I was born in 1968. At that point, my grandfather was still a Penn State professor. My mom and her 3 siblings were all Penn State grads. Joe Paterno had been head coach at that point already for a year and a half. My entire life, this football coach has been an institution in my life, one my extended family cherished.
Then again, for much of my life, so was the Catholic Church.
I think Penn State clearly did the right thing by firing JoePa and the college President, Graham Spanier. As ESPN’s Chris Fowler pointed out in their coverage, “this forestalls seeing JoePa carried off the field in triumph on Saturday.”
For our society to come to grips with the kind of predation of which Sandusky is alleged to have committed, it is crucial that no one, particularly not powerful people like JoePa, escape accountability.
That said, I think that few people commenting on this have read the grand jury presentment in detail. I think that shows two things:
- JoePa avoided legal liability–but absolutely not moral liability–in 2002 when he referred the reports of a rape witness up his nominal chain of command. (If the two men accused of perjury did so to protect JoePa, as I think possible, that may change.)
- JoePa almost certainly forced Jerry Sandusky out in 1999 because of an investigation into Sandusky’s totally inappropriate actions (though apparently not anal rape) discovered in 1998.
The presentment shows that JoePa himself admits to having been informed by a graduate student in 2002 of seeing Sandusky doing something–the graduate student describes it as rape, Paterno described it under oath as “doing something of a sexual nature”–to a young boy.
Joseph V. Paterno testified to receiving the graduate student assistant’s report at his home on a Saturday morning. Paterno testified the graduate student was very upset. Paterno called Tim Curley (“Curley”), Penn State Athletic Director and Paterno’s immediate supervisor, to his home the very next day, a Sunday, and reported to him that the graduate assistant had seen Jerry Sandusky in the Lasch Building fondling or doing something of a sexual nature to a young boy.
Even putting aside Paterno’s reluctance to call this rape, this makes it clear that Paterno learned of this incident and yet reported this only to Penn State officials, not the cops.
That’s the only testimony from JoePa in the presentment, so we don’t know what else he knew of Sandusky’s behavior. But it seems almost certain that JoePa forced Sandusky out in 1999, after an earlier incident got investigated.
The presentment describes Sandusky showering with victim 6, who was then 11 years old, in spring of 1998.
While in the shower, Sandusky approached the boy, grabbed him around the waist, and said, “I’m going to squeeze your guts out.” Sandusky lathered up the boy, soaping his back because, he said, the boy would not be able to reach it. Sandusky bear-hugged the boy from behind, holding the boy’s back against his chest.
When the boy’s mother, who reported this to the University Police, asked Sandusky whether his “private parts” touched her son when he hugged him, Sandusky responded, “I don’t think so … maybe.”
Ultimately, the county DA decided not to press charges. The detective involved described the director of the campus police telling him to close the investigation. When confronted about this incident, Sandusky admitted it was wrong.
The presentment leaves a lot about this incident–particularly, whether the cops were pressured to drop the investigation, and if so by whom–unmentioned, though it does say there was a lengthy report on it. It also doesn’t say whether this is the reason Sandusky was pushed into retirement the following year. It describes that Senior Vice President for Finance and Business, Gary Schultz (who oversaw the campus police), knew of the earlier incident. But here’s the explanation Schultz offered for Sandusky’s retirement.
Schultz testified that Sandusky retired when Paterno felt it was time to make a coaching change and also to take advantage of an enhanced retirement benefit under Sandusky’s state pension.
In addition to this detail from Schultz’s testimony the presentment also describes this detail from another victim.
Victim 4 remembers being emotionally upset after having a meeting with Joe Paterno in which Paterno told Sandusky he would not be the next head coach at Penn State and which preceded Sandusky’s retirement. Sandusky told Victim 4 not to tell anyone about the meeting. That meeting occurred in May, 1998.
All of which at least hints that Sandusky was forced out because of the 1998 investigation.
