Paterno

Dateline: Thu 10 Nov 2011

Lots of in-house debate about Penn State's fired (disgraced?) and yet much revered football coach Joe Paterno -- and how much did he know?

Some questions: did he sit on the information about a subordinate allegedly abusing a young boy in the school's locker rooms because of loyalty to the subordinate, or was it a generatonal thing (he couldn't comprehend the charges, being a member of the silent generation that never discussed this stuff?) or was he "just" morally lax?

Someone in my family implied that a woman coach (or boss) would not be silent. Bullshit, it makes the grass grow green -- women are co-conspirators in all sorts of abuse, protecting boyfriends and husbands who are in turn abusing their children sexually, physically and emotionally. The stronger sex has absolutely no more moral fiber than men.

But what would you do? Say you suspected someone in your work circle was (perhaps) taking advantage of a child? In Indiana, you have a legal obligation to report any child abuse to the authorities, so you'd better take action.

But what if the guy suspected was a trusted friend? What if there was no proof, only an allegation? And what if you blew the whistle, your friend was disgraced, and the information was wrong?

See, these are not always easy issues. We all think we have the high moral ground. Like the guy who wrote a very fine essay in Dailykos about his father's total lack of empathy with wrong-doing, we'd like to think we would take action.

But would we? How do you know when it's time to speak up? Paterno did not actually witness anything; he was simply told about it, and he went up the ladder....and that guy (university prez) lost his job, too.

Also, has anyone read the "haunting grand jury testimony" Bob Kravitz references in his column today in the Indianapolis Star? He says he felt "physically sickened."

But Paterno probably never saw that testimony.

Easy to cast stones. I'm not saying Paterno should have kept his job -- he had to go -- but I'm just wondering: what would you have done in his shoes?

And why?

 

 

 

Comments

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

I would have asked a local police official to come to a closed-door meeting with Paterno, the alleged pervert assistant coach, the poor child, his parents, and the Penn State people who witnessed horrid sexual offenses.

Closed the door. Got to the truth. Paterno's and Penn State's reputation may have been rescued. But like Kravitz wrote in his column today, why should we using our emotional energies to feel sorry for Paterno when all of these children will be psychologically scarred for life as the victims of priest perversion against children have been.

2011-11-10 14:30:03

hendy [Member] said:

If there aren't policies at Penn State, then there should have been. Such sports industry/educational institution policies have been best-practices since the 1980s. Turning your head the other way doesn't solve the problem, it's complicit. When it happens, there's publicity, then the publicity dies down as various civil procedures take their course. Paterno could have had done the right thing and gone through that course, but it was cowardice not do so. Avoidance behavior is a common human trait, but when children are being harmed, they're innocents; we have to protect them.

2011-11-10 14:39:44

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

If you're remotely involved with a school, university, preschool, or anything dealing with children, you know that for over two decades Indiana law, patterned after the same law in most states:

DEMANDS that you report suspicion of child abuse immediately to the authorities. You are protected from retribution if you do so quickly and in good faith.

I mention the above professions because all of them in-service their employees annually on this very important law.

So...if you suspect that a child is being mistreated, you have a legal oblligation to report it at once. Not to your superiors, or a department chair, or a friend. To legal authorities, without delay.

If you don't, it's a class C felony in Indiana. The law is written to protect children.

Paterno and everyone associated with this mess, if the charges are true, is guilty of delay, at the very least. And for the complete conspiracy theorists among us, consider this:

The prosecutor who concluded in 2002 that there was insufficient evidence to proceed against anyone legally, "disappeared" a couple of years later. Yep. Vanished.

He was declared legally dead July 25, 2011.

Run that through your conspiracy grinder.

2011-11-10 21:50:27

Marycatherine Barton [unverified] said:

"Should the NCAA order that Penn State forfeit the rest of the football season?" is the poll question for this weekend at www.WayneMadsenReport, and so far most of the subscribers have answered, yes, based on this terrible tragedy; and yea for Kravitz's strong stand. Just that we know about, there is so much depravity connected to it. Hello!!

And as far as Whitehead's mention of priest perversion against children, there is also such acts by rabbis, which are not disclosed or punished by the Jewish people; and way too many such acts by pediatricians, which are not properly prevented by medical associations. Some statistics of same are a matter of record. As a people, Americans MUST find a better way to protect our children from marauding pedophiles in high places.

2011-11-12 09:47:55

whosear [Member] said:

Whitebeard, I commented on my training as a banker and educator when crimes are reported or occur in my presence. So what Joe did is in keeping with my training. While we should be using our emotional energies towards the victims, we should not be using them to, "hang" the, "usual suspects", until the true facts are known. While it may seem emotionally satisfying to fire everyone, it may not be right.

TTT, I can tell you that in my years with IPS, MSDLT & a charter school, we never received any in-services concerning reporting requirements, except that we are required to take action, and not to question them further. Fortunately I was trained how to handle situations by a practicing teacher at Lawrence Central as an addition to the course ciriculum. We did receive some information at orientation, that we report it to the principal and school police. There is a chain of command required to be followed in an institution.

2011-11-12 11:02:27

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