Blog Entry

Paterno gives first interview on Sandusky scandal

Posted on: January 14, 2012 4:48 pm
Edited on: January 14, 2012 5:50 pm

Posted by Chip Patterson

Joe Paterno has begun to tell his side of the story. Sally Jenkins, of The Washington Post, did an exclusive interview with Paterno - his first official comments regarding the fallout at Penn State since his firing on Nov. 9. The story will be published in Sunday's edition of the paper, and was made available online on Saturday.

In the story Paterno gives his account of the events surrounding the alleged rape of a young boy by Jerry Sandusky in the Penn State facilities in 2002. The details of what Mike McQueary told the Penn State head coach, and the steps that were or weren't taken by Penn State officials.

From the piece in Sunday's Washington Post:

Paterno contends that ignorance was the context with which he heard McQueary’s disturbing story in 2002. McQueary, sitting at Paterno’s kitchen table, told him that he had been at the football building late the evening before when he heard noises coming from the shower. “He was very upset and I said why, and he was very reluctant to get into it,” Paterno said. “He told me what he saw, and I said, what? He said it, well, looked like inappropriate, or fondling, I’m not quite sure exactly how he put it. I said you did what you had to do. It’s my job now to figure out what we want to do. So I sat around. It was a Saturday. Waited till Sunday because I wanted to make sure I knew what I was doing. And then I called my superiors and I said, ‘Hey, we got a problem, I think. Would you guys look into it?’ Cause I didn’t know, you know. We never had, until that point, 58 years I think, I had never had to deal with something like that. And I didn’t feel adequate.”

At that point, Paterno set up a meeting for McQueary and Curley, the athletic director, and Schultz, who oversaw university police. McQueary has testified that he gave both men a far more graphic description of what he witnessed, which he believed to be Sandusky sodomizing a boy of about 10, who had his hands against the shower wall. At the preliminary hearing for Curley and Schultz on Dec. 16, McQueary said he had been reluctant to go into similar “great detail about sexual acts” with Paterno, out of respect for the coach, who was 78 at the time.

Schultz and Curley have maintained that McQueary failed to impart the seriousness of what he saw to them as well. They never told police about the allegation, instead informing Sandusky he could no longer bring children to university facilities. Prosecutors say Sandusky continued to abuse boys for six more years.

Paterno has said, “In hindsight, I wish I had done more.”

Most of the story lines up with Paterno's grand jury testimony, but there was some interesting insight into Jerry Sandusky's exit. Paterno explains in the interview that he was growing frustrated with Sandusky's involvement with Second Mile, the charity he used to help identify potential victims.

“He came to see me and we talked a little about his career,” Paterno said in the story. “I said, you know, Jerry, you want to be head coach, you can’t do as much as you’re doing with the other operation. I said this job takes so much detail, and for you to think you can go off and get involved in fundraising and a lot of things like that. . . . I said you can’t do both, that’s basically what I told him.”

The interview with Sally Jenkins was conducted on Jan. 12-13, you can read the full story here.

Follow Jim Rodenbush's Nittany Lions RapidReports for more on developments from State College, Pa.

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Since: Mar 20, 2008
Posted on: January 16, 2012 12:10 pm

Glass house dwellers beware

As a professional manager, I was trained in 2001 on how to handle unfortunate situations that may occur in my workplace.  Typically this training deals with how to respond to claims of harassment.  Whether I observe it directly or indirectly is of no consequence, my reaction is required to be the same, to assume the claim is true.  Next step is to report it to Human Resources where I will issue a statement or statements as required.  HR will perform all subsequent interviews and hand out penalties as required as a result of their investigation. As the manager I am given no further information unless it directly impacts an employee that reports to me.  But no other information is shared specific to the findings out of respect for all parties.  Clearly, respect for all parties must be adhered to else libel could be impuned on one or more people in the investigation.

Having been through specific cases where employees were terminated I can tell you I had no idea as to the details of the investigation.  Nothing scandalous, nothing at all. I responded immediately upon being told of the incident and took the case to HR.

So now let's apply the same standard to McQueary. He saw something horrible.  He reported it to his boss.  Appropriate. He is clean.

His boss (Paterno) reported it to his boss and campus police (I suppose this akin to HR).  These folks conducted an interview of McQueary.  Not much else is known of their investigation at this time.  To the level of due diligence they performed I cannot comment, but clearly this is where the failure occurred. Paterno is mostly clean.  His bosses are not.

