The Numbers Add Up to Bad Things in Happy Valley

Just a quick follow-on to the now exploding Jerry Sandusky sexual assault scandal up at Penn State. There are some occurrences in here that just don’t add up … or rather, if they do add up they add up to very bad things.

First, let me get a precursor or caveat out there – I hate to see this. I am not a PSU graduate or fan or anything of the like; but I want PSU to be the clean, upstanding program it has always been under Joe Paterno.

Things are just off though. First, let’s deal with the Mike McQueary situation. On 1 March 2002, McQueary – then a graduate assistant with the PSU football team – saw former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky engaging in anal sex with a child who appeared to be about 10 years old. The next day McQueary informs Paterno, and the next day Paterno tells Athletic Director Tim Curley and VP for Finance and Business, Gary Schultz. Paterno indicates to Curley and Schultz that Sandusky had been seen “fondling or doing something of a sexual nature to a young boy.” When questioned by the two, McQueary indicates that he witnessed Sandusky engaged in anal sex. Curley and Schultz have already been charged with felony perjury for lying to the grand jury. We’ll see what happens to McQueary (I suspect he will either be charged or has already struck some deal in exchange for testimony).

There are some questionable judgment calls in here, that are all going to be based on conditional conjectures. Did McQueary see Sandusky engaged in anal sex with a 10 year old? Isn’t the proper response (by a former division 1 football player) immediate and direct intervention, subduing the assailant and rescuing the child? Maybe something like that did happen, I wasn’t there. Still, that seems like the appropriate response.

And what of the Paterno, McQueary, Schultz/Curley conversations? Did McQueary change his story between 2 & 3 March? It’s possible – he was faced with an extremely confusing and disturbing situation. But if he did change his story, surely the new story got back to Paterno, so he would have known the real allegations, right? If he told the same story both places, then which one was it? Did he say “sexual nature” and only come out with the harsher “anal sex” allegation during the investigation, or did he tell both “anal sex” and JoePa changed the story? Or, did JoePa convey the whole story to Schultz & Curley who then toned it down to try to protect him? You see the list of “ifs” could go on forever … but the baseline case of who said what doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Unless, that is, somebody knew that this was an issue already and was trying to manage the fallout and culpability on the part of various players in the scenario.

Here’s another thing I find interesting: McQueary was a graduate assistant in 2002. When did he get hired on as more than a graduate assistant? According to the official PSU football website “he spent the 2003 season as an administrative assistant with the football program and from 2000-02 was a graduate assistant coach.” So, around the time of the incident, McQueary started moving up from graduate assistant, to administrative assistant, and eventually assistant coach. Related? I have no idea. It is certainly reasonable for the timeline to have progressed as it did. It is an interesting coincidence though.

More disturbing to me is the timeline of the grand jury investigation itself. The basis for the initiation of the investigation was allegations dating back to either 2005 or 2006. There was another spate of assaults with a boy in the 2007 time frame, who eventually told his mother and things picked up in earnest. In 2008 Sandusky left his charity (where he found these boys) telling them that he was under investigation. That was November of 2008. The grand jury report was released on 4 November 2011. Three years after Sandusky informed his charity that he was under investigation, and six days after Joe Paterno broke the all time wins record for division 1 football.

Six days after Paterno breaks the record, the report comes out. They were “investigating” for three years while a child molester was free on the street and then they bring the report to bear six days after the record falls. That stinks to high heaven. That reeks, and there’s no two ways about it. Was there a deal in place? Were the grand jury members or the district attorney PSU fans who wanted to keep it quiet until the record fell? I don’t know, perhaps these things really do take this long. Perhaps sexual predators are allowed to roam free while evidence is collected over a three year period in all kinds of municipalities. Or maybe it stinks for a reason.

Now, I haven’t seen any indication that Paterno was party to any nonsense regarding the timing of the report, and I have no reason to believe he was involved. I’m growing more suspicious though that Paterno will not coach another game at PSU. And that is a sad end to an otherwise storied and glorious career.

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