He's reverently and affectionately called "JoePa." He leads Penn State's storied Nittany Lions, their uniforms a pure white with dignified blue stripes, as they've delighted fans for decades in a stadium called Happy Valley.
Now, Joe Paterno, 46 years as Penn State's head coach - and just a week after notching his 409th victory, the most for any major-college football coach - is facing resounding calls to resign in disgrace.
The calls come after Paterno's longtime assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky, was charged with child sex abuseÂ for alleged incidents dating back to 1994. A graduate assistant informed Paterno of one alleged incident in 2002 that took place in a Penn State locker room shower.
Read the indictment in the case (PDF)
Paterno, who is not facing charges in the case, says he told his superiors in the athletic department about what the graduate assistant saw. Paterno was told that Sandusky was "fondling or doing something of a sexual nature to a young boy," according to a grand jury.
Paterno has said in a statement that he "did what I was supposed to with the one charge brought to my attention."
On Tuesday, a Paterno news conference during which he was expected to face questions about the scandal was canceled.
"Due to the ongoing legal circumstances centered around the recent allegations and charges, we have determined that today's press conference cannot be held and will not be rescheduled," the university said in a statement.
Timeline of Penn State abuse case
With no new answers or explanations Tuesday, the prevailing opinion seems to be that Paterno didn't do close to enough; so little that there are widespread calls for him to resign.
"Remember, Penn State is not your typical college football program," writes Neil Rudel in The Altoona Mirror. "It is a kingdom and there is one king, regardless of whether he supposedly reports to anyone else."
"This was a moral test, one in which Penn State's leadership - led by Paterno because he's the king and all he had to do was tell all involved to turn in Sandusky - deserves an F," Rudel writes.
The moral issue came up again and again in comments Tuesday.
"Paterno did only the minimum the law required. Telling (athletic director Tim) Curley doesnâ€™t absolve Paterno from a moral obligation. He shouldâ€™ve taken action himself. Failing to do that allowed Sandusky to victimize boys for another seven years," the Newark Star-Ledger writes in an editorial.
The Star-Ledger was echoing a point made by Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly on Monday.
â€œThose officials and administrators to whom it was reported did not report the incident to law enforcement or to any child protection agency. Their inaction, likely, allowed a child predator to continue to victimize children for many, many years," Kelly said.
"We don't yet know who is legally guilty. But several prominent employees at the state university are morally guilty. And one of them is Joe Paterno," writes Michael Rosenberg on SI.com.
Rosenberg likens Penn State to the Catholic Church, which has been rocked by sex abuse scandals.
"The allegations were so horrific that they threatened to undermine the reputation of the institution. The people in charge should have brought the allegations to light. But they were more worried about how the institution would look than the values it is supposed to uphold," Rosenberg writes.
New York Daily News columnist Mike Lupica also used the Catholic Church analogy.
"It was not a priest with a boy in the dark rooms of a church this time, it was the church of football at Penn State University," Lupica wrote.
"If the government can make its case against Sandusky â€” once Paterno's top football sergeant, and so a priest of football at Penn State â€” then nobody involved should survive this, starting with a coach who came out of Brooklyn Prep nearly 70 years ago to make his name one of the most famous and respected in the history of his sport," according to Lupica.
In the state capital of Harrisburg, The Patriot-News ran a full front-page editorial calling for the end of Paterno's time at Penn State.
"As for Joe Paterno, the face of Penn State and the man who has pushed for excellence on the football field and for the entire university, this must be his last season. His contract should not be extended," the editorial said.
Besides Sandusky, two other Penn State officials, athletic director Tim Curley and senior vice president for finance and business Gary Schultz, face charges in the case for failing to report the abuse allegations to criminal authorities.
In a USA Today story, some questioned if they were trying to protect what the paper called "Paterno's saintly reputation."
"Sainthood is a word not often used in sports of any kind, college or otherwise," Robert Thompson, founding director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University, is quoted as saying. "This story comes out of a program that seemed the epitome of squeaky-clean."
Earlier this year, another Big Ten conference coach who was seen by many as above reproach, Ohio State's Jim Tressel, resigned in disgrace after withholding program violations from the NCAA. Tressel's case was just the latest in a long list that have plagued college football, including cases at the University of Southern California, the University of Miami and several other top programs.
But commentators Tuesday said the Penn State case has taken the slimy side of college football down to a new depth.
