Showtime asks, “If you had it to do all over again would you do what was best for yourself and your pal Jerry Sandusky, or would you do the right thing for those boys?”
Dear Joe Paterno:
I’m sorry to disturb you while you are chillin’(or not) in your eternal resting place, but the recent release of the Freeh report left me with some questions. I don’t expect you to answer me back or anything because if you did that would just be flat out weird. But there are some things about this Sandusky sexual abuse situation that just aren’t sitting right with me.
With the recent developments it seems as though a lot of the secrets that you thought went to the grave with you have been revealed in the form of the 3.6 million emails, 430 interviews, and $6.5 million that investigators used to come up with the conclusion that you, President Graham B. Spanier, Senior Vice President of Finance and Business Gary Schultz, and Athletic Director Timothy Curley used your positions at Penn State to cover up one of the most horrific sex scandals in recent years.
Before I get to my questions Joe, let me say that your record on the football field is one that is unmatched. You won countless awards and received a lifetime worth of accolades. Those awards along with the number of games that you coached during your Hall of Fame career have set you apart from any other coach who has ever stepped foot on a field. Prior to this Sandusky scandal your image was untarnished, unblemished, and unmatched. You were an iconic figure not only to those in the state of Pennsylvania but across the country to fans of college football. Unfortunately, all of that was tainted by your decision to cover up Jerry Sandusky’s sexual exploitation of young men and boys under your supervision.
Prior to your death you spoke with the Washington Post and told them “I didn’t know exactly how to handle it and I was afraid to do something that might jeopardize what the university procedure was.” I’m assuming that this was your way of clearing yourself of any wrong doing and keeping the heat off of your own neck. But the emails that were revealed during the Feeh investigation proved that you and your cohorts exchanged emails and conspired to keep Sandusky’s dirty little secrets from being exposed to the public. The report reveals that there were many opportunities for Sandusky to be stopped, but instead you and the other men went through extreme measures to allow a monster to walk free and terrorize young men. The Board of Trustees, the Penn State Community and authorities had no idea that you, JoePa, were enabling Sandusky and giving him an all-access pass to rape and molest boys.
The first sexual assault on record by Sandusky was brought to your attention back in 1998 when a mother noticed that her son was acting differently when he came home from spending time with Sandusky. When it was brought to his attention Sandusky said that he “maybe” touched the boy’s private parts. Via emails between you, Spanier, Schultz, and Curley it was determined that this incident would be concealed out of fear for public backlash.
This brings me to my first question for you Joe…What exactly went through your mind when you were told that someone who had been on your staff for almost 30 years has been molesting children? Because I know that if it were me, I would be enraged. I wouldn’t have been worried about the police coming to arrest Sandusky because I would have attempted to beat him unconscious myself and there wouldn’t have been much left of him for the police to even arrest when I was through.
In 1999 during an investigation by campus police Sandusky admitted that he inappropriately touched the young boy that I mentioned previously. Even after admitting to touching the boy and others prior to him, you still did nothing to have him stopped. You actually added more fuel to his fire when he retired in 99’ and you allowed him to walk away with a lump sum payment of $168,000 and full access to the university’s facilities. So here is where things REALLY get confusing for me. You knew what he was doing, he retires and you give him a large lump some of cash and an all access pass to walk the grounds of your campus freely? This brings me t my next question….WHAT THE HELL WAS YOUR PROBLEM?
You can’t tell me that you were worried about the public interest of the school when you did this. You were only worried about covering your ass and protecting the good ol’ boy network that you and your coconspirators had put in place over those 30 years. Because again, if the school’s reputation was your main concern then you would have wanted Sandusky’s perverted ass off of the campus as soon as you found out what he was doing.
Why would you allow him to be around children who had no idea what he was capable of doing to them when they came to Penn State? Honestly, how could you walk into a kid’s home during a recruitment visit and promise his parents that you would give him everything under the son when you knew that you were harboring a pedophile in the same facility where that kid would practice, play, lift weights, take showers, etc…
Even with Sandusky’s retiring, the attacks still didn’t stop. Sandusky continued raping young boys. He was even spotted by several janitors who now say that they saw him performing non-consensual sexual acts with young boys but didn’t say anything because they feared for their jobs. They are just as responsible as you are here. But the difference between those janitors and you is that YOU were Joe Pa. YOU were Penn State. There was nothing that you couldn’t have done at that university at any given moment. You had the power to make the call that would have prevented at least 45 counts of sexual misconduct from talking place.
So knowing what we know now about what you didn’t do, I can only wonder what you would do differently if anything. If you had it to do all over again would you do what was best for yourself and your pal Jerry Sandusky, or would you do the right thing for those 10 boys who were molested by someone that you had the power to throw in jail?
I’m sure the last few months of your life weren’t easy. With all of the media coverage, the cancer, the sleepless nights and not knowing if this information that you had been holding in for so long would be exposed. I get it, and I personally think that the stress of this entire situation contributed to taking you away from this earth. You died of a broken heart Joe, and that is probably one of the worst ways a person can leave this earth. Beaten down by the circumstances of life. But I just have one last question for you: Would it be better to die from a broken heart or to live your life with the pain and memories of being molested and tortured over and over?
The Single Father
Image of Joe Paterno courtesy of Associated Press/ Jim Prisching