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Posted on Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 7:31 a.m.

Joe Paterno has been unfairly tried and convicted by the news media

By Letters to the Editor

In defense of Joe:

I sense that Joe Paterno has been tried and convicted in the mass media. This seems very unfortunate. I did not realize that a person in his position was mandated to report to police a crime that he learned about second-hand and did not personally witness. It seems he reported what the graduate assistant told him to the athletic director, as I would have done. This seems reasonable.

The man has not been indicted, evidence has not been presented, a trial has not occurred, and a jury has not rendered a verdict. Until the legal process has been completed, it is my impression that an individual in America is presumed innocent until proven otherwise. Of course, I feel compassion for anybody that has been sexually abused. I also feel compassion for Joe Paterno.

Robert Ward


Tom Lane

Tue, Jul 31, 2012 : 10:52 a.m.

For a different perspective of this whole mess, try reading this:

Animal Lover

Sun, Dec 25, 2011 : 3:23 a.m.

He may not have been legally obligated and he didn't. But a man in his position is expected to have morals and to act ethically, and he didn't. I don't doubt for a moment that he already knew about Sandusky's actions and HE DID NOTHING. Both of them are disgusting.

Mike K

Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 10:03 p.m.

Why is the focus continually on Paterno? What about the athletic director? What about the executive VP who knew of the 1998 "incident"? What about the Second Mile executive VP that employed Sandusky and was notified of the incident? The focus is on Paterno because it is a grand story - a great man gone "bad." No one writes about Curley and Schultz (boring) - the ones that have been charged with failure to report. The Media wants to make this about Paterno and Penn State Football, and it really should be about the buffoon administrators (i.e. decision makers) who didn't want to deal with a potential scandel. While we are at is, why isn't about the police in 1998 who investigated and dropped it. Or the Department of Child Welfare who also investigated and also dropped it. There's a lot more to it than what we are all reading, but yes, in retrospect, Paterno should have bitten the bullet and called the police without consulting his boss or the executive VP.

Tom Lane

Tue, Jul 31, 2012 : 11:10 a.m.

I agree. Paterno did what he was supposed to do. He reported the incident to the Athletic Director. McQuery has stated that when he told Paterno of the incident, he left out the sexual aspects "in respect for the coach." He leaves it to Paterno to "fill in the blanks." This is very unfair to Paterno. This goes from a university janitor, who claims he saw Sandusky molesting a boy, but who refused to report it because he was too much of a coward. To the Governor of Pennsylvania, who as Attorney General, sat on the case because he was more interested in attacking his political rivals than investigating the Sandusky case. So it was all dumped on Paterno because he has the "Marquee Name". He is the one on the pedestal and press needs to bring him down.


Mon, Dec 19, 2011 : 11 p.m.

Roadman - I'm not sure if your comment is meant to be serious or sarcastic. On a different level of abuse to a child of course, Keith z, Ann savicas, Julie Creal, Ann Mattson, Stephen Postema seem to have allowed a young man who was being abused to carry the fallout of their neglect and deceit. Julie...were convicted of nothing, they still have their retirement, job benefits...Wayne Wade was the one left in limbo (just as the kids at Penn state). Paterno says he regrets this and that, well he can put his money where his mouth his and use all his resources to get counseling for all the victims. Just like the City could restore Wayne Wade more than a measly $82,000. And our city is still allowing those Power Hungry administrators do more damage, making no amends.


Mon, Dec 19, 2011 : 6:50 p.m.

Joe Paterno is a national hero. He has been convicted of nothing. If he did something wrong, please charge him criminally. But do not leave his reputation in limbo.


Mon, Dec 19, 2011 : 4:56 p.m.

This opinion piece is a joke, Joe Paterno has not been indicted of ANY crime. He is not on trial. He is not a defendant in a criminal matter. The news media has reported EXACTLY what JoePa said to a grand jury. Those words are HIS words that he swore under oath to tell truthfully and honestly. If i take his sworn testimony at face value it shows Joe Pa is evil. You want facts? Ok here goes: "McQueary telephoned him on a Saturday morning and said he'd seen Sandusky fondling a young boy in the shower facility" - If one of your employees said this to you, what would your reaction and response be? If it is what Joe Pa did you are evil "It was of a sexual nature, I'm not sure exactly what it was. I didn't push Mike because he was obviously very upset"- Yes because you wouldn't want to upset the graduate assistant. I mean upsetting him would be horrible, as opposed to the 10 year old boy who was being sodomized. When you are more concerned about Mike McQuery than you are a potential rape victim, you are evil. "As Paterno recalled he did not telephone Curley immediately because he did not want to disturb him during the weekend". REALLY? You didn't want to bother him on his weekend? THIS is the most damning thing I have ever heard from any person ever. What if his boss were on vacation? Would he just wait until he came back? If you think waiting over the weekend is acceptable, you are evil.

