Bickel’s Blog: Everybody Must Go

I believe in due process.  You are innocent until proven guilty in this country.  It’s a flawed system, but it’s the best one in the world according to most.  What’s allegedly happened at Penn State though, goes way beyond the legal responsibility of charging people and finding them guilty or innocent in a court of law.  This is about what’s morally right and wrong.  Standing idly by as an alleged pedophile repeatedly gets caught molesting, and at the same time hosting and mentoring young children is wrong.  And if you knew about it and didn’t do everything in your power to stop it – you have to go.

Everybody knows the reputation and the icon that is Joe Paterno.  His football credentials are beyond reproach. However, how are his morals?  Is he morally as outstanding as his coaching prowess? My initial reaction is to say unfortunately no.  Joe Paterno claims he only was aware of one instance of Sandusky acting inappropriately with a boy and he immediately turned the information over to his supervisor in 2002.  But is that enough?

Why didn’t Joe Pa follow up and see if the child was ok?  Why didn’t he see that the supervisor took his information to the police?  Why didn’t he contact the authorities himself?  Why did he allow Sandusky to keep coming on campus and having overnights with young boys? The mere allegations alone should have suggested this was a horrible idea.  Why did it take until this past weekend to ban him from the campus? There are too many why’s here.

Why didn’t the grad student that saw the boy being molested in the shower contact the police himself?  Why didn’t he follow up later to see that appropriate action was being taken?  Why did the AD do nothing with the information and later downplay or lie about what he knew to a grand jury?  Why was the President of the University not notified?  Or was he? Why did the University Vice President meet with the AD and the grad assistant and do nothing?  Why did the University police close their investigation?

These are just the first few questions that immediately come to mind.  Read the indictment for yourself.  I’m sure you can come up with a hundred more.  To be honest, I could only skim through most of the 23 pages. The details are staggering and too depressing. Why did this man have unfettered access to children and the University for over a decade after the first allegations in 1998?  Why was this man so protected?

Unfortunately, the answer is nobody wanted to take down “The Program.”  Joe Paterno and Penn State have become synonymous with each other.  Damage to “The Program” meant damage to Joe Pa, which meant ultimately damage to the University.  Nobody was willing to put the needs and rights of a child ahead of “The Program” and that’s shameful.  In my opinion, this is a fire-able offense.

Nobody is above the law, and that includes famous defensive coordinators.  In addition, nobody is above a police investigation into a program turning a blind eye to a pedophile. That includes legendary head coaches.

I’m sure Joe Paterno has done hundreds if not thousands of great deeds and helped thousands of young men grow up and become better people under his influence at Penn State.  However, has he also turned a blind eye to some of the most horrible things imaginable? It appears he has.  If nothing else he allowed the perception that he was willing to look the other way to exist.  And that is an unpardonable sin if you’re the head football coach at Penn State University.

As far as Jerry Sandusky goes he will have his day in court.  It seems to me the evidence is overwhelming with multiple witnesses and facing 40 counts raging from inappropriate touching to child endangerment.
Graduate students, janitors, high school coaches and multiple victims have either reported him or testified against him to a grand jury.  His life is officially over.  It will be up to God to have mercy on his soul.  The best we can do if he is found guilty is lock him up and throw away the key.

As for the people that were aware of this situation, and swept it under the rug and protected the University or the football program – they need to step aside or be relieved of their duties immediately. There is no need to wait for the guilt or innocence of Jerry Sandusky.  Whether or not he is found guilty is irrelevant.  The fact is, these allegations kept coming up and nothing was done to stop this animal. Those that have to go NOW include Joe Paterno, the Athletic Director, the University Vice President, the graduate assistant who is now on staff as the receivers coach and any member of the police department that didn’t follow up on these allegations.  I’m sure there are many others.

No man or program is above crimes of this nature. Nor can they be allowed to look the other way in the face of insurmountable evidence and common sense.  If the case can be made that the safety and well being of children were put below the well being of Joe Paterno’s reputation, then being relieved of their jobs may be the least of their concerns.

