New revelations about Joe Paterno

“[…] in 1976, a child allegedly reported to PSU’s Head Football Coach Joseph Paterno, that he (the child) was sexually molested by Sandusky.”

This line appeared in a court order from an insurance coverage case for Penn State. That one line brought back questions about Joe Paterno’s knowledge about Jerry Sandusky’s sexual abuse of boys at Penn State University.

Paterno died shortly before Sandusky faced dozens of charges of sexual abuse. The question at the time was how much did Paterno know about the abuse. The former head coach was known for his legendary achievements in college football. That history was marred by the abuse allegations. His family denied that he participated in any cover-up, however, Penn State funded an investigation that found that Paterno may have known about the abuse in 1998. The current implication from the court order suggests he may have known earlier than that:

The order also cites separate references in 1987 and 1988 in which unnamed assistant coaches witnessed inappropriate contact between Sandusky and unidentified children, and a 1988 case that was supposedly referred to Penn State’s athletic director at the time.

All, the opinion states, are described in victims’ depositions taken as part of the still-pending insurance case, but that, according a PennLive review of the case file, are apparently under seal.

“There is no evidence that reports of these incidents ever went further up the chain of command at PSU,” Judge Gary Glazer wrote, in determining that because Penn State’s executive officers – its president and trustees – weren’t aware of the allegations, he would not bar claims from that time frame from insurance coverage.

There is no evidence verifying these claims.

If the claims are true, it is highly unlikely someone as involved in the athletic department as Paterno was would not have heard about the allegations. It is also unlikely that no one else involved in the school knew about them. These incidents would have happened thirty years ago, and as shown in the criminal case against Sandusky, more allegations followed. It seems improbable that anyone could engage in this level of abuse for three decades without anyone noticing.

Granted, Paterno is not alive to defend himself and many of the people who may have seen the abuse may no longer be alive either. Any of the victims would be unable to press charges as they would all fall outside of the statute of limitations in Pennsylvania. That alone may keep some of them from coming forward.

Yet I suspect that the more people dig, the more it will become clear that people knew what Sandusky did to boys. They likely turned a blind eye to it because Paterno probably ignored it. I also suspect that if the latter is true, Paterno did not do it out of malice or even indifference. He may not have known how to deal with it. That would not make it right, yet I can understand how someone in his position, at his age, might not want to deal with anything like serial child rapist.

That aspect has been lost on many people. People did not begin abusing children in the 1980s. It happened long before that. The difference is that no one talked about it, and if they did it was couched in different language (most likely anti-gay language). The concept during those times was get over it, and that attitude may have informed Paterno’s silence.

At present, Paterno’s family and their team oppose any negative readings of the document. They argue:

[…] the evidence clearly shows he shared information with his superiors as appropriate.

An allegation now about an alleged event 40 years ago, as represented by a single line in a court document regarding an insurance issue, with no corroborating evidence, does not change the facts. Joe Paterno did not, at any time, cover up conduct by Jerry Sandusky.

Perhaps. And perhaps not. Again, it is difficult to believe Sandysky could abuse so many boys for so long without someone as involved with the school as Paterno hearing about it.

11 thoughts on “New revelations about Joe Paterno

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  2. Paterno and Dottie Sandusky are classic enablers. They put themselves first.
    “If I say something, it will adversely effect my career$$$$.” Paterno
    “If I say something, it will reflect badly on my social status and marriage$$$$.
    Rationalize, “These boys wanted it.”

  3. It’s actually not much different 50 years later, TS, from when I was first abused. Everybody knew I’m told and did and said nothing. Today, feminists put themselves first and talk their politics.

  4. My family was the same way. Looking back as an adult, it is impossible for me to conceive my mother and siblings didn’t know. My dad was the only one in my family who tried to help when I became a little zombie. He could have gotten through to me if he knew more about abuse and used the right language.
    Just the kind of thing feminists want to stop.

