Penn State Sex Scandal: Latest Update on Shocking Allegations

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistNovember 8, 2011

Penn State Sex Scandal: Latest Update on Shocking Allegations

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    Former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky has been charged with sex abuse and the allegations have sent the program into a tizzy. Head coach Joe Paterno will hold a press conference today ahead of his team's game against Nebraska, but is not expected to discuss the matter.

    Administrators Tim Curley and Gary Schultz have been charged for perjury and failure to report following an investigation into Sandusky's alleged actions. Both men have since stepped down from their positions at the school (via Cleveland Plain Dealer).

    The shocking allegations have rattled an entire community and seemingly everybody has an opinion about the matter. From Paterno's legacy to how the school can bounce back from the scandal, there is no shortage of angles to analyze.

    We'll update this slideshow throughout the day with all the latest news about Sandusky, Paterno and opinions on these trying times at University Park.

ABC Interview with Sandusky

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    An ABC reporter caught up with a surprisingly upbeat Jerry Sandusky outside of his home and, while he didn't directly address the situation, he didn't seem overly concerned about it either. However, his attorney says in the video that his client is “distraught.”

    It's interesting that he would be willing to talk with a television station during such difficult times, but he may have been trying to make a statement by being decked out in Penn State gear. It's hard to imagine that being enough for him to earn any supporters, though.

    While he's going to be given his day in court, judgments on the entire Penn State program will be made prior to any verdict in the case. So the school would probably like to distance themselves from him at this point and that interview certainly won't help.

Will Joe Paterno Keep His Job?

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    Sean Gregory of Time Magazine examined that question in a well-written article today and, if the allegations turn out to be true, he doesn't think it's possible for Joe Paterno to remain the head coach at Penn State.

    Even though Gregory is right about the disturbing charges, Joe Pa is a legend at Penn State and still has a legion of supporters that will say he did everything he should have by reporting what he heard to a higher authority.

    That's where it becomes a debate about legal obligations vs. moral obligations. All what's for sure right now is that Paterno remains the head coach and there's been no reports of that imminently changing. At least not yet.

Tuesday Press Conference

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    Joe Paterno will hold his usual weekly press conference to discuss the game against Nebraska on Saturday, which will have a major impact on Penn State's BCS hopes, and the school has already said the sole focus of the interview will be football (via Washington Post).

    Paterno will likely dodge any questions related to the scandal and insist he's trying to make sure his team is focused for a big game this weekend. That likely won't stop reporters from bombarding him with questions about how much he really knew about Sandusky's transgressions.

    The long-time head coach is on shaky ground right now, but it's important to remember he hasn't been charged with any crimes. The press conference will be intriguing television and could make a big impact on people's opinion of Paterno.

    Paterno will face the media around 12:20 p.m. EST.

Is Penn State's Image Doomed?

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    Joe Paterno has been involved with Penn State since 1950 and never before has there been a scandal like this one. Not only does it have the potential to tarnish Paterno's legacy, but it will severely damage the outside view of Penn State as a whole.

    For at least three people in power to have some knowledge of Sandusky's actions and fail to take the requisite steps to guarantee it never happened again is mind-blowing. These acts should have been reported and reprimanded the moment anybody even suspected the behavior.

    This isn't limited to the athletic department anymore, this is a major national news story. Penn State has a lot of work to do if it ever hopes of achieving it's high prestige again. And it all starts by providing every last bit of information they have about Sandusky and his time on campus.

Former LB LaVar Arrington Struggles with News

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    John Taylor of College Football Talk passed along quotes from former Penn State linebacker LaVar Arrington's radio show, including one in which Arrington says he was “moved to tears” after the scandal broke over the weekend.

    Arrington goes on to talk about what he would have done if he was in the shoes of Mike McQueary, who reportedly witnessed Sandusky in the shower with a young boy. The Nittany Lions star says he would have told his former coach to stop and proceeded to call the police.

    What is important to remember, though, is that Arrington is speaking in hindsight. McQueary had to make a split-second decision back in 2002 and decided alerting Paterno was the best course of action. Sadly, the information never made it past Curley and Schultz.

    While McQueary deserves his fair share of the blame for not going straight to the cops, it's easy for Arrington to say he would have done differently.

