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. Penn State Alumnus

    A 60 year old man having relations with a 17 year old child is not pedophilia, it is raype. Statutory raype.

    November 7, 2011 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Josh

      I would tend to agree with you, but I think the age of consent is 16.

      November 8, 2011 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
    • V. P.

      OK I won't split hairs with you. But it's still nasty none the less. If it were my daughter, I'd be in jail for murder (torture). These nasty OLD CREEPS needs to leave these young folks alone!!! If they can't do that and they break the law I hope they all burn in he....

      November 8, 2011 at 8:57 am | Report abuse |
  2. Brian

    I've listened to PSU purity types for years and their sanctimony is insufferable. What these folks wouldn't give for a good old fashioned cheating scandal right about now. Way to go, Joe! You sent a memo, wiped your hands and went right back to being utterly uninvolved with your football team. They just don't make icons like they used to.

    November 7, 2011 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Penn State Alumnus

    @Phil G, these sorts of things have been happening at Penn State since it was founded. Just because it's just now in the headlines doesn't mean it's just been happening the past few years. Professors and teachers have been statutory raypeing students since the days of ancient Greece. duh.

    November 7, 2011 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      The purpose of that inane post was?.....

      November 8, 2011 at 12:08 am | Report abuse |

      Doesn't make it right regardless of how many times or centuries back it has occurred. It is still against the law and it ruins lives.

      November 8, 2011 at 8:25 am | Report abuse |
  4. Penn State Alumnus

    Joe, and gay men whom raype 17 year old boys are "good to go" too. Neither the gay men are charged with statutory raype, nor are those who know and keep it secret and refuse to speak-out are held accountable. Most camm these raypeists "child molesters" and so they recieve probation and drug therapy, not prison. Those who know and help keep it a secret are never even charged with helping these gay men do what they do, even for decades.

    November 8, 2011 at 12:03 am | Report abuse |
  5. Penn State Alumnus

    Most call these gay raypeists "molesters", rather.

    November 8, 2011 at 12:08 am | Report abuse |
  6. DisgustedinDenver

    Dster...thanks for the link...I am speechless...they all need to go...all of them. There is a special place waiting for them when their time comes....

    November 8, 2011 at 12:12 am | Report abuse |
  7. Penn State Alumnus

    If these sick old men get caught with their fingers up a young man under the age of 18's ass, you call them "molesters". They are simply doing this fould deed to loosen-up the child's behind for their lustful sodomy. No matter how much younger than 18 the child is, it is still statutory raype, an offense that carries prison time. Gays have equal rights to justice. duh

    November 8, 2011 at 12:15 am | Report abuse |
  8. Penn State Alumnus

    @DinDenver. The time is now. Gays demand equal rights, and so should be charged with statutory raype just as stright men who raype girls under the age of 18 are. Gays have every right to be sent to prison for the stautory raypeing of boys under the age of consent.

    November 8, 2011 at 12:20 am | Report abuse |
    • jvv

      I've been reading your posts and, I must say, if you really are an alumnus of any university, you must have paid someone a great deal of money to take your tests for you. Horrible spelling and literary style, not to mention unintelligible sentences...go back to school.

      November 8, 2011 at 1:53 am | Report abuse |
    • ldstep

      Wow...you are part of the Penn State alumni?!? Based upon your grammar and spelling Penn State has certainly gone down hill in more ways than one.

      November 8, 2011 at 4:28 am | Report abuse |
  9. Comment2

    As usual with Penn State it will come out that this had been covered up and there had been pay offs. This is not just a football issue at Penn State this is the typical way the Penn State administration (Spanier) handles situations. They try to pay off the victims/families to keep the situations out of the courts/public and coerce those who report the crimes (which are usually psu employees). This type of situation is very sad for all involved the violated, the families, and the donors who give to Penn State without knowing how the money is being used.

    November 8, 2011 at 12:54 am | Report abuse |
  10. Tony N


    November 8, 2011 at 1:45 am | Report abuse |
  11. Wayne Thompson

    Joe Paterno did what he should have done and keep his nose out of it to let the process work. Just like in the military you send it up through the chain of command and back off and let, and depend on the chain of command to do what is needed. That is what the chain of command is for and no one likes someone going around the chain of command. So, don't condemn Joe for doing what and how it works! DON'T SHOOT THE MESSENGER!!!

