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Written by Rick Archer
August 2012

This is a story about Joe Paterno, the famous Penn State college football coach

In November 2011, Paterno suffered the most serious fall from grace since Richard Nixon. The difference between Nixon and Joe Paterno is that we all suspected that Nixon was a crook. 

Paterno, on the other hand, had a sterling reputation.  Excerpt for a few insiders, no one could ever have anticipated Paterno’s fall from the pedestal.  When it happened, the story was beyond bizarre and  the shock was unbelievable.



Before we get started on what Paterno did wrong, let’s start with what Paterno did right. 

Joe Paterno was the winningest football coach in major college football history.  As the unquestioned leader of the Nittany Lions, Joe Paterno was nicknamed the "Lion King".

In particular Paterno enjoyed credit for winning the right way, "The Penn State Way".  He was said to run the cleanest program in college football.  Paterno's players were quite simply some of the finest young men in America.  They trained, they studied, they made good grades, and they were terrific athletes.  They were the best and the brightest stars.

With 409 victories to his credit over the course of his celebrated career, Paterno had grown to become something akin to a mythological hero on the Penn State campus.  He was widely admired and revered.  

There is no simpler way to say it: Joe Paterno was Penn State.


Successful, stubborn and highly principled, the Brooklyn native served as head coach of the Nittany Lions for a staggering 46 years.  This made him the longest-serving head coach in the history of college football.

Even more remarkable is the often-forgotten fact that Paterno was a Penn State assistant for 15 years before taking the top job. In other words, he spent a full 62 years--his entire professional life--in Happy Valley, helping transform a once tiny university into both an academic and athletics powerhouse.

In his time at Penn State, Paterno literally put Penn State on the map. He picked up two national championships, won more bowl games than any other coach, had five undefeated seasons and was named National Coach of the Year five times.  He compiled a career record of 409 victories against just 136 losses and 3 ties.

Moreover, as any Penn State partisan will point out, Paterno was always about much more than just football. A graduate of Brown University, Paterno always insisted that his Penn State program emphasize to players that college should be about education, not just football. Early in his career, he introduced the so-called “Grand Experiment,” his plan to build a program that would excel both in the classroom and on the field.

Paterno succeeded.  Not only did his teams win a whole lot of football games, they routinely posted some of the best graduation rates in all of college football.

Not only did the players graduate, they excelled as student-athletes. The New American Foundation ranked Penn State No. 1 in its 2011 Academic Bowl Championship Series.  Penn State's players have consistently demonstrated above-average academic success compared to Division I-A schools nationwide.  According to the NCAA's 2008 Graduation Rates Report, Penn State's four-year Graduation Success Rate of 78% easily exceeds the 67% Division I average. Among Big Ten institutions, Penn State's athletic graduation rate was second to only Northwestern

Nor did Paterno care about skin color.  Every player was important to him.  In 2011, Penn State football players had an 80% graduation rate.  There was no achievement gap between its black and white players, a rare feat for Division I football teams. 

Paterno was also renowned for his charitable contributions to academics at Penn State.  He and his wife Sue contributed over $4 million towards various departments and colleges.

After helping raise over $13.5 million in funds for the 1997 expansion of Pattee Library, the University named the expansion Paterno Library in his honor.  Furthermore, in appreciation for his accomplishments, a life-sized statue of Paterno paid for by a group of alumni was placed outside the athletic building in the late 1990s.  

Joe Paterno was not just a living hero to the people at Penn State, he seemed like the best of the best to the world.  Everyone agreed Paterno was an enlightened leader.  He cared about his football players like his own sons.  Paterno did things the right way. 



Up till now, for my entire adult life, I participated wholeheartedly in the admiration of Joe Paterno. 

Thanks to my Uncle Dick, I felt like I actually knew Paterno personally.

At the risk of incurring great wrath, I will now admit I was born in Philadelphia.  Yes, I am a Yankee from Pennsylvania.  Please forgive me… I was at the mercy of my parents.  I got down to Texas as fast as I could, reaching Houston when I was six. 

As part of my Pennsylvania legacy, my uncles, my aunts, and my grandparents were all Penn State graduates.  No one on earth was a bigger Paterno fan than my favorite uncle Richard, the man for whom I was named.  In many ways, Uncle Dick was a better father to me than my own father. Since Uncle Dick was a man I admired greatly, his appreciation for Paterno rubbed off on me at an early age.

I went to college at Johns Hopkins in Maryland back in the late Sixties.  At that point in time, Uncle Dick was now living in McLean, Virginia, a heavily wooded suburban area outside DC where all the CIA spies live.  Since Baltimore and McLean were only an hour apart by car, I visited Uncle Dick and his family anytime I could on the weekends and school breaks

Those visits were my salvation.  Being so far away from home, loneliness was a real problem, especially in the first year.  Uncle Dick and my beloved Aunt Lynn were the people who kept me sane throughout college.

However, Uncle Dick’s friendship carried a goofy price.  I was subjected to endless teasing about my fondness for the University of Texas.

During my first two years in college, those were the days when the Longhorns and the Penn State Nittany Lions were the two best teams in the country. 

Penn State was undefeated in 1968 and 1969, my first two years in college.  The University of Texas, my favorite team, was doing pretty well themselves.  The Longhorns went to the Cotton Bowl six years in a row. 

During 1968, my Freshman year, Penn State and UT were neck and neck in the college rankings all year long.  Penn State finished 11-0.  UT finished 9-1-1.  The final poll was 1.Ohio State 2.Penn State 3.Texas.

Throughout the year, every time I visited, Uncle Dick showed me no mercy.  He would constantly compare the football fortunes of our two rival universities and gloat that Penn State was ahead of UT. 

As bad as 1968 was, 1969 was even worse.  In 1969, both teams went undefeated.  Since both teams faced quality opposition, there was really no reason anyone could say one team was better than the other.  However, the sportswriters placed UT just barely ahead of Penn State in the polls all year long much to the anguish of my uncle.  Historically, there was a perception that Paterno was not well-liked by the media.  Uncle Dick was convinced this bias explained why Penn State trailed UT in the polls.

Unfortunately, the two teams never met that year to decide the issue.  The results of the bowl games would decide who was the champion.  I will never forget the Cotton Bowl that year when UT played Notre Dame. There was a lot of national interest in the game.  If the Longhorns lost, then Penn State would have become the national champions. 

Uncle Dick was very hopeful.  Notre Dame was loaded with talent and he was certain that UT was over-rated.

When the Cotton Bowl game came on TV, the whole family rooted with passion against my Longhorns. 

It was me against the world that day.  Uncle Dick rooted against the Longhorns.  Aunt Lynn rooted against the Longhorns.  Any time the 'Horns made a good play, they would glower at me as if it was my fault. 

I had four cousins.  They all rooted against UT.  Boo, Longhorns!  Boo, Rick, our stupid cousin from Texas!   If your team wins, we will make your life so miserable you will have to drive back to college early just to escape our wrath.

I think they even taught Beauty the collie dog to boo as well.

To my joy, Yes, my team won… in 1969, UT defeated Notre Dame 21-17 thanks to a last minute touchdown by Cotton Speyrer.  However, for survival purposes, I kept my joy under careful wraps.  I was still hoping to eat with the family at dinnertime.

The victory assured that the University of Texas would become the National Champions. 

My uncle's house was glum.  No joy in mudville.  No joy in McLean.

I was held personally responsible.  I think I slept in the doghouse that night.  It was an uneasy sleep; don’t forget the dog rooted for Penn State too.

Eventually I was forgiven.  Fortunately for me, UT had an off season the next year and Penn State was clearly the better team. To my relief, Uncle Dick eased up on the teasing.  At this point Uncle Dick began to tell me why he loved Penn State so much.  He had incredibly fond memories of Penn State. 

I listened to him explain how proud he was of his wonderful Penn State.

It is incredible to realize how important Penn State takes its football.  I guess anyone who lives in Texas can understand “loyalty” to a football team… and not just UT, but Texas A&M, University of Houston, and all the other great Texas schools.  Pennsylvania is equally crazy about its school.

Penn State has sold out its stadium of 108,000 since the beginning of time.  Football is that important.  Their entire culture is wrapped around Penn State football. Therefore, no one is more important than Joe Paterno, the legendary coach of the Nittany Lions.

As Uncle Dick explained it to me, the thing he was most proud of was the fact that Joe Paterno ran the cleanest program in college sports.  His football program had never been investigated for under-the-table payments to college athletes.  His program had the highest graduation rate.  His players only rarely got into trouble with the law.  Paterno’s teams played hard but fair.  No cheap shots.  No bounties on the quarterback. Paterno said win fair and square or the game isn’t worth playing.

Penn State players were among the finest student-athletes in the country.  Not only did they play hard, they went to class, they studied, and they were great kids.  In a nutshell, the Penn State program reflected the high moral caliber of Joe Paterno, the coach.  Penn State was regarded as the best run program in college football.  The very name “Penn State” came to symbolize “integrity” in the world of college sports.

Uncle Dick would point out that Penn State football had a terrific winning record by doing things the right way.  While all sorts of schools regularly got in trouble for violations – USC, Miami, Ohio State, Oklahoma – Penn State was clean.  Penn State was so good they didn’t have to cheat.

Penn State had it all – great coach, great athletes, great attitude.  Uncle Dick was so proud of his school and its football team that he regularly donated money to the school.  He wasn’t the only one.  Donations to Penn State were regularly among the top ten colleges in the country.

And, in Uncle Dick’s opinion, they owed it all to Joe Paterno. 

As the years passed, I heard nothing to contradict my uncle’s claims.  Every year Penn State won most of its games and every year Penn State stayed out of trouble.  A longtime subscriber to Sports Illustrated, the magazine appeared to worship Joe Paterno.  Not a bad word was ever written about the guy. 

Considering that all the other major programs had constant issues, I was impressed.  

Like a lot of other people, I admired Joe Paterno.



And then it all fell apart.  When the news broke in November 2011, I was absolutely stunned to realize that Joe Paterno had knowingly allowed a sexual monster named Jerry Sandusky to prey on little boys inside his own athletic department.  The reports suggested Paterno had allowed this to continue for one reason – Paterno did not want the pristine reputation of his magnificent program sullied by this horrible stain.

Paterno may have known about Sandusky's secret as far back as 1998. Now, thanks to Paterno’s neglect, Sandusky had gone on to molest at least 6 other boys that were reported and who knows how many that went unreported.  Worse, Sandusky had repeatedly used the facilities of Penn State football program to molest the children.  This insanity appeared to take place right under Paterno’s nose. 

Many writers said not to listen to all the flimsy denials that Paterno didn’t know what was going on.  Nothing gets by Paterno.  He knew something wasn’t right, but he let it continue.  Paterno not only actively participated in a cover-up, he allowed the lives of these poor helpless boys to be ruined. 

If that was the truth, it was unforgiveable.



I was astonished.  I was shocked.  I was disgusted.  How could a man like Paterno who had established himself as an unquestioned paragon of moral decency allow this to happen? 

I was shaking as I read the story. I didn't understand the intensity of my anger.  Why was I so upset?

Then it occurred to me I had some first-hand knowledge about the problem.  I nodded to myself.  I had just figured out why I was so mad.

When I was a little boy, I was molested on three separate occasions.   Each incident involved a strange man coming up to my side in a public swimming pool and putting his hands inside my bathing suit.

I was 11 the first time it happened.  An adult man swam up to me at the neighborhood public swimming pool in Dunlavy Park.  He engaged me in a conversation.  About three minutes passed as I politely answered his questions.  Then without warning, he slipped one of his hands inside my suit. I remember clearly what the man said.  “Do you like that?  Does that feel good?”

What he was doing didn’t feel good or bad.  Looking back, at least the man was being careful not to hurt me.   However, I did think what he was doing was way out of the ordinaryI tried to decide whether what he was doing was okay or not.

The thought crossed my mind that all the boys in my Fifth grade phys ed class walked around naked in the locker room on our way to the showers.  Therefore I knew it wasn’t wrong for boys to be naked together.  So maybe it was okay for boys to touch boys or men to touch boys.  But this was something I did not enjoy, so I asked politely permission to excuse myself. I remember saying, "Excuse me, but I have to get home now."  How ridiculous.  I was being polite to a man who was molesting me.  Well, I had been trained at school to be respectful to adults. I swam away and departed the pool on the other side.

When I got home, I told my mother.  Mom was incensed.  She told me what that man had done was wrong.  She forbade me to go back to the swimming pool down the street.  I protested.  Going swimming was my favorite activity during the summer! 

Finally my mother relented, but not without a warning.  Mom said that if it ever happened again, call the lifeguard. 

Two months later, the same thing happened.  I am blind in my left eye.  While I rested on the edge of the pool, a man snuck on me from my blind side.  This guy had a different style.  No conversation with him.  He just grabbed me.  His hands were in my swimming trunks before I even knew he was there.  This guy was also meaner than the first man had been.  He groped and leered and grinned.  He was obviously pleased with himself and laughed.  This guy scared me.  I called out, “Lifeguard!  Lifeguard!”

That worked.  Not only did my attacker release his powerful grip, he jumped out of the pool in a hurry.  I noticed that two other men from other parts of the pool did the same thing.  These perverts had been cruising the neighborhood pool together.  They didn’t waste any time making their getaway.  The last thing I saw was all three of them laughing and trotting down the street.  It was a game to them. This time I was mad.  The man had physically hurt me and I ached from his squeezing.

The lifeguard came over to ask what had happened.  Now that my mother had explained this was wrong, I was too ashamed to tell him, but I think he knew.  Heck, he was just a teenager himself.  What was he going to do about it? 

I got my towel and left.  My mother was right.  I never went back to that pool.

This happened one more time.  I was 13.  My mother was visiting a girlfriend and I was allowed to use the woman’s apartment swimming pool.  I was alone in the pool when two teenagers and one man came sprinting out of one of the apartments.  That was strange.  Why were they running?  To my surprise, they headed straight for the pool and dived in on the run.  I remember distinctly that one of the boys had an erection although I was still too young to know what that meant.

I was instantly on alert because everyone had strange flushed expressions on their faces.

Despite my attention, nevertheless I fell prey to a dirty trick.  One of the boys came over to talk to me.  He wasn’t much older than I was so I wasn't afraid.  He asked me where I was from and what school I went to.  While I was talking to him, the adult man snuck up from behind me.  Suddenly I realized he had both hands in my trunks.  I screamed at the top of my lungs, “Stop it, Mister!”  That worked.  The man recoiled in surprise at my anger.  At 13, I wasn't quite so defenseless any more.  I was ready to kick and holler if necessary. 

All three of them headed out of the pool as fast as they could and I did the same thing. I ran to the apartment.  I told my mother who absolutely nuts.  She and her girlfriend stormed out to look for them, but they were long gone. 

I felt humiliated.  It is almost impossible to defend against this kind of hit and run tactic.  I can't begin to describe how upset my mother and her girlfriend were, but this time my anger nearly matched theirs.  I felt violated.   

I was fortunate.  In the cosmic scheme of things, this was nothing.  I did not suffer any negative effects.  Nor did I grow up hating gays.  I am smart enough to know there are good people and bad people in all walks of life. As far as I am concerned, what consenting adults do behind closed doors is their business.  It is the child molesters I hate.  I would like to add that the gay people I know are just as disgusted by this kind of sick behavior as straight people are

For that matter, this kind of predatory behavior includes so-called heterosexual men who attack little girls. These abusers are just as much monsters as their aggressive homosexual counterparts. 

When I was 23, I actually met two hetero child molesters through my job investigating child neglect and abuse.  Most people are not aware I worked for Child Welfare for four years.  I had two heart-breaking cases where little girls were raped by their stepfathers. One girl was 12, the other was 14.  Neither man was prosecuted because both times the mother refused to file charges.  Frustrated, relatives of the little girls called Child Welfare to report the situation.  I definitely investigated, but without the mother's help, I could do nothing but write up the he-said, she-said details for the case files.  Mostly I wrote down all the denials and protests of innocence.

If you could have met these men, you would know they were lying every time their lips moved.

Looking back, I think those childhood experiences and my Welfare experiences explain why I was so angered by Paterno-Sandusky.  I learned the hard way that there are predators everywhere.  Knowing first-hand how easily children can be exploited by adults, the outrage I felt towards Joe Paterno had practically no limits.

Why didn't he protect those poor kids?

