Joe Paterno, the legendary Penn State University football coach, the winningest coach in the history of college football, is all but gone for his role in an explosive abuse scandal involving one of his former coaches.
Jerry Sandusky, who served as an assistant coach under Joe Paterno for over two decades, was indicted this week, charged with sexually assaulting over 40 young boys dating back to 1994. Sandusky, who suddenly retired in 1999, continued to office at Penn State while running a not for profit called The Second Mile, which benefited at risk youth.
And, prosecutors say, he continued to molest young boys.
In 2002, Mike McQueary, a graduate assistant to Joe Paterno, allegedly witnessed Sandusky raping a boy in the football locker room showers. The assistant told his father about the incident immediately, then Paterno the next day.
Paterno then reported the incident to his boss, Athletic Director Tim Curley, who resigned earlier this week.
The consequence for Sandusky? No legal action, no police intervention. He lost his locker room keys.
I am sickened on two levels.
First, how does McQueary witness a rape and not intervene? How does he fail to call the police himself?
When McQueary tells his father, how does the father not call police?
And when McQueary tells Paterno, how does Paterno not inform the police?
Life in Happy Valley won't be the same for a long, long time. Not for the victims, for Sandusky, for the administrators, for Paterno.
If the allegations are true, then at a minimum Joe Paterno looked the other way while a predator on his staff raped children as young as ten.
I am especially sickened, as a Catholic, with the parallels between the Penn State abuse story and the Catholic priest abuse stories.
In both cases, given the opportunity to protect our children, those in charge looked the other way.
Maybe it's pure coincidence that Sandusky's arrest comes weeks after Paterno won his 409th game, making him the winningest coach in the history of college football.
In the end, Joe Paterno will be remembered as a man who lacked courage, who failed to protect children from a monster. A man who appeared to stand for so much, a "molder of men," in the end stands for nothing. Except winning games.
Legally, Paterno is in the clear. Morally, he's on an island.
It's time to go, Joe. Now please.