FanDuel - WFBC

July 12, 2012

Paterno, Penn State Officials Knew About Sandusky in 1998: Coach Joe Paterno and other Penn State leaders "repeatedly concealed critical facts relating to [Jerry] Sandusky's child abuse" from authorities, investigator Louis Freeh states in a report he issued today. Paterno and the others "never demonstrated, through actions or words, any concern for the safety and well-being of Sandusky's victims until after Sandusky's arrest," the report states. Freeh found that they knew about the 1998 investigation of Sandusky, three years earlier than the shower rape witnessed by Mike McQueary. "The evidence shows that Mr. Paterno was made aware of the 1998 investigation of Sandusky, followed it closely, but failed to take any action," he writes. "None of them even spoke to Sandusky about his conduct. In short, nothing was done and Sandusky was allowed to continue with impunity."

posted by rcade to general at 09:41 AM - 26 comments

This is getting about as ugly as it could possibly get. The culture of protection this man had is unbelievable.

posted by dfleming at 09:53 AM on July 12

Paterno was all over this going back to 1998 and it was viewed as possible sexual improprieties with kids. There's a handy timeline in the report starting on page 19 that shows what a loathsome operation Penn State football was in his grubby little hands.

A sports agent who bought a Penn State player $400 in clothes before the Citrus Bowl was declared a "persona non grata" and banned from campus by president Graham Spanier in 1997. Spanier said the agent "fooled around with the integrity of the university, and I won't stand for that." No such action was ever taken against Sandusky.

The response to Sandusky possibly molesting a kid in the locker room shower in 1998 was to pay Sandusky an "unusual" $198,000 to retire and give him emeritus rank at the school in spite of his "low academic rank."

Rot in hell, JoePa.

posted by rcade at 09:55 AM on July 12

A sports agent who bought a Penn State player $400 in clothes before the Citrus Bowl was declared a "persona non grata" and banned from campus by president Graham Spanier in 1997. Spanier said the agent "fooled around with the integrity of the university, and I won't stand for that." No such action was ever taken against Sandusky.

So, why these two responses are so out of proportion? The obvious answer would seem that the people at Penn State had exceptionally twisted morals. I worry, though, that the motivation is a more common one. The case of the athlete gift got a strong response not because the university viewed the transgression as truly serious...but because the truth was already out there in public, and they feared the consequences if they didn't slap some wrists. In the Sandusky case, it seems like they thought they could cover it up and feared the consequences of the matter being made public. In neither case were they driven by a desire to do the right thing, but instead were motivated to do whatever caused them less trouble. In this, I think Penn State is no different than most people today. So many people don't care about the consequences of their actions to others, only to themselves. Their only motivation not to do wrong is "I'll get caught", and if they think they can avoid that, they don't see any other reason not to do whatever is convenient, easy, or profits them. It's the moral reasoning of a three-year-old: when so many adults, with adult powers and responsibilities, are reasoning this way, the world's in trouble.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 11:15 AM on July 12

Matt Millen is on ESPN basically apologizing for Joe Paterno. It's disgusting. I don't understand why they're giving him that platform.

posted by insomnyuk at 11:27 AM on July 12

I think they feared consequences to their institution, but did a poor long-term assessment of the risk they were taking by burying the allegations. This destroys the reputation of Joe Paterno and Penn State athletics. The brand they built up asserting exceptional integrity is a sick joke.

It's a shame that schools don't have more reason to fear breaking the Clery Act. The law allows financial aid to be suspended to schools that fail to report serious crimes committed on their campus. It would be nice to see an example made of Penn State for actively covering up the crimes of a serial child molester.

posted by rcade at 11:34 AM on July 12

LBB: I agree with your assessment and would like to add one more thing. The University covered Sandusky's incident up to protect one of its own (among the other reasons we all know about); the agent had no such tie to anyone in the program.

Still, as heinous as these men's behavior was in response to this, the report's findings actually don't surprise me. It had to take a degree of knowledge by men in a high position to keep something like this from the public for such a long time. Freeh and his investigative team deserve props for not pulling any punches against some of the most powerful men in a culture of reverence brought about by a successful football program. And you know what they say about power: it may be a cliche but nowhere does it ring truer than here.

posted by NerfballPro at 11:36 AM on July 12

The investigation is billed by Pennsylvania State University as "independent," though the university is paying the law firm of Freeh, the former federal judge and director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

If Freeh was biased toward the university for paying him, I'd hate to see the report of someone who is neutral.

lbb, Tool said it well when they wrote "If consequences dictate a course of action, then it doesn't matter what's right, it's only wrong if you get caught." Such is the nature of our world.

posted by tahoemoj at 11:39 AM on July 12

insomnyuk: Matt Millen clearly has some truly damaging info on someone at ESPN. The fact that he isn't forced to wear clown makeup whenever he's on air is proof enough of that.

posted by Etrigan at 11:40 AM on July 12

The law allows financial aid to be suspended to schools that fail to report serious crimes committed on their campus.

