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Joe Paterno’s family denies latest allegations, says evidence backs them up

The Jerry Sandusky child-sex abuse case was finished in 2012, with the former Penn State assistant coach receiving a 30-year minimum sentence for his actions. Since then things have only gotten worse for those involved in all of this.

We’ve seen alleged victims have to relive the nightmare of Sandusky’s abuse of them

On Tuesday, court documents relating to an insurance lawsuit over allegations of an alleged victim from 30 years ago came to light. The major allegation comes against Joe Paterno, who was supposedly told by a victim about Jerry Sandusky abusing him in 1976.

According to a report in the Washington Post, the court documents unearthed multiple allegations of incidents in which Sandusky had acted improperly with young boys witnessed by or reported to several Penn State athletics officials over a 22-year time span leading up to the first notification to police in 1998.

Paterno was specifically named by an alleged victim, simply known as John Doe 150, who says he was fondled and abused by Sandusky in a team shower back in 1976 and told Paterno who did nothing about it.

The victim testified in 2014 for this lawsuit, stating that Paterno didn’t want to hear anything about Sandusky.

“Is it accurate that Coach Paterno quickly said to you, ‘I don’t want to hear about any of that kind of stuff, I have a football season to worry about?’” the man’s lawyer asked him in 2014.

“Specifically. Yes … I was shocked, disappointed, offended. I was insulted… I said, is that all you’re going to do? You’re not going to do anything else?”

The natural reaction to hearing Paterno’s name associated with seeing and/or hearing about these allegations is one of recoil and attack by the family, still holding on to hope that their husband/father/grandfather’s name can be cleared in court and in the court of public opinion.

It’s also natural for the family to doubt the allegations and recollections of an incident supposedly to have taken place some 40 years ago.

Those were exactly the routes the Paterno family took, but with the twist of saying evidence also would point to the biggest allegation never happening.

Here is the full released statement regarding the latest release of court documents from a family representative:

From the beginning, the Paterno family has been outspoken in their desire for the complete truth in the Sandusky tragedy. They have also repeatedly called for due process for all affected parties. With this latest release of information, the total mishandling of the Sandusky investigation is highlighted once again.

The overwhelming evidence confirms that Joe Paterno never engaged in a cover up of Jerry Sandusky’s crimes. Multiple independent parties have confirmed this conclusion. In fact, consistent with University rules, Joe reported an allegation about Sandusky to administration officials. As President Barron stated in his message to the University earlier today, an environment where faculty and staff feel protected in reporting wrongdoing is a key objective of the University.

The materials released today relating to Joe Paterno allege a conversation that occurred decades ago where all parties except the accuser are now dead. In addition, there are numerous specific elements of the accusations that defy all logic and have never been subjected to even the most basic objective examination. Most significantly, there is extensive evidence that stands in stark contrast to this claim.

That Penn State chose to settle claims without fully assessing the underlying facts is something that the University obviously felt they had to do to help resolve this matter. We understand their desire for closure, but it does not remotely validate the assertions about an uncorroborated conversation with Joe Paterno.

When the Sandusky scandal first became public in 2011, there was a lot of rhetoric in the media about using this case as a model to help prevent other child sex abuse scandals. Sadly, one of the lessons from the Sandusky tragedy is how not to investigate a crime of this type.

While it is 100 percent accurate that Paterno did indeed report an allegation up the chain back in the early 2000’s, he also did little to follow up and protect the child first. Paterno did the bare minimum required of him by law in that case, yet kept Sandusky around the program and children following his knowledge of potential inappropriate contact at a minimum.

No doubt the emotion of the situation is raw, but attacking an alleged victim of Sandusky’s abuse and them claiming evidence exists and not providing said evidence?

Perhaps the family will release the evidence in the coming days, but letting it hang out there in thin air is doing the exact same thing they are alleging these individuals did to Joe Paterno.

What exact evidence contradicts the sworn testimony about JoePa this time? How is it more concrete than the recollections of an alleged sexual abuse victim?

These are just but a few questions left wide open with no substantiation by the Paterno family.

What is perhaps hardest to swallow is the fact that the Paterno family wants to cry foul when JoePa is allegedly “unfairly” named in these suits without 100 percent proof, but provides none of it in making their own allegations?

With Paterno dead, we’re likely to never know the 100 percent truth, but in light of the circumstances perhaps it is time for his family to either put up the evidence or shut up once and for all.

The victims, their families and the Penn State community deserve that much respect at the very least.

 

Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He's a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball

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