Box Turtle Bulletin

Box Turtle BulletinNews, analysis and fact-checking of anti-gay rhetoric
“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
This article can be found at:
Latest Posts

High Crimes

Jim Burroway

November 14th, 2011

I’ve said this before and I’ll probably say it again a thousand more times: I cannot fathom what it is that gets into people who think that the appropriate response to witnessing the commission of a felony is not to call the police. Instead, they “report” it to a bureaucrat of an institution in whose best interest it is for the “scandal” — no, it’s not a scandal, it’s a crime — to be brushed under the rug and kept out of the newspapers. For decades, children were molested by Catholic priests and nobody thought to call the police. For decades, gay kids have been feloniously assaulted in the schools and an administrator is called upon to do what the prosecuting attorney is legally constituted to do.

And so we see the familiar pattern repeated again at Penn State. A grad student witnessed Penn State’s defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky raping a ten-year-old boy in the football team’s shower room and what was his response? If you had guessed that the burly former star Penn State quarterback stepped in to rescue a defenseless child from a rapist, you’d be wrong. Instead, he told Joe Paterno, who told someone in the administration, and everyone along the line let the matter drop after, I assume, a stern scolding of Sandusky. “Don’t do that again!”, I’m sure they told him. Except he did, of course, for more than ten more years and who knows how many more victims. Meanwhile, Mike McQueary, that grad student, went on to become an assistant coach. And Paterno, that paragon of virtue and civic responsibility, y0u know his response would have been very different had McQueary told him that something funny was going on between Sandusky and Paterno’s grandson. But that’s not who the victim was, and so Paterno revealed that all of his virtues went toward defending Penn State, and not an innocent young rape victim at the hands of his former employee in his own shower room.

Sandusky has finally been arrested, along with two Penn State officials who covered up his crimes and enabled him to continue raping God knows how many more kids in the decade since McQueary and Paterno’s shrug. The more he know about Sandusky, the more we can see that he fits an exceptionally well-defined pattern of a pedophile. First off, this case shows that heterosexual adult men — Sandusky is married and the upstanding father of six adopted children — can and do abuse boys. In fact, it’s the norm. Sandusky’s targets were mostly prepubertal males between the ages of 7 to 12. (Gay men, if they do engage in sexual conduct with underage males, are much more likely to choose post-pubescent males, not pre-pubescent ones.) A pedophile typically prefers a specific pre-pubertal male or female body type, but will sometimes abuse the other gender if their preferred type is not available, To a pedophile, pre-pubertal children’s bodies are sufficiently similar. He carefully selected his victims and “groomed” them with gifts, tickets to Penn State games, and access to the child’s football heros before and after the game. Plying them with gifts like these not only won over their trust — and their parents’ trust as well — but also ensured their silence when payback time came around:

The coach’s actions, according to his accusers, followed a pattern. He’d invite them places, pick them up in his car and then, they say, place his hand on their thigh while driving.

At the Penn State football facility, the grand jury alleges, he’d take them to work out and then suggest they shower together, where the touching progressed: soap fights, back rubs and naked bear hugs. It would allegedly lead to more.

Some accusers described a basement room in Sandusky’s house where they stayed overnight. He’d lie down and tickle them, rub their backs, and blow on their stomachs, they said. One alleged victim, now 24, told the grand jury he “would roll over on his stomach to prevent Sandusky from touching his genitals.”

If any of the boys tried to avoid him, the coach would stalk them by calling dozens of times and by visiting their homes, according to the grand jury report.

He’d try to regain their favor by buying them gifts: shoes, electronics, clothes, anything a kid might want.

Sandusky’s tactics didn’t always work. Many boys resisted. But others didn’t. And in the most insidious aspect to this whole mess, Sandusky set up an entire charity which may well have done some good in the lives of some of these young boys, but we also know it served as a conduit of victims for Sandusky’s ongoing criminal activities. That alone makes this case rather unique. Most pedophiles don’t have the resources to create their own supply chain. But other than that, Sandusky’s case represents a textbook case of what has been identified as a “regressed” type pedophile. For more information into this phenomenon, please see our report, Testing the Premise: Are Gays A Threat To Our Children?