  5. Rev:

    Paterno and Dottie Sandusky are classic enablers. They put themselves first.
    “If I say something, it will adversely effect my career$$$$.” Paterno
    “If I say something, it will reflect badly on my social status and marriage$$$$.
    Rationalize, “These boys wanted it.”

    I am not so sure it was about the money and the status. I think in both Dotty and Paterno’s case they did not want to deal with it. Ignoring it would not make it stop happening, but it would make it “go away” for them. They could keep on with their normal routine. I think many people who ignore abuse do it for this reason. Abuse is ugly and digging into what happened only makes it uglier. People would rather avoid that, so they pretend nothing happened or it was not that bad or that it will not happen again or blame the victim. They will do anything to avoid confronting what happened.

    I got that impression from Paterno when the media came asking about the accusations. He did not seem like a man ignorant of what happened. Rather, he seemed like a man who knew but did not want to know.

  6. Allan, I think the conversation today is different in that we can openly talk about child abuse. When we discover cover-ups like what happened at Penn State or with the Catholic Church, we talk about it. Granted, it does go through the news cycle and within two weeks most people will forget about it. Yet we can have the discussion. Fifty years ago, no one would have talked about what Sandusky did. Even the implication that he abused boys was taboo, let alone stating the details of the abuse.

    As for feminists, this is where I think they could have done some good. Today’s conversation about sexual violence against males could have happened thirty years ago had feminists not politicized sexual violence. If they had encouraged all victims to come forward and treated this as a general crime rather than a gendered one I think a great deal of suffering could have been prevented.

  7. To his credit, Paterno did admit he “wished he had done more to help those boys.” That’s too little too late for me. Dotty is still in complete denial to the public, but there is testimony she knew all along. She should be in jail for aiding and abetting a felon.
    Feminists destroyed the issue of child sexual abuse out of the historic gate. In so doing they have obfuscated the larger issue of maternal child abuse by equating all “abuse” as sexual. Therefore men can be blamed as primary abusers and women never have to answer for maternal abuse.

  8. Pingback: New revelations about Joe Paterno –

  9. “Allan, I think the conversation today is different…”

    Different yes, but as dysfunctional and ineffective as silence. Or worse for more effort and expense. The more it changes, the more it stays the same. It’s still a lose-lose proposition, especially for men. Like this recent Northwestern frat episode, men are blamed if they do or don’t so avoid it. Wishing is all we have.

  10. OK, here’s what’s happening.
    @Allan: “Different yes, but as dysfunctional and ineffective as silence.”
    Not quite, but very close to silence. The problem is ALL other forms of child abuse are shrouded in silence thanks to feminist ideology. I have literally seen public service announcements about child abuse that don’t mention abusive moms. They have effectively sexy-poohed the word “abuse” to the point where people assume sexual abuse.
    The fact is intrafamilial sexual abuse, the least common form of child abuse, usually occurs in conjunction with multiple layers of ongoing abuse. Abusers exploit dysfunctional families from within or without. From within, the primary abuser is most often the mother. Face it, if men were more abusive toward children than women, that’s ALL we would hear about in the media.
    The fact is, it is just the opposite. We are deluged about “deadbeat dad’s” but there’s no vindictive slurs for “beat ’em dead moms.” The vast majority of Americans don’t even know the meaning of the word neonaticide, let alone that the US ranks #1 in the industrialized world in it’s perpetration.
    That’s the stranglehold feminism has on the subject of child abuse. With VAWA in place there is no stopping them from distorting and flat out fabricating false statistics. They’ve already started with the FIS-3(?). They have “experts” deciding if cases dismissed by family services were “actually abusive.” Just like Mary Koss decided what rape was.
    I hope as people become aware of this, that it will be a large part of feminism’s great undoing. It is only because of the magnitude of the Sandusky and priest cases that we hear about boys being abused at all. So things are definitely better if you were sexually abused. If your mother beat the crap out of you… Shhh…
    Kind of like child sexual abuse used to be.

  11. Pingback: Penn State settlements covered 1971 Sandusky abuse claim | Toy Soldiers

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