According to a recent report, legendary Penn State coach Joe Paterno knew about the sexual abuse allegations of his assistant coach Jerry Sandusky since at least 1976. It was at that time that a child told Joe Paterno about the abuse he had suffered at the hands of Jerry Sandusky for the first time. This child would later be listed as “Victim 2” in Jerry Sandusky’s 2011 child sex abuse trial. Joe Paterno reportedly went to university superiors in 2001 and reported the suspicions that had been swirling around his assistant coach for many years. Mike McQueary was the individual who first blew the whistle on the many victims that Jerry Sandusky had. Joe Paterno allegedly told a 2010 grand jury that he didn’t know of any other potential incidents regarding his assistant coach.
The new allegations regarding the now-deceased Joe Paterno also cites a number of reports of unnamed assistant coaches who witnessed Sandusky engaging in inappropriate contact with children. When Sandusky was found guilty in 2012, he was sentenced to 30 to 60 years behind bars for his abuse of boys and from incidents stemming all the way back to 1998.
The new revelations regarding Joe Paterno and his potential knowledge of these events come at a time when the family of the late coach have gone to great lengths to clear his name. FBI director Louis Freeh believed that Joe Paterno not only knew about the abuse, but also failed to report it and provided a cover for Jerry Sandusky as well.
Joe Paterno was fired from the university in mid-2011 just as the scandal broke. He was let go along with the president and the athletic director. There are other cases where Sandusky did things that did not appear right as well. In 1987 and 1988 several other assistant coaches came forward as witnesses. Moreover, in 1988 a case also made it to the athletic director’s desk.
A family spokesman for the late Joe Paterno told Pennlive that corroborative evidence is lacking in this instance, and Paterno never intentionally covered up the actions of his assistant coach.
Besides the family of Joe Paterno, Jerry Sandusky himself is working to clear his name because he contends prosecutors lied, withheld evidence proving his innocence, and leaked grand jury information in an effort to find more alleged victims. The judge in Jerry Sandusky’s appeal is going to give the defense an opportunity to prove this expunging evidence. Sandusky’s new lawyer is seeking to have the charges either dismissed or to have a new trial.
Joe Paterno was named in an insurance filing involving Penn State, and that is how the new allegations came to light. There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the case, including whether the alleged 1976 victim was number 2. According to the defense, there is a lot riding on whether it is number 2 or not, and they are requesting a new trial or a dismissal based on exculpatory evidence surrounding those factors.
Joe Paterno has been accused of turning a blind eye to the predator behavior of his assistant coach for many decades; however, he passed away and was never charged.
A Paterno family attorney said, “Through all of this review there has never been any evidence of inappropriate conduct by coach Paterno. To the contrary, the evidence clearly shows Joe Paterno share information with his superiors as appropriate.”
[Photo by Matt Rourke/AP Images]