A figurehead of legendary status amongst the people of Happy Valley, Joe Paterno has recently become the subject of intense scrutiny. The indictment of Jerry Sandusky has revealed a level of moral discontent associated with Paterno that nobody saw coming. Many believe the way in which Paterno handled the allegations leveled at Mr. Sandusky demonstrate a blatant disregard for public safety and question his moral fiber. Subsequently, the Penn State board of trustees terminated Paterno’s contract for neglecting to inform the proper authorities of the atrocities committed by Mr. Sandusky.
Jerry Sandusky began what was once considered an illustrious career with Penn State University over 40 years ago. In 1969, Sandusky was offered the opportunity to work under Paterno as the team’s defensive line coordinator. After demonstrating a defensive prowess unlike anybody had ever seen, he was offered the position of defensive coordinator. Accordingly, Sandusky established an unquestioned reputation for Penn State football as “Linebacker U.,” as he helped Joe Paterno earn the most wins in Division I history.
During his reign along side Paterno, Sandusky established The Second Mile, a foundation dedicated to helping young children who are burdened with dysfunctional or absent families. The Second Mile challenges young people to achieve their potential as individuals and community members by providing opportunities for them to develop positive life skills.
Unfortunately, The Second Mile provided Sandusky with a mechanism in which he could reach out to young children. Subsequently, it was through the establishment of this organization that he found the victims of his allegedly lewd acts. Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly acknowledged that Sandusky used the organization to find his victims, referring to him as a sexual predator.
While Sandusky had allegedly been sexually assaulting young boys for approximately 15 years, it was not until 2002 that Paterno was brought into relevance. A graduate assistant by the name of Mike McQueary allegedly witnessed Sandusky committing lewd and salacious acts with a young boy in the shower room of the schools football facility. Upon seeing Sandusky sexually assault the young boy, McQueary immediately notified Paterno of what he had witnessed. The following day, Paterno discussed what McQueary had alleged with the schools Athletic Director Tim Curley.
According to the Clery Act, Penn State University is required to prepare, publish and distribute an annual security report disclosing all criminal offenses reported to campus security or local police. By the standards set fourth, Paterno may have violated the Clery Act by not reporting what he had heard to the proper authorities. Thus, he has been widely criticized for failing to involve the police when he learned of the 2002 incident involving the young boy. Failure to do so not only demonstrates a disregard for public safety, but it brings into question the moral fiber of Paterno and other university officials. Patrick Meehan, a U.S. Rep., acknowledges that as disturbing as these allegations are, “more upsetting is the fact that had university officials reported this to authorities, additional abuses could have been prevented.”
The severity of Paterno’s actions, or therefore lack of, have led to his termination. According to John P. Surma, the vice chairman of the board of trustees, “Joe Paterno” Surma said, “is no longer the head football coach, effective immediately.” The board also voted to oust university president Graham B. Spanier, bringing to four the number of administrators, including Paterno, who have lost their jobs over the burgeoning Penn State sexual abuse lawsuit.
Do I have a Penn State Sexual Abuse Lawsuit?
The trial lawyers at The Senators (Ret.) Firm, LLP have decades of experience navigating through complex legislative and regulatory issues and litigating high stakes cases all over the nation. Our law firm focuses on the representation of plaintiffs in sexual abuse lawsuits. We are currently accepting new cases in all 50 states.
Again, if you or a loved one have been a victim of the Penn State sexual abuse case, you should contact our lawyers immediately by clicking the link below or calling toll free 1-(949) 557-5800. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and we can help.