"If these allegations are proven true, this scandal is far worse than anything that's happened at other universities. Exploiting dozens and raping young boys could never compare to the minor infractions of boosters buying a car for a player or a player selling his autographed football jersey for a few bucks," Roxanne Jones, a Penn State alumnae and founding editor of ESPN The Magazine, writes for CNN.com.
At age 84, Paterno has been seen as a candidate for retirement for decades. With the sex abuse scandal rocking the campus, The Philadelphia Inquirer says, Paterno's time has come.
"His oft-discussed retirement would be timelier than ever - even though leaving amid this scandal will provide a sad coda to an otherwise stellar career for the man who, until now, served as the reassuring public face of Penn State," The Inquirer said in an editorial Tuesday.
TIME.com's Sean Gregory said it would be tough for any fan to watch Paterno at work on a Saturday afternoon now.
"If these charges are true, how can we ever view him in the same light again? Who cares about all the wins? Weâ€™re not talking about a recruiting violation here. Weâ€™re talking about an unspeakable violation, to innocent children," Gregory writes. "We donâ€™t see how Joe Paterno can still coach."
The Star-Ledger is starker.
"Given the disgusting nature of these widespread allegations, the insidious connections to Penn State football and Paternoâ€™s lack of judgment when told, itâ€™s time for him to take his 409 victories and Hall of Fame bust and leave. Quickly," the Ledger said.
Paterno must go. And must go now. It is clear now that the evidence and issues began to show up years before the Grand Jury, as early as 1998, during the time Sandusky worked for Paterno. Silence and coverups may have allowed this travesty to continue for years. YEARS. Like so many are learning in the Catholic Church, controlling the spin is just covering a lie. When the lie gets out, the ramifications are devastating. The law suits alone Paterno and Penn State will now face will take years and cost MILLIONS. The University must act upon the situation in a moral and legal way. All in a position or authority with knowledge and aforethought must be purged, regardless of whether or not one is called, "JoePa" or has won a lot of football games. There is a right. There is a wrong. Anything less than Paterno's dismissal is wrong.
Paterno could have went to ANYONE in this country, even the president of the USA, and he did nothing. You know why don't you? He just didn't care enough to find out the truth. But if the truth be know, he knew all along about Sandusky. Why do you think these other 2 guys lied. To save EVERYONES butt.
It is a disgrace and Paterno must go. He has tarnished the name of the school and himself by not doing what he should have done and went to important people who would have put a stop to this molesting immediately. Instead, he let this go on for years and CHILDREN suffered because of Paterno's inaction.
Everyone at Penn State who knew about this needs to be fired, and that includes Joe Pa, they need to clean house. What this Sandusky guy did is worse than murder in my opinion. Nobody who knew about this should get away with it. Terrible Terrible story...makes me sick.
from the timeline he had not been on staff for 3 years. if sandusky had been a coach and paterno didnt act then he would deserve the heat. the facilities were being used for something paterno had no authority over. the athletic director is ultimately responsible for not acting on the intel he was passed. do not drum up controversy to get more clicks
It has nothing to do with laws, it has to do with being human and having common sense. Obviously you are another one of those stupid people who would have been sitting back eating popcorn and dismissed the case when it was presented to you. Then again, you weren't the one that was victimized by that sick man.
Aren't we penalizing before the infraction has been proven? I choose to wait until the review booth presents all the facts, after all aren't we "innocent until proven guilty?"
what more do you need 8 kids!!!! did you read the grand jury indictment?!!! PLEASE!
Are you in NAMBLA or something? How many more need to step forward? This isn't like those dumb bimbo's accusing Cain of flirting with them.
You are obviously a Sadunsky supporter, but then again, maybe you're into this kind of stuff.
You can't be serious. Paterno knew and the guy that told him is now on his coaching staff. Everyone, including the big honcho, knew. Everyone should be made to pay for the crimes comitted on these small boys.
Don't even think that Paterno did not know for years that Sandusky was molesting children. He knew and DID NOTHING!!!!!
Everyone is so quick to judge.
and anyone that is not upset with what's going on is so ignorant or is just a pedophile!
Another Sadunsky supporter, probably would sit back eat popcorn and tape the whole thing. Sick, real sick.
maybe you should read the report and then post.
Do you think the parents of the children that were subsequently molested think Paterno did enough? I don't see how reporting it to your supervisor would be considered enough, if the actions were allowed to continue. "Well, as long he doesn't keep raping these boys on our campus, we're good!" Sickening
So how about the grad student? Is he going to lose his job and have his face plastered on the news since he could have easily reported it to the police and was an eyewitness (according to the reports)?
