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November 05, 2011

Penn State AD Charged in Child Sex Abuse Cover Up: Penn State athletic director Tim Curley and another school official are facing perjury and failing to report charges related to allegations that longtime assistant coach Jerry Sandusky sexually abused eight boys. Sandusky, who retired from Penn State in 1999 after 32 years in coaching, was indicted Friday on 40 counts after a two-year grand jury investigation. Ray Gricar, a district attorney who chose not to pursue charges against Sandusky in 1998 after allegations the coach touched a 12-year-old boy in a shower, disappeared in 2005 and was declared dead this year. Head coach Joe Paterno was not charged. Prosecutors said he reported an allegation of abuse to Curley when he first learned about it. Since retirement, Sandusky has focused his time on Second Mile, a charity he founded in 1977 that helps 200,000 kids in the state with youth camps and programs.

posted by rcade to football at 12:23 PM - 40 comments

The timeline suggests that Paterno learned of these allegations in 1998 and they forced Sandusky's retirement from football when he was just 54. Did he do or say anything while the guy worked at a charity that gave him exposure to kids for the next 12 years? The conspiracy of silence that allows child abuse to continue for years is appalling.

posted by rcade at 12:35 PM on November 05

They don't call him JoePa for nothing. Sorry in bad taste I know.

I hate reading about coaches that abuse children, kinda gives the rest of us youth coaches a bad name. Sorta like that church and it's priests. If these alligations turn out to be true I hope they put him under the jail.

posted by Folkways at 12:37 PM on November 05

Paterno apparently found out in 2002 when a graduate assistant told him he saw Sandusky sexually assault a naked 10 year old in Penn State's locker room. He told Curley and the grad assistant met with both Curley and the other official to report it.

"Despite a powerful eyewitness statement about the sexual assault of a child, this incident was not reported to any law enforcement or child protective agency, as required by Pennsylvania law," said Attorney General Linda Kelly.

Why isn't Paterno being charged with failure to report? He didn't report it to police. Curley's not a law enforcement official or child protective agency.

posted by rcade at 12:47 PM on November 05

Paterno didn't see any child abuse. He heard about from a graduate assistant and passed it on to someone who he thought could handle it more thoroughly. The graduate assistant isn't being charged with failure to report either though he was a witness and didn't report it to the police. If Sandusky and Curley had done as much as the graduate assistant and Paterno, then they wouldn't be being charged either. Instead, they did nothing and then lied about it.

posted by bperk at 01:21 PM on November 05

The indictment says that the graduate assistant went to the locker room at 9:30 p.m. before spring break, heard sounds from the showers that suggested sexual intercourse was going on, investigated and witnessed a naked Sandusky committing anal sex on a naked 10-year-old boy.

The assistant told his father and together they told Paterno, who reported it to Curley and Penn State vice president Gary Schultz. None of the five reported the assault to police. Curley and Schultz responded by removing Sandusky's access to the Penn State football building and telling him to no longer bring children around.

No one even knows who this victim is, because neither the witness nor the other four adults informed of the crime thought they needed to call police.

posted by rcade at 03:42 PM on November 05

Gary Schultz is VP for finance and business at PSU, which includes oversight of the campus police department. He would be the logical person to whom such an incident would be reported, following the "chain-of-command" from grad assistant to coach to AD to VP. Why he would not report it to the State College PD, or to the PA State Police is beyond me. Perhaps the fact that in 2002 Sandusky was no longer employed by the university and action was then taken to limit his access to campus had something to do with it. Schultz, by the way, retired from PSU in 2009, but returned this year as interim VP while a search for a permanent replacement.

I am intrigued with the reporting of the 1998 incident to a district attorney who subsequently decided not to pursue it. It has all the makings of a made-for-TV movie about a cover-up, disappearance and murder. I really doubt there was any such thing, but it is strange. On further review, it looks like someone has already done some work on the Ray Gricar case. On the face of it, it would appear to have nothing to do with the 1998 sexual abuse case, but...