I asked myself if I had the right to judge this man.  They say he who is without sin may throw the first stone.  Well, I am far from perfect, but I know enough about right and wrong to step up and say it is WRONG to knowingly allow a giant man like Sandusky to operate in a position of authority

Thanks to Paterno, Sandusky had the perfect opportunity to take advantage of helpless little boys and sexually abuse them.  

Out of respect for my uncle and out of respect for the previous reputation of Joe Paterno, I decided if I was going to judge Paterno, I had an obligation to first study the stories.   So now you know why I took a special interest in this story.

Before we continue, I have one warning.  My personal tale was just the warm-up act.  The stories that will follow are so horrible that you may well get seriously upset.  Just be forewarned this article is not for the naive or the faint of heart. 

Sandusky was the sickest of the sick. I am disgusted with Sandusky.  The worst predators are the men who deliberately seek positions of trust where they have open access to young, impressionable children.  Sandusky fits the profile.

Through Second Mile, his charitable organization, Sandusky was constantly in contact with unprivileged kids from broken homes.  The boys that Sandusky abused were extremely lonely, physically helpless and emotionally dependent kids. 

These were typically fatherless little boys who were so desperate for attention that they submitted to Sandusky’s atrocities without protest.  How sad is that?

Sandusky is a mentally ill deviate who could not control his urges.  Lock him up and throw away the key.

That said, I am far angrier at Paterno than Sandusky.

Paterno is a far different story.  Paterno wasn’t sick. He clearly knew right from wrong.  How was it ever possible for Paterno to sleep at night knowing this monster was on the loose on his watch?   Didn’t the safety of those helpless boys ever cross his conscience?   How could Paterno remain so oblivious to their suffering? 

Paterno is Catholic. While Sandusky carried on his reign of terror in the early 2000s, stories of Catholic priests molesting little boys in a manner similar to Sandusky broke on a regular basis. 

Paterno had to see the headlines telling the stories of the little boys coming forward to say their lives had been ruined by the Catholic priests.  How could he remain oblivious to what was going on in his own domain?

As you will soon see, Paterno knew full well what Sandusky was up to.  Sandusky was not only caught in 1998, he was caught again in 2001.  Paterno was informed both times.  How could Paterno possibly turn a blind eye to the plight of these children? 

By enabling Sandusky, what Paterno did was so wrong that I find myself almost helpless to explain his behavior.  How could a man I thought was a hero suddenly turn into such a callous human being?

I wrote this article for one specific reason – I wanted to know everything there was to know in print about Paterno.  I wanted to try to understand why a man I once admired took the wrong path.



I cannot help but compare the Penn State scandal to the Catholic Church sex scandal.  There are several painfully apparent similarities.

In the case of the church, it came to light in the early 2000s that the church harbored serial sex offenders.  From their exalted position of trust and power, the priests used their special access to youth to abuse the boys and commit heinous crimes.

Making the problem even worse, rather than deal with this vast problem openly, the Catholic Church went out of its way to hide the problem.  By transferring the priests to another location, precious little was done to stop these pedophiles and protect more children from abuse.

Jeff Anderson, a lawyer who has successfully represented sexual abuse victims against clergy, said these predators benefited from a culture of insularity.

"From low-level administrators to the top level, they looked the other way, and when they did see something, they chose to remain silent."

Referring to both Penn State and the church, Anderson added,

"When the allegations are revealed and reported and made known multiple times, there's a deliberate decision to protect the institution and reputation at the peril of the children."

Adds David Clohessy, director of Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests,

"When allegations are raised, the scales always favor the person with authority.  Usually child molesters are charismatic, lovable folks on the outside.  Priests are endowed with so much mystical authority, no one dares believe the unthinkable.”

Most victims are well aware of this.  They feel – rightly so – “I won't be believed; he'll be believed.  Surely I’ll be abused and bullied by his defenders. They'll call me a liar. They'll say I'm the real pervert and lying to protect myself. And even if I succeed in being heard, I will be blamed and hated for having a well-liked man sent away.  Why even take the risk?  It's a hell of a lot easier just to keep my mouth shut and get on with my life."

Well-spoken. Silence is of course the route taken by most victims.  Who can blame them?   Women who have been raped say much the same thing - the search for justice comes at great cost to the victim.

Nevertheless, some victims have the courage to step forward.  They are so angry and humiliated that they are compelled to seek justice no matter what the consequences. If they are lucky, they will find someone who is willing to give them a voice.  That’s when things get interesting.

When this happens, Institutions always lean toward self-preservation. When a member of an institution has done something wrong, the instinct of other members within that institution is to sweep it under the proverbial rug as quickly as possible.  Many times their jobs are at stake too.  If this guy goes down, maybe they will too. For example, everyone at Sandusky's charitable organization ALWAYS looked the other way including the many attorneys who were consulted.  Those lawyers picked up their checks and said nothing.

On a whim, I decided to see what ever happened to Sandusky's charity.  Read for yourself.

Second Mile calls off plans for probe

August 02, 2012

The troubled youth charity ensnared in the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal has called off plans for an internal investigation, the nonprofit's chief said.

The decision this spring to close the Second Mile has eliminated the need for an exhaustive inquiry into what past leaders knew and when, said chief executive David Woodle, who has led the organization since the arrest of the former Penn State University assistant football coach last year.

"We're in a different situation now," Woodle said. "We're getting ready to go out of business."

What a surprise - no probe.  Of course not.  Certainly several people at Second Mile knew or strongly suspected the truth for many years and did nothing.  We wouldn't want to embarrass them, now would we?

When the institution is at risk, every member feels at risk. Now the temptation to conduct a cover-up appears.

The scandals that have wracked the Catholic Church in recent decades are too many to name. But every time allegations surfaced, the same pattern of institutional self-preservation came to the forefront.  The same power asymmetry between the abuser and the abused exists, and the same scarcity of forthcoming candid information exists.

By closing ranks and limiting the flow of information, a well-executed cover-up can spare the institution excruciating humiliation and condemnation for years, perhaps even permanently.  One need look no further than the tobacco industry which hid the health hazards of smoking for decades to see that billions of dollars can ride on a successful cover-up.  There are suggestions that cover-ups in the medical and pharmaceutical industries are commonplace.  Who is the hospital going to favor - the bungling doctor or the damaged surgical victim?

So, in the case of Paterno, I believe the simple answer is that he covered up the existence of the monster to protect his own pristine reputation and to protect the huge money-making football program from costly shame.

However, in Paterno’s case, the moral of this story does not ultimately revolve around the benefits of a successful cover-up, but rather the incalculable damage that comes from an unsuccessful cover-up.  

If you invoke a cover-up and fail, then you need look no further than the fate of Joe Paterno to see what can happen.

Paterno is dead now.  But life after the scandal has become a daily living hell for the other three men below.  They each participated in Paterno's cover-up because they thought that was what was best for their institution. 

It would be interesting to know what their thoughts are now. 

Joe Paterno

Graham Spanier

Gary Schultz

Tim Curley


As will become increasingly clear, the interlocking sagas of Sandusky and Paterno are overwhelmingly complex. 

In 2008, a high school teenager was called to the Principle's office to answer a couple questions about Sandusky.  The boy broke down and began to sob profusely.  When he recovered, with his mother's encouragement, he made a report about Sandusky.  His story was deemed so serious that a Grand Jury investigation was initiated.  To the dismay of many, under every rock in the state there seemed to be another boy abused by Sandusky.  They uncovered so much horror that it took three entire years just to follow up on all the leads. 

They discovered Sandusky had met every one of his victims through the Second Mile foundation.  The Second Mile is a nonprofit organization founded in 1977 by Sandusky. Its primary mission was to serve underprivileged youth and provide help for at-risk children and support for their parents in Pennsylvania. The charity said its youth programs served as many as 100,000 children annually. 

What we now know is that Second Mile also served as Sandusky's happy hunting ground.

When the Grand Jury finally released its findings on November 4, 2011, it accused the longtime former university football assistant coach of sexual assault on at least eight underage boys on or near university property. 

The Grand Jury released details on four separate situations: the 1998 incident that began the cover-up, a 2000 incident, a horrific 2001 incident, and the story of the young man titled Victim 1 who had come forward with the report that started the wheels of justice rolling. 

Sandusky was indicted in 2011 on 52 counts of child molestation dating from 1994 to 2009, though the abuse may have dated as far back as the 1970s.  Seven of the counts included involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, a felony.

In addition to Sandusky, the Grand Jury also pointed its finger at Head Coach Paterno and three members of the Penn State administration.  The Grand Jury detailed the actions by certain university officials to ignore the disturbing incidents, thereby enabling Sandusky to attack more children.

In addition, there was evidence that suggested these same officials had knowingly covered up Sandusky's activities. 

Per the findings of the Grand Jury, Gary Schultz and Tim Curley were charged with perjury, suspended, or dismissed for covering up the incidents or failing to notify authorities.

In the wake of the scandal, just days after the release of the Grand Jury findings, Penn State school president Graham Spanier was forced to resign, and head football coach Joe Paterno was fired.

Meanwhile Sandusky maintained his innocence.

The trial of Jerry Sandusky on 52 charges of sexual crimes against children started seven months later on June 11, 2012, at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania.  Four charges were subsequently dropped, leaving 48.

On June 22, 2012, Sandusky was found guilty on 45 of 48 counts of sexual abuse.  Sandusky would face a minimum sentence of 60 years — effectively a life sentence at his age.

Here is a graph that might help keep all the names straight.  It reads like a Center for Disease Control chart.  In the middle is Sandusky and the misery spreads from there.

Keep in the mind the 13 names in red are all men who had knowledge of Sandusky's activities and allowed him to continue. 



When news of the scandal broke the first week in November 2011, several key Penn State administrators downplayed any knowledge in Sandusky’s crimes.

Confronted by the media regarding the accusations in the Grand Jury report, four Penn State officials - Paterno, Spanier, Curley, and Schultz - all denied they had any knowledge of Sandusky's activities. 

In particular, it was difficult for the public to believe Paterno was involved in this, especially since Paterno vehemently denied any knowledge.

So who should the public believe - the Grand Jury report or the word of the most trusted man in college football, Joe Paterno?  

The Penn State Board of Trustees weren't sure who to believe themselves.  They were suspicious that these four men knew a lot more than they were admitting. 

So the Board decided to retain the services of former FBI director Louis Freeh to find out the seriousness of the problem. On November 21, 2011, trustee Kenneth Frazier announced that Freeh would lead an internal investigation into the university's actions.

Freeh announced that the team assisting him in his investigation would include former FBI agents and federal prosecutors.  To the credit of the Board, Freeh and his team were given complete access to any individual and any document they desired to see. 

If nothing else, Freeh and his team were thorough. 

They would take 8 months to conduct over 400 interviews plus sift through countless documents and emails.  They were expensive too.  With a $6.5 million dollar price tag, it was tagged the most expensive "free" report in history.

When the Freeh Report was released in July 2012, the results were far worse than even the worst pessimist could have imagined. Putrid pus and noxious slime oozed from every dark corner touched by Paterno, Spanier, Curley and Schultz

The Freeh Report completely concurred with the Grand Jury findings. It concluded that Paterno, Spanier, Curley and Schultz were all complicit in concealing Sandusky's activities from the Board of Trustees, the University community and authorities.

Freeh and his firm found that by their nonfeasance, Schultz, Spanier, Curley and Paterno had failed to protect against a child sexual predator harming children for over a decade.  Let's repeat that phrase: FOR OVER A DECADE.

In addition, the report said that the "four men exhibited a striking lack of empathy for Sandusky's victims by failing to inquire as to their safety and well-being."

Furthermore the Freeh Report confirmed the existence of the cover-up.  There was overwhelming evidence to support the Grand Jury's claim of a deliberate cover-up on the part of the four men as well as proof that each man had blatantly lied every step of the way, including Joe Paterno. 

After the Freeh Report was finished, it was difficult for even the strongest Paterno supporter to believe Paterno's version any longer.

The revelations made by the Freeh Report were shocking, remarkable, unbelievable and, sadly enough, thoroughly believable at the same time.  What made it so fascinating is that it revealed the inside story every step of the way of what was REALLY going on inside the Penn State administration as well as inside Paterno's football program.




On May 3, 1998, Jerry Sandusky sexually assaulted an 11 year old boy in the Lasch Building on Penn State's campus.

Sandusky had met this boy at his Second Mile foundation.  When he learned the boy was an avid football fan, he invited the young man to a tour of the campus.  The visit eventually brought them to the athletic facilities.

Sandusky gave the boy a tour of the Penn State football locker room and training facilities.  He let him try on some of players' equipment.

Then they began a brief workout at a nearby gym.  Afterwards, Sandusky insisted they take a shower. The boy thought that was odd; he had not even broken a sweat.  They entered the shower together.

Once in the shower, Sandusky began to tickle the boy and called himself the "tickle monster". 

After the tickling, he proceed to lather up the boy's back and shoulders.  

Then he lifted the boy in a chest-to-chest bear hug and placed him under a shower head to allow to spray to rinse out his hair. In the process, Sandusky let his free hand drift inappropriately over the boy's body.

When the boy returned home, his mother noted the boy was acting differently.  In addition she could not understand why her son's hair was wet.  Upon questioning, the boy told her about the shower. 

Alarmed, the mother called a psychologist about the incident, as well as the University Police Department. The Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare was called later in as well.

When the boy's mother confronted Sandusky on May 19, asking if Sandusky had touched the boy's "private parts," he said, "I don't think so ... maybe."

Unknown to Sandusky, UPD Detective Ron Schreffler and a State College police officer were listening from another room.

Sandusky asked if he could speak with the boy, but the mother said no.

Sandusky hung his head and nodded.  "I understand. I was wrong," Sandusky replied. "I wish I could get forgiveness. I know I won't get it from you. I wish I were dead."


The Huffington Post printed a remarkable article about Dr. Alycia Chambers.  Back in 1998, UPD Detective Ron Schreffler asked Dr. Chambers to interview the boy about the incident and get her opinion.

Here are excerpts from Chambers' report:

"Sandusky had kissed him on the head and said "I love you." Then Sandusky promised the boy he could come to his house and play on his "cool computer" while sitting on his lap.

The young man reported that Jerry played a game, coming up behind him, saying he would "squeeze his guts out" and hugging him from behind.

The boy wanted his mother not to say anything because Mr. Sandusky had promised to take him to the movies and to let him sit on the bench with him at Penn State football games.

Chambers not only reported the incident to the Pennsylvania child abuse line, she wrote a detailed report for the Penn State police. In it, she concluded that Sandusky's actions matched those of a "likely pedophile".

"My consultants agree that the incidents meet all of our definitions, based on experience and education, of a likely pedophile's pattern of building trust and gradual introduction of physical touch, within a context of a "loving," "special" relationship. One colleague who has contact with the Second Mile confirms that Mr. Sandusky is reasonably intelligent and thus, could hardly have failed to understand the way his behavior would be interpreted, if known. His position at the Second Mile and his interest in abused boys would suggest that he was likely to have had knowledge with regard to child abuse and might even recognize this behavior as typical pedophile "overture."

After the Grand Jury released its report in November 2011, Chambers was interviewed by NBC NewsChambers said she was distraught when police contacted her last year.

“I was horrified to know that there were so many other innocent boys who had their hearts and minds confused, their bodies violated,” she said. “It’s unspeakable.”

Chambers added that despite having a trained psychologist telling the police IN WRITING that Sandusky fit the profile of a pedophile, nothing was done. He was not monitored. He was allowed to continue to come into contact and work with young children.

And now, he is accused of sexually assaulting nine other boys. Had her report been given the attention it deserved, these nine other boys would not have gone through the ordeal they did. This abuse could have been prevented.  What were the police thinking?


The 1998 incident was sent to Ray Gricar, the district attorney. After long deliberation, the district attorney decided not to file charges.  At that point, the Penn State police chief instructed that the case be closed.

To this day, no one is quite sure why Gricar chose not to prosecute.  At the time, Gricar noted the evidence was right on the borderline of being.  It would be this little boy's word against the famous football coach.  On the other hand, Gricar had the solid testimony of the hidden observers that Sandusky had admitted touching the boy. He also had a signed letter from the psychologist Alycia Chambers identifying Sandusky as a "likely pedophile".

Why Gricar backed off remains one of the unanswered mysteries of the Sandusky case.  The conspiracy theorists suspect someone at Penn State used their influence to get him to back off, but there is no proof that this happened. Unfortunately, Gricar is now "unavailable for questioning".

