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. bigwilliestyles

    Is there no end to the plight of our children, elderly and disabled; no consistent protection from the predators? This is the real problem of this nation; how money, or the lust for it, either victimizes the helpless or protects the predators in this twisted society.

    November 7, 2011 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      Bottom line, as a dad, if this happened to one of my sons, I would kick each one of these PSU asses, ...each one

      November 7, 2011 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
  2. SD

    The more I read into this story, the more Mad I get. Those looking to take Joe Paterno down are on a pure Witch hunt and don't know the facts.

    The one and only event (at the time pure allegation) that Joe Paterno knew anything about, took place in 2002 when Sandusky was not a part of Joe's staff. The information about the allegations, which a Graduate assistant reveled to Joe and to his own parents about the incident was immediately turned over to Joe's Boss, by Joe, AD Tim Curley.

    Joe is not the Enforcer, Judge or Jury and it was up to the AD to follow up on the allegations and if need be, get law enforcement involved, especially since Sandusky wasn't even working for Joe at the time.

    The other counts of misconduct surrounding Sandusky's involvement with Children was through the organization that he founded, Second Mile Club and or at Sandusky's home.

    Should this Guy fry (if found guilty) absolutely, but there's no room for guilt by association here and don't accuse Joe Paterno of a wrong doing where there's non deserved. If anyone thinks that Joe Paterno knowingly knew this Guy was practicing his sick acts on children and accepted it; those people need their head's examined....Truly!

    November 7, 2011 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • KBNJ

      The simple fact is that if Joe wanted this investigated properly, it would have been. He didn't. His actions (or inaction) allowed Sandusky to destroy at least a few more lives. Joe's press conference does nothing to show any remorse for that simple fact. Yeah, I know, the lawyers probably wrote it and he's 80 something, but where's his humanity? He's not totally clean no matter how you look at it.

      November 7, 2011 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • KBNJ

      press release, not conference, sorry

      November 7, 2011 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Texana

      Coach Joe Paternos failed to do the right thing. He has an eyewitness report of molestation of a young child, and he does nothing more than tell administrators? As a teacher, I'd have called the police first, informed the school administrators second. He did not follow up, and interestingly, the grad student was given a job in the coaching department, a job that he holds today-it looks like silencing him and a cover-up. Coach Paternos needs to be charged as well in this horrible crime against children. These people are a disgrace and not fit to work in a university setting.

      November 7, 2011 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • MBS749

      Silence is acceptance, and once Joe Paterno was aware that nothing was being done about these allegations (which will be proven true), he had the moral obligation to follow up on the situation and contact the police. This has nothing to do about a Joe Paterno "witch hunt" as you put it....

      November 7, 2011 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Really?

      That he wasn't on the staff is an important point? He was another human, wasn't he? This doesn't stink to you? I read the indictment. Some very serious questions need to be addresssed. #1 Are sports SO important that these type of allegations go unreported? Or -even worse- NO ONE CARES? these kids have names!

      November 7, 2011 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      You are a deeply wrong headed apologist. You deserve much pity. Joe deserves NO top cover on this.

      November 8, 2011 at 12:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      SD – in no way shape or form did Paterno do the right thing. His 409 victories have just gone out the window. Sorry dude...

      November 8, 2011 at 2:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Josh

      KBNJ, well said.

      November 8, 2011 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |
  3. Barbara Hood

    I feel utter despair and deep anger that the leadership at Penn State allowed abuse of children at the university's facilities and that the police were not called at the first inkling of this behavior. All of them from the president to coach Paterno should be fired with no pensions and prosecuted for not protecting children from abuse.

    I do not believe that this pattern of sick behavior was not known and discussed in the highest offices of the university.

    I guess when there is a choice between winning coaches and sport programs and protection of children, the children are not a consideration.

    November 7, 2011 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • SD

      Barbara...I hope and trust that you felt the same about the recently departed Michael Jackson, his producers and close friends who all knew about his improper involvement with children. My guess that you have boycotted anything to do with the King of Pop...otherwise you're a pure hypocrite. Don't get me wrong, the perpetrator needs to go down, but not a coach who did the right thing and report an alleged allegation. Did Jackson family go down with Michael.

