Joe Paterno: Cover Up May Have Been His Idea

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In the days and weeks since Joe Paterno’s death, he has been painted as a good, honest man whose main goal in life was bettering the lives of his players; he has been hailed as a kindly older gentleman with nothing but the best intentions in his heart.

But now that several email exchanges between the former president of Penn State and two employees have been released to the public, we are seeing a potentially dark side of that man, and people who once stood in his corner are finding a change of heart.

The emails were exchanged between former president Graham Spanier, vice president Gary Schultz, and athletic director Tim Curley in the days following Mike McQueary’s claims to Paterno that he had witnessed Jerry Sandusky sexually abusing a boy in the school showers. Curley and Schultz were concerned and initially wanted to go to authorities, but quickly changed their minds, which was reflected in the emails. Their second option, they wrote to Spanier, was to go to Sandusky directly rather than involving anyone publicly, and Spanier agreed, calling it a “humane and reasonable way to proceed”.

Curley wrote:

“After giving it more thought and talking it over with Joe [Paterno] yesterday, I am uncomfortable with what we agreed were the next steps. I am having trouble with going to everyone, but the person involved. I would be more comfortable meeting with the person.. tell him the information we received… and tell him we are aware of the first situation.”

”The only downside for us is if message isn’t ‘heard’ and acted upon and we then become vulnerable for not having reported it, but that can be assessed down the road,” Spanier allegedly replied.

When the emails first surfaced, many people wondered what would make Curley and Schultz, who seemed so intent on bringing the story out at first, change their minds so suddenly. Now, it looks like Joe Paterno played a major hand in swaying them towards keeping the allegations quiet.

Unfortunately, Paterno isn’t here to answer questions, as he passed away earlier this year of lung cancer. With these newly-discovered emails coming to light, his reputation and legacy will no doubt be even more marred.

Joe Paterno: Cover Up May Have Been His Idea
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  • JK Garnet

    First thing to do is for Coach Bowden to Coach a couple more seasons at a University of his choice. Then HE will take the mantle of #1 winningest College Football coach away from that disgusting homosexual protector Joe Paterno. Cmon Coach College Football needs you to jump back in, retake the mantle and spit on Paterno’s grave.

    • Mitchell

      Another great post from one of America’s finest!!!! Please tell me you are not voting in the Presidential election.

      • elvis singleton

        mitchel , your intellect is over shadowed by you lack of common sense.

  • margaret

    This whole matter turns my stomach! I have family and friend who are loyal PSU people, but this is beyone the pale. I now only think JoPA was involved in the cover up, I do believe that he was part of the abuse! No man of his age could have covered this up unless he was part of it. I hope I have voiced what many have have thinking. SO get the halo off of this pervert, and let him rot in hell along with Sandusky!

    • Mitchell

      Margaret…seriously? I must say, and I’ve read a ton of comments on many different topics, that your post is probably the most ridiculous and idiotic statement I have ever seen.

      Please tell me you are not an educated person. Only that will make me feel better about someone actually writing what you wrote.

      You do not know the context and should not comment on what someone else was thinking or what they meant.

      Your post is simply irresponsible and lacks intelligent thought. But then again, you are not alone.

      • elvis singleton

        let us not point fingers for you may find your pointing at yourself

  • Cynthia

    Isn’t this scandal reason enough to stop WORSHIPPING athletes, coaches, and the whole sports world? Ten bucks says JoePa knew; everybody in the area probably knew, and that goes for Jerry’s creepy wife and family. They all wanted to keep their jobs, money, social position, etc., and they sold a bunch of kids down a river of shame and pain. If Penn State wants to do right, the school’s entire football budget and proeeds from every game from now on should be donated to helping people stop predators. And JoePa should be wiped from the schools history.

    • Adult

      I agree but in reality, more money for the budget and the pain and shame will be swept under the rug………God bless america……. how pathetic we’ve become….

  • Hank

    If you look at the timeline of what happened and when it happened its very fishy that the allegations came out after Joe Paterno finally achieved the accolade of most wins of in football as a coach and then died 2 months later… Little too perfect.

