarterback Matt McGloin furiously trying to call a timeout he didn't have on the last play of the game.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:43 PM on November 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


ESPN's Tom Rinaldi post-game interview with Paterno's son, Jay, QB coach for Penn State:

Q: Jay, so much has happened this week. How would you describe it?
A: Well, you know, we've had better weeks in our lives obviously.

---------

"Although we cannot go back to business as usual, our university must move forward."

posted by wensink at 12:43 PM on November 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


wensink: I'm with you on that one. Swing and a miss, JayPa.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:46 PM on November 12, 2011


Yeah, that didn't come out right at all. I mean that there's no relationship between the magnitude of the tragedy and the concerns of the football program on the field today. Obviously, the program has a large set of problems that it needs to address as the investigations continue, and a lot of work to do to rebuild trust in the institution. But nothing they did or didn't do today on the turf was going to change that.

I disagree. Those 100k fans in the stands were given an opportunity to forget the magnitude of the tragedy because the biggest game in town happened just as it was supposed to. High fives were had, the band played, beer was consumed and on and on.

Had the University taken a more principled stand and canceled the game the message would have been clear, that the culture surrounding the omnipotent football program, the culture that allowed, at the expense of the university's soul, for young boys to be repeatedly preyed upon, would not be allowed one more moment to shine.
It's easy to say that those players had nothing to do with the tragedy, but the mere fact that they wear that uniform at all speaks to the heart of the matter. There's a good chance that the reputation the football program had played a large part in the reasons for the cover-up, or whatever description best befits the institutionalized apathy on the part of the program and the administration.

It was an opportunity, now missed, for a group of educators to educate, not simply collect the espn dollars and hope that enough saturdays will pass in a similar manner that folks will gradually begin to forget or let the next tragedy (somewhere else) take center stage.
posted by OHenryPacey at 2:01 PM on November 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


I only read things from a few select sources, and I'm already pretty numb. It seems there's little more to actually say at this point, given that there are no answers to the most basic questions about the situation ("Why?" and "How?" for starters), since those with the answers -- as unsatisfactory as they may be -- are mum by choice or legal necessity. Still, i found this piece from The New Yorker worth reading: Close Read: The Sandusky Case: Four Questions, for Starters
posted by dhartung at 2:22 PM on November 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


From that New Yorker piece dhartung links to:
4. Who finally exposed Sandusky?
This is the only one I have an answer for. It wasn’t any of the Penn State officials, or the coaches or foundation board members or principals who dealt closely with Sandusky. It was Victim 1—a kid. (USA Today has a good story on how he came forward.) The breakthrough came when, as his mother told “Good Morning America,” he asked about how to look for a list of “sex weirdos” online. “I asked him who he was looking up; he wanted to see if Jerry was on there.” There is more than one remarkable thing there. First is the boy’s bravery—that is first and foremost. Another is that a child in a situation that was both crushing and lonely thought that connecting with a database might help—that it might tell him about children like him. He sensed that what had happened to him was bad enough to be written down somewhere. Abusers persuade their victims that they are isolated, that, even if they tell, no one will believe them or care, that they are, in the fullest sense, on their own. But that boy in Pennsylvania still had enough of himself intact to believe that he was not alone. One can only be grateful for that.

posted by Toekneesan at 2:45 PM on November 12, 2011 [11 favorites]


Washington Times: At Penn State’s Stadium, Profanity, Scorn Greet One Father’s Protest

“The kids are what this day is about, not who wins or loses,” the sign resting against his jeans read. “Or who lost their job and why. Honor the abused kids by cancelling the game and the season now.”

A passer-by kicked it.

“You’re going to get your a— kicked, man,” a man bellowed.

“That’s bull–-, guy,” another said.


[snip]

Matko didn’t preach at passers-by. The signs said enough, two voices in a wilderness of blue.

“What a f–– idiot, man,” shouted one fan. “Get out of here.”

A woman, clad in blue like the rest, launched a finger-wagging, tirade inches from Matko’s face. Two men led her away.

A burly man wearing a “JoePa” T-shirt strode up, wrestled away the sign urging abused kids be put first from Matko’s right hand and slammed it to the ground.

After reading the signs, another woman glowered at Matko.

“This is in bad taste,” she said.

One bystander wondered how long until Matko was punched.

posted by wensink at 2:57 PM on November 12, 2011 [8 favorites]




Will not be attending any Joe Paterno support rallies.

That gave me chills. It just got right to the core of the matter.
posted by drezdn at 4:09 PM on November 12, 2011


Will not be attending any Joe Paterno support rallies

That is a powerfully disturbing image.
posted by MegoSteve at 4:45 PM on November 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


Good lord, that Washington Post article is seriously angering. What the hell is wrong with people? I'm seriously asking. What the hell is wrong with those people?!

I want off this planet.
posted by palomar at 5:56 PM on November 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Obviously this is a minor point given the context, but I assume you mean the Washington Times article wensink linked to? The Times is a very different publication from the Post.
posted by postel's law at 6:05 PM on November 12, 2011


Yes. Sorry, I'm all blind with rage and whatnot.
posted by palomar at 6:20 PM on November 12, 2011


I totally get that in an emotional thread like this, it can be easy to draw a hasty conclusion or misinterpret a comment.

Well, you certainly did it more than once here, Arsenio. I still think your insinuation above that McQueary might have been the one who supplied names of victims to the Grand Jury is one of the most brainless things I've read anywhere online about this mess. It doesn't fit the timeline or the grand jury testimony at all, but you kept hammering away at it for some strange reason.

I still don't understand what you think you were doing there.
posted by mediareport at 8:58 PM on November 12, 2011


anastasiav: I'm sure he thinks we're nuts. I just hope that some of it sticks. I wish I could sort out a way to set in his mind the idea that he can scream and he can run and he can put up a fight ... and that, most of all, that we will always believe him and always protect him.

The thing is, so many people intend this, to always believe and support. But nearly everyone has mental categories of Safe, Known, Unknown and Unsafe. The people in that Safe category are the ones who can cause otherwise well-intentioned adults to question and disbelieve.

For instance, everyone imagine right now - who is the person closest to you, the most trusted? Your husband/wife, mother, father, best friend, child, etc? If the accusation was made against that person, would your goal to always believe and trust still stand?

It's difficult for people to make the mental jump there, to move that person from their Safe category. And sometimes children aren't believed, because of that difficulty.

(I have cynicism and bias here, i admit - I wasn't believed myself.)
posted by pseudonymph at 11:30 PM on November 12, 2011 [5 favorites]


One bystander wondered how long until Matko was punched.

I'm now doubly impressed by the courage of these women.
posted by dhartung at 12:07 AM on November 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well, you certainly did it more than once here, Arsenio. I still think your insinuation above that McQueary might have been the one who supplied names of victims to the Grand Jury is one of the most brainless things I've read anywhere online about this mess. It doesn't fit the timeline or the grand jury testimony at all, but you kept hammering away at it for some strange reason. I still don't understand what you think you were doing there.

Please point out where I misinterpreted somebody's comment or where I called anyone names, or insinuated that someone in this thread condones child abuse, a despicable charge. I really don't think I have, and I don't take back anything I've written in this thread. Also, I don't understand how after everyone has moved on you have to come back and call me more names. The loathing in your comment and your insinuation that I have said something inappropriate suggests you'd like to rescind your apology. Fair enough. But I will defend myself.

As for my comments about McQueary, I do appreciate the brainless charge. As Christian Bale might say, you and I are done professionally. I made my comments about McQueary after a long run of comments calling him a coward for not beating up Sandusky. Additionally, many people were castigating Penn State for not firing him. In most interweb threads, it's easy for a run of comments to steer opinions in one direction or the other, and I think it's healthy to throw out a contrary but plausible opinion to stem a premature consensus.

My point was simply that there are many, many things we don't know about this case, and one of the biggest mysteries is how the investigators were made aware of Victim 2. "Victims", no. But Victim 2, whose identity is still unknown, somehow appears in the Grand Jury presentment. The prosecutors consider McQueary, along with the victims themselves, a key witness in this case. And it was his testimony, under oath, that contradicted the statements of Curley and Schultz. If there is another explanation as to how the prosecutors became aware of the assault in the shower, I'd be more than happy to hear it. Not because I think my little theory is infallible but because my thoughts on this case are constantly changing and when new facts emerge I'll gladly change them again. As far as my own personal view of McQueary, I think that his inaction in the moment the assault happened is more understandable than some here, but I agree with nearly everyone that his failure to nearly immediately call the police is a huge personal failing. That doesn't mean that he didn't eventually do the right thing, though. And if he did, it was probably for reasons unknown to any of us, and it was years too late. Years after the man he witnessed assault a child was allowed to continue to roam his community, claiming more victims.

