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The Grand Jury Report: Part two of "What did Joe Paterno know and when did he know it?"

By       Message Walter Uhler       (Page 3 of 5 pages) Become a premium member to see this article and all articles as one long page.     Permalink

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Did Joe Paterno go beyond the state's minimum requirements for reporting up the chain of command? Yes, if you believe that part of page 8 of the grand jury report where "Schultz testified that he was called to a meeting with Joe Paterno and Tim Curley, in which Paterno reported "disturbing' and "inappropriate' conduct in the shower by Sandusky upon a young boy, as reported by a student or graduate student."

Was Schultz lying? Or did the author(s) of the grand jury report edit out any mention by Paterno or Curley of Schultz's participation? Unfortunately, we lack sufficient information to answer either question.

What we do know -- and what this writer considers to be astounding, given all the media attention devoted to him -- is that Joe Paterno's testimony consumes but one small paragraph among the 18 paragraphs that address Victim 2, and but one small paragraph in the 23 pages summarizing the case against Sandusky, Curley and Schultz.

One the one hand, it's hard to believe that the grand jury would omit that part of Paterno's testimony that mentioned Schultz's participation in his meeting with Curley. One the other hand, unless Joe Paterno only spoke to the grand jury for 10 seconds, the grand jury report appears to have omitted most of Paterno's testimony.

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If Shultz did participate in the meeting with Paterno and Curley, it would be in accord with the reporting of Sara Ganim, who wrote that Paterno "told McQueary he would need to speak with his superior, Athletic Director Tim Curley, and with Schultz." But what's critical, is the fact that McQueary was eventually able to make his allegations about Sandusky to the official who was administratively responsible for the university's police.

If Paterno was merely concerned with "covering his ass" -- now the consensus opinion among the thoughtless mob in America -- why would Paterno tell McQueary that he not only needed to talk to the Athletic Director, but also the Vice President in charge of University police? Both Curley and Schultz directly report to Spanier, so either one can "notify the person in charge of the institution." Thus, the insistence that Schultz be involved gains Paterno nothing in that realm. But, by including Schultz -- by insisting that McQueary meet with Schultz, as well as Curley -- Paterno guarantees that McQueary will be able to make his allegations to the person charged with administering the University police.

And if McQueary actually met with Curley and Schultz some ten days after the meeting between Paterno and Curley, didn't Paterno have sufficient reason to believe that he fulfilled his obligation to report sexual abuse AND put McQueary in touch with the person who could launch a police investigation?

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None of the above definitively puts to rest the widespread suspicion that Paterno, Curley, Schultz and President Spanier participated in a cover-up, which assured that the police never would be brought into an investigation. Plans to cover up might best explain why it took approximately ten days before Curley and Schultz met with McQueary. State law, after all, requires reporting of such sexual assaults within 48 hours of notification. McQueary and Paterno performed their legal responsibilities to report immediately, Curley and Schultz did not. Plans to cover it up also might explain why Schultz never notified his immediate subordinate, the Chief of the University police.

Nevertheless, the fact that Paterno told McQueary to meet with Curley AND Schultz, that Paterno subsequently met with Curley, if not Schultz, to report something of a sexual nature between Sandusky and a young boy to within the 48 hours required by law, and the fact that McQueary subsequently met with Curley and Schultz -- without Paterno in the room -- all strongly suggest that Paterno not only did his part to foster an investigation, but also was willing to let the chips fall where they may.

These actions fully support Paterno's subsequent assertion: "As coach Sandusky was retired from our coaching staff at that time, I referred the matter to university administrators." The grand jury report, which looked for and found that Curley and Schultz engaged in a cover-up, concluded that Paterno performed his legal obligation, which is why he will be a witness, rather than a defendant in the trials against Sandusky, Curley and Schultz.

Even Pennsylvania state police Commissioner Frank Noonan acknowledged that Paterno fulfilled his legal obligation when he forwarded McQueary's allegations to university administrators. Finally, in early November 2011, the Harrisburg Patriot-News reported praise for Paterno: "sources said the deputy state prosecutor handling the case said that Paterno did the right thing, and handled himself appropriately in 2002 and during the three-year investigation that ended Friday."

Consequently, the evidence available to us thus far not only clears Paterno of any suspicion that he engaged in a cover-up -- an extremely far-fetched suspicion, in the first place -- but also that Paterno earned praise for performing his legal duty. Arguably, by insisting that Schultz be brought in, Paterno went beyond his legal obligation.

Unfortunately, such evidence proved worthless as jackals in the news media seized upon the hysteria surrounding the news of despicable sexual molestation of young boys by Jerry Sandusky to transform a "Jerry Sandusky scandal" into a "Penn State scandal" and then a "Joe Paterno scandal." Now, there's no questioning why the "Jerry Sandusky scandal" emerged. Moreover, given that Sandusky was once employed by Penn State (and maintained close ties with Penn State), and given the grand jury report and the subsequent indictments of Penn State's Athletic Director, Tim Curley, and the Vice President responsible for overseeing the University police, Gary Schultz, one understands how the "Sandusky scandal" became the "Penn State scandal." But, how the "Sandusky scandal" and the "Penn State scandal" became the "Joe Paterno scandal" is much less easy to understand.

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This is the question that I will address in Part Three of this article.

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Walter C. Uhler is an independent scholar and freelance writer whose work has been published in numerous publications, including The Nation, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the Journal of Military History, the Moscow Times and the San (more...)

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