In his press conference last night, Board of Trustees Vice Chair (and US Steel CEO) John Surma made an oblique reference to people offering up information to the trustees, which I thought might be a reference to either the cops or victims or their families sharing information beyond what appears in the presentment (note, too, that one of the presumed victims from this period, referred to as “B.K,” didn’t testify to the grand jury, because he’s serving overseas in the military). And he seemed to suggest the Board knew of additional information that had yet to come out.
But from what we know, there’s a strong indication JoePa responded to evidence that Sandusky was abusing boys by separating him from the football program, not by reporting him to the police.
Do you know anything about the DA investigating the case in 2002 turning up missing – as in never found again? I believe his laptop was later found in a local river.
About this backwashing thing. Apparently, it wasn’t only Sandusky. About a year ago a local morning sports talk DJ was interviewing a former member of the Texans who talked about the stories he had heard from former PSU players in the NFL of Paterno showering with players and washing their backs. After this story broke he brought it up again the other morning.
Can someone please tell me why a 28 year old man witnesses the anal rape of a 10 year old boy in the shower by a 50+ year old man and the first thing he does is call his dad?
I was pretty much Ray Gricar’s neighbor when he disappeared in 2005. I never made the connection before and just sat here for several minutes trying to see if it all lines up. It does, but that’s getting close to a Vince-Foster-like story. It has always been assumed that it had something to do with the local, Russian, stolen-car group or his girlfriend.
Relatedly, my wife and I were chatting last night about other PSU stories that we happen to know. For example, if you dig around you’ll find the story of Lance Shotland. He was a psych prof who was charged with stalking a female grad student. When the grad got a restraining order against him, the acting Head of the dept (who was also the EEOC officer) gave Shotland permission to come into the building (even tho’ the judge’s order wouldn’t allow this and Shotland was on some kind of leave and, thus, needed someone’s permission to be in the building). Shotland then, the story goes, came after the grad again and she sued the school and all of the people involved and won quite a bit (in a settlement, of course, so by Cain logic, nothing really happened). My point is that, when important people do bad stuff, PSU has a tradition of either ignoring it or, worse, blaming the weak or the victim. Not surprised at all by the details of the Sandusky story, although I should also admit that I worked for his charity and saw absolutely no sign of his alleged evilness.
Gotta think some more about the possible Gricar link. The main thing that I had in common with Gricar was a love of little cars that handle well. He had a Mini and I had a MR2 at the time.
I’m wondering about the mandatory reporting requirements for JoPa (or any of them, actually). Is mandatory reporting only required for minors under-18? Were there any 17-year-olds in the sports programs at PSU? Did the sports program only admit 18-yo’s? If so, then why were minors in on the premises?
The campus police told a campus detective to stop the investigation or told a detective not related to Penn State? As an outsider, I am a bit shocked by a DA taking cues from campus police.
@Saltinwound: Campus police told the campus detective to stop investigating. AND the DA decided not to press charges. The child welfare department also was alerted in that case.
The GJ has evidence of about 3 boys who knew each other at that time (one was the guy serving in the military, so he didn’t testify). One reference to the past incident uses the plural, so I think it POSSIBLE they discovered at least one more of these boys at that point, which would make the lack of charges all the more disturbing.
Was any of this federal? I am trying to pin something on Mary Beth Buchanan.
I grew up in Columbus,Ohio/Ohio State land during the reign of Woodie Hayes. JoePa is the only one left that I can think of that still has kind of msytic, worship, power, and control.
From the time I knew what a tv,football,OSU was, I also knew who Woodie Hayes was. Woodie was Ohios other God. I was forced to listen to hundreds of his speeches by the time I turn 15. My own Uncle played for Woodie and made sure everyone knew it. He used his VA loan to go to college after Korea and the only reason he picked OSU was because of Woodie. Being the cynic I am today I have come to believe Woodie probably made plenty of money in speaking fees back then when NCAA was semi-blind.
All that being said, I can understand why the asst. turned Joepa before calling the cops. I’m not saying it was right but I do understand the thinking or lack of it as the case may be.
