Down In the Valley I: Penn State – What Did They Know and When Did They Know it

Submitted By Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

Who Are Penn State?

That ultimate question uttered by Senator Howard Baker encapsulated the Watergate Era as Congress grappled with assessing culpability of President Richard Nixon, who was then at the zenith of his presidency. Now almost forty years later, the nation is again captured by a fall from grace as steep and as fast as Nixon’s. And again that question has to be asked of “America’s Football Coach.”

While I’m certainly no Woodward or Bernstein, it seems my blog post about the expanding scandal has reached  some folks in Pennsylvania with  knowledge about the inner workings of  the institution of Penn State Football and about the characters involved. One reached out to me with disturbing questions and a “theory” that has the distinct ring of truth. Here’s the version:

It’s 1999, and you’ve just been handed the American Football Coaches Association’s Assistant Football Coach of the Year award. The son of hard-working second generation Polish immigrants from Western Pennsylvania’s coal region, you graduated first in your class at Penn State after starting on the football team for three years. You’re coaching at your alma mater in a profession known as much for long hours, low pay, and eating its young as for being carried off the field in victory. Oh, you’ve had your share of shoulder pad rides, too. First, when you held everybody’s All-American (and arguably the finest player to ever play college football), Georgia’s Hershel Walker to 3.2 yeards per carry in the 1982 national title game. Then again in 1987 when your protegés intercepted Heisman Trophy winner, Vinny Testaverde, five times, in one of the sports most improbable victories over the heavily favored bad boy of American athletics, the infamous fatigue-wearing Miami Hurricanes, and in so doing vindicated the Nittany Lions’  hoary motto of  “Victory with Honor.”

It’s your dream job and you’re coaching with one of the true legends of the profession. Your mentor is in his mid-70’s and you’ve been proclaimed his heir apparent by everyone who would listen. You’ve been approached by several schools to coach their floundering teams, including the University of Maryland, and even made the perfunctory rounds of interviews at places like the University of Virginia. You’ve produced 10 consensus All-Americans including NFL Hall of Famer, Jack Ham. You’ve been at your job for 20 years, and you’ve gained the respect of colleagues, peers, and the public alike for your charitable work and well-publicized interest in helping disadvantaged kids through a charity you founded. At age 55, you’re making good money — for an assistant coach — but a head coaching job would earn you ten times as much and give your family of six adopted kids and a devoted wife financial security. You’ve even written the definitive book on your area of expertise which you generously entitle, “Developing Linebackers the Penn State Way.” In short, you’re hot in your profession and uniquely poised to either succeed the legend or take one of the plum coaching  jobs in America’s football pantheon. You know, the Notre Dames, Michigans, or Southern Cal’s of the world.

With all this professional and financial potential, what do you do? Well you retire, of course. You set yourself on a path of summer football camps, and chicken-dinner speeches with appearance fees earning roughly two-thirds of what you’ve made and orders of magnitude less that what you could make. You throw yourself into charity work from whence you derive some income and you rely on the largesse of a town where you preside as a demigod. But there are rumors.

In 1998, you’ve been investigated for “inappropriate” conduct with a minor. The mother of the child sets you up in sting operation where a detective hiding in a closet overhears you say, ” “I understand. I was wrong. I wish I could get forgiveness. I know I won’t get it from you. I wish I were dead.”  Luckily, the DA in charge of the case rules the matter “unfounded,” declines to prosecute, and thankfully later winds up missing after a 60 mile pleasure ride. You’ve dodged a bullet. Yet, you resign just under a year later.

Joe Paterno has claimed ignorance of the 1998 episode, but according to a person who contacted me, that’s highly questionable. State College, Pa is a 40,000 person enclave devoted to Joe Paterno and Penn State — in that order. Hell, there’s a bronze statue of the man in the middle of campus replete with those thick, black glasses; William Penn just gets some pages on the Paterno Library book shelves. Located in the largely unpopulated heart of Pennsylvania, the town was little more than an encampment when Joe Paterno arrived in 1950 with another icon of Pennsylvania’s venerable football coaching priesthood, Rip Engle. Engle, who was paranoid of losing even against vastly inferior teams, inculcated his charge with the notion that a coach must exercise iron-fisted rule over his program, and to borrow a modern bromide, “what happens inside the program, stays inside the program.” Brown University graduate, Joe Paterno was a good student to his football teacher, and when he took over for Engle in 1966 he inherited a strong football program and a town enamored of it.

Football coaches call their profession a “brotherhood.” Almost exclusively male and established as a true hierarchy, the work is exhausting as every aspect of the opponent must be broken down, scrutinized, and prepared for as if for a sea-borne military invasion. It’s overkill sure, but the adherents love the challenge and, most of all, the camaraderie in pursuit of the challenge.  It harkens back to a time of face-painted men pledging their lives around a camp fire to the hunt of some sabre-tooth tiger for the glory of the tribe. It’s machismo pure and simple and most coaches will tell you it’s their life. Oh, they pay dutiful homage to “family and faith” of course, but it’s football that keeps the brotherhood together in almost an exercise of devotion. As I mentioned in the earlier post, it’s a religion in most every sense — ritual, zealotry, ornamental dress, and rigid tenets. Probably the most important tenet is that coaches live out every win and loss together. Like most closed circles of the faithful, they talk, they argue, and they critique their fellows — all the time.

With that background is it really plausible, that in a town as ga-ga over football as State College is, Paterno really didn’t know about Sandusky’s run-in with law enforcement? Is State College immune from the marriage that all authority figures have for one another in most every other small town. You know like when the police chief and the high school football coach meet over coffee to discuss who’s handling security for Friday’s game and whether that trouble-making Jones kid will be there. Or when the mayor runs into the school superintendent and they talk about the kid who bullied the mayor’s little precious. These conversations go on every day in every small town in America — and most big ones, too.

Put those little facts together with the fact that Paterno did not attend Sandusky’s retirement party, and was rarely seen outside of the football facility with Sandusky, and you might wonder what happened to the relationship after 1998. You might wonder why Sandusky quit applying for head coaching jobs. You might even conclude that Coach Paterno nudged his former right-hand man out of his position at age 55, and refused to recommend him for any job at the head of  another football program.  No, not even at Virginia or Maryland who were desperate for a big name, sure winner and who rarely ever played Penn State. Nobody ever explained why Sandusky didn’t get those jobs despite their stated interest and his brightly burning star. Just the usual, “we have a number of good candidates … blah, blah, blah.” You might conclude that Penn State knew about the transgression with the child and, in exchange for his leaving the Program, cut  a deal to grant him and his charity unfettered access to the program and satellite campuses, but no direct role in its operation with young men. That way, you see, there’s no taint. No questions on the  propriety of a program that made $51 million for the school last year and funded 26 academic departments — all on the efforts of 18-22 year old-young men. Nope, no questions indeed, except the big one whose answer may be locked away in some ancient personnel files that seem to have the nasty habit of getting lost amid all that moving that goes on within campus departments.

What does a person do who’s banished from the  priesthood? How do you react, after a life of high achievement in every sphere, and then are abruptly denied your goal when it is within your grasp? What do you feel, and how do you act on those feelings?  Those are the questions that can only be answered by answering the first one I asked.

~Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

190 thoughts on “Down In the Valley I: Penn State – What Did They Know and When Did They Know it

  1. Is the assumption that any head coaching job was more important to Sandusky than known, unfettered access to children? I’m not sure we know enough to conclude that.

    We need to know how far this cover-up reached through state policing and state government, and if a corrupt executive branch was used to silence accusers… or even the original prosecutor.

  2. Ray Gricar, Missing Pennsylvania DA, Opted Not To Prosecute Jerry Sandusky
    First Posted: 11/11/11

    The criminal case against former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky has put the media spotlight back on the missing persons case of Ray Gricar. An esteemed district attorney, Gricar failed to prosecute Sandusky for sex crimes in 1998, and later disappeared without a trace.

    “We’ve had a lot of twists and turns. This is another — obviously on a much greater scale than in the past,” Gricar’s nephew, Tony Gricar, told The Huffington Post.

    According to a Pennsylvania grand jury report, Ray Gricar investigated allegations that Sandusky had inappropriate contact with an 11-year-old boy in a school locker room in 1998.

    Earlier this week, Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly indicted Sandusky on 40 counts of sex crimes against young boys. According to the grand jury report, there are eight victims who were targeted between 1994 and 2009.

    Since Sandusky’s arrest, Penn State has been the subject of widespread criticism because of an alleged cover-up of the former coach’s alleged illegal activities. Recently, that criticism has also fallen on Ray Gricar, the man who opted not to prosecute Sandusky in 1998.

    The former DA, however, is not around to defend his actions. Ray Gricar has been missing since 2005, when he vanished under mysterious circumstances.

    Ray Gricar was 59 years old in April 2005. He had served as the district attorney of Centre County for nearly 20 years and was preparing to retire at the end of the year. His career was a success, he was involved in a happy relationship with a woman who worked in his office, and he was close to his 27-year-old daughter, Lara. By all accounts, Gricar had lived a pleasant life and was looking forward to an ideal retirement.

    On the morning of April 15, 2005, Gricar called his girlfriend, Patty Fornicola, and told her he was going for a drive on Route 192 toward nearby Lewisburg.

    The trip was not out of the ordinary. Gricar reportedly had gone to the town on several occasions in the past to shop at an antique store.

    But the DA failed to return home later that night, and calls to his cell phone went unanswered. Concerned, Fornicola contacted Bellefonte police and reported him missing.

    The following day, Gricar’s red and white 2004 Mini Cooper was found locked and abandoned in a Lewisburg parking lot, not far from the Susquehanna River, and he was nowhere to be found. A search of his vehicle did not indicate a struggle or any sign of foul play, but investigators did find cigarette ashes inside the car.

    “Now we’re not talking a lot. [It was] some minute cigarette ash on the passenger’s side,” Bellefonte police officer Darrell Zaccagni told the Cleveland Free Times in 2005. “When they opened the car … a cigarette smell came out of the car. Ray didn’t smoke. And he never let anybody smoke inside his Mini Cooper. Ray was very fastidious about his car.”

    Gricar’s cell phone was locked inside the vehicle, but his keys and other personal effects, including his wallet, were missing. Search dogs were brought in, but they were unable to pick up on Gricar’s scent.

    Investigators questioned nearby store owners about Gricar. At least one thought he had seen the district attorney inside his shop on the day he disappeared and another was certain he saw Gricar speaking with an unknown woman, but it remains unclear whether the man they saw was actually Gricar.

    A search of the Centre County home that Gricar and Fornicola shared also failed to produce any leads. None of his personal belongings were missing, but his work laptop was nowhere to be found.

    “It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through. In some ways, it’s worse than having a parent die, I think, because you have no closure. I just want to know where my dad is,” Lara Gricar said in a 2005 interview with the Centre Daily Times.

    In the days that followed, the FBI and Pennsylvania State Police investigators were called in to assist in the case. Speculation soon turned to suicide — a subject the Gricar family is all too familiar with.

  3. Mespo:

    Joe knew along time ago. the 2002 incident should have included the cops and the assistant coach did not call the cops because he was afraid if he did it would end his career.

    He isnt fit to coach either, a person who would put their career above stopping a rape is a despicable human being and should be nowhere near children and young adults.

    His moral compass isnt pointing true north, more like south with the compass in the vertical plane.

    Although I do have some sympathy for Paterno, he did not see the act committed and he did tell the AD. The question is whether he counseled the young asst. coach to call the police or keep his mouth shut. If he told him to keep his mouth shut, then I think Paterno has a lot to answer for. If he told the asst coach to call the police and the asst coach did not, I am not so sure you can make Paterno out to be a bad guy in light of the fact that he shunned Sandusky and kept him from coaching.

    I guess he could have resigned if Penn State kept Sandusky around or threatened to.

    I think this leads to a broader issue about what types of people are coaching our children in various sports. When I was in high school the coach was around 25 and was banging one of the cheerleaders, in jr. high school the 2 coaches were dumb as night sticks. The coaches my son has had were mostly decent but some led less than exemplary lives and did not do too well with the raising of their own children.

    I think this speaks to serious issue in our culture concerning ethics and morality. I am beginning to think that we, as a nation, have none. Oh individuals do but collectively we dont seem to. There is something deeply wrong with our national philosophy/ethics/morals.