Reading about this case elsewhere on the internet, I understand that this is an unpopular consideration. Most want McQueary drawn and quartered, yesterday. Whereas he certainly may deserve such a punishment, there is another way to read the facts thus far presented and envision a scenario in which he went against the wishes of his superiors and showed more moral courage than those around him. I don't find it brainless to suggest this possibility. Unpopular, yes. But I'd rather write a comment that is not popular but gets people to slow down in their rush to judgment and examine the facts a little more deeply.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 4:17 AM on November 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


I still think your insinuation above that McQueary might have been the one who supplied names of victims to the Grand Jury...

Re-reading this comment, I see that once again you simply (and strangely) read my comments incorrectly, just like you did with my comments regarding the South Carolina football player (who, by the way, was lying about being recruited by Sandusky). I never stated that McQueary provided names to the Grand Jury. Victim 2 is still nameless, still unknown. It makes me wonder if you've even read the presentment. I don't understand why you keep attacking me for things I haven't said or insinuated, but I'm guessing it must be something personal, perhaps unrelated to this thread. I've done my part in derailing this conversation enough by letting you get under my skin and writing way too much in my defense, so I am checking out for real now.

Best to all and hopefully in due time we will all have answers to the questions we are seeking. Paramount among them, for me, the question I can't answer and maybe never will - how did seemingly good men let this happen, how did they not stop it?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 6:00 AM on November 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Paramount among them, for me, the question I can't answer and maybe never will - how did seemingly good men let this happen, how did they not stop it?

I'll take a brief attempt at that one. First, there are a lot of plausible reasons in the Chronicle.com article linked . Second, and a bit more abstract perhaps, is a systems theory that just as individual organisms are made up of components that support the life of that organism and components--sometimes intangible--that work to ensure the survival of that organism. The organism itself and the components do not and are not necessarily aware (without reflection, if it is possible in the organism) that they are working to/for those goals.

Such it is in institutions, too. Institutions are organisms that also work to assure the survival of the institution. Many decisions are made that may be the less ethical path if it is deemed the best results for all (in their opinion).

The NY Times had a piece yesterday focusing on the PSU events and linking it to Clery Act. Floydd linked to an article about the Clery Act (waaaay above). I'd link the NY Times article but I'm not savvy about pay walls. In any case, seemingly well intentioned people become more focused on controlling access to information than on doing what is ethically right. I would argue that our entire society is built on just such institutions and organizations.

Some think that this can be traced back to Platonic traditions about who can handle what information, and who is entitled to know, who can be trusted to carry out orders, and who must follow.

When I think about questions about whether the football game(s) should have been cancelled, I am of mixed mind. Me? I think all of college sports have been so overblown, such engines of capitalistic desire and obscene temples of consumption that I would cancel all of them and get back to a time before the corruption started. But I also think that there is no Day Zero, that the entire system has gone off kilter.
posted by beelzbubba at 6:38 AM on November 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


"Institutions are organisms that also work to assure the survival of the institution. "

I was talking with a friend, and I suggested that a literal interpretation of the chant "We are Penn State" might lead a person to act as if Penn State's interests are their own. My friend noted the similarity to a recurring line in Star Trek: "We are the Borg."

He also speculated that Paterno might have had a skewed idea of his authority. So skewed that he actually believed he could tell Sandusky to knock it off and reasonably expect that the man would stop molesting kids.
posted by compartment at 8:30 AM on November 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


He also speculated that Paterno might have had a skewed idea of his authority. So skewed that he actually believed he could tell Sandusky to knock it off and reasonably expect that the man would stop molesting kids.

I find the idea that Sandusky talked his way out of accountability to be quite possible. That's part of how abusers get away with it when caught, "I'm sorry, I'll change." But when it comes to sexual abuse, institutional forgiveness is almost always the wrong approach.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 9:07 AM on November 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, if you look at the presentment, Sandusky sounds like he was a champion apologizer:

"I understand. I was wrong. I wish I could get forgiveness. I know I won't get if from you. I wish I were dead."

Leads the league in contrite.
posted by Trochanter at 9:25 AM on November 13, 2011


What the hell happened to this guy that he could do these things and live with himself?

Judging only from what I've read so far, I believe this is what happens when you are part of a cult or a similar organization that has taken over much of your identity. Individual will or direction becomes muddled/subservient to the lure of a group's status, prestige, and reputation.

I think this is the danger of most human groupings at some point, no matter what the original intent or origins.

I feel it's something we need to always be wary about in ourselves, if we are typical human beings.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 2:30 PM on November 13, 2011




drezdn: "Judge who set unsecured bail for Jerry Sandusky is a Second Mile volunteer."

Jesus Christ. It's like the entire county is rotten. How did the prosecutor not catch such a glaring conflict of interest?

Next thing, we're going to be hearing that the jail was full, so he was sent to a Juvenile Detention facility instead.

This may need to be a thread that I have to step away from. Every new detail of this case makes my angry. So many people failing at their most basic duties as human beings. I generally don't like it when high-profile cases/incidents turn into witch hunts....however, I'm surprisingly okay with it here.

Bail should have never have even been an option for Sandusky. Releasing an accused serial rapist of young children without bail is absolutely unconscionable. Even the judge is using the "take away his keys" approach.
posted by schmod at 5:11 PM on November 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


I worry about giving Sandusky bail on grounds he would be a threat to kill himself.
posted by Trochanter at 10:07 PM on November 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


I worry about giving Sandusky bail on grounds he would be a threat to kill himself.

Or flee the country.
posted by wensink at 1:08 AM on November 14, 2011 [1 favorite]




Why did the Jerry Sandusky investigation take three years? Bunch of reasons. A big one: Amid general prosecutorial disinterest in the 2008 accusations, only one investigator was assigned to the case for its first 18 months. Harrisburg Patriot-News reporter Sara Ganim with another part of the puzzle, for people trying to understand what happened.
posted by Andrew Galarneau at 6:38 AM on November 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


This ope-ed from a former Second Mile product, Penn State grad, and Iraq war vet is getting a lot of attention today. Chris Hayes gave it a shout-out on his MSNBC show this weekend, and several prominent lefty blogs are posting it as recommended reading.

It's an interesting read, but the links he tries to make between the failure of leadership at Penn State and various failures of leadership in Washington, DC seem tenuous at best. There is perhaps a generational component to the failures on the national level, but I don't really see one at Penn State, with Paterno representing the tail end of the greatest generation, McQueary being squarely in Gen X territory, and the others being somewhere in between.

I think the author of the piece would probably be an interesting guy to hear more of for his perspective on things, but I feel like he missed the mark trying to tie these events together to the larger problem of selfish baby boomers fucking everything up.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:47 AM on November 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh, and: President of Pa. charity linked to abuse resigns.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:48 AM on November 14, 2011




Former Phila. DA to Represent Charity Founded by Ex-Penn State Asst. Coach Charged with Child Abuse. Why on earth would Lynne Abraham want to wade into that mess. What would motivate that?
posted by 8dot3 at 12:16 PM on November 14, 2011


Drip, drip, drip ...
posted by ericb at 12:19 PM on November 14, 2011


Possibly after two years away from the Philadelphia legal system she's getting nostalgic for systemic corruption.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:20 PM on November 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


(I say this as a proud native of Northeast Philly, incidentally)
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:20 PM on November 14, 2011


No offense taken Holy, it is what it is.
posted by 8dot3 at 12:23 PM on November 14, 2011




Damn. That interview is...icky. That Penn State historian guy wishes he could get his hands on Sandusky so that he could avenge the children? Because he was disgusted by the allegations?! NO. "Because he ruined Penn State."

I have no appropriate words.
posted by futz at 1:50 PM on November 14, 2011


futz: "Damn. That interview is...icky. That Penn State historian guy wishes he could get his hands on Sandusky so that he could avenge the children? Because he was disgusted by the allegations?! NO. "Because he ruined Penn State."

I have no appropriate words.
"

Historian guy (Louis Prato) wasn't interviewed for the nightly news so he could be yet another voice in the chorus of Americans expressing sorrow and outrage over what Sandusky did. The guy wrote a book on the history of the football team, and I'm sure Isikoff interviewed him to get quotes about the impact on the institution and the team, which he did. He may have also shared his personal outrage over the crimes, but through the magic of editing for a short news segment, we get the impression all he cares about is the team. Maybe that's the case, but I would just caution you against drawing conclusions from 10 seconds of a highty-edited interview.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:19 PM on November 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I understand editing and was aware of that when I made my comment. I have read all of your comments and I understand your caution. Penn State does seem to be just looking out for Penn State from my viewpoint.

