Posted by Chip Patterson
Joe Paterno has begun to tell his side of the story. Sally Jenkins, of The Washington Post, did an exclusive interview with Paterno - his first official comments regarding the fallout at Penn State since his firing on Nov. 9. The story will be published in Sunday's edition of the paper, and was made available online on Saturday.
In the story Paterno gives his account of the events surrounding the alleged rape of a young boy by Jerry Sandusky in the Penn State facilities in 2002. The details of what Mike McQueary told the Penn State head coach, and the steps that were or weren't taken by Penn State officials.
From the piece in Sunday's Washington Post:
Paterno contends that ignorance was the context with which he heard McQueary’s disturbing story in 2002. McQueary, sitting at Paterno’s kitchen table, told him that he had been at the football building late the evening before when he heard noises coming from the shower. “He was very upset and I said why, and he was very reluctant to get into it,” Paterno said. “He told me what he saw, and I said, what? He said it, well, looked like inappropriate, or fondling, I’m not quite sure exactly how he put it. I said you did what you had to do. It’s my job now to figure out what we want to do. So I sat around. It was a Saturday. Waited till Sunday because I wanted to make sure I knew what I was doing. And then I called my superiors and I said, ‘Hey, we got a problem, I think. Would you guys look into it?’ Cause I didn’t know, you know. We never had, until that point, 58 years I think, I had never had to deal with something like that. And I didn’t feel adequate.”
At that point, Paterno set up a meeting for McQueary and Curley, the athletic director, and Schultz, who oversaw university police. McQueary has testified that he gave both men a far more graphic description of what he witnessed, which he believed to be Sandusky sodomizing a boy of about 10, who had his hands against the shower wall. At the preliminary hearing for Curley and Schultz on Dec. 16, McQueary said he had been reluctant to go into similar “great detail about sexual acts” with Paterno, out of respect for the coach, who was 78 at the time.
Schultz and Curley have maintained that McQueary failed to impart the seriousness of what he saw to them as well. They never told police about the allegation, instead informing Sandusky he could no longer bring children to university facilities. Prosecutors say Sandusky continued to abuse boys for six more years.
Paterno has said, “In hindsight, I wish I had done more.”
Most of the story lines up with Paterno's grand jury testimony, but there was some interesting insight into Jerry Sandusky's exit. Paterno explains in the interview that he was growing frustrated with Sandusky's involvement with Second Mile, the charity he used to help identify potential victims.
“He came to see me and we talked a little about his career,” Paterno said in the story. “I said, you know, Jerry, you want to be head coach, you can’t do as much as you’re doing with the other operation. I said this job takes so much detail, and for you to think you can go off and get involved in fundraising and a lot of things like that. . . . I said you can’t do both, that’s basically what I told him.”
The interview with Sally Jenkins was conducted on Jan. 12-13, you can read the full story here.
Follow Jim Rodenbush's Nittany Lions RapidReports for more on developments from State College, Pa.
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