Overheard on CNN.com: Penn State head coach should have done more
Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno calls sex abuse allegations against ex-assistant coach Jerry Sandusky "shocking."
November 7th, 2011
02:01 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Penn State head coach should have done more

Comments of the morning:

"Sounds like Penn State and the Catholic Church have the same kind of cover-up talents." – CommDecker

"Please, if you saw this happen on the street you'd call 911. So because it happens at work, telling a supervisor is adequate?" – WatAnon

Penn State coach calls sexual abuse charges against colleague 'shocking'

2 Penn State officials tied to sex abuse case step down

A child sexual-abuse scandal swirling around the Pennsylvania State University football program had many CNN.com readers venting their shock that head coach Joe Paterno did not follow up after reporting a "locker-room incident" to university administrators in 2002. The "incident" was the alleged sexual assault of a 10-year old boy by former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, according to Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly.  Sandusky, who retired from coaching in 1999, maintains his innocence. Two university administrators are facing perjury charges connected to an alleged cover-up.

Just43242 said, "I can't believe that a 10-year-old boy was molested, and the coaches basically said, 'Just don't bring boys here again!' What a message. And Paterno didn't follow up?"

Guest said, "Yes, Paterno alerted the Penn State administration back in 2002. But, why didn't he follow up when it became clear the PSU administration was sitting on the allegations? Didn't he find it odd that Sandusky was never charged with a crime?"

OvrHyped said, "And it's very late 2011; how is it possible the authorities have taken almost five years? Lots of questions, too few answers."

guest1guest2 said, "Paterno's hands aren't clean. Regardless of what 'specifics' were left out when he heard about it, the words 'coach,' 'boy' and 'shower' warrant a little more than reporting the incident to administrators and going on with your life."

Sbul said, "I thought coaches, like teachers, are mandatory reporters which means Paterno had an obligation to make sure that the proper authorities were contacted, not just university officials. Why is he off the hook for not making sure this incident was reported to law enforcement or child protective services?"

damnyankee20 said, "Sandusky had retired and was no longer part of the team. Paterno stated the witness didn't tell him the specifics but he knew something was amiss so he followed policy/procedure and immediately notified his superiors. It was his superiors' job to follow up and look into what occurred and if criminal, to notify the police."

Rachel2010 said, "If that makes Joe able to sleep at night, then good for him. This was a child. Paterno knew the man had contact with children. To not report it to the police shows an enormous lack in morals on his part. Period. No excuses."

Many CNN.com readers had harsh words for the eyewitness as well. CLEpost said, "The first thing wrong with this story is that the graduate assistant did nothing to stop the abuse. This is not going to end well for anyone, including Joe (Paterno). There is a difference between the 'responsibilties' of the parties involved here and their moral obligations."

gdouglaso said, "So an assistant sees someone sexually assaulting a 10-year-old boy and does not try to stop it. He does report it to school officials though. It says two things: (1) the cowardly nature of the assistant, and (2) the inordinate power that college sports plays on campus that someone was in any way afraid of stopping or calling the police. ..."

Westernslope said, "There are no activities that are safe for kids. People have their eye on your children. Keep them really close. Seriously sad but reality."

Do you feel your views align with those of these commenters? Post a comment below or sound off on video.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

soundoff (230 Responses)
  1. MICKY

    Is this incident just a reflection of what has been going on for awhile? Sounds to me like the incident was so common that no one really thought anything about it! It just seems the ones that knew didn't think much about it or they would have acted a lot sooner!

    November 8, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. PSU

    @DisgustedinDenver, did you read the charges, because if you did then I don't know what to say. Paterno did what he was supposed to do. Now I can't speak for the Second Mile foundation and the police did in 1998 following an incident nor did two janitors in 2000. So if you really want to get "did you the read findings," DID YOU READ THE FINDINGS or are you just doing what 98% of posts on here are about discussing something because the crime in unfathomable yet also forget that deviant criminals such as this are sadly good at what they do and maybe just a snippet of yourselves can understand that just because he is joe paterno, that maybe at the age of 75, didn't know some of the things that occurred.

    November 8, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • DisgustedinDenver

      @PSU...the problem is that he contradicted himself by stating that he did not know details. It is highly unlikely the assistant and his father did not share details when they drove over to his house on a saturday morning. Paterno also testified that the assistant was very upset.