Let's see if he is outraged at how he was portrayed.
posted by futz at 2:27 PM on November 14, 2011


Sandusky's attorney, Joe Amendola, appears in his first TV interview tonight on CNN's AC 360 at 8:00 pm ET.
posted by wensink at 2:38 PM on November 14, 2011






Former Penn. State Coach: Sandusky Scandal Made Some Sense To Me -- "'Enraged' ex-grad assistant, child-abuse victim critical of coach's style, Paterno power."
[Matt] Paknis didn’t think much of the Penn State power structure, or the man at the top, who “wouldn’t give you time of day unless you were on his level, or have any interaction with you without it serving him.” He saw a system that served as a “kingdom,” designed to serve a single person, without checks or balances. He saw a coach who had been able to produce a constructive output on the field, but “underneath, optimized fear.”

And he saw a community that bought so completely into the image that “he does things the right way,” that his way was rarely questioned.

“Joe is perceived to be a father figure or grandfather figure, and that’s a very hard thing for people to get to that realization, that your dad is bad,” Paknis says.

That’s why Paknis isn’t surprised that many former players have spoken out in sympathy toward Paterno since his firing last Wednesday, referencing all the good work he has done for the program and those who have gone through it: “Their whole image is locked into that. That is the way they define themselves. To let go of that, it’s very difficult.”
posted by ericb at 3:10 PM on November 14, 2011


Penn State Scandal: The Financial Fallout.
posted by ericb at 3:12 PM on November 14, 2011






"I shouldn't have showered with those kids."

No man it is totally normal in American culture for grown men to shower with children over the age of 6 with whom they're not related. And the naked horseplay? Happens all the time.
posted by schroedinger at 5:10 PM on November 14, 2011


Mike McQueary emailed his former Penn State football teammates to tell them he totally made sure it stopped, you guys. Honestly, you don't know the truth! He did!

I mean, he didn't file a police report, and he obviously was not surveilling Sandusky on a 24/7/365 basis, but suuuuure, he made it stop. Tell me another one, Mike.
posted by palomar at 6:56 PM on November 14, 2011




Rush transcript from NBC's interview with Jerry Sandusky.

Bob Costas: Are you a pedophile?
Jerry Sandusky: No.
Bob Costas:Are you sexually attracted to young boys? Under-aged boys?
Jerry Sandusky: Am I sexually attracted to under-aged boys?
Bob Costas: Yes.
Jerry Sandusky: Sexually attracted? No, I, I enjoy young people. I love to be around them. Umm, I, no, I am not sexually attracted young boys.

posted by wensink at 7:20 PM on November 14, 2011


I've got issues with this being covered by sports journalists. We're way beyond that, and sports journalism isn't really serious. What is the point of asking that question, in that forum?

Having said that, I thought the Charles Pierce piece was really good.
posted by Trochanter at 7:58 PM on November 14, 2011


This is pure speculation, but I'd imagine that Sandusky has built a relationship with sports journalists over his 30-odd years in football that he wouldn't necessarily have with other journalists. He may feel like Costas is a friendly face, or at least a familiar one from the same world as him. And NBC wouldn't give a shit who's asking the questions, as long as they get to claim a scoop and put the peacock on every channel that picks up the story, which is every channel.
posted by Errant at 3:31 AM on November 15, 2011


David Brooks: Let's All Feel Superior (NYT op-ed)
posted by dfan at 7:15 AM on November 15, 2011


Trochanter: "I've got issues with this being covered by sports journalists. We're way beyond that, and sports journalism isn't really serious."

Did you watch the interview? I think Costas did a very good job -- he asked tough questions, responded with follow-ups to evasive answers, etc. He is technically a "sports journalist," but sports often overlaps with real-life issues, and he's covered those very well on Real Sports and in other venues. Errant's point seems quite plausible to me, and maybe we wouldn't have gotten this interview at all, or would have gotten much more obfuscated answers, if someone other than a sports journalist had conducted the interview. Maybe sports journalism overall isn't really serious, but this interview was done with a professionalism you rarely see in mainstream news reporting.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:39 AM on November 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


I don't understand, at all, why Sandusky and his lawyer are saying anything to the press besides "This is a very difficult time. I can't comment further."

I heard on the radio on the way to work that Sandusky's attorney is calling the attention a lynch mob, and that at least some of the accusers are only coming out of the woodwork because PSU has deep pockets.

I mean, even if this is true, even if this is what you really believe, why would you say this to a reporter? It only makes you sound like an asshole.
posted by rtha at 8:43 AM on November 15, 2011


dfan: "David Brooks: Let's All Feel Superior (NYT op-ed)"

I don't doubt that the bystander effect had a significant impact on the actions of the principals involved, but Brooks' suggestion that the real problem is that we stopped being religious and started relying on our "inner wonderfulness" is insulting and misguided -- par for the course for his op-ed material.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:50 AM on November 15, 2011


I like the part where he notes that once upon a time we had systems that let us "process savagery and scripts to follow when they confronted it." Because back when we were Puritans, savagery never happened; communities never banded together to, I don't know, hang women for being witches.

I feel my IQ drop every time I read one of his pieces.
posted by rtha at 9:48 AM on November 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've got issues with this being covered by sports journalists. We're way beyond that, and sports journalism isn't really serious.

Bah. Ever watched local news? "Sports journalism" isn't any less or more serious per se than any other form of journalism.

I haven't watched it in years, but ESPN's Outside the Lines has always done a pretty good job of things.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:08 AM on November 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just to give a brief update from Headline News, McQueary says that he stopped the assault in the shower. Sandusky dodged the question.

(Also, Costas is a decent journo, even if sports is his remit.)
posted by klangklangston at 12:26 PM on November 15, 2011




Ya just can't make this shit up!
His attorney, Joe Amendola, would later suggest some of the other victims in the grand jury’s “finding of fact” would recant their claims. Who is Joe Amendola? According to Pennsylvania court documents obtained by The Daily, in 1996, at the age of 49, he impregnated a 17-year-old girl. The two later married and divorced.
posted by ericb at 1:01 PM on November 15, 2011


I think all of this - the news that keeps coming about this - is my fault, because I keep thinking "It can't get any worse." And then it does. I'm probably jinxing it, and I apologize. From here on, I will assume it can't get better.
posted by rtha at 1:05 PM on November 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


ericb: Apparently, Lionel Hutz was unavailable.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:05 PM on November 15, 2011


Oh. And at the time the girl was 16 y.o. and a client!
posted by ericb at 1:07 PM on November 15, 2011


Well, rtha -- fasten your seat belt!

According to the New York Times, 10 more victims have come forward.
posted by ericb at 1:12 PM on November 15, 2011


This portion of the transcript -- which may or may not be the whole scope of the interview, but appears to be more than what was televised -- is extraordinary. Among other things, because of how terribly unwise it was for him personally and legally, but mainly because it is so damning.

Here is the exchange between Costas and Sandusky:

BOB COSTAS:

18:58:59:00: "But you're a man who by his own admission has showered with young boys, highly inappropriate. Who has continually put himself in the presence of young boys, volunteer high school coach, volunteer at a small local college, even after -- you were largely disassociated from Penn State. Multiple reports of you getting into bed with young boys who stayed at your house in a room in the basement. How do you account for these things? And if you're not a pedophile, then what are you?"

JERRY SANDUSKY:

18:59:30:00: "Well I'm a person that has taken a strong interest. I'm a very passionate person in terms of trying to make a difference in the lives of some young people. I worked very hard to try to connect with them. To make them feel good about themselves. To -- be something significant in their lives. Maybe this gets misinterpreted, has gotten depending on -- I know a lot of young people where it hasn't. I have worked with many, many young people where there has been no misinterpretation of my actions and I have made a very significant difference in their lives."

BOB COSTAS:

19:00:28:00: "But isn't what you're just describing the classic MO of many pedophiles? And that is that they gain the trust of young people, they don't necessarily abuse every young person. There were hundreds, if not thousands of young boys you came into contact with, but there are allegations that at least eight of them were victimized. Many people believe there are more to come. So it's entirely possible that you could've helped young boy A in some way that was not objectionable while horribly taking advantage of young boy B, C, D, and E. Isn't that possible?"

JERRY SANDUSKY:

19:01:01:00: "Well -- you might think that. I don't know. (LAUGHS) In terms of -- my relationship with so many, many young people. I would-- I would guess that there are many young people who would come forward. Many more young people who would come forward and say that my methods and-- and what I had done for them made a very positive impact on their life. And I didn't go around seeking out every young person for sexual needs that I've helped. There are many that I didn't have-- I hardly had any contact with who I have helped in many, many ways."

Costas then asks Sandusky if he is sexually attracted to young boys, the portion of the interview that was shown on "Rock Center."

BOB COSTAS:

19:01:47:00: "Are you sexually attracted to young boys, to underage boys?"

"Am I sexually attracted to underage boys?" Sandusky repeats.

"Yes," Costas answers.

"Sexually attracted, you know, I -- I enjoy young people," Sandusky says. "I -- I love to be around them. I -- I -- but no I'm not sexually attracted to young boys."

posted by Clyde Mnestra at 1:18 PM on November 15, 2011 [7 favorites]


Oh my.
posted by futz at 1:28 PM on November 15, 2011


Costas on Sandusky interview: He agreed to talk last minute
Willie Geist: “[Many] were surprised [Sandusky] was speaking publicly. Were you?”

