PSU’s dirty hands: Who all is guilty?

November 8, 2011

Dirty Hands, Political Theory

Jerry Sandusky

This week, news surfaced of a sex scandal that took place within the infamous Penn State University football program. Jerry Sandusky, a former assistant football coach, sexually assaulted 8 or more young boys in Penn State athletic facilities. In 2002, Sandusky was prohibited from PSU’s main campus, after a witness saw him having sexual relations with a boy in the football locker room shower. The witness, Mike McQueary, who is now a Penn State assistant, reported the incident to head coach Joe Paterno the next day. He did not stop the incident, call the police, or confront Sandusky, instead he waited until the next day and told the coach. Paterno, a figurehead of Penn State, forwarded the information to the Athletic Director, Tim Curley. While Sandusky was prohibited from the main campus, he still continued to run camps for at risk youth at Penn State branch campuses. In 1999, Sandusky resigned, but continued to use University facilities.

Several witnesses saw Sandusky engage in inappropriate acts with minors after his resignation. Two janitors witnessed Sandusky with young boys. One saw him engaging in inappropriate acts in the shower, another walking hand in hand with a male child on campus. Neither witnesses reported the incidents to the university or to the police. The only action that was taken was the university prohibited Sandusky from bringing participants in his after school program on campus. From 2002 to 2008 there are a series of other events that take place, none of which are taken to the police, until a high school principal finally takes action.

This is a huge scandal to hit the football program and the entire population of Penn State University. The abuse is horrible and disgusting, but what is causing such a controversy is the fact that so many people could have stepped in and stopped the events, but no one did. Joe Paterno is famous for his emphasis on success, and honor, yet he was complacent in allowing the sexual abuse of several young boys to continue for years. These events took place on University property, and Sandusky used his position and power as a college football coach to control and abuse these boys.

Obviously this story does not exemplify the confrontation of the dirty hands problem we learned about. Nothing about what Jerry Sandusky did could be seen as a negative act in the name of a positive result. However, we can see how the dirty hands problem influences who we seen as culpable for a crime like this. As a Penn State leader, who has enormous influence over his university, Joe Paterno let illegal and immoral acts occur within his program. Can Paterno and Penn State University really clean their hands of this act? Who else is guilty other than Sandusky in this case?

Joe Paterno with Jerry Sandusky



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29 Comments on “PSU’s dirty hands: Who all is guilty?”

  1. leannaprairie Says:

    Well I definitely think that besides Sandusky, Paterno, as well as the Athletic Director are both guilty to some extent. Clearly Paterno did the right thing by bringing the issue to someone higher up than him, so the question isn’t whether he did the right thing, but whether he did enough. Was it up to Paterno to make sure that something was done about the situation, even though he had already reported the issue?

    Here is where I believe the AD is guilty. All that was done was prohibit Sandusky from campus. The AD could have prohibited him from ALL campuses as well as brought the issue to the legal authorities, who would have dealt with the issue in an unbiased manner.

    I really don’t believe that PSU or Paterno will ever be able to clean their hands of this.

  2. acicurel Says:

    The New York Times is now reporting that Joe Paterno’s tenure at PSU could end very soon (within days or weeks). I think its impossible for Paterno to avoid this scandal. While he did go through the proper channels to report the violation, I think he has a higher responsibility as a leader of young men to make sure this was handled properly. As a coach, he is responsible for molding and influencing the lives of his players and the PSU community. While the scandal cannot negate the fact that he is one of the greatest coaches in college football history, it does cast a shadow on his character. Paterno, up until this point, was seen as a model citizen and was a very popular motivational speaker, outside of his job as a football coach. This scandal will make anyone who hears him speak think twice about what the man has to say, which is sad because he is brilliant as a football coach and motivational speaker.

  3. rschles92 Says:

    With this conflict there are really two ways to look at Paterno’s role.

    1. For years it has been assumed that Paterno’s sharpest days are behind him. He looks more and more frail, his speech worsens, and his knowledge of football has undoubtedly diminished. Calling him the team’s head coach might be technically correct but it is far from accurate. I can say with confidence that there is no possible way he knows half of the plays or all the players on the team’s names. If this is the path you choose to look at then Paterno was too disabled to be held accountable for this scandal and it is the fault of the administration for not being more stern with JoePa and escorting him out of NCAA history in order to preserve order within the athletic department. However if Paterno is deemed incompetent, then the AD and school’s president are responsible for the heinous acts done to defenseless young men.

