Reader Poll: Do You Think Paterno Should Be Condemned for his Conduct Concerning the Sandusky Scandal?

JoePaterno1Kathleen Kane’s long-awaited report was finally released last week and while many have argued over the political implications concerning the Attorney General and the Governor, lost in this discussion is the fact that this effectively marks the end of the Jerry Sandusky episode (at least as it concerns PA politics).

Governor Corbett gave a long interview to the Associated Press where he was asked about the man whose legacy was most impacted by the scandal, long-time PSU head football coach Joe Paterno. The Governor offered what seemed to be his final take on the situation.

“When they were talking about the whole thing I said, ‘You’ve got to remember the children,”’ Corbett said. “Since that date the only thing I have said about Joe Paterno is I’ve quoted him. As he said, I wish he would have done more. I’ve not condemned, one way or the other, never have, never will. These are unusual circumstances.”

Paterno was a highly-respected and highly-influential figure at Penn State, where he served as a coach from 1950 to 1966 and as head coach from 1966 to 2011 when he was fired shortly after the indictment of Sandusky, his former Defensive Coordinator.

The coach came under severe criticism when it was revealed that QB Coach Mike McQueary informed Paterno in 2001 that he witnessed Sandusky abuse a child in the school’s locker room showers. Paterno informed the school’s athletic director about this, but not the police.

Additionally, the Freeh report discovered e-mails that indicated Paterno knew of the 1998 allegations against Sandusky, of which he previously denied knowledge. Sandusky retired shortly after those allegations but maintained connections, and access to, the university.

Paterno died shortly after he was fired by the Board of Trustees and PA citizens have been divided over his legacy ever since. Some believe he has been unfairly scapegoated for behavior he was never involved with while others believe he deliberately covered up his former colleague’s crimes.

So, we ask you our readers, do you approve of Joe Paterno’s conduct concerning the Jerry Sandusky scandal?

Do you approve of Joe Paterno's conduct concerning the Jerry Sandusky scandal?

  • No (54%)
  • Yes (46%)

Total Voters: 838

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23 Responses

  1. One of the unmistakable miscarriages of the whole affair is that Penn State OWNS this and it is called the sandusky scandal. paterno and key ‘leadership’ at Penn Sate knew and covered this up. Well now we know we know where one of the entrances to Hell is.

  2. Not to belabor the point, but certain unheralded truths are worth isolating from the Moulton Report, which notes the potential impact of HINDSIGHT BIAS AND LEARNING FROM EXPERIENCE.

    I think it is now possible to focus on the issues I’ve raised for two years, noting “From May 2009 through early 2011, the Sandusky investigation was conducted largely
    by three individuals, SDAG Jonelle Eshbach, Agent Anthony Sassano, and Tpr. Scott Rossman.” [Page 112]

    It is noted that “In 2011, after Michael
    McQueary was identified as a witness and after investigators learned about the 1998 allegations, the investigative resources devoted to the investigation increased significantly….Without the additional investigative resources [in early-2011], the systematic canvas of Second Mile participants that led to the discovery of J.S. (Victim 3) in the summer of 2011 might not have been possible.” [Page 113]

    Therefore, the key-question becomes why any such systematic canvasing couldn’t have been performed by more staff, starting after the case had been referred in 2009.

  3. First, I can’t find “Joe’s testimony in the GJ report,” although his name appears in the AG’s report three dozen times.

    Second, I note JoePa’s disclaimer [“Jerry had retired from the coaching staff two or three years earlier. So I didn’t feel it was my responsibility to make any kind of a decision as to what to do with him, so I called our athletic director, I told him that Mike McQueary had something that he probably ought to share with him.”]

    Third, I note the “more likely than not” conjectures @ the end of the article, including the possibility that JoePa was somehow assisted in “remembering” what may have been more vague, noting the fact that so many years had elapsed; this is not uncommon [including with victims] when such remote recollections are being weighed by factfinders.

    Thus, I tentatively conclude precisely what I’d previously surmised, namely, that JoePa has been unjustifiably crucified, particularly noting his decades of service [and inspiration] to the PSU community; he admitted culpability, but he also was as candid in this context as he characteristically was when discussing his football-based thoughts.

    Let’s see what emerges after jurors are provided an opportunity to weigh the evidence [regarding JoePa’s having emulated MM’s not having reported the event immediately], but let’s also encourage Corbett to “revise” his claim that he’d never trashed [orally or behaviorally] JoePa.

