The allegations that former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky sexually abused young boys and that university officials, including legendary coach Joe Paterno, had been warned years ago about what was supposedly happening and never informed police have raised an obvious question:
Is it time for the 84-year-old Paterno to step down and for a complete “house cleaning” of the school’s football program?
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Ron Cook writes this morning that he thinks Paterno must at least take an immediate leave of absence. At Harrisburg’s Patriot-News, David Jones says Paterno at minimum needs to explain why he didn’t go to the authorities after he was told by a graduate assistant in 2002 that Sandusky appeared to have been performing a sex act with a boy in the Penn State team’s shower.
The letters pages of the university’s Daily Collegian are filling up with calls from students and alumni for Paterno and his staff to go — or at least step aside temporarily.
Paterno says he told the school’s athletic director about the 2002 incident. But he apparently didn’t go further or follow up to see if anything had been done. The athletic director, Tim Curley, and Senior Vice President for Finance and Business Gary Schultz have each been charged with perjury (for allegedly lying to a grand jury) and failure to report child abuse. Sandusky faces 40 counts related to the alleged abuse of at least eight boys. All three men profess their innocence.
Paterno usually holds a weekly news conference during the season at midday Tuesdays. That’s today. So many will be watching and listening. We’ll pass along any news, if he indeed does speak with reporters about the scandal.
Meanwhile, here’s a question: