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. Nadean

    OH, YEA, I remember will get back to you in awhile gotta go

    November 7, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  2. LynnieMae

    Not only did the graduate assistant who witnessed the shower scene fail in his moral obligation to see that something was done about it (along with everyone else at Penn State who became aware of what had occurred), the graduate assistant in question was promoted to Wide Receivers Coach the same year. Coincidence or reward for keeping his mouth shut?

    November 7, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  3. JMazz

    These yahoos let this guy out on $100,000 bail! He's free right now! Are you kidding me? This guy has been destroying lives for 15 years (maybe more) and he's still free! I'm enraged. It's impossible to comprehend. How can this happen?

    November 7, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  4. PennState Alum

    certainly could never condone the acts of a sick sick man in Sandusky. but i feel some of the reactions to Joe and the GA are a bit knee jerk. we don't know if he followed up after reporting to Curley. we don't know what Curley and Schultz told him. there are too many unknowns at this point, save for the fact that Sandusky should die in prison, and Curley and Schultz should spend a significant amount of time in prison themselves. Paterno did what was allowed by law – Sandusky was no longer a member of the football staff/university staff. i have a hard time, with the facts at hand, taking seriously the calling for his head along with the others. this is not a Penn State football issue. this is an administrator issue.

    November 7, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • JMazz

      Read more about the facts. The assistant told Joe Paterno the other adminastrotors what he saw. Sandusky was never punished. Does that sound right to you? It doesn't sound right to any sane person. I hope the victims sue the %%$#^& out of Penn State. They have EVERY right. I hope the football programs get's shut down. I hope veryone that is think about going to Penn state changes their mind.

      November 7, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Al T

      Perhaps. It's your right to withhold judgment. I do suspect, however, that when all the facts are laid bare, you're not going to like how it plays out re: Paterno and, one thing you should consider is that there is no way that Paterno didn't know about the '98 allegations in '02. I just don't believe for a second that, in that little Peyton Place of town, that Paterno was ignorant of that investigation.

      November 7, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • tom

      I agree with you 100%. Joe did what he was supposed to do, follow the chain of command.

      November 7, 2011 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • DisgustedinDenver

      Did what was allowed by law???? What is allowed by law and common practice with anyone that has any commone sense or morals would be to call the police!!!!

      November 7, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • PAD

      JMAZZ–did you read the facts??? Joe was told by Mike McCreary that something happened but didn't tell him WHAT!!! Read the 23 page court papers. It tells you in there that Mr. Paterno was NOT told what happened and that a meeting happened with McCreary and Curley but Paterno was not involved in the meeting. Paterno was also told that things were taken care of.
      If you want to blame someone why not go back to the 1999 incident when University police said the case was closed and not to be investigated any further.
      PEOPLE–THIS IS NOT PATERNO'S FAULT. He didn't do it. HE DID WHAT HE WAS SUPPOSED TO DO. HE REPORTED IT. Matters of discipline are handled as private matters–usually an employer/employee thing. Joe is a football coach–not a psychic.

      November 9, 2011 at 3:28 am | Report abuse |
  5. Al T

    @LynnieMae...McQuery's father said a whole bunch of stuff would be coming out.

    Another coincidence that bothers me is that not long after the 1998 investigation, Sandusky is informed that he won't ever be considered as HC of PSU and elects to retire. Or, was he forced to retire for some other reason?

    November 7, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  6. banasy©

    Uniblob:
    He reported it.
    Nothing was done.
    How is that criminal, when one reports it, when the ones he reported it to dropped the ball?

    November 7, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kent Bowen

      It was a crime (that's putting it mildly). His response was to tell his supervisor (who has less power than he does). Not the cops. It was a CRIME! His first concern was for himself and his program. That's shameful.

      November 7, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sad PSU Alumnus

      When the ball is dropped...you do the right thing and take it further!

      November 7, 2011 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Kent Bowen

    It was reported early on that Paterno's son said Sandusky "retired" after he was told by the elder Paterno that he (Sandusky) would not be the next head coach at Penn State because he (Sandusky) could not choose between coaching and his involvement with the Second Mile program. I'm beginning to suspect that the elder Paterno knew about Sandusky's activities and wanted him out of his program. The best thing you can say about Paterno's actions with respect to the 2002 incident is that his response was designed to minimize his involvement and the impact on his program. A sad ending to an otherwise stellar career.

    November 7, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  8. banasy©

    @JIF:
    Ah, yes, Marni Nixon.
    What a voice.

    November 7, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  9. G

    Spanier Should resign and forfeit pension. Paterno should retire as the winningest coach. Shultz and Curley should be fired and serve 6 months each in jail. Sandusky should be in jail for the rest of his life. This is a very sad day for an otherwise excellent University. This will cost the University millions of dollars that could have been spent on educating students. What a shame.

    November 7, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • pat

      they will just up the tuition

      November 8, 2011 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  10. Bill

    Who know the link to the 20 plus page indictment?

    November 7, 2011 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • CeeDub

      I tied to read the indictment and had to stop after page 9

      November 7, 2011 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
  11. met1969

    Lot of people commenting here. Talking about crimes re duty to report, etc. No one is citing the state or federal statute in support of this moral obligation. The defense attorneys did today, but won't be found in the mob justice mentality that is "Post a Comment." Without legal reference, you have nothing to apply the facts to. You can indict a ham sandwich in a grand jury. But, in doing so the witnesses are not allowed defense counsel in the room. The indictment is worthless in a court of law. It's not evidence. Go to law school. Or, as responsible citizens, wait for the authorities to allow the investigation to play out.

    November 7, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • JMazz

      "Wait for authorities to allow the investigation to play out"? Ya, that's exactly why this guy has been able to abuse children for the last 14 years. You've got 8 victimes with similar stories, you have multiple witnesses, multiple reports – yet this guy is still free? It doesn't take a law degree – it takes common sense. Get off your high horse.

      November 7, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
  12. met1969

    Excellent observation... We're talking about the indictment of the entire PSU administration. Those at fault have been brought to theforefront. It will play out. Off the cuff condemnation of the GA, for example, without more, is a rush to the lynching tree.

    November 7, 2011 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Al T

      That's really good...we see where your loyalties lie. I suspect had you been in a position to do something when these events occurred, you'd be indictable as well. You CAN condemn the GA, former Penn State quarterback Mike McQuery on his own sworn testimony. It's certainly not worthless if his story changes, he'll have perjured himself. Bottom line, he saw them, they saw him. He ran. He's a coward. End of story.

      November 8, 2011 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
  13. nonPCdude

    If victims of this MAN are all BOYS that would mean that he is GAY? The Man Boy Love Club that is full of gay men so differentiating because of age of the victim isn't consistent. Deviants are what deviant do. It is sad that these poor boys have lost their childhood and are probably damaged for life by this man who wanted his perverted thrills.

    November 7, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Nadean

    @ Missing the point, there are many variables when a child is physical and mentally abused, (IE: Parents, schools, after school activities, ECT...) The exact reason in this case is going to end up outside of court and NO CNN follow-up either will be heard.

    November 7, 2011 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Nadean

    @ Joey, Sorry I rattled off that post to ya, I just hate making people wait and hate waiting for people myself. Anyway, yes I do remember hearing about the most of the cast, if not all being dubbed. Still love the film though. See you Thursday if your around. CHOW!

    November 7, 2011 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
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