      November 8, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Yoda

    If someone comes to you and said I saw inappropriate conduct....and you thought you knew the guy.....what would you do? My first thought, I don't want to believe it....Then ok what do I do....what am I suppose to do? You go to your immediate supervisor and tell them what happened....They tell you ok we'll handle it from here....Campus Police involved etc.....where where the mother's of the children back in 98, and 02.....Why did they not go to the State Police.....Joe Paterno did the correct and right thing.....Again...Sandusky was never charged....These were kids from his Second Mile organization....NOT PSU's...It's not Joe's job to prosecute or take it further....He's a football coach, albeit legend...he's still just a coach....then man did not work for the University anymore......Why didn't the Mother's pusue this if they felt there was more.....Put the blame there.....

    November 8, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ben Hogan

      READ the grand jury investigation, this is coverup Valley not Happy Valley!!!

      November 12, 2011 at 6:30 am | Report abuse |
  4. Al T

    Well, it obvious from a lot of people that they simply don't see what Paterno did wrong. And that, my friends, is exactly why something like this can happen. I still have not seen one person justify why it was okay for Paterno to wait a full day in reporting this. It was NOT second-hand information. It was a first-hand account by a "very distraught" and trusted source and, as this thing progresses, I'm betting that that it will come out that McQuery gave him plenty of details. Why wouldn't he and why would you not ask for them before you pick that phone and report it?

    For you folks that still have Paterno on that pedestal, you best not be too close when it crumbles because when people start trying to save their own skin, the truth will come out. Here's betting that it is 10 times uglier than it is right now.

    November 8, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • jon

      You are correct. This is probably just the tip of the iceberg, as most of these stories are. There will be more and more disgusting details and victims coming out. Paterno could have stopped this whole thing – but he didn't really even try.
      He must now go.

      November 8, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Xander

      Jopa was a total scapegoat. He was advised of an incident that to him could have bin a nasty, slanderous rumer. He did take it to his superiors and they informed him, that they would take it from there. Remember, second hand news is not and never will be admissable in court. Jopa couldn't even go to the police with his informational evidence cause it was second hand. The only one who could go to the police was the witniss to the incident. Where we should be looking for blame might be the State's Attorney at the time of the incidents who became a Penn. State board member and later our govenor and he was the man behind the firring of the greatest college football coach of all time when he should have bin silent cause of conflict of interests involvment. Nobody is talking about the govenor being fired or resigning. Anyway that's how I look at it.

      January 2, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Don

    What am I missing that everyone else seems to have on this?? Why is coach Paterno becoming the sacrifice here?

    Look at the timeline involved.....

    94-97 – There is nothing here showing this information was brought to anyone's attention until the grand jury
    Is JoPa suppose to be a mind reader?? If he was there would me more than two national championships at State College

    98 – Penn State police and the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare investigate an incident. Finding: The district
    attorney advises investigators that no charges will be filed and the university police chief instructs that the case be
    closed

    So explain to me what JoPa should have done?? NO CHARGES...as far as I recall no charges = not guilty in the USA

    99 – Sandusky retires

    This means he NO LONGER WORKS for JoPa or Penn State.

    00 – Incident at Sandusky's house

    Not working for Penn State so why this is a concern for JoPa....so if any of you knew of this incident are you also as guilty as everyone is making JoPa out to be?

    00 – Incident at Lasch Football Building

    Reminding you he is NOT AN EMPLOYEE of Penn State....the Janitor report the incident to his supervisor...I do not think JoPa is the supervisor of the janitor crew!!!

    Mar 02 – Graduate assistant allegedly tells Coach JoPa what he saw in the room shower the night before

    REMINDER Sandusky is NOT AN EMPLOYEE of Penn State so JoPa does what is required and reports it up his chain of command. When you have incidents at work and report them up the chain do you always know what the final outcome is??? NO...we all make ASSUMPTIONS of what happens. It is NOT JoPa's responsibility to follow up on anything involving incidents with visitors on campus.....and I guarantee NONE of you would have either!!

    2002 – Sunday – Multiple incidents all away from Penn State University

    Where is JoPa’s responsibility here??? There is none!! Leave the man be there is no need to retire for doing what was required of an employee when there is an incident with a visitor to his place of business.

    November 8, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Brian

      Wake up and smell the moral decay. You are just embarrassing yourself with the lengths you are going to polish this turd.

