Saturday, November 05, 2011

Not-so Happy Valley (3x UPDATED)

3rd UPDATE: 10:07 p.m. EDT: Congratulations, Mike Wise! You have allowed your op-ed in the Washington Post to announce clearly -- and with apparent satisfaction -- that Penn State head coach Joe Paterno needs to go because you believe he allowed his desire to win to supersede the law.
According to the attorney general’s office, in 2002 a graduate student assistant went to Paterno’s home the day after he saw Sandusky sexually assaulting a boy in the shower late at night at Lasch Football Building on the Penn State campus. Paterno told Curley the next day. 
About 10 days after the incident, Curley and Schultz met with the graduate assistant who had witnessed the abuse. Their executive action: They told Sandusky that he could not bring any children from his foundation into the football building anymore.
No one from Penn State — not Paterno, not the human neckties, no one — ever reported the alleged incident to law enforcement, in accordance with state law.
In Warped Sports World, this don’t-ask, don’t-tell, sweep-it-clean behavior is rationalized as loyalty, having your coach’s or teammate’s back, moving on from the problem. It’s seen as a noble quality, putting the team’s needs — the university’s needs — before your own.
However, if one takes the time to read the grand jury's report, one sees that Paterno is named infrequently, and he appears to have done the appropriate thing -- report what he had been told to his boss, the athletic director. For Wise to argue that it was Paterno's responsibility to ensure that a police agency was notified is a liberal reading of what the grand jury stated. In fact, the grand jury offers no indication that Paterno acted improperly in whatever actions he took.

Sure, it is easy to say, "Hey, if I were in this position, then I'd have told Sandusky he was a scumbag and tossed him to the street." But at the time, the university's leadership began to distance itself from Sandusky. It's easy to argue that a more forceful response was required, but guilt by association is not good enough.

Yes, the grand jury report is difficult to read. We should be angry. We should demand that a legal case against Sandusky move forward. But for conclusions to be drawn about who at Penn State should take the fall is putting the cart well before the horse.

That being said, earlier today I noted that the university's president was placing himself in a difficult situation by offering a forceful support of the athletic director. I stand by that; no matter how the case against Sandusky moves forward, Curley will need to vigorously defend himself against perjury charges. If he cannot, then even if he is cleared of the charges, he will find himself out. He might be fired. He might resign. And President Spanier would have to explain why he so quickly jumped to the conclusion that Curley deserved to be backed.

2nd UPDATE: 2:36 p.m. EDT: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review sports reporter Dejan Kovacevic sends the following tweet: president Graham Spanier calls support of indicted AD and school official "unconditional." Really? Unconditional? That's insane.

While President Spanier's endorsement of the university's athletic director is notable, it begins that dreaded painting oneself into a corner scenario.

Yes, Mr. Curley -- and the other men identified in the indictments -- remains guilty of nothing. It will take a jury to make such a decision. However, with Penn State having a sterling reputation (and with good reason) around the country, would its administration, coaches and fan base want the damaged Curley continue in a powerful leadership role?

He stands accused of covering up a crime that involved children; I see no way of  being forced to admit that in a court of law and keeping his job.

Of course, and forgive the pithy statement, time will tell what Mr. Curley knew and what he said. But the guess here is that Curley will not remain as athletic director if concrete evidence is presented that shows he tried to sweep away allegations of sexual misconduct involving children.

1st UPDATE: 2:06 p.m. EDT: The Patriot-News has additional details as to why Penn State's athletic director, Tim Curley, and former senior administrator Gary Schulz were charged with perjury.
Attorney General Linda Kelly says Curley and Schultz perjured themselves by repeatedly denying,  during the grand jury investigation, that they were told about an incident in 2002 that was reported by a graduate football assistant who walked on Sandusky taking a shower with a young boy.

Kelly said, "rather than reporting the matter to law enforcement, Curley and Schultz agreed that Sandusky would be told he could not bring any Second Mile children into the football building.  That message was also reportedly related to Dr. John Raykovitz at the Second Mile (Past Executive Director and Executive Vice-President and currently the President and CEO of the Second Mile)," the statement says."

Despite that ban, which was reviewed by Penn State President Graham Spanier, there was no change in Sandusky's status with the school, no changes to his access to campus, and no charges were brought.

As part of his retirement, sources tell The Patriot-News that Sandusky was given a key and an on-campus office.
Additional details about the charges against Sandusky and the other men are likely to be released on Monday. Among the questions that Penn State's administrative leaders will face is whether Mr. Curley will be suspended or face some short-term penalty from the university as the case against him becomes clearer.
 
ORIGINAL POST: The Associated Press reports that a prominent former Penn State assistant football coach is being accused with being a sexual predator. But the problems might go deeper than that.
Penn State athletic director Tim Curley and another school administrator were charged with perjury and failure to report in an investigation into allegations that former football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky sexually abused eight young men, authorities said Saturday.
State prosecutors said Sandusky, 67, of State College, was arrested Saturday. Curley, 57, and Penn State vice president for finance and business Gary Schultz, 62, both of Boalsburg, were expected to turn themselves in Monday in Harrisburg, according to the attorney general's office. Schultz's position includes oversight of the university's police department.
Reuters takes a closer look at the charges facing Sandusky.
He was charged with 40 counts including indecent assault with a person younger than 13, indecent assault with a person younger than 16, corruption of minors, endangering the welfare of children, and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with someone younger than 16, according to the criminal docket filed by Pennsylvania State Police's Avondale barracks,
The Patriot-News adds that the investigation into Mr. Sandusky's actions lasted three years.

No comments: