BOSTON (CBS) – On Thursday, the former director of the FBI, Louis Freeh — after being appointed by the Penn State board of trustees to investigate the university’s involvement in Jerry Sandusky’s crimes on their campus — released a 267 page report in which Joe Paterno’s name was mentioned 191 times.
There are several highlights in the wide-ranging report, but when it comes to Paterno and his legacy there is really only one finding you need to understand.
In 2001, after Mike McQueary witnessed Sandusky’s second rape on campus, there was a turning point in the Penn State offices in deciding the best course of action. The president and athletic director came to the obvious, albeit late, conclusion that after two rapes it was time to hand the evidence over to the Pennsylvania child welfare offices and alert the proper authorities.
Joe Paterno had other plans; he wanted to protect his long time pal and, more importantly, his reputation. So he told them it would be best for him to handle it in-house and the three spineless leaders caved.
For the better part of the decade that followed the inaction of the leaders of Penn State, Jerry Sandusky raped and sodomized at least eight other children hundreds of times while using Penn State’s football program to attract and lure his victims.
Think about that; instead of Sandusky rotting in jail for the rest of his life, Paterno covered up his disgusting behavior and allowed him to continue work at Second Mile, his camp for at risk kids, and around the football program to lure future victims.
Instead of putting a stop to the rapes, Paterno emboldened Sandusky to continue his vile behavior. Sandusky must have said to himself “hey, if the most powerful man in Pennsylvania knows that I have raped two kids, protected me, and still allows me around the team, nobody can stop me now!”
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Many people have said that this should not take away from the graduation rate Paterno’s Nittany Lions had, all the money his family gave to the library, and the countless players whose lives were changed by his guidance while playing for him.
Well, sorry. It should and it does. I wonder what solace victims number two through ten feel in knowing that while Joe Paterno could have prevented the ruin of their youth, his All-American linebacker graduated in four years!
Penn State’s football program needs the Death Penalty.
The region and the university need to focus on cleansing the community and rebuilding it with values and an understanding of what transpired so that no one man has this power to enable evil again.
It should start today, by removing the Joe Paterno statue and starting over with their priorities in order.
Chris Curtis has produced 98.5 The Sports Hub’s The DA Show the last three years. Follow him on Twitter @DAShowProducer.