  • pat

    the only person to blame is mcquery. he witnessed the crime and didn’t call authorities. paterno and the other guys are basically irrelevant since their testimony would have basically been heresay. Why McQuery doesnt get more flack is beyond me. Eventually he did the right thing but why did it take 10 years???

    • http://yahoo lived a little

      All I can say to that is WOW!

  • rg

    Joe Paterno is dead. We shouldn’t make any assumptions. He’s not here to defend himself.

    • http://yahoo lived a little


  • http://whatever ronnie head

    Clinton did not know the definition of sex. Joe was just a coach.

  • Robert Barron

    I don’t think Joe was the entire reason they changed their minds. I doubt Paterno excused what was happening, although he was probably trying to prevent damage to his program.

  • elvis singleton

    it seems that 2+1, does not equal 3 in this case. many sport guys care less about the activity of the coaches and “others”, than they do about the kids their involving, its time to end this sports grip- remove the sports, the possibility of infraction, is removed, either that or make all sport other than the olympics, redundant, end the physical contact sport until, its no longer seen as an avenue to attract kids to sports programs, lets us work on intellect 1st, then if the kids have time for sports, let it be under supervised inspection, end the days of the “sports god”, its another false god that many seem to pray to.

  • marilyn

    of course it was Paterno’s idea,,,,he is DEAD and cannnot defend himself. The higher ups at Penn State seem to me,are trying to do ANYTHING to keep the heat off themselves. Threfore,they are playing the “dead”man card.

  • andy

    Fact is these guys could have acted and chose not to. Paterno didn’t act either, but that doesn’t absolve Curly, Spanier, and all of the others for one iota of blame in covering this up and letting a predator continue.

    Every singer person living or dead who knew what Sandusky was doing and didn’t stop it is guilty. Calling attention to the actions or inactions of others is no defense.

  • Cara

    Sandusky has been found guilty and all the rest is speculation and frankly quite judgemental towards Joe Paterno and the other PSU staff. The media as well as their journalists are just trying to keep this story going. They are making assumptions and placing scenarios of blame. Isn’t it a fact that the man who is responsible is facing his fate? What many of you do not realize is the legal system and process of reporting these child cases needs revision. It is very hard to get child abuse cases looked into as well as prosecuted-this being one. Think of how many years have passed to even get this one tried?

  • AJW

    Penn St / Sandusky / Paterno / Cover up etc, it is more than sad. For all of you following, read about another current alleged Monster whose alleged victim(s) have retaliated. Google Clark T. Fredericks, Fredon, NJ. If the facts come out as suspected, Clark and others need our help!!!

  • Scott

    Cara, get your head out of the sand. I assume you are a Penn State grad. You sound like all of the other Penn State grads – the faster you guys come to the realization that Paterno and the higher-ups at Penn State are just as guilty as Sandusky, you’ll be much happier.

    • Toni

      i so agree with you

  • http://yahoo Lonnie

    I think the issue is over. Justice has been served and it is time to
    move on to other matters more pressing. I am not even close to Penn
    State, but please don’t pick on someone who is gone. Enough is enough
    for God’s sake……….

  • Annon

    I think let Joe rest in peace! (And no, I am not a PSU grad and have no connections at all with the school or anyone at the school.)
    Even if Joe did suggest not bringing the situation out into the open (which I doubt) it was not his decision to make. There were several people above him in the ‘chain of command’ that made the final decision, if in fact there was a cover-up.
    I have long admired Joe Paterno and what he did for Penn State over the 50+ years he was an employee there should not be overlooked or belittled.
    The report was that Joe was told and he reported it to his superiors as having been told of the incident but not having witnessed it himself. That’s exactly what he should have done. Maybe he could have pushed a little harder for something to be done, however, keep in mind that he did not have first-hand knowledge of anything, only what he had been told. In a circumstance like that, I too would be very hesitant to push to ruin a man’s life when I had no personal knowledge of any wrong-doing.
    I am glad that Sandusky will burn in hell for all eternity though.

    • Mark

      Your an idiot. 50+ years of good? Hey Pal, anything good was wiped away the second we found out that football meant more to him than the lives of innocent children. Gee let’s show some respect for Hitler, he did so many good things for the Germans…not fair to judge him because of that “little Jew issue”…

  • Joe

    The man is dead. Even if he did cover up, what does anyone think talking about it will accomplish? You can’t take him to court and he can’t defend himself. Sandusky got his sentence. It’s over.

