Joe Paterno Knew About Child Abuse as Early as 1998

By 07.12.12

Here's a quick guide to the major allegations made in the report, which Penn State commissioned back in November to get to the bottom of the scandal:

1. Paterno, President Graham Spanier, Vice President Gary Schultz and athletic director Tim Curley knew about a 1998 criminal investigation of Sandusky and did nothing about it. Culled by Yahoo's Dan Wetzel:

The evidence shows that Mr. Paterno was made aware of the 1998 investigation of Sandusky, followed it closely, but failed to take any action, even though Sandusky had been a key member of his coaching staff for almost 30 years, and had an office just steps away from Mr. Paterno's.

At the very least, Mr. Paterno could have alerted the entire football staff, in order to prevent Sandusky from bringing another child into the Lasch Building. Messrs. Spanier, Schultz, Paterno and Curley also failed to alert the Board of Trustees about the 1998 investigation or take any further action against Mr. Sandusky. None of them even spoke to Sandusky about his conduct.

In short, nothing was done and Sandusky was allowed to continue with impunity.


As Patriot-News reporter Sarah Ganim writes, this contradicts what Paterno told a Grand Jury in 2011, and what he told the Washington Post's Sally Jenkins in his final interview:

That's the opposite of what the late coach testified to under oath when he went before a grand jury in 2011. He also denied knowing anything about the 1998 report days before he died in January, when he agreed to an interview with The Washington Post.

Instead, Paterno said the only allegation he knew of against Sandusky was made by assistant coach Mike McQueary in 2001. Paterno said he reported the allegation to his superiors, and stepped away.


2. Janitors witnessed Sandusky with a boy in 2000, but didn't report it because they were fearful of being fired. Found by Deadspin's Timothy Burke:

Individuals cited in the report as “Janitor A” and “Janitor B” both observed disturbing behavior in Fall 2000, and the report points to Joe Paterno's “excessive influence” in creating a chilling effect for lower-level Penn State employees to report football team misdoings.

“The University would have closed ranks to protect the football program at all costs,” states the report as a characterization of the interview conducted with the janitor last week. The incident “would have been like going against the President of the United States […] I know Paterno has so much power, if he wanted to get rid of someone, I would have been gone.”


3. Administrators wanted to turn in Sandusky in 2001, only to be stopped by the higher-ups. Again, from Wetzel:

The Freeh Group said the administrators were prepared to call child services and report Sandusky until a meeting between Curley and Paterno on Feb. 26, 2001. Curley later sent an email saying he was no longer comfortable with turning Sandusky in.

Based on the evidence, the only known, intervening factor between the decision made on February 25, 2001 by Messrs. Spanier, Curley and Schulz to report the incident to the Department of Public Welfare, and then agreeing not to do so on February 27th, was Mr. Paterno's February 26th conversation with Mr. Curley.


Most likely, more information will come from the long report as others wade through it. If you want to read the whole thing, you can do so here.

TAGSJerry SanduskyJerry Sandusky trialJoe PaternoPenn StatePenn State scandal

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