And finally, some on the extreme right are taking this case as a reason why gays and lesbians shouldn’t be around children. That reaction is as predictable as it is nonsensical. If there had been a nationwide ban on gays being within 100 yards of a child, these crimes would have still gone on undetected. Remember, he was married and would have been completely protected by both this imaginary ban and the ongoing collusion of Penn State officials. This has about as much to do with homosexuality as the Charles Manson murders has to do with gun control or John Lennon.

Comments

POST COMMENT | COMMENT RSS 2.0

Ben In Oakland
November 14th, 2011 | LINK

“Most pedophiles don’t have the resources to create their own supply chain.”

That’s what the Catholic Church is for.

On another note, I’ve placed this comment in several places:

Jerry Sandusky is a married man with a family. One more time, we find that the child molester is not a gay man, as the antigay industry so frequently avers, but is in fact a man who is publicly heterosexual in terms of his public interests and public experiences.

We have catholic priests, called to the priesthood and to celibacy by no less a personage than God himself, and certified to such a calling by the Catholic Church itself. And yet, there they are, doing a Sandusky on innocent children.

And yet, there are those who STILL want to blame out and proud gay men, men who would be horrified at the violation of a child, the problem.

And this is one of the reasons why we still have that problem. Blaming gay people instead of blaming pedophiles for the child molestation problem we have just perpetuates the problem.

Carrie
November 14th, 2011 | LINK

I’m glad to see this piece address McQueary’s accountability. I’ve been disturbed how laser-focused public criticism has been on Paterno, when McQueary had a more compelling reason to act (he was an eyewitness to rape rather than someone who heard an unverified secondhand account) and did even less to act on it (he told someone who had no power to investigate, whereas Paterno, in telling Schultz, was informing the head of campus police). Not that the culpability of others has any impact on the culpability of Paterno, but I think it says something that much criticism for Paterno seems to be to the exclusion of others who I think did worse: McQueary who witnessed a rape and told only Paterno, the janitor who witnessed another assault and told only the janitorial staff, the now-missing DA who declined to press charges in 1998 despite Sandusky having admitted what he had done, and others who saw or heard something foul over the years and did less than Paterno to act on them.

Not to say that I think Paterno is blameless; I think Paterno is looking pretty bad here, but it also seems to me people are drawing conclusions about Paterno’s knowledge motivations (that he knew the allegation had proved to be founded and deliberately let Curley and Schultz sweep it under the rug to preserve the university’s reputation) that are hasty based on the facts we *know.* I think we should be critical about the standard we are holding Paterno to: sociologists have found that if you tell people about a crime and ask them if they would have intervened if they knew about it, people are far more likely to *believe* that they would have intervened than they are to actually intervene if faced with the situation (for various reasons, e.g. the bystander effect http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bystander_effect). So I wonder if some of our ire is coming from a benefit of hindsight that Paterno didn’t have. But the facts aren’t completely clear at this point about what Paterno knew and when, and I’ll agree some of the circumstances look fishy, so even in light of this bias I don’t mean to say there’s no way, or even that it’s improbable Paterno is culpable. I’m reserving judgment until those facts are clearer. I just find it a little irksome that the mob is chomping at the bit to assume the worst about Paterno while completely ignoring the culpability of the people we *know* had more reliable and more damning information than he did and did less about what they knew.

justme
November 14th, 2011 | LINK

Carrie, you’re referencing sociologists to excuse a man in a position of authority who was informed that the man under him was a child rapist and then let him continue raping children? Shame on you.

Joe Paterno wasn’t a “bystander”, he was in charge. He not only didn’t exercise his authority — or common decency or common sense — by reporting just any old crime, he allowed a man to continue to rape children. Do you honestly believe he wouldn’t have pursued criminal charges against Sandusky if he was caught embezzling, because that would have been somebody else’s job? Of course not. But raping boys — well, who cares about that? Besides, he’s just a bystander.

We have all the facts. Why pretend we don’t? Exactly what is your agenda?

I repeat: shame on you.

Jim Hlavac
November 14th, 2011 | LINK

Isn’t it wonderful that when a boy gets abused by one of these hetero men, all homosexuals are tarred and feathered — but when hetero men abuse little girls heterosexuality is not implicated – then it’s just pedophilia and the individual. But no, we get the blame as a class of people — each of us is somehow the same as Sandusky — and yet all evidence is to the contrary, gay men just don’t seem to be going after boys at all. It just infuriates me.

