Archive For The “Joe Paterno” Category
Spoiler Alert: I don’t know Barry Levinson.
Also, I am not close personal friends with Al Pacino.
The official logline for the film reads: “After becoming the winningest coach in college football history, Joe Paterno is embroiled in Penn State’s Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal, challenging his legacy and forcing him to face questions of institutional failure on behalf of the victims.”
I don’t know Levinson, or Pacino, and I know there’s already three pro writers on this project already whom I also don’t know personally (for the record, Debora Cahn (Grey’s Anatomy), John C. Richards (Nurse Betty), and David McKenna (American History X)). I also know that it’s based on the book by Joe Posanski (called Paterno, released shortly after the Sandusky scandal came to light), another artist whom I also don’t know personally.
What I do know, though, is that a great movie about Joe Paterno and the scandal can be made, and the opening scene should be what I wrote below – formed almost entirely from Paterno’s own words.
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Finally, I hoped, some justice would prevail.
It had been 19 years since the then-President of Penn State, Graham Spanier, had emails hit his inbox that Gerald Sandusky was being investigated about an incident involving Sandusky and a child in the showers in Penn State’s Lasch building.
Recently, Spanier had opted for a public trial in an effort to prove his innocence, but a former Penn State athletic director, Tim Curley, and former Penn State legal counsel, Gary Schultz, had pleaded guilty for the lesser charge against them – endangering the welfare of children – to avoid that spectacle.
Spanier chose instead to fight his way in court that he was innocent – that the reams of information unearthed by Louis Freeh‘s report were wrong about his involvement with Sandusky’s crimes.
Late on Friday afternoon, on a day of many other news events and distractions, the verdict was in: Spanier was found guilty of the same crimes for which Curley and Schultz pleaded guilt last week – endangering the welfare of children, the cold, sanitized description of the act of allowing Sandusky to go free without much consequence and continue to go throughout Centre County, and even all of Pennsylvania, to molest more children.
It’s a verdict that seems to make nobody happy, and also appears to be a compromise that doesn’t seem to fit the facts, whether you find Spanier guilty of a cover-up or innocently trying to do the right thing for Sandusky and the Penn State football program.
Curley, Schultz and Spanier may serve some time in jail. But even if they do, it doesn’t feel like enough.
All are, at a bare minimum, troubling, and they invite the question “who knew what, and when” in terms of these allegations.
Three of the allegations, however, are worthy of further examination because they could demonstrate that the administrators at the time, which would include former athletic directors Ed Czekaj and Jim Tarman, violated the law.
It also could eventually – though nothing has surfaced yet – implicate Joe Paterno.
With the very important caveat being we don’t know everything, we do seem to have enough to bring some context to the goings-on inside Penn State’s athletic department during the last 40 years. The only clear fact was that child sex allegations weren’t handled with the respect they deserved.
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The crimes committed by Gerald Sandusky continue to be a band-aid that is re-applied, and continuously ripped off, the arms of those of love Penn State.
Already convicted by a court of law, Sandusky has what is effectively a life sentence, while others who were in power at Penn State during the 1998 period where sex crimes were reported internally, Graham Spanier, Gary Schulz and Tim Curley, have still not faced any sort of trial and are still at-large today.
Last week, with an interesting sentence appearing deep in an insurance lawsuit involving a Sandusky victim settlement, the band-aid was once again ripped off.
The details of the lawsuit claim that Joe Paterno chose not to act in 1976 when one victim reported abuse by Sandusky, while Sarah Ganim, the hero reporter who broke the Sandusky story wide-open five years ago, added a second story of abuse in the 1970s where Paterno pressured one of Sandusky’s victims over the phone in the 1971 to not press charges against him.
Penn State folks doggedly and consistently appear to deny that Paterno had anything to do with Sandusky, with the Paterno family themselves on the leading edge of of the denials.
As you’ll discover below, these denials are becoming less and less plausible by the second.
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