As a strange footnote to this story, Ray Gricar disappeared in 2005. His laptop and hard drive were recovered from the Susquehanna River, irretrievably damaged, and his body was never found.  No one knows if this mysterious incident was related to the Sandusky cover-up, but eyebrows were certainly raised.

However the boy was still around.  Now known as Victim 6, he testified at Sandusky's trial in June 2011 under the title .  Now age 25 at the trial, his testimony explains why so much is known about what Sandusky actually did to him.

JOE PATERNO 'KNEW' IN 1998 (and so did the rest of them)

The Freeh investigation criticized all four men for their failure during the 1998 incident to stop Sandusky's abusive actions.  The four men were also criticized for their decision to conceal their activities from the Penn State Board of Trustees. 

In their testimony to the Grand Jury, Spanier, Curley, Schultz and Paterno had all denied knowledge of Sandusky's activities in the 1998 shower incident investigation.

Schultz testified before the grand jury in January 2011. He said he could not recall that he “knew anything about the details of what the allegation was from the mother.” He said he did not remember if it was reported in the Lasch Building.

Curley denied that he was aware of the incident, though he said he thought such an investigation would be brought to his attention.

Spanier said he had no specific knowledge.

Paterno testified that he was not aware of the incident, and his family has steadfastly maintained that position through several statements.

To the contrary, the Freeh Report made one thing very clear -

Spanier, Curley, Schultz and Paterno were all aware of a 1998 investigation into Sandusky’s conduct.

When the four men had been interviewed by the Grand Jury, all four men had denied their knowledge of Sandusky's activities. 

For example, in his testimony before the Grand Jury investigating Jerry Sandusky, Joe Paterno denied knowing anything about the 1998 incident in which Sandusky was investigatedThe following exchange comes from a transcript of Paterno's grand jury testimony.

Q: Other than the incident that Mike McQueary reported to you, do you [Paterno] know in any way, through rumor, direct knowledge or any other fashion, of any other inappropriate sexual conduct by Jerry Sandusky with young boys?

A: Paterno: I do not know of anything else that Jerry Sandusky would be involved in, no. I do not know of it.

You did mention—I think you said something about a rumor. It may have been discussed in my presence, something else about somebody. I don't know. I don't remember, and I could not honestly say I heard a rumor.

The Grand Jury came across enough contradictory evidence by the time it was released in November 2011 to file charges against Curley and Schultz for perjury.  However the same report gave Paterno and Spanier room to maneuver.  Both men immediately began to claim AGAIN to the reporter's questions that they had no knowledge. 

For example, in Paterno's interview with Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post shortly before his death in January 2012, Paterno said, "Nobody knew about it" when asked point blank by Ms. Jenkins about his knowledge of the 1998 case.

Thanks to Paterno's denials, there were a lot of people who were willing to give the man the benefit of the doubt.  That makes sense.  Paterno had been the most respected man in Pennsylvania for a lifetime.

This deception ended with the Freeh Report.  I don't think these men had any idea that emails from thirteen years ago could be retrieved.

Uh oh.

Based on the emails, the Freeh Report said Joe Paterno and the three Penn State officials were well aware of the investigation.  These four men had numerous discussions in 1998 right from the start until the moment district attorney Gricar decided not to press charges.

The release of the Freeh report totally contradicted their previous Grand Jury testimony.  The Freeh investigators stated they had in their possession a series of emails that the Grand Jury had not had access to. These emails removed any possible doubt that the four men were not involved in the cover-up.


The incident involving the boy in the shower, now referred to as "Victim 6",  took place on May 3, 1998. 

Word of the assault reached Gary Schultz, the university's vice president of business and finance, on the following day (Note: I am unsure who phoned Schultz, but it was likely the campus police).

VP Schultz was notified that the boy had been interviewed again and had provided additional details about the incident. Police had also interviewed a second boy and he told a similar story, according to the report. 

As he listened on the phone, VP Schultz wrote down some notes about Sandusky's involvement.

  •  Behavior – at best inappropriate, at worst are sexual improprieties

  •  At minimum – Poor Judgment

  •  Is this opening of Pandora's box?

  •  Other children?

  •  “Critical issue — contact w genitals? Assuming same experience w the second boy?  Not criminal.

On May 5, the day following the phone conversation with Schultz, the campus police seemed to back away.  According to Freeh’s findings, the records say that the University Police determined on May 5 that they had found “no evidence of a crime” and would not log the report. Campus police chief Thomas Harmon said they would "hold off on making any crime log entry."

On May 5, Gary Schultz then turned around and notified Spanier and Curley. Emails between Schultz and Curley imply that they "touched base" with Joe Paterno about the incident as well.  From the Freeh Report:

On May 5, Gary Schultz communicated with Tim Curley, Penn State's athletic director.  Curley checked with Paterno, then responded with this email back to Schultz and PSU president Graham Spanier at 5:24 p.m.

Captioned "Joe Paterno", Curley stated, "I have touched base with the coach. Keep us posted. Thanks." 

(Note: when questioned about why his name was listed on this email and why he had no recollection, University President Spanier said in a written statement to investigators that it was a “vague message with no individual named”, so he forgot about it.) 

As the investigation progressed, Curley, the athletic director, made several requests to Vice President Schultz for updates.  Curley was probably put in the role of go-between by Joe Paterno.

On May 13, 1998 at 2:21 p.m., Athletic Director Curley emailed Schultz a message captioned "Jerry", and asked, "Anything new in this department? Coach is anxious to know where it stands."  

Anxious?  You better believe Paterno was anxious.  Paterno was a control freak.  Once it became clear that Paterno "knew", it is difficult to believe he didn't follow the proceedings every step of the way.

Schultz forwarded AD Curley's note to University police chief Thomas Harmon, who provided an email update that Schultz then forwarded to Curley.  The reference to 'Coach' above is assumed to be Paterno.

On May 18, 1998, AD Curley requested another update by email. VP Schultz responded that there was no news and that he did not expect to hear anything before the end of the week.

On May 30, 1998, AD Curley asked VP Schultz for another update by email.

VP Schultz was on vacation at the time, but responded that investigators had told him they were about to meet with Sandusky shortly.  Schultz said that "DPW and Univ Police services were planning to meet with him [Sandusky].  I'll see if this happens and get back to you."

The investigator later informed VP Schultz.  He said, “I met with Jerry on Monday and concluded that there was no criminal behavior and the matter was closed as an investigation. He was a little emotional and expressed concern as to how this might have adversely affected the child. I think the matter has been appropriately investigated and I hope it is now behind us.”

On June 1, the entire investigation was closed. Sandusky was not charged with a crime. The only admonition Sandusky received from the investigators was a warning not to shower again with children.  That was the sum total of his punishment.

On June 9, Schultz informed Curley and Spanier of the results via email.  He told these men that the investigation of the matter was closed as such.  Note that Spanier's name was on the email.  This makes it clear that Spanier "knew" as well.  

Paterno's name was not on the June 9th email.  No one is sure how Paterno found out the case was closed.

After Curley's initial updates to Paterno, the available record is not clear as to how the June 1 conclusion of the Sandusky investigation was conveyed to Paterno.  However, witnesses consistently told the Special Investigative Counsel that Paterno was in control of the football facilities and knew "everything that was going on."  In other words, there is great likelihood that somebody verbally told Paterno the case was over.

As Head Coach, Paterno had the authority to establish permissible uses of football facilities. Nothing in the record indicates that Curley or Schultz discussed whether Paterno should restrict or terminate Sandusky's uses of the facilities of that Paterno conveyed any such expectations to Sandusky. Further events made it clear that Sandusky's access was in no way curbed.

Not only did the senior university officers turn a blind eye to the horror, they allowed it to continue to happen.  Then years later they had the nerve to lie through their teeth when the story finally emerged. 

For example, 13 years later in November 2011, the very same Gary Schultz claimed, "I was never aware that 'Penn State police investigated inappropriate touching in a shower' in 1998."

His convenient loss of memory would come back to haunt Schultz.  He is currently under indictment for perjury to the Grand Jury.

In a strange footnote to this incident, the Freeh Report later revealed that Penn State attorney Wendell Courtney had billed the University a whopping 2.9 hours for the incident involving Jerry Sandusky’s locker room shower with a young boy.  That tidbit provides further circumstantial evidence that the four men were clearly unaware of what was going on... they were certainly aware enough to consult an attorney.

The four men were also worried about how to avoid letting the story go public.  They decided maybe it was best if the Board of Trustees didn't hear about this.  The campus police were directed to put the file folder in a remote corner of a file cabinet.

The Cover-up had begun.




There is no record that Sandusky was ever disciplined or even spoken to by Paterno or the "Three Stooges" as I will henceforth refer to them.  Please forgive my disrespect, but men who are liars and men who fail to protect children from deviates don't deserve respect.

The Freeh report said that Penn State not only failed to protect children from Sandusky by turning him in, they actually “empowered" Sandusky to attract potential victims by allowing him to have unrestricted and unsupervised access to the University’s facilities and affiliation with the University’s prominent football program. 

After the May 1998 incident, Sandusky would retain his position on Paterno's staff for the next 18 months which included two football seasons.  This continued access provided Sandusky with more lucrative opportunities to use the Penn State program to lure his victims to the premises.

A perfect example of how Sandusky used the Penn State program to get more victims took place in San Antonio in December 1999.  Jerry Sandusky had announced his retirement before the start of the season.  The Alamo Bowl would be his final game.

The picture on the right shows Sandusky being carried off the field by his players.  Penn State had just defeated Texas A&M 21-0 in the 1999 Alamo Bowl in San Antonio. To the world, this crowning victory in the Alamo Bowl made for a perfect ending for the coach's 32-year career.

Say what you will about Sandusky the predator, but he was always a good coach.  The players credited Sandusky's preparation and game plan for helping them pull off the impressive shut-out. 

His players thought Sandusky was a hero for much more than his coaching ability.  They admired him because he dedicated most of his off-season to running camps and helping The Second Mile kids, many from single-parent homes.  These kids were desperately in need of a strong male figure in their lives.  Sandusky's players admired him for his noble nature. 

At the Alamo Bowl was one of Jerry's boys.  He was a Second Mile kid who had traveled with the coach to the game.  Sandusky had used the special trip as a way to get permission from the boy's mother to bring the kid along.

This kid would later tell investigators, according to the grand jury report, that Sandusky sexually abused him for about two years.

During the Alamo Bowl weekend, the boy said when he tried to resist Sandusky's advances, the coach threatened to send him home.  That's when the boy realized how helpless he was.  Thousands of miles away from home and totally dependent on Sandusky, apparently at that point the kid gave in. 

When they returned home, the boy was terrified of Sandusky.  According to the Freeh Report, the boy who had gone with Sandusky on that trip tried to distance himself.  Whenever the coach stopped by his house to visit, he cowered in a closet and prayed no one would find him.

This story is just one example of many that show many of Sandusky's victims did not desire sexual contact with Sandusky.  That mattered not to Sandusky.  He would use the Penn State name to lure the boys into vulnerable situations, then force himself on them.



After the 1998 scandal was buried, Jerry Sandusky stayed with Paterno for two more seasons. Little can be found on the Internet to detail the exact steps on the path that led to Paterno and Sandusky's parting of the ways.  However, a few educated guesses can likely fill in the blanks.

There are few cultures in America that are more homophobic than football programs.  That isn't to say there are no gay athletes, but these men are usually very careful to keep their preferences a secret.  In a sport that idealizes violence and manhood, there isn't much room for acceptance when it comes to gay players and gay coaches.

Although Paterno took his secrets to the grave, I think it is safe to assume that Paterno was "old school" when it came to his attitudes on homosexuality.  Once he discovered the truth about Sandusky, it must have eaten at his very core to know his fine young men were being coached... and touched... by a sexual deviate.  It is hard to believe Sandusky lasted two more seasons much less two more minutes under Paterno's watch.

Seriously, given that Paterno was a likely homophobe, it is difficult to understand back in May 1998 why Paterno didn't just send the man packing on the spot.  If Paterno had possessed the sense to do the right thing, yes, the world would have been outraged that this could happen at Penn State, but eventually people would have praised Paterno for putting integrity before expedience.

I cannot emphasize this point enough.  If Paterno had simply stuck to the principles that had gotten him this far, today he would be enshrined in the Pantheon of great sports coaches right beside Vince Lombardi and Knute Rockne till the end of time.

Why Paterno took the wrong fork in the road remains the great unanswered mystery.  Why Penn State's attorney and top administrators allowed Paterno to take that road is almost as interesting a question.

However, Sandusky was allowed to stay on.  Sandusky himself later confirmed that he and Paterno never discussed the incident between them. 

There are hints that the relationship deteriorated steadily from this point on.  A CNN story reported ongoing friction between Paterno and Sandusky.

Ironically, one of the best insights came from one of Sandusky's victims.  According to the grand jury report, one of the victims (#4) testified that Paterno summoned Sandusky to his office in May 1999 and "told Sandusky he would not be the next head coach at Penn State."

Sandusky told the victim "not to tell anyone," according to the report. Two months later, the defensive coordinator told reporters he was planning to hang it up at the end of the season.  The 1999 season would be his final year.

Rumors swirled of some kind of rift between Paterno and his long-time assistant as the season progressed, according to the Centre Daily Times, the main newspaper in State College.

Ahead of his final game, Sandusky was asked if he'd miss Paterno.

"Not exactly," he said, according to a Sports Illustrated article. "You have to understand that so much of our time was spent under stress, figuring out how to win. That takes a toll."

Whatever differences Paterno and his defensive coach might have had, they didn't affect Sandusky's retirement package.
Sandusky retired with an "unusual lump sum payment of $168,000". He was given emeritus status.  This entitled him to an office in the team's practice facility and tickets to all the games. Furthermore, as a retired coach, he retained unlimited access to the football facilities.  Sandusky was also allowed to keep his keys to the locker room which would as we know allow him to continue to prey on the boys he claimed to be helping.

Once Sandusky was cut loose, Paterno said he wouldn't miss him at all.  Two years after Sandusky's departure, Paterno hinted that Sandusky had been a cancer. In January 2002, Paterno told the Centre Daily Times, "In staff meetings, it was getting to be 'We' and 'You' and it should be 'Us.'  Sandusky's leaving gave me an opportunity to get that out of the way and do things the way I'm comfortable with."

Maybe Paterno didn't miss Sandusky, but his defense sure did.  Paterno watchers point out that the worst stretch of Paterno's career immediately followed Sandusky's retirement. Paterno had five losing seasons in a row.  During the period from 2000 to 2004, Penn State had a losing record of 26-33.  

Coincidence?  Probably not.  Sandusky's loss was a huge blow for the program

Sandusky was the leader of the vaunted Penn State defense, the man most responsible for creating "Linebacker U".  When he left, Sandusky had just received the Assistant Coach of the Year award in 1999.  This was the second time he had won the award.  

No one understood why Sandusky left. It was shocking to many that such a successful man would leave at the peak of his career.

After all, Sandusky was Paterno's right hand man.  He was supposed to be Paterno’s heir apparent.  Everyone asked, “Why is Jerry Sandusky quitting?  Heck, he’s only 55.  He's just getting started!  What’s Paterno going to do without this guy?”

Reporters flocked to Penn State to cover the story.  Sandusky explained his strange decision to Sports Illustrated by saying he wanted to devote more time to his charitable foundation while he was still young and vigorous.  Sports Illustrated and all the other writers bought the story hook line and sinker.  What a wonderful man!!


Rick Archer's Note: I was curious to know if the man who wrote the original SI story on Sandusky's strange retirement had anything to say about it after the Grand Jury indictment.

I found that the reporter, Jack McCallum, did indeed have something to say about the matter.

Written by Jack McCallum

Posted: Tuesday November 8, 2011 12:44PM

Jerry Sandusky fooled a lot people over the years -- including me

Sometimes when you get fooled in this business, it's not so bad. You write that, say, the Patriots are unbeatable and then they get beat that week. Or you write that Kobe is in a severe shooting slump and he lays 58 on somebody the next night. A couple hundred people write you to ask, "Why do you even have a job?" and you smile and life goes on.

But other times? Other times you feel real bad when you get fooled.

I didn't even realize my small part in this foul, almost unimaginable debacle at Penn State until a friend emailed me after the sexual abuse revelations about former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky came to light.

