For everyone who thinks Joe Paterno has been dealt too harsh a punishment, here's what I'd ask her or him:
If a colleague came to you and told you he saw someone you've know for 20 years "being inappropriate" with or "fondling" one of your children or grandchildren, what would you do?
The damage this sort of crime does to a child is horrendous. Some children recover, some don't. Those who don't, carry feelings of betrayal and worthlessness inside themselves forever. Some are never able to form healthy relationships, some never trust again. And some destroy themselves.
No institution, religious or otherwise, and no one who enabled such criminal acts against children should escape the full punishment of the law for one of humanity's ugliest and most evil crimes.
There is more disgustingly sordid information coming out about the monster that was Paterno's assistant coach. For all the good things Paterno may have instilled in his players, it appears he failed in the worst possible way when it came to protecting innocent children.
Penn State and Coach Paterno didn't do what they should have done: Protect children.
Andrew Sullivan gives us his view on the issue in a response to one of his reader's comments:
"...Sandusky was an assistant coach and once likely [a] successor to Paterno. I don't think it changes the point. Sandusky was in in the inner sanctum. He was one of them. Because he was one of them, his grotesque abuses did not seem to grotesque. Loyalty, friendship, the bonds of sports ... all probably contributed to the decision to fire him (traumatic enough) but not to send him to the cops. You and Megan are missing the psychological impact of being worshipped and immune in a community, and all the corruption that comes from that.It was surely, rationally, in the Catholic Church's interests to report all these things immediately. Look what damage it has subsequently done. But authoritarian insitutions, based on religion and cults, are not guided by reason, but by emotion.
Knowing, as they did, that he had created access to countless other troubled kids makes it all the more wicked. To my mind, Paterno needs to be prosecuted just as Ratzinger needed to be prosecuted back when he did the same thing in Munich. They are accessories to child rape. The only reason they weren't prosecuted was their status."
JOE POSNANSKI, the author who is writing a biography of Joe Paterno wrote this on his blog:
1. Joe Paterno is responsible for what happens on his watch. Period.
2. People are making assumptions about what Joe did or didn’t know, what Joe did or didn’t do, and I can’t tell you that those assumptions are wrong. But I can tell you that they are assumptions based on one side of the story.
3. We are in a top-you world where everyone is not only trying to report something faster but is also trying to report something ANGRIER. One guy wants Joe Paterno to resign, the next wants him to be fired, the next wants him to be fired this minute, the next wants him to be fired and arrested, the next wants him to be fired, arrested and jailed, on and on, until we’ve lost sight of who actually committed the crimes here.
4. I think the University could not possibly have handled this worse. It was disgusting and disgraceful, the method in which they fired Joe Paterno after 60 years of service, and yes, I do think Paterno was a scapegoat. Of course he was. I’ve already said that he had to be let go. But to let him dangle out there, take up all the headlines, face the bulk of the media pressure, absolutely, that’s the very definition of scapegoat. Three people were indicted and arrested. A fourth, I hear, will be indicted soon. Joe Paterno is not one of the four.
5. It is still unclear what Paterno did in this case. It will remain unclear for a while. You might be one of the hundreds and hundreds of people I’ve heard from who know EXACTLY what Paterno did. He HAD to know this. He DEFINITELY knew that. He COULD have done something. I respect that. Joe Paterno’s a public figure. You have every right to believe what you want to believe and be absolutely certain about it.
This is what Joe Paterno told the Grand Jury:
1. His assistant told him fondling and something of a sexual nature occurred between Sandusky and a 10 year old boy.
2. He found his assistant's report to him to be credible.
I disagree with Posnanski's assessment of Paterno's involvement in this, and dislike his attempts to make Paterno look like a victim. I agree with this commenter:
|Chris Clarke17 minutes ago|
"It was disgusting and disgraceful, the method in which they fired Joe Paterno after 60 years of service,"
That THAT's what strikes you as disgusting and disgraceful speaks volumes. You say this:
"I think Joe Paterno had the responsibility as a leader and a man to stop the horrific rapes allegedly committed by Jerry Sandusky"
and then you follow it up with this:
"Joe Paterno has lived a profoundly decent life."
I think of the people I know who I would consider as having led profoundly decent lives, and I search my memories for the times when they failed to react when informed that children were being brutalized by their subordinates, and I come up empty-handed. As someone who has risked his job in the past to report on allegations of sexual harassment, I have no sympathy for Paterno.
But you, Mr. Posnaski: you are willing to give Paterno the benefit of the doubt for allegedly not speaking up, reporting Sandusky to the authorities, or taking any of the dozen other no-brainer steps to keep more children from being brutalized, but you call it "shameful" that people haven't stepped forward to defend Paterno? You can't have it both ways... unless your point is that the career of an "important" man is more important than the stolen well-being of innocent kids.
And I find that profoundly disgusting. Shame on you.