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November 10th, 2011
12:48 PM ET

My Take: Paterno's unfulfilled ethical obligations

Editor's Note: Paul Root Wolpe, Ph.D., is director of Emory University’s Center for Ethics.

By Paul Root Wolpe, Special to CNN

(CNN) - I moved to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in 1969, when I was two years old, and then to Philadelphia when I was 12. Except for a stint in graduate school, I lived my life in Pennsylvania until moving to Atlanta three years ago.

In other words, I was raised in the land of Joe Paterno.

Joe Paterno started coaching at Penn State in 1966, so there was no time over the course of my almost 40 years as a Pennsylvanian that he was not at the helm of the state’s signature collegiate football team.

Opinion: Report crime or share guilt

But more, Joe Paterno was a symbol of all that was right and good about being a coach. The graduation rate of Penn State Football players is 78% - 86% for black players - which is way above the average for Division I teams.

His statue outside Beaver Stadium, engraved with the words “Educator, Coach, Humanitarian,” captured the esteem in which he was held, the power of his image, and the reputation he had for shaping his players into responsible adults, not just accomplished athletes.

It makes it so much more difficult to understand the lapse in judgment that has now ended his career.

Jeffrey Toobin: This is a moral monstrosity

At first blush, it seems that Joe Paterno quickly and decisively did the right thing: upon hearing of an incident allegedly seen by a graduate student of the sexual abuse of young boy by an assistant coach in a shower at Penn State, Paterno immediately informed two members of the administration of the allegation.

Unfortunately, no action was taken by the university. The assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky, allegedly continued to abuse young boys before the story recently broke.

Did Joe Paterno fulfill his legal and role obligations? As an employee of Penn State, he appropriately informed his superiors of a violation. But as a citizen with knowledge of a possible serious crime it was his responsibility to report it to the police.

Alums and students: share your thoughts

Even more, he is ending his storied career as a coach because his ethical obligations were not fulfilled. Anyone – but even more so a man of his stature and power – who knows of abuse of a child is immediately burdened with the moral responsibility not only to report it, but to work actively to end it.

Ethical obligations are different than legal or role-based obligations. When we see people who are being threatened, and we have the power to intervene, we are morally obligated to do so.

The obligation is even greater when we see a threat to the powerless and vulnerable – to children, or the elderly, or others easily exploited.

In fact, the real hero of the story, the one with ethical courage, was the 15 year-old boy who came forth and reported the abuse.

Why was nothing done at Penn State until last weekend’s criminal indictment?

There are probably many reasons, but one seems to tie in the Penn State case to the recent spate of child abuse scandals in the Roman Catholic Church.

In both cases, you have tight-knit, somewhat cloistered communities, with a hierarchal structure and a sense of an in-group and out-group. The football program at Penn State is an elite program, and it is drilled into their heads that they are a team, a family, a special group with special obligations.

Joe Paterno’s responsibility was made more difficult by the fact that he was the figurehead of that group, that he was the one always telling his players and coaches that they were a team, that they had to stick together and support one another. Families tend to be careful about protecting their reputations, tend to be wary of outside authorities, and tend to protect members even when they transgress.

We are often told today that we have a paucity of leadership in this country. Where are the great leaders who had both vision and integrity? Pennsylvania was the Land of Paterno because we all really believed we had such a leader.

Paterno was more than a football coach. He was a man who believed not only in winning football games but in doing the right thing for his players, the school, the community.

The sorrow we feel is not really for Paterno and for this tragic lapse at the end of his career. And it is not solely for the victims of his neglect, though our hearts go out to them and the pain they and that their families must be enduring.

We feel the pain of our loss of innocence, of the moral of failure another leader we believed in but who, in the end, could not fulfill our expectations.