Shouldn’t that be 1999?
EW–thank you for this post and for your background on the importance of the University in your family’s life.
The *NYT* published a story yesterday along the lines of your second bullet point about Paterno forcing out Sandusky: “Aftermath of 1998 Sandusky Investigation Raises Additional Questions.” http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/10/sports/ncaafootball/aftermath-of-1998-sandusky-investigation-raises-additional-questions.html?ref=ncaafootball
The campus police that spring of 1998 investigated Sandusky in relation to the person the grand jury presentment calls Victim 6, but also in relation to another 11-year-old boy, called “B.K.” That campus police and D.A.’s office investigation took place in May and early June of 1998. But Paterno did not force Sandusky’s early retirement until May of 1999. My question is why did Paterno wait almost a year?
This is a bit unreal. EW and family are okay with a lifetime of perversion, crime and torture. No condemnation, no harsh words, and very little comment about what must be in excess of 12 years of institutional perversion and serial rape by the athletic program, the director, the head coach, the head of the school, the police of an entire county, perhaps an entire state.
I can not say farewell, because to be a human being, one does not accept the destruction of another by their perceived divinity. The shock is not for the victims, but the coach. I don’t even detect anger, or outrage. Trash Talk indeed. You truly know what football is about now don’t you. end
@phred: Oops. 1998. Had my fingers in the wrong place on the keyboard I guess.
@JTMinIA: You worked for the charity? What do you think about this:
Also, a number of big schools have similar charities set up. There has always been the hint that the charities are used as a means of funneling money to players. Why would they leave Sandusky around and cover up for him unless he knows a lot they don’t want to get out?
@oldtree: Um, where in gods earth do you get that I’m not condemning it.
I provided that background only to explain that I’m one of the thousands of people who was raised to think highly of Paterno, not to defend him in the least! I said they were right to fire him.
@oldtree: Is English not your first language?
Given that the administration is entirely compromised and clearly incapable of doing the right thing, I think the NCAA needs to step in and cancel the rest of PSU’s season.
First, the thought of the football team suiting up and playing before a home crowd that is bound to cheer for them out loud is really too disgraceful to contemplate.
Second, given the NCAAs tendency to carry on about the integrity of college sports and whatnot and the fact that they have doled out severe punishments for far more minor infractions, this clearly deserves an immediate and unequivocal intervention.
I would also recommend given the complicity of the AD and the President of PSU, that the entire athletic program be suspended until a thorough review by an independent panel has examined just how widespread was the knowledge of a sexual predator in their midst.
Failing that (which seems likely as my opinion of the integrity of the NCAA as a whole is not high), whoever is scheduled to carry the game on Saturday should refuse to broadcast it.
This isn’t just an embarrassment to PSU, it is an embarrassment to all of us.
I have heard that the timing of Sandusky’s arrest was to ensure that JoePa could get his coveted win record. There simply is no time like the present for the NCAA and the rest of the country to put their collective foot down and say that football is just not that important.
@emptywheel: Sure sure, I’ll go along with that ; )
This is the best MSM commentary to date:
Colin Cowherd, well stated.
Thank you for your post EW.
@GulfCoastPirate: Ugh. Thanks for that link. Did you click through to the articles from last spring? During Sandusky’s retirement from PSU he not only worked with the Second Mile Foundation, he volunteered as a high school football coach. Ick. Ick. Ick.
In fact, it was a boy he abused over a 4 year period from one of his volunteer high school coaching stints that ultimately led to the Grand Jury.
Paterno and PSU owns that. That child would not have been abused if they had not hidden a known criminal in their midst. Paterno and a bunch of his PSU chums need to go to jail.
@GulfCoastPirate: p.s. I’m gonna steer clear of commenting on the rumor until there is confirmation that it is true.
