63

Whitewashing Joe Paterno in the National Post


 

I don’t know Father Raymond J de Souza beyond his handsome National Post faux-woodcut that, more often than not, serves as a reminder not to read the words appearing below it. My Thursdays are busy enough without a side order of Catholic guilt, thanks, and I dare you to try to get through an entire column without a feeling that Father de Souza is busy wagging his finger at something, somewhere. Sacre-moi la paix, as they say in these parts.

So it was nice to see Father J take on the recently departed Penn State coach Joe Paterno recently. I mean, if you’re going to wag your finger at someone, it’s might as well be the guy who suppressed information regarding the alleged pedophiliac excesses of one of his former coaches, right? Paterno, the man who kept quiet in the face of wickedness, thereby arguably allowing it to continue—namely, with two other pre-teenaged boys in the years following. Slam dunk, no?

No. Rather, Father de Souza inexplicably offered up 786 elegiac words for dear old JoePa. Here are a few choice cuts from his column, annotated for your enjoyment.

After a few paragraphs saluting St Joe—”God made Joe Paterno to be a football coach. And when there was no longer football to coach, God called him home”—de Souza finally gets around to mentioning Jerry Sandusky, JoePa’s former assistant coach at Penn State who, as we now well know, is believed to sexually assaulted 10 young male victims between 1994 and 2006.

Here’s what De Souza wrote:

In November he was fired by the Penn State board of trustees after charges of sexual abuse were made against Jerry Sandusky, a long-time Paterno assistant coach who retired in 1999. Paterno was told of an incident in 2002, which he passed on to his superiors, but it was not reported to police.

“…but it was not reported to police.” Interesting use of the passive voice, which effectively scrubs Paterno of any responsibility to follow up on what was surely an alarming thing to hear. How alarming? According to the grand jury testimony, here’s what was reported to him by a graduate assistant we now know to be Mike McQueary:

The graduate assistant, who was familiar with Sandusky, was going to put some newly purchased sneakers in his locker and get some recruiting tapes to watch. It was about 9:30 p.m. As the graduate assistant entered the locker room doors, he was surprised to find the lights and showers on. He then heard rhythmic, slapping sounds. He believed the sounds to be those of sexual activity. As the graduate assistant put the sneakers in his locker, he looked into the shower. He saw a naked boy, Victim 2, whose age he estimated to be ten years old, with his hands up against the wall, being subjected to anal intercourse by a naked Sandusky.

Yet beyond telling Penn State athletic director Tim Curley, Joe Paterno did nothing. He didn’t bother to follow up on the incident or go to the police himself, even though Sandusky was still operating the Second Mile organization for troubled youth, a job that put in him daily contact with children. As the grand jury testimony notes, Sandusky was never banned from campus. And, according to that same testimony, Sandusky assaulted an 11-year-old in 2004—two years after the incident Paterno knew about. Between 2005 and 2006, he did so again with another victim. All in all, Sandusky is charged with 40 counts of abusing young boys.

But back to de Souza’s column:

After six decades at Penn State, Paterno admitted he was heartsick that he had not done more, and offered to retire himself. The shabby manner of his sacking — delivered over the phone — by a panic-stricken board compounded the sadness of his serious failing. It was an off-key note to conclude a brilliant symphony.

Maybe. It’s also possible that the board was panic-stricken because its members realized the grave cost of Paterno’s silence. Two victims suffered Sandusky’s alleged abuse because no one, Paterno very much included, said a word. Instead, they squelched it, and for nearly ten years things went on as before. Joe Paterno kept winning football games, the university continued to bask in his glory and, according to grand jury testimony, Jerry Sandusky kept abusing kids. That is one hell of an “off-key note.”

De Souza ends his enthusiastic air kiss to Paterno’s memory with a meditation on good and evil. In his mind, there is no question on which side Paterno falls.

Good vs. Evil was the hype. Football teams are rather less than that. But JoePa — the dinosaur and the grandfather — was one of the good guys. Sometimes the good guys win, and once in a lifetime — a grand lifetime — the good guy wins more than anyone else.

Wow.

A month or so ago, Father de Souza wrote about Christopher Hitchens’s passing. He was decidedly less charitable. “The sadness is that there is a hell for Hitch to go to,” he wrote on December 20. “He was granted a long farewell, with the opportunity for reconsiderations and reconciliations with those he hated and those he hurt.” So: Paterno is one of the heaven-bound good guys and Hitchens, who devoted a considerable amount of ink decrying the abuse of children by the supposedly blessed representatives of organized religion, is currently roasting in hell. What an odd world Father de Souza lives in.