Joe got it second hand, went to his superiors. If his superiors had done their job then this would not have continued. We need to hear the whole story and not vilify a man who got information on second hand and reported it as he was required.
this crossed my mind!
if paterno knew about this then yes he should go but until that is proved then nothing can be done
so you think a grand jury and his testimony is not prof enough?! are you kidding me
According to some of the "holier than thou" crowd Joe Paterno should have addressed the Joint Houses of Congress, or led a lynching mob.
Please remember that he informed proper authorities of a sordid situation involving one of his lifetime best friends. He did not ignore the problem.
And also keep in mind that Sandusky has been found guilty of nothing yet. Let the legal process do it's work.
There's no doubt that Paterno's career will end this season – the PC Posse will see to that. But there's no reason to ride Joe out of town on a rail.
Save the tar and feathers for another time.
IGNORANCE IS BLISS!
Speak for yourself, Dee.
He notified the proper authorities? You mean the police? I didn't read that part of the article. I read that he notified his boss (who is not a part of law enforcement), and then evidently looked the other way. Did he ever ask about it later? Did he ever question whether or not anyone ever called the police? Did he wonder at all about it when he (surely) knew that the guy continued to conduct football camps (with showers, no doubt) for "troubled young boys" at nearby (affiliated) colleges?
Wrong. Sandusky was JoePa's immediate subordinate. Therefore, Joe is required to do more than just report it to his boss. Had it been the assistant basketball coach – then sure; report it to the athletic director or the head basketball coach and he's done with it. But, this was his "close friend" and his own assistant coach. Why didn't Joe confront him about it?.. maybe even confront him along w/ the athletic director.
If someone complains about something I did at my job to my immediate manager, then my manager would confront me about it. She wouldn't just go report it to her boss and be done with it. No Way.. And, the fact that Joe and Sandusky were long-time friends adds another whole level to it.. level of disgusting if I do say so myself. If someone told you that your friend/co-worker/subordinate were doing something of this nature, I HOPE you would do more than just report it to your boss.
RickyL, you are being rediculous. All he needed to do was follow up with the administrative staff and if nothing was happening go with the grad student to the police to report the "potential" crime and let them follow up and investigate. Once you have done ALL you can do, there is nothing more that can be done. In this case, going to the police regarding an alleged crime is not doing too much. He needed to help the grad student out in this case by being a LEADER.
This is so outrageous I can barely believe what I'm reading. What was Joe supposed to do here? He heard from a subordinate that another subordinate was behaving very inappropriately, and he told his boss. That is what ANYBODY would do if that happened to them at work. He was supposed to call the police? Call them and say what, exactly? That he heard a rumor that somebody was molesting someone? It isn't like he witnessed it. How the hell did he know if it was true, and in fact, how the hell do all the moralizers trying to kick him out the door right now know that any of this was true?
It wasn't a "rumor". He was confronted by an eye witness. So, either the eye witness was lying or he saw what he saw. Paterno punted. He took the road less traveled. He chose to do as little as possible to protect young boys from abuse. He should be fired because his actions contributed to other boys being abused.
May I just say, you need to get the facts straight....it was not a RUMOR, and yes out of morals when he saw nothing was done he should have even called 911 but he did NOTHING!!!! and because of this who knows how many innocent children were molested......IGNORANCE IS BLISS!
So let me get this right Sean, you're telling me that if someone came to you and told you they saw your coworker and best friend committing a crime such as this, you would just tell your boss. You wouldn't confront your best friend and find out what actually happened. After having done this more than 8 time at least, you were oblivious to this? Comon, give me a break and be a man. You're embarrasing yourself and your family.
Sean I agree. Paterno did not witness the act. These types of allegations can destroy someone even if they are found to be untrue. Paterno took the information he was given and reported it to his bosses. Even if Paterno tried to follow up with his bosses he would have been told that due to it being an employee issue; confidentiality laws apply. This whole situation is unfortunate but I believe Joe did what he could with the information he was given.
Maybe you should read the Grand Jury indictment before you respond again. He didn't hear a rumor. He was directly told that it happened. Victims and witnesses testified to this in the indictment. They are findings of fact, not rumors. Sandusky himself admitted to inappropriate behavior with boys after he was confronted on multiple occasions. Get a life and stop defending child molesters and start supporting those innocent kids who went through hell.
Yes to answer your question. He or his boss were supposed to notify the police. And the parents of the boy who had been victimized.
