The Penn State Board of Trustees has been the object of utter scorn by alumni upset over the firing of football coach Joe Paterno. They elected two outspoken (one of them obnoxious) members tot he BOT in retaliation, a bit early as it turns out according to email records leaked tot he press. The Penn State internal investigation led by former FBI head Louis Freeh unearthed previously hidden email exchanges among the principles in the university’s cover-up: President Graham Spanier, Athletic Director Tim Curley and VP Gary Schultz.
Interestingly these email records weren’t turned over to Attorney General investigators as part of subpoenas of such records. That could enatil further criminal charges. The scandal has, so far, cost PSU $12 million. Lawsuits against the University by victims of Jerry Sandusky’s sexual abuse will raise that sum exponentially. Spanier may very well face criminal charges for the cover-up.
Federal and state laws require reporting to authorities of suspected sexual abuse of minors. The emails show a discussion among the principlas about the matter and a final determination that the “humane” (their word, not mine) thing to do was to hush it up to protect Sandusky. This happened in 2001 following the infamous instance where Mike McQueary walked into a football locker room to find the former coach raping a boy. Because no investigation ever happened no one, to this day, can identify the victim. The emails show that, at one point, Curley discussed the matter with Paterno in a follow-up conversation. It was following that that the decision was made to drop the matter and not report it as required by law. Spanier even mentioned the danger of doing so could have tot he university if knowledge of the incident became public. Of course it did.
Joe Paterno claimed he passed along the information then had no further involvement. The emails show that NOT to be the case. Tim Curley, after discussing it again with the head coach then suggested the matter be dropped. It was. The Paterno family, in a statement released yesterday, claimed the coach never used email and so wasn’t involved in the communications leaked. No one has claimed he authored any of the emails so this disclaimer is mysterious and misdirectional. Curley said, in his emails, he went back to Paterno and discussed the matter as he, Spanier and Schultz sought a solution to the situation. After that later conversation with Joe the three decided not to do the moral thing. For this the firing of Joe Paterno was entirely justified.
The humane course of action, of course, would have been an immediate police investigation to identify the boy, interview Sandusky, the alleged victim and Mr. McQueary. Valuable time was lost as the administrators discussed how to handle a sensitive matter. Their decision was to cover it up after consultation with JoePa. That’s as damning as it gets.
I sincerely hope all involved in the cover-up face criminal charges and that the alumni wake up to the fact the football program was put ahead of child welfare. This was inexcusable and alumni supporting that decision and protesting the treatment of a head coach knee deep in the shit should be disgraced. The reputation of a proud institution is on the line and my fellow alumni further damage it in their denial. The evidence is irrefutable.