Sunday, November 13, 2011

Our One True Moral Responsibility

[Posted By Jake]

This past week, it has been presumed as an article of faith, first stated by PA State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan and then regurgitated throughout the press and blogosphere, that Penn State football coach Joe Paterno is somehow deficient as a human being because he failed in his "moral responsibility to call us (the State Police)."

Putting aside for the moment the propriety of the Commonwealth's chief investigating officer publicly impugning a witness in an ongoing criminal case, let's review an alternative opinion from an attorney, former special prosecutor, and Adjunct Professor of Trial Advocacy.This viewpoint would seem to vindicate JoePa's actions and raise serious questions about the rush to judgment by the media lynch mob.


"I think Paterno did what was both morally and legally correct. After contacting his chain of command superiors, he let them do their jobs. He knew there was a police force that investigates (and prosecutes) crimes on campus. He took it to the person who is the police commissioner of the town."

"Suggesting Paterno should have done more is both ridiculous and dangerous. Paterno should not have approached Sandusky, for fear he tip him off to the investigation; he should not have called University police after nothing happened because a police department has a right to set its own policing priorities."

"Once he reported the incident, Paterno had no other action he could reasonably take. If he pressed further or went public, he risked opening himself and the University up to a lawsuit from Sandusky for libel. And that is assuming Paterno thought the grad assistant was both reliable and accurate. By that person's own admission, he was distraught...Paterno is not a witness, but merely sharing hearsay from McQueary."

"If Paterno did go to the Chief of Police, the person under Gary Schultz, that would be an act of insubordination. What if he were wrong? He would lose a longtime friend. He would hurt alums, recruits and his teams. His fellow coaches could not trust him...all of this without being an actual witness to anything."


This prosecution has a long way to go and undoubtedly it will test our discipline and sense of justice. Right now, we have only gotten the first half of the story. Think about how different the second half of the Duke lacrosse story was from what we thought we knew. It is not dishonoring any victims when we demand strict adherence to due process. In fact, it is our one true moral responsibility.

9 Comments:

Blogger Dannytheman said...

"If Paterno did go to the Chief of Police, the person under Gary Schultz, that would be an act of insubordination. What if he were wrong? He would lose a longtime friend. He would hurt alums, recruits and his teams. His fellow coaches could not trust him...all of this without being an actual witness to anything."

Jake - Are you a Penn State graduate? I'm sensing a heart broken alum here.

Doesn't JoePa follow up with anyone? How would reporting a deviant criminal act be insubordinate? It is a moral imperative.

How do you justify Sandusky still had having an office in the facility?

I feel your pain, but this is looking like a huge cover up to protect the reputation of the school. IMHO the whole board and administration needs to go! Clean sweep.

November 14, 2011 at 8:12 AM 
Blogger steve mcdonald said...

Sandusky was still running his camps at the campus through last year. This is not an office infraction like stealing a stapler - this is a serious offense that should have been followed up with the numbers "9-1-1". No excuses.

You're going to see the story get worse as the weeks roll on. This will make the infractions at USC, Miami, Ohio State, etc, look like nothing.

November 14, 2011 at 9:20 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to disagree, Danny... I agree with Jake that Mr. Paterno did what he could do. He reported the incident as alleged by Mr. McQueary to his immediate superior. But could have done more? Yes, clearly, and he has admitted to it. When there was a sense of inaction, he could have gone to his superior, the AD, and pressed to learn what happened after his report. But he apparently did not. That said, as a former higher education administrator, I have no doubt but that Mr. Schultz, the ultimate head of the Campus Police, would have consulted with the school's in-house legal staff. This is one element heretofore not yet commented upon. We will probably never know what legal advice Mr. Schultz received. Nor will we probably ever know if my thesis is correct. What's the point? This cover up goes far broader and far deeper than we now or maybe will ever know. Sad, sad, sad on so many fronts...

November 14, 2011 at 8:12 PM 
Blogger Bob Bohne said...

Good questiion Danny. Jake? Did you go to Penn State? And again, if you feel that this school promotes a liberal agenda, why do you send your son there?

November 15, 2011 at 6:00 AM 
Blogger Bob Bohne said...

Hey Gil. I think maybe you should allow me to start posting.

November 15, 2011 at 7:21 AM 
Blogger Dannytheman said...

Bob--- Cliff Wilson and Jodine Mayberry need some help..

November 15, 2011 at 2:23 PM 
Blogger jake said...

Gentlemen,
I thought this post stood on its own merits, but since the question about my affiliation has come up more than once, let me respond.

I am not a Penn State alum. My son chose to be a Nittany Lion and his mom and I have adopted PSU to better enjoy his experience. My own alma mater has gotten too PC flaky to endure.

November 15, 2011 at 2:49 PM 
Blogger Bob Bohne said...

Jake - Do you see why I'm having a hard time with this? You blame McQueary's lack of action because he was "compromised by the moral relativism of the campus culture. He was indoctrinated for the majority of his adult life about abstract concepts like tolerance and diversity." but you are OK placing your son in that same culture. You go on to say that both you and your wife have adopted PSU. How do you adopt PSU without adopting the culture that you vilify? Do you really believe that McQueary was indoctrinated for the majority of his adult life with liberal concepts? Hard to believe when the two people that he was very close to, Paterno and Sandusky, are both considered to be conservative Republicans.

November 15, 2011 at 5:37 PM 
Blogger Dannytheman said...

Thanks Jake, just making conversation, the article was excellent!

November 15, 2011 at 8:09 PM 

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