Stupidity at it's best. Yes... let's call for a legend's demise because he followed the rules and escalated the issue like he was supposed to!? the heck is wrong with people these days
what is with this nations obsession with people stepping down from their positions when something happened in their organization. Is that person responsible for every employees' decisions and actions inside, outside, or surrounding an organization?? And when they do escalate it according to the rules, there is still this mass hysteria to throw someone else out on their but. The big news stories lately... all these people going down for crimes they never committed and were simply told about. Like if someone told you something about an IPO before it goes public. You may not want to know or cared or listened... yet somehow you are still on the hook for insider trading. Mind boggling at best.
JoePerv needs to go!!!!
He needs to retire anyway, he looks like he might drop dead at any moment.
Not defending him, but he is probably in better shape than you. Have respect for the elderly nevertheless. You will get old one day if you're as lucky.
Paterno must resign or be terminated. He failed to act to protect young boys from possible abuse. He took the low road and that is not good enough. No explanation he offers is good enough. No apology to the victims is good enough. The reputation of Penn State has been badly tarnished and to allow him, and others, to remain will also say volumes about the values at Penn State. It will say that a football program is more important than the lives of young boys. That misconduct is acceptable if the football program is successful. That success on the gridiron is far more important than doing the right thing. Unless those who shielded such immoral behavior resign or are removed the University should change its name to Penitenory State and the football uniforms should be prison strips to reflect the lack of integrity within the program.
Most of this done ON THE PENN STATE CAMPUS. read the PDF indictment.
Remember, Paterno ran this all at Penn State with a very tight fist on control. No one was allowed into the athletic buildings, and no one did anything inside those buildings, without Paterno's full knowledge, control, and approval. Nothing.
Yeah cause your god and you know this to be true right? Or is it that Joe Paterno is god? That would be the only 2 possibilities for your statement to be true.
Did you mean " you're god" as opposed to what you wrote (your god)?
Just a baseless and ridiculous presumption. You think Joe was non-stop monitoring the entrances to the buildings, had spy cameras everywhere, that he's all-knowing and omnipotent, just because he has such clout and tenure? I hope you are never on a jury. You'll presume everyone guilty and convict the innocent, as well as the guilty.
@Josh...good point. This has been going on for 18 years with Pennsylvania's Second Mile program, designed, they say, to help youngsters. This org. is nothing but a link in the supply chain supplying boys for dirty old men to sodomize.I hope everyone who knew and did nothing or little about it all end up in prison.
Penn State is big, but not as big as the religions that do this very thing and get away with it for centuries. Adios Joe Paterno. Your pukey little Penn State isn't big enough to defeat Justice.
Pucky little Penn State? Really? What about the president of the university, Graham Spanier – why is no one screaming about his absolute failure to do his job? Yes, JoePa messed up and I (a PSU alum) think it's best for him to resign – but I think this is a case about the sick men who committed the crimes as well as the people who did not follow their legal obligations. It's not about football and it's not about PSU as a university. It's about the individuals that committed crimes against children and the people who knew and didn't do anything. (Yes, I know that means JoePa, which is why I agree he should leave – but it is sickeningly absurd how much more attention he is getting in this investigation.)
What are you talking about?
Sounds to me that you know more than you are telling. I do agree with you Josh. Paterno sounds like a control freek and besides it's time for him to learn how to crochet.
If this is the case Paterno had to have know more that the single incident.
Which makes it likely that he purposely hushed up the situation... Hey... who killed Ray Frank Gricar? Hmmmmm
No doubt you are right. That is why he is responsible too.
did you really have to use the term "tight fist"?
Do you really believe what you just said there. You are not the brightest bulb on the string.
You were there?
Wrong. It's ridiculous how you state that in such a forceful convincing way. Essentially any student could easily enter almost any of those buildings throughout the day. Not anywhere close to this scary, lock-down scenario you've painted. To think that Paterno knew every single person who walked in and out of those facilities is preposterous.
Not true. Read the indictment. Sandusky had access to all of the buildings because of his Alumnus Emeritus status, not because Joe Paterno let him into the building.
If you truly believe this, you are an idiot. Joe Pa is the furthest thing from a control freak!
Wow. Joe Paterno is like God. All-knowing. I'm impressed.
Complete generalization and hogwash. I'll go ahead and assume you have no first-hand experience and/or credibility to make that statement. Josh, do everyone a favor and think before you type.
Why must Joe Paterno resign? Yes he was head coach at the time of this insolent. He reported the insolent to his boss. End of his responsibility. Now the press is calling for Joe Paternoâ€™s resignation. Iâ€™m so glad the press has decided to be judge and jury. Why must the press slander the great and promote the incompetent? I am a resident of Pennsylvania and feel that Joe Paterno should continue to coach for as long as he likes.