"I guess you feel like a jerk," he said, reminding me of a 1999 feature I wrote about Sandusky and his Second Mile organization.

Then I remembered.

The genesis of the story has a subplot, as so many stories do. I had originally gone to State College to write about a 9-0 Penn State team that was challenging for the national title. I show up, and the Nittany Lions lose 24-23 to a not-very-good Minnesota team, scrapping a Penn State story.

"Well, you know, the defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky, is retiring so maybe I could get a feature out of that," I told my bosses. "He runs this organization called Second Mile to give at-risk kids a second chance so ..."

It sounded like a winner. So I did it, and it appeared in the Dec. 20, 1999 issue of SI. I recall getting a few thanks-for-recognizing-Jerry letters from Penn State stalwarts, of which there are thousands and thousands, many of them in the area of Pennsylvania where I live.

I have combed through my remaining brain cells to conjure up memories about that story and can't come up with much. I met Sandusky and his wife. The story wasn't long. It was written in a hurry and has a mailed-it-in feel to it. It wasn't very good.

More to the point and most obviously, I had no suspicions about anything untoward going on with Sandusky or Second Mile. I remember that I didn't particularly like the man -- he seemed a little strange and detached and not at all joyful about what he was doing -- but none of that tipped my cynical believe-the-worst-about-anyone-until-proven-otherwise journalistic dial toward high alert.

SI senior writer Phil Taylor, who wrote a column about Sandusky in the this week's magazine, called me and said, "Hey, Jack, I found it unusual that you didn't have anything in your piece from the other coaches, nothing from Paterno about how wonderful this guy is or anything like that."

"I wish I could tell you why, Phil, but I can't," I told him. "Maybe I was in a rush. Maybe it got cut out for space. Maybe their quotes weren't any good. Maybe I never got back to JoePa. I had already talked to him about the main story that fell apart so..."

No answers. No nothing.

What I do remember about the experience was the world-unto-itself isolation of the Penn State football complex. I did a couple early-morning interviews over there (not with Sandusky) and we might as well have been on the moon. It was the perfect place for a predator like Sandusky, and it's like that on most high-profile, football-driven campuses. But I'm only thinking about the consequences of that now.

Two things in particular haunt me. By the time I wrote the story, Sandusky's showering with a youngster had already triggered a campus investigation, albeit one that never became public.

And the revelations in the "Jerry Sandusky Grand Jury Report" -- I recommend that to those of you who feel that Sandusky and Penn State officials are being railroaded fire up Mr. Google and read it -- reveal that some of Sandusky's worst behavior was going on right around this time. So I wrote a favorable story about a guy who was already a sexual predator.

The other thing haunting me is my last line in the story: "Here's the best thing you can say about Jerry Sandusky: He's the main reason that Penn State is Linebacker U ... and linebackers aren't even his enduring legacy."

Writers love to have their stuff quoted ... unless the quotes make you look like a jerk, as these do. So go ahead, Deadspin, have at it.

What leaves me shaking my head is how badly I feel about this unfortunate story and how inconceivable it is that Joe Paterno, a man I always respected, asks us to believe that he has no culpability. He has already yakked himself into a corner.

Maybe he didn't know everything that was going on. But he knew enough. He wasn't fooled. And that's why his silence is unforgivable."

Rick Archer's Note:
"albeit one that never became public."

If you notice, McCallum spent a week on the Penn State campus writing the original article and not once did he ever come across the 1998 report about the shower incident and the campus investigation.

That indicates just how well the cover-up was working at the time.



Thanks to "Strike One", Sandusky was no longer a coach. But Sandusky still had full access to the university recreational facilities.  Sandusky would continue to assault children over the next two years on Penn State's campus and at a team hotel.

Strike Two took place in the Fall of 2000. A janitor named James Calhoun observed Sandusky in the showers of the Lasch Football Building with a young boy (Victim 8) estimated to be 11. The identity of this poor child has never been confirmed.

Sandusky pinned the boy up against the wall and performed oral sex on the boy.

Calhoun was so shaken, he went to tell the other janitorial staff immediately.  Another janitor, Ronald Petrosky, went to clean the showers at Lasch.  He confirmed Sandusky was still with the boy.  However Petrosky could see they were done now.

Calhoun told other physical plant employees what he saw, including Jay Witherite, his immediate supervisor.  Witherite told Calhoun to whom he should report the incident.  Calhoun did not make that report.  Petrosky did not make a report.  Witherite did not make a report either.  Like everyone else in this ongoing tragedy, they were afraid to stick their necks out.

According to the Freeh report, the janitors did not report the incident out of fear that they would lose their much-needed jobs.  Freeh noted their reluctance showed how afraid they were of "taking on the football program."

Amazingly, Sandusky had been caught in the act at Penn State for the second time. He was allowed to continue because these men decided to look the other way. 



The event that would eventually shake Penn State to its foundations took place on February 9, 2001.  A Penn State graduate assistant named Mike McQueary entered the locker room at the Lasch Football Building late at night.

He heard a voice in the darkened room.   Suspicious, McQueary peeked around the corner In the showers.  There he saw a 10 year old naked boy (Victim 2) being subjected to anal intercourse by a naked Sandusky.

McQueary was stunned.  He was so paralyzed with shock that he did nothing.  McQueary left immediately and told his father what he had witnessed.  His father said go tell Joe Paterno.

The very next morning, McQueary called Paterno and received permission to go to Paterno's home.  There in Paterno’s living room, McQueary reported what he had seen.  According to the Freeh report, Paterno told McQueary, "You did what you had to do. It's my job now to figure out what we want to do."

That should have been the end of it right there.  This was Strike Three for Sandusky.

Why wait any longer?  They gave Sandusky a second chance in 1998.  This 2001 incident should have been all the proof needed to Paterno and the Stooges that Sandusky was too sick to control himself.  Just do the right thing.  Turn him in.

Paterno should have called the campus police on the spot and had Sandusky arrested.  Something had to be done or other children would suffer the same fate. However, that is not what Paterno did.  Paterno told McQueary to keep it to himself and let him handle things.  After that, Paterno thought about it for a day. 

The following morning, Paterno called Tim Curley, the Athletic Director, and asked him to come to his home. Paterno reported a version of what the graduate assistant had said.  From there Curley quietly began a new round of discussions with various administration people on what to do.  

Later in the month McQueary was called to a meeting with Curley and Senior Vice President for Finance and Business Gary Schultz.  The graduate assistant reported again what he had seen.  The meeting concluded with Curley and Schultz saying they would look into it.

Spanier, Curley, Schultz and Paterno then spent more time debating what they would do and whether to report Sandusky to authorities. During this same period, Curley said he met with executive director of the Second Mile and "shared the information we had with him."

The Second Mile leadership concluded the matter was a "non-incident."

Rick's Note: in an attempt to be accurate, it was
later determined the attack once labeled "2002"
actually occurred on Feb. 9, 2001

Eventually, they decided not to report Sandusky at the insistence of Paterno.

Some time later McQueary heard from Curley. He was told that Sandusky's locker room keys had been taken away and that the incident had been reported to The Second Mile, Sandusky’s charitable foundation.

McQueary was never questioned by university police.  McQueary never heard another word about it until nine years later when out of the blue McQueary was summoned to testify before the Grand Jury in December 2010.

When the Grand Jury released its report in November 2011, people were riveted by McQueary’s dramatic Grand Jury testimony regarding what he had seen in the shower run in 2001.  The media was in a feeding frenzy.  Every person at Penn State was being asked to comment on who knew what and when.  For a few days there, updates and new stories broke on an hourly basis.

To the young man's surprise, McQueary suddenly discovered the cover-up was all his fault.  He was now the scapegoat.

As the media swarmed Happy Valley, Curley, Schultz, and Spanier all pointed the finger at McQueary.  Yes, McQueary had said something to them, but it was so vague that none of them had grasped the true seriousness of the situation.  McQueary had led them to believe that Sandusky's actions had merely made the boy 'uncomfortable'.  Had McQueary simply told them EXACTLY what had happened, of course they would have taken the incident more seriously.

Fortunately, soon enough the truth came out.  The state attorney general turned the table on these self-serving liars just days later.  He reported he was now in possession of emails shared between some of the men McQueary told about the incident: Penn State's president Graham Spanier, vice president Gary Schultz and athletic director Tim Curley, the Three Stooges.

Those emails not only showed that McQueary was quite clear in his reporting of the incident but that these three officials had made the potentially criminal decision to not turn the information over to social services or law enforcement.  Schultz and Curley would definitely be charged with perjury and Spanier was still under investigation.

President Spanier was now in a lot of trouble.  Shortly after his November 2011 dismissal, Spanier issued a statement that said, "I was stunned and outraged to learn that any predatory act might have occurred in a university facility or by someone associated with the university. ... I would never hesitate to report a crime if I had any suspicion that one had been committed."

Spanier said this before he was aware that the Board of Trustees would throw a curveball at him.  When the Board hired Louis Freeh, they gave him power to review all emails. 

Freeh's team uncovered an exchange of messages from February 26 to February 28, 2001, where Spanier allegedly acknowledged Penn State could be "vulnerable" for not reporting the 2001 incident.  

"The only downside for us is if the message (to Sandusky) isn't 'heard' and acted upon, and we then become vulnerable for not having reported it."

A story on the CNN Website does a good job of explaining this series of emails and decisions.

In an exchange of messages from February 26 to February 28, 2001, Spanier allegedly acknowledges Penn State could be "vulnerable" for not reporting the incident, according to two sources with knowledge of the case.

"The only downside for us is if the message (to Sandusky) isn't 'heard' and acted upon, and we then become vulnerable for not having reported it," Spanier purportedly writes.

The alleged e-mails among Spanier, Schultz, 62, and former Athletic Director Tim Curley, 57, never mention Sandusky by name, instead referring to him as "the subject" and "the person." Children that Sandusky brought on campus --some of whom might have been victims -- are referred to as "guests."

The purported exchanges began 16 days after graduate assistant Mike McQueary first told Head Coach Joe Paterno on February 9, 2001, that McQueary believed he saw Sandusky make sexual contact with a boy in a locker room shower.

Since the scandal broke, Schultz and Curley have publicly maintained McQueary reported only inappropriate conduct -- horsing around. The purported e-mails indicate the men could be at additional risk for not disclosing the matter to authorities. Schultz and Curley are currently charged with perjury for allegedly lying to a grand jury and failing to report suspected child abuse. They have pleaded not guilty.

Paterno testified before a grand jury that McQueary was "very upset" and said he saw Sandusky "doing something with a youngster. It was a sexual nature," according to a transcript. Paterno testified he told his boss, Curley. Curley and Schultz contacted McQueary about a week and half later about the incident.

In an alleged e-mail dated February 26, 2001, Schultz writes to Curley that he assumes Curley's "got the ball" about a three-part plan to "talk with the subject [Sandusky] asap regarding the future appropriate use of the University facility," ... "contacting the chair of the charitable organization" and "contacting the Department of Welfare," according to a source with knowledge of the case.

(The "subject" is Sandusky and his Second Mile charity is the "charitable organization," according to a source with knowledge of the e-mails. Pennsylvania law requires suspected child abuse be reported to outside authorities, including the state's child welfare agencies).

The next evening, February 27, Curley allegedly writes to Spanier; Schultz, who's out of the office for two weeks, is copied.

Curley refers to a meeting scheduled that day with Spanier and indicates they apparently discussed the Sandusky incident two days earlier.

Curley indicates he no longer wants to contact child welfare authorities just yet. He refers to a conversation the day before with Paterno. It's not known what Paterno may have said to Curley.

Curley allegedly writes: "After giving it more thought and talking it over with Joe yesterday, I am uncomfortable with what we agreed were the next steps."

The athletic director apparently preferred to keep the situation an internal affair and talk things over with Sandusky instead of notifying the state's child welfare agency.

"I am having trouble with going to everyone, but the person involved," Curley allegedly continues.

Curley writes he'd be "more comfortable" meeting with Sandusky himself and telling him they know about the 2001 incident and, according to a source with knowledge of the case, he refers to another shower incident with a boy in 1998 that was investigated by police but never resulted in charges against Sandusky.

Curley purportedly writes to Spanier, saying he wants to meet with Sandusky, tell him there's "a problem," and that "we want to assist the individual to get professional help."

In the same purported e-mail provided to CNN, Curley goes on to suggest that if Sandusky "is cooperative," Penn State "would work with him" to tell Second Mile. If not, Curley states, the university will inform both Second Mile and outside authorities.

Curley adds that he intends to inform Sandusky that his "guests" won't be allowed to use Penn State facilities anymore.

"What do you think of this approach?" Curley allegedly writes to Spanier.

About two hours later, the Penn State president responds to Curley in another e-mail and copies Schultz. Spanier allegedly calls the plan "acceptable," but worries whether it's the right thing to do, according to two sources.

"The only downside for us is if the message (to Sandusky) isn't 'heard' and acted upon, and we then become vulnerable for not having reported it," Spanier purportedly writes.

"But that can be assessed down the road. The approach you outline is humane and a reasonable way to proceed," he adds.

The next afternoon, Schultz allegedly responds to the Penn State president and its athletic director. Schultz signs off on handling the matter without telling anyone on the outside, at least for the time being.

"This is a more humane and upfront way to handle this,' Schultz purportedly writes. But he makes clear Penn State should inform Sandusky's charity Second Mile "with or without (Sandusky's) cooperation."

As for telling child welfare authorities, he adds, "we can play it by ear."

This cold-blooded assessment on Spanier's part makes it clear that Big Four were well aware they were engaged in a criminal cover-up.

Well, Spanier was right.  Once Freeh exposed them, all three administrators were vulnerable all right. 

The Penn State University was definitely "vulnerable".  Legal experts say the Freeh Report laid the University open to untold number of lawsuits. Exactly how many proven or alleged victims might come forward to try to dip into Penn State’s $1.8 billion endowment is not known.  A total of 10 known Sandusky victims were mentioned during trial, though two were never identified by name. Some of them may ultimately decide to enter into private negotiations with whatever entity Penn State creates to tackle the compensation problem. Others may decide to file civil suits. In addition, papers filed with the court make it clear prosecutors also had “victims Nos. 11 through19” standing by in case of acquittal or a possible federal case.

The Three Stooges are quite likely "vulnerable" as well.  When Spanier referred to doing the "right thing", it turned out he wasn't referring the MORAL right thing, but rather the safest legal course to take. 

In the end, once the Freeh Report pointed the finger of truth at them, the Three Stooges scrambled to change their story.  Suddenly they all started to remember that yes, maybe they did know a little back then. 

Now these men defended their actions not to report Sandusky to the police as an effort to be "humane" to Sandusky.  This new version didn't win the Stooges much sympathy.  Let's think about the monster's feelings!!  How comforting it must be for everyone to know that a sexual monster received more consideration than the poor little boys who had been raped.

Furthermore, the emails revealed the loathsome secret that these three men as well as Paterno had known all along they were harboring a sexual predator in their midst.  These four men had conspired to let Sandusky walk free on a felony sex crime.

Meanwhile, the world got to see what happens to whistleblowers.  The Three Stooges had attempted to shift the blame to McQueary.

Thanks to statements from the Three Stooges saying it was his fault for one reason or the other, McQueary's time at Penn State was over.  McQueary had unknowingly dealt with a bankrupt culture he should have never trusted.  As a result of their lies, McQueary was subjected to extreme public humiliation after the Penn State administrators managed to shift the blame to him for not accurately reporting what he had seen.  McQueary had “misled” them.

The emails changed all that.  McQueary had told the truth right from the start.  Nevertheless he was publicly humiliated across the land for not doing enough.  Articles such as "McQueary Guilty of Not Doing Enough" appeared across the Internet.  For heaven's sake, this young man is only person who actually did the right thing.  However, the damage was done.  Due to his unusual name, McQueary's reputation was likely tainted for the rest of his life.  

Once the truth came out, now people began to ask the correct question - why didn't Paterno do more? 

One of the burning issues was how McQueary had described the alleged assault to Paterno.

After witnessing the alleged assault and consulting his father, the first person McQueary notified was Paterno.

Paterno was quoted as saying "[McQueary] at no time related to me the very specific actions contained in the Grand Jury report."

However, this begs the question of just what McQueary conveyed, especially given the fact that the grand jury report alleges McQueary included the graphic details when he met with Curley and Penn State vice president Gary Schultz.

