Paterno: Did he do everything he could?
Recently the family of the late Joe Paterno has issued a report about the findings in former FBI Director Louis Freeh’s report on the Sandusky child molestation case at Penn. State University.
In this report they claim that Freeh’s findings are unsupported by facts. ‘’The lack of factual report for the … inaccurate and unfounded findings related to Mr. Paterno, and its numerous process-oriented deficiencies, was a rush to injustice and calls into question the credibility of the entire report,’’ Dick Thornburgh was quoted saying on the website paterno.com.
In this same report, the family’s attorney Thornburgh argues against Paterno being involved in a conspiracy, “There’s simply no basis anywhere in the report for that finding. That in my view renders the whole report of very little value,’’ Thornburgh said in an interview with The Associated Press. ‘’There’s simply nothing in this record, in the Freeh report, that indicates he was involved in any way.’’
How can this once respectable family make a claim that Paterno was not involved when he failed to protect the kids that Sandusky was victimizing? In 2001, graduate assistant Mike McQuery told Paterno that he had seen Sandusky in the shower with a student doing things of a “sexual nature.”
So what does Paterno do? He reports this to his higher ups but that is it. He did nothing to protect these kids after finding out what Sandusky had been doing. He was one of the most powerful men on that campus and he failed to do something about it. Reporting about the incident was the right thing to do, but the fact is that he did not do more to help these kids.
In Freeh’s report he claims “Taking into account the available witness statements and evidence, it is more reasonable to conclude that, in order to avoid the consequences of bad publicity, the most powerful leaders at Penn. State University — Spanier, Schultz, Paterno and Curley — repeatedly concealed critical facts relating to Sandusky’s child abuse.”
Freeh’s investigative team, according to a Fox Sports article, conducted 430 interviews and analyzed over 3.5 million emails and documents. The former federal judge said evidence showed Paterno was involved in an “active agreement to conceal’’ and his report cited email exchanges, which referenced Paterno, between administrators about allegations against Sandusky in 1998 and 2001.
According to Thornburgh’s findings in Freeh’s report, there are 30 documents that it focuses on. Three of which are notes authored by Paterno and 17 emails, but only four referenced Paterno. Paterno shunned technology so he could not have been involved.
It is in this reporter’s opinion it does not matter if Paterno was in a conspiracy to hide Sandusky’s activities or was in any way involved in it, but rather the fact that he did nothing to stop Sandusky from continuing to victimize the kids in whom Paterno was supposed to protect and watch over.
As an educator he was supposed to take care of these kids and look out for their well-being. But all he did was report the 2001 incident to cover himself from trouble, and that is where the problem lies. He did nothing to make sure that Sandusky never touched another kid or even make sure that his superiors were doing something to discipline Sandusky.
In a statement defending his report, Freeh said that the Paterno family had a right to “shape the legacy of Joe Paterno,” but he found the report to be self-serving.
This report against Freeh’s findings is one last chance for the family to save the damaged reputation of a once respected and influential man.