    2. If in fact Paterno was aware of the situation and reported it to the AD one might thing he did all he could do and acted responsibly. This would be a major oversight. Paterno is the most powerful man at PSU. There have been stories of administrators asking Paterno to ride off into the sunset and he told them where they could stick it. Paterno might have reported it to the AD but after seeing no action taken, he should have stepped up. The fact that he reported events in 2002 and then there more assaults that took place after 2002 means Paterno had the power to prevent more adolescents from being violated.

    Any way you want to cut it, Paterno is plain wrong. He is bigger than President, he is bigger than the AD and it should’ve been him coming forward and putting a stop to it.

  4. euriosti Says:

    I think pinning the blame on Paterno is a bit harsh. He did what any employee should do, report a problem to his boss. The assistant that witnessed the child molestation should have been more at fault. If he witnessed a crime, he should have report it to the police. Paterno did not witness anything. In hindsight, Paterno could have done more, but how is he supposed to investigate any allegations? That responsibility is entirely up to the AD. If Paterno reported the incident, he should feel comfortable that the issue would be resolved. Now that we find out it didn’t, Paterno is blamed for not doing more. If the AD had investigated the issue and taken immediate action, Paterno would still be the coach for Penn State. This can’t be a case of dirty hands for Paterno. Questioning his morals and character is absurd. He never did anything immoral to benefit his team either. I’m sure Paterno felt like he had handled the allegations appropriately by passing them along to his boss.

    • mjgeis Says:

      I am slightly concerned that your analysis of Paterno’s actions may be overlooking a few important details. For example, as rschles92 pointed out in the comment above this one, more boys were sexually violated by Sandusky following Paterno’s original report of events to the AD. Paterno needs to be held to a higher standard of conduct than either Sandusky or the AD in this situation because he is a sports legend. There is hardly a person in this country who has a minute knowledge of sports and does not know his name; the examples he sets for behavior, therefore, must be held under strict scrutiny. rschles92 was completely correct in suggesting that Paterno was “bigger than the president” and “bigger than the AD”, especially when considering the public eye. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I would like my public figures displaying nothing but the highest moral fiber.

      I would like to add that this isn’t Tressel we’re talking about here. These aren’t illegally obtained tattoos, and as much as I despise OSU, we all have to agree that what has occurred at Penn State is far worse. We can’t afford to let anyone involved with this scandal off lightly; more than just laws have been violated here. Reprehensible acts have been committed, and anyone even remotely connected with them, anyone who showed even a shred of mercy toward Sandusky, deserves and ought to be punished in a very harsh way. This is a situation of which Paterno’s hands can never be washed.

  5. ksoisson Says:

    Paterno is receiving a pretty severe punishment, but one that I believe is deserved. He did not do enough in resolving the dilemma. He got his hands dirty by not taking this situation to the police immediately or at least after he realized the man he reported it to was not doing anything about it. Perhaps he knew this would be a big detriment to the Penn State football program and didn’t want it to interfere and become a nuisance. However, Penn State also needs to remove more staff members to be just. The assistant that reported it to Paterno and the man that Paterno reported it to are still employed at the university. They are just as much at fault as Paterno. No one went to the police with it, so why weren’t all of them fired?
    Obviously there needs to be more investigation done on the entire issue, but it will take a long time before the university will be able to redeem its reputation. Even at that, I don’t know if the Penn State football program and the entire university will ever be able to fully regain its reputation.

  6. jeanchaw Says:

    Living in a house where ESPN is running in every room 24 hours a day, I have now been forced to watch 36 hours of coverage on this story. I consider myself an expert on the matter. I have made the conclusion that Joe Paterno did dirty his hands at Penn State because he was clearly told about Sandusky’s molestation problem and only passed this information on and did not take it upon himself to take action. The University was justified in their action of firing him.