 
Filed under:

Whitewashing Joe Paterno in the National Post

  1. Well said, bravo. Whenever I used to read the Post, I’d skip over de Souza because he was always so full of predictable pap. Blech.

  2. There’s a certain city in Ontario which the local news anchor, now retired, is really, really well known as being fond of boys, to the point he has taken them into his home.  The anchor is among the most beloved citizens of his city.  

    Yep, Paterno did the wrong thing, I just have a sneaking suspicion that a lot of his critics have not spoken up when they were in similar situations.  The pile-on also reeks of Revenge of the Nerds journalism that is so prevalent in the media and is threatening to turn the NHL into women’s hockey and its no bodychecking rule – taking down a symbol of masculine norms like Paterno gives them jollies.

    If de Souza was mean to Hitch its because even his most ardent admirers would concede he was an as***le at times who went out of his way to piss people off.  He was a polemicist.  Paterno was perhaps the most admired man in America.

    • Good grief, are you saying ‘masculine norms’ should be protected at the expense of protecting children from predators, and those that enable them?   

    • Hahahaha……Paterno was a “symbol of masculine norms’ but he didn’t have the balls to stand up to a coward who got his jollies by molesting little boys.  Wow, what a tough guy….maybe Clint Eastwood will play him in the movie of his life.

    • DJ is so full of sh_t, where do I begin.

      He defends a man who was complicit in covering up sexual abuse of minors and accuses critics of that man of being complicit in covering up sexual crimes. Makes no sense at all. None.

      Indeed, as we can plainly see, DJ is giving Joe Paterno, a man who helped cover up sexual crimes against children, a big fat break.

      Which makes DJ a despicable guy you wouldn’t want to know.

    • So is child-rape an integral part of male identity?

  3. That proud middle finger that is pointed at the likes of you has a big Nike swoosh on it.  Bravo to Phil Knight.

  4. The priest defends the pedophile protector.  The priest would have just reassigned Paterno and Sandusky to his parish.  As Catholics say, screw the kids.

    • “Screw the kids”? Catholics say that?

      • She’s confusing what Catholics say with what she thinks they say.

        • if Catholics ever lived to the words they use, there would be no confusion.

    • Was going to moderate this but I thought I would comment instead. 

      You’re being a little harsh, try to be a little nicer next time. I know it’s easy to get angry when talking about pedophiles but lets try not to lambast an entire religion because of it okay? Thanks.

      • Seriously?
        The current pope and all his little helpers did their utmost to keep this outwith the purview of the civil authorities and make the children who they raped and assaulted keep this under wraps. The catholic faithful have done very little to try and purge this blight from their church and are trying their best to ignore a very serious failing in a body that everyday tries to dictate to others what is morally good and what isn’t.
        Harsh is how the kids were dealt with by the church, nothing could be too harsh for the paedophiles, their enablers and the sheep who turn a blind eye to this.
        The fact that De Souza thinks that Hitchens embodies all that is evil and the diminutive paedophile shielder is a paragon of positive catholic values shows just how out of whack the church’s moral compass is.
        The entire religion is to blame for encouraging the kind of thinking that allowed such crimes to occur in the first place. So I am going to hold them all accountable until they actually do something about it, other than damage control that is.

        • ==The catholic faithful have done very little to try and purge this blight from their church==

          Really? You hear any new cases of abuse? Have you ever talked to actual Catholics who work for their parish as to all the new policies in place? Or do you just spout nonsense because you’re an ignorant fool?

          • “We’ve stopped raping children now.”
            That’s it, that’s your defence?
            What happened to the facilitators? One wears red prada slippers and lives in Rome. When you toss him out of office and hand all the criminals over to the civil authorities then your policies might mean something right now it’s shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.

    • I think there is a little bit of confusion here.   Let’s not forget that the kids who the priests “screwed were Catholic”.  I doubt that the parents of these children, also Catholics, said “screw the children”….that was the church administration that protected the priests instead of the children.

    • I think there is a little bit of confusion here.   Let’s not forget that the kids who the priests “screwed were Catholic”.  I doubt that the parents of these children, also Catholics, said “screw the children”….that was the church administration that protected the priests instead of the children.

    • I think there is a little bit of confusion here.   Let’s not forget that the kids who the priests “screwed were Catholic”.  I doubt that the parents of these children, also Catholics, said “screw the children”….that was the church administration that protected the priests instead of the children.

