JoePa is Still Grandpa to Me


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I have been overwhelmed and quite honestly humbled by the number of requests for my take on the Penn state / Joe Paterno situation. The first thing I’d like to say is thank you for caring about my opinion! Secondly, please don’t take my silence for apathy. I must… and I wish everyone would look at cases like this with a critical and cautious eye… for the sake of the potential victim(s) and the accused.

Keep in mind that I was the victim of false accusations at one point in my life. With no warning or cause my life was turned upside down for a period of roughly 14 months. It was the darkest period of my life. The experience taught me that judgment should be reserved until all of the facts are in.

The first thing I need to look at are facts and emotion needs to be left at the door. while the facts of this situation are still coming in here is what we know at this point:

a. It was a Penn State graduate assistant who allegedly SAW the abuse.

b. This grad student saw the abuse and chose to walk away.

c. He went home and told his father about what he saw.

d. The grad student & the father returned to inform Joe Paterno about the abuse.

e. The grad student & the father did not go to the police.

f. Paterno received this third party description of events and informed the people he reports to… university administration.

g. We now know that there was a 1998 grand jury “investigation”

h. This grand jury chose NOT to pursue the case

i. In 2002 the charity at the heart of this case was informed.

j. This charity took no action.


The second thing I need to look at is the context of events & in his shoes, in his position what would I have done?

I posed this scenario to a couple we had dinner with last night. She holds a very senior level position in a banking system and her husband works for himself, in the entertainment industry. Their perspectives were interestingly influenced by their employment situations. I asked “her”…. ” If an employee and his father came to you and described seeing the sexual abuse of another employee or even a child on company property .. what would you do as an employee of the company?” Her answer.. ” I would absolutely inform my superiors”.

Interestingly, her husband was miffed by this answer. He could not believe that she wouldn’t go immediately to the police.

So where does that leave me and my opinion at this point. I feel horrible for Paterno and believe the media should be ashamed of itself for handling this situation the way they have. I also believe Joe should sue Penn State for his firing.

Paterno didn’t sit on this information… he did NOT attempt to hide it… on the day he received the information he informed his superiors… as he should as a man in his position hearing a third party account. The bigger question for me is why the hell didn’t the grad student step in? How can you leave a child to be raped in a shower? I say this with all sincerity… If I see, with my own eyes, a child being abused… I will seriously injure & potentially kill the abuser and ask for forgiveness later. As a human being & mother I would be incapable of leaving that child to be raped.

So let’s assume this grad assistant is a colossal pussy and has the mental constitution of a fruit fly… why didn’t HE go to the authorities? Why didn’t the father upon hearing the account drag his son to the police?


At this point… the only person who DID anything positive was Joe .. he informed university administration.. as he should have IMHO.

In hindsight, and based upon what we know today, Joe’s decision to inform university administration looks even MORE RATIONAL considering what we know about the 1998 grand jury outcome…. they did not feel there was enough evidence to move forward.

This does.. or should raise another question….. If there was a grand jury .. the authorities WERE involved. How did they come to be involved? A grand jury cannot be convened unless there has been a criminal investigation… someone said something to law enforcement at some point. Who, what , where, when & why?


Some additional thoughts…

Victim No. 2, who is at the heart of what has been termed the Penn State Child Sex Abuse Scandal, has not only failed to come forward to police or prosectors, but cannot even be identified or found.

We may discover in the civil or criminal actions that will certainly arise from this scandal, that JoePa did all he is required to do by law or were allowed to do by other parties to the incident. I am not sure. And none of us can be sure. But, right now, with only the testimony of a single eyewitness, Mr. McQueary, we cannot even be legally certain that the Penn State Board of Trustees did the correct thing in firing Mr. Paterno; a termination that could be grounds for a lawsuit by this legendary coach, especially if he is found to be blameless in all regards.

As Nick DiNunzio made clear in his Crotty on Education guest column yesterday, certitude on such matters, let alone moral certitude on the alleged crimes and cover-up, is not possible until we have all the facts. And we don’t have all the facts. We don’t yet have a trial. We don’t have much of anything about the critical 2002 incident, except one eyewitness account and a whole bunch of speculation and hearsay. Which is why, though I am deeply troubled by the many allegations – which go far beyond the critical 2002 incident – I am in no rush to judgment. And I urge everyone, who respects the American legal system, and the rights to the presumption of innocence and due process that we supposedly hold dear, to show the same mature restraint.

I am equally troubled that recently we have seen the tremendous harm that is done when a media-stoked clan convicts a person before all the facts are known and before the accused has his or her day in court. Remember the Duke Lacross case? Remember the allegations against Kobe? Or how about by way of example, Richard Jewell, the security guard falsely accused of the Centennial Olympic Park bombing at the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics. Jewell had his life turned upside down by a rush to judgment and died an early death at age 44. If JoePa meets this fate before all of the facts of this situation are known.. his blood is on the hands of all those now crucifying him. And if he is found to be one of the few who actually did do what he was supposed to.. report it to his superiors and this fate befalls him… I hope there is a special place in hell reserved for you.

Then there are cases such as the 2004, John Stoll case in Bakersfield, California. This poor guy was finally released after twenty years in prison for alleged child molestation. This is because it was discovered that four of the accusers had made up false stories of molestation under pressure from an overzealous prosecutor. An alleged fifth victim couldn’t remember much. And the sixth, Stoll’s own son, was found to have been pressured into testifying against Stoll by his mother. Twenty-two other convictions have since been overturned in Bakersfield for similar reasons.

Then as reported in the Forbes article, there was the recent case of former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, an arrogant scumbag if there ever was one, who walks free today in large part because of a rush to judgment about his alleged sexual assault of a maid in suite 2806 of the Sofitel Hotel on May 14th of this year. Strauss-Kahn was tried first in the court of public opinion, and, because of their own rush to judgment, prosecutors fully trusted in an unreliable victim and sole witness to the alleged assault. After it was shown that the maid lied about her background and immigration status and had made suspicious calls to her jailed boyfriend, she lost all credibility and, thus, Strauss-Kahn was set free.

The hallmark of our justice system and central to our country’s soul is that we strive to give a fair trial to even the most reprehensible among us. But when we create a climate of irrational hysteria, no one gets a fair trial, real criminals go free, and victims are re-victimized all over again.


For now…. I stand by Paterno one of the only people in this whole mess who actually did something back when this all started.



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