What goes unsaid by our detractors — many of whom not only believe we molest boys into the “lifestyle” — but that all of us were similarly molested into gayness. And yet, time and again, with some 99% accuracy — all these male victims of abuse by men are not gay. All report troubles with their heterosexual relationships, yes, but none seem to be gay at all. It just blows their whole argument — which is that we are “recruiting” the next generation of gay men. And obviously, that is not what happens.

Craig
November 14th, 2011 | LINK

“…the man under him…”

“justme”: Please clarify. Sandusky was no longer working for Paterno at the time. Whether or not he was still subordinate to him in some other way is unknown to me.

Erin
November 14th, 2011 | LINK

@ Craig. He was no longer a coach, so he was not still an employee of the university. He was however, using the football facilities for his after school program. Anyone who oversaw the football program had a duty to turn this man in, as well as did anyone who the football program folks reported to. JoePa may not have had authority over him, but he was the head coach of a very popular and successful team. On the professional level, he could have had the man removed if he wanted him gone, and on a human level, which is a million times more important, he should have gone to a higher level of law enforcement and insisted the allegations be investigated when it became clear to him his superiors were sweeping it under the rug.

tristram
November 14th, 2011 | LINK

It seems pretty clear that Paterno was the Pope of Happy Valley. The athletic director, even the president, in effect reported to him. How many traffic tickets do you think Paterno paid in his many years in State College, PA?

Muscat
November 14th, 2011 | LINK

The thing that people seem to be ignoring are issues of class/status here. The “burly quarterback” was also a graduate student facing shocking behavior by a coach (and perhaps a mentor). Paterno is being held to a higher accountability because he was in a position of authority and high status compared to Sandusky. The graduate student and janitor were not. They probably both feared for their positions – especially if they were aware of a culture of protecting the program from scandal. Paterno had no such reason to be fearful.

The grand jury report is pretty clear about what Paterno knew and when he knew it, at least in the case of the graduate student-related incident. And, at least on a moral basis, it’s pretty clear he was complicit in not reporting the incident.

JohnAGJ
November 14th, 2011 | LINK

@Muscat: I sympathize with McQueary for the position he was put in, but not his failure to act. By his actions he left a minor child being raped in the shower with Sandusky instead of either personally helping him get away or calling the police so they could assist him. No matter how anyone spins this, Paterno and McQueary committed a monstrous act through their inactions in leaving this boy to his fate at the hands of Sandusky. I cannot and will not overlook that.

JohnAGJ
November 14th, 2011 | LINK

In fact, it’s the norm. Sandusky’s targets were mostly prepubertal males between the ages of 7 to 12. (Gay men, if they do engage in sexual conduct with underage males, are much more likely to choose post-pubescent males, not pre-pubescent ones.)

Just out of curiosity, what would be your response when it’s pointed out that according to the John Jay Report, 47% of the victims where 12 years or younger? I ask not to accuse, which would be self-loathing of me as a gay man myself, but I’ve heard this raised before by those on the religious right.

JohnAGJ
November 14th, 2011 | LINK

Sorry, what I actually meant was that with 47% of the victims being 12 or younger that means 53% were ages 13-17. It is this statistic, or variations of it, which is used by some on the religious right to accuse gay men of higher rates of pedophilia. Although, from their own rhetoric that would actually be ephebophilia.

Craig
November 14th, 2011 | LINK

@Erin: agree. But I think it’s important to be very careful with words — IMJ, people’s failure to do so HUGELY complicated the reporting. It just doesn’t seem appropriate to me for people to say that Sandusky was “under him” at the time.

I *assume* Paterno had the authority and ban Sandusky from the football facilities — it seems a reasonable assumption, but I don’t *know* that.

I *do* know that he should have done more than he did.

The prism through which I find myself seeing this is the following:

a few months ago, three of my female coworkers came to me with stories of being harrassed (although not sexually) by a male coworker. I observed NONE of it, in spite of the fact that I sat next to all four individuals — he was apparently behaving when I was around. I wasn’t sure what to do about it, since I had observed nothing — it was all hearsay to me. So I repeatedly encouraged these women to report him to management. They did, and he was eventually fired. In retrospect, I realized that had I gone to management to report what had been reported to me, I would have been creating contemporaneous testimony (albeit hearsay) of what was happening, and it might have led to an earlier resolution. But I honestly didn’t know in the moment if I should report hearsay evidence or not.

