A new report has provided additional details on Joe Paterno's awareness of child abuse at Penn State University, appearing to confirm the former football coach knew of Jerry Sandusky's crimes long before his arrest.
CNN obtained previously unseen police report documents on Saturday, originally transcribed in connection to witness Mike McQueary's testimony. McQueary, who was a key witness in the Sandusky abuse trial and had witnessed Sandusky's abuse himself in a PSU locker room, told police that the aftermath from the 2001 locker room incident was not the first time Paterno had become aware of abuse from Sandusky.
According to the document, the locker room incident in 2001 was, "the second complaint of this nature [Paterno] had received" about his former defensive coordinator. There was, however, no further discussion between McQueary and Paterno about the nature of the previous incident, according to the police report.
This coincides with previous information connected to an insurance lawsuit, in which plaintiffs claimed the football coach knew about Sandusky's abuse as far back as 1976, 25 years before the locker room incident and 36 years before Sandusky was brought to trial.
But why has it taken so long for this information to come out? One big reason: McQueary was never asked under oath about the second incident he described to police, and according to CNN's sources, did not want to volunteer further information to pile on Paterno following the coach's passing. They also claim the prosecution strove to avoid any mention of Paterno/Penn State that wasn't explicitly connected to convicting Sandusky.
"They hated the whole Penn State conspiracy thing," a source close to the prosecution told CNN. "We totally structured the case to avoid Paterno."
Be that as it may, this new information directly contradicts Paterno's own testimony prior to his death, in which he denied knowledge of any misconduct from Sandusky prior to 2001.
"I do not know of anything else that Jerry would be involved in of that nature, no," said Paterno. "I do not know of it."
Despite evidence pointing to, at best, negligence on Paterno's behalf, his family and other Paterno supporters have remained steadfast in denying his culpability. Penn State fans set up a vigil for the wins the NCAA vacated as a product of the abuse scandal—those were eventually restored—and the university held an honorary ceremony for his career in early 2016.
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