More from Bickel's Blog
  • Jamie

    AS long as I have listened to you…since 1997, you have stated some things that make me laugh and make scream at my radio…this would be one of those times. To question Joe’s morals are completely outside your box. You have no right to lay down a statement that completely disparages his tenure is completely disrespectful. After hearing of an incident in 2002, he immediately took the knowledge he had to his superiors. At that point, his duty to inform the proper entities at Penn State was complete. His prior relationship with Sandusky immediately cases a rift that can be construed as him being biased. For him to separate himself and lay it at the feet of the proper people at the University was the thing to do. To cast a wide shadow over a great man that has done so much not only for a school but an entire state is deflecting where the real issue is. It is easy to say they should have done this and they should have done that but why isn’t anyone actually talking about…how could HE have done that. How could Sandusky done it. Not the school he didn’t work for any more, or the coach he didn’t coach under any more…focus on the REAL issue which is the disgusting act that was performed.

    • Peter Amstutz

      If I see what that Grad Assistant saw, I am calling 9-1-1. How it can go from the Grad Assistants eyes to the ears of Penn State leadership and never to the cops is unforgivable. The damage to the kid in the shower was done and is horrible. The fact that someone SAW it and many others were TOLD about it and NOBODY got the cops involved is criminal.

      His duty to inform proper entities at Penn State was complete? Are you kidding? Penn State leaders can’t punish Sandusky for his crime. Law enforcement can arrest him and a jury can convict him.

    • Phil

      Joe Pa is responsible for not making an effort to make things right. Why didn’t he call his so called friend and try to get him help or question him. Instead Joe Pa just went about his business. He has to go and those that are on his staff as well. A new fresh beginning is the only thing that may even bring some respect to a program that as of today was the shelter of a child predator. Joe Pa should man up and speak up and walk away. If he is not bigger then the program that he made then he will walk away so PSU can live another day and hopefully help distance themselves from this as much as they can.

    • Big Bear

      Your defense of JoePa is exactly what is wrong with people today. Don’t tell me about what JoePa did for his players, his community or his school. Don’t put the act of abuse on Sandusky. What this blog is about and this issue for that matter is the moral responsibly of a person, namely the leader of the vaunted Happy Valley Hoo-Ha’s, to stand-up and REPORT EVIL. Not confront it. Not combat it. But REPORT IT. And he failed. Bottom line. JoePa failed as the leader he & Happy Valley have made him out to be. And its not a case of Hero Syndrome to KNOW that had someone told me about such an abuse, I would have more than reported it, I would have hurt Sandusky. Not because someone touched me when I was a boy. But, so long as the account is true, IT IS EXACTLY WHAT IS SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN. And everyone knows it.

      • blendo

        So’d you just go report something without knowing for sure if it was true? You better hope noone holds a grudge against you Big Bear, becuase if they do they can just report anything against you and people like you will go ahead and be the crucifiers…you are so high and mighty aren’t you?

  • Jtweazie

    Jaime- if it was Joe pa child would have done the same thing? Think not….this is someone’s child.

  • RickRickerson

    I bet Jamie went to penn st

  • chompion golfer

    Sandusky retired in 1999. Joe Pa did not have a duty to monitor the guy’s private life, before or after the 2002 incident. Joe Pa did NOT (according to him) learn of any of the details re the 2002 incident that appear in the grand jury report. Joe Pa reported the incident to school officials – WHO DID NOTHING. Why is it Joe Pa’s job to do more than this??? Does Joe Pa run the athletic program at Penn St? No, he is just the football coach. The higher ups are the ones at fault.

    • The Real Golfer

      Joe Pa has enabled his former coach no matter what way you look at it. Read the report, see how many terrible acts took place at PSU. Joe Pa just needs to walk away because he made a gigantic mistake and if he has an morals he lives up to it and walks away. A real man who is in touch with reality would do this for the sack of the unversity and program that he loves.

  • Vista Thomas

    The fact that Joe Pa is one of the greatest college football coaches of all time is irrelevant. The fact that he and numerous members of his staff and athletic department knew what was going on and stood by and let this continue to happen is almost as bad as the act itself. These are grown men. I don’t give a damn how great your football program is . . . . Nothing is more precious than the life and welfare of a child. This whole situation just sickens me. Along with ruining the lives of these children over the years, they have tarnished the name of the school and it’s legendary football program. Was it worth it guys??? If they can’t man up and step down on their own I think the school should do it for them!!!

