‘Paterno Lied’

by Greg Pollowitz

So writes Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post, the last person to interview Paterno before his death:

Joe Paterno, at the end, showed more interest in his legacy than Jerry Sandusky’s victims

Joe Paterno was a liar, there’s no doubt about that now. He was also a cover-up artist. If the Freeh report is correct in its summary of the Penn State child molestation scandal, the public Paterno of the last few years was a work of fiction. In his place is a hubristic, indictable hypocrite.

In the last interview before his death, Paterno insisted as strenuously as a dying man could that he had absolutely no knowledge of a 1998 police inquiry into child molestation accusations against his assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky. This has always been the critical point in assessing whether Paterno and other Penn State leaders enabled Sandusky’s crimes.

If Paterno knew about ’98, then he wasn’t some aging granddad who was deceived, but a canny and unfeeling power broker who put protecting his reputation ahead of protecting children.

If he knew about ’98, then he understood the import of graduate assistant Mike McQueary’s distraught account in 2001 that he witnessed Sandusky assaulting a boy in the Penn State showers.

If he knew about ’98, then he also perjured himself before a grand jury.

Guilty.

Paterno didn’t always give lucid answers in his final interview conducted with The Washington Post eight days before his death, but on this point he was categorical and clear as a bell. He pled total, lying ignorance of the ’98 investigation into a local mother’s claim Sandusky had groped her son in the shower at the football building. How could Paterno have no knowledge of this, I asked him?

“Nobody knew,” he said.

Everybody knew.

Never heard a rumor?

“I never heard a thing,” he said.

He heard everything.

“If Jerry’s guilty, nobody found out till after several incidents.”

Not a whisper? How is that possible?

Paterno’s account of himself is flatly contradicted in damning detail by ex FBI-director Louis Freeh’s report. In a news conference Thursday, Freeh charged that Paterno, along with athletic director Timothy Curley, university president Graham Spanier and vice president Gary Schultz, engaged in a cover-up, “an active agreement of concealment.”

The rest here.