  5. I cannot for the life of me understand the actions of anyone at Penn State.  Why didn’t Mike McQuery call the police AND coach Paterno after he witnessed the rape of a 10 year boy.  Instead he stayed on to become a coach there.  He must have wondered why no police showed up to take Sandusky away.  How did any of these men live with themselves knowing that Sandusky was running a charity for boys who were vulnerable?   They cannot have any conscience or sense of what is decent.  If Christopher Hitchen deserves to go to hell for questioning the existence of a God who would let little boys suffer being raped by a monster like Sandusky, then what do the monsters who perpetrate these acts and those that stand by and do nothing to stop them deserve?  I thank goodness that in Canada there is a law that forces us all to report child abuse although in the cases of Sheldon Kennedy and Theo Fluery, it seems many people ignored their duties.

    • There seems to be some sort of code of silence in sports – is is an amazing psychological hold on those involved. 

      • The problem for poor Joe Paterno is that he was the somebody.  Sandusky could go without Penn State falling, unlike Paterno.

        McQuery certainly didn’t have any clout, I don’t know what was the matter with the governors–who should be wearing this a hell of a lot more than they are, IMO, but Joe was the one who could have forced them to act, or could have acted himself without personal repurcussions.  You aren’t going to fire Joe because he called the police on one of his assistants, I mean.  So, yeah, tough to be in that position, but he was and he totally blew it.

        • The crazy thing is that Sandusky was not Paterno’s assistant when McQuery saw him raping the 10 year old in the shower.  Sandusky had retired a few years earlier and was running his charity for under-priviledged boys full-time but still had an office at Penn State. That was after he was caught “horsing around “with another boy in the showers and Paterno told him he would never be head coach.
           McQuery who was 28, saw Sandusky in the shower the 2nd time,  freaked out and call his dad….he and his dad went to see Paterno.  It went up the chain from there.  It ended with the president of athletics telling Sandusky not to bring any more boys to Penn State.

            

  6. Patriquin, you must be the biggest a$$hole ever born ready to proclaim any association with God and yet a reporter still trying to earn brownie points over what a man failed to do after having reported the matter to higher authorities. As with most reporters, you continually failed to highlight all your shortcomings so that you can show how righteous you are. That you are not just another vile reporter who continually vents his opinion on one thing or another. You know maybe there is someone out there that knows you’re secrets and share it here or elsewhere to really show what kind of individual could be so small as to voice an opinion so vile!

    • Another enabler. 

      • I doubt there are two people who share that particular brand of crazy and show up suddenly at the same story.  It’s probably the same guy.

        • You are probably right.  I hope you are. That there is more than one is just too upsetting to comtemplate.

  7. Paterno was given only vague details by the graduate assistant as Paterno stated in his grand jury testimony. So why are you so quick to disbelieve Paterno?

    If the graduate assistant witnessed such explicit sexual abuse, why did he not go directly to the police?

    Given only vague details, Paterno reported the vague second-hand accusations to the proper authorities.

    So when you hear second-hand news of a crime, do you investigate it yourself and follow up on it?
    It’s so great to be a Monday morning moral authority on these issues but Paterno, with his excellent lifelong reputation, was sacrificed even though he reported the vague second-hand accusations to the  proper authorities.

    Why Paterno was made the focus of this witchhunt is beyond me.

    • He was in the position to do something and didn’t.

      He had a moral and ethical responsibility to protect these helpless children from being repeatedly raped and didn’t.

      He’s not the only one who should burn, but he is certainly one of them.

      No amount of finger pointing changes that.

    • Oh pleeese!  The graduate assistant and his father go to Paterno’s house and give him “vague details” and then Paterno sets up a meeting with the athletic directors and the graduate assistant gives them “explicit details”.   Come off it.  Paterno might have had “vague memories” of his discussions with the graduate assistant and his father but how vague can you be about Sandusky sodomizing a 10 year old boy in the shower.
      Yes, you are right….the graduate assistant should have called the police and when the graduate student and his father were at Paterno’s house, Paterno should have called the police.  The thing you may or may no know, is this was not the first time Sandusky was caught in the shower with a young boy.  A few years earlier, he was “horsing around in the shower with a kid” and shortly after that he retired as Paterno’s assistant. 
      Joe Paterno ran the football program; he was the boss.  When the school administration tried to get him to retire a few years ago, he should just how much clout he had and refused to leave.   He knew Sandusky was a pervert.  If he cared about the boys he coached over the years that Sandusky was his assistant, shouldn’t he have at least tried to find out if Sandusky had molested any of them?  No.  Joe Paterno cared more about his reputation then he did about the safety of children.  If you were Joe Paterno and you had reported Sandusky behavior with a young child to “the proper authorities” wouldn’t you wonder why Sandusky was still hanging around the building?