@JTMinIA: I am inclined to agree with JTM about Gricar. I don’t see, at least my gut doesn’t, the type of people or bases surrounding the Sandusky deal that violently kill a county attorney. I am absolutely sure they exist, but I don’t think I am personally familiar with child molester that has killed third parties to conceal their predilections. Also, to the best of my knowledge, and for whatever reason, it is my understanding Ray Gricar had closed off any consideration and displayed no inclination to open it up and there is no fact I know of to indicate that changed suddenly in 2005. So, while it is tantalizing and scandalous, I cannot bit off on this link. Not without a lot more anyway.
@phred: I see no reason to hang this on the players on the current team, they did nothing wrong that has even been rumored, much less factually supported. Same for the students in the school and most all of the community. This is NOT an NCAA issue, I do not even think they have jurisdiction to do what you say, but even if they did, I think it would be wrong. Let the innocent kids play.
First, as to my work for Second Mile, all I did was help run a fund-raiser that involved go-karts. It was through the SCCA of which I was a member and held a Safety Steward license. I met Sandusky briefly. There were no kids around.
As to Gricar, I still lean toward the Russian chop-shoppers, but I’ve also met some outrageously rabid Penn State fans. It’s not impossible to me that one of those idiots heard a rumor that Gricar had another case involving the football program and decided to pre-empt said case. Note that Gricar didn’t have much confidence in his position in the 1998 and 1999, but by 2005 he wasn’t showing much if any deference to Penn State. I was on a jury around then and the guy was tough. I really liked him. (I also probably should have been excluded for not only knowing the prosecutor but actually knowing the defendant, too, but I guess in a small town that happens. Luckily it suddenly settled before closing arguments.)
@bmaz: Seriously? You won’t be creeped out by 100,000 people cheering for Penn State?
We have to agree to disagree on this point bmaz. I find the conduct of the coaching staff and administration of PSU so repellent that to cheer them and their institution, as well as the players who we assume knew nothing, is disgraceful.
Football is not that important. And lets face it PSU hid a predator in their midst precisely because they wanted to keep that particular product on the field.
Hey, you might appreciate Colin Cowherd’s comments this whole week. They are available as podcasts. If you go to the link I posted above, you can also get to his other commentaries from this week.
Incidentally, two details from PennLive’s coverage further support the idea that Sandusky was pushed out in 1999.
First, the DA who investigated told the mother not to talk to the press. Second, when Sandusky came under investigation again in 2009, in that same jurisdiction, they recused, citing a conflict of interest, which is how Tom Corbett got it.
@phred: No, the kids on the team had nothing to do with that; they are victims at this point too. I will actually be cheering for them Saturday. And, the fact that it is Nebraska will make it even easier to do.
The grand jury presentment mentions the involvement of Wendell Courtney as both university counsel and counsel for Second Mile when discussing the 1998 incident. See Page 9 of the presentment. On Page 8 of the presentment appears the testimony of Athletic Director Curley that he had informed Dr. Jack Raykovitz (Executive Director of the Second Mile) of the 2002 incident witnessed by the still currently employed assistant coach. At this time Wendell Courtney was also apparently still counsel for both the University and Second Mile.
Courtney no longer serves as the general counsel for the university.
One observer recently noted
The Press Release announcing Baldwin’s appointment on January 22, 2010 said in part
@phred: I’m familiar with the high school allegations. In fact, he was barred from a local high school while at the same time given access to PSU facilities.
This impulse to find other victims — the fans, the legacy, the graduates of the football program — in a gruesome story of serial rape is bizarre, morally imbecilic. They should cancel all the games for the rest of the year and close the program down in disgrace. Too harsh? The alternative is to have a spectacle of 100,000 drunken conformists effectively cheering the cover-up of what will probably be found to have been a pedophile sex ring.
@phred: I don’t think you have to worry too much about the end of PSU’s programs. They’re all but finished now. It’s just a matter of time. If some of the rumors are true (and apparently Matt Millen said on ESPN last night that there is much more to come)then the BOT will have to shut it all down and clean that place out.
The sycophancy of the press and public with regards to that senile satrap “JoePa” is symptomatic of the Caligulan state of the country. Worship of power and authority, particular military and quasi-military ones.