  4. Bdaman & Bron,

    It seems you don’t take the sexual abuse of children as a serious topic of discussion for the Turley Blawg. Shame on you for attempting to steer the discussion off topic to Global Warming!

  5. Yesterday, I talked with a good friend of mine who is a doctor and a Penn State graduate. He knew Sandusky and Paterno, although he did not play football and did not know them well. He said that on campus, and with the athletic supporter alumni, Paterno was regarded right up there with Jesus, and not necessarily in that order. My friend is also trained as a forensic scientist, and says the disappearance of DA Gricar should not pass anyone’s smell test. My friend observed that there were gigantic sums of money available that could be used to either ‘disappear’ someone or convince them they ought to retire on some South Pacific island paradise.

    There is way more to this story than has come out, but as it unravels, look for the rats to start eating each other in order to avoid liability and/or prison.

  6. Otteray,

    We’re just beginning to tear open the hornets’ nest. One has to wonder how many people were involved in this cover-up. It’s a truly sad story that men like Paterno and others at Penn State showed such little concern for the emotional and physical welfare of young children.

  7. Elaine, I would personally like to see the investigation spread to other schools. It is time for a national housecleaning of the professional athletics that are disguised as amateur. As I have said before, if college athletic departments were honest, their uniforms would look much different. Perhaps more like the uniforms NASCAR drivers wear.,r:8,s:14&tx=70&ty=34

  8. Mark,

    Excellent article; written in the rarely used second person no less. It would be no doubt persuasive as an opening or closing for a jury.

    But speaking of those hurdles between making a case and getting it to a jury, what do you think of this?

    “Doriane Coleman, a professor at the Duke University School of Law, said that unlike the Catholic Church, which was the target of previous child abuse lawsuits, Penn State is a state institution and thereby should be protected by a doctrine known as sovereign immunity, which in essence protects state entities — and possibly state employees acting in the normal course of their jobs — from tort claims.

    “I see this as very difficult to overcome,” Coleman said.”

  9. ‘Victim 1’ triggered investigation of Jerry Sandusky
    By Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY

    HARRISBURG, Pa – For this boy, it started — as it allegedly did with most victims before him — with a barrage of gifts from Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

    According to a state grand jury’s report outlining alleged sexual abuses by Sandusky, there were trips to professional and college football games, a computer, clothes and cash. And then, the report says, Sandusky went from mentor to sexual predator, often attacking the boy in the basement bedroom of the coach’s home or a school workout room long after coaches and other officials had gone.

    In the cloaked parlance of the grand jury’s report, the boy — who was at least 11 at the beginning of the attacks that would span nearly four years ending in 2009 — is known only as “Victim 1.”

    But Victim 1 was not actually Sandusky’s first alleged victim. In the report, the boy is Victim 1 for a different reason: He spoke up, went to the police, and triggered the sex abuse investigation of Sandusky that has resulted in the removal of top Penn State officials and legendary football coach Joe Paterno.

    The boy showed “courage” that others — including adults in positions of power at the university — did not in dealing with Sandusky, a revered former coach who still had access to campus facilities, said Michael Gillum, the victim’s psychologist.

    “We simply did what you are supposed to do,” Gillum said in an interview with USA TODAY. “Had this individual not come forward, this investigation may not have happened. Who knows how many people he saved from abuse.

    “He’s a hero. That is the truth.”

  10. Mark,
    I am blown away by the skills you displayed in writing this post. From the standpoint of a thorough exposition of concepts it is the best piece written by any guest blogger thus far. Echoing Bob the choice of second person added drama and force to your narrative. By it you succeeded in capturing the mindset of those to whom college football is a profession. The hagiographies produced by those who live off of sports of these “legendary” coaches makes them indeed “Demi-Gods” possessing superabundance of character, when they are merely people looking to reach the ultimate heights of celebrity by any means.

  11. Bdaman & Bron,

    It seems you don’t take the sexual abuse of children as a serious topic of discussion for the Turley Blawg. Shame on you for attempting to steer the discussion off topic to Global Warming!

    Elaine I was referring to the cover up. How they covered up the insidious act of child abuse to protect the university. It just goes to show you to what lengths they are willing to do so.

    With all due respect, you could have skipped my comment as well.

  12. Thank you, MIke. High paise indeed coming from you. It’s easy to write what you know, Now I’m off to one of those fall events to watch some kids I coached do what they (and I) love for all the reasons lost on many of the adults who supervise them.

  13. Great article Mark. I do think we are looking at the tip of the iceberg here. If Joe Pa did know back in the 1990’s, he is just as responsible as Sandusky for these heinous crimes. How many kids lives were ruined and their childhood ended by these men?

  14. “You know, when you get old, in life, things get taken from you. I mean, that’s… that’s… that’s a part of life. But, you only learn that when you start losin’ stuff. You find out life’s this game of inches, so is football. Because in either game – life or football – the margin for error is so small. I mean, one half a step too late or too early and you don’t quite make it.” (Any Given Sunday … Tony D’Amato line)

    Penn State’s football organization may have won many football games but it blinked, then lost the biggest game.

  15. Mark,

    My hat is off to you and your excellent follow up to the Penn State scandal. If sunshine is the best disinfectant, then you have not only done Justice Brandeis proud, but Apollo as well.

  16. Bdaman,

    Mann has been vindicated. I thought you knew that by now.

    It isn’t just universities that try to cover-up scandals. Many organizations do. The Catholic Church covering up the clergy abuse scandal would have been a much better example than the ginned up controversy called Climategate, don’t you think?

  17. Was anyone else besides Sandusky preying on the boys?

    Bizarrely, in the Catholic Church pedophile scandals, it appears that only priests were doing it. Not a single archbishop or cardinal has been implicated in the sex, just in the coverups.

    I find that not believable. And I doubt Sandusky was the only one.

  18. There’s an old saying around here pertaining to driving and deer … if you see one, there’s probably two. If you see two, there’s probably four. Slow down and keep your eyes wide open.

    The same applies to pedophiles.

    I hope the PA authorities are taking it slow and looking deep into the woods. Sandusky was retired in 1999 but kept emeritus status. His keys to the locker room were not taken from him till March of 2002 after McQueary’s report. Normal, healthy men do not, under any circumstances, protect pedophiles unless ….

  19. Luckily, the DA in charge of the case rules the matter “unfounded,” declines to prosecute, and winds up missing after a 60 mile pleasure ride.”

    Here is a link to the sequence of events in the case of the disappearance of the prosecutor.

    There is no conclusive evidence the disappearance is related to Sandusky, but there are some strange facts in that case.

    An example is: On the fourth anniversary, investigators disclose that before he disappeared, someone using Gricar’s home computer searched the Internet for information on “how to wreck a hard drive,” “how to fry a hard drive” and “water damage to a notebook computer.”

    The greatest mystery in this case to me is the psychology of Sandusky: What fried his mind, and when did that process of mental degeneration begin?

  20. Elaine,

    Obsession is a dangerous mindset. It can cause one to commit the most inappropriate acts.

    Good catch and good call.

  21. Sandusky Had Access to Vulnerable Kids Via Charity
    By KEVIN BEGOS and MARK SCOLFORO Associated Press
    STATE COLLEGE, Pa. November 12, 2011

    Over the past 30 years, politicians, sports stars and community leaders heaped praise on Jerry Sandusky and the charity he founded for troubled youngsters, The Second Mile. It was a model program, and the acclaimed football coach was its driving force.

    Now, prosecutors say that very success enabled Sandusky to find boys and sexually assault them.

    Sandusky, 67, was charged last weekend with molesting eight boys over a 15-year period in a scandal that rocked the Penn State campus and brought down the university’s beloved football coach, Joe Paterno.

    In the aftermath, some are wondering if The Second Mile can survive amid questions about its role in the alleged cover-up.

    Sandusky was a star assistant coach at Penn State from the 1970s to the 1990s, and many assumed he would lead the team one day, or even head to pro football. He founded The Second Mile in 1977 for youngsters from broken homes and troubled backgrounds, building it into an organization that helped as many as 100,000 children a year through camps and fundraisers.

    Among the big-time athletic figures listed as honorary directors were Cal Ripken Jr., Arnold Palmer, former Pittsburgh Steeler Franco Harris and Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid. President George W. Bush praised the group as a “shining example” of charity work in a 1990 letter. (Sandusky’s reaction: “It’s about time, George! This is long overdue,” he recalled in his autobiography, “Touched.”)
    This Dec. 28, 1999 photo shows Penn State… View Full Caption

    But prosecutors said that running the charity gave Sandusky “access to hundreds of boys, many of whom were vulnerable due to their social situations.”

    He invited youngsters for overnight sleepovers at his home and took them to restaurants and bowl games. He wrestled in the swimming pool with kids who craved the attention. And he gave them gifts: golf clubs, sneakers, dress clothes, a computer and money, according to the indictment from the Pennsylvania attorney general.

    The good-guy aura around Sandusky was so great that when some children questioned behavior that didn’t seem right, no one took the complaints seriously.

    Troy Craig recalled attending a weeklong sleep-away camp run by The Second Mile on the Penn State campus in the early 1990s. He was never sexually abused, but in other ways the coach’s behavior seemed inappropriate at the time, said Craig, 33, who is now a disc jockey in State College.

    Sandusky “had a way of, whether it was a hug or a hand on the leg in the car as we were driving, or just a way of putting his arm around you,” Craig said. “I said this back then to people I knew. Everybody found it hard to believe, or that I was overreacting. I remember feeling as if I was the only one that thought anything was amiss.”

    Through his attorney, Sandusky has maintained his innocence.

    Experts on pedophiles aren’t surprised by the stories that have shocked so many people.

    Richard J. Gelles, dean of the school of Social Policy & Practice at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and author of several books on abuse and violence in families, said pedophiles typically engage in a “grooming” process in which they select a potential victim and proceed to “break down the inhibitions and establish trust.” Gelles said it is no accident so many people saw a “good” Jerry Sandusky.

    Sandusky “covered himself by being so beloved that nobody would think he would do something as awful as this,” Gelles said.


    Sandusky also had the support of many other powerful figures in the community. The group’s current board includes state Sen. Jake Corman, and attorneys, prominent business leaders, and community volunteers. Corman didn’t respond to a message seeking comment.

    The grand jury said that Penn State officials in 2002 told Jack Raykovitz, executive director of The Second Mile, that there had been an issue with Sandusky and a minor. But the charity took no action against Sandusky because, it said this week, Penn State did not find any wrongdoing.

    And in 1998, Sandusky was investigated after he was accused of “behaving in a sexually inappropriate manner” with a boy in a shower at the football team’s facilities, the grand jury said. The report said an attorney for Second Mile who was also university counsel, Wendell Courtney, was aware of the allegations.

    Phone calls seeking comment from Courtney on Saturday rang unanswered, and emails sent to him were returned as undeliverable.

    The Second Mile said that Sandusky told the organization in 2008 he was being investigated, and that from then on the charity separated him from programs involving youths.

    But the word about Sandusky may not have reached other youth programs he was involved with.

    Sandusky held summer football camps — both at Penn State satellite campuses and at other Pennsylvania schools — for years after he was banned from taking youths onto the main campus by the school’s athletics director and senior vice president. Both officials have now been charged with failing to tell police about a 2002 allegation that Sandusky had sexually assaulted a boy in the showers of the football building.

    Sandusky held the football camps through his Sandusky Associates company from 2000 to 2008 at Penn State’s Behrend satellite campus near Erie. There were never any complaints, according to a spokesman. Still, Behrend’s athletics director said he wishes someone had told him about the 2002 allegation.

  22. A long history in Penn State child abuse case
    Reuters, 11/12/2011


    That the alleged abuse continued even after university officials were alerted to specific allegations has raised questions about the power and influence of the football program and its coaches — especially Joe Paterno, one of the most revered figures in American sports.

    The football program at Penn State was so sacrosanct as to be almost untouchable. “We just had this empire all by itself, reporting to nobody,” said one member of the university’s board of trustees.

    Pennsylvania State University used to be a sleepy engineering school, but it was turned into a national powerhouse with the money raised by its marquee football program. In 2008, the last year for which data is available, Penn State was one of the 20 largest recipients of federal research dollars in the country. It has fostered what is now the world’s largest dues-paying alumni association.

    Now, the university is in turmoil. When the Sandusky news broke last weekend, at least two board members found out from television news rather than from the university. That probably helped seal the fate of university president Graham Spanier, said the trustee.

    Spanier was fired on Wednesday, along with Paterno, the 84-year-old coach who was known simply as JoePa and who had won more college football games than any coach in history.

    In a statement earlier this week, Paterno said: “With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more.”

    Spanier said after he was dismissed: “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.”

    Two other officials, former athletic director Tim Curley and former finance official Gary Schultz, have been charged with failing to report an incident of abuse and lying to the grand jury, which detailed the allegations against Sandusky in a 23-page report (Available on the Pennsylvania attorney general’s website here: here)

    Lawyers for Curley and Schultz have denied the charges.

    The grand jury report, and dozens of Reuters interviews with people in State College and connected to the case, indicate there were key moments when the alleged abuse was suspected or witnessed – and might have been stopped.

  23. He was cleared by Penn States own investigation then cleared of any misappropriations of any funds accepted from the NSF. I thought you new that by now.

  24. “Climategate” Scientists Cleared of Wrongdoing – Again
    By Alex Knapp | Forbes – Wed, Aug 24, 2011

    Once again, Dr. Michael Mann and other climate scientists have been investigated by a third party to see if there was any wrongdoing in the “Climategate” scandal. And once again, they were cleared of any wrongdoing. They had been previously cleared by an International Panel of Scientists last year, by a panel at Penn State, and have been cleared by various other agencies as well. This time, the investigation was conducted by the National Science Foundation, and you can read the report in full here. Like the other investigations, the NSF found no evidence of falsifying data, manipulation of data, or destruction of data by Dr. Michael Mann or any of the climate research scientists based at the University of East Anglia.

    As the Atlantic’s James Fallows notes, this is an important story to highlight:
    I go out of my way to mention this for several reasons. First, because a serious scientist has been vilified, without basis, mainly because his work bears on current politics. “Oh, never mind” clearance from charges rarely gets as much publicity as the original charges themselves. The fact that every scientific body examining Mann’s behavior has exonerated him deserves publicity and emphasis.

    I quite agree. It’s one thing to disagree with someone’s methods, data, or conclusion. It’s quite another to bear false witness against someone because they’re reached a conclusion you disagree with – or because you simply refuse to believe the data. As the NSF report notes:

    The research in question was originally completed over 10 years ago. Although the Subject’s data is still available and still the focus of significant critical examination, no direct evidence has been presented that indicates the Subject fabricated the raw data he used for his research or falsified his results.

    The bottom line is that there is simply no evidence that Michael Mann or any of the other scientists at East Anglia have lied or falsified data. As Phil Plait succinctly put it, “all the outrage, all the claims of fraud and fakery, were just — haha — hot air.”


    Mann was cleared by three different “third parties”–not be his own university.

  25. Elaine:

    now you really are hijacking the thread. :)

    See how adroitly Bdaman suckered you into posting. He is brilliant.

    All I did was write one small sentence.

  26. oh goody, is this the thread where the house troll cherry picks data in order to support his masters claim that climate scientists cherry pick data?

    so amusing

  27. Bron: He is brilliant.

    brilliance is not a trait that’s generally considered necessary for shitting in the pool, which, at least as far as I can have seen, is the troll’s raison d’être

  28. lol

    Carl, um, Bron, being that you also think Rand, Rothbard and von Mises are brilliant when they are demonstrably not, it’s important to keep your assessment of Bdaman’s brilliance in context because equally so, it is demonstrably not so either. Neither of you boys had sense to realize that trying to thread jack with your AGW denier nonsense on a thread about adults abusing children was going to backfire horribly so careful not to hurt your arm patting yourselves on the back. Timing, forum and audience are crucial to both comedy and propaganda. Thanks for providing much inadvertent comedy in your failure as propagandists. I know it wasn’t on purpose, but funny is where you find it.

    P.S. Bdaman’s nonsense may not be a big deal, but it certainly isn’t a Baby Ruth either.

  29. Bron,

    I was a teacher for many years. I try to never let lies or misinformation go unanswered. Bdaman is helping me to prove that he’s been wrong about the Climategate story. If you call that brilliance…so be it.


  30. tweet of the day from

    “Most of the #PennState crowd wearing blue in support of sex abuse victims”

    OR, they’re wearing blue because it’s one of the school colors

    queue Simpsons reference

    Lisa: That’s specious reasoning, Dad.

    Homer: Thank you, dear.

  31. Mark’s post captures the gist of it. This is the sort of thing that happens in insular large organizations. I’ve known several examples from my academic contacts, my work in the military and people I’ve known who’ve worked in industry. My guess is that Sandusky was given a year to find another job and allowed to keep his pension. The assumption was that he’s go elsewhere and not stay in State College. I’ve known people who’ve been given similar soft landings but have failed to take the hint. I’m guessing that Sandusky could have gone to a smaller school in PA where his coaching credentials would be taken at face value. It’s not unusual for coaches to retire but continue in some capacity at another institution. Perhaps Paterno was unwilling to write a letter and that got notices, although I suspect a lot of places wouldn’t have bothered to ask for a reference.

    Much has been made here of coaching, athletics, etc., but similar things happen in regular academia. A once prominent figure in my subfield recently was sentenced to prison after misappropriating funds. Investigation of this apparently began after he had broken off an affair with a colleague. he had a long history of sexually harassing female undergraduates and had bounced from university to university. Along the way, he had held positions at two of the most prestigious institutions in our field. In fact he went from being kicked out of one of these places, moving to a third tier institution, and then to a first tier one. The third tier place canned him for misappropriating funds–the same thing that landed him in jail but on a smaller scale. This was not a “nice person”. He interviewed at one department where he was found to be so obnoxious that they took him to the airport the better part of a day early and cut short the interview. His rep followed him, but he still found jobs and finished his career at a credible university in a highly responsible administrative position.Essentially, it was like the Catholic Church, except this was a relatively liberal minded discipline and a series of similarly liberal minded places. In discussing this man’s case with colleagues recently, it became evident that people knew of other academics in our field who had pretty much done the same things and been accorded the same lack of discipline along the way. Like this man, they had done notable, but hardly earth shattering work. In other words, they weren’t in a professional class analogous to Sandusky.. We should take no comfort from Sandusky being part of a world that is easy to criticize. Core areas of academia do the same thing to abusers.

  32. Scandal Exacts Toll on Second Mile Donations
    Wall Street Journal

    The charity associated with the Pennsylvania State University sex-abuse scandal, Second Mile, is coming under fire from donors and state lawmakers.

    A major donor is pulling back support, and a state senator is calling for the charity’s chief executive to step down as well as raising questions about consulting fees paid to the founder, who is accused of sexually abusing eight boys over a 15-year period.

    Between 2001 and 2008, Second Mile paid Jerry Sandusky nearly half a million dollars in consulting fees, according to federal filings. During that time, the Pennsylvania attorney general has alleged, Mr. Sandusky used the nonprofit’s programs, such as an overnight camp at Penn State, to meet boys whom he then allegedly molested. A lawyer for Mr. Sandusky has said his client is innocent.

    State Sen. Wayne Fontana, a Democrat from Pittsburgh, said Friday that Second Mile CEO John Raykovitz should resign. “There has to be some consequences,” he said. “In this case, stepping down is the easy consequence.” Mr. Fontana said Second Mile, started by Mr. Sandusky in 1977 to help troubled boys, should have ended its relationship with the former Penn State football defensive coordinator when it first learned of allegations, rather than continuing to pay him. Mr. Raykovitz could not be reached for comment.

    “If they knew or even suspected his alleged activities then they should have terminated their association with him,” he said.According to a grand jury report, Mr. Raykovitz was told of inappropriate conduct between Mr. Sandusky and a youth in a Penn State shower in 2002. Mr. Raykowitz is one of two employees at the Second Mile earning more than $100,000—the other being his wife, Katherine Genovese, who is executive vice president.

  33. Watched the Penn State – Nebraska game for a while today and tuned out happily at halftime with Nebraska leading 17 to 0. Final score was 17 -14. I must admit I wanted PS to lose, before the game started, but one of the announcers said that there was talk that if PS won, the team would take the game-ball to Joe Paterno’s, house to present it to him. Hearing that stirred my anger and I would have liked to have seen the team destroyed. Now I have close friends whose children went to PS and who have supported the school through the years. When I spoke to them last they had mixed feelings. To me that is understandable knowing what an icon of seeming decency Paterno had become through the years. He literally created PS as a major school through his success in creating their football program.

    Humans, myself included, must realize about others, what we know most about ourselves and that is that no one deserves idolization, because we all are flawed. This isn’t about anything like Original Sin, but is because we are not all that different from other predatory animals, except perhaps more skillful. To be recognized among humanity as a great person requires gobs of ego and with an overweening ego comes hubris.JoePa probably is a nice man who became too attached to the adulation to want anything to tarnish his image and due to the adulation he had the hubris to believe he could get away with it.

  34. Mike S.

    “JoePa probably is a nice man who became too attached to the adulation to want anything to tarnish his image and due to the adulation he had the hubris to believe he could get away with it.”

    He may be a nice man–but is he a good man? A good man wouldn’t try to get away with anything so abhorrent.

  35. Joe Paterno’s Troubling Attitude Toward Sex Charges
    by Nick Summers
    Nov 12, 2011 1:18 AM EST
    Joe Paterno’s fall from grace came as a shock, but only to those who missed signs of ethical decay in his football regime. Nick Summers on Paterno’s troubling view of abuse charges.
    The Daily Beast

    Four years after Penn State head coach Joe Paterno was told that his longtime defensive coordinator had allegedly sexually abused a child in the team showers, it appeared that the legendary coach still did not think that sexual assault was such a big deal.

    In 2006, on the eve of the Orange Bowl, Paterno had this to say about a Florida State linebacker named A. J. Nicholson who had been accused of sexually assaulting a woman: “There’s so many people gravitating to these kids. He may not have even known what he was getting into, Nicholson. They knock on the door; somebody may knock on the door; a cute girl knocks on the door. What do you do?”

    Paterno continued to a group of reporters: “Geez. I hope—thank God they don’t knock on my door, because I’d refer them to a couple of other rooms.”

    After Paterno’s comments became public, the National Organization for Women called for his resignation.

    “I’m not going to say anything about it,” Paterno told ESPN a few days later. “Most people know me. I am what I am.”

    Paterno earned much of his lustrous reputation for insisting on high standards of discipline from his players—benching them for skipping class or earning poor grades. He was fired this week after the publication of a grand-jury report described how he did not go to the police in 2002, after a graduate assistant in the football program told him what he saw in the team showers: Jerry Sandusky, Paterno’s former defensive coach, sexually abusing a 10-year-old boy. Sandusky has been charged with preying on young boys over a 15-year period.

    To many, Paterno’s fall from grace has come as a sudden and stunning shock. But in recent years, the football regime over which he presided like a god had begun to show signs of ethical decay. A search of media and court records by the Daily Beast reveals a program at Penn State marred by allegations of sexual aggression. At times those incidents met with apparent indulgence by Paterno and college authorities. Paterno’s failure to report Sandusky’s alleged assault was not the only time the head coach appeared to have an ambiguous approach toward members of his program accused of sexual misconduct.

    In late 2002, Penn State cornerback Anwar Phillips was accused by a classmate of sexual assault, and the university suspended him for two semesters. But before his suspension began, the Nittany Lions were to play Auburn in the middle of January in the Capital One Bowl. Paterno put Phillips in uniform.

  36. This level of success in proposing research, and obtaining funding to conduct it, clearly places Dr. Mann among the most respected scientists in his field. Such success would not have been possible had he not met or exceeded the highest standards of his profession for proposing research…

    Had Dr. Mann’s conduct of his research been outside the range of accepted practices, it would have been impossible for him to receive so many awards and recognitions, which typically involve intense scrutiny from scientists who may or may not agree with his scientific conclusions…

    Clearly, Dr. Mann’s reporting of his research has been successful and judged to be outstanding by his peers. This would have been impossible had his activities in reporting his work been outside of accepted practices in his field.

  37. Sex allegations darken once stellar career
    By Wayne Drash, CNN

    Grooming young boys
    The coach’s actions, according to his accusers, followed a pattern. He’d invite them places, pick them up in his car and then, they say, place his hand on their thigh while driving.

    At the Penn State football facility, the grand jury alleges, he’d take them to work out and then suggest they shower together, where the touching progressed: soap fights, back rubs and naked bear hugs. It would allegedly lead to more.

