As John Oliver put it, every time we think we have reached rock bottom with reference to Joe Paterno’s role in abetting Jerry Sandusky’s child sexual abuse, it turns out that “way up there, way up, above the clouds…that’s rock bottom.”
Hours before #4 Penn State’s hyped game with Pitt today, CNN posted an extensive report which leads with this:
A police report obtained by CNN bolsters evidence that legendary football coach Joe Paterno knew years before Jerry Sandusky’s arrest that his longtime assistant might be sexually abusing children.
There have been very few good days for Paterno Truthers in the past few years. At this point, you imagine there is almost nothing you could tell them about Paterno’s actions or inactions during Sandusky’s abuse spree that would dissuade the “Joe Didn’t Know!” crowd.
But for anyone who might still be willing to listen to reason, the CNN report makes a very compelling case that the infamous shower assault that Mike McQueary walked in on in 2001 — and then went to Paterno with news of — was not the first time Paterno had received reports of Sandusky’s awful crimes:
The one-page Pennsylvania state police report…lays out an account from whistleblower Mike McQueary, who reported to Paterno an incident he had just witnessed in a locker room between Sandusky and a young boy. Paterno allegedly told McQueary in 2001 that the claim against Sandusky “was the second complaint of this nature he had received,” according to the police report, which was written after Sandusky’s arrest 10 years later.
The police report casts fresh doubt on the mountain of denials by Paterno, his family and his loyalists that the coach knew anything of Sandusky’s serial molestation before the 2001 incident.
It contradicts the head coach’s testimony before a grand jury and his published statement a week before he died in 2012 that he “had ‘no inkling’ that Sandusky might be a sexual deviant” until he heard the shocking allegation from McQueary. Other documents unveiled since Paterno’s death suggest the head coach was told of other similar claims as early as the 1970s.
Even Penn State’s harshest critics must be getting close to the point of being oversaturated with details like these. You either believe Paterno silently, selfishly and perhaps criminally kept what he knew about Sandusky’s malfeasances to himself, or you don’t. The “when” in this story is ultimately far less important than the “how, what, where and why” insofar as Sandusky is almost certainly in jail for life, PSU has settled millions of dollars’ worth of the victims’ claims, and Paterno is long since dead.
That’s the thing, though. Joe Paterno died just the one time.
His legacy has died more deaths than Kenny.