    While researching I discovered that Sandusky wrote an autobiography entitled “Touched”. Sandusky’s first accusations of molesting an innocent young child arrived in the late 1990’s and yet the book was published in 2001. The title of the book was unquestionably deliberate on Sandusky’s behalf and shows the type of human being he truly is. The fact that Joe Paterno knew about these unforgivable acts, demonstrates that he is either, too old and too incompetent to act, or he was defending his friend. Any of these reasons are means to be fired and PSU was justified in its decision although they could not foresee the consequences.

  7. Matthew Bernstein Says:

    It’s hard to imagine the horrific periods in these men’s lives when they were sexually abused by Sandusky. No one should ever have to go through that. That being said, this entire situation is exacerbated by the fact that Sandusky used his status as defensive coordinator of one of the most prestigious college football programs in the nation to gain access to/take advantage of these children.

    My true gripe with this story has been the reaction by the Penn State community to the actions taken by the Board of Trustees. Joe Paterno, one of the most revered college sports icons of all time, has been fired as head football coach after sixty-one years at the helm.

    Obviously, there is emotional support for the beloved JoePa, but there must be some accountability on behalf of the students who are rioting. Do they realize that JoePa essentially turned a blind eye to this horrific act? Was it to protect his own reputation? Or did JoePa really believe that he did all that he possibly could to report the incidents to the necessary authorities?

  8. wjpetok24 Says:

    This story could be one of the greatest examples of dirty hands in contemporary times. With the ongoing investigation taking place, I wouldn’t be surpised if we were only witnessing the tip of the iceberg of the allegations and foul play that took place in State College, Pa.

    Personally, I find this chain of events volatile and a disgrace to our humanity. Where can we stand as a country promoting social justice when some of our most powerful and entrusted men engaged in one of the most gruesome cover-ups in American history? It is shameful and pathetic.

    While most people are quick to blame Joe Paterno and President Graham Spanier for the dirty hands in this situation, I question assistant coach Mike McQueary and his role in 2002 after being an eyewitness to a rape in the Penn State locker rooms. Penn State is a program built on the reputation of “success with honor” and McQueary’s actions detail exactly the opposite. Instead of alerting the police or doing something in the moment to stop Sandusky’s heinous actions, McQueary quivered and blinded by the light of Sandusky’s overwhelming presence only told Paterno. Paterno alleges he passed it on to the AD of the school and he “vaguely” remembered the conversation, but eventually passed it up the chain of command to be forgotten in the fray.

    Furthermore, recent allegations have suggested Paterno became aware of the situation regarding Sandusky in 1998, and engaged in a cover-up to save face for the program. An alleged plan was concocted to allow Sandusky, a larger than life figure second to only Paterno at Penn State, to retire with honor, and continue his presence through his “Second Mile” non-profit organization, something people felt was very odd given its timing at the peak of his career.

    Again, these are all allegations and nothing has been proven yet, but the grand jury testimony has attested to many of these points. When the dust settles over PSU, I believe a full scale remodeling will occur, possibly even a death penalty for their football program for their egregious actions. Over the years, the amount of immoral and selfish protection of PSU’s interests by those involved is inexcusable. The victims clearly deserved a lot better and only now can begin their unimaginably painful healing process.

  9. Joe Says:

    Joe Paterno was wrong to do nothing but I am sure he had his reasons. Sandusky played for Paterno, was an assistant there a long time winning Assistant Coach of the year Awards and coaching PSU’s trademark defense during title years. I am sure that some form of camaraderie exists between them. I am not defending his actions but Paterno only knew of one incident and reported it, and there is a chance he did not pursue more action because of their relationship and the fact that he wasnt allowed at the main facilities more and that the charity Sandusky was meeting these children through was also notified. Paterno regrets not doing more but at the time he might have thought that since Sandusky was then further removed from PSU and a show for respect to his longtime associate, he did not pursue more action.

    I also find it interesting to look at the Board of Trustees as a possible case of dirty hands. They did something that was VERY unpopular with their community in the name of long-term benefits. Many in the PSU community find it blasphemous to run Paterno out prematurely (4 games premature) since he had done nothing illegal, and because of everything he had contributed to the PSU community (Millions of dollars donated on top of all the time and energy). However, most everyone else in the nation sees it as right and necessary to fire Paterno, a legend in his final year of his contract.The board made a very swift decision that was unpopular with a lot of their community, but they beleived it was in the best interest of the school to move forward and past this as fast as possible, and cleaning their hands of the whole situation. The faster they move on, the faster things will appear normal, and the better they will look in hindsight by doing what is seen as right even if it harms one icon and his legend.
    Does this seem like a case of dirty hands?

