Penn State’s Joe Paterno Covers Up Child Abuse, Students Riot Over Sacking
ONE of the most famous U.S. college football coaches ever, Joe Paterno, and the president of Penn State University were fired on Wednesday after it transpired they’d covered up a former assistant coach and school officials’ child abuses.
“I am disappointed with the Board of Trustees’ decision, but I have to accept it,” Paterno said in a statement. “I am grateful beyond words to all of the coaches, players and staff who have been a part of this program. And to all of our fans and supporters, my family and I will be forever in your debt.”
His exit came about after charges were filed against long-time assistant coach Jerry Sandusky who has been accused of sexually abusing at least eight boys over more than a decade. Paterno is said to have known about this, along with wwo other university officials, none of whom reported any of the incidents.
Lawyers for all three men have said they deny the charges and maintain their innocence.
“With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more,” Paterno said of his actions after learning of the allegations about Sandusky in 2002.
Earlier, the U.S. Department of Education said it would launch an investigation into the conduct at Penn State, which must disclose criminal offenses committed on campus each year.
“If these allegations of sexual abuse are true then this is a horrible tragedy for those young boys,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a statement. “If it turns out that some people at the school knew of the abuse and did nothing or covered it up, that makes it even worse.”
Paterno’s firing caused some students to riot, in what seems like an incredibly tasteless rampage. Would you want to be remembered for being part of what ostensibly looks like a pro-child abuse riot? Ashton Kutcher also came out in defence of Paterno on twitter (more on that here) before getting the full story and retracting his earlier statement.