    Some accusers described a basement room in Sandusky’s house where they stayed overnight. He’d lie down and tickle them, rub their backs, and blow on their stomachs, they said. One alleged victim, now 24, told the grand jury he “would roll over on his stomach to prevent Sandusky from touching his genitals.”

    If any of the boys tried to avoid him, the coach would stalk them by calling dozens of times and by visiting their homes, according to the grand jury report.

    He’d try to regain their favor by buying them gifts: shoes, electronics, clothes, anything a kid might want.

    The boy who traveled to the Alamo Bowl with Sandusky is 27 now. He told the grand jury his first uncomfortable contact with the coach occurred in 1996 or 1997 while they were swimming. It was as if the coach were testing to see how the boy “would respond to even the smallest physical contact,” he testified. He said he was 12 or 13 when he was “singled out by Sandusky.”

    The boy would become a “fixture in the Sandusky household,” traveling with him to games and charity events, according to the grand jury. Sandusky listed the boy as family, along with his wife, for the Alamo Bowl trip.

    By then, the alleged victim testified he had been sexually assaulted repeatedly by Sandusky over two years — on campus, in football facilities, and at the resort where the football team stayed before home games.
    He said Sandusky told him he could be a walk-on at Penn State one day.

  38. This level of success on the football field and revenue generated from it, clearly places Coaches Paterno and Sandusky among the most respected professionals in their field. Such success would not have been possible had he not met or exceeded the highest standards of their profession in operating a football program…

    Had Coach Paterno or Coach Sandusky’s conduct of their program been outside the range of accepted practices, it would have been impossible for them to receive so many awards and recognitions, which typically involve intense scrutiny from peers who may or may not agree with his program …

  39. How much do you want to bet there was a whole lot of trash talk going on at the line of scrimmage today. The Penn State players are going to have to learn to live with it. So are their fans.

  40. Mark,

    Excellent….well written piece….As Mike S stated it is one of the best if not best posts by a guest blogger written…I will say that it is the best written…Thank you…Are you per chance writing a novel soon…

  41. it’s the actions of a large number of students past and present and fans of penn state that i find most disturbing. are any actions forgivable as long as a winning record is maintained?

    what’s next, blame the victims.

  42. AY:

    Nope, no novel in the making. Non-fiction is so much more fun. But here’s a homage to writers everywhere from Anton Chekhov:

    Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.

    Now that’s at the heart of real writing; not my pathetic stabs at the beast.

  43. mespo,

    This is one of the most troubling stories that I’ve heard about in a while. It deserved a follow-up post. I have little doubt that you’ll be writing a series of posts on this subject.

  44. Great article Mark.

    It is absolutely horrible what Sandusky did to these children and I can not begin to understand how a human being could do such things. That being said, what has been really bothering me watching the coverage of Penn State is the outpouring of support that Paterno has been receiving. The man is despicable and I just don’t understand how any of the former players and alumni can defend him. It makes me sick to hear people insist that he shouldn’t have been fired, or complain about the manner in which he was informed of his dismissal. I hope that someday the real victims in this situation will be able to move forward, and my heart goes out to them.

  45. Blouise – I disagree.

    The vast majority of guest posts here are monotone, partisan attack pieces that buy right into the false debate our political duopoly has constructed. JT’s weekday pieces and topic selection stand apart from the self-congratulatory echo chamber the guest posters have created for themselves after hours. This Esposito piece is one of too few exceptions.

  46. puzzling,

    In turn, I disagree with you and second the comments of Blouise. As a long time reader of this blog, I really enjoy the guest bloggers although I was a little dubious at first. In particular, I like the postings of Mark Esposito, Elaine Magliaro and Gene Howington. Far from being a “self-congratulatory echo chamber”, I think the guest bloggers in general provide a wide variety of interesting topics and each does so with their own particular style. I too would like to thank Professor Turley for their addition to his already fine blog and extend that thanks to Mark Esposito for writing another finely crafted and timely article. Keep up the good work, Professor Turley and the fine staff of guest bloggers. You all make this blog a daily stop on my Internet ramblings.

  47. Carolyn, I could not agree with you more. Well said. The guest bloggers bring a wonderful variety of stories and comments. As for this particular story, it is timely and has stimulated a great discussion. Well done, Mark.

  48. Carolyn,

    I documented the differences between JT’s posts and the guest bloggers back in August. Mike Spindell and Nal were both kind to give my comments genuine and thoughtful responses. That said, my concerns and conclusion have not changed. I think we now see signs that portions of JT’s broad, natural audience is becoming alienated as a result.

  49. puzzling,

    The subjective critic is less interested in analyzing the work than in expressing his personal reactions to it.

    What you see as self-congratulatory, I view as supportive. Where you hear monotone, I hear a sequence of notes, ascending and descending. What you call false debate I define as counterpoint in melodic, as opposed to harmonic, progression.

    Communication is often loaded with multiple intentions however, the negativity in your post is nothing more than a purposeful attack on the self esteem of out Guest Bloggers borne out as you damn with faint praise “This Esposito piece”.

  50. puzzling,

    As someone with access to the site statistics, I’ll have to say your supposition has no basis in fact as site traffic has steadily trended upward to the tune of approximately 150,000 hits/year since 2007. The two largest increases in monthly traffic over the last year came in September and October – after JT’s institution of the guest bloggers. The “natural” audience is what it is in composition and you have no say in that matter nor evidence of your contention. People will read and revisit sites that offer them something. Since the audience numbers keep increasing, your supposition of alienation seems to be supposition made from some sort of psychic guess at what the “natural” audience might be at best and some kind of personal problem with the guest bloggers at worst. I’m not saying you’re not entitled to your opinion, merely that it’s wrong as a factual matter based on viewing statistics.

  51. Elaine,

    Of course it is … :)

    What I can’t figure out is why puzzling even comes on the blog on the weekends. If he is so opposed to the guest bloggers doesn’t he realize that in coming on the blog, even if he doesn’t comment, he’s adding to the numbers thus showing support?

  52. i’v noticed some of the guest blogged posts have some of the highest number of comments.

    some of the commenting got a bit lively.

  53. Gene,

    I’m saying that the comment participation is now largely driven by the guest bloggers themselves and that the diversity of opinion and engagement expressed within the comments is falling.

    You said:

    The two largest increases in monthly traffic over the last year came in September and October – after JT’s institution of the guest bloggers.

    First, this is wrong because those have not been the highest traffic months to the blog. Even if it were true, correlation is not causation. The cause for traffic spikes in the last year has been national coverage of JT in the Sister Wives case in July, as seen in the referring searches.

    I don’t see the same increased traffic you claim.

  54. puzzling,

    First, maybe you don’t see the increased traffic because you don’t have access to the detailed WordPress site statistics like me and the rest of the guest bloggers. Second, I didn’t claim correlation or causation, only that your claim of guest bloggers driving away traffic is false – because it is false. You, on the other hand, claim to have some sort of magical insight into the motivations of those who visit this site and what drives the traffic. The bottom line is your assertion that the guest bloggers have harmed site traffic is pure bullshit driven by some petty personal problem of yours.

    It’s a not very attractive and quite transparent problem you’ve got there.

  55. Mespo:

    I’ve been listening off and on to this subject all this Saturday night/Sunday morning with the local sports stations weighing in on this subject,the last commentator I tuned into said this will be with us for “years”with the info that has yet to come out.

  56. Curious response, puzzling, as you don’t have access to any meaningful statistics concerning this blog. I told you the relevant information regarding trending and traffic volumes. If you want access to the specific numbers, I suggest you ask the Professor. As to your supposition about audience composition, it remains simply unfounded supposition. Please feel free to continue what is manifestly a personal beef for you though. It harms no one but you in the long run.

  57. “The vast majority of guest posts here are monotone, partisan attack pieces that buy right into the false debate our political duopoly has constructed. JT’s weekday pieces and topic selection stand apart from the self-congratulatory echo chamber the guest posters have created for themselves after hours. This Esposito piece is one of too few exceptions.”


    I think you continually misread what is being written by the guest bloggers through the lens of your own pre-judgment, At one point or another I have disagreed with every one of the guest bloggers and likewise they with me. Gene and I for instance disagree on many things, however, we agree on quite a few others. For instance Gene will probably not vote for Obama and I will. Mespo and I have disagreed on issues of punishment of certain crimes. I am less partisan than Elaine, more radical than Nal and certainly have had my differences than Mike A.

    However, while we’ve all had our differences, we do share many viewpoints that coalesce with JT’s perspective, we’ve all been around here for a long time and we respect/like each other. Besides us there is a core of others who are also regulars here and they are too numerous to mention without offending anyone my aging memory banks may miss, thus negating the expression of my regard for them.

    On the other hand, you yourself, although of differing viewpoint are a long time regular, as are Bdaman, Bron and Anon. That we disagree on much personally, does not lessen my feelings of camaraderie with you/them as denizens of this blog. There is a point where you may be correct and that is that we do seem to have developed the habit of congratulating other guest bloggers on their efforts. I agree that at points that may appear to be too incestuous.My only explanation, not justification, is that we all share a common experience because it is more scary to present one’s ideas as a columnist, rather than a commentator. Sharing that experiential knowledge we do tend to root for each other and give each other positive feedback. However, if you think I would hold back criticism because of that comradeship you are mistaken and I think my history here has proven that I am not afraid to express myself, even to friends.

    As for you and I particularly, my take is that you have found my writing puerile and knee-jerk. Perhaps they are, I don’t discount the possibility. I am after all a legend in my own mind. Whatever contribution I make here it is sincere and honest. I am as I write, for better or worse. There is no one who judges me more critically than I do, yet even if my own judgments of me are harsh, I understand myself enough to lovingly accept them and honestly expose them.

  58. One final thought on the site statistics since it came up here.

    Visits to are tracked by five tools: Comscore Beacon, Google Analytics, Pubmatic, Quantcast, and WordPress Stats. Some of these tools may record and pass recent browsing history back to the blog. As Gene has made clear, guest bloggers have access to at least some of this information.

    You can make yourself less visible to these tracking tools with browser add-ons like Ghostery and others.

    More statistics here, including demographics:

  59. I thought mudslides were a drink at a bar…. I didn’t know you could get them in the shower at ped u…..

  60. All of which reflects roughly the WordPress statistics and does nothing to bolster your speculation or contentions, puzzling.

    I do rather enjoy watching a dog chase their own tail though.

  61. Mike Elk

    If, like me, you scanned the crowds rioting at Penn State last night after the announcement of the firing of Joe Paterno, you may have noticed that nearly all the people there were white men. The riots were about white men not liking to be held accountable.

    As a native Pennsylvanian, I never once considered attending Penn State University. Penn State always seemed like a place full of cliquish white people recalling their glory years of making fun of the dorky kids in high school. More progressive white people and people of color went to big city state schools like Pitt or Temple while whiter, more conservative types tended to dominate the settings of the rural, fraternity-heavy Penn State campus.

    At the center of Penn State’s conservative culture stood Joe Paterno — who frequently campaigned and fundraised for conservative politicians throughout Pennsylvania. As my friend sportswriter Dave Zirin points out, Penn State was a company town and football was the company that funded Penn State. Home football games attracted 100,000 people per game. Each year the program pumped a whopping $59 million into the poor rural economy of the surrounding area, from the sales of food to buying hotel rooms to the selling of sports gears, and created $50 million in pure profit that could be distributed to other programs at the university. In addition, Penn State football fostered large alumni donations as football games fostered strong bonds with graduates. To many Pennsylvanians, Joe Paterno represented Penn State and all it stood for.

    Old, conservative white men around the state revered the football coach who stayed on well past his prime into his eighties. Paterno stayed on when others told him he was wrong not to change his old ways, well after his coaching seemed ineffective and his team’s record suffered. Paterno’s perseverance in the face of his deficiencies was a beacon of hope for many white men in Pennsylvania who felt their power challenged by liberals and people of color seeking to change their ways.

    That’s why I paid attention to the crowd rioting on television at Penn State last night. The firing of Joe Paterno upset the natural order that white men like Joe Paterno could rule not based on merit — as Paterno’s coaching deficiencies showed — but because white men always had.

    As a Pennsylvanian, I could not be more ashamed of Penn State. This weekend I will instead be rooting for the University of California-Berkeley Golden Bears. There students participating in OccupyCal bravely faced police attacks for peaceably assembling, at the same moment Penn State white males attacked police over the firing of an 84-year-old football coach who enabled a child rapist.
    …another view

  62. About cover-ups.

    (I left a comment but it vanished; I don’t know how these things work.)