      • ==”Paterno sets up a meeting with the athletic directors and the graduate assistant gives them “explicit details”. ==

        So given no sexual details at the first meeting and never having been invited to the second meeting nor, Paterno was negligent how?

        • Why would Paterno set up a meeting with the athletic directors if he only had “vague details”?  That graduate assistant was upset.  He called his dad and they went to Paterno’s house.  Are you telling us that he didn’t blurt out that Sandusky was raping the boy? 
          I get it…you don’t want to believe that your sports hero is capable of putting himself before the welfare of a child.  How do you explain that Sandusky already had been caught in the shower a few years before and Paterno had spoken to him, leading to Sandusky’s retirement?  If you gave yourself even a moment to think sensibly you would see that he failed in his duties to the kids in the football program.

          • The graduate assistant called his dad? Boy, sounds serious. So serious that dad says go talk to your coach.

            Paterno was never told about the rape or even that the behaviour was sexual in nature. Didn’t you read the grand jury testimony?

            But carry on with your lynch mob. Your type always finds innocent folks to hang.

  8. Listen you bunch of dingbats.  First of all, the individual who was AN EYE WITNESS said nothing and still works at Penn State coaching football.

    If one of your coworkers came to you and said that he had witnessed a fellow coworker molesting kids, and you had known and worked with the accused for some time, im sure you wouldnt round up the torches and pitchforks.  You would likely approach them and try and see what was going on first hand and give them the benefit of the doubt.  Is it right?  No, but it’s human nature to not believe that those close to you are capable of something so monstrous.

    Was he wrong to not call the police immediately?  History has definitely proven that.  But who among us is perfect.

    Joe Paterno made a humungous mistake that prevented the cessation of a child molester.  And that is wrong.  But lets not forget that Sandusky is the real monster here.

    JoePa made a mistake.  But he was still the best football coach the NCAA has ever seen.

    RIP

    • so being a good coach absolves him of his enabling of sandusky?   good grief.

    • His employee reported it to him. He had direct responsibility for all the coaches under his watch. He had a responsibility to make sure action was taken.

      There are other guilty parties here, but no amount of excuses changes the fact that he was in one of the best positions to do something about all this.

      He had the authority. He failed to use it. He should never be in that position again. Period.

    • You are right…the graduate assistant and his dad should have called the police but the assistant wasn’t Paterno’s co-worker he was his subordinate.  Furthermore, Sandusky had a history that Joe Paterno knew about. 

  9. If I walked in on something like that, the question wouldn’t be whether I called the cops. Assuming I didn’t end that SOB right there, he’d at least be defending himself in court from a wheelchair.

    Anyone who does nothing when things like this happen and they find out about it, is culpable, period.

    And for a man of god to defend this in any way shape or form, makes him no such thing.

    Disgusting beyond belief.

  10. I’ve read the Grand Jury report (which is simply a report and not a legal finding of guilt in any manner).

    So Paterno never saw anything and when told of some alleged misconduct (but never told it was of a sexual nature), he reports these vaguest of allegations anyways.

    What is Paterno guilty of again?

    • Yes I am sure Paterno tried to paint himself as innocent in front of the grand jury.  What did McQuery say he told Paterno about the incident….”nothing of a sexual nature”.  Why for goodness sakes would McQuery and his dad attend Paterno’s house after the incident if they weren’t planning to report what McQuery had seen and why would Paterno set up an interview with the athletic directors if “nothing of a sexual nature” was disclosed to him by McQuery?

      One of the athletic directors was actually charged with perjury due to his lying to the grand jury when he said that McQuery didn’t tell him that anything of a “sexual nature’ was going on in the locker room between Sandusky and the 10 year old boy.  They probably let Paterno off because he was old and sick.

      If you know alot about this case, you know Sandusky was caught in the locker two years earlier with a young boy and at that point Paterno told him he would never be head coach.  At that point Sandusky apologized to the mother of the child for the “misunderstanding”. 
      Now what was your question….oh yes, what was Paterno guilty of?   Either incredible stupidity or he was so consumed with his own arrogance, not to recognize that grown men don’t “horse around” naked in the shower with 10 year old boys.

      • Can’t report sexual abuse if you’re never told about it, which Paterno never was.

        Grand juries aren’t trials either and can not determine guilt of anyone. Only a trial can legally do that. But continue with your witch-hunt even though the man is dead.

        • False, he was told enough to know what it was about. see my links above.