One other note on this is that PSU and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania have been in a bit of a p***ing contest over the university budget. The state has cut the budget quite deeply, and of course the university officials have been lobbying for more money. Being the conspiracy theorist that I am, it would not surprise me if the charges against Schultz and Curley were politically motivated. One does not get to defend himself in a grand jury proceeding, and prosecutors have been known to stretch the facts a bit.

posted by Howard_T at 04:32 PM on November 05

The graduate assistant who witnessed Sandusky raping a 10-year-old is Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary. He was 28 years old and he witnessed this crime, according to his grand jury testimony, and he didn't stop it or call police. All he did was tell Paterno, then tell a couple other school officials. Sandusky was free to continue abusing the child.

posted by rcade at 01:09 PM on November 06

Paterno may not be legaly culpable but he is moraly worthy of blame. Time to pack it in JoePa...

posted by NEPABob at 04:40 PM on November 06

Statement from JoePa.

posted by yerfatma at 05:46 PM on November 06

Paterno may not be legaly culpable but he is moraly worthy of blame. Time to pack it in JoePa...

I think he did what he was supposed to do. He reported it to his boss to handle it. It isn't his fault that his boss did nothing.

posted by bperk at 07:46 PM on November 06

He did the absolute minimum possible. What kind of scumbag doesn't do everything he can to protect a kid who is being molested? He's Joe Freakin' Paterno. He could pick up the phone and get the local chief of police, county sheriff or governor on the line.

Instead, he just passes the buck to his "boss" (as if a Penn State AD is Paterno's boss) and then never asks himself why no police ever contact him in the subsequent days.

Someone should ask JoePa if he would've called police if the victim was one of his grandchildren.

posted by rcade at 08:07 PM on November 06

First, you have no idea what the graduate assistant told him specifically. If the graduate assistant didn't think it was serious enough of an issue to call the police instantly, then why would JoePa? Second, JoePa (like most people) may not have believed that his friend/colleague would be capable of something like that. So, he gave it to someone in a better position to handle it. If someone told me something like that at work, I certainly wouldn't do an independent investigation. I'd hand it to the people who are supposed to handle serious personnel issues. If the people who are supposed to handle it, actually did what they should have done, then there is no problem here.

posted by bperk at 08:22 PM on November 06

First, you have no idea what the graduate assistant told him specifically.

The indictment says the graduate assistant (McQuery) saw the kid being anally raped and reported to Paterno "what he had seen." Paterno reported to Curley that the allegation was "fondling or doing something of a sexual nature to a young boy" in the showers.

If the graduate assistant didn't think it was serious enough of an issue to call the police instantly, then why would JoePa?

Given the indictment, I don't see where are you getting that he didn't think it was serious. But the inaction of others does not excuse Paterno's inaction.

I'd hand it to the people who are supposed to handle serious personnel issues.

Child rape isn't a "personnel issue." It's a heinous crime. I think there's a strong moral obligation to report it to police, and in some cases a legal obligation as well.

posted by rcade at 08:35 PM on November 06

...

posted by NEPABob at 08:56 PM on November 06

Good f---ing grief, any, and I mean any, adult that has knowledge of a 10 year old boy being raped by an adult, and doesn't do everything, and I mean everything, in their power to stop it, is not living up to the minimum standards of being a human being.

Seriously, would any of you merely report it to someone else, not a cop, just someone else, and think you've done all you should?

Of course not. And, if you're Joe Freakin' Paterno, you surely think of your legacy and report this. Unless, of course, you hope to cover it up, at least to some degree. Had his boss then reported it to the police, he'd be fine, but he knows his boss did no such thing, and he thus had an obligation to ensure that the crime was reported.

posted by dviking at 12:01 AM on November 07

Jerry Sandusky was running youth camps on other Penn State campuses as recently as 2009.

posted by rcade at 07:04 AM on November 07

Seriously, would any of you merely report it to someone else, not a cop, just someone else, and think you've done all you should?

People don't know what they will do until they are put in that position. Graduate assistant is probably regretting his decision. Still, if someone else reported it to me, I would advise them to go to the police. I don't know if police take reports based on what someone else said they saw.

Child rape isn't a "personnel issue." It's a heinous crime. I think there's a strong moral obligation to report it to police, and in some cases a legal obligation as well.

If someone who works with you accuses someone else who works with you of heinous stuff, it is a personnel issue. At that point, you don't actually know if it is true and may not believe it. Someone has to find out if it is true, so reporting it up the chain and telling the person to go to the police sounds right to me.

posted by bperk at 08:34 AM on November 07

If someone came to me and said a 10 yr old boy was raped in the shower, the response should be "here is the phone, call the police." NOt ok let me tell someone else. YEs it was good to tell the bosses what was happening, but someone who holds themselves up as the moral compass the way Paterno always has should have been on the phone with the cops as soon as this was reported to him. Everyone that did not tell the cops is just as guilty as the next.

posted by Debo270 at 09:02 AM on November 07

People don't know what they will do until they are put in that position....

Sorry, but that's garbage. Of course the police follow up on it if Joe Paterno calls and says "I have been told that Jerry Sandusky may have raped a 10 year old boy in our showers". That short phone call is all that Joe needed to do in order to distance himself from this situation. I would have hoped he'd do more, like taking greater steps to remove Sandusky from any contact with PSU, ensure that he never works a youth camp, etc.

While some low life's can walk by a crime like this without alerting the authorities, I think most of us realize the difference between knowing a guy like Sandusky is sexually harassing an adult female office worker, and knowing he's raping a 10 year old boy. Not dismissing the sexual harassment in any way, but if Joe had heard that Sandusky had the habit of telling lewd jokes and slapping his secretary on the butt, and all Joe did is tell his boss I think he'd get a pass. Joe should have done more.

posted by dviking at 09:24 AM on November 07

Jerry Sandusky was running youth camps on other Penn State campuses as recently as 2009.

This is especially troubling.

Bad enough not to handle the crime vigorously or appropriately enough at the time of commission.

Even worse to harbor, enable and facilitate for the known perpetrator under the PSU umbrella after his departure from the football program.

Worse yet for the PSU staff and administration to help the perpetrator in the name of their institution gain the one privilege that should have been critically and urgently denied him: continued contact with youth!

This speaks to issues that exist at the endemic, institutional level within the Penn State culture.

If this situation does not bring Paterno down directly, it may well cause him to walk away from the game.

posted by beaverboard at 09:32 AM on November 07

That short phone call is all that Joe needed to do in order to distance himself from this situation.

Right. If Paterno makes a single phone call to police, it's on them if the matter is not properly investigated. He should have done more than that -- Sandusky wasn't even banned from Penn State's campus until this weekend -- but not calling police at all is unforgivable.

The reason Sandusky is under indictment today is because a high school assistant principal did the right thing. He received an allegation of child sex abuse involving Sandusky in 2008 and immediately notified police.

posted by rcade at 10:05 AM on November 07

The reason Sandusky is under indictment today is because a high school assistant principal did the right thing

The kid's mom reported it to the school and not the police as well. What does that mean? To me it says that these things are complicated and that everyone's first instinct is not to run to the police.

posted by bperk at 11:07 AM on November 07

"You need to tell the police what you saw or I will" is not complicated at all.

posted by rcade at 11:25 AM on November 07

Where is Hugh on this one?

posted by Debo270 at 02:27 PM on November 07

Joe is not some random employee or middle management in this scenario, and being informed about alleged crimes by Sandusky is not comparable to finding something out about a co-worker that may or may not be true.

Paterno may not have been signing his checks, but Sandusky was employed under the absolute direction of Paterno and was using facilities that are, at least in part, under Paterno's oversight. And, JoePa IS Penn St ... he can't simply take the path of least personal turmoil, turn his back, and never think about this again if he remotely cares about his legacy, his school or his fellow humans.

I'm no big Penn St fan, but I'd hate to see Paterno or PSU take a big fall for this because of the impact on the sport and a much-revered person. But it feels like a monstrous cover-up, and even if not, it has too many moral pitfalls. Even though this has nothing to do with boosters or agents or players making questionably corrupt decisions, regardless, talk about "lack of institutional control".

I'd like nothing else than some facts to come out that exonerate Paterno completely (morally, ethically), but if not, allowing him to retire from the game at the end of the year would be a nice but lenient way to say goodbye.

posted by littleLebowski at 03:04 PM on November 07

As I've said here before, the US has no titles of nobility... other than 'Coach'.

Putting aside sentimentality towards Paterno, the reporting and commentary paints State College, PA as his feudal domain, and the echoes of the Catholic hierarchy's approach to child abuse -- handle it in-house, move the offenders elsewhere, possibly reward silence -- are pretty disturbing.

posted by etagloh at 05:15 PM on November 07

Regardless, it was clear that the witness saw something inappropriate involving Mr. Sandusky. As Coach Sandusky was retired from our coaching staff at that time, I referred the matter to university administrators.

And then washed your hands of it Joe, and to think I stuck up for you to fans here as recently as a few weeks ago, saying even as nothing but a figurehead you were good for Penn St.

If someone who works with you accuses someone else who works with you of heinous stuff, it is a personnel issue.

Dude, really?