Effectively punishing most of the student body as well, which makes it something no one will ever enforce. Maybe they should come up with a better statute.

posted by yerfatma at 12:07 PM on July 12

This is why I have such a big problem with hero worship in sports. This whole saga is the worst possible outcome.

posted by insomnyuk at 12:07 PM on July 12

Seriously, Matt Millen is a shitbird. He said 'some things fall through the cracks.'

That's total bullshit. The key players at Penn State all knew about Sandusky's child abuse and chose to cover it up. Millen is trying to protect Paterno's reputation by saying he is basically a good guy. I call bullshit. If you protect a serial child rapist in order to protect a football program, you are not a good person. Period.

posted by insomnyuk at 12:22 PM on July 12

Is ESPN really giving Matt Millen an in-studio seat to make excuses for Joe Paterno once an hour, with no one to present the other side?

posted by rcade at 12:29 PM on July 12

Is ESPN really giving Matt Millen an in-studio seat to make excuses for Joe Paterno once an hour, with no one to present the other side?

Common Fucking Decency is caught in traffic.

posted by Etrigan at 12:33 PM on July 12

Surprise: Millen's not going over very well.

posted by yerfatma at 12:49 PM on July 12

A lot of the comments on ESPN's site are just horrifying, as are the poll results.

posted by insomnyuk at 01:23 PM on July 12

Pitt alumnus Mark May is on ESPN dispensing a Paterno beatdown and there's no mention of Matt Millen coming up again.

posted by rcade at 01:38 PM on July 12

Phil Knight, who spoke for Joe Paterno at his memorial service, is taking Paterno's name off a child development center.

posted by rcade at 01:46 PM on July 12

The worst part is the February 27-28, 2001 back and forth. They talked themselves out of doing the right thing. They started with discussing contacting DPW and ended up taking the "more humane" approach of talking to Sandusky, not reporting it, and not preventing him from having kids on campus.

posted by bperk at 02:18 PM on July 12

The use of "more humane" in that conversation made me sick.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 02:22 PM on July 12

It seems like the Counselor, Seasock, killed the 1998 case single-handedly. He turned it from investigating a pedophile to a guy with boundary issues.

posted by bperk at 02:36 PM on July 12

I also have to wonder about the DA at the time. He's now missing and presumed dead. It's the stuff of movies to think that he had some information to move forward with a case back in 1998 or 2001 regardless of how little cooperation he would've gotten from Penn State, but it wouldn't surprise me if his disappearance had something to do with the Sandusky case.

posted by NerfballPro at 03:38 PM on July 12

Paterno's death feels more and more like William Casey's late 80's departure all the time.

Die before you testify.

It's the ultimate alibi.

The students who believed in the legend and raised hell when Paterno was fired - they have to return to campus in the fall and walk past the statue, the mural, the library and all the other trappings that have now become a Stonehenge of shame.

They either have to alter or dismantle most of that shit, or live with the stress and disillusionment of seeing it every day.

The Vatican could have told Penn State: if you like monuments, edifices, and playing out a hollow, wretched fairy tale, it's helpful to have your own sovereign city-state.

posted by beaverboard at 04:05 PM on July 12

I have been reading people advocating that the Penn program gets the NCAA 'Death Penalty" over the cover-up. Most of the people discussing this don't seem to have any actual knowledge of NCAA regulations and whether this is the sort of thing that the NCAA actually can or cannot do. I don't know enough about the policies to understand this either. Can anyone here explain to me if the "Death Penalty" is an applicable NCAA punishment in this situation and, if it is, if it is likely?

posted by Joey Michaels at 04:27 PM on July 12

Applicable? Perhaps, depending on whether the NCAA wants to. There are some vague regulations that could apply. Likely? I honestly cannot tell. Public opinion is going to shape this thing, whether the NCAA and PSU want to admit it or not. But if the NCAA does anything to the program, it will have to be some form of the death penalty, or no school will ever settle for any lesser discipline for letting a kid take $400 in clothes from a booster again.

posted by Etrigan at 04:39 PM on July 12

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