  11. -delete-

  12. it’s a Judeo/Christian world deSouza exists within, hence the stench of hypocrisy

  13. The country with the most immigrants to Canada per year is the intensely Catholic Phillipines.  
    Too Asian?

    Off the top of my head 2 other countries in the top 10 are Mexico and Colombia, both also intensely Catholic.  80% of Quebeckers still identify themselves as Catholic.  To bash Catholics is to be anti-Quebec as well as anti-immigrant.  

    You deliberately incited a Catholic hatefest, Mr. Patriquin, and that’s exactly what happened, but I would expect nothing less from a publication that runs infantile cover stories titled “Is God Poison?”

    • It’s the Catholic church that is to blame. 

  14. Cancer didn’t kill Joe Paterno, a lynch mob did. Right here in front of the whole world to see. In 2012 too.

    Unbelievable.

    • More likely it was shame, for his failure to protect children from a pedophile.

  15. I hate irresponsible media outlets. Yes, leave out that Paterno reported the accusation to the head of the campus police. That makes your story sound a hell of a lot better. Why would Joe Paterno have any reason not to believe that his superiors, higher ups in the University, would not investigate alleged child abuse? It was their job. Sandusky was not on Joe Paterno’s staff anymore. All he had was a witness who claimed he though he saw sexual activity (according to McQueary’s testimony, he did not see anal intercourse, but you should leave that out too because that helps your hit piece). Joe Paterno was a 75 year old man who sure as hell couldn’t spear head an investigation as complicated as this one. That’s why he handed over to his bosses. Because he believed they would deal with it the proper way. If Joe Paterno wanted to protect the image of Penn State football so strongly, why the hell would he even tell his superiors? If he had done this with such malice in his heart, wouldn’t it have been much easier to say to McQueary “keep this between you and me”? What happened to the alleged victims is tragic, don’t let that be forgotten. However, there are bigger fish to fry in the case than Joe Paterno. Maybe we should focus on those people.

  16. I hate irresponsible media outlets. Yes, leave out that Paterno reported the accusation to the head of the campus police. That makes your story sound a hell of a lot better. Why would Joe Paterno have any reason not to believe that his superiors, higher ups in the University, would not investigate alleged child abuse? It was their job. Sandusky was not on Joe Paterno’s staff anymore. All he had was a witness who claimed he though he saw sexual activity (according to McQueary’s testimony, he did not see anal intercourse, but you should leave that out too because that helps your hit piece). Joe Paterno was a 75 year old man who sure as hell couldn’t spear head an investigation as complicated as this one. That’s why he handed over to his bosses. Because he believed they would deal with it the proper way. If Joe Paterno wanted to protect the image of Penn State football so strongly, why the hell would he even tell his superiors? If he had done this with such malice in his heart, wouldn’t it have been much easier to say to McQueary “keep this between you and me”? What happened to the alleged victims is tragic, don’t let that be forgotten. However, there are bigger fish to fry in the case than Joe Paterno. Maybe we should focus on those people.

  17. wow… imagine…. a member of a church defending the molestation of children. i am surprised

  18. Unfortunately, it’s become clear over the last few days that Fr. De Souza is far from the only person eager to whitewash Paterno.  As with Michael Jackson, apparently all Paterno needed to do was die to bring out the people who want to pretend sexual abuse never happened.

    (Also, as disgusting as De Souza’s Paterno column was, it seems to me fair to note that his line about Hitchens and Hell was meant as a parody of Hitchens’s own line about Mother Theresa and Hell.)

  19. No, no, no. You don’t understand. Coach Paterno was supposed to turn into Detective Columbo and even though he wasn’t told the misconduct was sexual in nature, was supposed to figure out the whole sexual abuse scandal himself.

  20. Paterno wasn’t even told the misconduct was sexual in nature. And given the vagueness of the details, still informed the proper authorities.

    • False, he said himself he knew something of a sexual nature had taken place. Any fool could figure out what sexual things a grown man might be doing with a ten year old child.

  21. Paterno is a (dead) scapegoat for an angry lynch mob looking to hang someone innocent. They (and you) picked Paterno because he satisfied your prejudices and bloodlust.

  22. Of course Father Raymond J de Souza is defending Joe Paterno’s complicity in covering up sexual abuse. He’s a proud member and representative a church that permitted and indulged the systemic sexual abuse of children,  and protected and defended the perpetrators. The current pope wrote Church policy that covered up the crimes, kept them secret, and protected priest pedophiles. Priests were simply moved around from parish to parish where they abused more children. 

  23. It should be clear that there were a number of people in authority who kept silent and enabled the pedophile to continue raping children. Paterno was only the most well known of them.

  24. Given that he is Catholic, perhaps we should not be surprised that he downplays complicity in child rape. That’s practically what the Catholic church is for.

Sign in to comment.