    That said, Arrington's genuine feelings illustrate how a college can become part of a person and the bond doesn't break when they leave campus. He's more than a decade removed from his time in Happy Valley and this scandal still pains him to his core.

    Those type of feelings will be hard for the school to overcome.

Mothers of Victims Proud They Spoke Out

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    Sara Ganim of The Patriot-News tells the story of two mothers who, while supporting their children for reporting the abuse, are fighting back against Penn State for handling the entire situation poorly. Also referenced is a previous reported encounter between Sandusky and a 14-year-old boy in the shower.

    No charges were handed out at that time when the situation could have been nipped in the bud.

    The mother of “victim six” says her family feels betrayed once again since the school is not doing enough to support those who suffered due to Sandusky's actions.

    “I’m so upset,” said the mom of the 24-year-old, who authorities are calling Victim Six. “My son is extremely distraught, and now to see how we were betrayed, words cannot tell you. To see that Graham Spanier is putting his unconditional support behind Curley and Shultz when he should be putting his support behind the victims, it just makes them victims all over again.”

    If more accusers come forward, which is a nightmare scenario for both Sandusky and Penn State, the stories will only further damage the university's previously strong reputation. Outsiders want to know how something like this could go on for so long without further action being taken.

    The mothers have every right to be frustrated and should do everything within their power to make sure Sandusky doesn't escape punishment, assuming the allegations are proven true. Thankfully enough victims came forward to ensure it won't happen again.

Could Scandal Lead to National Changes?

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    Once the chaos surrounding Penn State calms down, how will it effect the NCAA? It's a big question that was posed and examined by Roger Groves of Forbes, who asserts the parents should have more knowledge about the situation their child is entering.

    One issue that comes to mind is this: Shouldn’t the teenagers recruited and wooed by the school, and the teenagers’ parents be able to receive a report from the school confirming the physical and mental health of the coaches before they decide whether to commit the four most important years of the teenager’s life to the school?

    It's an excellent point and something that must be considered in the near future. Up until now, the numerous coaches on a team's staff have remained virtually unknown. However, because of the gigantic rosters that college football possesses, it's possible a student-athlete will send more time with those secondary coaches than the men who recruited them.

    There's no saying whether or not Sandusky would have passed those exams, of course, but every precaution should be taken to ensure adults working in the same area as young children and teenagers are in the right state of mind.

    It would have to be independent testing and the reports, aside from personal medical issues not dealing with the wellness of those around the individual, should be made public because the schools should have nothing to hide.

Humanity vs. Protocol

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    ESPN's Michelle Beadle sent out a plea to everybody involved in today's Joe Paterno press conference, which the school has stated will focus solely on football. Beadle believe this situation deserves better than that low standard of acknowledgment.

    You have to believe Paterno has been briefed on every possible question that will be asked during his weekly press conference and what to say when they arise. He probably won't budge, either, because of the possible legal ramifications if he says too much.

    Even though everybody would like to know what was going through Joe Pa's mind when the information was first relayed to him, Tuesday's presser will be purely football–at least on Paterno's end. He has no other logical choice.

    Beadle is right that reporters should attempt to ask other questions, though. That is their job after all.

Senior Day Blackout?

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    Penn State has made whiteout games a tradition, but disgruntled members of the community are trying to rally support behind a blackout for Saturday's senior day game against Nebraska due to the university's poor management of the scandal (via WJAC TV).

    Making their feelings known is important during this time of crisis, but I think a blackout would be a poor way to do it. The football team, and more specifically its seniors, shouldn't have to remember their final home game as one big protest. They aren't the ones that should be punished.

    There are several other ways for the group to exhibit its frustrations. If they prefer to boycott the game, which should have really been the focus throughout the week since it's the biggest game of 2011 for Penn State, that's fine. If they want to picket the athletic department, go for it.

    But don't make student-athletes who have been dreaming of this day for years suffer because of something they had no power to stop. There will be plenty of time for statements in the coming weeks and months, there's no doubt about that.

Press Conference Canceled

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    Penn State has made the decision to cancel today's press conference, which would have been Joe Paterno's first meeting with the media since the scandal broke over the weekend (via PennLive.com).

