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. Bill

    Bull. Joe Paterno did what he should have. Joe reported what he knew. Sandusky retired and it was no longer Joe's responsibility to monitor him, to report him further. Why is it the media loves to tear down a legend, particularly a conservative one. Why didn;t you folks tear down Bill Clinton, Ted kennedy. Wrong political party, huh????

    November 8, 2011 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
    • th

      if this happened outside of the campus, he would have called the police. He protected the wrong side.

      November 8, 2011 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Richard

      He's a coach of a football team, thats all..Not a God, as some seem to beleive. What ever the case may be, Paterno's career is for the most part over. More than likely he will retire, i don't see him back next year...

      November 8, 2011 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
    • ES

      blah blah blah..I am stunned that you think he did enough!! This has been a topic of discussion amongst many people and there are only a handfull of that believe Paterno did enough. The handfull consist of balding, greasy, thick eyeglass wearing ...you get the picture just look in the mirror.

      November 8, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      I don't see him back next GAME.

      November 8, 2011 at 10:13 pm | Report abuse |
  2. jan ween

    He should step down...they all should step down

    November 8, 2011 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
    • DisgustedinDenver

      Exactly. Exactly.

      November 8, 2011 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  3. Judy

    Paterno needs to go. He abdicated his moral and ethical responsibility – the first thing anyone learns as a teacher/coach is that they are a MANDATED reporter of child abuse – it is not an "if you think you should..." kind of thing. It is MANDATED.

    November 8, 2011 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
    • DisgustedinDenver


      November 8, 2011 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  4. Yoda

    Joe did what he was suppose to do.

    November 8, 2011 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
    • m

      you're an idiot. Would you say the same if this was your son??

      November 8, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Daniel 66

    Joe Must Go!

    November 8, 2011 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  6. Gene

    Come on folks get real. Just because some person violates the law, doesn't make Joe guilty. this is a shame that some are even suggesting he step down. Must be Michigan fans.

    November 8, 2011 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
    • DisgustedinDenver

      Read this and tell me he didn't know...he could have stopped the abuse that continued for over a decade...he could have stopped it and instead decided to protect the pedophile instead of these poor children...http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2011/11/07/sandusky_grand_jury_presentment.pdf

      November 8, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  7. carla

    @Bill. "particularly a conservative one"??? This is not a political thing. This is a culture of allowing the constant abuse of our children and it being covered up as to not ruin someone's reputation. I do wish the grad assistant would have intervened. However, having been a grad asst., there is immense pressure. At that point, the grad asst has put in many years of education. He did the right thing in reporting. Yes, it would have been great had he stepped in right away.

    November 8, 2011 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  8. Linda

    Finally...when I heard that Joe was told about what the grad. student saw and all he did was "report it to school officials" I was disgusted. Shame on Joe Paterno...what a sad, sad little man! I am, however, thankful I wasn't the only one who was sick that Joe Paterno was not included in the indictment. People, WAKE UP, this is a cover-up and Joe Paterno thinks he is above the law and above moral responsibility!

    November 8, 2011 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  9. DoTheMath

    Joe Paterno isn't the law and he told his higher-upper about the incident, so there's nothing else he could have done. If this story is true, then ultimately it's the fault of the entire athletic department for not informing authorities sooner. However, these allegations have a tendency to be completely misconstrued, as they were in Michael Jackson's case. Withhold your biased and uneducated opinions until the trial carries out.

    November 8, 2011 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
    • DisgustedinDenver

      Read this and tell me he didn't know...it is very clear he did not do the right thing...what would you have done? http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2011/11/07/sandusky_grand_jury_presentment.pdf

      November 8, 2011 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  10. ajay

    I agree with JUDY – this is appalling! Simply reporting something like this is NOT ENOUGH. What about follow up?
    What if it had been his child or grandchild? These men did not want a scandal, it's that simple. Everyone who knew and did nothing deserves to be fired, legend or not.

    November 8, 2011 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  11. fearlessdude

    It's Man's world. The US is not much different from Muslim countries. When a female teacher has a loving relationship with a 15-16 year old male student, she gets 5-10 years in jail. When a male coach or teacher is abusing 10-12 year old boys in the shower, he gets a reprimand. Ridiculous. Who is at fault? Most of you and the judicial system.
    Paterno must resign. He is a good coach but he failed his responsibilities. The law is clear: you see a crime, you report it.

    November 8, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Detroit Lions Rule

      Pardon me if I'm wrong here but Joe did NOT see a crime. One was reported to him If anyone should have called the cops straight away it would be the guy who actually saw what was going on. Immediately!!

      November 8, 2011 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  12. DisgustedinDenver

    Read the charges and tell me that Paterno and Spanier didn't know what happened...they all knew and did absolutely nothing...Really? "Dude, you can't bring small children to the gym/showers anymore....but this is hard to enforce(wink, wink)"...

    November 8, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • DisgustedinDenver

      Here are the grand jury factual findings after the initial investigation: http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2011/11/07/sandusky_grand_jury_presentment.pdf

      November 8, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  13. Joe should be deeply ashamed of himself

    The shame of all this is other kids were assulted for years because Joe "reported it to my superiors" and did nothing else. To protect his friend? Protect the football program? Protect the school. What a shame. I dont know how Joe Pa sleeps at night. All the other victims of his friend are on him. Disgusting

    November 8, 2011 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  14. Detroit Lions Rule

    The guy who reported it to Joe seems to be getting a pass here. If Joe was to do more (ie. call the cops) then why didn't the actual witness? Joe knew Jerry for many years. I'm sure when someone came to him with such an allegation he was shocked and in disbelief. BUT since it was done and over with what the hell else was he to do? Jerry was not a coach any longer so Joe had no authority to do much more than notify the administration. It's their job to investigate, NOT the coaches. This is a very sad and disgusting story but saying Joe could/should have done more it way off base.

    November 8, 2011 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  15. Ignore the Pundits

    Why are there no calls for the university president to resign? Wasn't Spanier aware of the incidents? Lest we forget that two of his upper administrative underlings have been charged with perjury. Sure, Paterno may not be squeaky clean from an ethical or moral standpoint, but he shouldn't bear all of the burden in this case.

    November 8, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
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