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updated: 7/12/2012 11:38 PM

Paterno name means only one thing

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  • After the Thursday release of the Freeh report, there already is discussion on the future of Joe Paterno statue that stands outside Beaver Stadium on the Penn State campus.

    After the Thursday release of the Freeh report, there already is discussion on the future of Joe Paterno statue that stands outside Beaver Stadium on the Penn State campus.
    Associated Press


The question is so ludicrous it would border on humorous if the subject matter weren't so truly horrific.

But it was asked over and over again Thursday, as if there were some confusion.

Penn State fans -- and those who despise the school equally -- wanted to know, "What will this mean for Joe Paterno's legacy?"

Legacy? Seriously?

This IS his legacy.

Joe Paterno didn't coach football, build character or raise money for charity.

No, Joe Paterno helped a predator rape little boys.

He sat back and let it happen, all in the name of making money for Penn State, winning football games and preserving his good name.

How's that good name now?

Paterno, while stopping short of committing the crimes himself, did nearly the same by enabling a serial rapist for more than a decade.

During that time, for 14 years after Paterno found out about Jerry Sandusky's sick behavior, Sandusky was free to roam the countryside, preying on the weak and the helpless, taking advantage of those who could not protect themselves, abusing those children who were most in need.

His legacy?

Conservatively, we might estimate that Sandusky forced himself upon five children a year and five times each.

Over 14 years, that's 350 times little boys were raped after Joe Paterno could have stopped the rapist.

When I presented that number Thursday, a cop with knowledge of the realm suggested my calculation was naive.

He said that someone with an unlimited appetite for rape, with an unlimited supply of victims and access to facilities, who could charm and bribe children with wonderful gifts, would not have settled for five children a year.

Furthermore, Sandusky already had been caught and discovered that no one cared to stop him.

Yes, he had been caught and Penn State president Graham Spanier, athletic director Tim Curley and vice president Gary Schultz, along with Paterno, had let Sandusky walk free.

An emboldened Sandusky, with Paterno's unspoken blessing, likely committed several times that 350.

His legacy?

The report by former FBI director Louis Freeh, released Thursday, stated that, "The most powerful men at Penn State failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children who Sandusky victimized … Their failure to protect the Feb. 9, 2001, child victim, or make attempts to identify him, created a dangerous situation for other unknown, unsuspecting young boys who were lured to the Penn State campus and football games by Sandusky and victimized repeatedly by him."

Until the final day he drew breath, Paterno lied, concealed and conspired to protect his name and the Penn State football program, and never did he lift a finger or make a phone call that could have stopped a rapist.

Joe Paterno could have prevented it. He could have saved countless victims from having ever been assaulted, but it did not matter to him.

It wasn't important. Those kids didn't matter. Paterno mattered. He chose defending his name over defending the defenseless.

His legacy?

Joe Paterno enabled a child rapist and empowered him to rape with impunity.

It is that simple. It is his legacy.

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