{oh my b I just saw p sexually erk an underage kid in the men's room. oh my you seem upset by that, don't worry I'll pass it on and hope someone up the ladder reports it to the authorities, poor kid}

I take it you are not a parent.

Don't know about other states but in Alabama even the grad student could be charged with child endangerment for not reporting this to the authorities. No passing the buck on physical, mental,or sexual abuse of a minor.

posted by Folkways at 06:23 PM on November 07

I take it you are not a parent.

Why? Because I don't want to flog Paterno? I think he handled it appropriately. He didn't take it to the police himself. Neither the person who witnessed it nor the administrator responsible did either, and they are the ones who should have. Paterno called over his AD on a Sunday to let him know, and assumed (or received assurances) that it would be handled by the people supposed to handle it. That's what they are there for. The guy was a former member of his coaching staff; he couldn't very well fire the guy since he wasn't on his staff anyway.

There were tons of people suspicious of this guy or who witnessed strange behavior who didn't do anything, and they were in a much better position to do something than Paterno. If most of them did as much as Paterno, Sandusky's reign of terror would have ended long ago

posted by bperk at 08:26 PM on November 07

bperk, I get what you're saying, but you're taking a way too short of a view of this.

What Joe did was fine for the first day. He reported it up the ladder. Nice job.

What makes him morally corrupt, IMHO, is that later on he then knew that nothing had happened...police did not take Sandusky into custody. That's when someone of Joe Pa's standing should have done more.

If I know a child has been raped by one of my workers in our office bathroom, and I tell my boss about it, I have done the absolute minimum possible. It probably keeps me from being legally responsible, but that's it. If I then come to know that nothing of substance ever became of it, well, that changes things, at least on a moral basis. Maybe the cops don't have anything on me, but society ought to. Joe Pa is a shit if he acquiesces on child rape. I now consider him on the same level of all the Catholic Priests that looked the other way. Yeah, it was reported up, but they all knew nothing had been done.

To say that other people also looked the other way doesn't change anything for Joe, he just has more company on the list of people that are shits. And, seriously, we're talking Joe Paterno at Penn State, who was in a better position than him??? Joe Paterno almost certainly could have called the President of the United States and gotten through. No one else at the University had that kind of pull.

posted by dviking at 12:05 AM on November 08

We're debating about what Paterno should have done in 2002, but when you read the extensive coverage in the Patriot-News and elsewhere, the obvious conclusion is that Paterno and the other top Penn State officials knew much earlier than that.

I think they decided in 1998 to cover it up when a boy said Sandusky lathered him up and touched him inappropriately in the locker room showers. The local DA helped bury this charge, despite having a child victim brave enough to come forward.

Because of this cover up, when faced with another incident in 2002, they knew their earlier actions might come to light. So they carried out a plan to insulate Paterno from the scandal and protect the school, regardless of what this meant for the raped kid and future Sandusky victims.

We're supposed to believe that Paterno, the most powerful person at Penn State, was powerless to do anything about a child being raped in his team's showers by a guy with an office in his building. Paterno, who was asked to resign in 2004 and refused, could do nothing while Sandusky used his Penn State perks -- like tickets, bowl trips and memorabilia -- to continue grooming new disadvantaged children to be molested.

That's complete bullshit. Paterno chose to cover it up along with the rest of the Penn State leadership.

The front page of today's Patriot-News is a giant editorial calling for Paterno's ouster. I couldn't agree more.

posted by rcade at 08:43 AM on November 08

Something tells me this is not the book Joe Posnanski set out to write.

posted by holden at 09:49 AM on November 08

The PA State Police commissioner said Paterno fulfilled his legal responsibilities but not his moral obligation. As everyone on this thread knows, Joe Pa is the 800 lb. gorilla at Penn State and surely followed his lead in letting this potential embarrassment to his legend go quietly into the night.

posted by billsaysthis at 11:57 AM on November 08

This whole thing is as depressing as possible for someone who grew up in PA about 2 hours drive from Happy Valley.

I feel sorry for all the kids who were abused because no adult who was aware of the situation had the strength of character to step forward and put a stop to it.

I feel sorry for PSU - this will be a stain on the football program, the University, and the community for years to come.

