What did Joe Paterno know about Jerry Sandusky’s alleged behavior around little boys, and when did he know it? That’s the question everyone has been asking since the scandal broke last fall. Now, according to a story about Paterno, Penn State and the Jerry Sandusky scandal in the March issue of Philadelphia magazine, there are suggestions Paterno and those close to him could have known more than has been acknowledged.
In 1999, Sandusky abruptly retired from his position as defensive coordinator, just a year after he was investigated by Penn State university police following an encounter with a young boy and after apparently being told by Paterno he’d never be his successor. Paterno’s son Scott and others around Paterno have said the coach knew nothing about the 1998 investigation. But a longtime friend of athletic director Tim Curley says that when he expressed surprise to Curley at Sandusky’s departure, Curley told him: “It’s for a very good reason”—though Curley wouldn’t elaborate.
Moreover, writes the article’s author, Robert Huber, “someone who knows the Paternos well told me—reluctantly—that a person whose name begins with P-A-T (a Paterno, obviously, though not Joe) told him at least four years ago that ‘Jerry Sandusky didn’t get along well with little boys.’”
Joe Paterno claimed he never fully understood what Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary was telling him in 2002, after McQueary says he saw Sandusky sexually abusing a young boy in then shower. “But it sounds like some of the Paternos may have had a pretty good idea of Sandusky’s behavior,” Huber writes.