Bob Costas, sportscaster: “Yes, very much so. I was set to sit down with his attorney, Joseph Amendola, and no more than 10, 15 minutes before the cameras were to roll, Amendola says ‘What if I can get Sandusky on the phone?’ And I’m thinking, ‘I wonder from your standpoint whether that’s the smartest thing to do, but at the same time, sure if you want to do it, let’s get him on the phone.’ And that’s what happened.

Geist: “So [was it] the attorney’s idea…or did Jerry want to come on the air?”

Costas: “I can’t say for sure whether they had conferred about it. Amendola, I think, spoke to Jerry…just a few minutes before, got his ok, and then came back and said ‘We’ll do it’, so we pivoted and made it an interview with Sandusky.
posted by ericb at 1:30 PM on November 15, 2011


Many more young people who would come forward and say that my methods and-- and what I had done for them made a very positive impact on their life. And I didn't go around seeking out every young person for sexual needs that I've helped. There are many that I didn't have--

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why you should be willing to spend more than $19.95 an hour for an attorney.
posted by Floydd at 1:37 PM on November 15, 2011 [6 favorites]


Well, I'm convinced. This was obviously a good PR move!
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:48 PM on November 15, 2011


Horace, the quote you pulled on this one were the best from that Pierce piece:

It is not a failure of our institutions so much as it is a window into what they have become — soulless, profit-driven monsters, Darwinian predators with precious little humanity left in them. Penn State is only the most recent example. Too much of this country is too big to fail.
posted by never used baby shoes at 1:53 PM on November 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


And I didn't go around seeking out every young person for sexual needs that I've helped. There are many that I didn't have-- I hardly had any contact with who I have helped in many, many ways.

Holy shit. If you can't get this guy convicted just by repeating the line "I didn't seek out every young person for sexual needs..there are many that I didn't" over and over, you should probably find a new job.
posted by Errant at 2:01 PM on November 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish: "Well, I'm convinced. This was obviously a good PR move!"

Aside from the obvious (lawyer is an idiot) the only thing I can think of is that they've already recognized guilty verdicts are coming, and they want to work the "Jerry's mentally ill and doesn't understand when horseplay ends and sexual assault / rape begins" angle as much as possible to get sympathy during sentencing, or even just in the court of public opinion. There are a lot of flaws in that strategy, but I can't think of any other reason to let him talk right now.

I wonder why NBC edited things the way they did -- seems like some significant context there in the transcript that didn't make it to TV.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:04 PM on November 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Mike McQueary speaks tonight on CBS Evening News.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:51 PM on November 15, 2011


(Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates, please don't leave. You are not wrong. I know how upsetting this is and has been, but please don't leave. Yes, your perspective isn't popular right now. But it's the fairest. I agree with you about needing time. Please don't quit.
posted by Toekneesan at 2:53 PM on November 15, 2011




Yes, tonycpsu and mrgrimm, I got thinking later today that Costas probably did no worse than, say, Barbara Walters would have done.

No, I didn't watch the interview. I hate to be "that guy" but, I don't watch TV. I'm old and I've given up on it.

The thing about it is, I don't see what we gain by giving the man a platform. All he's going to do is deny, deny, deny. A skilled cross-examiner or interrogator might catch him out, but not a TV person. So what you're left with is the points the network scores for the "get," and a ratings coup. Essentially a wank fest.

I think this story has a chance to be really morally instructive and to maybe change the way we operate as a society, and to see it turned into just more blubber to toss in the media maw... depressing.

Neil Postman used to say that television is at its worst when it tries to be best, and really, since I first read that 25 years ago, I've only seen it confirmed. That's just me, though, and not central to the issue.

All in all, I guess Costas probably did as well as anyone else in the medium would have done.

Another little note: When you see how willing these people are to grab the spotlight, even in these circumstances, don't you start to get a whiff of the size of the egos on all of them?
posted by Trochanter at 7:22 PM on November 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


A skilled cross-examiner or interrogator might catch him out, but not a TV person.

Given the trouble Sandusky had with the question "Are you sexually attracted to young boys?" I'm not sure a skilled cross-examiner was really needed.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 7:36 PM on November 15, 2011 [6 favorites]


ruh roh.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:51 PM on November 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Fox Philadelphia: Second Mile Raised Funds For Judge [who freed Sandusky on unsecured bail]
posted by wensink at 8:52 AM on November 16, 2011


I dearly hope that one positive outcome of this godawful mess is that more parents (and grandparents and aunts and uncles etc.) will be prompted to stop and tell the kids they love, "If anyone, especially a grown-up, says or does anything that makes you uncomfortable, you can tell me --any time, anything -- and I will listen to you and I will believe you and you will not be in trouble and we will work together on figuring out how to address it best."
posted by argonauta at 9:54 AM on November 16, 2011 [2 favorites]




Lawyer Says Alleged Sandusky Victim Will Testify to Severe Sexual Assault
"Ben Andreozzi, a Pennsylvania lawyer representing one of eight alleged victims in the Penn State sexual child abuse case, called Jerry Sandusky a 'coward' on Wednesday and said that Sandusky’s recent comments on television had emboldened his client to pursue sexual assault charges against Sandusky."
posted by ericb at 10:24 AM on November 16, 2011






Penn State to take down Paterno statue.
posted by ericb at 12:10 PM on November 16, 2011


UPDATE: According to WGAL.com, Penn State officials said there have been “no discussions” about the Paterno statue.
posted by ericb at 12:12 PM on November 16, 2011


State College police say McQueary didn't report abuse to them.

Man, I do think we need to go slow on all of this, especially when the media isn't.

McQueary wrote, in an email that he may not have realized would be made public and perhaps did not write with exactitude, "I did have discussions with police and with the official at the university in charge of police."

The head of the State College Police Department says both that he didn't talk to them and there is no record of him doing so; not clear whether he infers the first from the second.

Anyway, it isn't clear whether McQueary meant CAMPUS police, as implied by his reference to the university official in charge of police.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 12:29 PM on November 16, 2011


Sandusky TV Interview Could Haunt Him At Trial.

Ya' think?
posted by ericb at 12:34 PM on November 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Anyway, it isn't clear whether McQueary meant CAMPUS police, as implied by his reference to the university official in charge of police.

Not defending this dude necessarily, but my university had a liaison to the city police department, and were I reporting a crime to the city police, it might make sense for me to also talk to that person.
posted by desjardins at 12:39 PM on November 16, 2011


McQueary wrote, in an email that he may not have realized would be made public and perhaps did not write with exactitude, "I did have discussions with police and with the official at the university in charge of police."

I was watching an interview with Andrew McGill of the Morning Call this morning, who broke the McQueary email story. He said that the email was addressed to one friend, but that it also contained permission for the friend to send it to whomever. It's not clear why McQueary would email only one friend and implicitly ask them to be a messenger on his behalf, but that does seem to be the case, so I think he did think it would go public.
posted by Errant at 12:42 PM on November 16, 2011


Helpful comments, Errant and desjardins. My limited point was that before we pillory McQueary for lying about reporting this to police -- though he may well be lying -- we should consider (a) whether the State College Police are saying that they have no record of the report, or (really) that they deny categorically that he could have made such a report; and (b) whether McQueary may be understand as saying he reported this to campus police, which I think is not the guy denying receiving a report.

Hard for me to say. I don't see any reason to try to get to the bottom of this pending explanation by McQueary, who if he has half a brain will avoid giving the kind of incriminating statement that Sandusky made, and whose statement has enough likelihood to be self-serving that it may be discounted anyway -- along with some canvassing of all relevant police departments.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 1:13 PM on November 16, 2011


we should consider (a) whether the State College Police are saying that they have no record of the report, or (really) that they deny categorically that he could have made such a report; and (b) whether McQueary may be understand as saying he reported this to campus police, which I think is not the guy denying receiving a report.

There is also (c) that he made a report, and after consultation with university officials, the report got "fixed" like a parking ticket for a relative.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 4:02 PM on November 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


For some reason, this comment seems particularly interesting in light of the conflicting stories about whether or not McQueary spoke to the police.
posted by dilettante at 5:07 PM on November 16, 2011


Inquiry Grew Into Concerns of a Cover-Up
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — A critical break in the investigation of Jerry Sandusky came via a posting on the Internet: a random mention that a Penn State football coach, years before, might have seen something ugly, but kept silent.
[...]
And in 2002, after McQueary had reported what he had seen to the university’s senior officials, those officials not only never told the police, but they also never even informed the university’s top lawyer. That lawyer, Wendell Courtney, said in an interview this week that he would have been duty bound to report to law enforcement officials any allegations of inappropriate conduct toward children by Sandusky.
posted by rtha at 9:09 AM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Good article, rtha. Very interesting to read how this all evolved.
Paterno, through his son Scott, also said he did not know of the 1998 sex crime investigation of Sandusky, who was then his most prominent and accomplished assistant.