Once again, the mighty have fallen.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Paul Root Wolpe.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Ethics • Opinion • Sex abuse

soundoff (142 Responses)
  1. Ron

    Article says "But as a citizen with knowledge of a possible serious crime it was his responsibility to report it to the police." So why does this apply only to Joe Pa? The graduate student is also a citizen. Applying the standard equally, the graduate student should also have reported the crime. In fact, since the graduate student witnessed the crime, he should have a greater obligation to report it. And applying equally again, did not the graduate student have an obligation to follow up with Joe Pa to make sure something had been done? Fair is fair.

    Also, I have a strong sense that we applying today's standards to an event that happened over ten years ago. One can argue this point, but there is no doubt in my mind that the Catholic Church fiasco has made everyone far more sensitive to child abuse, and far more willing to hang anyone and everyone remotely involved, especially those in the public eye.

    November 11, 2011 at 9:16 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      The grad student was not in a position of authority or an employee of the university, nor was he the superior of the person committing the crime. He could have reported it, but even if he didn't, Paterno had a legal responsibility to have done so and not just to a superior. He was an employee and in a position of authority. He failed to do the right thing under the law.

      November 11, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  2. felix1877

    This reminds me of archeological findings about Neanderthals who had funeral ceremonies, burying their dead with flowers and that they took care of injured individuals between 60 and 80,000 years ago.

    November 11, 2011 at 6:29 am |
  3. CS Heinz

    THE LION HAS FALLEN: FOUR THINGS I BELIEVE GOD IS SAYING TO LION COUNTRY

    http://www.csheinz.com/read/post/the_lion_has_fallen_four_things_i_believe_god_is_saying_to_lion_country

    November 11, 2011 at 6:25 am |
  4. Chad

    He was informed of a criminal act right? Seems reasonable to expect him to have gone to the police.

    November 10, 2011 at 10:55 pm |
    • KS

      This guy in addition to losing his job, ought to be in jail.

      Me, personally, I would have k*illed the pedo.

      November 10, 2011 at 11:07 pm |
    • captain america

      Go to the police with what facts?Hearsay?Ruin someone or take the liability to ruin someone on yourself based on information you have no first hand knowledge of?Smart position to take Chad,of course once you've lynched your victim you can't take it back.

      November 11, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @KS Should I go to the police with your threat of vigilantism?

      The prosecutors have pretty much exonerated Paterno and an advocate for several of the victims has decried his firing as a purely self-serving move by the board of trustees that may harm the victims. It's not that easy.

      My problem with Paterno and the athletic department is that after there were serious allegations made, Sandusky continued to enjoy emeritus status there including use of facilities a long, long time. Either Sandusky was doing something heinous or McQueary was slandering him outrageously. Yet both remained. That's real strange. At this point, it does look like a classic case of hushing something up. It's not all on Paterno, but some of it is.

      November 11, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
    • Chad

      I think the reasonable thing for Paterno to have done would have been to either
      – immediately confront sandusky with the accusation
      – take the person who told him, and go to the police/dept of social services

      I agree you dont want a lynching, but if a person whom your trust tells you of witnessing something like that personally? To me that is certainly enough to take real action. You cant be so worried about impacting someone elses career that you fail to protect children. End of story.

      November 11, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
  5. Bobby Do

    Dr. Wolpe, I don't disagree with you, but where does it end? Let's take the final straw in 2009 - student tells guidance counselor. Guidance Counselor tells Principal. Principal tells Superintendent. Superintendent tells Children's Services, never hears back. Police pick up the scent when he's barred from being a volunteer coach. Should the Principal be fired? The Guidance Counselor? It's what we're all taught as educators, make sure you tell your supervisor.

    November 10, 2011 at 8:12 pm |
    • tallulah13

      And what are you taught as a human being? How does a well-paid celebrity coach compare to an anonymous school teacher? Paterno protected his friend. Paterno protected a child molester. In fact, a university and a city's police department protected the worst type of criminal. Do think you need to protect him, too?

