I spent almost three hours last evening reading the Freeh report. Hubby asked why I would waste my time doing so, and I said that as a Penn Stater and someone who has given Paterno the benefit of the doubt, I needed to read it. Too many people were commenting in various places without having read more than the press release or parroting what others have said, and I didn't want to be one of those people. Unfortunately, I am one of those people who are having trouble putting all my thoughts and opinions into coherent statements. In fact, I have edited and pretty much changed this post three times. What follows is rambling and disjointed, which is due in no small part to my difficulty in wrapping my head around so much information and trying to reconcile that with my wanting to think the best about people. :-(
Do I feel differently since yesterday, when based on the press release and some of what I had read, it appeared that JoePa knew more than he let on? Not a lot. In fact, he and the other three (Curley, Schultz, and Spanier) look pretty darn bad. I get the whole "innocent until proven guilty" stance and waiting for the trial/due process. But based on everything I have read, from the grand jury presentation to this 267-page report, it is obvious that Sandusky was showering with underage boys and at least touching them in some way during the water play (even if just via a hug). The "Big Four" knew this and practically looked the other way (they did not "follow" the Clery Act, if nothing else). Does it matter whether or not McQueary was explicit and graphic in his description of what he saw? How can anyone think it is no big deal that a grown man is horsing around in a shower with a young kid?! (Oh, wait I guess the former coaches who testified on Sandusky's behalf, saying it is normal for men to shower with males, think there is nothing odd about it.). And because this was not the first time something like this happened and they knew it, how can these men justify spending time formulating a plan, rather than going right to the police?
About a year and a half ago, when I saw a male lunchroom volunteer pick up and spin around 5- and 6-year old girls during recess, I brought it to the attention of the lunchroom coordinator. Even though there might have been nothing to it (and I felt very uncomfortable bringing it up for that reason), it just was not "normal" or appropriate behavior, and I was not willing to let it go. But when the Sandusky thing came to light, I wondered if I should have done more or at least followed up (the man no longer volunteers, but apparently it had nothing to do with that). On the other hand, these administrators worked out a nice ($$) retirement plan for Sandusky which included access to the very place where he was showering with young boys. Once the grand jury investigation was underway and the administrators were now aware of two such incidents, they continued to let him on campus. One of the excuses was that because Sandusky was not (yet) charged with a crime, they could not legally take away his keys or limit his access. Why did he have that access in the first place?! Interesting (to me) is that during the grand jury investigation last year, apparently Curley decided Sandusky should not get his usual season tickets and left him off that list. That was until his wife questioned were the tickets were and Curley then made sure he got them. Nice!
If anyone doubts that Sandusky is not a disturbed man (or at least a man in denial), I present one of my favorite lines from the Freeh report: "After his arrest, Sandusky called the Nittany Lion Club and said he would not attend the last game
of the season." Are you kidding me?!
If you want to give Joe Paterno the benefit of the doubt (and I still do, if only a little bit), I recommend reading John Ziegler's editorial. He brings up some good points, several of which I considered before his writings were brought to my attention, including the fact that Freeh did not speak to the Big Four (he might have spoken to Spanier; I don't recall if the exhibits related to him were based on interviews or documents that were obtained) or McQueary. I read the emails and written notes, but some were cryptic. For that reason, I am really
looking forward to the trials of Curley and Schultz to hear how they
explain their actions (and mostly their inaction). But, let's face it,
those men, like so many others in this world can lie. It happens all the
time. And unfortunately JoePa cannot explain himself (though, again, he could lie as well). Back in November, I said I hope the truth comes out and we find out who said what and what was covered up. I feel we are closer to that truth, yet still not there yet.
My personal truth is that I am disappointed in Penn State and in so many people related to this sickening saga. Unfortunately, looking the other way and covering things up have gone on for years and they will continue to, I am sure. Back to that whole honesty thing...
And, yes, I am saddened by what Joe Paterno appears to have known. I thought he was a great man, one with a lot of integrity. And the positive impact he had on the lives of so many cannot be disputed. For that reason, unlike so many others who have condemned him to hell, I can't and won't forget all the good he did. But his image is tarnished, and I cannot think of him in the same light.