PA- More hurtful calls for return of Paterno statue

For immediate release: Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests(314-566-9790cell, [email protected])

We are deeply disappointed that thousands of people rallied in support of the NCAA officials decision to reduce penalties against Penn State. 

We long for the day thousands at Penn State will rally showing support for the boys whose lives were devastated by and action and inaction of university officials.

We are especially disappointed that students and supporters called for the restoration of the Joe Paterno statue.

People can make it easier or harder for victims to report and police to investigate and prosecutors to pursue child molesters. Publicly honoring Paterno makes it harder. 

Paterno was a great coach. For many, he was a great role model. But the importance of children's safety trumps every athletic feat on or off the field, once or hundreds of times. It trumps every musical or artistic or journalistic achievement too. Do adults have any duty more crucial than the duty to safeguard vulnerable kids from shrewd predators?

One can debate how much Paterno knew or didn't know. But he was not completely innocent. He could and should have done more to stop Jerry Sandusky and help his victims. But he didn't. So he should not be honored. To do so just rubs more salt into the already deep and still fresh wounds of the families who are suffering because of the complicity of Penn State staff.

Dozens of innocent children were sexually molested, in part, because Paterno and others did not call the police or act more responsibly. So it's irresponsible to publicly praise Paterno. 

Penn State football players and enthusiasts are not the victims here. The boys raped by Jerry Sandusky are the victims here. Their healing comes first. It's clear that many in the Penn State community haven't learned this simple lesson.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers and, increasingly, victims who were assaulted in a wide range of institutional settings like orphanages, summer camps, athletic programs, Boy Scouts, etc . Our website is

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, [email protected])

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