Animal Lover

Sun, Dec 25, 2011 : 3:28 a.m.



Mon, Dec 19, 2011 : 11:57 a.m.

something came up on 12-18 regarding the PRINT edition of AnnArbor.Com.In the entertainment section there was an ad inviting people to a book signing of John U Bacon's latest work.Time,place,and date were listed.Everything ok except the date said December 17,2011. Remember the date of this publication was Sunday December 18,2011. JUST SAYING!


Mon, Dec 19, 2011 : 11:48 a.m.

no he has not. He covered this mess up and even admitted he should have done more. Doing the right thing is more important than legacy. The way Joe Pa handled it was all wrong.


Mon, Dec 19, 2011 : 4:32 a.m.

Paterno is an evil man who put image above stopping a rapist from continuing to prey on children.


Mon, Dec 19, 2011 : 1:48 a.m.

The author shows lots of compassion for an old man. Not so much for children!


Mon, Dec 19, 2011 : 12:36 a.m.

Hear no evil, see no evil syndrome or better yet, "plausible doubt", Give me a break, at the least Paterno was an obstruction to justice.


Mon, Dec 19, 2011 : 3:52 p.m.

Justice (in the person of Pennsylvania's attorney general Nils Hagen-Frederiksen) says otherwise: &quot;We have a cooperating witness [Paterno], an individual who testified, provided truthful testimony,&quot; Hagen-Frederiksen told, &quot;but two others who were found by a grand jury to commit perjury whose legal expenses are being paid for university. One is on administrative leave. Very interesting development.&quot; <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>

Terry Star21

Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 10:44 p.m.

This opinion writer can not be serious, is this a joke ? paterno has proven he is guilty himself by the comments he made already. Seriously, waiting until the weekend was over to report (not wanting to bother the administrators), having knowledge of this crime and not reporting it to the police, and having the arrogance to believe he innocent and was untouchable ? Please. Stop these nonsense commenters from embarrassing our children and others.


Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 10:38 p.m.

I am told an emoyee of mine is molesting children. The first thing I would do is report what I was told. Then I would confront that person and find out what they were thinking. I certainly would not keep this person as an employee. I would be sure he no longer had access to children and I would not cover it up. Paterno thought more of his reputation and his program than to turn him in. Paterno was probably afraid it would cast a shadow on him and his program than to make sure the kids were safe. He had a duty to make sure thus didn't happen again. He turned his head and let it continue. He should have followed up on it to be sure it was being handled and he didn't. Shame on him.


Mon, Dec 19, 2011 : 6:33 p.m.

I agree 100%


Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 8:17 p.m.

Joe Paterno is a smart would think he would know how to dial 911....

Billy Bob Schwartz

Mon, Dec 19, 2011 : 3:09 a.m.

...and yet....


Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 6:03 p.m.

Mr. Ward's defense of Joe Paterno seems to be based on the Mr. Paterno having met the legal standard for reporting, not the moral one for defense of a child or acting as a moral human. Indeed, this is where the vivisection of Mr. Paterno's character has rightly taken place. On the scales of Justice, Mr. Paterno will not be charged with a crime, but on the scales of human decency, he has been judged seriously deficient. Paterno is not somebody one wants molding the character of any young men. I would say that his his horrific failure of priorities has already shown the devastating effect on those he was meant to lead. One has only to look to the graduate assistant who reported to him to see how Paterno's failure of leadership has been borne out. He let McQuery down as well. The correct actions by Paterno would have demonstrated to that young man that, as a leader, one is obligated to protect those who cannot protect themselves, above all others. He had a chance to demonstrate that the correction actions when a child is violated are to blindly act in defense of the child regardless of the consequences for those you know or even yoru own self interests. He had the chance to avoid all of this, to save others, to stand up like a grown man and model behavior he is known to preach; honor. Instead, he modeled a pathetic substitution. The graduate assistant did not act more aggressively since the modeled behavior by arguably the strongest man in the situation was equally passive. Paterno let those kids down, he let is team down and he let McQuery down. As a parent, he disgusts me.


Mon, Dec 19, 2011 : 1:38 a.m.

It comes down to this; why didn't he go to the police? For me, the answer seems evident; he wished to preserve the reputation of his program and school. The choice was to act in defense of a child or in defense of his program. The entire point is that guilty or not, the choice to not go to the police was simply an epic failure. Any question about such a crime against a child is cause for reporting. The continued and ongoing knowledge of Sandusky not coming under legal scrutiny had to have raised flags for Paterno and McQuery. Common sense prevails here, football programs weighted against a child. Wrong choice.


Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 7:54 p.m.

&quot;Paterno is not somebody one wants molding the character of any young men&quot;. Well he has molded young football players for over 40 years and did a fantastic job. Just talk to the hundreds of former players they will tell you about the coach and how he has helped them. You act as if Coach Paterno was the person doing the abuse. Yes, he was negligent in not going to the police and he has admitted he should of did more.


Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 7:05 p.m.

I agree with some of your statements, but others I question in relationship to the subject of this discussion. You say &quot;but on the scales of human decency, he has been judged seriously deficient.&quot; Unfortunately, we have only heard conflicting reports of Mike M and those vary widely on the media source. Even the quotes about his testimony in the pre trial hearing have variances as reported from the media. We really don't even know what the grand jury report states, but what we have heard is the prosecutors summary of the grand jury report. I'm not confident we have heard the truth. Things could be worse than we have heard or maybe, just maybe they will not be. I find it interesting that a family friend who is a physician has been reporting a far different story than what is being suggested Mike M says he reported. Penn State has hired a retired FBI director to sort through all of this. He has no ties to the university. This may prove to support Joe or provide evidence to support a conclusion you seem to have already made. I'm holding my judgement of Paterno along with others until we have heard the evidence. This unfortunately may take some time. If the findings prove what you have concluded, I support your judgement, but not until then. Isn't that what this article is suggesting?

Jen Eyer

Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 5:12 p.m.

If you have questions about comment moderation, please post them on the moderation thread, not here. <a href=""></a>


Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 3:59 p.m.

JoPa's testimony was read in court's three highlights...&quot;McQueary telephoned him on a Saturday morning and said he'd seen Sandusky fondling a young boy in the shower facility...&quot;. &quot;It was of a sexual nature, I'm not sure exactly what it was. I didn't push Mike because he was obviously very upset...&quot;. &quot;As Paterno recalled he did not telephone Curley immediately because he did not want to disturb him during the weekend&quot;. Feel COMPASSION for Joe Paterno? Remember that even after this JoPa allowed Sandusky use of Penn State Facilities and was able to trade on the good name of the football program while he continued to abuse &quot;allegedly&quot; young boys. It is a major moral failing on JoPa's part and anyone else, including McQueary who didn't yell from the rooftops. How did McQueary sleep even seeing Sandusky around the program, brining young boys around the stadium?


Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 7:57 p.m.

I agree McQueary is also at fault for not going to the police.

Green knolls

Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 2:37 p.m.

I can't believe people are worried about a football coach and his legacy. What about the children. How naive are you to think that the police have not done their due diligence. Shame on you Robert.


Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 2:02 p.m.

I agree 100%. Pa Pa Joe gave his life to that university. He was railroaded. As far as his integrity there is not a more decent, caring, upstanding coach in all of football. His spotless record of how many decades of coaching speaks for itself. He reported the incident to the proper university authority's who should of went to the police. University of penn. should be ashamed of how it has treated its beloved coach and how it dealt with the reported sex abuse. There is no excuse. Not only did this university not deal with the abuse right then it did a double wrong and fired Pa Pa Joe who loved that university with all his heart and gave his life to it. This monumental wrong needs to be righted before this man leaves this earth.


Mon, Dec 19, 2011 : 6:29 p.m.

I completely disagree...100%


Mon, Dec 19, 2011 : 1:33 a.m.

@towny I hope you do not work with children


Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 6:26 p.m.

It's my understanding Sandusky was given emeritus status prior to him leaving the university. This gave him permission to have an office and access to the university. I believe it is commonschools of this size to have hundreds of people with this privilege. I think it is far more accurate to say Paterno did not have discussion with Sandusky about anything after his departure, not just this particular incident. Your suggestion of not needing a trial only further supports the topic of this discussion.


Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 5:48 p.m.

No, at best Paterno showed extreme incompetence in doing the bare minimum. You don't need a trial to know the fact that Sandusky was allowed to lurk around the athletic program and facilities for years after this case was brought to Paterno's attention, plus the 1998 incident. Who's responsibility was that? Paterno of course. Yes, we do need the full story of what Paterno knew and when he knew it. But, it's clear he did very little. Sandusky has already said publicly that Paterno never talked to him about it. Is this the action of a man with true &quot;integrity&quot;?

Craig Lounsbury

Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 1:55 p.m.

Jo Pa at best did the bare bones minimum to fulfill his &quot;duty&quot;. Would he have accepted that from his players?

Billy Bob Schwartz

Mon, Dec 19, 2011 : 2:59 a.m.

Would he have accepted that if his own grandson was a victim?


Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 1:44 p.m.

Seriously? One of your assistant coaches is seen in a shower raping a 10-year-old - on YOUR campus in YOUR department - and you think reporting the incident to the athletic director is ALL you need to do? And then you just walk away and forget about it? I feel no compassion for Joe Paterno, just disgust.


Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 1:21 p.m.

Paterno was not &quot;mandated&quot; to report it to police, he was ethically obligated to make sure this came to an end. He wasn't some mere underling at Penn State, but could have made sure Sandusky was never allowed near the University himself. It's about responsibility, and passing the buck doesn't work when you're at the level of Paterno. As the facts come out, we may learn that Sandusky's unexpected exit in 1998 was more of the same. At that point, my only regret will be that this was hidden long enough to allow Paterno to become the &quot;winningest&quot; coach in college football.

Billy Bob Schwartz

Mon, Dec 19, 2011 : 2:59 a.m.

Tom Swift...I fully agree. Any educator should report *suspicion* of child abuse, and must do so in Michigan or face criminal charges, too. If you ask yourself, &quot;Should I report this,&quot; then the answer is already, &quot;Yes!&quot; It's not the job of the witness or others who have had suspected abuse told to them to decide anything. They pick up a phone and call the cops. If there is nothing to it, the police are responsible for investigating and taking action. To me, this is all just a result of the institution being too big to fail, as is the case in so many businesses. The fans and staff and coaches and everyone else involved in Penn State want to keep the great football team on top of everything, and the university as well, and this is step one on the road to total coverup.

tom swift jr.

Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 5:32 p.m.

This is an interesting point. I don't know about the laws in the Pennsylvania, but in Michigan any educator is mandated to report any suspected case of child abuse. Paterno worked for an educational institution, he had reason to suspect abuse. I hold him responsible.


Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 1:18 p.m. should have added a fourth tag to this letter: 'can you believe someone actually wrote this' An athletic director is who you contact when there's a suspected NCAA violation. The police department is who you contact when there's a suspected child rape. It really isn't that hard to figure out.


Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 1:08 p.m.

I understand after Mike M told his father, they called their longtime friend and neighbor, a physician. He came over to the house and asked Mike 3 times what he saw. The story Mike M told the physician was one the physician himself felt was one that did not need to be reported to the police and did not feel a crime had been committed. He did want Mike to report this to Joe, which he did. And this from a man who is required to report such a crime. I agree, let's let the legal process move forward and make a judgement once all of the facts have been presented.

Mike K

Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 9:46 p.m.

Braggs - here's what he said, &quot;This is a tragedy. It is one of the great sorrows of my life. With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more.&quot; The key words are &quot;with the benefit of hindsight&quot;. Paterno is the only one from PSU that has apologized. For all that he did for so many for so long, this is just a tragidy. What is more tragic is that Paterno for some reason is the main focus. Schultz will likely be found guilty of &quot;failure to report&quot;. Schultz invariably made the executive decision not to order an investigation by the police of which he oversaw.


Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 6:09 p.m.

The point, Towny, is that these guys took the decisions about what was and wasn't actionable into their own hands by trying to find people to support not telling. Come on! If you have to ask yourself if its actionable, you need to call the police and let the professionals make that decision. Regardless of Sandusky's guilt or innocence, the failure was in not calling the police so many years ago.


Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 3:40 p.m.

His own word damned him &quot;I should have done more&quot;


Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 2:15 p.m.

You understand, how do you know what was said or what happened where you there. Its all hearsay. To many story's. Everyone believes everything that they hear. Everyone should let the law handle this and do their job.


Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 2:15 p.m.

You may be right, and you may not be. Isn't that exactly what this article is about? You seem completely convinced by what you have heard from the media, not a trial.


Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 1:57 p.m.



Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 1:39 p.m.

Do you really think if this is what was told to the physician, or for that matter Joe and the others at Penn State, they would not have taken other action? Mike M has many different stories about what he witnessed.


Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 1:21 p.m.

Mike M stated on the record, Sandusky was behind the boy with his hands on his hips. The boy was facing a wall with his hand on the wall. There was rhythmic slapping sound. What else do we need to know? Sandusky needs to be put int he General Population in a prsion.


Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 1 p.m.

I am waiting to see what he knew. If he knew Sandusky was sodomizing children in he Penn State showers and only reported it to his athletic director, he is guilty of the crime of omission. It was an extreme moral failing. He needed to goto the police. Mike Mcquery has been very clear what he told Joe Paterno, I would like Joe to comment. Paterno did say he wished he had done more.

Craig Lounsbury

Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 12:48 p.m.

I think anyone who has a reasonable understanding that a heinous crime may have been committed should go to the police. That first and foremost should have been the original witness. But for people to pass the buck down the line isn't acceptable in any case. original witness tells... his dad..... dad and original witness tell Jo Pa.... Jo Pa tells the Athletic Director.... That's 3 layers that shouldn't have been there.