I’ll make the (obvious) caveat that the harrassment my coworkers were enduring — while stressful and wrong — is NOT comparable to rape, so the immediacy and critical nature of these two types of attacks is very different.

Based on my experience, I would like to think that Paterno told McQueary that he needed to report it higher, or that he (Paterno) would do so for him. I don’t know if this did or did not happen.

But Paterno *clearly* had other moral obligations up to which it appears he did not live. I can’t excuse his apparent inaction that might have spared other boys from a sexual predator, but I don’t believe Paterno deserves *all* of the words that are being thrown at him. I know that *I* don’t know enough about exactly what was said and done (and when) to feel comfortable throwing all of those accusations at him.

Graduate student (or janitor) or not — we send 18-year olds into battle to make life-or-death decisions, it seems reasonable to expect a 26-year-old to recognize an obligation to stop a crime of this sort from being perpetrated — or, if he was afraid for some reason, to at least call the police immediately to come right away (he could even have done so anonymously).

Muscat
November 14th, 2011 | LINK

@JohnAGJ – I’m not trying to excuse McQueary’s actions, but if we want to understand (1) why he acted as he did and (2) why he is not being held to the same level of accountability as Paterno, I think the relative status of the people involved does a lot of the heavy lifting.

On a separate note, does the John Jay Report say anything about the sexual orientation of the abusers? Just because the victims were largely boys does not make the perpetrators gay – which is I think Jim’s point.

Carrie
November 14th, 2011 | LINK

Justme, you’re right — Paterno wasn’t a bystander. He was less than a bystander. McQueary was a bystander, while Paterno was someone who heard a second-hand account from a bystander. Knowledge that a crime has been alleged is not the same as knowledge that a crime has been committed; the heinousness of a crime is not related to the probability that a grad student’s allegation about the crime is true. For all Paterno knew, McQueary may have had an axe to grind or been mistaken about who or what he saw. We have the benefit of hindsight in knowing the awful act was all too real; Paterno did not. From Paterno’s perspective, who would be more likely to garner a false or mistaken allegation of child molestation than a man whose charity work involved children?

Nor should the heinousness of the crime be an excuse to suspend the use of reason in evaluating who is how culpable in its coverup. Something unspeakable happened and it is right to be angry, but it is not right to be indiscriminate with our anger. A call to say, “wait a minute, let’s look at the facts and make sure we’re being reasonable here” should not be maligned as an attempt to make excuses for the very person whose culpability we are trying to determine. Should we be forbidden from questioning a person’s hastily-presumed guilt to the degree that the crime disturbs us? I believe the presumption of innocence until someone is proven guilty should not be suspended (and in fact, becomes all the more important) when the accusation is particularly serious.

We do not, in fact, have all the facts. For example, there seems to be some ambiguity as to exactly what McQueary told Paterno; the grand jury report suggests McQueary did not give specific details about what he witnessed. More importantly, we don’t know what Paterno knew about the cover-up efforts by Curley and Shultz: did they say “wow Joe, we’re very concerned about this and we will have the campus police conduct a thorough investigation and/or notify the local authorities” or did they say “oh snap, Joe, we need to make sure this doesn’t get out!”? We don’t know.

As I said, I am not claiming it is certain or even probable that these facts will shake out in Paterno’s favor — I think it’s quite likely when we have these facts nailed down, we may well find out that he knew enough about the cover-up to make him complicit. But until then I will reserve judgment.

I’m referencing sociologists because evidence from peer-reviewed scientific study is more reliable than evidence from anecdote, and I think the phenomena I’ve described is relevant here. It’s very easy for us, safely insulated from a real situation and knowing after-the-fact exactly what Sandusky had been doing, to proclaim, “well if it were ME, I would have gone above and beyond to make sure this matter was thoroughly and honestly investigated by the people whose job it was to investigate! I would not rest until the [man I now know from the benefit of hindsight to be a] serial child rapist were behind bars!” Anyone can say this, and we would certainly all like to believe that we would. But just because we believe we would does not mean that, in real life, we would. Doesn’t mean we can be sure we would not, either — but it gives us reason to probe ourselves very critically on the matter rather than rushing to judgment based purely on the detestableness of the result. No, I don’t think Paterno would have reacted any differently if he heard a second-hand, possibly unspecific account of embezzlement, either.