  • Donk

    Of course Jamie went to Penn State. That’s the only reason anybody can defend ANY of this. Sandusky is probably the least culpable…at least he is a known quantity here. He is what he is – a friggin’ monster. But this monster was known by others to be a monster and they still gave him access and freedom to feed his perversion. That is unconscionable on every level.

    Legally, JoePa did what he had to do. It’s the moral judgment (or lack thereof) that is reprehensible.

    • john lewis

      he is to old to be told the truth. they protect him. his wife would never allow that kinda behavior to go on. do u think he just rolled the dice and hoped he would never be implicated. com on man

  • Josh Tzuker

    There are a lot of us who went to Penn State that can’t defend any of this. True love for your school, or for anything for that matter, is to make sure that ideals are followed and that the right thing is done when tough decisions need to be made. This is bigger than the football program or the athletic department; this is a blotch on everyone’s integrity, including mine and others who donate to the school or even list it on our resumes. Before each ball game they play the PSU Alma Mater. In it there is a line that I keep coming back to, “May no act of ours bring shame, to one’s heart that loves thy name”. That means that alumnae have a responsibility to uphold the honor of the school. Well, that’s a two way street. No one is bigger than the school and Joe Pa should not be left off. The hottest places in hell, St. Peter said, are reserved for people who saw evil and did nothing.

  • Alan

    How can anyone dfefend this? Sandusky was seen sodomizing a 10 year old boy by Mike McQueary in the SHOWERS at Penn State.,That need to be addressed no matter who you are.

  • sam

    We are a nation of finger pointers. I am so sick of people not manning up to their own faults and actions. Let’s stop playing the blame game here, Sandusky is accused of molestation, not Joe Pa or anyone else at PSU. This can happen and does happen all over the place sadly. Joe Pa never saw anything take place, he was told something may have happened. He is not a judge, a cop, a jury nor is he a detective, he is a just a football coach. He did what he should have done and alerted the Human Resources of PSU Athletics to handle it beyond that point. His name should not be tarnished as a result of a pig who happened to reside for a point in time next to him on his staff. Anyone could work with a pedafile and not know it. It is not your job to investigate a report, just as it is not and was not Joe’s. He could not have stopped anything from happening-Sandusky proved that he would do what he wanted regardless- unless Joe was there during any of these actions and actually physically interviened, then Joe should not be a fall guy for a disgusting waste of a person like sandusky. And no Josh, it is not a blotch on a resume to be from PSU. I am not a child molestor. I worked hard for a BS and then a graduate degree in neuroscience that I am darn proud of from PSU. Having a random sicko happen to work there doesn’t tarnish my accomplishments or Alma Mater. I am sure Sandusky wasnt asked if he was a pedafile when he was interviewed for the job, so this is something that can happen anywhere, and at any school.

  • Janie

    Let me preface this by saying that I am a PSU alumna and a victim of sexual abuse. Thus, I am conflicted in my feelings over what JoePa should have done. I have read all 32 pages of the grand jury report and I was physically sickened by what Sandusky is accused of and angered that the administration failed to take action. Curley and Schultz should not be allowed to retire or step down but, should be out right fired. But, as other alumni have posted, I am unsure that JoePa should be judged that he did nothing. See in my case, of abuse there were several witnesses on several occasions that did nothing. When my abuser was finally caught abusing another little girl at a church facility, he was reported to the priest. The priest counseled the abuser a few times and that was it. No report filed with the police. The witness, he did what he thought was right, in reporting this and never followed.up. Does it make me angry he never followed up? No, because at least he tried to stop it and he went to the authority in charge of that institution in which he witnessed the abuse, the priest at the church. People are quick to say they should follow up, but does it always happen no. Do they always call the police? No they don’t. Really think about it, what would you REALLY do? Then you can go pointing fingers. I feel for those boys and hope they get the justice I never got. That being said, I will never let this tarnish my memories of my time there nor will I ever stop being proud of earning my degree at Penn State.

