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. banasy©

    While I'm unsure of Paterno's culpability in this manner, something should have been done to keep Sandusky from being around boys, period.
    With the first hint of these charges, especially of this nature, eyes should have been kept on Sandusky at all times.
    I hope this POS gets the punishment he richly deserves...one way or another.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Uniblob

      Culpability?? At BEST he KNEW about it, and then saw that nothing was being done. That's criminal culpability.

      November 7, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Todd

    Ironic, isn't it. Penn State's motto is: "Making Life Better". I'm wondering how, exactly, Sandusky made life better for the alleged victims.

    Paterno: You need to resign immediately! Same with you, Spanier. Good Riddance to both of you! Enjoy retirement!

    November 7, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Shadow

    once the allegation is brought to the administration the investigation and it's results are confidential and even if Paterno asked the Administration for the results they can't tell him. Give him credit for following the rules and reporting it, he and the assistant were the only ones who stepped up and followed proceedure as well as his conscience to do the right thing.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    @ nancy, 3:47:
    Right.
    You know what else?
    If you like little boys and you're a little boy, you're gay, too.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Al T

    Seriously damnyankee? Is that your level of concern for a 10 year-old. If there was a pollice investigation of Sandusky in 1998, as reported, where no charges were brought, does anybody really believe that Paterno was unaware of that investigation? No way, he owns that town. Word would have gotten back to him eventually assuming he wasn't one of the first to find out about it. And, if he did now about the prior allegations in '98 when the '02 events occurred....my god. Secondly, does anyone really believe that McQuery did not relate the exact details of what he saw to Paterno? I mean, who wouldn't ask for the exact details when it's such a serious accusation levelled at a former subordinate and dear friend? He did what again? Are you sure? Sit down and tell me what you saw? Who would not do that. I mean, c'mon, this defies belief.

    Finally, the most burning and heartrending question for me...why did not Mr. McQuery rescue that boy. Why did he not go grab that boy out of Sandusky's clutches and beat the living crap out of Sandusky before calling 911? I don't know the answer to that question but, one thing I do know...this will haunt McQuery for the rest of his life. So many lives ruined by silence.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • disbelief

      well said. it amazes me how many people are putting football and a reputation over the general well being of a child. should paterno be legally charged? no, but the moral and ethical code he has broken and the shame he has helped bring to penn state is unheard of. this could have ended years ago. i am ashamed of some people in this world, especially those saying this is ok

      November 7, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    I remember the first day in the first grade.
    I didn't know exactly why, but I went for a little girl named Mary Jane. She had dark pigtails.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Dan100

    Perhaps Jerry Sandusky should join the Roman Catholic priesthood - he's well-qualified...

    November 7, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      Were the priests that abused these kids wrong? Yes. Was the Catholic Church wrong for covering it up? You bet. And it's a terrible fact that in both of these cases, people in positions of inherent trust so badly took advantage of and injured children.

      I don't want to understate how terrible these actions were, and if it were my child that was abused in this manner, I'd be inconsolable, and likely never trust anyone again. But 99.9% of Catholic priests are good and caring human beings, and the Catholic Church does good work for a lot of people. Nothing will ever make up for what happened to the children that were abused, but making the generalization that all priests are terrible human beings is very prejudiced, and even more ignorant. It's no more fair than leaping to the conclusion that every person who worked for Second Mile must be a predator, or that everyone in the Penn State administration is a pedophile. Proliferating these stereotypes doesn't help the victims, and often hurts good people who often put the care of others before themselves.

      November 7, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mike Pittsburgh

    JoePa's selfish behavior took away the innocence of children. It was very easy for him to take the minimal bureacreatic response, almost turning his head to Sandusky's disgusting behavior......he is no man and needs to go. Adios JoePA.

    November 7, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Srichard

    Keep your kids close and believe what they say.

    November 7, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Nadean

    Much of what happens today didn't happen long ago as Mothers were home and Fathers worked
    This should have been taken care of from the get-go, of course MONEY TALKS louder than an abused child

    November 7, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Missing the Point

      Okay, and...?
      In the 21st century, both women AND men work; this didn't happen because women "stayed home" and men worked. This happened because a lot of people cared about their own well-being, reputation, and college football team more than they cared for the child victims of a monster. Don't read more into than that.

      November 7, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • CeeDub

      These were at risk kids in his charity. easy pickings for this animal. His little charity has been up and running since 1977

      November 7, 2011 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Gary

    Paterno did what was required by law. For those of you wondering why he didn't follow up, go to the Centre Daily Times website to read that the county DA at the time of some of the early alleged assualts never filed the charges. Why should Paterno have gone any further?

    November 7, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Al T

      If the answer to that question is not obvious to you, there's no point in you asking questions.

      November 7, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      Just a comment....

      I'd submit that while only doing what is required by law will keep you out of jail, it really doesn't make you an admirable human being. How many coaches get fired in a year (many)? How many do for not obeying laws? (I suspect not many). Just because you followed the letter of the law doesn't make you a good representative of a public university.

      November 7, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • JMazz

      Joe Paterno knew exactly what he was doing. Protecting a football program from embarrassment. He says he was "shocked" by the charges? How could he be shocked when he heard about the shower incident in 2000? Come on? Why, why, was he shocked that no charges were brought against Sandusky? He was part of the cover-up, that's why. I hope the victims sue the $@#@$& out of Penn State.

      November 7, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • ldstep

      Your post says everything about so many people in this country today. Totally morally bankrupt.

      November 8, 2011 at 4:34 am | Report abuse |
  12. Al T

    One thing is for certain. For this to go on as long as it did, there are more victims out there. There just has to be. I hope they have the courage to come forward and get their justice.

    For Mr McQuery, the grand jury report states that both Sandusky and the boy saw you looking at them. At that moment, you know what that boy was thinking. He was thinking "help me." You let that boy down then, and you let him down again when you didn't go to the police later after seeing that nothing was being done but a ban? While you might have looked great wearing the Penn State uniform as a quarterback, you obviously don't fill out a hero suit.

    November 7, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    It appears that this school too is and has been run by a bunch of right-wing fanatics! These right-wingers feel that only might makes right and the feelings of children do not matter in any case!

    November 7, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  14. JMazz

    Any person of avaerage intelligence and common sense can see that this was a cover-up to protect a football program and reputation of the school. How do you let something like this go unpunished? After the shower incident, Sandusky just goes about his life like nothiong happened? Joe Paterno is that clueless? Please. This is a travesty. I hope everyone of these victims sues Penn State and makes a ton of money.

    November 7, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    @ Nadean:
    Re WEST SIDE STORY, film:
    I checked, and I'd remembered correctly. The wonderful singer Marni Nixon, a favorite of Stravinsky, dubbed the singing for Maria. (Most of the singing is dubbed.)
    I met Marni Nixon, Jerome Robbins, and a few others involved. I knew Bernstein.

    November 7, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
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