Investigators over the last week have made clear that they have serious doubts about whether so few people in senior positions of responsibility came to know of the 1998 investigation.

“You have to understand those statements in context — there is nothing that happens at State College that Joe Paterno doesn’t know, or that Graham Spanier doesn’t know,” one person involved in the investigation said. “Whether or not a criminal case went forward, there were ample grounds for an administrative inquiry into this matter. I have no evidence that was ever done. And if indeed that report was never passed up, it makes you wonder why not.”

That's what gets to me about the 1998 incident, and also informs my opinion of Paterno in particular. I just don't think there is any way that University Police conducted an extensive investigation concerning the defensive coordinator and Paterno didn't know about it. I agree about Spanier also. Sandusky was not some low-level no-name guy, and this investigation was not something minor.

I also think it is very suspicious that all of the Second Mile records from 2000-2003 are missing. On another note, I've lived in Pennsylvania my whole life and I have never heard of this charity. But it seems it is very important, very big, and very influential. Just the names involved (Lynne Abraham is their lawyer now??). It also seems executives like Wendell Courtney moved back and forth between Penn State and the Second Mile. Well Sandusky was a fixture at both. If Penn State had incentive to cover it up then so did Second Mile, and I think they did.
posted by Danila at 9:55 AM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Campus And Local Police: No Record McQueary Alerted Us [video 03:55].
posted by ericb at 11:16 AM on November 17, 2011


Working off the brief mention on an Internet forum where people chatted about Penn State athletics, according to the two people with knowledge of the case, investigators narrowed their list of coaches likely to have seen something to Mike McQueary, then an assistant coach and the football program’s recruiting coordinator.

State College is a close-knit community. Word would get around that a Penn State coach had met with investigators. So investigators set up a meeting in an out-of-the-way parking lot, according to those with knowledge of the case.

There, one day a little over a year ago, McQueary unburdened himself, the two people said. He needed little prompting.


That article is really excellent (I mean, for the values of excellent we're working with here), rtha. Thanks for posting it.

So, my original guess which I posted up thread was that McQueary contacted the investigators himself, which this article pretty much refutes. I stand corrected!
posted by Snarl Furillo at 11:32 AM on November 17, 2011




Snarl, IAmBroom, et al.:

I keep saying we should let the facts unfold. However, there are at least five questions percolating here: (1) whether McQ acted responsibly; (2) whether McQ lied in his grand jury testimony; (3) whether McQ lied in his email; (4) whether McQ's lies, if they are established, undermine his credibility and the emerging case against Sandusky; and (5) whether one police department or another or some other entity failed to respond appropriately to McQ's allegations, and were derelict in their duties.

IAmBroom, in dismissing the relevance of which entity if any McQ notified, you are at most talking about (5) -- which is not what most of the discussion upthread is talking about. Yes, anyone notified could and should have done something. The issue is whether anyone was notified.

Snarl, investigators for the AG are yet another entity. Factual possibilities include:

1. McQ contacts the state AG or local DA (no, suggests the NYT).
2. McQ contacts the university police, the state police, or the local police, and they keep a record of it (no, suggests the video posted by ericb, albeit in one line)
3. McQ contacts one of those entities and they don't keep a record (not addressed, but seems unlikely, but for the possibility that they are covering it up or really really lousy record-keepers)
4. McQ's original email is being read too literally, because he really means "the police" only in the sense of contacting their supervisor (he says "I did have discussions with police and with the official at the university in charge of police")
5. McQ is mistaken or lying.

Personally, I have no idea. It just bugs me when anyone is called a liar, be they witness for the prosecution or defense, based on a fairly casual utterance that may be misconstrued or based on facts that are incomplete.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 2:21 PM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


When someone's sworn statements to a grand jury conflict with words they put in an email to a friend, I think you have to lean toward the former being more trustworthy.

One thing to keep in mind is that, because Senior VP Gary Schultz oversaw the police, there's some wiggle room for McQueary to say that he did report what he saw to "the police", in the same way that reporting something to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta could be considered reporting it to "the military."

Since Schultz wasn't actually a sworn police officer, the conversations wouldn't be subject to police procedural and record-keeping constraints, which may have been considered a feature, not a bug at the time. A technicality like this could be integral to resolving this apparent conflict between McQueary's statements, and would explain the absence of police records backing up his more recent claim.

Another possibility is that McQueary submitted an anonymous tip. This is unlikely, and is something that should have come up during his grand jury questioning, but if he just wanted to clear his conscience and do something somewhere in the neighborhood of the right thing, this isn't out of the question.
posted by tonycpsu at 3:03 PM on November 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


*facepalm*

This is a super slo-mo train wreck, especially for anyone who still has pride in the University and wants to see this cancer removed.
posted by tonycpsu at 3:42 PM on November 17, 2011


Oy vey.

Not that I want them to *not* do an internal investigation, but at this point they're going to have get someone like Desmond Tutu to run it. Unless he once got an honorary degree or something from them.

Are they really so blind that they can't see how this looks to people without ties to the university?
posted by rtha at 3:52 PM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


4. McQ's original email is being read too literally, because he really means "the police" only in the sense of contacting their supervisor (he says "I did have discussions with police and with the official at the university in charge of police")

Huh, I think I've missed something here. I assumed from the get-go that when McQueary referred to the police, he meant the meeting with Curley and Shultz.

The NYT confirms that there were rumors about Sandusky for years. I would bet money that, within the program, the rumors were non-specific and dismissed in terms like, "Jerry's just enthusiastic about the kids," "Those are kids from tough backgrounds, they aren't used to an adult hugging them," "Those kids might have been abused before- of course they misunderstood Jerry's intentions," "It's just 'horsing around'", "It's football- football players shower together." Etc. Minimize, minimize, minimize.

So McQueary has maybe heard these rumors and maybe doesn't think much of it until he sees this terrible scene in the showers- and then the protection around Sandusky seems a lot more sinister. And it's hard to go from, "Coach is looking out for his friend with bad boundaries," to "Coach is protecting an avowed child molester." So maybe he assumes Paterno doesn't know the extent of things, and he tells him. And maybe Paterno realizes how serious this is or could be and arranges the meeting with Shultz and Curley.

And if in that meeting, McQueary keeps saying, "Seriously, this is bad. It was really bad. That was not 'horsing around.' This is BAD," and Shultz says something like, "I understand, you're right, the police are going to look into this. It's okay, you did the right thing"? And maybe Curley and Paterno chime in to that chorus and they all repeat it for a while? Then it makes sense to me that McQueary leaves the meeting with the understanding that he just told the police, and that the police took him seriously.

And that would sort of explain why McQueary stayed on the staff- he TOLD Paterno, Curley and Shultz. And if they told him they were going to take care of it, why wouldn't he believe them? Unless the point of the meeting was to convince McQueary that everything was fine, and he should just let the adults handle it, and not worry about it.

Whatever way it happened, I don't think McQueary is the villain here, and I hope his credibility doesn't get torn to shreds to the extent that he can't testify for the prosecution.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 5:34 PM on November 17, 2011


'South Park' pokes fun at Penn State problems (w/ video).
posted by ericb at 5:39 PM on November 17, 2011


I'm guessing there is a mix of half-truth and exaggeration in McQueary's statements. I bet what he said in the grand jury testimony is true. I would guess that at the time, he thought he had notified the police and the authorities, and when he saw Sandusky still around, hanging around kids, he found it tremendously disturbing but also wasn't entirely sure where to go from there. He told Paterno (you know, God of Happy Valley), he told the (then) head of campus police, and if those guys weren't saying anything, maybe it wasn't a big deal? Or maybe there was a massive cover-up? Anyway he didn't to the right thing and pursue it to the bitter end, but I bet he spent all of those years tremendously guilty, conflicted, and uncomfortable, so when the investigators contacted him he couldn't wait to get it off his chest. Which is pretty much what the investigators said in the NYT article.
posted by schroedinger at 6:49 PM on November 17, 2011


This is only tangentially related to the Sandusky thing but... WELS communication director (the church the Bachmanns belong to) busted for child porn.
posted by drezdn at 7:06 PM on November 17, 2011


Similarly, the Sandusky case apparently led another victim to come forward with molestation charges against Syracuse's assistant basketball coach, helping reopen a decades-old case.
posted by argonauta at 7:15 PM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


3. McQ contacts one of those entities and they don't keep a record (not addressed, but seems unlikely, but for the possibility that they are covering it up or really really lousy record-keepers)

So very very not unlikely, on both counts.