    While not surprising, it is certainly disappointing. It was becoming more clear that football wouldn't be the main line of questioning, so President Graham Spanier pulled the plug on it. The report does say Paterno was looking forward to the meeting and was not involved in the decision.

    The cancellation only gives more fuel to the cover-up crowd. Paterno was likely going to sidestep the questions anyway, so by leaving the media even more in the dark, the scandal continues to grow. Simply put, the decision is a head-scratcher.

    Hopefully the school releases a more in-depth reason for the decision because of right now, there are more questions than answers.

Huge Media Contingent Left out in Cold

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    Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review tweeted a picture of the “Super Bowl-sized” media group that had gathered to attend Joe Paterno's press conference before it was canceled. They join the numerous people left on the outside looking in at this scandal.

    It must feel like a recurring nightmare inside the administration offices at Penn State. Every decision they make is going to be scrutinized with a fine-toothed comb and canceling a media appearance by the university's most popular figure only pours more salt into the wound.

    As you can see in the picture, it was a mammoth group of reporters and every single one of them wanted to coax more information out of Paterno. Instead, they all leave campus with no new information and those who were actually going to write about football get double-whammied.

    Penn State has to get its ducks in a row quickly and start answering some questions about the scandal. Simply not talking about it doesn't mean it will all go away. That tactic will simply make it worse.

Penn State Planning Exit Strategy?

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    Joe Paterno's extended run as head coach at Penn State could be nearing an end, based on a report from the New York Times, which cites two sources close to the situation. Paterno has been on the Nittany Lions' staff since 1950 and the head coach since 1966.

    It would be an amazingly abrupt end to one of the greatest coaching careers in college football history. Joe Pa recently broke the Division-1A record for most coaching wins and had shown no intent to step aside. But that appears to be changing–rapidly.

    The board of trustees has yet to determine the precise timing of Paterno’s exit, but it is clear that the man who has more victories than any other coach at college football’s top level and who made Penn State a prestigious national brand will not survive to coach another season. Discussions about how to manage his departure have begun, according to the two people.

    If the board decides removing Paterno is the best course of action, that's understandable. However, that does not mean they are free to wipe their hands clean and move on. The scandal reaches beyond Paterno; he's just one piece of the puzzle.

    There are still a myriad of questions to be answered and they will persist no matter who is leading the football team into action on Saturday. Turning the media away isn't going to earn them any extra sympathy, either.

    When news originally broke about the scandal it was hard to imagine it getting any worse. But Penn State's questionable decisions have only made things more shaky.

Marquee Recruit Having Second Thoughts?

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    Noah Spence, who Rivals considers a five-star defensive end recruit, is having second thoughts about his offer from Penn State following the scandal. He tweeted his thoughts and it doesn't paint a good picture for the team's chances of getting a commitment.

    Don't be surprised if more recruits express similar thoughts in the near future. It's a toxic situation right now and players who think attending Penn State will negatively affect them will look to other offers for more stability.

    Spence is a truly elite prospect and could have had an immediate impact on Penn State's already strong defense foundation. To lose out on him will be a major blow to the entire recruiting class and future teams.

    Penn State needs to stop the bleeding soon before things get even worse. Whether it be clearing house or issuing an extended, detailed statement of its plans, something must be done.

Another Possible Victim Comes Forward

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    The Associated Press is reporting another possible victim, who would be the ninth to acknowledge a Sandusky encounter, has come forward and reported his story to police. The news broke just after it was announced that Paterno wouldn't be speaking with the media today.

    An ugly situation continues to get worse for Penn State, which is likely scrambling behind the scenes in an attempt to end the chaos. It seems like every time the scandal has reached rock bottom, something happens to make it reach a new low point.

    How something like this could go on for an extended period of time without more people noticing is not understandable. There are moral obligations that weren't met and now Penn State is paying the consequences.

Joe Must Go?

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    The Patriot-News Editorial Board has posted its view on the entire Penn State scandal and has come to one conclusion–Joe Paterno and Graham Spanier must be removed from their respective posts. The Board says simply reaching their legal obligations was not enough.

    At this point, it's hard to disagree. With new allegations emerging every day, it will be difficult for the two most public figures at Penn State to weather the storm. An overhaul needs to be considered if there is any hope of saving some of the university's reputation.

