Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Good riddance, JoePa

I've always hated Joe Paterno and Penn State's holier than thou sham. Careful scrutiny suggests it's mostly sociopaths at the top.

NYTimes: ... I have a hard time understanding why a 28 year old man, the grad student, did not go straight into that shower and rescue the kid. He is a coward. Law, lawsuits and all the oversight in the world is valueless unless people step up. This creep Sandusky was “caught” several times, in each case the so called men who witnessed it, quietly back away. Shame on them all. Shame on Mr. Paterno whose god status created the environment.

Paterno admits he was told by the assistant mentioned above that he saw former defensive coordinator Sandusky having anal sex with a naked 10 year old boy in the showers. Paterno reports it to superiors but doesn't follow up further and Sandusky retains an office in the athletic complex. The graduate assistant, a former Penn State QB, is now an assistant coach, so Paterno can hardly claim he didn't find the charge credible. This was definitely a coverup that extended over a decade, and JoePa was involved.

I wonder how the Penn State players feel about using the shower facilities in the Lasch Building (football complex).

Sandusky Grand Jury Presentment.

"When we stood at childhood's gate, Shapeless in the hands of fate, .... May no act of ours bring shame"

The Penn State Alma Mater

For the glory of old State,
For her founders strong and great,
For the future that we wait,
Raise the song, raise the song.

Sing our love and loyalty,
Sing our hopes that, bright and free,
Rest, O Mother dear, with thee,
All with thee, all with thee.


When we stood at childhood's gate,
Shapeless in the hands of fate,
Thou didst mold us, dear old State,
Dear old State, dear old State.


May no act of ours bring shame
To one heart that loves thy name,
May our lives but swell thy fame,
Dear old State, dear old State.


sykes.1 said...

There were at least two credible accusations of rape years ago. This morning the number has risen to 17. That Sandusky was  not reported to the police as required by Pennsylvania is beyond astonishing. That he was allowed to continue at Penn State after multiple accusations indicates a level of moral depravity among the Penn State coaches and administrative staff, including both Paterno and the University President, that is utterly apalling.

How could Paterno have associated with a known child rapist for ten years? He was clearly senile a decade ago, and he should have retired when Penn State joined the Big 10. But dear, sweet Jesus!

I served on College and University faculties for 37 years, a I saw a few instances of faculty corruption during that time. The first response of Deans and Chairs was always to cover up the incident rather than commence disciplinary proceedings. This for the good of the institution. This is inexcusable even in cases of plagiarism and fraud. But in the case of child rape, a cover up requires the dismissal of all the persons who had any knowledge of the crimes.

steve hsu said...

If Paterno continues living this is all going to come out in the criminal trial and private lawsuits. Why did Sandusky not succeed Paterno as head coach, as was widely expected? What did Paterno know? How could Paterno and the grad assistant (now the WR coach) look each other in the eye year after year, knowing that Sandusky was still around, had an office in the building and brought young kids to PSU events? Didn't they wonder what happened to that little boy? The whole thing makes me sick.

KenC said...

This does leave one speechless. The Atlantic had a good article a few months back on reasons college athletes should get paid for their services as they are essentially minor league players for the pros. At least in football, basketball, and baseball.

But this Penn State development goes way beyond the pale. And makes one wonder what else is going on in various other institutions. PSU can’t be the only one with shenanigans such as this being swept under the rug. Remember the recent Miami nonsense?

botti said...

***Good riddance, JoePa ***
 OT, but speaking of Joes, R.I.P. ‘Smokin’ Joe Frazier. I recently watched the superb documentary ‘Thriller in Manilla’ which largely tells the story of this fight from Frazier’s perspective. Frazier’s courage in that fight was unbelievable, especially as it was subsequently revealed that through his career he was legally blind in his left eye. By the end of the fight his good eye was swollen shut and he was bitterly disappointed not be allowed to fight on despite not being able to see Ali’s punches.
A great and gutysy champion from the heyday of heavyweight boxing.

