Paterno Focus Misguided — Joe Paterno is again the subject of headlines regarding the Jerry Sandusky scandal, this time alleging that he knew about his former assistant’s child molesting as far back as the 1970s.
The allegations appear to be wildly unfounded but just the same they got the headlines.
The legendary football coach died in 2012 a few months after his dismissal from Penn State after charges were filed against Sandusky in November 2011.
Paterno’s culpability concerns his choice to inform university officials rather than law enforcement after being told Sandusky molested a young boy in the football team’s shower facilities in February 2001.
Sandusky who retired — strangely early and with an unusual compensation package — as the football team’s defensive coordinator in 1999, still had access to the team’s facilities due to his emeritus status.
Among the officials so-informed was Penn State President Graham Spanier.
And this gets us to the puzzling aspect about the reporting. While Paterno’s name gets thrown out with even the most spurious connection to the events, far more relevant — and interesting — things are ignored.
As with Sandusky, he swept the matter under the rug and actually treated the victim bringing him the information with contempt.
So how accepted was (is?) child molestation in Happy Valley?
Here’s an even more remarkable under-reported story.
In 1998, a mother reported to University Police that Sandusky molested her son. Det. Ronald Schreffler compiled a case and submitted it to Centre County District Attorney Ray Gricar, who declined to prosecute.
In 2005, Gricar vanished without a trace along with county-issued laptop. The laptop was found in the Susquehanna River with its hard-drive missing.
You think that bit of weirdness might be a more interesting story than a whisper-down-the-lane report of something from the ’70s? Imagine if the Delaware County D.A. disappeared without a trace while in office.
In a more mundane matter, Spanier is getting an annual public pension of $59,000 for which Pennsylvania taxpayers are on the hook and can expect tax hikes to cover. Sandusky is getting a pension of $58,800. And Gary Schultz, another of the high-ranking officials to who Paterno reported the crime? He’s getting a sweet $330K per year.
Yes, Mr. and Mrs. Working Person, you are on the hook for this.
Paterno Focus Misguided