  10. guysnick Says:

    First of all, I just want to say how awful this whole series of events has been. It is such a shame that the storied career of Joe Paterno, who devoted 46 years of his life to the football program at Penn State, had to come to an end in a such an abrupt and tragic way. It really is too bad that Paterno’s career had to go down in flames like this. Nevertheless, he is not without some guilt in this issue. Obviously, as Paterno himself told the media, there is a lot more he could have done to stop Coach Sandusky from continuing to victimize young boys whom he was supposed to be helping by teaching them about respect, honor, and the work ethic through the game of football. Above all, I just think it is really sad that Joe Pa’s career had to end this way.

    Clearly, Coach Jerry Sandusky is the one to blame the most in this scandal. He is the one who allegedly sexually assaulted numerous young boys. He is the one who continued to commit such heinous crimes after being caught several times. And he is the one who has tarnished the reputation of the university, the football program, the school’s leadership, and the legacy of Joe Paterno. Without a doubt, Sandusky’s hands are the dirtiest in this scandal. I hope he spends some time in prison and is on the sex offender registry for life. His acts can be called nothing short of despicable and disgusting.

    While Jerry Sandusky deserves the utmost blame in the Penn State scandal, Joe Paterno, Penn State’s athletic director, and the university’s president all have dirty hands in this issue. Paterno was informed of Sandusky’s alleged sex crimes and did not fire him from the football staff. Furthermore, PSU’s athletic director did not report Sandusky to law enforcement or ban him from university athletic events and facilities. And the president, who has subsequently been fired, should have immediately fired Sandusky and banned him from any university function.

    Still, when everything is all said and done, what a tragedy this scandal has become. It is too bad that one of the game’s most well-known and respected icons has had to conclude his storied career amidst a hurricane of allegations, mud-slinging, and riots at his beloved Penn State.

  11. jrmeller Says:

    What has happened in Penn State is both shocking and horrifying. Sandusky and all those who did not act should be ashamed of themselves, which leads me to my point. Is JoePa really at fault here? Forget about about his illustrious career, forget about the symbol he is on campus and to the entire PSU fan base, and forget about his age. As head coach and leader on campus Paterno should have known that he had to report Sandusky to the police. What he was doing was wrong, plain and simple. It’s unfortunate that one of the longest and most successful coaching careers in sports history has to end in the midst of this scandal, but he has to pay a price for not acting in the appropriate way.

    What JoePa has done for Penn State is incredible, but that does not rid him of his responsibilities as a human being and a member of our society. What he witnessed and knew about were crimes, sick crimes, that I still cannot comprehend. But regardless Paterno had to have known that the only appropriate course of action was to report Sandusky to the proper authorities.

    I understand why members of the Penn State community might challenge the decision to fire Paterno, but whether he wants to or not, he played a part in this catastrophe and needs to pay the price of his negligence, ESPECIALLY considering the supposed leader he is. As a long time sports fan I am saddened to see JoePa’s career end like this, but it has to be done.

    I applaud the board of trustee members for doing what they had to do, along with Paterno, another figure head, Former President Graham Spanier, are out and the school can attempt to rebuild and move on from this tragic occurrence

  12. jeanrichmann Says:

    As a student, I am completely horrified by what happened on PSU campus. What Jerry Sandusky did is disgusting, and I highly doubt he may ever be able to cleanse his hands of his immoral actions. What Joe Paterno did, may be forgivable. He did report his incident to an Athletic Director. This matter was then placed in the AD’s dirty hands. If this man was a known criminal, though he was banned from campus, someone should have stopped him. This occurrence does not seem like a case of dirty hands to me, rather just dirty hands. The ends here did not justify the means. Allowing young men to be assaulted is not justified by the fact that Sandusky was a valuable asset to the football program. While a winning season may seem important to some, it is not more crucial then the sexual assault of young men. It is a shame that some believe the the ends justify the means in this PSU drama.