Justin Loe said...

Great post. More scientists need to speak up on both moral and contemporary political questions. The historians have been doing it and the other non-scientific disciplines have been doing it in greater numbers, at least based on research I've read on relative political activity in different academic disciplines.

We need to call out outrageous behavior more often for what it is.

Guy_Brodude said...

I agree, however, scientists need to some extent police other scientists as well. Not just in cases of scientific misconduct, but just in a general moral and ethical sense.

Christopher Weed said...

See this piece by Dave Zirin in The Nation.

esmith said...

Paterno denied having been told about anal sex. He says that the assistant coach only told them about Sandusky showering with a kid. Which is still wrong, but, if that's the case, everyone's reaction looks much more adequate. Aside from this case and the the 1998 incident, there's no reason to think that Paterno or anyone else in Penn State knew of any impropriety going on.

The whole scandal seems extremely fishy to me, and I'm getting a strong vibe that it is basically a witch hunt. Consider the case of the prosecution:

- An incident in 1998 which was thoroughly investigated way back when but did not result in criminal charges (police were satisfied that Sandusky's actions did not rise to the level of crime).
- A highly graphic incident in 2002, which was only seen by McQueary, and there's no evidence that he ever told anyone about it in such graphic detail before his grand jury testimony in 2010. The victim is unknown and therefore can't confirm or deny the accusations.
- Another highly graphic incident in 2000, which was only seen by a janitor, who happens to be in a nursing home with dementia and can't testify. The victim is unknown and can't confirm or deny the accusations.
- Two kids reporting showering with Sandusky.

In case you're following, we're up to 5 "victims" and zero prosecutable cases.

That leaves three kids actually reporting some credible wrongdoing, although with no supporting evidence or witnesses other than their words, and the degree to which whey were coached by the prosecutor remains to be seen.

steve hsu said...

> Paterno denied having been told about anal sex.

IIRC McQueary directly contradicts this in his GJ testimony.

The latest news is that McQueary claims to have stopped Sandusky in the act:

In an email to former teammates, obtained by NBC News, McQueary said: "The truth is not out there fully" and that he "didn't just turn and run" after seeing the alleged molestation."I made sure it stopped. I did the right thing ... you guys know me," he wrote, adding that he "had to make quick, tough decisions."http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/45295654#45295654I think when the dust settles Sandusky is clearly guilty and JoePa looks very bad.

esmith said...

The only reason to think that JoePa knew anything is McQueary's accusation. The fact that McQueary is starting to change his story is troubling. Sandusky's lawyer now says that they have Victim 2 and he denies everything. The whole thing may seriously blow up if McQueary admits that he lied, or if some docs discrediting him show up.

KenC said...

Ya know botti and I haven’t a clue if you will read this post as it is lower down in the thought and posting pattern. At the time of that fight I was living in Corvallis and we drove down to Eugene to watch it on what was then the highest tech system imaginable. Closed Circuit “telebitchin" shown by admission only in the MU (erb?). It was by far the most brutal fight I had ever seen (and I had seen, or listened to, almost all of Ali’s fights)-- although I am sure some of the more recent MMA fights leave that one in the dust. What with the Marquis of Queenbury’s rules and all.

OK--so that dates me. But I’ll never forget round 15 when Frazer’s manager threw in the towel. No one (at the time) knew if Ali or Frazer caved--until after about 15 seconds. It was the end of an era--a history changing era. Thanks for reminding me.

Steinn Sigurdsson said...

 "In the past month, no fewer than six  [...] football
players have been suspected of or charged with various crimes, including
two key players charged with crimes of violence against women.

The responses to these incidents by [...]
head football coach [...] and [...] athletic director [...]
can be summarized as follows: If a player is a vital part of the team
and is charged with a violent crime against a woman, there will be no
“rush to judgment” and the player will face no disciplinary action."