Here in Philly, the routine downgrading of sexual assault cases was longstanding and horrific; this practice only began to see reform after the Philly Inquirer exposed it (the series was a finalist for the Pulitzer in 2000 for investigative journalism.)
posted by desuetude at 9:56 PM on November 17, 2011


Apparently ESPN previously knew about the Syracuse accusations but didn't report on them at the time because they lacked corroboration.
posted by drezdn at 5:11 AM on November 18, 2011


John Amaechi, alumnus of Penn State and former volunteer for the Second Mile Foundation, shares his thoughts on the Penn State scandal and Joe Paterno in an interview with Dan Le Batard.
posted by beukeboom at 8:34 AM on November 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Glad the Amaechi interview was moved here. Honest, eloquent and straight spoken reaction. And an impressive guy. He doesn't sound like he was ducking his classes at Penn.
posted by Trochanter at 9:00 AM on November 18, 2011




Penn State Suspect's Defense: Challenge Victims' Credibility.

I so badly want to refute the premise of every disgusting assumption in that article (abuse victims embellish their stories for attention! abuse victims never have complicated relationships with their abusers that include love and friendship! people who witness or know of abuse always raise a stink about it rather than hesitating, minimizing, denying or ignoring it, even to point of socializing with child abusers!), but a, this is not my blog, and b, I haven't stopped throwing up in my mouth yet.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 12:15 PM on November 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


He said the public needed to hear Sandusky say that he is not a pedophile and, while he did shower with boys, he did not have sex with them.

Yes, I think the public also needs to hear this, but maybe not for the reasons you think they do.
posted by schroedinger at 12:30 PM on November 18, 2011 [1 favorite]




Sadly, I suspect the naked-bear-hug defense might work on a lot of people. Their argument might be: if you can't prove oral or anal intercourse, then it wasn't really "sex," and therefore it wasn't really sexual abuse.

It's an argument I find personally disgusting, as my own abuse was more of the naked bear-hug variety. But no doubt we'll see a lot of apologia about demonizing locker-room "horsing around." But I "horsed around" also and could tell the difference between friendly wrestling, bullying, and sexual assault.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 1:36 PM on November 18, 2011 [2 favorites]




The Second Mile is folding (NYT)
posted by argonauta at 2:14 PM on November 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


EXCLUSIVE: Penn State Paid by Sandusky's Charity for Use of Facilities as Recently as 2009

Penn State University received almost $250,000 for a series of sleepover camps in 2008 and 2009 run by the charity group founded by Jerry Sandusky - years after ex-athletic director Tim Curley imposed an “unenforceable” ban on the accused child molester from entering the school’s sports facilities and main campus.

warning: it is a Fox news link.
posted by futz at 11:26 AM on November 19, 2011


...They decided to set up a fundraising campaign aiming to gather one dollar from every Penn State alumni, which so far has yielded nearly $500,000 in donations that the couple has given to RAINN – the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network.
posted by futz at 11:31 AM on November 19, 2011 [2 favorites]




From futz's link: Sandusky describes himself as a harmless, overgrown kid.

I so flashed on Michael Jackson when I read that.
posted by localroger at 1:44 PM on November 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


NYT has updated their Second Mile story with a caveat: In a subsequent telephone interview, after an earlier version of this article was posted on The Times’s Web site, Woodle said he was talking to donors and soliciting feedback about whether it was possible to save the organization in some form, but failing that, was moving to shutter it in a way that ensures some continuity for the programs.
posted by argonauta at 6:07 PM on November 19, 2011


But there's nothing to explain how Sandusky came to be accused of such shocking crimes.

He demonstrates an exceptional fondness for the years he spent as a boy in Washington, Pennsylvania, a small mining town tucked in the state's southwestern corner, about 30 miles from Pittsburgh. His parents, Art and Evelyn, ran a recreation center, and the family lived in the upstairs apartment.


I think there is more than 'nothing to explain' here. The literature (e.g. Greenberg et al., 1993) clearly finds that pedophiles fixate on children in ways that replicate their own childhood sexual experiences. It seems chillingly likely that there were unspoken things happening in that recreation center.
posted by dhartung at 3:36 AM on November 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


This American Life is doing another episode on Penn State. It's playing here right now. Sarah Koenig, one of their producers, lives here. She's talking to a friend of mine about how Paterno could have thought he was doing the right thing This is very difficult to listen to.

A lot of it is based on the writing of Michael Wienreb, a columnist at Grantland, and also one of us.

Read these:
Growing Up Penn State: The End of Everything at State College
By Michael Weinreb, NOVEMBER 8, 2011

The Culture of Unrest at Penn State
Trying to Understand What Happened in Beaver Canyon on Wednesday Night

By Michael Weinreb, NOVEMBER 10, 2011

Living in State College
Sadness and Simple Horror — Returning Home to the Aftermath of Scandal

By Michael Weinreb, NOVEMBER 15, 2011
posted by Toekneesan at 3:35 PM on November 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


Alleged Jerry Sandusky victim leaves school because of bullying, counselor says

Victim One, the first known alleged victim of abuse by former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky, had to leave his school in the middle of his senior year because of bullying, his counselor said Sunday.

Officials at Central Mountain High School in Clinton County weren’t providing guidance for fellow students, who were reacting badly about Joe Paterno’s firing and blaming the 17-year-old, said Mike Gillum, the psychologist helping his family. Those officials were unavailable for comment this weekend.

The name-calling and verbal threats were just too much, he said.

Other alleged victims are turning to each other for support, since they fear others will out them and cause a media swarm. The only encouragement for Victim One, Gillum said, is watching other alleged victims come forward because they felt empowered by his courage.

“He feels good about that,” Gillum said. “That’s the one good that’s come of all this.”

posted by mediareport at 8:43 PM on November 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Good move by PSU getting an outsider to take over the investigation.
Former FBI director Louis Freeh, tapped to lead Penn State's investigation into the child sexual-abuse allegations against a former assistant football coach, said his inquiry will go as far back as 1975, a much longer period than a grand jury report issued earlier this month.

Freeh was named Monday to oversee the university board of trustees' internal investigation into the abuse allegations that ultimately led to the ouster of longtime football coach Joe Paterno and university president Graham Spanier.

Freeh said his goal was to conduct a comprehensive, fair and quick review.
Bringing in someone of Freeh's stature to run things makes me hopeful that we'll see an actual investigation instead of a whitewash.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:51 AM on November 21, 2011


Alleged Victim In Sandusky Case Leaves High School Due To Bullying
The first known alleged victim in the Jerry Sandusky case, known as "Victim One" was forced to leave his school because of an onslaught of bullying, The Patriot-News reports.

Mike Gillum, psychologist for the family, told the news source that officials at Central Mountain High School didn't step in and provide guidance to the boy's classmates, who began to blame Joe Paterno's firing on the 17-year-old.

Victim One testified he was forced into multiple sex acts between 2006 and 2008. During that time, Sandusky was also assisting the high school with their varsity football program, the report states.

Gillum told The Patriot News that name-calling and verbal threats at the school, which is located about 30 miles northeast of Pennsylvania State University, became too much for the boy to bear.

... The 17-year-old has left the school in the middle of his senior year, and the Keystone Central School District issued a statement to the Centre Daily, saying it would be said "inappropriate” to comment on the case publicly.
posted by ericb at 12:47 PM on November 21, 2011


I so flashed on Michael Jackson when I read that.

He was actually my first thought when the story broke, more than the Catholic Church analogy. There are a lot of similarities in the way that disadvantaged youths were seduced and abused by powerful men.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:39 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]




A Wall Street Journal article today sheds some light on Paterno's influence at Penn State, based on reports and emails from Vickt Triponey, PSU's former vice president for student affairs. Deadspin has a summary.

Among her assertions:
"Coach Paterno would rather we NOT inform the public when a football player is found responsible for committing a serious violation of the law and/or our student code," she wrote, "despite any moral or legal obligation to do so."
posted by argonauta at 10:27 AM on November 22, 2011


The Penn State University Libraries has put together a research guide on the scandal. Most of it should be open access but there may be an item or two behind a paywall and for that I apologize in advance.
posted by Toekneesan at 12:38 PM on November 22, 2011


Two new child abuse cases against Sandusky are now being investigated; both cases involve children who are still under 18 today.
posted by argonauta at 1:49 PM on November 22, 2011






Blame the victim(s)!
In an interview with Good Morning America, Joe Amendola, the attorney representing former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, said that Sandusky's accusers were "pampered" after being "labeled as victims" by the legal system, and that one's accusations were the result of tough love from Sandusky as a mentor.

"[P]eople when they're brought into the criminal justice system and they're labeled as victims, they're pampered, they're encouraged, they're treated specially. And particularly when you're dealing with maybe someone who hasn't had a great, the greatest of lives. Then a lot of times they start feeling more important," Amendola said in the interview.

Amendola's most specific comments about the alleged victims were directed at whom the Pennsylvania grand jury describes as Victim 1, saying those accusations were a negative reaction to Sandusky's demands for harder work toward unspecified goals.