      November 8, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ben Hogan

      JoePa never questioned the Assistant, he made a calll, conveyed the message, washed his hands of the mess and went back to his X's and O's. He never followed up and I agree with all the Major NCAA Coaches who say everyone new about this on the Coaching staff. When Sandusky showed up with more kids they turned their heads. This is going to get ugly at trial and the honest and integrity of JoePa willl be gone. He wraps himself in prayer and good works but his own words have described his lack of sustance. He is no different from other coaches with winning the only goal in life. I wish I had done more.

      November 12, 2011 at 6:38 am | Report abuse |
  6. Question

    I have a lot of questions here: 1) What did Penn States investigation (if performed) find? 2) What can or could Joe do after Joe passes the information up the chain? 3) What is the evidence that these allegations are true? Everyone is writing (including the press) as if Jerry has been convicted (what ever happened to innocent until proven guilty?). I am a big cynic – I want to see and hear the evidence before I chop off heads. What I have heard Joe did everything he should have done. It is the administrative side of the house that did not follow through with an investigation and referring the allegations to the police (campus or local). When someone, that you don't know, comes up to you saying something, with no specific information, about a friend of yours, a person that you have known and worked with for over 20 years, do you believe the allegation(s), when there is no specific information or proof, and then call the cops – each and everytime?

    November 8, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ben Hogan

      Read the Grand Jury report. The assitant's Dad was a close friend of JoePa. Sandusky was a VIP. And The assistant knew to interven would be problematic. He told his father and the father called JoePa to set up the meeting. At the meeting the Father told the story, the assistant nodded that the story was true.But JoePa never asked a question to the assistant.They were walking on egg shells, the assistant was interviewed again but JoePa never spoke about it again. He did not want to know...The assistant had been with JoePa for 8 years when he made this report.

      November 12, 2011 at 6:45 am | Report abuse |
  7. Brian

    For those banging away on the "Joe Paterno Did Enough!" drum, consider the logic you're using to defend him. Never, in the history of Penn State Football did doing "enough" ever measure up. Why does it suffice now? If lamely passing the buck to the AD was enough, isn't it in the PSU tradition to do more? To go to the authorities? To follow up when you didn't see any action taken? To ban Sandusky (not just vulnerable children) from the premises? You're saying that simply checking the legal block and failing his moral duty was "enough".

    The only person who did "enough" in this case was Sandusky, as he did enough to ruin lives and sully the PSU reputation for years to come. He did enough. It was on others to do more and, on that, they failed miserably.

    Joe did enough? Please, people. Stop it.

    November 8, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. jon

    Apparently even Joe Paterno thinks so. Just great!

    November 8, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. morrisgara

    Joe P. knew what Sandusky was doing in the 1990's. That is why got rid of him in 1999. Then, to cover, they put out the story that Sandusky was retiring because he was told he wouldn't be the next head coach. Truly, he wouldn't be, because he had to leave then, in 1999. But as a favor, they let him retire so tht he could collect a fat pension check and perks. A huge mistake, and it has come back as a calamity. Sandusky was the leading candidate for the head coach job at Virginia after Geo. Welsh retired. Sandusky didn.t get the job. Coach Welsh is a friend of Joe Pat. Don't you think Welsh discussed Sandusky with Joe?? .

    November 8, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Brian

    And the Board of Regents does the right thing. There really are right thinking people in this whole thing. It was UNANIMOUS!!!! Now shut up, you Peterno apologists!

    November 10, 2011 at 12:39 am | Report abuse | Reply
  11. a/p

    PENN STATE NEED TO CLEAN THE SLATE, FIRE FROM THE PRESIDENT DOWN, ALL THE COACHES & BRING IN A NEW FRESH COACHING STAFF IMMEDIATELY!!!!! THERE ARE COACHES THAT WILL STEP UP RIGHT NOW, EVEN COME OUT OF RETIREMENT....WE ARE PRAYING FOR THE VICTIMS, THEIR FAMILIES & SPEEDY JUSTICE.

    November 10, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ben Hogan

      Everybody will be gone they have hid stuff for 30 years this going to get messy...and we will have revelations of the JoePa legacy for many years to come. The problem with making a coach an idol is the people who work with the IDOL think they are untouchable and they are above all others.

      November 12, 2011 at 6:50 am | Report abuse |
  12. Name*dkonare

    What is wrong with you

    November 10, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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