  • Jeff

    From what is presented in the article there is nothing to suggest that Paterno helped cover the mess up. The e-mail just says after talking to Joe which means nothing except what this reporter wants it to say. The man is dead leave it alone. Sandusky got what he deserved so the thing is over. I am not a Penn State person but the school has a lot to do to clean up its image that was stained from the very top. Typical media take something out of context and try to make it mean something. Maybe Joe did help cover it up but we may never know.

  • Toni

    How can yall say let it go, let him RIP….he knew those kids were getting molested and you say let it go!!!!! how would you like your kid to be molested so we can keep winning football games

  • AJW

    Joe, Annon,Lonnie, Scott etc:

    I hear your sentiments, but please take a look at the Clark Frederick’s case, in New Jersey. You will be reading only the tip of the iceberg. He needs America’s help. He is good.

  • charlotte mitchell

    They all knew but in this country sports rule and colleges make money.Paterno should not b made the scape goat the President of Penn probably knew.Hopefully this will wake people up ,from high school on.COACHES ARE NOT GOD.I am a sports fan but ak well aquainted with the politics of football.

  • http://yahoo Tom Heintz

    Have you noticed when the old farts get in BIG TROUBLE, they die – read Ken Lay and Joe Paterno. In Lay’s case he was going to prison. In Paterno’s there was clever damage control initially that seemed to indicate that he had done the right thing and notified the authorities about Sandusky’s activiies. RIGHT.

  • David

    It would be foolish to think that after Paterno helped report the shower incident that he never again had any conversation about it again with anyone. Of course there were discussions. In fact, he should have initiated them. But either way, I think he was fully aware of the decision to NOT report the incident, and in effect, to do nothing. How could he NOT be aware of it? He had been told of a incident that was sexual in nature and helped report it to some of the highest officials at PSU. And nothing was done. At best he walked away. At worst, he was instrumental in the decision to do nothing. The emails seem to show he had some input.

  • Ryan

    I think paterno had a lot more to do with everything than he previously said, but I don’t agree with the headline of “maybe it was his idea”. To me that’s just unprofessional.

  • Jo

    Funny how they are always willing to say things about someone who is no longer here and able to defend himself. Let him go. He’s gone. Attacking him now doesn’t do any good at all and we will never know what the real story is with his involement.I think the others are just trying to use him for their scapecoat because they can get away with it now.

    • fred

      All fn pigs…great blight on college town..f paterno too

    • fred

      Dude..paterno was a shit too..deal

  • jlensbo

    Coming from Penn State as a postdoc, I have developed a love for the school. What people don’t understand is that Penn State is not a school, it is a way of life. For all of those people that have gone there, they know what I mean. With that being said, I believe in justice, and believe those people that were subjugated to Sandusky should be given reperations. I hope I spelled all of that right. I might be a doctor, but I still can’t spell. Thank God for spell check. Any way, I think that all of the victums feel the same devotion to the school and would hate to see things said specutively about anyone. Please, let the investigation happen and I would ask the media to stop being attention whores and allow justice to take place. Let’s focus on something positive, like balancing the budget.

    • Mark

      Could you be any more full of yourself?

    • Mary

      Penn State is a college/university–it is NOT a way of life. Everyone who went to college loves their alma mater. Face it, Penn State is just an ordinary school with lots of criminal activity!

    • Ricardo

      I went to a junior college for two years for a degree in Respiratory Therapy…and it was not just a school either…those two years were a way of life…i received a two year degree in healthcare …and respiratory therapy has not been just a job..it’s been a way of life..early on..while working the 3-11 shift in my early twenties…many of us would get together after work and go partying a bit..as the place where i worked was very close to coconut Grove..and was blessed with many bar and grill type places…it was such a profound way of life..and sometimes..since many of the nurses were young and single…and i was young,single and straight..sex was a common occurrence…ah YES..it was a way of life….from 78′ to about 88′ that was a way of life….Jilensbo,you are so full of yourself..i may not be a doctor…but i will match my “way of life” during those ten years with your years at Penn State any time…i had real fun and real identity,MY OWN … I was not some Idol Worshipping dip,or Alma Mater minion.

