Penn State sex abuse scandal tackled in new book
The Penn State sex abuse case is one of the biggest scandals in the history of college sports and it was a complete shock to most fans. But warning signs were ignored for years, according to a new book called "Game Over: Jerry Sandusky, Penn State, and the Culture of Silence" by Bill Moushey and Bob Dvorchak.
Penn State's character as an isolated place is established in "Game Over." "Penn State is in the middle of the valley, in the middle of the state, in the middle of nowhere, and there was this culture that kept everything inside that just could not put its hands around something of this magnitude happening at Penn State," Dvorchak said Tuesday on "CBS This Morning."
It was a world that Joe Paterno knew and knew well, according to the authors. Moushey said it's hard to believe that he didn't know what was going on at the university.
"He helped develop them entire program and he basically ran the institution and had pretty much say over everything, including when he decided he might leave and who was going to be hired after him," Moushey said.
Dvorchak added, "No coach has ever been exalted more than Coach Paterno in football, but no coach has ever fallen so far, so fast. Joe knew everything on that campus. And if you look at what he said he didn't know and yet what happened, that Sandusky was gone a year after that '98 investigation in a news release, without the grand farewell befitting an icon on Joe Paterno's staff and all the events that transpired afterwards."
So what did Paterno know?
"That's one of the things that's just so perplexing about this, Dvorchak said. "It's a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions in the sense that Joe was told something, but the assistant he made sure he knew exactly what he was talking about and he knew, so it just boggles the mind on how deep it goes."
Dvorchak said it's "almost impossible" that Paterno didn't know what was happening at the university. He said, "If he did not know that there was an investigation by the campus police in 1998 and that Jerry Sandusky was gone a year later. And there was another incident in 2002 that he was told about at his kitchen table. If you don't connect the dots there, I think you're just trying to avoid a situation."
When asked what it says about Paterno if he did know what was allegedly happening at the school, Dvorchak said, "Joe will always be remembered as a great coach, a leader of men, his football players loved him. And yet, there was maybe that one lapse of judgment, that sin of omission, that will always define his legacy."
Moushey said, "He said it himself, 'I wish I would have done more.'"
Sandusky is currently under house arrest, awaiting his trial, which is scheduled to begin in mid-June.
Speaking of the former Penn State defensive coordinator, Dvorchak said Sandusky had a great cover for his alleged acts. "If you were to draw up on the blackboard the ultimate portrait of a pedophile, you start with a sports icon who founds a charity," Dvorchak said. "He's known as the male Mother Teresa of Central Pennsylvania. It'a a charity that's recognized by George Bush as one of the 'thousand points of light.' It's joined at the hip with a prestigious university. It's the perfect disguise."
Moushey added, "There are 10 young men who have made damning allegations against Jerry Sandusky, and, of course, course, he has the presumption of innocence. But I've covered hundreds of criminal matters as an investigative reporter for thirty-some years, and I've never seen a case that was as expansive as this that didn't end up with some kind of conviction."
Writing the book wasn't without its difficulties, however. The authors said they had many people hang up on them during the 10 weeks in which they wrote it. But Moushey said, "We found a hundred people who told us stories about what was going on and I think we got the story straight."
Also involved in the story is Mike McQueary, a former graduate student who reported an alleged incident involving Sandusky. McQueary is currently suspended with pay from the university.
The authors said McQueary's house is currently for sale and he is being viewed negatively by people in State College.
"A lot of people in State College have put the bad guy label on Mike McQueary because of the long period of time that went from when he saw this event in 2002, to when he actually came forward," Moushey said. "But I watched his testimony in the preliminary hearing against the two other guys who were charged in this matter and he was very certain, very emphatic, and was not beat up at all."
"Very believable as a witness," Dvorchak said.
Moushey added, "Even if he waited eight years to report."
The Paterno family released this statement about the book:
"A new book about the Jerry Sandusky case is attracting attention because of its egregious use of false and slanderous statements about the late Penn State Coach Joe Paterno. This unprofessional and irresponsible rehash from clip files and anonymous interviews was slapped together in a matter of weeks and rushed to market, as the authors have acknowledged. The authors also admit that most people they contacted did not want to talk with them, and many of the ones who did talk insisted on not being identified. The price of their obsession with speed over accuracy is a book that distorts the truth and offers conclusions and theories for which the authors have no evidence.
"To fully correct these errors and outright lies would take far more words than this slanderous account is worth. However, one outrageous and baseless claim that cannot go unchallenged is that Coach Paterno knew about a 1998 incident involving Jerry Sandusky that was investigated by local law enforcement. There is indisputable evidence showing that Coach Paterno was not informed about that investigation, as well as the Coach's own sworn testimony to that effect. Further, their claim that knowledge of Sandusky's alleged conduct led Coach Paterno to push for Sandusky's retirement in 1999 also is baseless and unsupported by any evidence. These and many other lies, errors and slanderous allegations are proof that the only objective for these authors was to exploit this tragedy for their own personal gain by producing a fictionalized narrative that smears the reputation of Joe Paterno."
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