In addition, we now know Paterno was aware of Sandusky's proclivities based on the 1998 incident.  No matter how McQueary described seeing "anal sex", one would assume Paterno was smart enough to put two and two together.

At this point, Paterno's children took up the defense of their father's total lack of action in this crucial incident.

Scott Paterno, son of the former head football coach, told CNN contributor Sara Ganim that "we wish our father (Joe Paterno) been more aggressive in following up."

"But clearly my father thought it had been handled," he said, referring to the 2001 report of Sandusky's abuse of a minor.

"There wasn't anything more Joe Paterno could have done because it was an unsubstantiated allegation," the younger Paterno continued. "I know my father did not know Jerry was a pedophile and did not suspect he was a pedophile."

What a totally predictable response from a loyal son.  However, it is absolute nonsense.  Can't anybody take responsibility?  Does everyone involved in this story have to run from accountability?

The fact is that at least four people screwed up badly.  Sandusky should have been stopped in 2001.  Instead, the 2001 incident was swept under the carpet just like the 1998 incident.  Sandusky was free to attack more little boys.  He operated with impunity right under the noses of the head coach, the president, the vice president, and the athletic director. 

With the cover-up still intact, Paterno’s march to immortality continued untouched by the time-bomb scandal hidden within his program. 

In May 2006 Paterno was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.  He was now up to 363 career victories.  Meanwhile the time bomb was ticking.



Once Sandusky got his victims into the basement of his house, they were absolutely helpless. 

At the trial of Jerry Sandusky, without a doubt, the most heart-rending story of all came from Victim 9, a boy who was raped repeatedly in the mid-2000s during sleepovers at Sandusky's house.

This is strong stuff, but there's no point in soft-soaping any of this. When I describe Sandusky as a "monster", there is no better way to make this clear than to share the story of this little kid that emerged from Sandusky's trial.

Victim 9

Story written by COLLEEN CURRY and BETH LOYD for ABC NEWS

BELLEFONTE, Pa. June 14, 2012

The courtroom was once again brought to tears today as the 18-year-old known as Victim 9 said that for four years Sandusky would come downstairs to the basement, drop his pants, and rape him and force him to perform oral sex.

"He started getting physical, like having me touch his penis and stuff," he said. "He made me give him a, suck his penis is how you'd put it. He came in my room, pulled his pants down, laid on top of me, and kind of forced it in. What was I going to do?  I mean look at him, he's a big guy. He was bigger than me, at the time way bigger than me."

Victim 9 said he weighed less than 70 pounds at the time and was helpless when Sandusky allegedly came for him.

"There was no fighting against it," he said. "Sometimes (I'd) scream, sometimes tell him to get off me, but other than that, who was there? We were in the basement, no one could hear you down there. We were always down there."

When asked to point out his alleged assailant, Victim 9 pointed as Sandusky without looking at him.

"Can you look at him?" the prosecutor asked. "I don't want to look at him," the witness replied.

Victim 9 was the eighth and final alleged victim to testify about being molested in the case against Sandusky, who is charged with 52 counts of child sex abuse. If convicted of the charges, Sandusky, 68, could be sentenced to life in prison.

The man said that his abuse by Sandusky lasted until he was about 16, in the year 2009. The timeframe suggests that Sandusky may have continued to abuse boys while under investigation by a grand jury, since the investigation was launched in late 2008.

Victim 9 said his mother encouraged him to spend time with the coach and that he spent almost every weekend at Sandusky's house for three years, between 100 and 150 times, and the acts occurred "often."

The man said that around age 16 he refused to go over to Sandusky's house any more, but Sandusky called him once more in 2011 to ask him to "stick up for him" if anyone came to ask questions, he testified.

Upon cross-examination, the man admitted that he went on one more outing with Sandusky shortly before the coach's arrest to a football game in September 2011. He said that he wanted to take his friend, who had never been to a football game, to the Penn State stadium.

"The only reason I went that time was I had a friend with me, and my friend didn't like him anyway. If anything went down, my friend had my back," he said.

The cross-examination was also graphic as defense attorney Joseph Amendola asked the boy repeatedly whether he bled from the anal rape and whether his mother saw blood on his underwear. He calmly responded that he had bled, but his mother did not discover it on his underwear.

"I just dealt with it. I never told anybody, I didn't even tell my own mom," he said. "I just deal with things in my own way."

Victim 9 said he never told his mother or anyone until he spoke to police, and he only told prosecutor Joseph McGettigan the whole truth shortly before his testimony today.

"How are you supposed to tell your mom something like that?" he said. "Who would believe you?  He was an important guy, a football coach. Who would believe kids?"


Rick's Note:  This story was so horrible it reminded me of the legend of the Minotaur of Crete

The wife of King Minos gave birth to Minotaur, a creature that was half man and half bull. King Minos was disgusted by the monster, but did not want to kill it.  So he hid the monster in the dark Labyrinth deep below the castle.

The monster had to be fed. Minos imprisoned young children in the Labyrinth so that the Minotaur could eat them. The labyrinth was such a complicated maze that no one could ever find the way out alive.

The children would wander totally alone in the darkness crying and full of fear. Eventually the monster would find them.  As they died with a scream upon their lips. No one ever came to their rescue.

When I think of Sandusky, I think of the Minotaur.

As another strange footnote to this story, Sandusky's lawyer Joseph Amendola had absolutely no shame.  He repeatedly accused many of the witnesses of lying. 

How can anyone read that poor child's story above and imagine that kid was lying?  It just boggles the mind. 

Amendola would tell anyone who would listen that Sandusky was completely innocent. 

For example, minutes after Sandusky was convicted, he was led out of the Pennsylvania courthouse in handcuffs.  Walking beside him was his lawyer.  Amendola stopped in front of the cameras to tell the world he believed his client was innocent and that he intended to appeal the conviction.  Poor Jerry Sandusky!  He was the real victim here.

Amendola even had the nerve to go on national TV and say the same thing. In an interview with Bob Costas, Amendola said he was totally convinced of his client’s innocence.

Then Amendola said he wouldn’t have taken the case were he not convinced of Sandusky’s innocence.

For good measure, Amendola added that he would “absolutely” let his own children spend time alone with the former football coach.

Although it is difficult to conceive there might be humor in any remote corner of this ongoing tragedy, this did provoke a funny note.

Shortly after the Costas interview, Amendola’s estranged wife wrote on her Facebook page,

“OMG. Did Joe just say he would allow my kids to be alone with Jerry Sandusky?”

Maybe the myth of the Minotaur is no myth.  The comparisons to Sandusky are inescapable. 



(more detailed story in USA Today)

Someday the full story will come out about the young man who finally took Sandusky down.  Known as "Victim 1", this boy is a hero. He is 17 and recently graduated from high school.  What we do know of his story is nothing short of remarkable. 

This young man was forced to deal with intense fear and constant shame for the past six years.  Not only was he absolutely convinced Sandusky would hurt him or even kill him for turning him in, the boy was subjected to years of bullying and humiliating taunts by his classmates.

Sandusky met this young man in 2005 when he was a 10 year-old kid.  Like all the others, Victim 1 had the misfortune of participating in Sandusky's Second Mile camp. Like all the others, this kid had no father and was in great need of attention.

Sandusky took a shine to him.  He began to meet the young man at his school and drive him home.  This escalated into invitations to sleepovers at Sandusky's house.  

Records show that the young man stayed overnight at Sandusky’s residence in College Township, Pa, on many occasions.  Yes, he too fell victim to the Little House of Horrors.

One has to wonder if Sandusky’s wife ever noticed anything. If so, did she too look the other way?  As the reader can gather, heroes in the Sandusky-Paterno saga are few and far between.

In 2007 the kid became a high school freshman.  This was the moment he tried to pull away.  He was 15.

Sandusky noticed the growing distance.  He did everything in his power to maintain the tie.  Victim 1 said he was taken to football practices in 2007, a direct violation of Penn State's 2001 stipulation that Sandusky not bring children on campus.  Sandusky was obviously still using Penn State football as bait.

Sandusky asked to become a volunteer football coach at the school, more than likely to give him reasons to be near the boy.  This would prove Sandusky's undoing. In 2008, Sandusky was finally busted.  Not surprisingly, this story is just as pathetic as all the rest. 

One day after school in late 2008, Victim 1 told his mom he was afraid his teachers thought he was a bad kid.

“Why is that?” his mother asked.

He told her Assistant Principal Steve Turchetta — who was also the head football coach and the athletic director — called him down to the “principal’s office” a lot so that Sandusky could talk to him privately. Sandusky would then plead with the boy to come back to his house for renewed sleepovers.

His mother was furious. She had never given permission for her son to be removed from class.  She called the school the next morning to complain.  After listening, Principal Karen Probst was sufficiently concerned to get to the bottom of it.  She had the young man called into her office.  Alone, the two of them had a conversation.  She started asking him questions about Sandusky.  The teenager became quickly overwhelmed and had a breakdown.

He explained to Probst that Sandusky was abusing him.  The boy was not brave enough to reveal all the details, but he said enough to alarm the principal.  The cat was out of the bag.

His mother was called, so she came to pick up her son.  Together they immediately went to the Clinton County Children and Youth Services offices.  A report was taken and Sandusky was listed as an “indicated” child abuser within a few hours.

The mother has said Probst urged her to "think about" the gravity of such allegations before reporting them.  But the school has denied this.  They said they immediately reported what the teen told Probst.

Either way, the Keystone Central School Board was notified, and Sandusky was banned from campus.  His absence was soon noted. The parents of the football players didn’t understand why they were losing their celebrity volunteer coach.  Somehow the constant look of misery on Victim 1’s face aroused suspicion among the players.  They knew Sandusky was always hanging around this boy.

Victim 1’s mother said she found out there was a meeting of football parents. It’s unclear what was said in that meeting.  But soon after, Victim 1 and his mom started getting questions from students, parents, friends and acquaintances in the community.

Things like, “We heard it’s your son who accused Sandusky,” and “You guys are just looking for money,” and “We know Sandusky will be back to coaching soon.”

One woman confronted Victim 1’s mom in the Goodwill store, the mom said. “She told me ... no charges will ever be filed, and Sandusky will be back to coaching before long,” Victim 1’s mother said.

At this point, several classmates began to bully Victim 1.  According to the young man's psychologist, apparently, his fellow classmates at Central Mountain High School didn’t like that he told people about being sexually assaulted by the popular coach.  They taunted him endlessly about his role in the sexual affair.  Much of what they said was very ugly.

Eventually as time passed, the harassment died down.  Sandusky was being investigated, but the wheels of justice moved slowly.  It would take three years for the State to build its case against Sandusky.


Paterno Prepares for the Coming Storm

On November 6, 2010, Penn State defeated Northwestern, 35-21.

Paterno had just earned career victory No. 400.  Joe Paterno was the first Division I coach to ever reach that mark.  It was cause for great celebration on the Penn State campus.

However, two short months later, an ominous dark cloud rolled over the Penn State community.  In January 2011, Joe Paterno was called to testify before the Sandusky Grand Jury while it was still in the process of building its case.

This is when Paterno first realized prosecutors were investigating his longtime assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

Apparently this let the cat out of the bag. Soon after Paterno had testified before a grand jury, the rough outlines of what would become the giant scandal were first published in a local newspaper.

With a flood of trouble impending, Paterno immediately began scrambling for high ground. 

It took over a year for the details to come out, but a July 2012 story published in the New York Times by Jo Becker revealed Paterno took steps to ensure his personal fortune at the exact same time he discovered how much trouble Sandusky was in.  Read for yourself.

That same month (January 2011), Mr. Paterno, the football coach at Penn State, began negotiating with his superiors to amend his contract, with the timing something of a surprise because the contract was not set to expire until the end of the 2011 season, according to university documents and people with knowledge of the discussions. By August, Mr. Paterno and the university’s president, both of whom were by then embroiled in the Sandusky investigation, had reached an agreement.

Mr. Paterno was to be paid $3 million at the end of the 2011 season if he agreed it would be his last. Interest-free loans totaling $350,000 that the university had made to Mr. Paterno over the years would be forgiven as part of the retirement package. He would also have the use of the university’s private plane and a luxury box at Beaver Stadium for him and his family to use over the next 25 years.

The university’s full board of trustees was kept in the dark about the arrangement until November, when Mr. Sandusky was arrested and the contract arrangements, along with so much else at Penn State, were upended. Mr. Paterno was fired, two of the university’s top officials were indicted in connection with the scandal, and the trustees, who held Mr. Paterno’s financial fate in their hands, came under verbal assault from the coach’s angry supporters.

Board members who raised questions about whether the university ought to go forward with the payments were quickly shut down, according to two people with direct knowledge of the negotiations.

In the end, the board of trustees — bombarded with hate mail and threatened with a defamation lawsuit by Mr. Paterno’s family — gave the family virtually everything it wanted.  According to the university website, Paterno's amended contract was finalized in August 2011 and totaled $5.5 million in payouts and benefits, which included a $3 million bonus and title as head football coach emeritus if he retired at the end of the 2011 season.

Documents show that the board even tossed in some extras that the family demanded, like the use of specialized hydrotherapy massage equipment for Mr. Paterno’s wife at the university’s Lasch Building near the exact spot where Mr. Sandusky had molested a number of his victims.

The details of Mr. Paterno and his family’s fight for money reinforced one of the lasting truths of the Sandusky scandal -

It confirmed the significant power that Mr. Paterno exerted on the state institution, its officials, its alumni and its purse strings.



On October 29, 2011, a 10-7 victory over Illinois on a snowy field provided win No. 409. 

This victory moved Paterno past Eddie Robinson into first place among Division I coaches for most career victories. 

The sports columns were full of praise for this gifted coach who always did things the right way.  Paterno was living proof that you didn't have to cheat to win.

Paterno had finally reached the top of the mountain.  He was on top of the world.  Even better, more success seemed guaranteed.  His current team was 9-1 and ranked near the top of the polls. 

Ironically, Paterno, the most successful coach in football history, would never win another game. 

He was fired 10 days later.



On November 4, 2011, charges against Sandusky — which at the time included eight boys —were officially posted. Sandusky was arrested and released on $100,000 bail after being arraigned on 40 criminal counts. 

There was no football game that weekend.  Saturday, Nov. 5th, was an open date.  Maybe that's why they picked that date to release the news.  Sure enough, the Penn State campus was suddenly under siege.  Happy Valley was inundated with press rushing to report the story.

After a tense weekend, the attorney general held a news conference on Nov. 7th.  It had been three years since Victim 1 first told his tale of woe to authorities. After the long, strange lull, things were happening fast now.

On November 7th, Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly said Paterno was not a target of the investigation into how the school handled the accusations.

But she refused to say the same thing for Curley and Schultz.  They were charged with perjury and failure to report child abuse.  Both men had already stepped down from their positions.  They surrendered on charges that they failed to alert police to complaints against Sandusky after the 2001 incident.  Spanier wasn't charged, but he wasn't in the clear either.  He was still being investigated.

As the news was released, horror gripped many people.  The public was now aware for the first time of Sandusky's terrible 2001 crime that had gone unreported and unpunished.  Ten years had passed since the 2001 incident.  People began to speculate just how many boys had been victimized since then.  A deep sense of revulsion filled their hearts and minds.  How could anyone set this monster loose on all those children?

As the news of Paterno’s true role in the scandal were made public, calls for the ouster of Paterno and Spanier began to grow inside the Penn State community and beyond. On November 8th, Penn State abruptly canceled Paterno's regular weekly press conference.

All day long on Tuesday, November 8th, Penn State was under siege.  People at the University and the entire state were deeply confused and divided.  Many were outraged at these accusations.  Considering the high esteem people held for Paterno, this was all a little hard to believe.  Surely when more information was gathered, Paterno would emerge with his white hat intact.  Thanks to a rampant amount of ignorance and denial, many people raced to Paterno’s defense.

On the other hand, there were countless Paterno accusers as well.  If these stories were correct, Paterno had not only empowered Sandusky, he had covered for him as well. Those boys had been raped on Paterno’s watch!  People were aghast at the thought.

Early the following day, Wednesday, November 9th, Paterno announced he would voluntarily retire at the end of the season. That was fairly ironic because he ended up getting fired the same day. 

In the afternoon, Penn State held a press conference to say that long-time coach Paterno had been fired following revelations that he was involved in the cover-up of sexual abuse by former assistant Jerry Sandusky.  Paterno's days of dictating his terms to the Board of Trustees were obviously over. 