Pimping will come to light. A moment’s reflection on the sham charity foundation is all it takes to deduce that this was a ring.
Thanks for answering that, Marcy … I’m sure that I was not the only one who wanted to respond in a very unkind manner, in your defense.
@GulfCoastPirate: I’m not sure what BOT is, but it’s worth pointing out that there is a difference between being fired and resigning and there is a difference between having the NCAA step in and shut the athletic programs down and having them whither of their own accord. It is really really important for the integrity of our institutions that the authorities (such as they are) step up and punish those involved. That’s why it was so important for the board to fire Paterno and the President. It is equally important for the NCAA to step in and make it clear that covering up crimes and harboring the criminal will not be tolerated.
This cover-up makes me sick to my Stomach, and I haven’t heard all the details as yet.
@klynn: Thanks klynn. When I have a chance, I’ve been catching a bit of the commentary from our local sports station (WEEI) it’s very similar to the link you posted.
@Petrocelli: I suspect none of us have heard all the details yet.
@qweryous: Interesting that she was a trustee.
The Trustees were originally going to do a special investigation into this, starting tomorrow. Someone got to them and told them to move now. And as I suggested, Surma seemed to suggest they got some extra information, which seemed to pertain to what might be coming down the pike.
So I wonder if she was one of the people who convinced the board to act unanimously.
@Petrocelli: Eh. I get that people are rightly really emotional about this issue. It’s hard to read when you’re that worked up.
@phred: BOT = Board Of Trustees
I wasn’t referring to the NCAA. I’m more of the opinion they will wither of their own accord although if it comes to light that the foundation was a vehicle for paying players I’m sure the NCAA will have something to say about it.
Let’s be realistic – if you’re a high school athlete are you going to go there now? They’re finished for quite a while whether they want to be or not.
Do you think anyone may be looking into the activities of the foundation in terms of how much money went to poor, promising high school football players (and their parents) and whether or not any of them ended up at PSU?
@GulfCoastPirate: Even Lavar Arrington said he wouldn’t let his kid go there to play football now, because it’ll be tainted for so long.
Was a student at PSU when Paterno took over, and have always taken pride in the belief that the football program was a cut above the rest. But because so many people shared that belief, and for so long, it’s now apparent that it fostered a cult of infallibility around Paterno, the program, and even the university itself. Legally, Sandusky is the criminal here; but Paterno, Spanier, and all the rest have, through their moral cowardice, made themselves not just enablers, but accomplices.
To phred: I wouldn’t hang around too long waiting for the NCAA to weigh in on this. Unless I missed something, their silence has been deafening. I’m sure they’re holed up somewhere, desperately wishing this will blow over and that it will not affect their TV contracts.
@GulfCoastPirate: Thanks. I shoulda got that one ; )
I agree though, what parents will want their children to go there?
That extra information may be Grand Jury indictments coming soon? Or that there is actual class status for victims possible, etc. The new university counsel is not an idiot—she’s a former Penn Supreme, right? So, this is being driven by legal considerations at the moment. I fully expect a string of legal, public announcements about this scandal in the coming days/weeks. Cuz penalty phase is probably going to be a bitch for Penn State and its administrators, former or otherwise, for coddling pedophiles and failing to report felonies involving rape.
The big question is…WTF else has been going on at Penn State under the previous counsel besides this particular cover up, right? And Baldwin probably has a handle on some of that by now. So, as another person implied, what is it that prompted the switch to Baldwin in the first place? Could it have been the fact that a Grand Jury had convened? And that the university board was informed (by a leak, by intimation, by ???) that there were potential conflicts of interest between its outside counsel and the GJ investigations in late 2009-ish? Or is there something even worse under the hood here that made the Baldwin coup necessary? Hopefully not…or if there is, I hope it comes to light…as I hate cockroaches.
@Zak44: I think you have got it exactly right about the NCAA (well, the rest of your comment, too). I do not hold the NCAA in high regard at all. The chance of them doing anything even remotely useful right now, does not seem high.