    A sometimes-overlooked consideration must also play-into what emerges from review of all the data, namely, that the need to report doesn’t become morphed into a necessity to ensure the perp is convicted; there should be a low threshold for the former, recognizing that there will be a higher threshold for the latter.

    One may fear being accused of having issued a false accusation, but this should be overcome if kids are to be protected; ultimately, regardless of one’s judgment of JoePa, this remains a political issue for Corbett due to definable residual-queries that predictably would animate voting [if nothing else] by PSU-alums/employees.

  4. @ Psunav:

    You prompted me to pull key-documents from the Internet; because PoliticsPA sometimes freezes when multiple hyperlinks are provided, they are choped-up, here.

    Start @AG-Kane’s website and read the press-release:


    Then download the report:


    Next note a key-excerpt from the transcript of an interview given by JoePa:


  5. @ Navybrat:

    According to SARA GANIM, Corbett didn’t merely function as an observer during the Trustee-meeting @ which JoePa was fired; he used the refrain “remember the children” to prompt this summary decision [along with the decision to jettison Spanier]

    Otherwise, I concur with your sentiments regarding the need to have ALL the data available before rendering a judgment.

  6. If you look at Joe’s testimony in the GJ report and the transcript of his interview with Sassano (google it) and then look up the definition of “sexual assault” you will see that Paterno says that McQuery reported a sexual assault by a grown man on a male child to him. Further, if you know the law and what options Joe had on what actions to take, you’ll know that Joe did the legal bare minimum, well short of what he should have done, which is to tell McQueary to call the police. Finally, nothing in anything anywhere ever suggests Joe truly was concerned for the child. Sandusky? Yes. McQueary? Yes. Child? No.

    Them’s the facts.

  7. I do not like the options for this poll. I love JoePa but I do not have all of the facts to say whether or not I approve of his behavior. The problem is that nobody can establish exactly what Mike McQueary said to JoePa at the time. The article states as fact that “The coach came under severe criticism when it was revealed that QB Coach Mike McQueary informed Paterno in 2001 that he witnessed Sandusky abuse a child in the school’s locker room showers.” That was never established and as a matter of fact the jury in the Sandusky case acquitted Sandusky on the 3 charges related to McQueary. A family friend of McQueary’s, who happens to be a doctor and mandatory reporter for child abuse, said that he was not provided enough information to report. I am hoping that all of the facts come out during the 3 administrators’ trial. And as far as Corbett, he is done as governor. You cannot sit by as a 61 year employee is chucked under the bus without knowing all of the facts. He caved to political pressure rather than doing the right thing and providing JoePa the benefit of the doubt after all of the years of service to Penn State and Pennsylvania.

  8. Robert-
    [52-48] is pretty much margin of error for a tie vote. It works against you by demonstrating that half the people think Paterno was wrong, rather than just minority of a few percent. I’d guess that most of the people supporting Paterno in the vote are just PSU football fans.

    As for Baldwin, MM and any others, these are just your diversions from the topic: what did Paterno know and what did he do?
    Baldwin could have exchanged pornographic photos with Sandusky, and it still has no bearing on Paterno’s behavior.
    Bringing up Baldwin is irrelevant to the discussion, which is why I’ve ignored it.

  9. @ DD:

    The reader-poll–which probably integrates thoughts of those who have read both these articles and these comments–shows support for JoePa [52-48] and reflects my sentiments, notwithstanding the discrepancy between the phraseology of the query and the title of the page.

    And you are again referred to a prior page, where you have neglected to provide necessary follow-up regarding your documented shortcomings; perhaps you may wish to shore-up your credibility before you continue to pursue JoePa’s.

    BTW, points on this page pointing both to MM and to Cynthia Baldwin [and their complicity] are c/w independent observations I’d made over the years; nevertheless, for Corbett to claim he had never trashed JoePa is…let us say…problematic.

  10. Paterno’s legacy can be best summarized this way: Most coaches or athletic achievers have the stadium, arena or athletic facility named after them. Joe Paterno has the LIBRARY named after him. Everything else is just noise from people who have anti-PSU agendas. My advice to those people: Leave Pennsylvania. We don’t want you.