      November 10, 2011 at 11:02 pm |
  6. woodofpine

    This horrific crime should have been in the hands of law enforcement within the hour if not minutes. Paterno was in the middle of why and how it went from crime scene to cover-up (with Sandusky remaining an athletic dept. fixture). Unfortunately, Joe got what he deserved because a bunch more kids got what they didn't. I'm more sympathetic to the university president, seemingly kept in the dark – not truly empowered to check the football dynasty.

    November 10, 2011 at 7:55 pm |
  7. PooCorn

    If we bulldozed all churches and stadiums and pushed the garbage into mexico then we'd cut down on the majority of molestators. We don't need college or professional sports, and we certainly don't need useless churches. Professional athletes and priests seem to think it's ok to r@pe a lot of people. I'd love to see cruise ships loaded up with priests and professional athletes, and then sent out to the middle of the ocean. Then the NAVY could use those cruise ships for target practice.

    November 10, 2011 at 7:43 pm |
    • Toby

      Right, because the incidents that get the most publicity are without a doubt the most common. If you took the ministers and coaches who helped save kids out of bad situations, bad life choices, and hopelessness, you would see the real difference these heroes make. Great solution.

      November 11, 2011 at 2:16 am |
    • Toby

      BTW, I'm not taking a stand for Paterno in saying that.

      November 11, 2011 at 2:17 am |
  8. dean139919

    i think the people who say the paterno is the scapegoat in all of this are wrong! this man knew what sandusky was capable of and for someone like paterno who prides himself in developing young men into better athletes, scholars, and individuals, to me this is the exact opposite. the only good thing that comes of all of this is that paterno's image will tarnish and people in the future who witness any hanus crime can revert back to this incident and realize what the proper thing to do is. to quote the late janis joplin "don't compromise yourself. your all you've got". paterno compromised himself in making the decision that he made and will live with it now.

    November 10, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
  9. Greg

    Heroes save children; they don't endanger them. Paterno got a report in 2000 then another in 2002. Did little to nothing. Obvious, Paterno is something to be wiped off the shoe not worshiped.

    November 10, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  10. Reality

    There are a few short phrases that basically define good human conduct.

    Failures to follow two such phrases, "Do No Harm" and "Call A Cop" define the current "vomit inducing" situation at Penn State.

    No god(s) required, needed or desired !!!

    November 10, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
  11. HS

    Alien Orifice, AKA Central Scrutinizer, AKA Father O'Blivion, AKA hippypoet, AKA Sheik Yerbouti has been using other people's handles. He took mine and posted terrible things that do not represent what I am about under my handle. He is a liar, and he is a thief. He uses many handles to cause trouble. I am here because I believe in Jesus. He does not like me because of that.

    Amen.

    November 10, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
    • tallulah13

      The rest of us are here because a school, a city and a coach covered for a child molester. But I guess your complaints are more important a child who has been ra.ped.

      Amen.

      November 10, 2011 at 11:05 pm |
    • hippypoet

      HS, it is you who have been posting things that aren't of the original handle's person... I am the real hippypoet, there is only me...noone plays at being me, only pretenders... You have said things in the name of hippypoet, thats not right either and i say let it all stop...every handle stolen is a respect not shown... I may not have respect for your beliefs, or intelligence...but i show you the kindness and respect of not lieing in your name for false beliefs that I know you don't adhere to! Show us the love and understanding your religion demands of you...if not that then at least show us compassion and not steal our names.
      enough is enough, let it be done so proper conversations may proceed....or hinder everything with childish out crys for attentions not serving a "higher purpose", which is afterall the basic foundametals of your beliefs – to show others the way..we are in the same line of work, just with differing philosphies...lets have an agreement of respect. 🙂 goodnight dude/dudette !

      November 11, 2011 at 12:52 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Leave it to HS to be more concerned about her own friggin' EGO than a child.

      November 11, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
  12. Nonimus

    I just notice that the author is the director of a Center for Ethics. I find it odd that a PhD. in such a position only comes up with a "loss of innocence" to sum up this incident.