And I feel sorry for JoePa. He probably regrets he didn't do more, but he will forever be linked to this story. This will be as much his legacy as his football accomplishments.

posted by BikeNut at 12:25 PM on November 08

There were tons of people suspicious of this guy or who witnessed strange behavior who didn't do anything, and they were in a much better position to do something than Paterno. If most of them did as much as Paterno, Sandusky's reign of terror would have ended long ago.

bperk, I couldn't agree more but by not taking a more proactive approach to this JoePa and others at PSU aloud more boys to abused. Damn I hate this for the Coach and even though I wouldn't be able to sleep at night until I knew I had done all I could short of shooting the guy it seems all at the university felt PSU and it head coach's reputation was more important then the welfare children.

My Apologies for the your not a parent comment, I hate judgmental assumptions made by perfect strangers in discussions like this. I guess my thinking was anyone with kids would show more outrage at what was not done by the staff at penn st.

posted by Folkways at 12:27 PM on November 08

Where is Hugh on this one?

Right here, too close to home. I was the kid who was too eager to please, too eager to make a joke out of anything, doing whatever I could to be part of a crowd. That kid. Some things you have to put away. Time heals, and so does the death of monsters. I lack perspective.

There is no loyalty and no organization that should stand in the way of any human doing whatever they can to stop this sort of thing. I don't like words like should, they reek of moral judgments and I'm thus not comfortable throwing them around. In this case, should is absolutely right.

The grad assistant should have stopped what was going on. Physically stopped it. With his hands, his feet, with a baseball bat, I don't care. If you see a rape (and there's nothing consensual about Sandusky fucking a ten year-old boy in the ass) you interfere, even if it means your job, even if it means your life. It should put you in such a rage that you no longer think about what you have that needs preserving. A man should be willing to go to jail for murder to stop another man raping a child. If he isn't, he is wrong, and he is compromised.

So you step back and say, what did the compromising? Is there something culturally afoot here that prevents these men from doing what they should? Because when the assistant did nothing to interfere and reported it to the big boss, Joe Pa was prevented from even relaying the entire allegations. He was forced to soft-soap the assistant's report by something, some kind of loyalty, probably. Is he a bad man? Probably not. Just weaker than the system that puts a winning football program ahead of what he should have done.

All these men are complicit, they are part of a system that encourages them to not do what they should. McQueary should have hit Sandusky with a baseball bat. Paterno should have called the police immediately, successful football program be damned. The school officials should have done the same thing. Everybody offloaded their personal responsibility to a child, a victim of rape, onto a system that clearly failed him.

When that kid gets older there will be a row of graves he wants to piss on. I hope he's a joker, I hope the crowd teaches him it's okay to be himself; I hope time heals and I hope he can put away what he has to. I hope he doesn't even visit those graves, that he doesn't let that memory touch him again. I hope he becomes the kind of man that none of these men are. One who does what he should, to hell with the system.

In other words, Penn State football can go to hell. This kid (and, presumably, the other kids) who Sandusky raped under the football program's self-interested eye, they're the ones who matter, and I hope they all grow up strong, and calm, and smart. I hope they sleep, I hope they wake up, eat, drink, wear their clothes, and live their lives. To me, it's remarkable to see so much concern over the fates of complicit men who failed to do the right thing. They can all go to hell. But I lack perspective.

posted by Hugh Janus at 01:32 PM on November 08

Powerful words my friend.

Well said.

posted by BornIcon at 03:00 PM on November 08

HJ, there has never been a more appropriate time for a 'nuff said. Thank you for capturing the outrage that a story like this rightly induces in people with a strong moral compass.

posted by tahoemoj at 04:43 PM on November 08

This thread closed to further discussion!

posted by Folkways at 05:24 PM on November 08

WOW Hugh, no real human being could disagree or put it better. Props to you for capturing the essence of what I was thinking and putting it so eloquently. Thanks
That was the best written post I think I have ever read.

posted by Atheist at 06:33 PM on November 08

When that kid gets older there will be a row of graves he wants to piss on. I hope he's a joker, I hope the crowd teaches him it's okay to be himself; I hope time heals and I hope he can put away what he has to. I hope he doesn't even visit those graves, that he doesn't let that memory touch him again. I hope he becomes the kind of man that none of these men are. One who does what he should, to hell with the system.

In other words, Penn State football can go to hell. This kid (and, presumably, the other kids) who Sandusky raped under the football program's self-interested eye, they're the ones who matter, and I hope they all grow up strong, and calm, and smart. I hope they sleep, I hope they wake up, eat, drink, wear their clothes, and live their lives. To me, it's remarkable to see so much concern over the fates of complicit men who failed to do the right thing. They can all go to hell. But I lack perspective.


Hugh, thank you.

posted by tommytrump at 07:30 PM on November 08

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