Joe Paterno Back in the News

Joe-paternoIt's been a while since we heard about Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, who was in the news in 2011 because his assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky, had been sexually abusing young boys. Some questioned who knew and for how long, and recent court papers reveal Paterno's possible awareness since 1976.

The current dispute is over whether Penn State or its insurance company should pay the $60 million in damages sought by 26 people who Sandusky abused. According to the insurance company, one sentence in the case revealed an important piece of evidence: "in 1976, a child allegedly reported to PSU's Head Coach Joseph Paterno that he (the child) was sexually molested by Sandusky." In addition, the evidence shows other cases reported in the 1980s.

Joe Paterno died of lung cancer in 2012, only two months after he was suspended from Penn State and within a year of the story breaking. His family is denying the evidence and calling for a full review of the facts. 

Sandusky was sentenced to between 30 and 60 years, but he's filing for a new trial. Three university leaders-the former president, athletic director, and a senior vice president-still face charges for failing to report incidents. 

Discussion Starters: 

  • This is based on just one sentence in the report-and it's the insurance company's perspective, obviously to avoid claims. What do you think? 
  • Research the case in 2011. The university took a while to suspend Joe Paterno. Why? And was the suspension the right decision?