  13. marckarpinos31 Says:

    To start I think this is a great post with a great idea. The Penn State controversy has been dominating the media for the entire week with good reason. As a student I wonder what I would do if something like this happened at our university; would I have been a part of the riots that took place at Penn State that many are saying disgraced the university and its good name. I think that the students of Penn State are acting emotionally and don’t truly understand the harm and pain that this terrible man caused for these little boys.

    I personally dont think that Penn State will be able to recover from this, at least not so quickly. Penn State is a very popular school and one of its main selling points is Beaver Stadium and a prestigious athletic program. With the programs morals called into question recruits are starting to shy away from PSU and now maybe students who have a choice to make between PSU and an equivalent school will also shy away. While I cant say I would have handled the situation any differently I can say Penn State is going to suffer from this negative publicity for a very long time.

  14. cblaskie Says:

    I think that Sandusky, Joe Paterno, and the Athletic Director are all guilty maybe to differing degrees though. What Sandusky did is disturbing and I cannot believe that no one tried to stop him over the years he was abusing these boys. Sandusky is not partaking in a case of Dirty Hands because what he did is not for the good of anyone, he is just a disturbed individual. I think that Joe Pat’s case could be Dirty Hands if he thought that if this got out it could destroy the university’s image, which it obviously did but if you really look at the case it isn’t a case of Dirty Hands. What happened should not have been covered up, there is no ends that could justify what happened. I am not sure if Joe Pat actually reported the abuse, but he should have done more to make sure Sandusky was removed from campus and prosecuted. It will be a long time before Penn State’s image can recover, but this will forever be a black eye.

  15. brookegustafson Says:

    This story is definitely an example of the dirty hands problem applied to a contemporary issue, for it does encompass the idea of who we see as responsible for an immoral action, even though there is absolutely no positive result coming from these terrible crimes. With this in mind, I do not think that Coach Paterno, or any of the other leaders at Penn State during the time of these alleged crimes, will ever be able to “clean their hands” of these acts.
    After watching SportsCenter all week, it was repeatedly brought up how Coach Paterno’s legacy would be permanently tarnished in the wake of these allegations. Many loyal supporters seemed to disagree, because he did what the NCAA required him to do. Yes, he did was he was “supposed to do” according to the rules and reported the abuse up the chain of command once Mike McQueary stated what he’d witnessed. However, when Sandusky was not arrested or, at the very least, completely banned from Penn State, Paterno did nothing more to bring awareness to the situation, and I think there is a very fine line between doing what you’re “required to do” and doing what you know is right and moral. We spoke of the concept “phronesis” in being a leader and having the wisdom to know what is worth doing. Paterno was, at the time, the face of the program and had been for decades, and by not doing more to bring justice to Sandusky and help the victims and their families, his legacy of honor will forever be tarnished and his hands will remain dirty.
    However, it is not just Joe Paterno that can be blamed, it is anyone who ever witnessed or heard of these acts and did nothing, including other coaches and coordinators, the athletic director, the president of the university, the university police, etc. As a community, I think there is a great deal of responsibility in protecting our children, many of whom can not protect themselves. So when I turned on my TV last week and saw the students at Penn State chanting Joe Pa’s name, pulling down light posts, and flipping over a news van in protest that he was fired, I think there is a larger issue at hand. For people to act so passionately over the firing of a coach and not over the sexual abuse of the eight known victims of Sandusky, I can not help but see them as dirtying their hands as well. The community needs to know and understand that the situation could have been avoided if Joe Paterno had done more at the time, instead of largely sweeping it under the rug and forcing the victims to live with the heinous crimes committed against them for the past decade.