I’m not trying to excuse anyone. My agenda is to defend critical-thinking and reason and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty, even though Paterno may well be proven guilty (personally, I think it’s more likely than not). But there’s no “shame” in asking people to think critically rather than let their outrage and hindsight bias make decisions for them.

Jerry
November 14th, 2011 | LINK

We should demand a change in the laws on sexual predation, rape or any form of sexual abuse of children and adults should have the statute of limitations removed. These crimes just like murder should be prosecutable even if they are discovered 40 years later. Convictions for multiple offenses should carry multiple sentences that are served consecutively. In many of these situations that would be a life sentence for even a rather young person. Then give them a choice, 50, 60 or more years in prison or the death penalty.

Richard Rush
November 14th, 2011 | LINK

Some accusers described a basement room in Sandusky’s house where they stayed overnight. He’d lie down and tickle them, rub their backs, and blow on their stomachs, they said.

Ummmm . . . I’m wondering what Sandusky’s wife and six adopted children were doing while this was going on.

And by the way, Jim, I think you framed this story very well.

JohnAGJ
November 14th, 2011 | LINK

On a separate note, does the John Jay Report say anything about the sexual orientation of the abusers? Just because the victims were largely boys does not make the perpetrators gay – which is I think Jim’s point.

I’m not aware of the Jay Report even commenting on the sexual orientation of the abusers, but I believe from other research that most identified as being heterosexual. Yet I’ve also heard that this is irrelevant, just as Sandusky being married with children is, since these abusers are in “denial” and committed “homosexual acts” on these boys. I’m stating their arguments as I’ve heard them, not mine. Here’s the comment about ephebophilia I had on my mind earlier:

In a statement, read out by Archbishop Silvano Maria Tomasi at a meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on 22 September 2009, the Holy See stated that the majority of Catholic clergy who had committed acts of sexual abuse against under 18 year olds should not be viewed as paedophiles, but as homosexuals who are attracted to sex with adolescent males. The statement said that rather than paedophilia, “it would be more correct to speak of ephebophilia; being a homosexual attraction to adolescent males[…] Of all priests involved in the abuses, 80 to 90% belong to this sexual orientation minority which is sexually engaged with adolescent boys between the ages of 11 and 17.”

There are variations of Tomasi’s remarks being bandied about by religious right nutjobs as well. Yes, he’s an ass and yes even by the definition of ephebophilia Tomasi’s comments are wrong because 11 & 12 year olds are usually classified as being prepubescent.

JohnAGJ
November 14th, 2011 | LINK

Hmm… I’d forgotten just how much Tomasi’s arguments ticked me off when I first heard them. I’m sitting here stewing all over again. That they come from someone who claims to be a Shepherd of Christ is all the more infuriating…

Jim Burroway
November 14th, 2011 | LINK

As I said in the main body of this post, a complete rundown on the scientific research of pedophilia and child sexual abuse — which includes the relevance of the perpetrator’s gender and that of the victim(s) — can be found here:

http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/Articles/000,002.htm

David C.
November 14th, 2011 | LINK

…the Holy See stated that the majority of Catholic clergy who had committed acts of sexual abuse against under 18 year olds should not be viewed as paedophiles, but as homosexuals who are attracted to sex with adolescent males.

Convenient that such a view fits the anti-gay narrative of the RCC by presenting yet another opportunity to heap opprobrium on gay people and “the homosexual”.

Ben In Oakland
November 14th, 2011 | LINK

John AGJ– Jim could have done this, but here you go

Jim Burroway
November 17th, 2009

How about this?

A preliminary report commissioned by the nation’s Roman Catholic bishops to investigate the clergy sex abuse scandal has found no evidence that gay priests are more likely than heterosexual clergy to molest children, the lead authors of the study said Tuesday.

The full report by researchers at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice won’t be completed until the end of next year. But the authors said their evidence to date found no data indicating that homosexuality was a predictor of abuse.

“What we are suggesting is that the idea of sexual identity be separated from the problem of sexual abuse,” said Margaret Smith of John Jay College, in a speech to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. “At this point, we do not find a connection between homosexual identity and the increased likelihood of subsequent abuse from the data that we have right now.”