    Also, I guessing that this is the short version but, I don't necessarily agree with the following:
    "When we see people who are being threatened, and we have the power to intervene, we are morally obligated to do so."

    That seems to fit with Paterno's case, but fails to "scale up", for lack of a better term. Does the US have an obligation to intervene in Syria's crackdown on it's citizen's? How about Iran's? ... How about France's burqa ban? Or, Britain's ban on personal ownership of guns?
    Obviously different situations, but where is the line drawn?

    November 10, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Politics and Ethics do not play well together. This country turns a blind eye to our own homeless, starving and mistreated.

      November 10, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @Alien Oriface,
      Fair point.

      November 10, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
    • SK

      State morality vs. individual morality, cannot be compared. Even though we do not agree with what happens in many countries around the world, the binds of sovereignty stagnate our ability to do anything in those countries. There is no judicial hierarchy for states, whereas, for people – there are. Yes, Paterno is not to blame for this incident, but his realm of power in that community, cannot be understood unless you've lived within it. He didn't 'need' to go to the police, but if he had any qualms about Sandusky's actions, he should have continued the conversation with his superiors – being the man that he is. He isn't a terrible person and I am not even sure if he meant to protect Sandusky, I simply believe that his passion for football, outweighed his foresight of the situation. If he wanted to protect Penn Stat's rep, he should have tied up the loose ends in this mess and ensured that it was being dealt with (even if he didn't care about the children, or didn't believe the charges) he should've been prepared to take the heat for this, even if he doesn't deserve all of it. He had to know that this would blow up if the allegations were deemed to have some sort of truth behind them.

      November 10, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @SK,
      "State morality vs. individual morality, cannot be compared."
      That was the point I took from @Alien Oriface's comment, and yes, it's a valid point.

      November 10, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
    • Reality

      Beyond the blind eye:

      -Medicaid

      -Medicare

      -Social Security

      -Disabilities Act

      – The Bill of Rights

      – The Consti-tution of the USA

      – No Child Left Behind

      – Food Stamps

      -Operation Iraqi Freedom- The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US Troops killed in action, 3,480 and 928 in non combat roles as of 09/15/2011/, 102,522 – 112,049 Iraqi civilians killed as of 9/16/2011/, mostly due to suicide bombers, land mines and bombs of various types, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

      – Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan: US troops 1,385 killed in action, 273 killed in non-combat situations as of 09/15/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed mostly due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror,

      – Sa-dd-am, his sons and major he-nchmen have been deleted. Sa-dd-am's bravado about WMD was one of his major mistakes. Kuwait was saved.

      – Iran is being been contained. (beside containing the Sunni-Shiite civil war in Baghdad, that is the main reason we are in Iraq. And yes, essential oil continues to flow from the region.)

      – North Korea is still u-ncivil but is contained.

      – Northern Ireland is finally at peace.

      – The Jews and Palestinians are being separated by walls. Hopefully the walls will follow the 1948 UN accords. Unfortunately the Annapolis Peace Conference was not successful. And unfortunately the recent events in Gaza has put this situation back to “squ-are one”. And this significant stupidity is driven by the mythical foundations of both religions!!!

      – – Fa-na–tical Islam has basically been contained to the Middle East but a wall between India and Pakistan would be a plus for world peace. Ditto for a wall between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

      – Timothy McVeigh was exe-cuted. Terry Nichols escaped the death penalty twice because of deadlocked juries. He was sentenced to 161 consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole,[3][7] and is incarcerated in ADX Florence, a super maximum security prison near Florence, Colorado. He shares a cellblock that is commonly referred to as "Bombers Row" with Ramzi Yousef and Ted Kaczynski

      – Eric Ru-dolph is spending three life terms in pri-son with no par-ole.

      – Jim Jones, David Koresh, Kaczynski, the "nuns" from Rwanda, and the KKK were all dealt with and either eliminated themselves or are being punished.

      – Islamic Sudan, Dar-fur and So-malia are still terror hot spots.