"When you push and they don't want you to," Amendola said, "they react. And what Jerry believes happened is that this young guy got tired of Jerry pushing. Jerry believes that what happened was this young guy said, 'you know what, gee, if I say Jerry did something to me, that's the end of my relationship with Jerry.'"
posted by ericb at 1:55 PM on November 22, 2011




Penn State Home County Judges Out Of Sandusky Case
All the judges in Penn State's home county removed themselves from potentially presiding over the child sex-abuse case against former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky and will be replaced by outside jurists, the Pennsylvania court system announced Thursday.

The Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts said in a news release that the four Centre County Common Pleas Court judges bowed out "to avoid any appearance of conflict of interest due to real or perceived connections" to Sandusky, the university or the charity for at-risk children Sandusky founded.

John M. Cleland, a senior judge from McKean County, was appointed to take over the case, although another judge, Kathy A. Morrow, was named to handle matters until he can assume jurisdiction.
posted by ericb at 2:00 PM on November 22, 2011 [2 favorites]




Is Amendola deliberately going for an incompetence declaration? wtf.
posted by futz at 2:05 PM on November 22, 2011


I was just thinking that with all the conflicts of interest, that a change of venue would be a good idea.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 2:34 PM on November 22, 2011


"National reporters -- some of them "reporters" -- keep asking local reporters what it's like here right now, how it feels, the mood, the tone. What are people thinking? Saying?

The truth is, we are enveloped. Physically, we remain surrounded by an empire we thought we knew, the countless tangible symbols, landmarks and intangible memories forever changed in meaning.

The truth is, more than two weeks after the horrific and credible allegations were laid bare, words continue to fail us. We live in a constant state of mourning. We mourn perpetually the immeasurable innocence lost, the lives irreparably broken, the trust once held.

The truth is, we blame ourselves. The truth is, we don't understand. The truth is, no matter what we say, no matter what we write, no matter what we express, no matter how we respond and react, it all feels woefully -- unspeakably -- inadequate.

The truth is, we clamor for ways to make it better, to figure out how we might try to right the incalculable, unimaginable wrongs. We give money; we gather; we plan.

But we're often quiet, still lost and bewildered. We find ourselves splintered and polarized, forming closer personal bonds with those who share our deepest thoughts -- and distancing ourselves from those who don't.

Try though we do, we don't have all the answers. And the truth is, some may elude us forever."
— Adam Smeltz, State College Journalist and resident. At Penn State, Walking for Answers in Darkness
posted by Toekneesan at 3:28 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


No offense, but "the truth is . . . " that I find myself wholly uninterested in what local reporters say about what it's like in State College, because I'm pretty confident they are going to try to write for the fences.

Also, because it's kind of a distraction from who did what, and what's being done for the real victims.

And finally because my ordinary suspicion that the 24-hour news cycle, and our incredible self-absorption, will lead us to systemically exaggerate the significance of a community's reaction -- that's redoubled when I have cause to think that a lot of people are grieving about the football team and their coach.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 7:26 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Clyde Mnestra: "Also, because it's kind of a distraction from who did what, and what's being done for the real victims."

And, to think, we have entire sections of newspapers dedicated to sports, movies, and comic strips when there are wars, natural disasters, and a global economic crisis going on.

Of course concerns about how the community feels after the tragedy are of no measurable importance compared to the criminal investigation, or ensuring that victims and their families are treated fairly, but the issue of the scandal's effect on the University and the region is nonetheless relevant to the life of someone living in the region, and is thus worthy of a bit of coverage (one article out of thirty or so that the author has posted about the scandal since it broke) on a site like statecollege.com.

This is especially true when the flow of information about the real story has slowed to just a few drops per day, not because reporters are "distracted" by these other issues, but because the principals involved are all anonymous or hidden behind their lawyers. If you're the guy manning the statecollege.com Sandusky scandal desk three weeks in with no new details to report, you're naturally going to start wanting to cover other layers of the story.

What's "write for the fences" mean, anyway? I assume it's related to swinging for the fences in baseball, but I'm not really sure what point you're trying to make.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:43 PM on November 22, 2011


tonycpsu, I said "no offense," but should have been more careful to distinguish between your posting (about which I have no issue) and the merits of the article. Sorry.

On the merits, though, I do think there's a difference between an unconnected story (or comics) and a story at the margins of reported tragedy and suffering -- either the brighter side or trivia ("The Question Everyone's Asking in State College -- Who Will Succeed JoePa?" or "Nittany Lions Favored Irish Spring, Supplier Says") or derivative suffering ("Regalia Makers Deride Rush to Judgment" or "Residents of Sandusky, Ohio, Watch Anxiously" or "Penn State Professor: 'It's Hard to Focus on My Grant'"). There is a balance between exploring secondary issues and shifting the spotlight or detracting from the real story.

Your explanation about the flow of information trickling, and the lack of new details, and the thirty postings on the site by one guy, all reinforce my point that the media routinely gets this balance wrong. The reporter needs to put food on the table, I know, but I'm entitled to say I don't like it.

P.S. Sorry too about "write for the fences." I meant that, like swinging for the fences (often associated with big whiffs), reporters -- increasingly sports reporters -- often write purple, overwrought prose that is inappropriate to their beat. Sports Illustrated does this all the time.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 6:57 AM on November 23, 2011


Clyde Mnestra: "tonycpsu, I said "no offense," but should have been more careful to distinguish between your posting (about which I have no issue) and the merits of the article. Sorry."

Actually, that wasn't my post (toekneesan != tonycpsu) , and I took no offense at all. I was just curious why you're so against exploring the other aspects of the story that might also have an impact on peoples' lives. With your clarifying post, I understand what you're getting at, but I guess I can't fault the locals in the area for wanting to know how the scandal is affecting the school's reputation, the local economy, and other ancillary issues that nonetheless matter to them as residents of a region that's so interconnected with the school. For them, I don't think coverage of these side issues detracts from the coverage of the real story, though to outsiders with a more limited attention span, it might be more of a zero-sum game as you suggest.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:33 AM on November 23, 2011


I was trying to give the school of Victim 1 the benefit of the doubt but after reading that victim-blaming article I want to burn it down.
posted by schroedinger at 1:42 PM on November 23, 2011


Oh yeah, the NYT did an article along the same lines. Lots of victim blaming and isolation for daring to say something about the amazing Jerry Sandusky.
posted by schroedinger at 1:45 PM on November 23, 2011


Who knew you could form a coherent defense strategy around being as loudly and virulently odious as possible in the hopes that you can force the prosecution to the table to just shut you up.

This is horrific, no wonder Sandusky had to find a lawyer this disgraced in order to get someone willing to go through with it.
posted by Blasdelb at 2:42 PM on November 23, 2011


schroedinger: "Oh yeah, the NYT did an article along the same lines. Lots of victim blaming and isolation for daring to say something about the amazing Jerry Sandusky."

And it appears quite likely that the article in question is directly responsible for the identity of Victim One has been compromised, and that he's been shamed by his peers. Who knew that revealing names of a child's teachers, his clothing, and details of a car accident he was in would be enough for people to find out who he is?

Nice work, old gray lady.
posted by tonycpsu at 4:25 PM on November 23, 2011 [5 favorites]




A PSU official pushes back on the "Paterno is judge, jury, and executioner" allegations.
posted by tonycpsu at 4:33 PM on November 23, 2011


This week's This American Life has an update on their earlier Penn State story. Some of the "here's how Paterno could have been thinking he was doing the right thing" magical thinking was pretty unpleasant to listen to.
posted by jeather at 6:45 AM on November 25, 2011


An update to the Syracuse allegations: assistant coach Bernie Fine was fired last night as a result of this:

On audio tape, Syracuse Orange assistant Bernie Fine's wife admits worries over abuse.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:23 AM on November 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


From Many Voices has been set up as a way for people to write public letters of support to the victims while keeping victim identities anonymous. Hopefully this website can get popular enough that they see it!
posted by schroedinger at 9:30 AM on November 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sandusky has hired his own private investigator now.
posted by argonauta at 4:45 PM on November 28, 2011


Sandusky has hired his own private investigator now.

Wow, I'm sure if I was one of the alleged victims coming forward this wouldn't bother me at all.

There is a small chance Sandusky isn't really a perv, but it is 100% likely he is a tone deaf idiot who has found himself in a hole and continues to dig.
posted by localroger at 4:49 PM on November 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Well, Jerry, I did some digging and found out that you're a great big child molester pedophile who deserves to spend at least the vast majority of your waning years in a prison. Not really sure what you were hoping for."
posted by klangklangston at 7:15 PM on November 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


In the "small chance" that Sandusky isn't a perv, there remains a pretty damn large chance that he's going to spend a very long time imprisoned in a very small space. Given that, why wouldn't he hire a private investigator?