It looks like the report’s authors are coming to the same conclusions I did when I tackled the question in our report, “Testing the Premise: Are Gays A Threat To Our Children?”I poured through the professional literature and found no connection between homosexuality and child molestation. The Catholic Bishops commissioned a $2 million study in response to the clerical sexual abuse scandals which came to the same conclusion. Here’s the money quote:

At the meeting Tuesday, Bishop Edward Braxton of the Diocese of Belleville, Ill., asked the researchers whether their study indicated that homosexuality should be considered when evaluating a candidate for the priesthood. In 2005, the Vatican issued a policy statement that men with “deep-seated” attraction to other men should be barred from the priesthood.

Smith said: “If that exclusion were based on the fact that that person would be more probable than any other candidate to abuse, we do not find that at this time.”

Last year, Pope Benedict XVI drew a distinction between homosexuality and pedophelia, saying “I would not speak at this moment about homosexuality, but pedophilia which is another thing. And we would absolutely exclude pedophiles from the sacred ministry.” Yet the Vatican’s instructions barring gay men from entering holy orders unless they had “overcome” for at least three years still stands.

Jim Burroway
November 15th, 2011 | LINK

Yeah, I could have re-posted it — if I had remembered that I had writen it….. ;-)

Here’s the URL:

http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/2009/11/17/16791

Ben In Oakland
November 15th, 2011 | LINK

Beware! Beware! I am the Homosexual Menace. I saw what you wrote and I know who you are.

Plus, my memory is pretty good.

Jay Jonson
November 15th, 2011 | LINK

This is an excellent posting and a very good discussion. But I think we do have to remember that we are discussing allegations rather than facts. Carrie speaks of the presumption of innocence, but also says “For all Paterno knew, McQueary may have had an axe to grind or been mistaken about who or what he saw. We have the benefit of hindsight in knowing the awful act was all too real; Paterno did not.” How do we know that the “awful act wall too real”? We only have the grand jury report which recounts McQueary’s testimony, which is an allegation.

So far the preponderance of what we know makes us believe that the allegations are true, but suppose that McQueary misinterpreted what he saw? The other allegations in the grand jury report, based on the reports of victims, speak of touching and one case of oral intercourse, but not forceful sodomy.

McQueary’s report is what has led to the depiction of Sandusky as a monster, but it seems anomalous from the reports of the victims themselves. (The alleged victim in the scene that McQueary observed has apparently not been identified by the Attorney General.)

I am not trying to excuse Sandusky, or to downplay the seriousness of the charges of inappropriate touching and oral intercourse, but the report of forcible sodomy in the shower is what elevates the charges into a different dimension.

In any case, Paterno has a lot to answer for. He hired and protected Rene Portland for over twenty years as she routinely discriminated against lesbians and conducted a reign of terror over her Lady Lions basketball team.

Timothy Kincaid
November 15th, 2011 | LINK

I’m trying to figure out what it is that Paterno was supposed to do, other than what he did. I may not have all the details correctly, but I am at a bit of a loss on this one.

And I’m not sure why, but a lot of folk seem to assume that

1) Paterno knew that Sandusky was molesting kids

2) that when McQueary told him that he saw a naked kid, that they both should have known that there was no other possible reason for a naked kid in a shower room

3) that when he told his employer that he should have somehow known that they covered it up

4) that Paterno should have gone to the police to tell them that he heard from someone that they saw something that made him suspect that something was amiss and that his employers are covering up.

Really?

Paterno isn’t – as best I know – a psychic and has no way of knowing the facts of a situation. But fortunately, there is an answer when you don’t know what it true: procedures.

Most institutions have a procedure for addressing possible criminal activity. Almost NEVER is the appropriate course of action to contact the police to tell them what you heard from someone else.

Paterno had no legal authority or moral obligation to determine the veracity of the witness (which, incidentally, was to nudity in a shower room, not to rape). And as the witness was uncertain as to exactly what he had seen, it would have been damaging and unfair to run with the story.

He did what he should have done, what he was expected to do, and what you should do if someone tells you that they witnessed something: report it to those whose job is to deal with it. That’s why there are procedures.

And, as Craig illustrated, even when there are multiple witnesses, it can be difficult to be absolutely sure what to do when you yourself didn’t see it.