      – The terror and tor-ture of Muslims in Bosnia, Kosovo and Kuwait were ended by the proper application of the military forces of the USA and her freedom-loving friends. Ra-dovan Karadzic was finally captured on 7/23/08 and is charged with genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the law of war – charges related to the 1992-1995 civil war that followed Bosnia-Herzegovina's secession from Yugoslavia.

      The capture of Ratko Mladić: (Serbian Cyrillic: Ратко Младић, pronounced [râtkɔ mlǎːditɕ], born 12 March 1943[1][2]) is an accused war criminal and a former Bosnian Serb military leader. On May 31, 2011, Mladić was extradited to The Hague, where he was processed at the detention center that holds suspects for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).[3] His trial began on 3 June 2011.

      – the bloody terror brought about by the Ja-panese, Na-zis and Co-mmunists was with great difficulty eliminated by the good guys.

      – Bin Laden was executed for crimes against humanity on May 1, 2011

      -Ditto for Anwar al-Awlaki on September 30, 2011

      November 10, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
  13. claybigsby

    Does anyone else find it disturbing that Mike McQueary (the person who saw the r....ape, didnt stop it and didnt call the police) is still coaching at Penn State?

    November 10, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Yes but he sitll under investigation. The fallout is not over yet.

      November 10, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
    • claybigsby

      True....I just would have thought that they would have terminated him too if they are going to terminate Paterno.

      November 10, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      I can't disagree but I think here the boss went first and they needed someone to coach the team. We will have to see what the Grand Jury has to see. I think this is far more of a legal matter than a university matter in the big picture.

      November 10, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
    • dean139919

      if he does coach this weekend i believe his safety will be in question.

      November 10, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
    • gbward

      THANK YOU for saying exactly what I was thinking.

      Mike McQueary saw the alleged act – did NOTHING to stop it – and did not even inform the police. And he's still employed.

      But Paterno receives a second hand complaint (hearsay) – informs his superiors of the compalint as required – and HE get's fired?

      While I believe that Sandusky is probably guilty, there have been many occasions when allegations have turned out to be FALSE.

      I think Paterno did the right thing. And I think now he regrets not doing more.

      All I know is that If I walked in on a adult r@ping a child, I wouldn't turn around a walk a way. McQueary is a coward. He shouldn't just be fired, he should be locked up.

      November 10, 2011 at 8:17 pm |
  14. Arthur G

    The reason why we are in such a sad state as we are now is

    First dentistry was painless.
    Then bicycles were chainless,
    Carriages were horseless,
    And many laws enforceless.

    Next cookery was fireless,
    Telegraphy was wireless,
    Cigars were nicotineless,
    And coffee caffeineless.

    Soon oranges were seedless,
    The putting green was weedless,
    The college boy was hatless,
    The proper diet fatless.

    New motor roads are dustless,
    The latest steel is rustless,
    Our tennis courts are sodless,
    Our new religion — godless

    ~Arthur G

    November 10, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Arthur
      Question: WE have a new religion? And what would that be and how do you figure it applies to everyone?

      November 10, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Looks like another Christian drive by.

      November 10, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
    • eureka

      For those that are slow to understand, that is exactly the point
      THe amount of morality displaced is equal to the amount of godlessness you immersed in your being.

      RIP Arthur G

      November 10, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      Morals are deeply based in society and have very little to do with god. The bible put forth the morals of that city during that time period, many do not apply now and new ones have even been added since then. The bible and your god have no real say in the morals of today. So to say that our morals are getting worse and pointing to that as a result of godlessness is completely wrong.
      Sorry, but your god most likely doesn't even exist and morals are still here and doing just fine.

      November 10, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
    • It's All Good

      Is that supposed to be a Christian apologetic piece? Everything listed in it is good!
      (calling godlessness a religion is off base, but I guess it scanned well metrically)

      November 10, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      eureka,
      God has nothing to do with this. Other than if there really were a God, he is a total A-ss hole for allowing these things to happen.