      November 7, 2011 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Pete/Ark

    NOTHING excuses him...but if Paternos senile dementia is so bad he can't find his own butt in the dark w/o a flashlight – send him to the old pederasts home too !

    November 7, 2011 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Tom

    Joe Pa needs to go. He is told in 2002 about an incident in the locker room, and he doesn't follow up OR he doesn't ask the person he worked closely with for 30 years??? And they allow this guy to still have access to the Athletic Facilities until last week..!!!
    Are you kidding me???
    Jim Tressel was fired for covering up free tattoos for his players....seems like this is a tad bit more serious, so why in the heck isn't Paterno being investigated??

    November 7, 2011 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Infiltration

    I have heard of "beards". I have also heard of gay men getting married to cover that fact up. He had 6 children with his wife, so I think the coreect term would be "bi s*x_al" with pedophilic tendencies, wouldn't you?

    November 7, 2011 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • dster

      Infiltration....those 6 kids are adopted and he also fostered kids (I read two of his adopted kids are boys); it can only make you wonder what happened to them.

      As far as Paterno and the rest of the Penn State faculty that was informed, they should be fired. They basically by inaction, condoned and provided the facility for young boys (as young as 7) to be molested. After, reading the charges....I know more people knew. Penn State needs to clean house. These people are not sad about what happened to those boys, they sad that they are involved.

      Paterno should have called 9 11 period! Followed up, no exceptions. Here are the charges I pulled if anyone wants to see how horrific this is (then ask what if this was my child);


      November 7, 2011 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Infiltration

    @Sad Alum: the DA dropped the ball...what the hell did you expect him to do next??

    November 7, 2011 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Infiltration

    @Portland Tony:

    "Why do we keep associating gay men or women with child abuse. One has nothing do with the other."

    THANK YOU!!!! Finally, someone who doesn't have a knee-jerk reaction!!!

    November 7, 2011 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Romano

    The graduate assistant was what, maybe 22 or 23 years old. He did what he was supposed to do and he informed his superior(s). Who is to say that he and the janitor did not stop the assault. It was the responsibility of his superiors to inform the police and they failed.

    November 7, 2011 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Josh

      IMHO, the graduate student should have taken some action, on the spot. Asking the boy if he was alright. Taking the boy away from Sandusky and calling the parents to pick him up. Even punching the cr@p out of Sandusky. Something. Anything. Except simply talking with his own dad. That is unreasonably insufficient.

      November 8, 2011 at 8:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Al T

      Are you kidding me? He should have stopped it right then and there and took that boy out of there. That's the first thing he should have done and then he should have immediately called the police. He himself estimated the child's age of around 10. How do you just walk away from that? You know what probably went through that boy's head when McQuery came into the shower? Thank god, this is over. And, you're right, it's likely Sandusky stopped both attacks when he get got caught by either McQuery or the janitor. But, can you honestly say that neither of those boys suffered further abuse from this man later? There were certainly more victims weren't there? That's why he failed and that's why Paterno failed. That boy walked out with Sandusky that night and nobody knows who it was. Brilliant.

      November 8, 2011 at 9:01 am | Report abuse |
  10. Infiltration

    @???: pedophilia has nothing to do with whether the perp is gay or not, it has everything to do with the sick attraction to children. If you don't think pedophiles do not ra pe girls on a regular basis, you are gravely mistaken.

    November 7, 2011 at 10:39 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Dunner

    Maybe Paterno, Curley and Schultz were in on it with him, who really knows how many victims there were if he was there for all that time

    November 7, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Kalju

    It's just a matter of time before evidence comes out that Paterno was an integral part of the coverup. If he was, he should be fired just like coach Jim Tressel of The Ohio State University. What Paterno may have covered up is far more heinous and perverted than trading memorabilia for tattoos.

    November 7, 2011 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Kalju

    There have been rumors about Paterno's low morals for decades, but as long as he kept up the clean public image, Penn State University looked the other way.

    November 7, 2011 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Infiltration

    Thank you for the information. That puts a different spin on it.

    November 7, 2011 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
  15. PhilG.

    This is just really sad.

    My heart goes out to the victims.

    If someone had stopped this guy as soon as it was found out,it would have been an isolated case.

    Now the whole college and everyone who went there will pay a high price.

    Very very sad.

    November 7, 2011 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse |
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