Legendary Penn State University football coach Joe Paterno may not have committed a crime, but he certainly betrayed a trust. News out this morning that he has decided to retire at the end of this season galls me, and turns my stomach. When you allow a child molester to continue hurting children and turn away from such hurtful crimes you are showing that you are no longer deserving of being paid your wages with the tax payers dollars. I hope the Penn State University Trustees act immediately and forcibly retire this old man and any other university employee who knew of the child assault on their own campus and did nothing about it.
Last Saturday the news of this story broke publicly. Jerry Sandusky a 23 year coach on Joe Paterno’s perennial major college power house football team was arrested and charged with 40 counts of child assault or molestation involving 8 boys ranging from 8 to 14 years of age. The crimes allegedly took place over an extended period of years. Included in the allegations was an incident in 2002 in which a 28-year-old assistant coach on the Paterno staff witnessed Sandusky in the Penn State locker room shower sexually assaulting a boy he identified as being approximately 10 years old. The coach didn’t intervene to protect the boy. He didn’t call police. He called the King of the campus. He called his boss…the next day. Joe Paterno was told in 2002 that his long time friend and colleague, Sandusky, was seen molesting a child in the shower on the campus of Penn State University, where Paterno has been the head coach longer than most humans have been alive. Paterno told his boss, Athletic Director Tim Curley. Neither Paterno nor Curley called police. Nor did they take action against Sandusky. Sandusky, who retired in 1999 but continued to live near by the school, continued to have unfettered access to the campus and to the football program. Sandusky was seen working out at the school only last week.
Curley and another University official were arrested Saturday, too, for allegedly lying to a Grand Jury. They both immediately resigned from the University in order to pursue their legal defense of the perjury charges. Paterno was charged with nothing. The Pennsylvania state police commissioner said Paterno fulfilled his legal requirement when he relayed to university administrators that a graduate assistant had seen Sandusky attacking a young boy. But the commissioner also questioned whether Paterno had a moral responsibility to do more.
Of course he had a moral responsibility to do more. It’s outrageous that anyone would allow for more innocent children to be hurt by this bastard Sandusky. In the 1990s Sandusky established a non-profit foundation to help troubled youth in the Western Pennsylvania community and surrounding areas. Police allege he used this foundation in order to gain access to his victims. Paterno knew of this foundation. And he knew of the sexual assault in the shower. An imbecile with an IQ of 20 could come to the conclusion that Sandusky shouldn’t be allowed to be around kids from his foundation or anywhere else.
Joe Paterno has won more football games as a head coach than anyone in history. He’s won National Championships. He has represented his school well for 50+ years. But he chose to protect a friend over children. I suspect he chose to protect his own legacy over the lives of innocents. Molestation of a child is as fowl a crime as a human being can commit and to tacitly endorse it with your silence is not honorable and is not worthy of continued employment. As Paterno is shown the door someone should ask him “What if that was YOUR 10-year-old son in the shower with Sandusky?”, “What if it were your Grandson, nephew, or little brother?”
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