  • barry

    e-mails, yes e-mails, come out now, nobody smart enough to ask for these before, no, a person is innocent until proven guilty, let’s consecrate a dead man, i still don’t believe McQueary, tell your dad 2 days after, bull****,the higher ups, shultz, spanier, curley, the ones supposed to running the university, should be behind bars. No one would 2 sh**’s if this happened at sandusky’s house only and not a major university.

  • Voice of the public

    Maybe you should hang up the journalism career and focus on one of your other many pursuits.

  • jpc

    once again football bigger then his c*ck……may they both burn in hell

  • RtReverend

    I don’t know what people expect given our society.

  • schak

    Hopefully Paterno is burning in hell.

  • Owen

    What is being done at PENN STATE to make sure this sort of thing will NOT happen again?

    RIP?? Repent In Prison is more appropriate.

  • Richard Myers

    I am a college football fan-Razorbacks-and will never place my love of sports before the welfare of our children. I think before we start casting aspersions at Mr Paterno, we need to see what is uncovered in any subsequent investigations. I hope that he is innocent of any wrongdoings in this tragic situation; if he is complicite, however, he should be no longer receive accolades or praise. We need to see what unfolds, before passing judgement.

    • Mark

      What do you mean what’s uncovered! It’s uncovered Pal! HE KNEW!!! What’s it take for some of you people? It’s unfolded you moron.

      • Richard Myers

        In that case, Mark, I’d say the entire sports program at Penn State needs to be shut down. Children have to mean more than sports…in this case, sports ruled and the children were brutalized…I see your point, Mark and you’re right. Allowing this football program to play another game is a slap in the face of decency…Thanks for your input…

  • johnny o

    I do not understand people at Penn State. It seems to me you claim all this school pride and looking down on people with comments about spell check and stating your Degrees and so forth, but what if it was your boy in the shower getting F _ _ _ in the Butt by some sick a _ _ hole. Would you yell go Penn State then. The more educated people become the more dumber they get. That’s a big problem here Hero worship

  • Mark

    PSU students, alumni and faculty, we don’t want to hear anything about how good your school is or was. If any of you are feeling anything other than the combination of profound sorrow for these victimized children and blind outrage at those (including and especially Paterno) God help you. You should all be amassing and demanding that his statue be torn down, his mural painted over and all things bearing his name removed.

  • http://webpronews-Yahoo Robin Zito

    Let’s think about the victims and how their lives were affected by the actions of an adult they trusted. An adult who was in a position of power and used that to gain sexual satisfaction from children/teenagers. He wreaked havoc on their lives. Let’s learn from this: SOME colleagues knew what had happened/was happening. They did not follow the proper channels to protect these children and as a result of that it continued and more children were preyed upon. What if it was YOUR child, your brother, or YOU? Think about it. When good men stand by in the face of evil and do nothing, they become part of the problem!

  • john

    the truth has come out: joe pa is scum. Penn state should receive the “death penalty” from the NCAA. they are an embarrassment to the big 10.

  • Col Bob

    Are the media types ever going to back off creating stories around this tragedy? Amanda’s diatribe is as full of speculation, innuendo, and illogical nonsense as the one I read earlier today by a sportswriter on Yahoo. I am a member of the media and I understand the difference between reporting, editorials, and fiction; you both obviously do not. These articles are an indecipherable embarassment of journalistic incompetence. As for all of you haters out there, get a life and stop speculating about Joe Paterno and his intentions, and no, I am not a Penn State alum. A man should be remembered for the totality of his life and Joe Paterno had much to be proud of. The man is dead for God’s sake; give it a rest!

    • Susan A

      Sorry, Col Bob, it doesn’t work that way, and as a journalist you should know that. He won lots of football games? Big fat deal. He let a friend of his rape young, defenseless boys. Had he come forward and done the right thing when he had the chance, THEN he would have something to be proud of. Instead he chose to protect a PEDOPHILE. Now that’s quite a legacy, indeed.

  • Jeff

    Who knew about this that was on the Board of Trustees? Spanier had a friend there and was obligated to let them know about this situation. Corporate culture comes from the top.