    Paterno should have done more when the first batch of concerns were brought to him. Passing the buck to his athletic director was not a smart course of action. He needed to take contact the authorities, regardless of his relationship with Sandusky.

    As for Spanier, it's his school and things like this can't happen under a president's watch. It's unclear if he knew anything about the scandal until recently, but if he even heard a faint whisper, there should have been a full-fledged investigation.

    Unless either man provides a compelling argument to the contrary, it might be time for some new faces to lead Penn State.

Joe Pa at Practice, No Outside Presser for Now

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    Pete Thamel tweeted that reports of a possible off-campus press conference for Joe Paterno are unfounded and the coach will be at practice like usual today. Some people were still holding out hope for comments, but they don't appear to be coming today.

    There has been speculation that Paterno was willing to talk about the situation, which would actually help Penn State clear the air. Nothing has materialized, though, and it seems like football has taken center stage once again.

    Hopefully there is some clarification on the entire debacle soon so that fans and the media aren't left guessing for much longer.

Paterno Family Says Press Conference Still Possible

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    Ben Jones, who is a journalist for multiple outlets including StateCollege.com, reports that Joe Paterno may still hold a press conference within the next 24 hours. That would be some welcome transparency in a scandal with none so far.

    It seems like Paterno wants to tell his side of the story but is being held back by the school while it tries to determine its best course of action. Not to mention the possible legal ramifications if Paterno were to say something he shouldn't.

    The bottom line remains that a school representative must make a public statement soon. Everybody involved has been left in the dark for far too long and deserve some answers. The mess definitely isn't going to clean itself up.

    And with every passing minute of silence at University Park comes more pressure.

Alumnus Burns Diploma

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    A shocking sight via the Twitter account of Dan Sullivan, who tweeted several pictures of a Penn State graduate burning his diploma. The entire Penn State community is becoming fed up with this mess and are resorting to drastic measure to illustrate their displeasure.

    You have to wonder if Penn State administrators are getting the message loud and clear yet. It's time to start making decisions and mending relationships with those they've alienated.

    And the situation just continues to get worse, so waiting it out isn't an option.

Power, Power, Power

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    Howard Bryant of ESPN wrote a scathing opinion piece about the lack of accountability within Penn State's power structure, which he asserts was nothing more than attempting to save the football team's prestige.

    Bryant brings up several solid points, including his statement that Penn State's leaders have come up looking small since the scandal broke on Saturday. As mentioned on prior slides, their reaction is unacceptable considering the circumstances.

    The school needs to understand that the pressure will continue to mount, both from media members like Bryant and the community, should their actions continue to match the severity of the alleged crimes. More needs to be done and in short order.

    And it seems like everybody other than administration agrees about that.

Special Committee Being Formed

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    According to an announcement posted on Penn State Live, the university has begun forming a special committee that will look over the Grand Jury report and decide what the best course of action is based on whose most responsible.

    It's a step in the right direction but hopefully it's not the only thing Penn State plans on doing about the allegations. The committee will need some time to do a comprehensive review and the school can't afford to stand idly by in the process.

    Penn State has always strived for honesty, integrity and the highest moral standards in all of its programs. We will not tolerate any violation of these principles. We educate over 95,000 students every year and we take this responsibility very seriously. We are dedicated to protecting those who are placed in our care. We promise you that we are committed to restoring public trust in the University.

    Restoring public trust was a great phrase to use in the statement and they must now live up to it. Let's just say the university is at step one of a multiple step process, so there is a long road ahead. And tough decisions will need to be made.

    But that all comes with the territory of a scandal.

Number of Victims Continues to Grow

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    The FOX affiliate in Philadephia is reporting that the number of potential victims in the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse case has doubled to as many as 17. It's not a major surprise because this didn't seem like an isolated incident or two, but it's still disappointing.

    Perhaps the worst part about it, and the fact that's riling up former school supporters, is the situation could have been stopped by a handful of different people and everybody let it slide. That's why the scandal continues to grow.

    Will it stop at 17? Hopefully, but probably not. Now that people are seeing courage being rewarded, everybody who Sandusky took advantage of should step forward to the school can see exactly how many people were treated extremely poorly.

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