Hundreds of students gathered at the HUB-Robeson Center, the student union, to watch the board of trustees' news conference on a big screen.

When the announcement came that Paterno would not coach again at Penn State, students gasped and hushed. Women began to weep.  The entire campus was in shock.

As word of the firing spread, students flocked to the administration building, shouting, "We want Joe back!" and "One more game!"

That evening, more than a thousand Penn State students moved between the campus and downtown, chanting Paterno's name in support of their fallen coach. They then headed downtown to Beaver Avenue, where about 100 police wearing helmets and carrying pepper spray were on standby.

Witnesses said some rocks and bottles were thrown, a lamppost was toppled and a news van was knocked over and then its windows kicked out.  The police quickly moved in to restore order.

The students didn't get their wish.  Paterno would be nowhere near the sidelines at the following game on November 12th.

Meanwhile, high school had become unbearable for Victim 1 after Joe Paterno was fired.  A large group of misguided jerks blamed the young man for Paterno's misfortune. There was relentless bullying of the young man.  He was blamed for getting the greatest coach of all time fired from his job.  And for what?  Just because some horny old coach had diddled with him a few times?  Big deal. 

The taunts grew so vicious that the young man known as "Victim 1" had little choice but to leave school in the middle of his senior year and go somewhere else.



With the state of Pennsylvania reeling in a state of shock over the flurry of horrid events, there were more Paterno bombshells on the way.

On November 15th, the New York Times posted a story that back in July 2011, Paterno had transferred ownership of their house to his wife's name for $1.

Was it a mere coincidence that Joe Paterno transferred his house to his wife's name mere months before the grand jury report?

The skeptics suggested that Paterno was likely aware the Grand Jury report was pending and may have been trying to protect his assets with the anticipation that he would be subject to civil lawsuits.

In the Times article, Lawrence Frolik, law professor at the University of Pittsburgh, said that he had “never heard” of a husband selling his share of a house for $1 to his spouse for tax or estate purposes.

“I can’t see any tax advantages,” Frolik said. “If someone told me that, my first reaction would be, ‘Are they hoping to shield assets in case if there’s personal liability?’ ” Frolik added, “It sounds like an attempt to avoid personal liability in having assets in his wife’s name.”

The thing that is interesting about Paterno is that when the heat was on, he claimed to be naive, unaware, and left out of the loop.  Paterno said he was always the last person to be told anything.  

But in his private life, Paterno never seemed to miss a beat.  First he renegotiated his contract the moment the Sandusky issue came up, then he made sure his assets were safe.  Does that sound like the behavior of a man who is always the last to know?

Whatever Paterno wanted, he got.  The "top administrators" were probably blackmailed into giving Paterno the new contract.  After all, Joe knew where all the skeletons were buried.

When the new contract came before the Board of Trustees, they balked signing off on it.  This contract was outrageous!  It was highway robbery.  Then they were bombarded with hate mail and threatened with a defamation lawsuit by Mr. Paterno’s family.  Guess how long it took them to cave in?

The truth is: Joe Paterno owned Penn State.  Nothing happened on that campus that Paterno wasn't told about.

But in the end, Paterno begged the world to believe he was just a feeble, doddering old man who was too senile to grasp all the terrible things Sandusky was doing behind his back.  What happened in his life to cause this man to lose his conscience?  

On November 18th, Scott Paterno dropped yet another bombshell. He announced that his father had just been diagnosed with a treatable form of lung cancer.  Everyone gasped at the news.  Unbelievable.  It had only been 9 days since Paterno's firing. Oh well, at least it's "treatable".  

Paterno's last public words came in an interview with Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post on January 14, 2012, concerning the Sandusky affair.

"I didn't know exactly how to handle it and I was afraid to do something that might jeopardize what the university procedure was. So I backed away and turned it over to some other people, people I thought would have a little more expertise than I did. It didn't work out that way."

No, it didn't work out well at all, did it?  

Joe Paterno Passes Away

On January 21st, 2012, it was reported that Paterno was near death.

Paterno family spokesperson Dan McGinn said that "over the last few days Joe Paterno has experienced further health complications. His doctors have now characterized his status as serious."

It was serious all right. One day later Paterno was dead. He was 85.

Paterno didn’t waste any time dying. Only three months ago he had a 'treatable' disease.  This reinforced rumors that Paterno was indeed a mythological being.

Quite clearly Paterno had the ability to will himself to death.  A life without football was a life not worth living. 



In June 2012, the Sandusky Trial began. Eight witnesses alleged to be former victims of Sandusky planned to take the stand. The list of people lined up against Sandusky seemed to guarantee a sure conviction.

Sandusky clearly had a lot of enemies. For example, thanks to the publicity, on November 8th, a new victim of Sandusky had contacted state police and offered to testify as well.  He would provide heart-wrenching testimony. People wondered if there no end to all the boys Sandusky had attacked.

The star witness, of course, was Victim 1. He was the young high school student who had finally come forward to identify what Sandusky was doing to him.

This young man deserved a lot of credit for staying the course. He had been through hell at his old high school in order to bring Sandusky to trial. Victim 1 was a pretty brave kid.  Uncertain what Sandusky might do to him, he had been living in fear for the past three years.

Now his testimony would be invaluable.  In addition, Victim 1 had been instrumental in persuading other victims to come forward as well. Together, their testimony would surely put Sandusky away for good. 

There was one major development when a new hero stepped forward.  During the trial, Matt Sandusky, 33, stepped forward to offer to testify that he too had been molested.  Matt Sandusky was Jerry Sandusky's stepson. 

Matt had not planned on saying anything.  He was just there in the courtroom to watch.  However he became upset because his father's lawyer Amendola repeatedly called the young men who testified "liars".  Now the lawyer was going to put his step-father on the stand so he could do some slick talking and win some sympathy.  

That didn't happen.  Matt Sandusky said if they put his stepfather on the stand, then he too would take the stand.  Matt told authorities that he too had been molested.  Matt suggested that once he testified, it was all over for Sandusky.  Matt would have been a very convincing witness.

Not surprisingly, Jerry Sandusky was not put on the stand after all.  Furthermore, at that point, the lawyer stopped calling the victims who testified "liars". 

Sandusky was ultimately convicted on 45 of 48 counts against.  Pending appeal, he would be going to prison for the rest of his life.



Slowly but surely, back at Central Mountain High School where Sandusky had gone to pursue Victim 1, the people began to ask themselves how they had missed so badly on Sandusky.

One young lady was interviewed.  She said,

"Sandusky's a neat guy. He's cool, he tells Polish jokes, he's self-effacing, you know?  He's a funny guy. And he duped us all. 'Dupe' would be, I think, the appropriate word. He fooled Chet; he fooled me.

Penn State's so big, everyone watches Penn State. It was amazing to have the famous defensive coordinator come to little Central Mountain. We're so tiny, we didn't think anything like that would happen.  Mr. Linebacker Coach himself wants to drive 100 miles roundtrip a day just to come help us!"

People were awestruck that such a famous coach would choose their school.  No one seemed to question “why” Sandusky would choose this particular school which was located far from Sandusky’s home.  They just took his appearance for granted.

Only when the allegations were revealed did they realize Sandusky had first come to Central High to pursue his little buddy.

What happened after that is not openly talked about in local coffee shops or at water coolers, but people began to whisper things.  They agreed Sandusky didn’t always behave appropriately.  Now that they thought about it, Sandusky was definitely a "hands on" coach.  But no one thought that phrase was funny.

In retrospect, everyone began to realize Sandusky did lots of things that should have raised eyebrows, but the entire adult community at the school had chosen to ignore it.  Sandusky’s star power made him nearly invincible for decades, and there was no exception when he was spending time in rural Clinton County.

One local official described Sandusky as walking on water.  It was flattering to have this legendary figure around.

One former board member remembered thinking about how Sandusky really didn’t like socializing with adults. ‘He just likes kids’, the board member thought.  Another local official remembered him acting strange — but only in hindsight. He was always hugging the boys.

The official didn’t think twice due to who Sandusky was, but now in retrospect that was a giveaway he might have noticed with a less trustworthy person.  Sandusky simply had an aura around him that caused even the most cautious people to disregard small hesitations and slight oddities that they might otherwise think twice about.

For example, the former elementary school wrestling coach Joe Miller told grand jurors he had observed suspicious behavior. Miller testified that he walked in on Sandusky laying on the floor with Victim 1 after hours one day. 

Miller saw a light on in the weight room and went to turn it off.  He found Victim 1 and Sandusky lying on their sides, face to face, so close their bodies were touching, the grand jury report says.

“Sandusky jumped up and said, ‘Hey Coach, we’re just working on wrestling moves,’” Miller told the grand jury. 

As he drove home, Miller started to wonder.  Sandusky wasn’t a wrestling coach.  He didn’t know the first thing about wrestling.  Furthermore Victim 1 wasn’t on the wrestling team. So what was really going on there?

Miller later concluded that sex offenders are highly skilled at blending in as normal.  It is not really that easy to spot them.  Sandusky was the perfect example.  He was a nice guy.  Everyone liked him.

If there is one lesson we can all learn from this story, monsters like Sandusky develop a very pleasant as a survival mechanism.  How else could they possibly get away with what they do?

Behind the smile, behind the charitable institution, behind the volunteer work, behind the funny jokes, a monster lurks.

These modern Minotaurs are counting on you and me to give them the benefit of the doubt the next time they get caught.



After Paterno’s death, the lid of secrecy surrounding the Penn State program was blown sky high.  People began to hear stories about Paterno never previously imaginable.

For the first time, a new side of Paterno emerged from the shadows.  The man was a serious bully who cared only about his own reputation.  Joe Paterno had a job, and that was to win games while creating an illusion that Penn State had the world’s most wonderful football team.  Do this and watch the stands fill with 108,000 fans during football season.  Do this and watch alumni contributions flow into the school’s coffers.

CNN released a story about a woman named Vickie Triponey who had been swallowed up and eaten alive by the Penn State jockocracy.

Penn State had recruited Triponey in 2003 to become the head of student affairs at Penn State.  Triponey had no involvement whatsoever in the Sandusky matter, but she did have a bird’s eye view of Paterno’s behavior outside the public eye.

At first Triponey felt she had the support of Penn State's president, Graham Spanier, who unabashedly sang her praises when she was hired and later at professional conferences they both attended.

That changed quickly when she met Paterno.

Over the next several years, Triponey would clash often with Paterno over who should discipline football players when they got into trouble. The conflict with such an iconic figure made her very unpopular around campus. For a while, it cost Triponey her peace of mind and her good name.  By the time she resigned in 2007, her head to head battles with Paterno almost ended her 30-year academic career.

It started one day in late 2004.  While disciplinary sanctions were being considered against a member of the football team, Triponey received a visit from Sue Paterno, the coach’s wife. Sue Paterno had tutored the player and knew him personally.

‘He's a good kid’, Sue Paterno said. Could they give him a break?

The player walked away with little more than a wrist slap.

By the next year, 2005, she was battling Paterno himself over who controlled how football players were disciplined.  Paterno chafed over her authority to enforcing Penn State's code of conduct when it ever involved one of his players.

Triponey recalled that President Spanier called a meeting at which Paterno angrily dominated the conversation. She summarized the meeting in an e-mail to Spanier, Athletic Director Tim Curley and others, complaining that Paterno "is insistent that he knows best how to discipline his players" and that her department should back off.

Triponey noted that Paterno preferred to keep the public in the dark about player infractions involving violence, and he pushed for not enforcing the student code of conduct off campus.

She added that having "a major problem with Coach Paterno should not be our concern" in making disciplinary decisions.

"I must insist that the efforts to put pressure on us and try to influence our decisions related to specific cases ... simply MUST STOP," she wrote. "The calls and pleas from coaches, board members and others when we are considering a case are indeed putting us in a position that does treat football players differently and with greater privilege ... and it appears on our end to be a deliberate effort to use the power of the football program to sway our decisions in a way that is beneficial to the football program."

Athletic director Curley, who had once played for Paterno and was widely considered Paterno’s "errand boy," responded to Triponey by explaining "Joe's frustrations with the system" and the "larger issues that bother him."

Triponey wrote back, complaining about Paterno's "disregard for our role and disrespect for the process."  She added, "I don't see how we can continue to trust those inside the football program with confidential information if we are indeed treated as adversaries."

Triponey followed up with another e-mail to Spanier on September 1, 2005, stating her objection to Paterno's attitude and behavior, which she called "atrocious." She said others, including students and their parents, were mimicking him.

"I am very troubled by the manipulative, disrespectful, uncivil and abusive behavior of our football coach," she wrote. "It is quite shocking what this man -- who is idolized by people everywhere -- is teaching our students."

Triponey saw the dangers of special treatment that placed football players under a softer standard than other students lived by.  She said it wasn't right.  But whenever she spoke up, Paterno would shout her down.  For his part, Paterno clearly seemed to resent "meddling" from outsiders, referring to Triponey.  It mattered little to him that Triponey was simply doing her job.  This was a battle she couldn't win.

Paterno ridiculed her on a radio show as "that lady in Old Main" who couldn't possibly know how to handle students because "she didn't have kids."

Tensions reached the breaking point in 2007 over how to discipline half a dozen players who'd been arrested at a brawl at an off-campus apartment complex. Several students were injured; one beaten unconscious.

Triponey met with Paterno and other university officials half a dozen times, although she preferred to remain neutral as the appeals hearing officer.

At the final meeting, Triponey urged the coach to advise his players to tell the truth. Paterno said angrily that he couldn't force his players to "rat" on each other since they had to practice and play together. Curley and Spanier backed him up on that point, she said.

Triponey recommended suspensions; Paterno pushed for community service that included having the team clean up the stadium for two hours after each home game.

In the end, four players were briefly suspended during the off-season. They didn't miss a game.

By then it was clear Triponey no longer enjoyed Spanier's support. He began making noises about whether she really embraced "the Penn State way." He told her during an annual review that she was too confrontational, too aggressive. Triponey knew her days at Penn State were numbered when he advised her to think hard about whether she had a future there.

When it all fell apart, Triponey felt completely alone.  Paterno expressed his frustration with Triponey to anyone at the University who would listen.

Now she received threatening phone calls at home when her husband was traveling and was savaged on student message boards. Her house was vandalized and "For Sale" signs were staked in her front yard. By the time police installed surveillance cameras, she was already on her way out.

President Spanier came to her home and sat in her living room shortly after Paterno lost his temper at the meeting about the players involved in the brawl. She said Spanier told her, "Well, Vicky, you are one of a handful of people, four or five people, who have seen the dark side of Joe Paterno. We're going to have to do something about it."

Triponey would shake her head as she recalled that conversation. "As it turned out, ‘Doing something about it’,'" she says, "ended with me being gone."

Citing "philosophical differences," Triponey resigned under pressure as the 2007 football season got under way. Unlike Sandusky, convicted of molesting young boys, she did not receive a $168,000 golden handshake, prime football seats for life or keys to the locker room.

Once she lost her battle with Paterno, her life in the Penn State environment was over. 

She was no longer invited to events. She was shunned. She stopped going to Wegman's, a favorite upscale supermarket outside State College, because "the Penn State people went there." They recognized her and without fail turned their backs and walked away, she recalled.

Triponey sold her big house in State College and moved into a condo. Meanwhile her husband, a Penn State professor, looked for a job at another university. It took two years, but he finally found a spot at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.

Former colleagues who did want to reach out held back. Later, they explained that they were afraid of losing their jobs, too.

That, she says, was "the Penn State way" as she knew it.

It had been corrupted by success.

"Winning became more important," Triponey said, along with a strong desire "to avoid bad publicity." So many people were invested in the football program, they felt they had "to protect something that they had created, a grand experiment that was so perfect that they didn't dare let anybody know there were blemishes."

There was no accountability. Board meetings were scripted to avoid controversy. It was a point of pride that nobody ever argued. The leadership was "grounded in the spin, the image, the 'too big to fail.' It became a business dependent on the money and contributions," she said.

She thought she had left academia forever, following her husband to Charleston and getting involved in charities and community work.

"At the time, the controversy destroyed my career. I couldn't go back into higher education after what happened at Penn State. No one would dare touch me.  I had to leave the work I had done for 30 years.  What enabled people to take a chance on me was when the Sandusky story broke."

"Now the world of higher education started seeing me as a more credible person," Triponey said. "I did get messages and kudos. Now that the truth was out, I was offered jobs again.  I was shocked. I never thought I'd be back doing work in higher education," she said. "I also never thought I'd see the day where public opinion is at the place where folks are saying Penn State's culture has got to change."

As for Paterno, who died of lung cancer in January, Triponey had this to say.

"Joe Paterno was once an incredibly principled person," she said, recalling how at the beginning he made sure his athletes were successful students.

"That was at his core," she said, "but when the pedestal became so high, he lost that somewhere. Power corrupts."



Several people besides Vickie Triponey pointed to the lack of institutional control at Penn State.

Although theoretically the football coach serves at the behest of the Athletic Director and the school President, at Penn State these roles were clearly reversed. 

Although Joe Paterno’s position gave him absolutely no say-so in institutional matters, no one dared stand up to him.  

One need look no further than the salaries to discern which man was more important to the university.  Paterno made a total of $1,022,794 while President Graham Spanier made $813,855

Throughout the 2000s, Paterno had a contentious relationship with some members of the Board of Trustees. They actually tried to oust him after a series of losing seasons.

After Sandusky left the program in 1999, Paterno seemed to slip a notch. 

Paterno had five losing seasons in a row.  During the period from 2000 to 2004, Penn State had a losing record of 26-33.  

As it turned out, harboring a sexual deviate was hardly any reason to get rid of Paterno according to the fan base.  But let him lose a few games and suddenly the fans called for his removal.

Prompted by criticism from alumni, fans and the media, university officials and select board members decided it was time for Paterno to go.  Paterno's doorbell rang Nov. 21, 2004.  It was a Sunday morning.  Penn State had lost the day before to finish the season at 4-7. The officials weren’t wasting any time. 

Four high-ranking Penn State officials, including university president Graham Spanier and athletic director Tim Curley, walked into Paterno's home and told him, for the second time in less than two weeks, that they wished him to stop coaching, either at that minute or very soon.

Paterno stubbornly and selfishly refused to go.  Paterno said he would be the sole determiner of when he would retire.  Relying upon the deep reservoir of good will he had accumulated within the vast Penn State community during his long career, Paterno pointed out that he was untouchable.  They wouldn’t dare remove him against his will.  One snap of his fingers and watch those donations dry up.

Then Paterno pointed to the door.  They left quietly.  Nothing more was said or done about Paterno’s job. 

Paterno was right.  No one had the guts to stand up to him.

This quote from Sports Illustrated sums it up nicely. 

"In 2004, on the heels of two straight losing seasons, Spanier and Curley went to Paterno's home to ask the coach to retire, only to slink meekly away after Paterno refused.  This moment made a mockery of the kind of reporting structure that marks a healthy institution."



Back in 1999, Jack McCallum of the renowned magazine Sports Illustrated had written a very nice piece about Sandusky's retirement.  Now it was November 2011 and the truth was out.

McCallum burned with embarrassment. He felt like he had egg on his face.  He could not believe how easily he had been deceived by Sandusky’s bald-faced lies to explain his mysterious retirement in 1999.

Sports Illustrated was going to get it right this time. It sent McCallum and several other reporters back to the campus to take another look at the sterling Penn State reputation.  

It was now obvious to everyone that Paterno had engaged in a cover-up just as extensive and manipulative as anything the Nixon team had ever attempted. 

In 1998 Paterno had hushed up Sandusky’s transgressions and swept them under the carpet.  Doing anything more at the time would have brought a raft of bad publicity.  He had done it again in 2001. 

Joe’s “unbeaten” reputation for running the cleanest football program in history would have taken a major blow.  Donations might have trickled down.  Why not just hush it all up?

Paterno’s decision to take the easy way out would have terrible consequences.  From that point on, he embarked on an endless series of efforts to bully people to look the other way whenever his players or his sexual monster stepped out of line.

"Penn State will never fully get its reputation back as the guys in the white hats," says Charles Yesalis, a retired Penn State health policy and sports science professor. "Part of that was smoke and mirrors."

Mary Gage, former director of the undergraduate fellowships office at Penn State, said, "It's amazing to think what one man can do to a whole heroic institution if the reaction is faulty."

While the Nittany Lions eagerly trumpeted to recruits that they had never faced serious NCAA scrutiny or sanction, closer inspection revealed it has hardly been a spotless program.  Three years ago ESPN reported that between 2002 and '08, 46 players had been charged with a total of 163 crimes ranging from public urination to murder.

In March, SI published arrest tallies for all the programs in its Top 25. Penn State tied for fourth, with 16 players on the 2010 opening-game roster who had been charged with a crime.

Harrisburg's Patriot-News, which first broke the story of the Sandusky investigation in March 2011, made passing reference to "a player-related knife fight in a campus dining hall" that was broken up by assistant coach Mike McQueary in 2008.

In 2005, defensive end LaVon Chisley was quietly kicked off the team for academic reasons and, according to prosecutors, began racking up debts. He was never drafted, and that summer he murdered his former roommate, a campus marijuana dealer. Chisley is serving a life sentence. Yet when asked about the incident at a press conference after the conviction, Paterno brushed it aside: "I have no comment on that.... Why should I?"

And when ESPN questioned Paterno about the spate of player arrests, he responded, "I don't know anything about it."

In 2003, after Tony Johnson, a wide receiver and the son of a Penn State assistant coach, was arrested for DUI, Paterno complained that "it will get all blown out of proportion because he's a football player. But he didn't do anything to anybody." While the coach apologized for that last remark, the smoke and mirrors illusion of Penn State as a haven of virtue—at least by the limbo-bar standards of big-time college football—persisted.

Karen Muir, a State College attorney who has represented Penn State football players in legal trouble, said she has seen firsthand how the team will sacrifice an individual for the sake of the program. After Penn State defensive tackle Chris Baker, later an NFL player, was involved in two off-field fights, Muir said she planned to go to trial to defend him from criminal charges.  The coaches prevailed on her client to take a plea bargain, thus sparing the program protracted embarrassment.

"My experience is that Penn State football closes ranks and their focus is on the program as opposed to the individual," Muir says. "The program didn't care as much what was best for my kid."




During a news conference in Philadelphia on July 12, Judge Louis Freeh released the 267-page report. People gasped. This was a very powerful document. 

After giving everyone an hour to read, the former FBI director fielded questions from reporters about his team's findings.  Freeh began by saying he believed that Spanier, Schultz, Paterno and Curley concealed information in order to "avoid the consequences of bad publicity."  In other words, a cover-up.

When asked by reporters if held the most responsibility in the endangerment of children, Freeh said that the coach and the three administrators were equally responsible, but he was shocked that Paterno didn't take more steps throughout the years to ensure that Sandusky did not have access to university facilities.

Since many reporters' questions kept the attention on Paterno, Freeh made it a point to single out Paterno.  Of all the men involved, Joe Paterno, the school's legendary head football coach, could have stopped the attacks had he raised even a single finger.

"At the very least, Paterno could have alerted the entire football staff in order to prevent Sandusky from bringing any other children into the Lasch Building," Freeh said. 

"Our most saddening and sobering finding is the total disregard for the safety and welfare of Sandusky's child victims by the most senior leaders at Penn State," Freeh wrote. "The most powerful men at Penn State failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children who Sandusky victimized."

One question asked whether "the football culture" at Penn State led the four men to actively conceal information about Sandusky's actions.  Freeh replied that one of the biggest indicators of the decayed "culture" at Penn State was testimony from university janitors. Several janitors witnessed what Freeh called Sandusky's "most horrific" sexual assaults but they "panicked" and did not report what they saw, in fear of losing their jobs.

"If that's the culture on the bottom, then God help the culture on the top," Freeh said.

One of the final questions Freeh fielded was whether or not Penn State is a safe university for parents to send their students.

"I think parents should be comforted and assured at this point that when sending their kids to Penn State, they will be safe,” Freeh said.

As the news spread, the Freeh Report shocked the nation.  The Grand Jury report had been more about Sandusky. However this document focused directly on the Penn State administration. 

It was so thorough that any doubts about Paterno's innocence rapidly disappeared.

The Freeh Report said the most powerful leaders at Penn State University showed "total and consistent disregard" for child sex abuse victims while covering up the attacks of a longtime sexual predator. 

People were appalled to discover that Penn State officials – including Joe Paterno – could knowingly allow a child molester to operate in their midst and did nothing to stop it.  How could these men allow all those boys to be attacked on their own premises? 

What was worse was when the four men learned of Sandusky’s crimes, they not only denied any knowledge, not once did these men show the slightest remorse or concern for the children who had their lives ruined. 

Sandusky was portrayed in the report as the embodiment of unadulterated evil, a coldly manipulative serial sexual predator.  Often through the access he gained by way of The Second Mile, the report alleged, Sandusky first built trust and relationships with young boys—vulnerable, socially at-risk kids from his own foundation—then sexually assaulted them.

The report alleged that between 1994 and 2009, Sandusky abused a minimum of eight boys.  Freeh acknowledged there were undoubtedly countless more.  Sandusky was fortunate that the stigma and fear of embarrassment kept many of his victims from stepping up.

Nevertheless, shortly after the report was released,
Freeh's words about more victims rung true.  Three more men stepped out of the shadows to tell investigators that Jerry Sandusky had molested them in the 1970s and 1980s.  This development not only stretched Sandusky's Crime Timeline 20 years earlier, it increased the likelihood there are many more victims still out there. 

The report reminded everyone again that Sandusky deliberately traded on his status as a Penn State football demigod. Many of the alleged assaults occurred either in the university's football facilities or at football functions. The Nittany Lion program became Sandusky's bait. He brought victims to games at State College, allowed them to attend coaches' meetings, facilitated their meeting players, cast them in instructional videos, and in one case even had the nerve to take a boy to the Alamo Bowl, in San Antonio, where he was able to bully the small boy into submitting to his desires.

The world recoiled in horror.  They had found the devil in Jerry Sandusky.  They had lost their saint in Joe Paterno. 



The Karma unleashed by the Freeh Report hit Penn State smack in the faceThe entire football program at Penn State was hit by the NCAA with perhaps the most severe penalties in college football history.

In addition to losing scholarships and being fined an incredible amount of money, the school was stripped of all its victories since 1998.  111 victories were instantly turned into defeat.  Joe Paterno would no longer be known as the most victorious coach in college football history.

In addition, on July 23rd, the now-deceased Paterno had his statue removed at Penn State and placed in hiding. 

Joe Paterno’s descent from the pinnacle to abyss was compete. It had taken place with blinding speed.  From now on, Paterno’s legacy would be permanently tarnished. 


Say It Ain’t So, Joe!

They say the most important thing a man takes to his grave is his reputation.   For most of his life, Joe Paterno had one of the finest reputations in the world.

Paterno was definitely a great coach. Paterno coached 548 games spread out over a record 46 seasons. During this time, Penn State won two national championships.  It had five perfect seasons.  Penn State won 24 out of the 37 bowl games that it participated in.

Paterno was named National Coach of the Year five times, the most of any coach in history. Penn State finished in the Top 25 national rankings 35 times.

Paterno was on the verge of being known forever as the greatest coach in history and being considered a man of unquestioned integrity for eternity.

Instead his reputation went up in a blaze of smoke.  Henceforth the name ‘Paterno’ will be doomed to conjure up images as the callous jerk who let his sick buddy rape little boys.  Any human being with an ounce of decency would do something to stop it.  Not Paterno. 

The level of disgust that people feel is almost without end. 

In the end, the question has to be asked.  What caused his fall from grace?

As the Vickie Triponey story makes clear, Paterno had strong values in the beginning.  However, at some point Paterno turned into something more resembling a driven megalomaniac.

He terrorized anyone who stood in his way, rationalizing that the glory of Penn State far surpassed any trivial concerns.  If a few people got hurt because they got in his way, tough.  Penn State and Joe Paterno's football team are a lot more important than they are.



Paterno took his secrets to the grave. This is just speculation.

Did Paterno make a Deal with the Devil?  When the Sandusky problem crossed his desk for the first time in 1998, Paterno was riding high.  His team had just finished 9-3 and had a loaded team back for the following season.

What was Paterno supposed to do with Sandusky?  I doubt Paterno and Sandusky even talked about what had happened.  Paterno was old school. He wasn't happy to have a homosexual on his staff, but it wasn't a topic he could talk about openly.

If he simply tossed Sandusky out, surely the reporters would flock to campus and ask questions. Full of bitterness, it is likely the man would talk at some point.  Better to keep Sandusky happy. The simple thing to do was keep the guy around.

The greatest cover-up in sports history probably began because
Paterno simply decided to do nothing but let Sandusky keep his job.

We will never know the truth. Not one story has emerged about any conversation between Paterno and Sandusky that I could find.

Sandusky had told the police he had learned his lesson.  He had admitted what he had done with that little boy was wrong. 

Paterno decided to roll the dice and pretend nothing had happened.  That was the worst mistake of his life. 

He should have turned the guy in, called a press conference, and explained what Sandusky had done.  Sure there would have been consequences, but up to this point, Paterno had done nothing wrong.  He still wore the white hat.

Instead, by doing nothing, Paterno was now complicit in Sandusky's evil.

If Sandusky got caught, Paterno would likely get caught as well.  Sandusky's very existence would become an ongoing threat to Paterno.

This threat hung over Paterno's neck like the proverbial Sword of Damocles.  Sandusky owned Paterno and he knew it.  He kept bringing those little boys on campus because he felt invulnerable.

Pal Joey would always cover for him.  And since Paterno had brought Curley, Moe, and Larry in on the deal, the Three Stooges were just as vulnerable to Sandusky's peculiar insanity as Paterno was. 

What a horrible irony.  By simply doing nothing, the glory of the Penn State football program permanently tied to the whims of a sex offender. 

Paterno's solution was to build an iron-clad cover-up. But surely he had to know the risk he was taking.  One mistake on their part or one mistake on Sandusky part and this terrible secret would be released to the world. 

For the next two football seasons, Paterno let Sandusky hang around.  But their relationship deteriorated thanks to the hideous secret they shared.  Paterno's likely revulsion surely helped poison any warmth he had once felt for the man.  For his part, Sandusky surely grew to dislike the hypocrite that Paterno had become. 

Paterno couldn't take it any more.  In May 1999, he told Sandusky to finish out the '99 football season and then quit.  He couldn't stand having the monster anywhere near him.

After Sandusky left, people have asked why Paterno didn't take the keys away.  I doubt the two men were even on speaking terms.  Paterno more likely kept as much distance as he possibly could.  Paterno was part of a generation that simply didn't talk about this stuff.

Who knows what happened over the next few years.  There was the 2000 incident witnessed by the janitors.  Is it safe to guess there were other incidents that never even came to light? 

In 2001, Sandusky got caught again when McQueary spotted him. This poor football assistant was in the wrong place at the wrong time.  If there is one person I actually feel sorry for in this whole sordid mess, it is him.

Once again the cover-up came through for Paterno and Sandusky, but in the process the Three Stooges made a serious mistake.  Paterno and the Three Stooges were so appalled by what Sandusky was doing in the Penn State showers they couldn't take it any more.

This time Schultz, the athletic director, was giving the unpleasant task of taking the keys away and suggesting Sandusky take his nasty habit off campus.  In other words, they would cover for him again, but don't come around here any more.  Sandusky was banned him from the athletic center.

This was bad move.  As several writers pointed out, had Sandusky remained under Paterno's protection, it is unlikely any word could possibly escape Joe Pa's iron curtain.

However, by cutting Sandusky loose, they lost control of their invisibility cloak.  What an incredible risk they were taking!

The Stooges got away with it in 2002, but they had to know this was a time bomb waiting to happen.  Tick tick tick.  2003. Tick tick tick.   2004.  Tick tick tick.  These were years Sandusky was raping little boys who screamed for mercy in his basement.  2005.  Tick tick tick. 2006.  Tick tick tick. The remarkable thing is that Sandusky got away with his sickness as long as he did.  2007. Tick tick tick. 

Then it was 2008. Sandusky slipped up again while chasing Victim 1 at Central Mountain High School.  The police were called and the time bomb went off. 

The problem was the Stooges never heard the explosion.  Clinton County was way off their radar.  There was no one over there who had any inkling Sandusky's crime had the slightest thing to do with Penn State.

