That’s how Sally Jenkins leads her story on Joe Paterno in the wake of Thursday’s release of ex FBI-director Louis Freeh’s report (pdf). She writes:

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.”

Paterno was not only aware of the ’98 investigation but followed it “closely” according to Freeh. As did the entire leadership of Penn State. E-mails and confidential notes by Schultz about the progress of the inquiry prove it. “Behavior — at best inappropriate @ worst sexual improprieties,” Schultz wrote. “At min – Poor Judgment.” Schultz also wrote, “Is this opening of pandora’s box?” and “Other children?”

In an interview with Jenkins shortly before he died, Paterno “was categorical and clear as a bell”:

“Nobody knew,” he said.

Everybody knew.

Never heard a rumor?

“I never heard a thing,” he said.

He heard everything.

Had he not died, would he have been indicted?

In an interview with Poynter, Jenkins talks about the impact of this relevation on Paterno’s legacy.

She did decide to remove one portion of the column from the print edition. (It’s gone from the website as well.) Towards the end, she wrote that “everything else about Paterno must now be questioned.” She followed that with a line wondering whether Paterno’s modest house was part of his carefully constructed image, considering that he owned a multimillion dollar beach house in New Jersey.

She wanted to address the larger issue of what Paterno’s dishonesty meant for his legacy. “When you have that image and you cultivate it for so many years and you are then caught in a foundational lie, it provokes sportswriters like me to go back and say, ‘Was he really so modest? Who was he, really?’ ”

Thursday night, she learned that Paterno had bought the house for $380,000 in 1984. Still a lot of money at the time, but not quite so extravagant, and perhaps unfair to mention. So the line was deleted.

I feel compelled to speak to that purchase.

In 1984, my then-husband and I bought a three bedroom, 2.5 bath, two-story house outside of Carlisle PA for $100,000. I would not have called it a modest home at the time: 2,000 square feet plus unfinished daylight basement on a 15,000 square foot lot. Two-car garage. Fireplace and central heat/air. Hardwood floors.

Today the average listing price for that zip code (17015) is $287,000.

The most expensive zip code in the State College area today (16868) shows an average listing price of $389,500. The current average listing price for Paterno’s zip code (16803) is $298,730.

Based on this quick analysis, I don’t see how anyone can say, with a straight face, that a $380,000 home in State College in 1984 was “modestly” priced or that a 4,000 square foot home, even if originally built in 1958, would be considered “modest” in 1984. I don’t know of anyone who thinks a 4,000 square foot home is “modest” even in 2012.

I think Jenkins was correct in her first pass – that Paterno cultivated an image and that the image, eventually, came first.

KATHY GILL, Technology Policy Analyst
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Copyright 2012 The Moderate Voice
  • Sally Jenkins interviews and 85 year old coach who just went through the worst two months of his life – and Joe’s a Liar
    Sally interviews a man undergoing treatment for Cancer – and Joe’s a Liar?
    Sally interviews this man about what he can recall about an investigation in which he was not involved 13 years in the past. But Joe’s a Liar?

    Where does Sally get the nerve? From Louis Freeh the disgraced former FBI head who presided over the Robert Hanssen spy saga and the run up to 9/11 as well as the MF Global fiasco that got him investigated by Congress – and Joe’s the LIAR?

    Here is the complete text of the emails found by Freeh. They are written by Tim Curley not Joe and talk about touching base and an update. Freeh makes this look like more by repeating these in an email chain several times but check the dates as you check the exhibits in the Freeh report.

    At 05:24 PM 5/5/98 -0400, Tim Curley wrote:|have touched base with the coach. Keep us posted. Thanks. T|m Curley
    At 02:21 PM 5/13/98 -0400, Tim Curley wrote:Anything new in this department? Coach is anxious to know where it stands.Tim Curley

    That’s it. That is everything Freeh had to claim Joe Paterno knew about the 1998 investigation but now he’s a liar?

    What the emails don’t tell you is that Jerry Sandusky is exploring 3 options in 1998 concerning his employment. 1)he has been offered a position as assistant AD by Curley 2)Joe has told him he will be retained as defensive coordinator as long as Joe is coach and 3)he is exploring an early retirement package that is offered by PSU that will allow him to work full time for The Second Mile. That’s what Joe is interested in – Joe needs to make a decision about his coaching staff.

    Some of these damn reporters need to study the exhibits prior to making claims about a man on his death bed who had nothing to do with covering anything up for Jerry Sandusky.

    and by the way that 1998 investigation? It concluded that there was no criminal behavior. The boy in question told investigators that nothing bad happened in that shower.

    Im a Tennessee graduate with no ties to PSU and a liberal Democrat with no love for Republican Conservative Joe – but I like the TRUTH and hate to see a media that jumps on a bandwagon without smelling the hay they are riding. Sally Jenkins should be ashamed.

  • Here is more of the story that concerns 1998 including the comments of the CYS investigator.

    First on the subject of showers with boys.

    Fellow coach Dick Anderson testified at Sandusky’s trial. Those of you who think simply being in the shower with a boy is reason for a red flag should take heed of Anderson’s testimony. Men the age of Tim, Gary and older like Joe would not be alerted to any suspicion simply due to shared showers.

    Dick Anderson, a longtime Penn State assistant and Sandusky friend who retired in January, testified that he and other members of the football staff were present when Sandusky brought young boys into the team’s showers. He said he never witnessed anything inappropriate.

