It Appears I Owe An Apology To Penn State President Eric Barron For Discussing The New Joe Paterno Allegations
Over the past few days, allegations have surfaced from individuals who claim to be Sandusky victims and from unidentified individuals about the alleged knowledge of former University employees. None of these allegations about the supposed knowledge of University employees has been substantiated in a court of law or in any other process to test their veracity.
I want you to know I am appalled by the rumor, innuendo and rush to judgment that have accompanied the media stories surrounding these allegations. All too often in our society, people are convicted in the court of public opinion, only to find a different outcome when all the facts are presented.
In contrast, over the last two days we have worked to be diligent in reanalyzing the record of reports and depositions to ensure that our reactions and comments are both responsible and trustworthy.
First, the allegations related to Penn State are simply not established fact. The two allegations related to knowledge by Coach Paterno are unsubstantiated and unsupported by any evidence other than a claim by an alleged victim. They date from the 1970s. Coach Paterno is not alive to refute them. His family has denied them.
Second, we cannot find any evidence, related to a settlement or otherwise, that an alleged early assault was communicated to Coach Paterno. This raises considerable credibility issues as to this press report. Others cite assistant coaches that were witnesses or had knowledge – stating it as fact in headlines and text – even in the face of a denial and clear failure to corroborate from the individuals allegedly involved. Other stories are clearly incredulous, and should be difficult for any reasonable person to believe. We should not be rendering judgments about the actions of Coach Paterno or any other former employees of Penn State based on incomplete, sensationalized media accounts.
I can think of few crimes as heinous as the sexual assault of a child. We are, as individuals and as an institution, appalled by Sandusky’s actions, and unified in our commitment to prevention, treatment and education. I encourage you to visit this link: http://bit.ly/1WiII0h for information on Penn State’s commitment.
Unfortunately, we can’t control the 24/7 news cycle, and the tendency of some individuals in social media and the blogosphere to rush to judgment. But I have had enough of the continued trial of the institution in various media. We have all had enough. And while Penn State cannot always comment on allegations that emanate from legal proceedings, I thought it was important to let you know my reaction to the media frenzy that has ensued over the past few days. I am appalled.
Eric Barron President
I'm sorry guys. This one's on me. I'll carry the weight of the entire worldwide web, because I treated a report from a credible news source as if it were fact. I made an ass out of you and me by assuming that someone who covered up repeated acts of child molestation for over a decade was capable of doing so for over 4 decades. I will speak on behalf of every internet personality in saying that we - as a group - need to have more journalistic integrity. We simply need to be better about investigating interactions that have been buried deep down in the sub-conscience of a now deceased man for at least 40 years. I - as well as others in my "field" - were irresponsible in considering a court order to be truthful. We should have let a University that has done nothing but prove, time and time again, that they are completely dedicated to upholding justice reanalyze these claims before we responded to them. How could we possibly feel comfortable doing so when the person for which they indict is no longer with us? Never mind the six assistants that were outed as having openly discussed Sandusky's sexual abuse with Paterno, the only reliable source of information here is the family of the dead guy that knowingly employed an overactive pedophile for the better part of his life.
Can you believe we ran with this story without having clear, incriminating evidence at our disposal? Obviously if all this stuff actually happened it would be the type of thing that Joe Paterno would meticulously record and keep in the top drawer of his desk. To think that the ethically upstanding members of the Penn State football program would conceal such deplorable actions when they have their own website dedicated to insuring that they never happen again. How could we be so stupid in rushing to judge a cult-like University that started rioting when someone that enabled molestation lost his job coaching football? I think I speak on behalf of all online news sources by apologizing for my frivolous coverage of a well documented sex scandal that jeopardized the physical and mental health of dozens upon dozens of children.
Bob and the Blogosphere