When the officials of this county some 40 miles away from State College began their investigation in 2008, they deliberately kept the investigation quiet.  This meant the Penn State officials had no idea time was running out until it was too late.  When the sordid mess exploded, Paterno and the Three Stooges were completely blind-sided.  It was too late to contain this problem.  Chernobyl had blown its top.  This radioactive garbage was loose.

Cover-ups are never easy to maintain.  So why did Paterno do the cover-up in the first place?   After all, it wasn't Paterno's fault that Sandusky was a pervert.  If Paterno had just done the right thing at the right time, his previous perfect record would have given him all the credibility he needed to survive the hit.  Sure it would have been embarrassing, but Paterno would have ridden it out. 

Put Sandusky in jail and hit the recruiting trail hard.  If anything, maybe Paterno would get some kudos for handling a tough situation with integrity. 

In the end, Paterno simply didn't think straight.  He figured he could tiptoe his way through this madness.  Uncle Jerry had promised to be a good boy from now on.  Why not take the easy way out?

After all, who wants to take a chance of killing the Golden Goose?  The risk of telling the truth had to terrify Paterno.  Louis Freeh himself speculated that they were all terrified of the bad publicity.

A 2010 study said the Penn State football program had a $161.5 million impact on Pennsylvania in 2009. The football team made a $53.2 million profit in 2010, according to CNN Money. The school made $24 million more through general merchandise sales.  Furthermore, Penn State continued to be one of the major college leaders in alumni donations, many of whom give because they love their Nittany Lion football team. 

Surely Penn State made similar dollars in 1998.  Lots of school programs depended on that money.  In a sense, Penn State had become too big to fail.  The economy of the State of Pennsylvania was far too intimately wrapped around the fortunes of Penn State football... or at least Paterno might have thought so.

What a horrible mistake.  The tension must have been unbearable.  Like Anne Frank waking up every day of her life wondering if this would the day the Nazis would be coming for her, I wonder if those four men spent all those years in a constant state of nausea.  Or did they simply live in denial?  Tick tick tick.  Who can live this way?  What the hell were they thinking?

The Three Stooges weren't bad men.  They weren't evil.

They were stupid men.  They were stupid, ignorant men who let Paterno push them around. 

Schultz was no fool.  He had asked the right questions from the start. "Is this opening of pandora's box?" he wrote in personal notes on the case. "Other children?" "Sexual improprieties?"

Curley was no idiot.  Nor was Spanier.  According to Freeh, Spanier, Schultz and Curley were set to call child services on Sandusky in February 2001 until Paterno apparently talked them out of it.  Curley later admitted he wasn't "comfortable" going to child services after that talk with Paterno.

All four men were linked together in the Devil's Bargain.  If even just one of them spilled the beans, the cover-up would have been blown to pieces.  One of the unsolved mysteries is who tipped off the Grand Jury about Mike McQueary.  The secret of the heinous 2001 incident was revealed in an anonymous email.  Who knows... maybe one of the Stooges had a pang of conscience.

But given how much they lied, probably not.  They were weak men who let themselves be dominated by Paterno's iron hand.

The administrator's were not the only weak ones.  The Board of Trustees got chewed out as well.

Louis Freeh criticized the Board of Trustees for its weak oversight of the senior university officers.  The Board failed to create an atmosphere "where the president and senior officers felt accountable to the board."

Mark Emmert, president of the NCAA, had this to say when handing out Penn State's punishment.

"One of the grave dangers stemming from our love of sports is that the sports themselves can become too big to fail, indeed, too big to even challengeThe result can be an erosion of academic values that are replaced by the value of hero worship and winning at all cost."

In the wake of the Penn State scandal, the question now is whether educators will learn anything.  Will they have the guts to fight powerhouse sports programs running amok?  Will they insist on transparency – the very thing Paterno fought tirelessly against?

Only time will tell if any good comes from this scandal.  I suppose the NCAA stripped all those victories from Penn State because they wanted to send a message to all the other sports programs out there who might be hiding something. 

"Confess now or lose all your victories."

Personally, I wouldn't be surprised if one of these days Penn State will get its victories back. 

Right now the world is angry.  When people calm down, they will realize those football players didn't do anything wrong.  Those victories were won fair and square. 

A better punishment might be to strip Paterno of his victories, but let Penn State keep its record.

But ultimately, I really don't give a damn whether Penn State gets it victories back.

When you think of some poor little boy screaming in pain down in the basement of Sandusky's House of Horror, not one single victory matters the slightest bit.

Those boys were raped because Sandusky was allowed to roam free.  Sandusky roamed free because Paterno didn't want to see his precious football program sullied by its association with the monster. 

It has been said that evil triumphs when good men do nothing.  I cannot imagine a more fitting comment. 

There are many who have shed tears for Joe Paterno.  Lots of people feel sympathy for Joe Paterno.

Not me.  Nor am I alone As I have made clear, Paterno was not only a bully who hurt a lot of people in his career, he was despicable beyond comprehension for sacrificing those boys to the beast.

For the rest of time, I will remember Paterno as the man who looked away while little boys were raped by the Minotaur. 

I will save my tears for the boys who were brutally assaulted while men who should have known better — including Joe Paterno – did nothing to protect them.

Coach Paterno's reputation is now permanently destroyed.  He got what he deserved.

If one good thing can come from Paterno's story, it will be this:

There is evil in the world. If the moment ever comes when I see someone being hurt by a bully, I hope this story will give me the courage to stand up to the bullies and blow the whistle. 

After all, isn't that the moral of this story?

Every time we look the other way, every time we turn a blind eye, the Devil will triumph and the Minotaur will roam free.

Rick Archer
August 2012



Joe Paterno's True Legacy

Article Written by Rick Reilly,

(Rick Archer's Note:  In my opinion, Rick Reilly is the finest sportswriter in the business.  I followed his stories for many years at Sports Illustrated and now he writes for ESPN.  In the following article, Mr. Reilly writes a compelling epitaph on the Paterno legacy.)


What a fool I was.

In 1986, I spent a week in State College, Pa., researching a 10-page Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year piece on Joe Paterno.

It was supposed to be a secret, but one night the phone in my hotel room rang. It was a Penn State professor, calling out of the blue.

"Are you here to take part in hagiography?" he said.

"What's hagiography?" I asked.

"The study of saints," he said. "You're going to be just like the rest, aren't you? You're going to make Paterno out to be a saint. You don't know him. He'll do anything to win. What you media people are doing is dangerous."

Jealous egghead, I figured.

What an idiot I was.

25 years passed.  In November 2011, when former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was accused of a 15-year reign of pedophilia on young boys, I immediately believed Paterno was too old and too addled to understand, too grandfatherly and Catholic to get that Sandusky was committing grisly crimes using Paterno's own football program as bait.

But I was wrong. Paterno knew. He knew all about it. He'd known for years. He knew and he followed it vigilantly.

That's all clear now after Penn State's own investigator, former FBI director Louis Freeh, came out Thursday and hung the whole disgusting canvas on a wall for us. Showed us the emails, read us the interviews, shined a black light on all of the lies they left behind. It cost $6.5 million and took eight months and the truth it uncovered was 100 times uglier than the bills.

Paterno knew about a mother's cry that Sandusky had molested her son in 1998. Later, Paterno lied to a grand jury and said he didn't. Paterno and university president Graham Spanier and vice president Gary Schultz and athletic director Tim Curley all knew what kind of sick coach they had on the payroll in Sandusky. Schultz had pertinent questions. "Is this opening of pandora's box?" he wrote in personal notes on the case. "Other children?" "Sexual improprieties?"

It gets worse. According to Freeh, Spanier, Schultz and Curley were set to call child services on Sandusky in February 2001 until Paterno apparently talked them out of it. Curley wasn't "comfortable" going to child services after that talk with JoePa.

Yeah, that's the most important thing, Joe, your comfort.

What'd they do instead? Alerted nobody. Called nobody. And let Sandusky keep leading his horrific tours around campus. "Hey, want to see the showers?" That sentence alone ought to bring down the statue.

What a stooge I was.

I talked about Paterno's "true legacy" in all of this. Here's his true legacy: Paterno let a child molester go when he could've stopped him. He let him go and then lied to cover his sinister tracks. He let a rapist go to save his own recruiting successes and fundraising pitches and big-fish-small-pond hide.

Here's a legacy for you. Paterno's cowardice and ego and fears allowed Sandusky to molest at least eight more boys in the years after that 1998 incident -- Victims 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9 and 10.

Just to recap: By not acting, a grown man failed to protect at least eight boys from years of molestation, abuse and self-loathing, all to save his program the embarrassment.

The mother of Victim 1 is "filled with hatred toward Joe Paterno," the victim's lawyer says. "She just hates him, and reviles him." Can you blame her?

What a sap I was.

I hope Penn State loses civil suits until the walls of the accounting office cave in. I hope that Spanier, Schultz and Curley go to prison for perjury. I hope the NCAA gives Penn State the death penalty it most richly deserves. The worst scandal in college football history deserves the worst penalty the NCAA can give. They gave it to SMU for winning without regard for morals. They should give it to Penn State for the same thing. The only difference is, at Penn State they didn't pay for it with Corvettes. They paid for it with lives.

What a chump I was.

I tweeted that, yes, Paterno should be fired, but that he was, overall, "a good and decent man." I was wrong. Good and decent men don't do what Paterno did. Good and decent men protect kids, not rapists. And to think Paterno comes from "father" in Italian.

This throws a can of black paint on anything anybody tells me about Paterno from here on in.

  • "No NCAA violations in all those years." I believe it. He was great at hiding stuff.
  • "He gave $4 million to the library." In exchange for what?
  • "He cared about kids away from the football field." No, he didn't. Not all of them. Not when it really mattered.

What a tool I was.

As Joe Paterno lay dying, I actually felt sorry for him.  Little did I know he was taking all of his dirty secrets to the grave.

Nine days before he died, he had The Washington Post's Sally Jenkins in his kitchen. He could've admitted it then. Could've tried a simple "I'm sorry." But he didn't. Instead, he just lied deeper. Right to her face. Right to all of our faces.

That professor was right, all those years ago. I was engaging in hagiography. So was that school. So was that town.

The entire Penn State mindset was dangerous.  Turns out it builds monsters.

Not all of them ended up in prison.



Rick Archer's Note: No one summed it up any better than Sally Jenkins, the last person to ever interview Paterno.

By Sally Jenkins
Published: July 12, 2012
The Washington Post

Joe Paterno was a liar, there’s no doubt about that now.

He was also a cover-up artist. If the Freeh report is correct in its summary of the Penn State child molestation scandal, the public Paterno of the last few years was a work of fiction.

In his place is a hubristic, indictable hypocrite.

In the last interview before his death, Paterno insisted as strenuously as a dying man could that he had absolutely no knowledge of a 1998 police inquiry into child molestation accusations against his assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky.

This has always been the critical point in assessing whether Paterno and other Penn State leaders enabled Sandusky’s crimes.

In the last interview before his death, former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno told the Post’s Sally Jenkins he had no knowledge of accusations of child molestation involving former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. Paterno’s comments conflict with the Louis Freeh report released Thursday, claiming that the legendary football coach and other top university officials engaged in a cover up.

If Paterno knew about ’98, then he wasn’t some aging granddad who was deceived, but a canny and unfeeling power broker who put protecting his reputation ahead of protecting children.

If he knew about ’98, then he understood the import of graduate assistant Mike McQueary’s distraught account in 2001 that he witnessed Sandusky assaulting a boy in the Penn State showers.

If he knew about ’98, then he also perjured himself before a grand jury.


Paterno didn’t always give lucid answers in his final interview conducted with The Washington Post eight days before his death, but on this point he was categorical and clear as a bell. He pled total, lying ignorance of the ’98 investigation into a local mother’s claim Sandusky had groped her son in the shower at the football building.

How could Paterno have no knowledge of this, I asked him?

“Nobody knew,” he said.

Everybody knew.

Never heard a rumor?

“I never heard a thing,” he said.

He heard everything.

“If Jerry’s guilty, nobody found out till after several incidents.”

Not a whisper? How is that possible?

Paterno’s account of himself is flatly contradicted in damning detail by ex FBI-director Louis Freeh’s report.

In a news conference Thursday, Freeh charged that Paterno, along with athletic director Timothy Curley, university president Graham Spanier and vice president Gary Schultz, engaged in a cover-up, “an active agreement of concealment.”

Paterno was not only aware of the ’98 investigation but followed it “closely” according to Freeh. As did the entire leadership of Penn State. E-mails and confidential notes by Schultz about the progress of the inquiry prove it. “Behavior — at best inappropriate @ worst sexual improprieties,” Schultz wrote. “At min – Poor Judgment.” Schultz also wrote, “Is this opening of pandora’s box?” and “Other children?”

A May 5, 1998 e-mail from Curley to Schultz and Spanier was titled “Joe Paterno” and it says, “I have touched base with the coach. Keep us posted. Thanks.”

A second e-mail dated May 13 1998 from Curley to Schultz is titled “Jerry” and it says, “Anything new [in] this department? Coach is anxious to know where it stands.”

There is only one aspect in which the Freeh report does not totally destroy Paterno’s pretension of honesty. It finds no connection between the ’98 investigation and Sandusky’s resignation from Paterno’s staff in ’99. The report also suggests that Paterno genuinely believed the police had found no evidence of a crime.

Paterno can be forgiven for his initial denial, for refusing to believe his colleague was a child molester in ’98. What’s not forgivable is his sustained determination to lie from 2001 onward.

This is how Paterno testified in January 2011 before the grand jury. He was asked: “Other than the [2001] incident that Mike McQueary reported to you, do you know in any way, through rumor, direct knowledge or any other fashion, of any other inappropriate sexual conduct by Jerry Sandusky with young boys?”

Paterno replied, “I do not know of anything else that Jerry would be involved in of that nature, no. I do not know of it.”

Paterno’s family continued to insist Thursday via a statement that Paterno’s account was not inconsistent with the facts, and he “always believed, as we do, that the full truth should be uncovered.”

But Paterno was no more interested in the full truth than Walt Disney.

In his final interview, he played the faux-naif who insisted he had “never heard of rape and a man.” Who hadn’t followed up on McQueary’s report out of squeamishness. Who was wary of interfering in university “procedure.” Who insisted it was unfair to put Penn State on trial along with a pedophile, and that this was not “a football scandal.”

In fact, in 2001 Paterno had every reason to suspect Sandusky was a serial defiler of children. In fact, Paterno was not reluctant to interfere in university procedure; he helped dictate it. In fact, this was a football scandal. The crimes were committed by a former assistant football coach in the football building. Ten boys, and 45 criminal counts, at least five of them molested on the Penn State campus after 1998 when Paterno committed the awful misjudgment of continuing to allow Sandusky to bring boys to his locker room, so sure was he that Sandusky was “a good guy.”

We can’t un-rape and un-molest those boys. We can’t remove them from the showers and seize them back from the hands of Sandusky. That should have been an unrelenting source of rage and grief to Paterno. Yet in perhaps the most damaging observation of all, the Freeh report accuses Paterno and his colleagues of “a striking lack of empathy” for the victims.

Everything else about Paterno must now be questioned; other details about him begin to nag. You now wonder if his self-defense was all an exercise in sealing off watertight compartments, leaving colleagues on the outside to drown. You wonder if he performed a very neat trick in disguising himself as a modest and benevolent man. The subtle but constant emphasis on his Ivy League education, the insistence that Penn State football had higher standards, now looks more like rampant elitism.

Undeniably, for many years Paterno did virtuous work at Penn State. His combined winning records and graduation rates were indeed much higher than those of his peers. It’s a relevant part of the Penn State affair and worth stating, because it contributed to the institutional response. The Freeh report cited “numerous individual failings,” but it also found “weaknesses of the University’s culture, governance, administration, compliance policies and procedures for protecting children.” As other commentators have rightly observed, Paterno’s huge successes helped form those potholes. He was the university’s culture.

He was the self-appointed arbiter of character and justice in State College. He had decided Sandusky was “a good man” in 1998, and he simply found it too hard to admit he made a fatal misjudgment and gave a child molester the office nearest to his. He was more interested in protecting a cardboard cutout legacy than the flesh and blood of young men.

The only explanation I can find for this “striking lack of empathy” is self-absorption.

In asking how a paragon of virtue could have behaved like such a thoroughly bad guy, the only available answer is that Paterno fell prey to the single most corrosive sin in sports: the belief that winning on the field makes you better and more important than other people.

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