E-Mails Suggest Paterno Role in Silence on Sandusky
By JO BECKER
Published: June 30, 2012
Joe Paterno appears to have played a greater role than previously known in Penn State’s handling of a 2001 report that Jerry Sandusky had sexually assaulted a boy in a university shower, according to a person with knowledge of aspects of an independent investigation of the Sandusky scandal.E-mail correspondence among senior Penn State officials suggests that Paterno influenced the university’s decision not to formally report the accusation against Sandusky to the child welfare authorities, the person said. The university’s failure to alert the police or child welfare authorities in 2001 has been an issue at the center of the explosive scandal — having led to criminal charges against two senior administrators and the firing of Paterno last fall.
The university’s much maligned handling of the 2001 assault began when Mike McQueary, a graduate assistant in Paterno’s football program, told Paterno that he had seen Sandusky assaulting a boy of about 10 in the football building showers. McQueary has testified several times that he made clear to Paterno, and later to university officials, that what he had seen Sandusky doing to the child was terrible and explicitly sexual in nature.
To date, the public understanding of Paterno’s subsequent actions has been that he relayed McQueary’s account to the university’s athletic director and then had no further involvement in the matter.