Wednesday, November 16, 2011
What could he do?
After looking more into the details (because honestly, at the time of the discussion I didn't have a clue what was going on), here is my answer. It was not up to him to determine if the police could take his word or not. He had a responsibility and an obligation as both a representative of the univerity and as a human to try anyway, and let the police decide what to do. If not making the call himself, he should have encouraged the person who witnessed an incident to call the police, or went to the station with him as support. If this Sandusky guy was as important at the school as it seems, I'm sure the one who witnessed was terrified he'd lose his job if he said anything. It took courage to come forward at all, and to basically be brushed off by someone doing the bare minimum to cover his own backside was just wrong. Even with what he did do with the information - passing along to university officials - he should have followed up with them when nothing came of it. He should have been in their faces, questioning why they didn't report to the proper authorities, why Mr Sandusky still had a job. He should have taken a moment and thought about the victims (even "alleged" victims, if that makes you feel better) and thought to himself "What if this was my child? What would I want done about this?" and gone out of his way to make something happen.
Instead, he let it slide. He did just enough to take the heat off himself (or so he thought) and continued on as usual. Instead, Sandusky was allowed to interact with the children for eight years after his abuse of them was reported to Paterno (see a timeline of events here). Clearly, the beloved coach cared more about the game than the lives of the molested children.
So what did Joe Paterno do? He did nothing. And that is the problem.