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Jerry Sandusky Investigation: Did Joe Paterno Turn A Blind Eye?

On Saturday I wrote that Penn State coach Joe Paterno appeared to be "in the clear" regarding the allegations that former PSU coach Jerry Sandusky sexually abused minors, and from a legal perspective, that appears to be true, as long as what Paterno said in his grand jury testimony stands up. However, Sports By Brooks notices something from the timeline of the grand jury document that I should have picked up on, but didn't.

2002: Paterno SPECIFICALLY told by grad asst he witnessed Sandusky anally raping child in PSU locker room. Police never notified.

After all of that, in 2007, Paterno allowed Sandusky to bring 11 yr old boy, who he was raping at the time, to multiple practices.

Now, this isn't some scoop that Sports By Brooks has. That's right there in the grand jury document. In March 2002, a Penn State graduate assistant reported seeing Sandusky raping a young boy - whose identity is still unknown, because no one ever reported the incident to the police - in a shower in Penn State's football building. The graduate assistant then reported the incident to Joe Paterno who covered his behind by reporting what he had heard to Athletic Director Tim Curley, his superior. The graduate assistant then attended a meeting with Curley and Gary Schultz, where he described what he saw. Curley later told the graduate assistant that Sandusky had had his keys to the locker room taken away, and that The Second Mile, the organization through which Sandusky allegedly made contact with these boys, had been made aware of the incident.

Never, though, did Paterno or anyone else report the incident to the police. Also, no one from Penn State tried to figure out who the child was.

That was in 2002. Fast forward to a few years later. Here's what the grand jury report has to say about what happened then.

Victim 1 testified that he was 11 or 12 years old when he met Sandusky through The Second Mile program in 2005 or 2006 ... During the 2007 track season, Sandusky began spending time with Victim 1 weekly, having the boy stay overnight at his residence in State College, Pennsylvania. Sandusky took Victim 1 to professional and college sporting events, such as Philadelphia Eagles games, or pre-season practices at Penn State.

Emphasis mine. Now, we don't know exactly what this means. If Sandusky took the victim to, say, the Blue-White game, there would have been a lot of people there, and it would have been possible, I suppose, for a former coach to attend the game with a young boy without being noticed by Paterno or any of the Penn State higher-ups. That would be pretty risky. But possible.

If these were just regular practices, though, it's amazing that no one noticed that a former coach with a history of having problems involving young boys had brought a young boy to a Penn State practice. Most spring practices, I'm told, are closed to the general public. There aren't a million people there, and you have to have some connection to the team or to the media to get in. So there's no way Sandusky could have brought a young boy (who, unsurprisingly, he was allegedly raping) without running a serious risk that Paterno or someone else would notice what was going on. If Paterno or anyone else cared, that is.

As thorough as the grand jury report is, there are still questions to be answered. But the picture that seems to be emerging is that Curley and Schultz's behavior was part of a pattern that may, in fact, involve Paterno. If Paterno is capable of coaching a football team - and I know he now delegates a lot of the work a head coach typically does, but still - he's capable of noticing that a former coach known to him to be a probable pedophile was using Penn State practices as an excuse to get closer to a young boy. That's simply amazing. Much about this case remains unknown, and it doesn't appear likely that Paterno will be charged, but based on the information available so far, I'd be very surprised if he came out of this incident looking good.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.