Monday, January 19, 2015

Joe Paterno was not guilty

I defended Penn State early on, and argued that coach Joe Paterno was framed in the Jerry Sandusky scandal. This was a modern witch-hunt.

Since then, no Penn State officials have been found guilty of anything in court, and it looks less likely that they will be.

ESPN TV reports:
Penn State's football team is getting back 112 wins wiped out during the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal, and the late Joe Paterno has been restored as the winningest coach in major college football history.

The NCAA announced the new settlement with the school Friday, weeks before a scheduled trial on the legality of the 2012 consent decree it will replace. ...

The announcement follows the NCAA's decision last year to reinstate the school's full complement of football scholarships and let Penn State participate in postseason play, and it comes just days after a federal judge declined to rule on the consent decree's constitutionality. ...

The consent decree had also called for Penn State to provide $60 million to fight child abuse and combat its effects. The lawsuit scheduled for trial next month began as an effort by two state officials to enforce a state law that required the money to remain in Pennsylvania.

Under the settlement, the money will remain in Pennsylvania.
There is more at

This case was scary because of how the public was so completely turned against Penn State. Even people I know, who seem otherwise intelligent on other issues, would adamantly argue that Penn State is guilty of something even while being unable to explain what it was guilty of.

Briefly, I say Paterno was innocent because he had very little knowledge of allegations against Sandusky, and what knowledge he did have was turned over to appropriate authorities. I say Penn State was innocent because it only had some evidence of inappropriate behavior, not criminal conduct. It turned the evidence over to police and kicked him off campus. Again, I do not see how Penn State could be expected to do more, when Sandusky was not even accused of committing a crime.

The evidence against Sandusky consisted entirely of uncorroborated recovered memories from people who were suing Penn State for millions of dollars. There were only a couple of complaints that predated the availability of million dollar Penn State payoffs. But those complaints were only about inappropriate conduct, and were changed to complaints about sex abuse after the payoffs became available.

The whole story fits the pattern of other recovered memory sex abuse scandals where false charges led to a lot of news media hysteria.

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