    The cover-up, in my opinion, is worse than the crime, for many reasons. One is that crimes flourish when cover-ups can be presumed. One of the most persistent problems with all the sex abuse cases, from the churches to the schools to the sports to the scouts to the families, is that the cover-ups are so easy.

    Even seemingly good people participate in these (and many other) cover-ups, too. One reason they may do so is that they shy away from doing harm to the various abusers whom they protect, because they have sympathy for them. Another is that they shy away from opening up dangerous subjects because they have their own vulnerabilities. And another is that abusers are very good at finding, organizing and using power against any and all people who might try to help their victims either emerge from their control or demand accountability after having emerged.

    Another very important piece of this is the fact that our society is built not upon accountability but upon LIABILITY. If you cannot make somebody liable to you for what they have done, you have NOTHING, and they can punish you for trying to demand accountability if you fail to strategically gain on them in the liability battle. So thus, if you sue somebody for damaging you, in our system, better make sure you have more power than they have, or the whole thing turns on you and they have their foot on your neck IN COURT and then you have suffered not only the damage, but on top of that, punishment for having complained, and the total loss of credibility. This will keep MOST PEOPLE from complaining of anything others won’t back to the max. This is abuser paradise.


    The courts are abuser-friendly.

    Make no mistake about it; any one of Sandusky’s alleged victims, acting at a time before he could have counted on massive publicity and enormous legal and financial backing, would have been crushed like a bug.

  63. And imagine this (I’m not saying it happened, I’m just saying “Imagine” it):

    Some kid in Aransas, Texas, some time before 2011, gets into a situation where his parents are getting a divorce and there are allegations back and forth and both parents seek custody. The kid starts off living with mom during the pendente lite period. On a visit to his father, his father sits him down and questions him about everything that has happened at his mother’s house in the last two weeks. Dad refers to the mother not by her name but by calling her, “that bitch.” The kid is uncomfortable and says he doesn’t want to talk about it. Dad beats him up with a belt, for “lying.” The kid screams, “I hate you I’m not coming here any more!” and after the visit, tells his mother. She goes to court to get dad’s visitation supervised. The judge sides with the father and says, “The boy has told his father that he refuses to visit him any more and that he hates him; this has obviously been caused by the mother’s alienating the child against his father to gain advantage in a custody battle.” He rules that the boy goes to dad’s custody and has no visitation with mom until she has therapy to show her that it is bad parenting to turn a child against his own parent. She is resistant and the therapist reports that she is so hostile to the father that she will not be able to learn good parenting under any circumstances. In a little friendly “ex parte” with dad’s lawyer, the judge says, “I know how to handle a bitch like that,” and also shares his belief that the kid needed to be beaten with a belt. Although the judge rules that the mother has no visitation or contact (in the child’s best interests of course), her parental rights are not terminated so that a child support order can be made against her to support her son, in accordance with the Texas guidelines for child support orders.

    So, the courts being abuser-friendly, is this scenario unimaginable?
    And about that initial beating — was it hard to cover it up?
    Happens every day. Lots more often than the Sandusky-type thing.

  64. Mike S.,

    “I am less partisan than Elaine…”

    I’d like to know what you meant by that comment.

    While I may be a liberal/progressive, I don’t consider myself blindly loyal to the Democratic party. I have voted for Republican candidates in the past. You say that you’ll vote for Obama in 2012. I am not sure that I will.

  65. “I am less partisan than Elaine…” (Mike S)

    I must stand in defense of Elaine against that misrepresentation.

    She is strong for women’s issues, strong for compassion, strong for education … she is issue driven and committed.

    I honestly can’t imagine her refusing to vote for a republican who supported all of those issues simply because he/she was republican. Neither can I imagine her voting for a democrat who was anti woman, lacked compassion, and considered education to be unimportant simply because he/she was a democrat.


  66. Mike,

    FWIW, I too consider Elaine to be more issues driven than party driven. For the most part, I find this true of all the guest bloggers. Some may have some preference for party, but that preference is always issue and/or value driven and secondary (or tertiary or completely irrelevant) to the issues proper. None are afraid to cross any party line to lay criticism where it is due. In fact, that is one of the things I think that differentiates this blog from most other political blogs: partisanship is not a primary driver of the authors here and (the usually Constitutional, human and/or civil rights) issues rule at the end of the day.

    Maybe Elaine’s a little pastry driven at times, but hey, there’s no fault in that. Who among us doesn’t like a bit of cake or pie now and again? She has really good taste in pastries too. But partisan? It’s not even close to the first word that comes to mind when I think of Elaine.

  67. Thanks, Blouise, Gene, and Rafflaw,

    Back in August puzzling said:
    “I had to go back to May 4th to find a “Tea Party” posting from JT, but the guest bloggers produced many politically-driven topics/headlines that could be lifted right from Think Progress in the same period…”

    Here’s is puzzling’s list of my politically-driven posts:
    – The Right’s War on Women Continues…at the State Level
    – Bachmann-Tea Party Overdrive
    – Sean Hannity, Bill Donohue, & The War on Easter
    – What’s Up, Wisconsin?: Is the Koch-Funded Americans …
    – Rush Limbaugh Runs Hot and Cold on Weather Indices
    – Rush Limbaugh and Some Other Heartless Americans Make Light …
    – The Bells Are Ringing: Sarah Palin and the Revised Story of Paul …

    Regarding my posts about Rush Limbaugh: Limbaugh is not a politician. He doesn’t hold elected office. He’s a radio talk show host and a hatemonger who spreads misinformation and tries to rile his followers up.

    Here’s an excerpt from my post “The Right’s War on Women Continues…at the State Level”

    “Just yesterday, I read about State Rep. Bobby Franklin of Georgia who is introducing legislation in his state that would require proof that a miscarriage—aka a spontaneous abortion—was the result of natural causes. If this legislation passes, there would have to be proof that a woman’s miscarriage was the result of natural causes. If a woman can’t prove that—she might face felony charges!”

    I thought that was a pretty scary story. Was it politically driven? I guess it depends upon your point of view.

    BTW, ThinkProgress was not my source for that story. Here is a list of my sources:
    – Daily Kos
    – Huffington Post
    – Washington Monthly (Political Animal)
    – Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee

    On August 5, puzzling wrote:

    I went over to TP a minute ago. The top headline is

    EXPOSED: The Corporations Funding The Annual Meeting Of The Powerful Right-Wing Front Group ALEC

    And here it didn’t take long to find the same:

    Smart ALEC: The Organization That May Be Helping Corporations Write Legislation for Your State by Elaine M.

    Puzzling should have read my entire post about the American Legislative Exchange Council. If he had, he’d have learned that I had been working on that post for a couple of weeks. My sources for the ALEC article were:
    – The Nation and the Center for Media and Democracy who collaborated on a series of investigative reports. The two organizations developed a website called ALEC Exposed, which has a wealth of information about ALEC.
    – NPR
    – Democracy Now
    – People for the American Way
    – Common Cause
    – Bloomberg
    – Thom Hartmann
    – Lawrence O’Donnell
    – Keith Olbermann
    – NBC

    Our country and our world are politically driven. It’s hard to avoid political stories. Is reporting the truth about issues that concern me partisan? I guess some would say “yes” and some would say “no” depending upon their points of view.

  68. Childhood Abuse May Increase Risk For Heart Attack, Stroke

    Girls who experience severe sexual and physical abuse may have a higher risk of heart attack, heart disease and stroke, according to a recent study that researchers say is among the first to examine the correlation.

    The research, presented Sunday at the American Heart Association’s 2011 scientific sessions, found that women who reported repeated episodes of forced sex in childhood or adolescence had a 62 percent higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

    Severe physical abuse in childhood or adolescence was linked to a 45 percent higher risk of cardiovascular events.

    “It’s almost hard to imagine stressors much greater than physical and sexual abuse,” Janet Rich-Edwards, lead author of the study and associate professor in the Department of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital told HuffPost. “When we think about stress and health, abuse is the elephant in the room.”

    According to the Centers for Disease Control, Child Protective Services found that in 2008, 772,000 children were victims of maltreatment — including neglect and physical, sexual and emotional abuse — but many more cases go unreported.

    Researchers used information from the Nurse’s Health Study — one of the longest running investigations into women’s health in the U.S. They studied data collected between 1989 and 2007 from more than 67,000 respondents (most of whom were white). Some 9 percent of the women reported severe physical abuse during childhood and 11 percent reported forced sex. (Mild physical and sexual abuse were not associated with increased risk.)

  69. Penn State Scandal: Victim Begins Civil Case as Investigation Widens
    Nov. 14 ,2011

    As the investigation of the child sexual assault charges leveled at former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky widens, at least one alleged victim has now hired an attorney to explore a civil lawsuit.

    Pennsylvania attorney Ben Andreozzi told ABC News he has been retained by one of Sandusky’s alleged victims to explore a civil lawsuit against not only against the former coach, but anyone who may have not reported the alleged attacks against his client. That could include a number of officials and staff at Penn State University and The Second Mile charity which Sandusky founded and helped run.

  70. Jerry Sandusky’s daughter-in-law gets restraining order to keep Penn State ‘paedophile’ away from grandchildren
    – Jill Jones, ex-wife of Matt Sandusky, went to court after hearing charges
    – Her two girls and one boy are forbidden from staying at grandparents’ home
    – Sandusky’s wife tried to convince Ms Jones that there would be no danger
    – Jon Sandusky, director of personnel at Cleveland Browns, has gone on leave

    Jerry Sandusky’s former daughter-in-law has obtained a legal order barring the ex-Penn State coach from seeing three of his grandchildren.

    Jill Jones, who was once married to Matt Sandusky, went to court to stop the accused paedophile from having access to their two daughters, aged nine and seven, and one son, aged five, according to documents.

    A Grand Jury indictment alleges Sandusky, 67, sexually abused eight boys, some as young as seven, over a 15-year period. He denies the allegations.

    After hearing the horrific charges on November 5, Ms Jones urged her ex-husband to keep the children away from their grandfather, The Daily reported.

    Later that day Sandusky’s wife Dorothy sent Ms Jones a text message informing her that Matt had taken the children to her State College, Pennsylvania home, but that Sandusky was not present.

    Mrs Sandusky also phoned Ms Jones to try to persuade her that the children would be safe around her husband, the documents said, according to The Daily.

    Ms Jones was unwavering, though, and successfully obtained a restraining order forbidding the children from sleeping over at their grandparents’ home and banning Sandusky from seeing them unsupervised.

    Although there is no record that Ms Jones ever accused her ex-father-in-law of abusing her children, there is a ‘fundamental disagreement over the validity of the charges against Jerry Sandusky and the risk he poses to children,’ the court documents said, according to The Daily.

  71. Elaine M, thanks for the posting. I’d like to add to it although I don’t have time to gather the links. At a conference of the mid-Atlantic Region of the US Public Health Service in, oh, I’d say, about 1997 or so, one of the presenters (she had been a US PHS doctor for 20+ years) gave the assembled crowd (mostly providers) some pointers on which patients to do a “rule out child abuse in history” on. She said: “Three or more symptoms in two or more systems, unexplained symptoms left untreated, a cluster of illnesses coming at an age when they are not expected, or any other persistent mystery in the chart.”

    Most of the providers I spoke with would offer, at the times when we gathered for meals or for chit chat during the three-day conference, various cases they had that illustrated these points. The variety was astounding. In each case, however, when some psychological, psychiatric or concerted medical/psychological approach was instituted, progress resulted. One doctor (New York practice but originally Puerto Rican) observed that the patients needed permission to consider their abuse history as part of their medical history before any other steps could be taken. The result of the conference was that most providers decided to add questions about child abuse and early experiences to their “initial patient questionnaires.”

    The fact that this is not routinely taught in med school is, in my opinion, a part of our general social cover-up. Parents and teachers (and others who deal with children) should actually realize that child abuse is a for of toxin; if there were social and professional recognition of this, we might find that cover-ups were harder and protective policies were easier to institute.

  72. Elaine,

    There has been, from the beginning, a campaign, small but persistent, against the blog owner’s use of Guest Bloggers. Puzzling’s half-truths are not surprising. Accuracy is of little importance to certain individuals once they adorn themselves with war feathers. They strut, they preen, they talk trash.

