“Whatever the details of the investigation are, this much is clear to me: There was a villain in this tragedy. It lies in the investigation, not in Joe Paterno’s response to it,” Knight said, prompting a prolonged standing ovation from the crowd in the Bryce Jordan Center on the Penn State campus.
The attempted absolution of Joe Paterno is obscene. He may have done many admirable things but don’t believe those who say judge not lest you be judged, at least not in this case.
If I was told that one of my charges had witnessed a colleague raping a 10-year-old my reaction would’ve been swift and certain. You would do the same, assuming you’re not a coward more concerned with your legacy than the health and welfare of defenseless children.
Paterno’s inaction speaks for itself. And as Victor Fiorillo points out, Paterno’s claim that he didn’t comprehend the concept of “rape and a man” is ludicrous.
Paterno was 75 in 2002. Are we really expected to believe that in those 75 years of life that he had never heard of men sexually abusing boys? Keep in mind that in the weeks prior to Paterno learning of the allegations against Jerry Sandusky, the Catholic Church sex-abuse scandal in Boston was blowing up all over the national news. In the days leading up to Paterno’s revealing meeting with Mike McQueary—the one where McQueary told him about the disturbing event he had witnessed in the shower—every major newspaper in the country and every television network was covering the tragic events in Boston. There’s no way that Paterno, a lifelong Catholic, was oblivious to these stories.
There was one person at Penn State in a position to put a stop to Sandusky’s alleged abuse of children, and that person was the most powerful, most well-regarded, most respected person on campus: Joe Paterno. But he didn’t. He “turned it over to some other people,” as he told the Post. I give him credit for fessing up to his failure when he said in a recent statement, “I wish I had done more.” But that only goes so far.