PA--Victims beg Paterno family to “face facts & end denial”

For immediate release: Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790,314 645 5915 home, [email protected])

Damage to the Paterno family name is becoming increasingly self-inflicted as relatives of the controversial coach continue to deny evidence that he was told long about Jerry Sandusky’s child sex crimes. It’s a sad and hurtful sight.

Two years ago, under oath, a man testified that in 1976, he told Joe Paterno about being abused by Sandusky, according to newly released court records.

Those records also “contain a number of details about claims that Penn State football assistant coaches witnessed ‘inappropriate contact’ and ‘sexual contact’ between Sandusky and a child in 1987 and 1988” reports the Washington Post.

And note that we’re not just talking about one victim. Again, from the Washington Post: “The records include excerpts from depositions given by accusers who contend they reported abuse to Paterno or members of his staff in the 1970s and '80s.”

Of course, some Paterno backers will say these men are liars. There’s no evidence of that, of course. In fact, evidence and common sense suggest they’re telling the truth. (Again, they were under oath in a deposition.)

We beg the Paterno family to face facts and stop – or at the very least tone down – their callous remarks that insult, hurt and cast doubt on courageous, wounded victims of horrific child sex crimes and subsequent betrayals by Penn State staff.  

You can love Joe for all he did for you and others while still admitting he didn’t handle the Sandusky scandal perfectly. To do so would be a sign of maturity and sensitivity, not a sign of weakness or disloyalty. And to do so would be one way to help bring healing to this mess and to help create a climate in which other victims of sexual violence are more apt to speak up, expose predators and protect others.

But when you keep suggesting these men can’t be trusted, you deter others who have been raped and sodomized from stepping forward. Unintentionally, you are helping to silence and depress them. Please try to look beyond your deep pain and consider the even deeper pain of those whose innocence has been stolen from them as kids by child molesting coaches, teachers, ministers and other powerful adults.

Finally, these revelations are yet another “wake up” call to coaches, teachers, school administrators, church officials and other: By word and deed, it’s your duty to tell your underlings ‘The second you suspect possible child sex crimes, call police.’ It’s also your duty to set up a climate that rewards, not retaliates again, those who report abuse.”

No matter what university officials or the courts do or don’t do, we urge every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes and cover ups at Penn State or Sandusky’s former charity to protect kids by calling police, get help by calling therapists, expose wrongdoers by calling law enforcement, get justice by calling attorneys, and be comforted by calling support groups like ours. This is how kids will be safer, adults will recover, criminals will be prosecuted, cover ups will be deterred and the truth will surface.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has 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. 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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