    Throw a little cold water on ’em and move on. ;)

  73. Charity chief resigns amid Penn State scandal
    USA Today

    The head of a charity at the center of the Penn State sexual abuse scandal resigned Sunday, the organization announced today.

    Second Mile CEO Jack Raykovitz is the latest person to be ousted in the aftermath of charges by a Pennsylvania grand jury that former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky used his position at the charity to molest at least eight young boys over 15 years. Last week, Penn State fired its president and legendary football coach Joe Paterno.

    Raykovitz’s resignation came as Second Mile’s board said it had hired an outside law firm. The firm will investigate how Second Mile responded to previous reports that Sandusky had abused boys he met through the charity.

    Second Mile’s board said in a statement posted on its website Monday that the investigation will “assess our internal policies, procedures and processes; and make recommendations regarding the organization’s future operations.”

    The board said the review should be done by December. Board members could not be reached Monday morning.

    Raykovitz said in a statement on Second Mile’s website that he hopes “that my resignation brings with it the beginning of that restoration of faith in the community of volunteers and staff that, along with the children and families we serve, are The Second Mile.”

  74. Penn State scandal prompts anger, reflection
    After shocker at school, should sports ever be king?
    November 13, 2011|By Peter Schworm
    Boston Globe

    Authorities have condemned Penn State for failing to report suspected abuse by Jerry Sandusky, a former assistant coach under Paterno who is charged with sexually abusing eight boys over a 15-year span. University employees were told of at least two instances but did not alert police, authorities say. Paterno was told of one, and informed his superiors – but he did not press the matter further.

    Education specialists predict that the alleged failures at Penn State will prompt college administrators to analyze their sexual misconduct policies and reemphasize reporting requirements.

    “Every college and university in the country will be very carefully reviewing their policies around sexual misconduct and reporting of sexual crimes,’’ said Terry Hartle, senior vice president at the American Council on Education, an influential group that represents college presidents.

    Hartle and others stopped short of blaming the scandal on the football culture at Penn State, where Paterno was a titanic figure, winning more games than any other major-college coach.

    “For all the issues involving intercollegiate athletics, and I’m the first to say there are plenty, I think this is more the setting than the cause,’’ Hartle said.

    But others saw a broader context at work, and said the university’s inaction was a clear attempt to protect the well-crafted – and highly lucrative – brand of Penn State football.

    “This happened because Penn State decided it was going to put football above all the cherished values of higher education,’’ said Allen Sack, a professor of management at the University of New Haven and prominent critic of major college sports. “In this instance, the entire university bowed to football.’’

    At the top levels, college sports are a huge source of revenue, and even at smaller schools, major sports are often seen as a way to generate alumni support and boost their profile with nationally televised appearances.

    Last year, the NCAA signed a 14-year, $10.8 billion television deal for the wildly popular men’s basketball tournament.

    With that incentive, colleges have spent escalating sums to field top teams. In its report “Restoring the Balance,’’ the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics found that from 2005 to 2008 athletic spending rose much more than academic spending. In many major conferences, universities spent between six and 10 times more on athletes than non-athletes.

  75. and don’t forget about the $541,184 grant from the stimulus package and the 1.9 million million dollar grant from the National Science Foundation.

  76. Mespo,
    The unreported rape or the rapes that the schools brush off are rising and they seem to involve athletes. Notre Dame has had some issues as of late.

  77. Mespo,

    Women’s Rights Group Filed Rape Lawsuit Against Penn State In ’02
    Suit Filed Against University At Same Time Of Sandusky Investigation
    WTAE, 11/10/11


    PITTSBURGH — Team 4’s Jim Parsons reported Thursday night that a women’s rights group filed a lawsuit against Penn State University on behalf of an alleged rape victim at the same time the university was investigating allegations against former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

    “The thought that the very week that we filed our complaint in the Jane Doe case a child was being raped in the showers is shocking and horrifying to me,” said Sue Frietsche, of the Women’s Law Project.

    According to a grand jury report, it was the first week of March 2002 when a Penn State graduate assistant saw Jerry Sandusky allegedly sexually assaulting a 10-year-old boy.

    The Women’s Law Project sued Penn State on behalf of a former female student who went to police in 1999 to say that she was raped by two university wrestlers, identified as Jean Celestin and Nate Parker.

    The female student also said the two men began stalking her.

    “They followed her. They called her names. They publicized her name. They tortured her. And the school’s response was a slap on the wrist,” said Frietsche.

    The university allowed the two men to remain in school and as members of the wresting team under scholarships.

    Both men were charged. Parker was acquitted, but a jury found Celestin guilty and he was sentenced to six months in jail after receiving letters of support from university administrators.

    Nine years later, the Women’s Law Project said it sees a link between their case and the current sex abuse allegations at the university.

  78. “I am less partisan than Elaine…”

    I’d like to know what you meant by that comment.

    Elaine I simply meant that you were more a progressive than I am. It was not meant as a critique, or a put down, merely an observation which was part of a point I was making that the guest bloggers are not heterogeneous in belief. I apologize for upsetting you even in a small way, since I have great respect for what you bring to the blog. Your research skills have continually supplied us all with valuable/voluminous information.

  79. Mike S.,

    Thanks for responding to my question. I may not be as liberal as you think. I lived a much more conservative lifestyle in my early adulthood than you. I married my high school sweetheart and didn’t do drugs. In fact, I still live what some might consider a “conservative” life. That said, I believe I have a progressive viewpoint. I think one can be progressive and not be bound to any particular ideology or party. I am neither devoted to nor a militant supporter of the Democratic party. I have been very disappointed in President Obama and in many of the Democrats serving in Washington. I contributed to Obama’s campaign in 2008. I don’t intend to do so in 2012. I will, however, contribute to the campaign of Elizabeth Warren and do everything I can to help her get elected to the Senate.

    My reason for asking the question:

    Puzzling wrote:
    “The vast majority of guest posts here are monotone, partisan attack pieces that buy right into the false debate our political duopoly has constructed. JT’s weekday pieces and topic selection stand apart from the self-congratulatory echo chamber the guest posters have created for themselves after hours. This Esposito piece is one of too few exceptions.”

    You responded to puzzling by saying that I was more partisan than you. I admit that it didn’t sit well with me. It seemed to me that you were echoing what puzzling had said–in regard to me. I think that the words progressive and partisan have very different meanings. I wanted to make sure that I understood what you were attempting to say about me.

  80. Ex-Coach Denies Charges Amid New Accusations
    New York Times, 11/14/11

    STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Close to 10 additional suspected victims have come forward to the authorities since the arrest of the former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky on Nov. 5 on 40 counts of sexually abusing young boys, according to people close to the investigation. The police are working to confirm the new allegations.

  81. Perhaps a word in defense of the folks who “didn’t tell” is warranted here. I want to give you a template for a story I have seen 257 times in the last 18 years:

    Child is sexually abused by a man who is beloved and revered in the community;

    Other person who is neither abuser nor abused witnesses it or is told by the child about it;

    This other person DOES report it as such a person SHOULD;

    The authorities to whom it is reported tell the reporter that it did not happen;

    The reporter insists that it did happen;

    The child is then “GIVEN” to the alleged abuser because he says he loves the child and the reporter is so discredited that the child is considered to NEED to be in the CARE and CONTROL of the wrongly accused alleged abuser.

    THIS PLAYS OUT EVERY DAY IN OUR COURTS. So why do we blame people for not reporting suspected, or even WITNESSED, abuse?

  82. Now this shit is getting crazy…..

    Big Ten removes Joe Paterno’s name from trophy

    Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said Penn State coach Joe Paterno’s name has been removed from the conference’s championship trophy, reported.

    According to the Big Ten, the decision was made after the past week of turmoil at Penn State that included the grand jury investigation into charges of sexual abuse by former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky as well as the Board of Trustees’ firing of Paterno.

    “We believe that it would be inappropriate to keep Joe Paterno’s name on the trophy at this time,” Delany said. “The trophy and its namesake are intended to be celebratory and aspirational, not controversial. We believe that it’s important to keep the focus on the players and the teams that will be competing in the inaugural championship game.”

    The trophy, which will now be called the Stagg Championship Trophy after Amos Alonzo Stagg, will be given to the winner of the Big Ten’s first championship game Dec. 3 in Indianapolis.

    Read more:

    Great-grandson of Amos Alonzo Stagg supports removal of Joe Paterno’s name on Big Ten trophy

    Robert Stagg, the great-grandson of Amos Alonzo Stagg, said he was notified by the Big Ten on Monday that Joe Paterno’s name has been removed from the conference championship trophy.

    The trophy had been named in honor of Paterno and Stagg and will be awarded to the winner of the Big Ten championship game Dec. 3 in Indianapolis. Amos Alonzo Stagg was an innovator who won 319 games in 57 years, most at the University of Chicago, which was once part of the Big Ten.

  83. The World Joe Paterno Made
    Dave Zirin on November 14, 2011
    The Nation

    Meet John Matko. John Matko is a 34-year-old Penn State class of 2000 alumnus, distraught by the recent revelations that Coach Joe Paterno and those in charge at his alma mater allegedly shielded a serial child rapist, assistant Jerry Sandusky. He was livid that students chose to riot on campus this week in defense of their legendary coach. He was disgusted that the Board of Trustees decided to go ahead as planned with Saturday’s Nebraska game just days after the revelations became public. John Matko felt angry and was compelled to act. He stood outside Saturday’s Penn State–Nebraska game in Happy Valley and held up two signs. One read, “Put abused kids first.” The other said, “Don’t be fooled, they all knew. Tom Bradley, everyone must go.” (Tom Bradley is the interim head coach.)

    The response to Matko gives lie to the media portrayal of last Saturday’s game. We were told the atmosphere was “somber”, “sad” and “heart-rending”, as “the focus returned to the children.” The crowd was swathed in blue, because, we were told, that is the color of child abuse awareness (also the Penn State colors). The team linked arms emerging from the tunnel. They dropped to a knee with their Nebraska opponents at midfield before the game. Once again, broadcasters told us, “the players were paying tribute to the victims of child abuse.” We were told all of this, and I wish to God it was true.

    I don’t doubt the emotions in Happy Valley are genuine. I don’t doubt the searing shock and pain that must be coursing through campus. But this is the pain of self-pity not reflection. It’s the pain of the exposed not the penitent. Let’s go back to John Matko. Matko stood with his signs behind a pair of sunglasses. He wasn’t soapboxing, or preaching: just bearing silent witness. It was an admirable act, but no one bought him a beer. Instead, beer was poured on his head. His midsection was slapped with an open hand. Expletives were rained upon him. His signs were also kicked to the ground and stomped.

    As the Washington Times wrote, “Abuse flew at Matko from young and old, students and alumni, men and women. No one intervened. No one spoke out against the abuse.”

    One disapproving student said, “Not now, man. This is about the football players.”

    And with those nine words, we see the truth about Saturday’s enterprise. It was about the football program, not the children. It was morbid theater where people were mourning the death of a jock culture that somewhere along the line, mutated into malignancy. It’s a malignancy that deprioritized rape victims in the name of big-time football.

    The signs of this malignancy did not emerge overnight. Looking backward, there are moments that speak of the scandals to come. In 2003, less than one year after Paterno was told that Sandusky was raping children, he allowed a player accused of rape to suit up and play in a bowl game. Widespread criticism of this move was ignored. In 2006, Penn State’s Orange Bowl opponent Florida State, sent home linebacker A.J. Nicholson, after accusations of sexual assault. Paterno’s response, in light of recent events, is jaw-dropping. He said, “There’s so many people gravitating to these kids. He may not have even known what he was getting into, Nicholson. They knock on the door; somebody may knock on the door; a cute girl knocks on the door. What do you do? Geez. I hope—thank God they don’t knock on my door because I’d refer them to a couple of other rooms.” Joanne Tosti-Vasey, president of Pennsylvania’s National Organization for Women in Pennsylvania, was not amused. With chilling unintentional prescience, Tosti-Vasey responded, “Allegations of sexual assault should never be taken lightly. Making light of sexual assault sends the message that rape is something to be expected and accepted.” They called for Paterno’s resignation and short of that, asked to dialogue with Paterno and the team. Neither Paterno nor anyone in the power at Penn State accepted the invitation.

