Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Joe Paterno Chose Evil

In the wake of the testimony in the Jerry Sandusky child rape trial, being unsealed there is new shock and outrage directed at Penn State and Joe Paterno and rightly so. Paterno facilitated what may well have been a criminal child sex trafficking operation by turning a blind eye to reports of Sandusky's depravity as far back as 40 years ago. 

As a reminder the first contact about Sandusky with police was in 1998. He wasn't arrested until 2011.  The nation in general and sports fans in particular were dumbfounded. People were shocked when reports surfaced that Paterno was made aware in 2001 and informed higher ups at Penn State who did nothing. 

Now we know that 22 years of additional victims exist. From a numbers perspective we are talking about thousands if not tens of thousands of individual acts of sexual assault and child rape perpetrated by Sandusky. Hundreds of more victims. 

It's important to understand that when a perpetrator like Sandusky has access to a victim, he doesn't just assault the victim once.  Generally speaking, there's grooming behavior, then inappropriate touching, then acts like oral sex and anal penetration.  In 22 years of conducting forensic interviews of children, maybe a dozen have told me it happened only one time.  

An overwhelming majority of sexual abuse and child rape victims suffer the abuse over and over and over. Due to confidentiality, I can't be specific but I had a case with a perpetrator who was abusing a child 7-10 times a day. This is the rule not the exception. 

The sad thing about all of this is the response by the Paterno family and Penn State officials. Anthony Lubrano, a Penn State trustee and a staunch supporter of Paterno was interviewed by Dan Bernstein and Barry Rozner on WSCR 670 The Score in Chicago today.  He's still making the case that Sandusky didn't commit any crimes.

I read much of the testimony of the victims in the trial, as well as the statements made in the original indictment.  The details provided by the victims are the key to their credibility. It's what we look for when interviewing victims, the more detail, the more corroboration.  Sorry, Mr. Lubrano, but the allegations aren't uncorroborated. 

It's important to remember that as many as 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused. The percentage of false reports is infinitesimal. Very few people make up sex abuse allegations, that's not to say there aren't false reports, but we members of the child protection community can weed those out pretty quickly.  

Today's revelations underscore one of the things we tell people.  If you see or suspect child abuse call the authorities. The worst thing that will happen is that professionals will meet with a child and determine they are safe, and not being abused.  

All of the coaches named today bear some responsibility for the evil they let go unchecked, but Paterno was the man in charge. A man charged with molding young men into productive adults, didn't have time for a 14 year old telling him he was abused. He told the young man John Doe 150, "I don’t want to hear about any of that kind of stuff, I have a football season to worry about"

Joe Paterno was fond of talking about the Grand Experiment, coaching football and educating young men at the same time.  Paterno read the classics and often quoted Plato. Plato once wrote "Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the law". Make no mistake, Joe Paterno was not good people.


  1. I must admit, as a Pennsylvania native, I hoped against all hope that JoePa was somehow unaware. That somehow he just didn't know. That somehow, there was something that made him miss the significance. A lost memo, a deleted voice mail. Something that would keep him from being the monster who covers up a crime. This is worse. He knew and did nothing.

  2. Awesome work Pat. This is important work and a meaningful contribution to the PSU cult. Question: without being too much of conspiracy theorist, wouldn't many more in the happy valley circle have to know of Sandusky"s grooming and repulsive crimes through the decades?