      November 10, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
    • Orin Scrivello, D.D.S.

      Bring back *painful* dentistry!

      ************************************************************

      I enjoy the career that I picked

      And I get off on the pain I inflict

      I thrill when I drill a bicuspid

      It's swell though they tell me I'm maladjusted.

      **************************************************************************

      –Little Shop of Horrors

      November 10, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Orin, I was lucky enough to get to see the original cast of the off-broadway production of Little Shop in New York with Ellen Green. It was the funniest play I have EVER seen. (And I go to a lot of theater!)

      November 10, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • pavlov's dog

      oh dear – i think hes color blind!

      November 10, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
    • hippypoet

      you know wahts really funny, Spamalot.. play by Eric Ilde, one of the monty python members... damn funny!

      November 10, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      I haven't seen that one yet. I hear it awesome though. I will see soon as I get a chance.

      November 10, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
    • Bob

      Arthur, kindly also note the high % of Christians in jail vs. that of Atheists, relative to the general population at large, and the lower crime rates in less religious countries such as in Scandinavia.

      So what are you trying to claim, exactly?

      November 10, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
    • tallulah13

      And Arthur G is clueless.

      Joe Paterno is listed as a catholic. He protected a child molester. Your foolish diatribe had nothing to do with the topic.

      November 10, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
  15. Mike

    We have come to place where familial accountability has been resurrected and used to replace individual, personal responsibility. If one person commits a crime, it then becomes a crime for everyone who was acquainted with the offender, whether or not they had full knowledge of a crime being committed. It also appears that we've full discarded the concept of innocent until proven guilty. We are a failing culture and we're all guilty.

    November 10, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • TruthPrevails

      This man has been proven to have had knowledge of his coworker's crimes and for his own selfish reasons he chose to cover this up. He got what he deserved!

      November 10, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
    • Mike

      @TruthPrevails

      Actually, Paterno was given what amounted to after-the-fact, second hand hearsay with no direct evidence of any crime actually being committed. He followed proper protocol and reported it to higher authorities... including campus police. I believe all if this is in the grand jury report.
      I just don't see how Joe should be saddled with any of this except that he happened to be in the road when the bus ran over him.

      November 10, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
    • TruthPrevails

      If that is the case, then a suspension may have been in order instead of a direct firing. However, that is not what we have garnished an understanding of from the media. Either way the facts are not totally out and until they are, it is safe to say that respect for the universities decision should he had.

      November 10, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Mike, it is the same in any business. He was in charge of his coaches and those he was responsible for supervising failed, therefor he failed. That is life.

      November 10, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • Aaron

      When you are in a position of authority and you even hear a whisper of possible child molestation happening in your territory, I would be d*mn sure I got to the bottom of it. I don't think the problem with our country is our obsession with religion, or politics, or big business, but it's a resounding sense of a "me" complex. Paterno obviously cared about his position as head football coach and unofficial leader of the Penn State community instead of the well being of the assaulted children and chose not to pursue the case anymore than what he had to do and therefore children and families suffered...for over 15 years!

      November 10, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I take it you're a Penn State fan, Mike. That's the only reason I can see why you defend a man who was fully aware of the crimes of his friend and protected him anyway.

      November 10, 2011 at 11:11 pm |
  16. J.W

    I just think that such as legendary figure going out like this is sad. As a person I think that he should have done more, and he was wrong there, but as a sports fan it is still sad.

    November 10, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
    • fred

      The abuse by Priests in the Catholic church did major damage to the cause of Christ. Penn State gets a pass on their intentional closing of the eyes to abuse. That is how you can tell the difference between the things of this world controlled by the prince of darkness and the truth of Christ. The world attacked the church but just watch as life at Penn goes on as usual.

      November 10, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      The only thing sad is the child abuse. Who gives a crap about a football coach in a situation like this?

      November 10, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Fred you seem to have completely missed the point here as usual.

      November 10, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
    • Get Real

      fred - "life at Penn goes on as usual"

      Hardly... a bunch of folks out of a job and in court/prison as they should be. BIG difference.

      November 10, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • fred

      GetReal
      The priests are in jail or dead (is there a hell for child abusers) but the church is still under attack and stained for allowing the abuse. Penn State will not be stained and life will go on as usual for them. Yes, the abuser will wear shinny cuffs as did the priest that was still alive.

      November 10, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • claybigsby

      Fred, you can insert your foot in your mouth now.

      November 10, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @fred,
      If Penn State refuses to address the situation and/or says it is addressed but it is not, then the stain will be "set" for quite some time. If however, Penn State reforms its policies to include seriously preventative measures and no more accusations or incidents occur, then perhaps the stain will not "set".
      Clean it thoroughly and quickly then hang it in the sunshine for everyone to see (transparency) and the stain will fade the quickest.

      Oh and don't claim to have the cleanest laundry (or be a moral authority), unless that is actually the case.

      November 10, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
    • Get Real

      fred, - The criminal cover-uppers in the church have not been purged and punished yet... and they range all the way up the hierarchy.

      November 10, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
    • fred

      GetReal
      I would like that not to be the case. But, you are probably right. A problem with the priest is they believe when they confess the sin they are forgiven then the priest they confess to believe they are to keep in confidence confessed sin. It points to a real big problem which I would guess they have yet to take serious.

      November 10, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
    • Bob

      Keep working at that thinking, fred. You're getting warmer.

      November 10, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      fred, apparently you are under the delusion that your belief in a god gives you the ability to predict the future. The scandal just broke! How in the heck do you get the gall to say that you know what is going to happen at Penn State as a result?

      November 10, 2011 at 9:47 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Fred has left this reality and made up a new one.

      November 10, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
  17. hippypoet

    i agree with the article that he could have done more, such as report it to the police but – Ethical obligations are nonsense... ethics in general are suspect to each persons personal beliefs and how they viewed the event, basically, how they were raised. So with this, maybe he didn't want people knowing it was him who called the police as the witness does have to make a statement... shame, fear, – whatever... thats what i think kept him from doing the proper act of calling the police.

    November 10, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Or maybe is just senile.

      November 10, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
  18. eureka

    Say what-"We feel the pain of our loss of innocence, of the moral of failure"
    Guess you woke up just today to this fact?
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Turn back to God, stop densitizing society with immoral behavior

    November 10, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      God has nothing to do with this.

      November 10, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
    • as they say

      Looks like satan has already gotten some in its grip firmly that it resists any attempt to reconcile with God.

      November 10, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
    • hippypoet

      first, who is famous for screaming eureka? anyone know... after you name the person, tell why he said it.

      ok now to the reason i am posting under you – IF GOD EXISTED WHY THE HELL WOULD THIS KID HAVE BEEN TOUCHED IN THE FIRST PLACE!????

      November 10, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Archimedes
      Yay I win!

      November 10, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      as they say
      Satan has nothing to do with it either you big silly. If there is no God then it follow that there is no Satan.

      November 10, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • hippypoet

      YES it was Archimedes.. he said it right after finding out about displacement... gold displaces a different amount of water then silver with gold plating does... and eureke he screams, the kings crown is not real – and the smith is dead!

      November 10, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • eureka

      Innocence? that is so passe...what do you get when you have adults who have not been taught good morals to begin with?
      Keep lookng for innocence , you will not find it.

      The only solution to a question you have raised Wolpe is to turn back to the Almighty God.

      November 10, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      HP, Archimedes was amazing. So far ahead of his time, much like Da Vinci

      November 10, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      eureka
      Again, God has nothing to do with this. Why do you think this is about God? I don't understand your logic.

      November 10, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • eureka

      Alien Ori.......The author of this article has sadly claimed that society has lost its innocence. duh, not very difficult to put that together. WHy do you think society is so desentized to moral values today? It is missing the key link to morality-Almighty God.