    This is the world Joe Pa made. It’s a world where libraries, buildings and statues bear his name. It’s a world where the school endowment now stands at over $1 billion dollars. It’s a company town where moral posturing acted as a substitute for actual morality. In such an atmosphere, seeing the players and fans gather to bow their heads and mourn Saturday wasn’t “touching” or “somber” or anything of the sort. It was just sad. It was sad because they still don’t get it.

    One PSU student, named Emily wrote the following to’s Peter King,

    Truth is, if not for Paterno’s philanthropy and moral code (until his fatal lapse of judgment), I and thousands of others wouldn’t be here right now. If not for Paterno…Pennsylvania State might still be an agriculture school and State College might be lucky if there were a Wal-Mart within a 30-mile radius. Paterno made a huge mistake, but that doesn’t mean he’s not a good man.

    Bullshit. Emily’s words ring as false as the apologists for the Vatican, Wall Street, the military command at Abu Ghraib and any industry deemed “too big to fail.” The same moral code that Emily praises absolutely cannot be the same moral code that covers up child rape. To do so is to make the very notion of morality meaningless. Emily’s gratitiude that her school isn’t “30 miles from the nearest Wal-Mart” can’t justify defending Paterno. To do so, makes you complicit in the crimes and the cover-up. It also ensures that such a thing could happen again.

    On Saturday, while Matko endured the physical and verbal rage of the PSU faithful, hundreds gathered around the Paterno statue outside the stadium, laying down flowers and gifts. The pain might run deeply in Happy Valley, but the cancer runs deeper. To really move forward, the malignancy must be removed. Fire everyone. Shut down Happy Valley football for a year. Rebuild a healthier culture. Do whatever you have to do to make sure that the world Joe Paterno made has seen its last day.

  84. Elaine M.,

    That was very moving….I just wish people such as these could see the destruction that they parade on peoples lives…all because one good man…did not act when the time was right to do so….

  85. Elaine M.,

    I agree with you. I think Joe Pas fall from grace was his own ego. FWIW sometimes the sheriff forgets who the inmates are….

  86. Elaine,

    Thank you for posting the two Dave Zirin pieces. Zirin is that rarity in the world of Sports Journalisms hagiographers, he is a real journalist and has shown remarkable insight through the years.

    I admit to being a sports fan, but I have always been bemused at the extremes team supporters go to and the centrality it becomes to their lives. Among many it is accepted that games trump the need to spend weekend time with ones family and loved ones. We have now the concept of “Man Caves” where the guys can be isolated from their families as they watch their favorite teams.

    The attachment many feel for their alma mater’s sports teams is to me obsessive and somewhat distasteful. I have teams I care about and might even watch on TV, providing my wife doesn’t need my company, but her need for my company (she dislikes sports) is more important to me than the game. When my children were growing up being with them on the weekends was more important to me than any game. However, I realize that among sports fans I am in the minority and for many their loved ones must cater to their need to get their game “fix”.

    Given that context of extreme fandom it is easy to realize how a college football coach can be raised to sainthood, as was Paterno. College Sports like pro sports is a lucrative business. It is all about elevating the particular game to the
    level of a world shaking event and its participants to Demi Gods, or Devils. The
    truth is that behind the scenes it is a seamy business rife with exploitation and driven by the profit motive. The typical sportswriter knows her/his job is to glorify the games and its participants. Actually being a journalist is what makes Mr. Zirin so special and worthy of praise.

  87. It’s an troubling dichotomy in my mind about wanting to see Sandusky put away for good if convicted, and being aghast at some of the tactics of the defense in this case. There’s some interesting lawyer going on. Seems Bob Costas had an interview scheduled with Sandusky defense counsel, Joe Amendola, Esq. Amendola offered to get his client to the phone for part of the interview. Part of the interview went like this:

    Costas asked probing questions in his interview : “Are you sexually attracted to young boys, to underage boys?”

    Sandusky repeated the question, paused briefly, repeated the question again and responded. “Am I sexually attracted to underage boys? Sexually attracted? You know, I enjoy young people. I love to be around them. Um, I, I, but no, I’m not sexually attracted to young boys.”

    Note to Amendola: No mulligans when your client is standing trial for his freedom.

  88. I watched part of that interview and then fast forwarded … when Sandusky had to repeat the question twice, pause … stumble …that was enough for me.

    Incredible but I guess when you’ve gotten away with so much for so long and everyone at the school and in the community has always accepted your excuses as truth because raping kids shouldn’t interfere with football and the money it generates, you figure the rest of the world will too.

  89. Mespo:

    what are the rules about hearsay and libel? Like for example if I heard someone who knows someone close to the Penn State story say something like Sandusky was pimping those children to donors of his charity. Is that libel in this purely hypothetical example?

  90. What’s Sandusky to do?. He needs the “orphan defense”:

    Murder your parents and then throw yourself on the mercy of the court as an orphan.

    As for his lawyer allowing the interview the only way I can figure it out is that they’re going to use an insanity plea.

  91. Mike, if I had Sandusky as a client, I would plead insanity for myself for taking his case.

    He sounded like a total ass. That interview is going to come back to haunt him. I cannot imagine why his attorney authorized him to give it, and if his attorney was present, why he did not cut Sandusky off when he started to make admissions about showering with the kids and touching them. If I had not heard many similar stories before, I would have been totally shocked as a member of the public.

  92. Bron:

    Libel is a form of the tort of defamation. To be liable or an intentonal tort, the tortfeasor must intend the harm of the false written statement or act with reckless disregard for the truth thereof. Sometimes we refer to that as actual malice (“hot blood”) versus NY Times v. Sullivan (recklessness) “malice.” In the cae of public figures — like football coaches — there must be proof of either form of malice to prevail.

    Negligence can also form the basis of defamation if the defendant knew or in the exercise of reasonable care should have known that the defamatory statement was false. The conduct of the defendant is judged on whether the conduct was that of a reasonable person under the circumstances.

    In many states, one can be liable for negligently repeating defamatory remarks such as the one you refer to but it is an exceedingly rare event.

  93. I guess pedophiles have a little group of contacts who “understand” them.

    I wonder when this will be an episode of Law and Order Special Victims Unit?

  94. Here’s a good piece of writing on the moral decay of corporatism along with the banality of the religious habit of binding up uncleansed wounds from Charles Pierce writing on the Grantland website.

    Here’s an excerpt:

    “It happens because institutions lie. And today, our major institutions lie because of a culture in which loyalty to “the company,” and protection of “the brand” — that noxious business-school shibboleth that turns employees into brainlocked elements of sales and marketing campaigns — trumps conventional morality, traditional ethics, civil liberties, and even adherence to the rule of law. It is better to protect “the brand” than it is to protect free speech, the right to privacy, or even to protect children.”

  95. Here’s an interesting bit of news about Joe Paterno:

    Joe Paterno’s Curious Real Estate Move
    Wednesday, November 16, 2011

    Every detail, no matter how small it might seem, is under the intense spotlight in State College, Pa.

    Joe Paterno’s recent real estate transaction, reported by Mark Viera and Pete Thamel of the New York Times, has led some to speculate he knew his world was going to come crumbling down around him at Penn State. The winningest coach in major college football history quietly transferred complete ownership of his house to his wife for $1 less than four months before the bombshell sex abuse scandal erupted.

    Some legal experts believe the move was made to financially shield the Pennsylvania pigskin legend.

    The Times uncovered documents that show Paterno, who had joint possession of the home, handed control of his residence over to his wife, Sue Paterno, for a dollar plus “love and affection.”

    JoePa’s home was originally purchased for $58,000 in 1969; the home’s fair-market value in 2011 was listed at $594,484.40.

    It’s a development that has at least two explanations, depending on your point of view.

    A lawyer for Paterno told the Times that the 84-year-old former football coach transferred the home to his 71-year-old wife as part of a “multiyear estate planning program,” and the move, which was made on July 21, had absolutely nothing to do with the public embarrassment the child sex scandal involving former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky brought to the beloved football program.

    Not everyone agrees.

    Lawrence A. Frolik, a law professor who specializes in elder law at the University of Pittsburgh, feels that possible lawsuits from victims against Paterno might have inspired the real estate shift.

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

  96. Elaine M:

    Transference of realty to a family member for substantially less than market value and in the face of impending claims are normally considered “badges of fraud,” and may subject the transfer of realty to being set aside as a “fraudulent conveyance.” Not a particularly savvy move, IMHO.


    “The first known alleged victim in the Jerry Sandusky case, known as “Victim One” was forced to leave his school because of an onslaught of bullying, The Patriot-News reports.

    Mike Gillum, psychologist for the family, told the news source that officials at Central Mountain High School didn’t step in and provide guidance to the boy’s classmates, who began to blame Joe Paterno’s firing on the 17-year-old.

    Victim One testified he was forced into multiple sex acts between 2006 and 2008. During that time, Sandusky was also assisting the high school with their varsity football program, the report states.

    Gillum told The Patriot News that name-calling and verbal threats at the school, which is located about 30 miles northeast of Pennsylvania State University, became too much for the boy to bear.”

  98. The best thing Mr.Sandusky could do for all of us is to kill himself now, but my guess is that somehow he feels he did nothing wrong and will be vindicated. He has inflicted great harm on many innocent lives. By that I talk of the victims and not the University or its supporters.

  99. The best thing Mr.Sandusky could do for all of us is to kill himself now -Mike S.

    The suicide of Mr. Sandusky has certainly crossed my mind… The harm that he’s done is incalculable. In my opinion, he shouldn’t have been released — he should still be in jail. But I’m a nurse, not a lawyer.

  100. Another disturbing report from State College about Paterno’s complete control over the University’s judicial process as it related to football players. It’s a story of megalomania and fund-raising might making right. It also bolsters my supposition that had one female been in the decision making loop –and been listened to — this would never have happened:

    According to the article: “Mr. Secor [former University Provost] says that Mr. Paterno told him that he didn’t think other people should be able to decide whether a football player should be able to play or not. “And we agreed with that,” he says.

    On Oct. 1, 2007, Mr. Spanier accepted the committee’s recommended changes. Under the new rules, the judicial-review process would have only a limited ability to end a student’s participation in activities—including football.”

    And for the topper:

    “The incident [discipline of a Penn State FB player accused of making harassing calls to a retired assistant coach] prompted [University President] Spanier to visit Dr. Triponey [then in charge of enforcing University discipline] at her home. Dr. Triponey confirms he told her that Mr. Paterno had given him an ultimatum: Fire her, or Mr. Paterno would stop fund-raising for the school. She says Mr. Spanier told her that if forced to choose, he would choose her over the coach—but that he did not want to have to make that choice.”

    Positively Orwellian in scope and obsequiousness.

  101. Mike Spindell
    1, November 21, 2011 at 5:05 pm
    The best thing Mr.Sandusky could do for all of us is to kill himself now

    Polish seppuku?

    gotta be a joke in there somewhere

  102. Paterno’s moral compass is his conscience and an improperly formed conscience creates an an improperly formed moral compass.

    If the markings on a compass show the needle to be slightly off North, it doesn’t matter how carefully the compass is followed one is still going to be going in the wrong direction. And, as we can see, the longer one continues to move in the wrong direction, the further one moves from true North and the more wrongs one commits.

    Integrity and responsibility can take one just so far … compassion is the often ignored influence that, when missing, causes the needle to drift. A conscience without compassion is thus improperly formed and the resulting moral compass is incapable of providing good directions. We may not be able to pinpoint exactly what is wrong except to say, “You know, there’s just something a little off about that guy.”

  103. Sandusky charity faced contempt motion over missing records
    By Michael Isikoff
    NBC News National Investigative Correspondent

    Pennsylvania state prosecutors filed a secret motion to hold The Second Mile children’s charity in contempt in July after the organization failed to turn over expense records of founder Jerry Sandusky in response to a grand jury subpoena, according to a source familiar with the investigation.

    The contempt motion, filed under court seal, was withdrawn in October after some of the missing Sandusky records were found and produced, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. But the charity’s new lawyers are still looking for the rest of the subpoenaed material and seeking to determine whether the missing records were destroyed or removed in an effort to impede the investigation into Sandusky’s relationships with The Second Mile children, said the source, who has been briefed on some of the details of the investigation.

    The move to hold The Second Mile in contempt, which has previously not been reported, is the latest indication that the investigation into the Penn State sex abuse scandal may have widened to include obstruction of justice. Asked Monday if obstruction was a focus of Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly’s investigation, her spokesman, Nils Frederickson, declined comment, citing rules covering the secrecy of matters before the grand jury. “This is a comprehensive, active and ongoing investigation,” he said.