  11. Joe Paterno did nothing wrong, at all. He called his boss right after hearing Mike McQueary’s report early Sunday morning. If you knew Joe Paterno, you knew he didn’t know anything about child rapists. He was as square as possible. I spent time in his home, saw and heard him in person, and I feel comfortable saying Joe Paterno deserves the adulation he retains today. He was a good man. The Freeh report is garbage. It isn’t worth the paper it is printed on or the electricity needed to light up a screen to read it. Its fatal flaws have been listed many places. Paterno gets all kinds of flak from anti-hero types. You want to blame someone for this? Graham Spanier. He never kept his word on anything. The two Old Main guys weren’t too helpful, either. Stop looking at this with 20/20 hindsight. And yes, I volunteer to throw the switch on Jerry Sandusky’s electric chair.

  12. Tim-

    Freeh made a “conclusion” as the result of an investigation.

    Fina proved himself to be a crappy investigator. From Wikipedia:
    “On September 4, 2013, in an interview conducted by Showtime’s 60 Minutes Sports, the former Chief Deputy Attorney General of Pennsylvania, Frank Fina, who investigated and prosecuted Jerry Sandusky, stated that he found no evidence that Joe Paterno participated in a cover-up. Fina then qualified that statement, stating that he saw no need to judge Paterno beyond his own words and that Paterno himself said it best. “He said: ‘I didn’t do enough… I should have done more.'”

    1) Fina missed evidence
    2) Fina saw evidence, but was just too f*cking stupid to recognize it as evidence.
    3) Fina was just too lazy (or a too big a fan) of Paterno to do any real investigating

    Fina and Paterno: A One Act Play..
    Fina: Mr. Paterno. Can I call you JoePa?
    Paterno: Only if you kiss my ring.
    Fina: (smooch). JoePa, were you involved in a conspiracy to cover up Sandusky’s raping boys to protect the image of Penn State Football
    Paterno: No
    Fina: Thank you for your time, sir.

    — fin–

    Fina took two years to take Sandusky off the streets. Doesn’t really sound like he’s very good at investigating.

  13. PSUnav – Yes. Fina was looking at evidence on Paterno or anyone who may have been involved in a conspiracy.

    Fina had the 1998 and 2001 emails by July 2011 at the latest. Moulton’s timeline showed that Trooper Rossman got the thumb drive of Penn State emails on July 7, 2001. Those emails were collected in April by the Penn State computer forensic expert, John Corro, and given to Cynthia Baldwin. She gave them to the OAG sometime between April and July.

  14. David Diano – Freeh’s speculations “hardly count as facts” either.

    It was Mike McQueary who testified to blame me first for not reporting Sandusky to police in 2001. Mike was the only eyewitness and his testimony was that he deliberately told Paterno a watered-down version in 2001.

    Mike had a phone in his hand within minutes of fleeing the shower room in 2001 where he had seen Sandusky and the boy. Instead of dialing 911, he dialed his father.

  15. I wanted to believe Paterno, but when he said, “I never heard of that” in referring to child rape, he lost all credibility. He was either lying, or was too stupid to live. Either way, he deserved to be fired.

  16. The wording of the poll seems at odds with the title of the post:

    “Do You Think Paterno Should Be Condemned for his Conduct Concerning the Sandusky Scandal?”

    Clearly, my answer is: YES.

    However, the poll question is:
    “Do you approve of Joe Paterno’s conduct concerning the Jerry Sandusky scandal?”

    Clearly: NO.

    I wonder how many answered the poll based on the title of the thread, rather than the actual poll question?

  17. There is no proof that Joe Paterno covered up anything! He told Curley who was the campus police. Joe honorably served Penn State for over 61 years. He donated to the library and made it world-class. He was instrumental in building an interfaith center. He endowed a Liberal Arts chair. To fire him by telephone was horrible.

  18. Joe Paterno harbored enabled and was criminally complicit in his silence. He knew and that idiot Dottie the liar knew Sandusky was a pedophile. If you don’t believe me ask him Hes in pergutory! They can all go to hell

  19. Because S was not employed by PSU and JP was told the day after, I can see no reason for the blame to be on anyone other than MM for not telling the P if what he saw was the truth.

  20. Fina wasn’t looking for evidence that Paterno participated in a coverup since we don’t investigate dead men. He was investigating the living. And even if he didn’t play a role in the ensuing coverup in 2010-2011, Paterno’s behavior in 2001 was still wrong.

  21. This poll should be about Tom Corbett, not Joe Paterno. Frank Fina stated there was no evidence to support Paterno was involved in a cover up. That fact proves that the Freeh Report was wrong. The email that Freeh used to allege Paterno knew about 1998 is hardly conclusive. Freeh has been caught lying about the emails in this case…..and guess who recommended Freeh for the investigation at PSU??? Answer: Tom Corbett

Comments are closed.

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