Crime

Should Penn State Fire Joe Paterno in Light of Child Sex Abuse Scandal?

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

There are calls for legendary Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno to be fired after failing to tell police that one of his assistants allegedly sexually abused a boy in the team's locker room.

Former Nittany Lions defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was arrested over the weekend, accused of either abusing or making advances to eight boys between 1994 and 2009. The 67-year-old Sandusky worked with at-risk children through his Second Mile organization, reports the New York Daily News.

According to Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly, a graduate assistant who was also an assistant coach said he saw Sandusky sexually assault a naked boy in a shower back in 2002. He reported the incident to Paterno, who then told athletic director Tim Curley. Curley and Gary Schultz, the school’s vice president for finance and business, met with the witness a week and a half later. And that was where it all ended.

Curley and Schultz are charged with perjury and failing to report the allegations to police, as required by state law.

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Paterno was not charged, and ESPN.com said that "the grand jury report didn't appear to implicate him in wrongdoing."

"Joe Paterno was a witness who cooperated and testified before the grand jury," said Nils Frederiksen, a spokesman for the attorney general's office. "He's not a suspect."

However some say Paterno should not escape without any blame.

“At the very least, he should be fired,” Robert Hoatson, a Catholic priest who founded an organization called Road to Recovery that counsels abuse survivors, told the News. "Any adult who learns about a child being abused should immediately go to the police."

Paterno issued a statement on Sunday saying he did nothing wrong.

"If true, the nature and amount of charges made are very shocking to me and all Penn Staters. While I did what I was supposed to with the one charge brought to my attention, like anyone else involved I can't help but be deeply saddened these matters are alleged to have occurred.

"As my grand jury testimony stated, I was informed in 2002 by an assistant coach that he had witnessed an incident in the shower of our locker room facility. It was obvious that the witness was distraught over what he saw, but he at no time related to me the very specific actions contained in the grand jury report."

The 84-year-old Paterno has been at Penn State since 1950, first as an assistant coach, then taking the top job in 1966. His 409 coaching wins are the most in college football history.