@Timbo: Yeah, the switch definitely happened after the GJ was already convened (it has been working since 2009–two full years at this point). I’m wondering whether Wendell Courtney could be called to testify (I think he could), but if he was, then who he owed privilege to–the U? The charity? That by itself might have precipitated the issue.
I know one lawyer is representing at least several of the victims (and remember, three of them knew each other during the abuse). So he’s got a good suit right there.
Just watching ESPN. Their legal analyst said 8 more people have come forward saying they were victimized too. The State is not confirming these numbers–it won’t add numbers to the victim list until they’ve checked the story. Though they have said one they’ve confirmed one more victim.
I hope the latest rumors are not true.
Anyway the stats that I cannot help shaking:
Consider early on the record statements statements such as this
Additional information. Lloyd Huck served three consecutive terms as President of the Penn State Board of Trustees and has extensive ties to the University.
That is the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences http://www.huck.psu.edu
It is possible that there are more shared connections between the Second Mile and university administrators and the trustees.
Actually, that is my concern. I sure hope not.
Thank goodness Rene Portland is gone, because the combination of keeping Sandusky around while actively excluding lesbians from basketball would have been a little too ironic. (I didn’t know that she was gone; I had to look it up.)
@GulfCoastPirate: Because football, especially *winning* football, is more important that the lives of a dozen or so children. They were already “at-risk” kids, and the graduate student might not have received the coaching job he got shortly after if he’d done what a decent human being with a shred of morality would have done.
@Timbo: the nyt has a new article about the PA governor — former AG for the state — supposedly he pressured teh BOT to move.
The average pedophile molests 260 victims during their lifetime.
Whoo boy, I have represented more than a few, and seen a whole lot of cases, and that sounds ludicrous to me.
The local cops have a lot to answer for here, too. Dropping a high-profile investigation regarding possible child endangerment, sexual assault and/or rape because the university “said so” is a gross dereliction of duty. I don’t care how much money football brings in to central Pennsylvania.
@earlofhuntingdon: I don’t think it was “local” cops, I think it was “university police”. If PSU is like most universities, their cop shop is in house, although they are certified peace officers by the state, i.e. they are real cops. In fairness, it does not appear university police knew about much after the (998-1999 incident scenario, although they should have because Schultz was in charge of them during the 2002 period.
@bmaz: you have no idea what the football players who are currently on the team knew. Given the widespread indications that many of the staff of the football program knew of Sandusky’s predilections, it beggars belief that the players knew nothing. Innocence is not the commodity that it once was.
PSU football is rotted from the inside. All of it must end. Players on the current team have received an education for the years they have played. That is their reward-to-date.
If they choose to continue their football activities, they can find another college football team to play on. They certainly don’t need to stay at PSU and PSU certainly doesn’t need to field a football team for them.
Chancellor Maurer and President Milliken of Nebraska have received multiple requests from concerned Cornhusker students and alumni to simply not take the field on Saturday. I hope that Maurer and Milliken decide to forgo the game.
And I hope that Ohio State and Wisconsin similarly cancel their meetings with the Lions in Columbus and Madison.
I think the graduate assistant (a BIG guy), who saw this event and did nothing to stop it, should be given a fair trial and then stent to prison for the rest of his life.
or something worse……
@Julia Erwin-Dominguez: Yeah, well you have no idea, much less any freaking evidence, for that which you speak either. Yet you take it upon yourself to presume guilt without even a shred of evidence. It is one thing to hypothesize it from some factual base, quite another to do it out of thin air.
@bmaz: That’s nice, now exactly what crime is it that you think this chap committed?
@bmaz: Given that the DA and local detectives were asked by the campus police to drop the case, I don’t think your observation is right. Local police and prosecutors were involved, not just campus police.
@earlofhuntingdon: It was a university cop told to stop investigating, not a “local one. the DA at the time Roy Gricar, was not told to stop that I am aware of, he just declined prosecution.