Defense attorneys—and sure, defendants too—use PIs all the time. It's typical. The prosecutor has the police doing the same thing, except the police definitely aren't motivated toward finding exculpatory evidence and sometimes they're a bit too "motivated" toward finding evidence that suggests guilt. There's nothing inherently wrong with trying to balance the scales of available resources.

I'm not a Sandusky apologist. He looks guilty. And if it turns out this private investigator is a shady, unethical person with a history of coercion and intimidation, well, that would warrant sanction. But just because a guy is really, seriously probably guilty doesn't mean we should grease the wheels. OJ's acquittal was the right verdict. That whole "beyond a reasonable doubt" thing protects all of us and it's more important than any one, ten, or hundred defendants.
posted by red clover at 12:13 AM on November 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


A small article on how journalism classes at Penn State are using this as a learning experience: Feature Writing and Journalism Ethics

I just keep staring at my favorite comfy Penn State hoodie, wondering when I'm going to feel ok about wearing it in public again. It's more visible than the small oval PSU magnet on the back of the car. I was a grad student there, not even close to one of those four-year-parents-were-alumni-I-grew-up-Penn-State-Proud types, but I still feel a little bit like people I trusted have betrayed that trust. Hell, I never even attended a football game while I was there.
posted by PussKillian at 6:35 AM on November 29, 2011


OJ's acquittal was the right verdict, given the shoddy, shallow, and ultimately incompetent work of prosecutorial team that was more interested in self-amusement and self-promotion than doing their job and duty. That whole "beyond a reasonable doubt" thing protects all of us and it's more important than any one, ten, or hundred defendants.

A slight amendation, red clover. Otherwise, I agree with you.

/Leather shrinks when wet? Who knew? I mean, other than anyone who works with or wears leather...
posted by IAmBroom at 12:36 PM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


IAmBroom, chrome tanned garment leather does not absorb water or shrink after getting wet. I don't know what the deal with OJ's glove was, but it was not shrinkage. More likely, he just likes tight gloves to get a better tactile sensation, and he made a big deal about what looked much more awkward than it really was.
posted by localroger at 2:03 PM on November 29, 2011


I don't know what the deal with OJ's glove was, but it was not shrinkage.

One thing I know is if you put latex gloves on my hands first, I could make it look like no gloves in the world fit me. The fact that the glove was the deciding factor in his acquittal is pretty depressing.

Odd derail, but yeah, it's hard to consider O.J. innocent, just not convicted. My favorite O.J. cultural reference was Phil and Hank from the Garry Shandling Show:

"Fuck you, Hank. Of course I did it."
posted by mrgrimm at 3:08 PM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


it's hard to consider O.J. innocent, just not convicted.

And the subsequent civil trial found him liable for both deaths. Because the standards of proof are different in civil versus criminal trials. To make someone pay money, you must prove their guilt by a preponderance of the evidence ("more likely than not"), but to deprive them of freedom the state, not you, must prove them guilty beyond a reasonable doubt ("to a moral certainty").

I think OJ is an excellent example of the justice system working as it should. When the evidence is that persuasive, a plaintiff should be able to recover damages—but when the prosecution is that biased and incompetent, no defendant should be convicted. Setting aside whether or not OJ committed the crimes: If that particular prosecution team could convict him, by what they did, then it'd be far too easy for innocent people to wind up in jail.

...Which it already is.

So yeah, I'm fine with Sandusky hiring a private investigator. Let him hire ten. If they engage in inappropriate behavior, then drop the hammer, but otherwise let him investigate to his heart's content. If he can investigate crimes he probably did commit, then you and I can investigate when (God forbid) we're accused of crimes we didn't. Make the prosecutors work to put him in jail. The more difficult it is to jail a guilty man, the closer we get to "impossible" for jailing innocents.
posted by red clover at 5:15 PM on November 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm fine with Sandusky hiring a private investigator. Let him hire ten.

I'm really torn about this. Yeah, on the off chance he's innocent he should have the right to deploy any resources at his disposal gathering evidence. But if it's what it seems, given Sandusky's standing in the community, all it serves is to intimidate the victims both known and yet to be known.

Given all the rest of it, the fact that his hiring of the PI hit the news at all suggests it's the latter purpose, because the former would be better served with more discretion.
posted by localroger at 7:43 PM on November 29, 2011




localroger: another use is PR for his client, injecting into the potential jury pool-at-large the possibility of innocence (which otherwise pre-trial publicity has mostly squashed).

BTW, why are you certain the gloves are chrome-tanned? I didn't follow the trial closely; don't know if that was covered or not. Regardless, even chrome-tanned tends to stiffen after wetting; since gloves are tight to begin with, any stiffening is in effect making them tighter, if not actually shrinking them.
posted by IAmBroom at 8:52 AM on November 30, 2011


Teaching The Kite Runner at Penn State, by Sophia A. McClennen.

"This content is only for subscribers."

I hated that book, but I'd be curious to read the article if you have a text version somewhere ...
posted by mrgrimm at 10:02 AM on November 30, 2011


CNN reports that the first lawsuit has been filed against Sandusky, Penn State and Second Mile, by a victim who apparently was not included in the grand jury report.
posted by argonauta at 10:10 AM on November 30, 2011


Leather Derail Con't: Nearly all thin split garment leather is chrome tanned because the process is fast, cheap, and scaleable, and the result is more durable and waterproof than anything else. The only exception you are ever likely to encounter in an actual store are fancy western-style belts which are vegetable tanned so that they will absorb water so they can be decoratively tooled, and because chrome tanning works best with thin split product. Garment leather is generally colored in the tanning process because after tanning it will not reliably absorb dye.

Getting wet does not change chrome tanned leather in any significant way. I have a 12 year old leather jacket which has been rained on more times than I can count and it is as supple as the day I bought it. What causes garment leather to stiffen is heat and being pressed or hung in the same position for a long, long time, which causes the collagens in the animal skin to further cross-link and fix the position. This takes years, and is less noticeable the thinner the leather is.

I think it's much more likely that O.J.'s hand changed size than that the glove did. Although natural weight gain tends not to go to the fingers there are ways to encourage localized growth and swelling, and he did know that he might be asked to put the glove on.

As for Sandusky, as PR moves go making it look like you're going to start an intimidation campaign against your alleged victims by rooting around in their lives isn't really a well calculated move, IMO.
posted by localroger at 10:25 AM on November 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


I...shouldn't go to the Penn State Alumni FB group anymore. There are a lot of people on there who, I suppose unsurprisingly, are convinced that all of this hubbub is about Joe Paterno being mistreated by an ingrate board of trustees and a rush to judgment media firestorm. They're posting blog articles which claim that ESPN is a channel of hypocrites because they didn't act on the Syracuse recording but demanded Paterno's firing.
posted by PussKillian at 2:12 PM on November 30, 2011






Sandusky, Center of Penn State Scandal, Tells His Story. The New York Times interviews Jerry Sandusky.
posted by Toekneesan at 5:42 AM on December 3, 2011 [1 favorite]




Sandusky’s defense has so far been unorthodox.

If the charges weren't so horrifying and serious, I would laugh and laugh at what seems to be the unsurpassed stupidity - hubris, probably - of both Sandusky and his attorney. I can't imagine how the best defense isn't STFU until trial, but obviously, Amendola disagrees.
posted by rtha at 4:04 PM on December 5, 2011






Sandusky jailed, unable to make $250,000 bail.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:28 PM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


New grand jury presentment (PDF — includes graphic details).
posted by ericb at 1:31 PM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


His wife ignored the screams of the children he was raping in their home. WHAT THE FUCK.
posted by schroedinger at 3:04 PM on December 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's cool, scroedinger, they were down in the special bedroom in the basement where Sandusky always took visiting kids and told them to stay, even though he had a couple of unused not so special bedrooms above ground level.

Totally understandable and not suspicious at all, right?
posted by localroger at 3:20 PM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]



Naturally, The Onion nails it.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 4:08 PM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ugh ugh ugh ugh ugh.

I just... ugh.
posted by argonauta at 6:14 PM on December 7, 2011


Sandusky jailed, unable to make $250,000 bail.

Thank you, Pogo_Fuzzybutt, for some bright news.

No doubt empowered by this scandal's break, more are coming forward. Syracuse coach Bernie Fine accused by two victims with "credible" evidence, but the statute of limitations has run out (why is there a statute of limitations on crimes against minors, who may spend the rest of their lives getting strong enough to accuse?). Silver lining: he is still subject to civil lawsuit.
posted by IAmBroom at 6:27 AM on December 9, 2011


Pogo_Fuzzybutt's link is no longer accurate. Mr. Sandusky was released on bond yesterday. He is currently back home, under house arrest, with an electronic monitoring device. His wife also released a statement responding to the assertion that they kept children in the basement and she didn't hear their cries.
posted by Toekneesan at 9:09 AM on December 9, 2011


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