  • kl

    I bet someone can tie Jopa to the JFK conspiracy too…let the man rest in peace, he can’t defend his actions any longer.

    • mp

      KL — You’re a fucking idiot. This is hardly a conspiracy. “Jopa” obviously knew about this.. by his own admission it was reported to him. He was awful human being who allowed little boys to be raped in his facility. I hope there is a Hell, because that is surely where he is.

    • Susan A

      KL, one day, if not now, you’ll have children, and then you’ll understand the fear of something like this happening to yours. Let him rest in peace? Paterno will never have peace, alive or dead. His response was heinous and your lack of comprehension is astonishing.

  • Chad Jennings

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Joe Pa taught him how to “Sandusky”

  • Carlos

    Cara and Lonnie,

    The issue is not over, and justice has only been partially served. It will never be over for the kids who were abused. In some cases, abused kids go on to abuse other kids. Justice being served would mean that everyone who allowed this to continue is being punished. They aren’t. I’ve been so annoyed at all the Penn State alums who were quick to defend the institution and Joe Paterno without hearing all of the facts. In effect, they blamed the victims.For those of you that think he did enough, what if it was your kid that was in the shower with Sandusky time and time again? I guarantee that you wouldn’t think that justice was served by only one person going to prison. Any institution that willfully ignores this type of crime (whether it be the church or Penn State) has a problem. Saying “the issue is over” is one of the most naive things I’ve ever heard. The suffering continues. And each time people involved in these kinds of conspiracies go away unpunished, it leaves the door open for others to commit the same acts in the future without fear of retribution. Sandusky committed the acts, but the system (and supporters) allowed him to continue for years and years. How many kids could have been spared this abuse if someone had gone to the authorities? But, it wasn’t their kid, so they did the minimum.

    • Jerry

      Carlos you are correct, this crime against children isn’t over yet.
      Graham Spanier, vice president, Gary Schultz, and athletic director Tim Curley need to be brought to trial and tried with crimes in allowing Sandusky to continue to abuse children when these men knew that he had at least down it once.
      And Spanier, Schultz and Curley need to be punished for allowing Sandusky keys to all of Penn State’s sports facilities so Sandusky could continue to commit crimes against children.
      I hope all the vicitms sue Penn State out of existence.
      What were the Alumni and students who came to Joe’s defense thinkng and what are they thinking about Paterno now? Do they realize that Old Joe was part of a crime cover up? Any mention of Joe Paterno’s name will be meet with negative comments about Joe not taking action to stop children from being abused by Sandusky!

  • Bill

    Just the facts mam. Joe and three plus others at Penn state and the shower witness had knowledge of the event. There was no or little followup. For this, the kids now adults and lawyers are going to get a big payday, about 100 million total from Penn state.

  • Cara

    Actually, I am not a Penn State graduate; I am a teacher of 25+ years who has reported suspected child abuse to my principal as well as to Children’s Services in my state. So, I have acted responsibly on behalf of my students and wondered if some of my students were helped? The system doesn’t involve us much and most of you if you haven’t experienced this issue firsthand can voice your opinions loudly and in some cases unkindly without really understanding; that is why I say change the system. I hope those of you using unkind words towards the late Joe Paterno can focus your energy into some kind of action that is positive and make a difference.

    • Jerry

      Cara you need to be praised and applauded for your action as a teacher in reporting “suspected” to your supervisor, principle and to Children’s Services. I’m sure by your brave actions; officials looked into your suspicious of abuse and if abuse was going on action were taken against the perpetrator. If no abuse was taking place, then no further action by officials was necessary. But you absolutely did the right thing by reporting suspected abuse.
      Joe Paterno should have acted like you did and insured that “suspected” abuse was reported to the correct officials and not stopped until some action was taken. But Joe didn’t and now it looks like he covered up for Sandusky’s crimes. And Joe wasn’t the only one that was doing the covering up but so was Graham Spanier, vice president, Gary Schultz, and athletic director Tim Curley.
      But Joe Paterno knew abuse was going on at his facility because he was told by Mike McQueary directly. And Joe knew Sandusky had keys to Penn States sport facilities yet he looked the other way.
      If Joe Paterno was truly a leader, he would have reported the abuse and then followed up to insure the correct action was being taken against Sandusky. But sadly Joe kept quiet and more and more children were abused by Sandusky at Penn States sport facilities.
      Joe was guilty because if he had taken the action that you have taken, we wouldn’t be writing comments on this subject. And if Joe reported Sandusky’s crime to the police and Children’s Services, Joe’s legacy would still be intact and people would have respected him more for doing the right thing in reporting child abuse by his friend Jerry Sandusky.
      And Cara Bravo to you for doing the difficult action in reporting suspected abuse when you see it! It’s not always easy to do the right thing.