  16. Brandon Kassimir Says:

    While Jerry Sandusky committed such a heinous act, he is clearly not the only one at fault. Everyone has heard that being a bystander and not acting is almost as big of a crime as actually doing the action. What it really comes down to is these sexual assaults could have been prevented if people had acted. Although Joe Paterno and Mike McQueary are at fault as well, the real issue here was the athletic director Tim Curley
    Joe Paterno and Mike McQueary both could have prevented these acts from going further. McQueary was a first hand witness of the acts and did the right thing. He went to Joe Paterno and reported what he had seen. Normally this would be enough because he expected Paterno to take action. Then Paterno did the right thing and went to Athletic Director Tim Curley. Both of them initially did the right thing by telling a higher person. However, they both should be at fault because they didn’t pursue the case. Once nothing was done, they both should have acted and they did not. This is why they are at fault.
    Tim Curley, the athletic director at Penn State University is the real criminal in this case. He was told by Paterno the heinous crimes that Jerry Sandusky was committing. He could have acted. He could have done the right thing. He could have saved these innocent children. Instead, he turned the other way. He did the complete opposite of what you are told to do. He was so proud of his athletic department that he would not bring this issue to the authorities. Tim Curley is at fault and should be penalized to the full extent of the law.
    In conclusion, everyone is at fault, but some people are at more fault. Tim Curley is the one who is most responsible. His reputation is tarnished forever because he really could have done something. Joe Paterno and Mike McQueary are also at fault, but I believe their reputations will not permanently be tarnished. They did the right thing at first by telling those higher up, but they didn’t pursue the case.

  17. kaitlinlapka Says:

    Agreed. The blame can be put on anyone to some extent. You could make a case for dirty hands of any of these men. I read an interesting article about what if this abuse would have been on small girls, instead of boys? Would the case been seen as more serious and would people have spoken up sooner? Paterno did what was right. He told what he knew, but again, was it up to Paterno to make sure that something was done about the situation, even though he had already reported the issue?

  18. mrau188 Says:

    Well to start is off Sandusky is the scum of the earth and doesn’t deserve to breathe if the accusations against him are actually true and true to the extent that the supreme court case has made them out to be. I think that everyone that was directly affiliated with the program at that time is somehow affiliated with the case that is being brought against Sandusky. The problem is whether or not they knew the extent of the situation or whether they just thought that he was helping the kids out with football stuff or schoolwork. People always are trying to do good things for whatever organization or university they work for and maybe that is what everyone else in the program thought that he was doing. On the other hand, everyone that was has since been removed from any affiliation with penn state was definitely guilty to some extent because if they weren’t guilty then they would still be there it is definitely a terrible situation. I hope that everyone that was just brushing this problem under the rug are exposed because when you think about it those were just innocent kids and they should never be exposed to the terrible thing that Sandusky has done to them. EVERYONE INVOLVED WITH PENN STATE FOOTBALL IS TO BLAME.

  19. #jasonschwartz Says:

    I disagree with your last paragraph completely. This issue very ceasily can be applied to the dirty hands principle. Joe P didn’t go to the police immediately because by implicating himself or his school in the crimes,he could potentially be fired. On top of this the school would lose houndreds of millions of dollars that come in every year, as well as a ton of top recruits that want to come and play for Paterno. As a result of these evidences, I am strongly convinced that dirty hands played a significant roll here. Also, I think that the issue of how powerful college football has become on all university campuses. This issue needs to be addressed, as more and more schools are focusing on building a good football team rather than spending their time and money on football.

  20. aclieb Says:

    The situation at Penn State is horrendous. I do not believe Joe Paterno or Penn State as a University can clean their hands of this tragedy. First of all, I like Joe Paterno, I think he is indisputably one of the greatest coaches of all time of any sport. I was shocked to learn that he didn’t do more than he did when he learned about what happened with the children and Sandusky. Saying that, I think it was completely right (as much as it saddens me to say) for him to have been fired. Yes, Paterno informed the athletic director of what he was told happened, but that wasn’t enough. That wasn’t enough especially since the athletic director didn’t inform authorities outside the university. Paterno being the leader of the football team should have gone directly to the authorities and made sure the issue was dealt with properly rather than assume the AD would take care of it. Everyone is truly guilty in this ordeal though. Sandusky is for obvious reasons. Yet, everyone else sort of passed the responsibility to someone else until nothing really happened. Insignificant punishments were given and Penn State tried to keep this an internal issue. This is far more serious than any one involved realized or they didn’t think it would ever get out to the public and obviously if the latter is true they were wrong. Everyone involved is to be blamed.

  21. Brandon Kassimir Says:

    Most people who have commented on this post have the same opinion. They all think Jerry Sandusky is at the most fault (which is obvious because he actually committed the crime). They then go on to say that Joe Paterno and Mike McQueary were helpful to an extent. However, they did not do enough to prevent these horrible acts and should therefore be held accountable. Most people think the person is who is at the most fault, besides Sandusky, is Tim Curley, the athletic director of Penn State. I partially agree with this. However, I firmly believe that Paterno and McQueary should not be held responsible for these crimes.
    Mike McQueary witnessed an atrocity and did the right thing. He told someone higher up in the system. Once Joe Paterno found out, he did the right thing as well; He told someone higher up in the system. In a functioning workplace, it is not the responsibility of any one man to report something like this to the police. It is the responsibility of the man in charge to do it. In this case, it was Tim Curley’s job to report this to the authorities. Many people might question this position. I think that once anyone feels like it is okay to report a problem without consulting the head of the organization, the organization is corrupt. What Paterno really should have done once he saw that Curley was not acting was talk to him again. Tell him that he must tell the police and that Penn State athletics rests on his decision. However, if Paterno had gone to the police behind Curley’s back, there would be no trust in the organization. Curley would never be able to trust Paterno again. That is why I believe the crime should only be put on Sandusky and Curley.
    I know for a fact that this scandal will always stay with Paterno mainly because he is the most known man in all of college football history. However, this should not be the case. He really did nothing wrong and neither did McQueary. They did what they had to do.

  22. adamstillman2011 Says:

    When this story broke I began thinking whether or not dirty hands applies in this case, and I don’t think it does. Dirty hands involves doing something that is immoral in order to benefit the interest of the state. Penn State in this case has not done anything immoral in the firing of Joe Paterno. If Joe Paterno knew about the abuse and did nothing about it Penn State’s firing of him was the right decision and most people would agree with it. Penn State was punishing someone for not doing their job, and failing to report other abuse. If Joe Paterno would have reported Jerry Sandusky earlier some of the victims may have been saved. Penn State had the right to fire Joe Paterno, what the administration did wasn’t immoral; it was the right thing to do.

  23. adamklein1 Says:

    Most people who have commented on this post have the same opinion. They all think Jerry Sandusky is at the most fault (which is obvious because he actually committed the crime). They then go on to say that Joe Paterno and Mike McQueary were helpful to an extent. However, they did not do enough to prevent these horrible acts and should therefore be held accountable. Most people think the person is who is at the most fault, besides Sandusky, is Tim Curley, the athletic director of Penn State. I partially agree with this. However, I firmly believe that Paterno and McQueary should not be held responsible for these crimes.
    Mike McQueary witnessed an atrocity and did the right thing. He told someone higher up in the system. Once Joe Paterno found out, he did the right thing as well; He told someone higher up in the system. In a functioning workplace, it is not the responsibility of any one man to report something like this to the police. It is the responsibility of the man in charge to do it. In this case, it was Tim Curley’s job to report this to the authorities. Many people might question this position. I think that once anyone feels like it is okay to report a problem without consulting the head of the organization, the organization is corrupt. What Paterno really should have done once he saw that Curley was not acting was talk to him again. Tell him that he must tell the police and that Penn State athletics rests on his decision. However, if Paterno had gone to the police behind Curley’s back, there would be no trust in the organization. Curley would never be able to trust Paterno again. That is why I believe the crime should only be put on Sandusky and Curley.
    I know for a fact that this scandal will always stay with Paterno mainly because he is the most known man in all of college football history. However, this should not be the case. He really did nothing wrong and neither did McQueary. They did what they had to do.

  24. JustinMandeltort Says:

    One of the biggest sports stories of all-time right here, such a disgusting and immoral thing to happen to a university that is based solely on their morals. The allegations that have been made against Sandusky are truly disturbing, things that resemble what a “monster” would do. After reading the grand jury trial report I feel so much remorse for the victims in this case, young boys had horrible things done to them, things they didn’t deserve to happen. Along with Sandusky, Paterno is responsible, McQueary is responsible, the athletic director is responsible, everybody is responsible. Each person starting with McQueary just told the next person up what they saw, while they should have gone right to the police. All are at fault partially, exactly why the AD resigned, Paterno was fired and McQueary was placed on academic leave. The football team is a mess, the coaching staff and higher-ups at penn state are up against the ropes and the university as a whole is in complete turmoil. The students rioting on the streets of campus just adds to the entire mess. I really believe that this incident tarnished part of Paterno’s legacy, he will go down as one of the greatest coaches ever, but this wont be forgotten. Nobody involved in this will be forgotten. Things like this don’t ever become forgotten, its gonna take many years for people to get over this and for the school to get back to where it use to be. To restore the morals and values they instill throughout their school and preach to their students is not going to come easy by any regard.