    • nochanceinpa

      I am so sorry to hear that happened to you and applaud your courage to share your story your insight is very relevent to discussions

  • brian

    eb you are 100% on target. joe has to go. there is still alot we don’t know. what he knew, when he knew it etc. and i know everyone will say sandusky is owed his day in court. there isn’t just smoke here… this is an out of control blaze. precedent has been set with these major college programs when scandals are involved. it’s time to clean house at penn state and start with a new staff. much like tressel when he was at ohio state, i doubt there is anyone that can tell paterno anything without fear of stepping on his toes given his tenure at the school. regardless of all of the great things he has done in and around the community, this is on his shoulders.

  • nochanceinpa

    Joe Paterno has been one of the most respected figures in… college athletes for over four decades. His accolades and accomplishments are to many to list. He certainly isn’t perfect and has made mistakes in his life as everyone has. It would be a travesty for public opinion without facts to pressure the Penn State Board of Trustees to remove Joe Paterno without facts to support he did anything wrong.

  • Buck

    You cannot convince me that Joe did not know of the 1998 PSU police investigation into those allegations. He was obviously trying to cover it up for the good of the program. He needs to be fired immediately.

  • Enzo

    To answer the question as to whether Joe Pa should resign or if everyone should be gone all you have to do is look at the event from the 10 year old’s perspective. Imagine you are getting sexually attacked by an adult that you trusted in the most vial way and another adult comes by and witnesses the event. Imagine if that person then tells the most powerful person at Penn State about the incident. Then imagine that not a single person comes to your aide, investigates the incident, talks to you about it or gets you help. Joe Pa is the winning-est coach in NCAA’s history but his legacy will forever be tied to this, his failure to lead when it mattered most. I hope they clean house and justice is done to all including the grad assistant. Joe Pa you should carry a heavy burden on this for your failure to put children’s safety first.

  • The Tridentine Avenger

    I think the takehome lesson from this and from the scandal that has rocked the Catholic Church for the past decade is this: if you have personal knowledge of actual child abuse, you don’t go to your superiors. You don’t report it to the bishop, you don’t let the AD know. If you have personal knowledge of child abuse, you report it to the police. There is no other acceptable course of action.

  • broil

    SAM: get a clue. Of course this horror can happen anywhere. The sin here is that people of power, trust and authroity allowed it to continue thus causing more children to be preyed upon and victimized. Sandusky used PSA as his candy store to entice and attack children………and was allowed to continue it til very recently. And he did this for years AFTER he was at least caught by not 1 but at least 2 eye witnesses in the actual act at PSU. Some times fingers need to be pointed. If you don’t see that here you are blind sir.

  • Laura

    I agree with broll 100 percent. This guy manipulated so many people because of his position there. People need to do the right thing, and that’s usually the hard thing to do. Looking the other way is easy. My question is when the grad student walked in on the rape, why didn’t he help the child right then? That poor kid, can you imagine the situation he was in? Then someone is in a position to rescue him from it, and they look the other way. That one action not taken I am sure had a profound impact on that boys life, but who knows how many others. I hope that kid was able to survive and get help.

  • Jon

    “The hottest place in Hell is not reserved for those who did evil, but for those who saw evil and did nothing” — God have mercy on all those involved…

  • Flaim’s Forum: Step Up Paterno « CBS Washington

    […] wrote eloquently about the Penn State scandal and I agree with his premise that everyone must go. You can read his post here. But I felt the need to write quickly upon hearing that Penn State had cancelled Joe […]

  • Dave Mc

    You pose all these questions as if Paterno had a big rubber stamp on everything… Why did Paterno allow him on campus? Access to campus facilities was granted by the AD. Camp activities are okayed by the AD or other officers within the administration. Why didn’t he follow up to see if the kid was okay? the kid was never identified. Who was he gonna call? Had he followed up with the police, they wouldn’t reveal information because of confidentiality. McQueary was a coward for not stopping it. Joe Paterno was thrown in the middle of this because a former professional athlete didn’t have enough guts to throw hands with a man twice his age to protect a kid half his age. Something tells me, McQueary didn’t tell him the full story of what he saw. This whole thing is sick. What happened was sick. Joe Pa being implicated is sick. People calling for his job are sick and people standing up for him (including me) are sick. I’m going to go throw up now.

    • Dave Mc

      and McQueary is the one who has a job… FU PSU

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