    • Jenna

      Cara – You and Joe are every different. You suspecting abuse from home and reporting it to the principal is different than reporting your own coach. After you report, you ahve no idea what is going on at home….if that parent, relative, neighbor, etc has been removed from the situation or not. You’ve done all you can do. In Joe’s case, he knew that his coach had not been removed from the situation. So in that case there was a need to question again and follow up on the report.

  • Mary Porter

    And this is news?

    • http://yahoo.com tom

      yes this is news because joe pa let a child rapist keep raping children and what if your child was one of them or you ? what more important a child being raped or football ? so when that child get’s older and can’t deal with it and goes crazy by doing something like drink or take drugs or sleep with every one or even get’s a gun and kills some one you’ll say why ? why is this news ? because this is what happens when you rape a child over and over again ?

      • Jerry

        Tom you are absolutely right in your comment.
        Old Joe Pa let a child rapist keep raping children at his facility even when Jerry Sandusky wasn’t even employed by Penn State.
        Joe knew what Sandusky was doing to those children because Joe was told directly by Mike McQueary what he saw Sandusky doing to children in the shower.
        Joe Paterno has turned out to be despicable individual and I don’t care how many football games he won for Penn State, his name needs to be erased from all Penn State documents, buildings, statues, trophies!
        Joe took the easy way out by suddenly dying because he knew he couldn’t have faced all the abused children by Sandusky in a court of law. And Joe would have had to face all the fans who looked up to him as a leader but now his faithful fans wound now the truth that Old Joe was a criminal who was covering up a terrible crime by his friend Jerry Sandusky and Penn State Officals.

  • http://kkekev@yahoo.com Dash S. Wilson

    Penn State should be held responsible for covering up for allowing kids to be abused on campus. Shame on Penn State. They need to pay big time money to those kids.

    • Jeremy

      1:5 boys get taken down by an adult male. It’s big in the Catholic church. A lot of older Irish/Scottish men are homo. Just check the craigslist.org……where there’s one there’s many. Altar boys are running…..

  • Sean E.

    Not to get off topic, but did you read that Joe Paterno did not use e-mail? So, these e-mails were not received by him as were mentioned in this article. So, the cover-up being his idea is not realistic. And I am reading from some of your other responsed that you are going to say I am a Penn State grad-not so either-that seems to be an assumption too. Sure, the victims will get what they deserve-reimbursement from PSU-no one can argue that!

    • Kip Rittenhouse

      The article never says Paterno received the e-mails. What it does allude to is the fact that Curley and Schultz were initally prepared to speak with the authorities, but Curley changed his mind after a meeting with Paterno and recommended speaking with Sandusky directly instead.
      While there is sure to be more information released before this is all said and done, right now the picture being painted is that Paterno convinced Curley, who then convinced the others, to keep the allegations in-house.

  • easy A

    Finally a decently-written article. Yes it is going to be a questionable legacy for Joe Paterno, but I do think this is clear: Joe Paterno was responsible for hiring Tim Curley, and Tim Curley went back prior to that many years as a Paterno fanboy. When he says he’s “uncomfortable” to continue with the “plan” after talking to Joe Paterno, it’s clear to me that Joe said one thing to the media and public about the issue being in Curley’s capable hands, but he personally put the kaibosh on Curley taking action. Curley admits that Joe had this effect on him. Joe may have not told him to put the kaibosh, but it doesn’t matter… Curley was owned by Joe and as a result, Penn State knowingly allowed children to shower with adults touching their bodies.

  • Test

    Are there any e-mails where they talk about the KID?

  • Loyd

    Pffft…Been saying this myself for months now.

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