  25. amgille Says:

    As much as I had respected Joe Paterno for his role in football at Penn State, this matter completely changed that for me. Even though Paterno reported this to the athletic director, he should have acknowledged the true setting of the crime that was being committed: the molestation of young boys. I find it hard to accept that Paterno did everything he could in order to ensure the safety of young boys that came into direct contact with Sandusky, especially as Paterno, after hearing of these things, should have acknowledged Sandusky’s charity would be promoting these activities. By not reporting this incident, how many other young boys were placed directly into this type of environment?

    However, I don’t believe that Joe Paterno is the only individual that is responsible for some share of the blame. The athletic director, too, should have placed the safety of the youth higher than that of the assistant football coach. By not reporting the crime, he only further tarnished Penn State football as they can no longer be seen as an honest system. I also find it very strange that the other maintenance workers who saw this happening did not report it either. While they may have been afraid of losing their jobs, had they indeed lost their jobs they could have challenged for wrongful dismissal. The safety of the boys and integrity of themselves should have been strong motives in pushing them to report the activities to the police.

    While trust may be in factor in the reporting of the incident to higher officials, I would argue that the nature of the problem was larger than any system could possibly be. By officials and employees overlooking the matter or passing it on to others as they due to their belief that it is not their responsibility, will only continue to perpetuate the problems that institutions have. Matters like this should be dealt with as soon as acknowledged.

  26. Joe Says:

    I would like to pose a theory here for debate. It seems to have become clear that many high ranking people in the Penn State football community knew of the abuse situation either by direct contact or by having a subordinant report it to them. People from graduate assistants to the head coach, to the athletic director all knew of this, and did almost nothing to stop it and did not go to the police like they should have. I also assert that in a program like that with such continuity, it seems very hard to imagine that over the course of 15 years, that none of the informed parties told any of their colleagues, so I think that almost every coach and assistant on the team knew at least somewhat of what had gone on with Sandusky. I do not think there is anyway that the former defensive coordinator (and now head coach) who was promoted after Sandusky retired had never gained knowledge of these incidents, yet he is not being condemned in any sort of fashion like all of his colleagues are. The graduate assistant McQuery who is now an assistant coach is on paid leave but not fired like Paterno even though he never went to police either. I am almost certain that the information about what happened with Sandusky was leaked to other coaches and assistants at some point, which leads to my inquiry.
    My question is this: How accountable would all of the staff members who had knowledge of the incident but did not take action because their superiors also had knowledge be in this situation? and would any of these people have dirty hands?

  27. carweiss Says:

    While I believe that Penn Sate took the necessary actions to uphold their credibility as a University (the firing of Paterno and others) I still think that McQuery is the one to blame from the start. While it is hard to believe that he really “failed” to tell Paterno the specific details in regards to what took place in the locker room, his first actions should have been to go the police. Moreover, when Sandusky was not punished, McQuery should have, at least then, gone to the police to figure out why Sandusky did not receive any consequences. Although, in legal terms, no laws were broken, the values that Penn State holds were destroyed, leaving fans in a state of disappointment rather than pure anger.
    I think the majority of the blame has been placed on Paterno, rather Sandusky – the real criminal. This is understandable as Paterno was the face of all that is “morally right” to Penn State, but very unfair. I don’t think that he should have had to leave in such a state – some are even comparing him to Jim Tressel. While the scandal at Penn State is more problematic than what occurred at OSU, I believe that blame is being placed in the wrong hands and people need to reconsider who was in the wrong and who was in the right. I am not saying that I think Paterno is a saint and he did nothing wrong – he as well as McQuery should have gone to the police – but people are straying form the real issue here, which are the acts themselves and the person who committed them.


  1. All around evil « daring daylight escape - November 8, 2011

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