  104. mespo,

    Thanks for the updates…My god what has this world come to when Football Coaches call the shots in education…..wink…

  105. Penn State Scandal: Mother Of Alleged Jerry Sandusky Victim Claims Mistreatment By Son’s School

    Court records refer to him simply, as Victim One. Outside of a four-and-a-half page section about him in the grand jury indictment of ex-Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, little else has been discussed about him publicly.

    Last week, his mother (who I will refer to as “Mother One”) removed him from Central Mountain High School in Mill Hall, Pa., where he was a senior and an all-star athlete. In an interview conducted last week, she explained why she pulled him from the school.

    “They were not helpful,” Mother One said of the school’s administrators. “They wanted me to go home and forget about it.”

    Mother One also alleges that since the Sandusky scandal erupted, fellow students and the high school’s football coach (who also serves as assistant principal) have all targeted her son with verbal attacks and threats of violence.

    She also claims that the school’s principal tried to convince her and her son not to report their allegations against Sandusky to the police, and that as recently as this month, refused to treat threats of violence against her son by other students as credible.

    Central Mountain High’s principal, Karen Probst, and its football coach, Steve Turchetta, did not return phone calls seeking comment about Mother One’s complaints.

    Mother One — who first spoke to the Patriot News earlier this month — and Victim One, who is now 18, requested anonymity to preserve their privacy and their safety.

    Jerry Sandusky, a prominent member of the Penn State community and the former defensive coordinator for the university’s football team, is accused of molesting at least eight boys over a 15-year period. According to the grand jury indictment (PDF link), sometime in 2005 or 2006, Victim One, aged 11 or 12, met Sandusky through his charity for disadvantaged kids, The Second Mile. (Mother One says she isn’t entirely certain when her son met Sandusky.)

    As a single parent, Mother One said she wanted to take advantage of the opportunity Second Mile offered. Her son enjoyed Second Mile’s summer camps, which is where she recalls meeting Sandusky for the first time.

    They were in a warehouse where the charity’s annual Parent Award Ceremonies were held. “My son grabbed me by the hand and said, ‘Come on, I want you to meet someone,'” she recalled. He then “practically dragged” her across the big space to introduce her to Sandusky. “I was like, ‘Okay, nice to meet you.’ I didn’t know who he was. I had no clue who he was. I had never even heard of Jerry Sandusky prior to this.”

    Mother One remembers regularly seeing Sandusky frequenting the school halls throughout her son’s middle school years. She assumed he was volunteering in some capacity and didn’t think further of it.

    Toward the end of eighth grade, things changed at home. Victim One began to lash out in unusual ways, his mother recalled, “getting mouthy and nasty at home.”

    “I called the school psychologist and they brushed it off. They said it was just puberty. That he was a good kid and that it would all work out.”

    Since she had no reason to suspect anything else was amiss, she said she went along with the counselor’s advice.

    The following year was Victim One’s first at Central Mountain High. Once again, Sandusky apparently had a presence at the school.

    Mother One says she still didn’t find his presence odd — at least not at first. “I thought he was involved in all the schools. I thought that he just made the rounds.”

  106. Elaine M:

    Good work there, Elaine. Seems Coach Turchetta might have been dragged into his “heroism” kicking and screaming. Welcome to small town America, where most everyone is complicit.

  107. Penn State’s New Villain: Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett
    The investigation of Jerry Sandusky began when Tom Corbett, the Pennsylvania governor, was attorney general. What took so long?
    The Daily Beast

    Like an unchecked oil spill with no effective cleanup plan in sight, the black ooze flowing from the tragedy and travesty of the Penn State scandal keeps spreading, covering even those who—because of mad-dash coverage, in particular by The New York Times—were originally hailed as instant heroes.

    A week after a state grand jury reported dozens of horrific acts of sexual abuse against minors by former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, the only man who stood tall was Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett.

    The investigation started in 2009 on Corbett’s watch, when he was state attorney general, and the release of the 40-count indictment against Sandusky occurred with Corbett in the governor’s mansion.

    It was hard not to admire him, although Jo Becker went a little far in her shameless puff piece in the Times on Nov. 10. He had taken on a case of such enormous ramifications, ripping open the state’s most sacrosanct institution and its most powerful man, football coach Joe Paterno. The great JoePa, who did nothing to stop Sandusky’s alleged depravity but kick it upstairs to superiors when everyone knew Paterno had no superiors, was fired. Graham Spanier, the president of Penn State, was out as well.

    That made Corbett appear even taller.

    Except for the fact that the way his office handled the investigation raises inevitable and legitimate questions about why an alleged sexual predator was allowed to remain at large for nearly three years while the grand jury investigated. The question of political considerations cannot be avoided.

    Not only that, but Corbett’s gubernatorial staff approved—yes, approved—a $3 million grant to Second Mile, the foundation for kids that, according to the grand jury, served as a repository for potential sex-abuse victims. Corbett knew about the grant and let it through last July for reasons that seem absurd.

    Kathleen Kane, who is running for attorney general, is a Democrat, while Corbett is a Republican. But Kane was also an assistant district attorney in Lackawanna County who specialized in cases of sexual abuse for 12 years. She told me that in any case where authorities know of an alleged sexual predator believed to have committed a crime, the first obligation is to make an arrest. The risk of Sandusky committing another act against a minor child was too great to wait three years for a report, she said emphatically.

    Corbett brushed off any criticism last week as being misinformed. “The investigation moved as quickly as it could,” he told The Philadelphia Inquirer. “If, during the time that I was in office, we could have been in a position to make an arrest, we would have made an arrest.”

    I am not a lawyer, but I have spoken to former prosecutors who have dealt with sexual abuse, including rape, and they don’t buy Corbett’s line for a second. “You don’t need a grand-jury report,” said one. “If there is an alleged sexual predator on the streets known to you, you get him off the streets.” After an arrest, the former prosecutor said, there is nothing to preclude investigators from finding more alleged victims. In fact, victims might have been more comfortable coming forward knowing that the alleged perpetrator had been arrested. And the actions of Penn State officials still could have been probed.

  108. Great updates Elaine. As the mother of one victim stated in the Huffington Post article, “I thought that he just made the rounds.” Unfortunately, he did make the “rounds” and no adult had the sense to stop it.

  109. mespo,

    I think you’re right. One has to wonder how many people have dirty hands in this scandal. That story about the school and how its principal, vice principal/football coach, and counselor responded to Victim One and his mother made me sick to my stomach.

  110. Elaine M:

    I think it’s about small town justice. Serene isn’t it?

    See my favorite play, An Enemy of the People, by Henrik Ibsen.

  111. I think Gov Corbett, then AG, heeded the advice to all revolutionaries written by Emerson, “When you strike at a king, you must kill him.”

  112. Alleged Penn State victim says to sue charity

    NEW YORK (Reuters) – One of the alleged victims in the Penn State University child sex abuse scandal on Wednesday sought an injunction to stop the Second Mile charity from dissipating its assets.

    In a filing in Pennsylvania state court, the alleged victim said he and others intended to sue The Second Mile for negligence and failing to report known sexual abuse of children, and wanted to stop the charity’s assets from disappearing.

    The Second Mile is the children’s charity founded by former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, who has been charged with 40 counts of sexual abuse.

    According to the grand jury report that laid out the charges against Sandusky, The Second Mile learned almost a decade ago that he had showered with a young boy but did not alert the police.

    Last week, the charity said it had accepted the resignation of its chief executive of 28 years, Jack Raykovitz. In a November 21 statement on its website, it said it was exploring options regarding its future, including not continuing.

    The court filing on Wednesday said it sought to stop the charity from discontinuing or transferring its programs to other organizations.

    “The assets of The Second Mile should not be dissipated, encumbered or in way obligated or disturbed in any form and should be available to victims of sexual abuse,” according to the court filing.

  113. So, a family member finally comes forward. It is amazing to me that when a prosecution begins for sexual abuse of children, the prosecutors do not automatically check out the children in the family of the alleged molester. But history shows that the obvious step is most often skipped. I remember that COUNTRY WALK zeroed in on a man who had children, but the children were never even interviewed by child protective services personnel. The vast majority of child sexual abuse is really incest, yet that is the most easily covered up and the hardest to prove. It is also the most deadly, in terms of its effect upon the victims. Those effects are very difficult to even identify, much less attribute. I heard one woman who had been molested by her father, her uncle and then her dentist say: “It’s horrible to be molested by your dentist, you TRUST HIM! I mean, OK, your father did it, your uncle did it, you can get over that, but your DENTIST? You will never trust anyone to take care of your teeth again!”

  114. I found (from an INCREDIBLY unlikely source) a well composed and well researched blog post that essentially outlines the link between homophobic organizations in which adults have “ultimate authority” over children and pedophilia. I think if more people understood the reality that pedophilia is incur able, dangerous, and facilitated by these organizations, more of them would come under scrutiny. Click here to read it for yourself .

  115. “The best thing Mr. Sandusky could do for us now is to kill himself…”

    I respectfully disagree. If Mr. Sandusky has abused children (and although I believe he probably has, I could not sit on the jury for exactly that reason), I actually believe the “best thing he could do for us now” would be to do a real, honest, no-holds-barred TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION about ALL OF IT, ALL OF IT, including the obsession, the compulsion, the victimization, the criminality, the cover-up, the many people who HELPED HIM COVER-UP, the circling of the poisonous wagons around the perp, the advice of the lawyers to hide the crimes, the attempts to further sabotage the lives and reputations of the accusers, the lack of regret, the self-righteous bullying fraudulent indignation, the private smirks, the self-congratulation on “scores,” the pugilistic terroristic threatening of anybody who would object, the meanness, the nastiness, the dirtiness, the shameful revisionism, the thug tactics, the punk tactics, the nauseating fakery, all of it all of it all of it all of it every single little disgusting bit of it ALL OF IT and then we might get one percent of the way toward a better world to live in for about a minute.

    And we really need this. Especially those of us who have been victimized by anybody who has power over us and over the society in which we live; WE NEED THIS and we NEED IT NOW.

  116. Oh, and another thing before I fall off my notoriously unsteady soap-box: I think the reason the homophobic organizations are the ones that foster or “fertilize” more pedophiles has to do not with homophobia but with COERCIVE CONTROL. Military and paramilitary organizations (boy scouts etc.), strict religious hierarchies (Catholic Church) and male sports teams, testosterone-plus-plus organizations (football teams and their universities) etc. are built on the patriarchal control model. “Sir, Yes, Sir” is the model. “Our father who art in Heaven” is the model. “Loyalty and obedience” is the model. It is the patriarchal family, in which the young are totally dominated, and that leaves no room for objecting to exploitation, be it emotional, sexual, or other.

    When someone totally controls you, even controls your self-esteem and your worthiness (to get into Heaven, even!), he has so much power over you that he can misuse that power. That is what child sexual abuse really is: abuse of power.

    OK, that’s all, g’nite.

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  118. Mainstream media are now walking back on the story that Joe Paterno has died at age 85. He is apparently not dead at the moment, but may be in very serious or critical condition. Wait and see–looks as if the Associated Press and CBS News in particular may have jumped the gun.

  119. Legendary Penn State coach Paterno dead at 85

    State College, Pennsylvania (CNN) — Joe Paterno, whose tenure as the most successful coach in major college football history ended abruptly in November amid allegations that he failed to respond forcefully enough to a sex abuse scandal involving a former assistant, died Sunday, his family said. He was 85.

  120. An article in the on-line sports website had this information:

    “… supporters of [Paterno], once the most respected man in both his sport and his state, seem to be on the defensive.

    “According to CNN, a recently leaked e-mail uncovered by Freeh’s investigation indicated Paterno may have urged a cover-up after Mike McQueary discovered Sandusky and a young boy in a football-building shower in 2001.

    “Paterno’s family urged that judgment be withheld until all the details of Freeh’s probe can be made public. ‘Someone in a position of authority is not interested in a fair or thorough investigation,’ Wick Sollers, the family’s attorney, said of the leak last week.


    I love this. This has to win the International Irony In Investigations award.

    I don’t know how to get bold-face type into a comment on the blog, but I want to set out what the Paterno family attorney actually fixed his mouth to enunciate:



    ********* IN **********

    A * FAIR * OR **********************

    THOROUGH ***********************


    !!!!!! :-( :-( :-( :-(

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