    November 8, 2011 at 7:21 am | Report abuse |
    • TRS

      @Wayne Thompson

      Joe Pa did not do what he should have done. This isnt the military first of all. He is a college football coach. Second there is no chain of command. Its PA law you report child abuse. He should have dialed 911 instead of the A.D. It was not a recruiting issue. You call the police period not the A.D. Give me a break. If Joe Pa calls the police it would have stopped many other kids from getting abused. His hands are not clean.

      November 8, 2011 at 8:15 am | Report abuse |

      These were CHILDREN. What if one of them was your child?

      November 8, 2011 at 8:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Josh

      I believe even in the military, you call the police (the MP's) if you just witnessed a child being rayped in the showers of one of the barracks.

      November 8, 2011 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      The manner in which you quote military protocol, as if it could POSSIBLY apply in this situation, proves you never spent a moment in uniform or at least never understood our code of conduct if you did. By all means stick to your day job: defending the indefensible.

      November 8, 2011 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
    • DisgustedinDenver

      I was a Navy wife for many years...I don't ever recall any stories about old men bringing small boys to work and showering with them or having sleepovers with them....if it were the military, these people would have been locked up for a very long time...they do not mess around- and for sure would not tolerate a pedophile- and would have put a stop to it immediately to make sure it did not happen again! What are you talking about!!!!

      November 8, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • DisgustedinDenver

      @Josh...exactly...that is EXACTLY what you would do!

      November 8, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • DisgustedinDenver

      @Brian....absolutely agree!!

      November 8, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Z-man

    If the allegations are true, then the only way Penn State tries to recover from this horrific episode is to fire the entire coaching staff and start fresh. I am sure Joe Paterno like others are not cleared from this. As the head coach, the ultimate reponsiblity falls within your watch. If they replace CAPTAIN'S on Navy ships for running aground even though they were not present during the time of incident, it ultimately their responsibility. Clear or prosecute Sandusky, but in the interim replace the entire Penn St. coaching staff. This takes the heat off of Ohio St., and Va Tech.

    November 8, 2011 at 7:26 am | Report abuse |
    • DisgustedinDenver

      I agree...look what happened to the Navy Commander that was in the video with consenting grown adult women! He was removed!

      November 8, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  13. 1984

    First of all the last time I looked in this country you were Innocent until proven Guilty. So let us not speculate and rush to judgment. Also these days you have to be real careful what you say because if you are wrong there will be definitely a lawsuit coming your way. Because in this country these days the only way to make money is either SUE or WIN the LOTTO, So alot of people out there looking for that edge. So by reporting it to you superior first is the right and legal thing to do. The Police state we live in today wants to pit Neighbor against Neighbor. Spy on each other, report what you think is wrong. Its McCarthyism in a different form. So like I said lets be careful and let the legal process take care of it.

    November 8, 2011 at 8:06 am | Report abuse |

      These charges were not made from a single incident or something that happend yesterday. The investigation was lengthy and I am sure accurate or it would have made the news a long time ago.

      November 8, 2011 at 8:35 am | Report abuse |
  14. Rich J

    Joe needs to be fired. He knew about it and even though he reported it he still seen nothing had gotten done about it. So he is just as guility. A person with this much clout with the university should have not turned his back on innocent boys. Look at what happened to Tressell at OSU for players selling memorabilia for tatoos and he got fired for turning his head. So what about JOE. Fire him today............

    November 8, 2011 at 8:13 am | Report abuse |
  15. Nan

    Fire Pres. Graham Spanier. It's been his reign and he has done nothing but promote greed at the university during his tenure. Start at the top. How come he's not talking?! Quite cowardly!

    November 8, 2011 at 8:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Great observation. Wonder what the state system is for doing just that. I would like to see some sort of Board of Regents sack up and take this on. Time for that whole system to walk the walk of untouchability they have been talking for years. This whole thing is beyond repugnant. The systemic rot probably exceeds our imaginations.

      November 8, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
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