Protesting Penn Staters should read the grand jury report

Required reading: Rioting Penn Staters should read the grand jury report


Joe Paterno in happier times


Penn State plays Nebraska at noon today. As everybody knows, longtime coach Joe Paterno and assistant coach Mike McQueary will not be among those present.



As most people know, McQueary walked in on the anal rape of a ten-year-old boy, but did not intervene. Paterno learned of the assault from McQueary the next day but did not fire the alleged perpetrator or investigate the incident. Neither man reported the 2002 matter to law enforcement. The man in question, former longtime Penn State assistant coach Gerald (Jerry) Sandusky, now faces trial on similar allegations of acts involving at least eight male children and minors since the 1990s.


The grand jury report leaves no doubt about the nature of the acts alleged.


Every Penn Stater who thinks the university’s board of trustees was mistaken to fire Joe Paterno should read it.


Rioting over Paterno's ouster

A quick recap, for those who cannot face the grand jury report:

  • Sandusky himself, who worked for Paterno as assistant coach and was also a friend of Paterno’s, founded The Second Mile in 1977. The Second Mile was characterized as a non-profit to help at-risk youth. It entailed Sandusky’s working closely with young boys and teenagers, visiting them, traveling with them, taking them on outings, and hosting them in his home.
  • Every one of the eight children or minors referred to in the grand jury report (presentment) came to Sandusky’s attention through The Second Mile. The Second Mile program involved several hundred boys and teens in vulnerable situations.
  • Sandusky’s position as longtime assistant coach at Penn State was a major attraction or source of appeal for the minors referred to in the grand jury report. Sandusky was able to carry youths out of town to football games, to convey them to sports facilities including locker rooms and showers, and to socialize with them in hotels and in his home by virtue of his Penn State position and his closeness to Penn State athletics.
  • The oldest boys referred to in the grand jury report were 12 or 13 when they came into Sandusky’s orbit. The youngest were 7 or 8. The boy whom Sandusky allegedly anally assaulted in 2002, seen by McQueary, was about 10.
  • Sandusky’s actions alleged in the grand jury report include specifically anal sex performed on a minor, performing oral sex on a minor, having a minor perform oral sex on him, and—always with minors or children—initiating acts of kissing, blowing, touching of genitals including with erection, wrestling, hugging, and showering together; etc.
  • The anal penetration of a child estimated to be 10, seen by McQueary in 2002, was brought to Joe Paterno’s attention the next day. Paterno took one action: another day later, he reported the matter to Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley. Curley and Penn State VP for Finance Gary Schultz have been arraigned for making false statements to the grand jury.
  • Sandusky had been investigated by State College police and by Penn State University police in 1998 for similar acts.




Up until Sandusky’s keys to Penn State facilities were taken away after the scene in 2002, much or most of Sandusky’s activity with youngsters involved Penn State. Sandusky had the prestige of the athletic program behind him, and his longtime closeness with the legendary Joe Paterno. He was a fixture on campus until 1999, when he retired after Paterno informed him that he would not be the next head coach. Even after retiring, he had free access to athletic facilities including weight rooms, locker room and showers. By virtue of his position at Penn State, Sandusky had associations with pro football players and with other athletic programs. He received products from Nike and other companies, and could line up sports-related products to be conveyed as gifts to the young boys in The Second Mile.


Anyone who looks at this picture, even briefly, should understand that responsibility for the situation goes to the top.


The grand jury document is widely accessible online, provided by outlets including ABC, CNN, and the Los Angeles Times.

It has already been pointed out that protesting the firing of Joe Paterno (along with the less-noted firing of the university’s president) does not reflect well on Penn State, alma mater to about one in ten college graduates in the United States.

It also does not reflect well on the United States.

[Update Nov. 15

Since the initial reports and the grand jury indictment, Mike McQueary has stated that he stopped the assault he witnessed. Sandusky is denying all charges, with his attorney present.]



More timelines

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