An investigation into the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal by former FBI director Louis Freeh found Joe Paterno and other top Penn State officials covered up child sex abuse allegations against Sandusky more than a decade ago for fear of bad publicity.
After an eight-month probe which was requested by the university, Freeh’s report was released on Thursday (July 12).
It concluded that Hall of Fame coach Paterno, President Graham Spanier, athletic director Tim Curley and vice president Gary Schultz “failed to protect against a child sexual predator harming children for over a decade.”
The Penn State Board of Trustees says they take “full responsibility” for not stopping Jerry Sandusky from sexually abusing children, and held a press conference after the release of the Freeh report.
“We are accountable for what’s happened here … People who were in a position to protect children and to confront a predator … did not put the welfare of children first [...] Our hearts remain heavy and deeply ashamed.”
Other ramifications of the reports findings include Nike changing the name of the Joe Paterno Child Development Center in Beaverton, Oregon.
While the founder of Nike, Phil Knight, defended Paterno at the coach’s memorial service, he said ”it appears Joe made missteps that led to heartbreaking consequences. I missed that Joe missed it, and I am extremely saddened on this day.”
The child care facility opened in the early 1990s at the company’s headquarters. No word on the new name for the center.
So, in light of everything just revealed – should the statue or Joe Paterno stay on Penn State’s campus, or go?
Despite the findings of the Freeh report (that Paterno did, in fact, know about and help cover up Sandusky’s sex abuse crimes), the trustees of Penn State came to the decision to keep the statue up on campus.
I am utterly appalled by the decision the trustees made over the weekend regarding Joe Paterno’s statue. Appalled.
By not deciding quickly to take down that statue, the Board of Trustees is showing that they still don’t accept how heinous the chain of events that were allowed to continue over 20 years at their own institution.
Joe Paterno’s power at Penn State was at the heart of the reason that this was covered up. We have all agreed that one man shouldn’t have supreme power over one institution. Joe did when he was alive. And he still does now that he has passed. Even in death Joe Paterno wields the same power that prevented the school from making decisions based on high ethics and integrity.
To be sure, this is just one chapter in Joe Paterno’s life. But this one chapter is as thick as all the other’s combined. I understand that Joe Paterno was instrumental in making hundreds of men better men during his tenure at Penn State. Without a doubt, his leadership and guidance positively shaped the future of those men. However, the damage he obviously could have prevented is equally if not more substantial.
I wonder how many of members of the Board of Trustees would have voted to keep the statue standing if their child was one of Sandusky’s victims?
What a slap in the face to the victims and the families whose children’s lives that will be forever changed because of Sandusky and the officials that covered it up. These children will fight demons forever.
“The trustees didn’t want offend the Penn State students or alumni” by making a quick decision? Are you kidding me? How about taking the statue DOWN rather than leave it up while they debate the issue?
I was asked two questions over the weekend that I would change today based on this decision. “Should the football program be eliminated at Penn State?” Friday I said, “No.” Today I say, “Yes.” Friday I felt that the heart breaking offenses occurred during the past administration in which all members have been eliminated from their positions. With this decision, the Board of Trustees is currently showing the same misguided judgment of the previous administration. “Would I send me kids to Penn State?” Friday I would have said, “Yes.” Penn State is a fabulous academic institution. Its campus and curriculum is as highly regarded as its football program. Today I couldn’t endorse it. I would not be proud to give my money to an institution that is so clearly misaligned with my ethics.