      November 10, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • hippypoet

      did you know that Cicero went to Syracuse to find the grave of Archimedes, he found it and created a shrine around it which turned into a cemetary... pretty cool huh. Archimedes died nearly 150 years before Cicero was a man. By the time he was old enough to be a senetor he knew of Archimedes but only as a myth... the same thing happened to Britan, the great wall, or Hadrians wall, which ever you feel comfy with – only 100 years after Rome fell the citizens who lived in the shadow of the wall hadn't a clue who built it or even why! Knowledge takes years to learn and seconds to forget!

      November 10, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      @ HIppy
      I know it's been almost an hour and you've probably moved on from this but I just wanted to correct you on Archimedes.

      Gold and silver displace the same amount of water no matter how they're put together as long as they're the same volume of material. They knew the mass of the crown but didn't know the volume since it wasn't an easy shape, so they couldn't tell if it was the correct weight for it to be made completely out of gold or partly made of silver. Archimedes found out that if he submerged the crown he would know the exact volume of the crown and the mass of it so they would know if it was pure gold because they already knew the weight/volume of gold and silver.

      Just an FYI.

      November 10, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
    • hippypoet

      funny how i just went to check it and bam a new post saying i might not read it.... lol

      anyway, you are correct, but what you had wrong was that the crown was made to be the same weight and being that gold and silver weigh different amounts, thats why the displacement was a key factor.The material used to make the crown was more because of the use of silver – i may have the weight of gold and silver backwards, but we are basically telling the same story! Gotta love history right!

      November 10, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      @ Hippy
      You're probably right, we are probably saying the same thing.
      I'm not a big fan of history though but I will back you up and say Gotta Love Science!

      November 10, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      eureka,
      Duh, when you can prove that THIS society (I assume your are referring to the United States?) is any better or worse morally than any other society then you can make your argument. But history tells us that there have in fact been MANY "societies" for more deranged and violent than ours and much of the violence was instegated by the church. You do not have an argument and God has NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS ISSUE.

      November 10, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      So true HP. Man I want to go Sicely so bad.

      November 10, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      @ Eureka,
      Morality and god have nothing to do with each other. Morality is set by the society of that time period. God has little to no influence of what society believes is moral or immoral. The only reason it seems like it is because the bible has morals in it. many of which are outdated and no longer used and some of the good morals are even considered immoral now.

      November 10, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
  19. RightTurnClyde

    There is not justice in firing everybody because of the undetected crimes of one man. Once they were detected the hierarchy took action (they are not the RC bishops). Such stupid mass hysteria (and such l.u.s.t for vengeance) .. the Duke U. (phony episode), the IMF ceo (phony episode .. sloppy police work), the Casey Anthony acquittal (like OJ) .. but then there is a cry lynching. It seems the lynching become more important than the facts OR justice. I am disappointed in firing everybody for what one guy in secret (concealed it) ..

    November 10, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      RTC
      We’re talking about JoePa’s one-time right-hand man who happens to be a child ra pist, and those above Paterno and Jerry Sandusky who were complicit to his child mole station and pe dophilia. You’re also talking about the living legend, JoePa himself, not being proactive when upon having the smoking gun presented to him. As a university, Penn State naturally wants to remove the S ex Scandal Stigma asap so they are cleaning house. That is exactly what I would do. There are 23 pages of grand jury testimony that cast a very unfavorable light on this bunch.

      November 10, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Paterno should have called police the moment he was told of the abuse, even if the abuse was only suspected.

      November 10, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
  20. Alien Orifice

    The big ger they are, the har der they fall.

    November 10, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
    • RightTurnClyde

      ..is that the objective? to simply tear everything down? Seems like it. .. they could close Penn State altogether (and then you'd be sure you got everybody .. from the mail clerk to the President) ... but you'd lose a university too...

      November 10, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I think the objective here, Clyde, is to protect children from ra.pists.

      November 11, 2011 at 2:39 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.