Now we can argue that Paterno should have followed up. And, indeed, that’s reasonable. But I’m not sure what he could do once he was told, “Joe, we looked into it. The student assistant was mistaken. It was totally innocent.” Is he supposed to insist, “No, it isn’t innocent. Although McQuiry isn’t sure and even though I wasn’t there and don’t have any facts at all, I just magically know.”

I guess if we assume that Paterno should have suspected a cover-up, then of course he then was obligated to go over his bosses and talk to the police – maybe see if there was some way for them to do a quiet investigation.

But all of the fury at Paterno is based on the assumption that Paterno knew facts that he could not know and that he assumed that his employers were dishonest. So… show of hands now… how many of you are ready to run to the police to report your boss for a crime about which you have third hand knowledge at best.

Of course, if we find out the Paterno knew about the cover-up – or chose not to know too much so he didn’t have to respond – then he’s deserving of contempt. And, even if he knew nothing about the cover up, I’m still not sure he did all he could do.

But I can’t think of what else that a reasonable person would do.

Erin
November 16th, 2011 | LINK

@ Timothy, McQueary saw Sandusky raping the child, he didn’t just see the child in there with him. After he told Paterno, Paterno alerted his boss. Then his boss, the university president, and Mcqueary had a meeting and decided to take away Sandusky’s access to the facilities. There was no police investigation. A cover up ensued. Those who covered it up needed to be removed. Joe Paterno should have spoken up when he witnessed his bosses take the information, kick Sandusky out, then fail to call police. There was also a prior criminal charge in 1998 against Sandusky. Afterwards he took a cushy early retirement, despite being next in line to be head coach. No one can convince me Joe Paterno didn’t know about all of this. While, he deserves some credit for reporting it to his superiors, and I do have some sympathy, he was the face of the team. It happened under his watch, and he had to have known his superiors were covering up an atrocity. He could have called police. This was a criminal act, not just a petty university policy violation. Every person who had this information and wasn’t brave and outraged enough to alert the police shares some of the culpability.

Craig
November 16th, 2011 | LINK

@Erin:

this may come across as nitpicking, but I’ll again state that I think it’s VERY important to choose words carefully.

You say that “McQueary saw Sandusky raping the child” but according to what I read (and I’m sure I’ve not read everything) that’s NOT what McQueary testified to the grand jury.

The grand jury report states that McQueary “heard rhythmic slapping sounds” and that when he looked in he saw someone “being subjected to anal intercourse by a naked Sandusky.”

Declaring that “McQueary saw Sandusky raping the child” paints a different picture than what the grand jury reported McQueary to have testified.

Yes, statutory rape is rape (although there are cases of 18-years-and-a-few-days-old young men being tried for statutorily raping their few-days-short-of-18-year-old girlfriend, even though the girl insisted it wasn’t “rape”). But as many studies of witness reports of crimes reveal, what witnesses recognize in the heat of the moment aren’t always what they recall having happened (or: what they believe they saw happen) when they’ve left the scene and had a chance to review the experience. Unless McQueary can testify that the victim was resisting or asking Sandusky to stop, McQueary wouldn’t have recognized it as a violent rape at the time, and could not have testified to it as having been such. And unless McQueary realized that the victim was *obviously* under age at the moment he witnessed it, he also would not have been able to testify that what he witnessed was statutorily a rape.

Personally, I *assume* that “McQueary saw Sandusky raping the child” but I can’t honestly insist that he did, absent his having made such a declaration (preferably under oath), and I haven’t heard (or read of) him having made such a declaration.

Timothy Kincaid
November 16th, 2011 | LINK

Erin and Craig,

Thanks for the additional info. I had not yet seen the report and was going by news reports which did not give the facts that Craig relayed.

So yeah, it’s more serious that I knew.

However, I’m still not joining the anti-Paterno chorus. So far the FBI doesn’t think that he withheld information or was aware of the cover-up.

I don’t think that I have any information that they were not privy to and as I think that, in general, policing authorities (including the FBI) tend to err on the side of “blame first, prove later”, I’m not inclined to accuse when they are not accusing.

So far, it seems to me that he followed the right path… but someone else covered up, broke the law, facilitate child rape, and Paterno is getting blamed. I guess we’ll see as more comes out.

Leave A Comment

All comments reflect the opinions of commenters only. They are not necessarily those of anyone associated with Box Turtle Bulletin. Comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

(Required)
(Required, never shared)

PLEASE NOTE: All comments are subject to our Comments Policy.