You're legally obligated to report even SUSPECTED abuse yourself, not to your boss, not to anyone. You, yourself are required by law to report it. So, it's not end of responsibility, and the fact that you think just telling your boss about something as sick and severe as this, and never following up on it is acceptable, what other kinds of sick and perverse things would YOU let happen? Just ridiculous. You care too much about football.
The people are wanting justice...the press mostly is reiterating what the people want...
Can you imagine if Joe had actually done the right thing? Pick up a phone and call 911? Waddle down and beat the guy senseless? Maybe in a staff meeting asked "hey, what ever happened to that deal with Jerry raping that kid"? He could have stopped so much pain and misery, but he didn't. He showed himself to be a dishonorable coward.
Appalled at some of the comments here. First of all, even though Jopa supposedly "reported it"... he DID NOTHING when Sandusky was allowed to continue coaching. Also, to the commenter about the eye witness being the one who should have called police...the eye witness was a student (possibly a grad student) but still, he reported it to the head of the football program...Jopa...who told one of his superiors and that was all. Didn't it bother him that one of his coaches was SEEN in the shower with a young boy??? Oh well, I hope Jopa gets what's coming to him...for the millions he makes as the football coach, he's sure disappointed alot of people. Program is, they will just wait until the end of the season and say he "retired".
So if a child is assaulted at school and the teacher knows it and reports it to the principal and the principal does not call the cops and the teacher doesn't follow up, they are not responsible? Even if he isn't legally responsible, he was morally responsible to follow up on a claim that this child was being assaulted. I'm sure he knew Sandusky had an organization to help underpriviledged boys and still did nothing. To me, that is disgraceful. RESIGN
End of responsibility???? You're wrong, and he's wrong if that's what he thought, and there are too many reasons to list why that's wrong. If this was your child, a teacher learned about it, reported it, and then dropped it, tell me you wouldn't feel enraged when you found out nothing was done. Forget the pecking order at Penn. Reporting this obscenity to your boss who does nothing is not nearly enough. What a sweet set up. No one allowed in the athletic buildings, nothing went on without his approval and control. And you say he's not responsible? You are as wrong as you can be. None of those who knew should be allowed to retire or "step aside". OUT, and that means NOW.
And what IS it with men???? Pedophiles hiding among the sheep and attacking when they are helpless. This grown man/pig shouldn't have been anywhere near a naked boy, much less naked himself and in a shower with him. Just that, just that sickening oh-so-wrong action should have landed Sandusky on his ear. What are the men at Penn thinking??
Agreed, at this point in time this is nothing more than a "witch hunt!"
I agree with you 100%!!! Why don't they make Herman Cain step down from running for Presidency!!!
WRONG.... His boss is not law enforcement. His responsibility would have ended when HE CALLED THE POLICE BECAUSE A CHILD WAS BEING R@PED!!!!
Not how the real world works. Buh bye Joe.
Why must he resign, are you kidding? When the Grad Assistant told Paterno what he saw all Joe Pa did was tell the Athletic Director and then washed his hands of it all. Sandusky continued to abuse young boys for years after this because neither Paterno or the University did their job by law and reported this to the proper authorities. Also, in 2007 Sandusky showed up at a Penn State practice with a young boy! And you don't think he should resign or that he did his job? Paterno will be gone and so will the rest of the coaching staff and they will start over with a whole new Head Coach and Assitants because everyone involved dropped the proverbial ball on this one big time.
Wow! I am from PA and a PSU grad, but I sure hope all of you folks saying Coach Paterno did what was required and that's enough don't have kids. I can't imagine if I had a kid that was molested and someone could have gone to the police, but didn't. Thatâ€™s unforgivable no matter who you are.
He is a mandated reporter, required by law to report suspected child abuse to police and child welfare agencies. He broke the law.
Just one question – who is the villian here? Has anyone even addressed Sandusky's name? By trying to put the focus on Paterno, you are all guilty of the same thing you're accusing Paterno of – that's not reacting to the real crime. See how easy it was to fall right into the trap?
Exactly! Go read, then comment. The affidavit sums it up all too well.
The affadavit shows that he reported the incident to his superiors. He can't report an incident to the police that he didn't witness, ever hear of a defamation of character lawsuit. Jerry S could have ended up suing him and he probably would have won at the time.
The grand jury report shows that Joe Paterno was commended by the judge for reporting the behavior. Should we oust the judge now too?