I know harassment is bad and child molestation is worse.  But even in the case where harassment happened to one of my employees I was upset with myself for not having seen it myself or recognized it sooner or whatever.  The point is I was introspective of my own behaviors and wanted to share some of the blame for not having done more.  But in the end. I probably did all I could do.  The person, the individual, must bear his or her own burden and responsibility in these matters.

I have no dog in the Penn State discussion and really could not care less about them.  That said, I imagine Paterno does not deserve the criticism many of you are quick to apply.  Having been there, I know how he is feeling.  If only I had seen this or done that. 

For you folks living in glass houses, put down the stone. 

Since: Jan 4, 2011
Posted on: January 16, 2012 11:32 am

Paterno gives first interview on Sandusky scandal

I know all you Penn Staters love to think of Joe Pa as a God, but he's a human, and as a human, he makes mistakes.  He made a  H - U - G - E one in how he handled this situation, and it got him removed from his duties.  (He was NOT fired.)  Those of you who are now saying Joe was "just a football coach" are either lying to yourselves or to us.  Everybody knows that wasn't the case, and that he easily could have done, or had others do, much much more (as I contend he would have, had the victim been one of his grandchildren).  This doesn't eliminate all the good he did for the University, but it certainly detracts from it. 

Since: Sep 23, 2006
Posted on: January 16, 2012 10:17 am

Paterno gives first interview on Sandusky scandal

 so many journalist and posters act like they are the experts on ALLEGED child abuse/ sex abuse/ and it seems they expect Joe to be a expert on it too....And Joe just stated he isn't..
WHEN a report is ALLEGED, you report it..WHAT did Joe do? Was Joe told there is nothing to it, after he seen himself McQueary give 2 different stories?

Since: Sep 2, 2011
Posted on: January 16, 2012 10:09 am

Paterno gives first interview on Sandusky scandal

Quit picking on Joe Pa!  So he let some kids get raped, he also won a lot of football games.  I guess it just depends on what's important to you.

Since: Dec 14, 2006
Posted on: January 16, 2012 9:48 am

Paterno gives first interview on Sandusky scandal

I have read many of the comments posted and have come to the following conclusion:

Pro-Paterno --- Penn State Football fans,, Football first rah-rah-rah.

Anti-Paterno--  People who think stopping child molesters in their tracks by doing the right thing is important.

Since: Jan 13, 2007
Posted on: January 16, 2012 9:41 am

Paterno gives first interview on Sandusky scandal

Throw Penn State out of the BIG.

Since: Sep 27, 2006
Posted on: January 16, 2012 9:37 am

Paterno gives first interview on Sandusky scandal

If Paterno's story is true, and my hunch is that it is true, he did what anyone would do while at their job...  Paterno didn't witness the shower event.  He heard the story second hand.  He raised the issue to his superiors to handle it.  Let's not think for a second that a football coach should have put himself in charge of investigating a case like this on his own.  PLEASE!  He did the right thing.  He put the problem in the hands of the administrative people who should have handled it.  Paterno's superiors are the ones to blame.  They let him down.  Instead they put the blame on Paterno and Paterno lost his job over it.  Pretty sad when you think about.  Penn State's administration is covering this thing up and they are using Paterno as the scape goat.

Since: Dec 7, 2008
Posted on: January 16, 2012 9:24 am

Paterno gives first interview on Sandusky scandal

buckfan,   guys from that generation can't wrap there head around stuff like that, doesn't make it right but when they were growing up no one did stuff like touching little boys

Since: Jul 9, 2008
Posted on: January 16, 2012 9:13 am

Paterno gives first interview on Sandusky scandal

For someone to say that Paterno was as guilty as Sandusky what about McCready, if he had gone straight to the police we would not be having this conversation. I have respect for Coach Paterno and even he admits that he should have done more. However for someone who has given that university 60 years of his life, to be fired over the phone....NO CLASS

Since: Jul 21, 2007
Posted on: January 16, 2012 7:14 am

Paterno gives first interview on Sandusky scandal

Moonglum1, I disagree with you on the principle of "wrongfully fired." This happened on Joe's "watch" as head football coach and happened far too long. The fact he was repeatedly allowed to molest boys is abhorrent. Paterno, by association as a boss, didn't participate in molesting, but he allowed it to continue and presumably didn't check back to ensure this was no longer a problem.

I used to respect Paterno, but he will have to re-earn that.

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