Oregon, our Alma MaterWe will guard thee on and onLet us gather round and cheer herChant her glory OregonRoar the praises of her warriorsSing the story OregonOn to victory urge the heroesOf our mighty Oregon!

So, how well do you know the coach and AD?

steve hsu said...

I don't know much about their character at all. Chip Kelly, however, is a football genius :-)

However, even given the low ethical standards in big time college sports, I would guess very few head coaches and ADs would cover up an incident like Sandusky's involving a 10 year old.

Steinn Sigurdsson said...

Enabler. ;-)

You really should not believe everything you read in the paper.

State law here is quite explicit:  you report child abuse to the person who is reponsible for reporting it to the authorities,
you do not do your own investigation (it tips off suspects and messes up evidence trails); you do not talk to anyone about it;
you will be told, eventually, the outcome, if you want to hear it - that may take months or years.  If there are no charges then files
are destroyed and it never happened.
Coaches at PSU ought to have been through Mandatory Reporter Training by 2002,  the training implicitly assumes that the abuse is inferred from indirect evidence, it does not address in flagrante cases.

A key birfucation point came when the AD and head of police were informed in 2002 - the previous charge in 1998 was investigated, and the DA declined to press charges,  JS was released from his contract with PSU;  now it comes again, except the previous time they knew who the victim was  -  so, does the AD think "uh, oh, again.  This must be serious!",  or "Not again, he was exonerated last time, took up all my time, and this time we don't even know who the victim is...".

Doesn't take a conspiracy, just disbelief, some cognitive dissonance, distaste and general attitude of "not my problem".

steve hsu said...

In your model, what are Joepa and Mcqueary thinking in subsequent weeks and years when they look at each other and at Sandusky as he passes them in the locker room?

Does Joepa think Mcqueary was on drugs and made the whole thing up? Then why is Mcqueary in one of the top coaching positions?

Perhaps you don't believe Mcqueary's testimony that he told Joepa all the details about the Sandusky encounter? Hard to believe "Saint Joe" didn't want to know all the facts when he met with Mcqueary the next day.

Steinn Sigurdsson said...

Sandusky was released at the end of the '98 season (retired "voluntarily") - after 2002 he was told not to bring people to PSU athletic facilities, but as an ex-faculty member had the right to come himself. 

I infer that JoePa believed McQueary;  I also think that as a 75 year old catholic he did not want to hear any of the details (local reports are that he said something like: "don't tell me any details, here is who you have to talk to")  - JoePa had known Sandusky for 30+ years, and his wife,  why would he want to know all the details.  I think it is likely that JoePa internally dismissed the explicit charge,  that of penetrative anal sex,  but accepted that McQueary saw sexual nude contact.

McQueary probably had severe "who you gonna believe, me or your lyin' eyes" moments - he had known Sandusky for over a decade.
It is clear, in retrospect, that there was tension there,   eg Paterno was not part of the Second Mile charity Board.  
Sandusky was very good at co-opting ALL the local authorities - he set up a $10M charity over several decades, and got every lawyer and judge in the county involved in it. 
There was an enormous built in bias to disbelieve the accusations (at that point there were three we know about 1995 over an adopted kid; 1998 no charges filed, and 2002 reported to police but not to State CPS or local DA as required)  - the local Child Services discounted the accusations.

Charming organised sociopaths are hard to stop.

Hm: would you have confronted a Nobel Prize winning physicist if you had found out that he had committed serious sexual misconduct?  
As a student?  As pre-tenure junior faculty? As a department head? 

steve hsu said...

>> Hm: would you have confronted a Nobel Prize winning physicist if you had found out that he had committed serious sexual misconduct? <<

I can't say for sure what I would do in a hypothetical situation, but I would feel very bad about myself if I caught anyone doing what Sandusky was supposedly doing and didn't rescue the kid there and then.

Precisely because he knew Sandusky so well I cannot imagine an ethical JoePa not wanting to know exactly what went on. Even if the situation is as you describe above, my opinion of JoePa is very low.

Blog Archive