    “If Jerry would bring someone in with The Second Mile, they had been working out, for whatever reason they came in, it was not uncommon … with the other coaches in the shower as well, adults and children often shower together at gyms. He noted, for example, that it’s not unusual for him to be in the showers with boys at the YMCA.

    Those who subscribe to the “callous monsters” theory seem to believe that the showering and 1998 investigations should have alerted Tim, Gary and Joe to be suspicious of Jerry. As one who thinks misled is the proper category I point to this evidence: First the chief investigator for CYS in the 1998 investigation

    In 1998, though, Lauro said his judgment was that the allegation fell under the category of what he termed “boundary issues,” not sexual assault. “It was definitely boundary issues, and I worked with boundary issues a lot,” Lauro said. “But if I believed it was more than boundary issues, I would’ve gone to the mat.” .”Was he a high-profile person?” Lauro asked. “I’d have to be stupid to tell you no. Everybody knew him.” At the time of his investigation, Lauro said, all the child said was that Sandusky showered with him, and it made him uncomfortable. Lauro said he didn’t feel that was enough to substantiate a sexual-abuse complaint.

    Then note these emails and notes from Gary and Tim regarding that investigation:

    From: Tim Curley Sent: Sunday, June 13, 1999 8:19 PM
    To: Spanier, Graham (Zc: Schultz, Gary C. Subject: Jerry
    Jerry just called and said he is leaning towards the retirement window option. Joe did give him the option to continue to coach as long as he was the coach. We could suggest another option of him coaching three more seasons Since Joe is okay with him continuing to coach this might make more sense to all concerned.

    And this is Gary Schultz right after the investigation concludes stating that there was no criminal behavior and that Jerry was most concerned with how the investigation affected the boy (victim 6)
    See exhibit 2E in the Exhibits of the Freeh Report http://www.thefreehreportonpsu.com/REPORT_FINAL_071212.pdf

    Tim Curley offered Jerry a job as assistant athletic director, Joe offered to allow him to remain as coach. These aren’t the words of men seeking to force Sandusky out because they were alarmed by the 98 investigation that concluded there was no criminal behavior

    So if showering with boys was not uncommon or strange in our age group,and if the 1998 investigation found no criminal behavior and cleared Sandusky, and if Joe and Tim were offering Jerry continued employment during and after the 1998 investigation – HOW CAN ANYONE CLAIM KNOWING OF THE 1998 INVESTIGATION IS INCRIMINATING?
    THINK SALLY and everyone.
    Let me give you a hint – the real story here is about the Republican Governor and Attorney General who have deflected attention from themselves by scapegoating Joe Paterno.

  • ShannonLeee

    “scapegoating Joe Paterno”

    that is almost laughable.

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    There is absolutely no defense, excuse, rationalization for what Paterno did or did not do.

  • rudi

    JP was a liar and fraud. As defensive coordinator and assistant coach, much of the JP football legacy was Sandusky’s, not Paterno’s.

    PSU became Linebacker U because of Sandusky, not Paterno. So JP accepted Sandusky raping BOYS to further his legacy at expense of 10 year olds innocence.

  • DR. CLARISSA PINKOLA ESTÉS, Managing Editor of TMV, and Columnist

    @Rudi, I’ve been trying to understand why ‘the winning coach’ didnt take care of business protecting the young. Your thoughts on S as the magneto of the Penn State ‘winningness’ put forward a motive. Even though a sickening motive. With all that has gone on and still goes on within the catholic church, many of us STILL struggle to understand what causes a grown man to not have the instinct to protect children first and foremost. Greed certainly seems to be one reason why. Gluttony to be ‘important” called power-mongering seems another. Thanks Rudi

  • rudi

    These paragraphs from Wiki show the importance of Sandusky to Paterno:

    Coaching career at Penn State
    He returned to Penn State in 1969 and remained there as an assistant coach until his retirement at the end of the 1999 season. Sandusky served as defensive line coach in 1969, became linebacker coach in 1970, and was promoted to defensive coordinator in 1977, holding that position until his retirement. In his years as a linebacker coach and defensive coordinator, he coached many defensive squads, and Penn State gained a reputation for outstanding linebacker play, producing 10 first-team All-Americans at that position, and acquiring the nickname “Linebacker U”. Jack Ham and LaVar Arrington were two of the noted pro football greats to emerge from his teams.[19]
    In 1998 Sandusky came under investigation by the campus police, following a claim by a mother that her son had been molested by him in the showers in Penn State.[20] The president of Penn State, Graham Spanier, and Paterno among several Penn State officials followed the investigation closely.[20]
    Sandusky officially retired shortly after this investigation, and was awarded “both an unusual compensation package and a special designation of ’emeritus’ rank that carried special privileges, including access to the university’s recreational facilities.”[20] Furthermore, Spanier approved a lump-sum payment to Sandusky of $168,000.[20]
    His final game coaching at Penn State was a notable game for Sandusky. Penn State faced Texas A&M in the 1999 Alamo Bowl in San Antonio, Texas. The Nittany Lions’ defense shut out Texas A&M, 24–0, the only bowl game shutout victory for Penn State under Paterno. Sandusky was recognized in ways usually reserved for a head coach. He was doused with a water bucket and carried to the center of the field on the shoulders of his players.[21]