Meadville Tribune

State News

April 11, 2013

Paterno family speaks at child abuse awareness event

HARRISBURG — On the night before he died, Joe Paterno scrawled a message that his wife, Sue, did not find until after the legendary Penn State coach had passed away.

In that message, Joe Paterno noted that the silver lining in the child sex abuse coverup that led to his firing might be that the scandal could inspire a greater awareness about child abuse.

“We took that as a directive,” Joe Paterno’s son Scott said Wednesday, moments after his brother Jay and mother Sue were the featured speakers at a child abuse awareness event.

Wednesday’s appearance was the first time the members of the Paterno family have lent their public support to a cause directed at fighting child abuse.

The event was sponsored by the Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance. Angela Liddle, the executive director of the alliance, said the Paternos’ involvement has been controversial but the organization is glad to have the advocacy of the former football coach’s family.

“Everyone’s questioning it,” Liddle said. “People say they are just doing it to try to repair their image.”

“(The Paternos) said ‘We are educating ourselves and we were shocked at how little we knew and we want to take the leadership in helping educate others,’” she said. “We could not be prouder that they are working with our organization.”

Sue Paterno had long supported the Special Olympics and the family had done work on behalf of multiple sclerosis research, Scott Paterno said. In both cases, the Paternos had some family connection to those issues. Sue Paterno has also been an avid donor to support the library at Penn State. The library holds a special place in her heart because it was where she met the man who would become her longtime husband long before he became an icon, Scott Paterno said.

Liddle said she first met the Paternos when they invited her to meet to discuss the issue of child abuse and hear her ideas about what needs to be done.

The Pennsylvania Family Support Association is lobbying for more and better training for people who are supposed to recognize and report child abuse.

Scott Paterno said that the Clemente Report had detailed how Jerry Sandusky had allegedly fooled many people, including Joe Paterno and numerous other professionals who were mandated reporters of suspected child abuse. The findings in the Clemente Report illustrated the need for better training for people who are supposed to recognize child abuse, Scott Paterno said.

The Clemente Report was commissioned by the Paternos in response to the Penn State board of trustees’ Freeh Report. The Freeh Report had determined that Joe Paterno had been a participant in the scheme to cover up the allegations about Sandusky.

In his speech, Jay Paterno noted that his own children had been around Sandusky at soccer games. Jay Paterno said that he never saw anything that made him suspect that Sandusky might be a child predator.

Jay Paterno said that he hopes that Pennsylvania can develop a culture that encourages witnesses to raise the alarm when they have suspicions about child abuse. Sandusky’s predatory behavior continued unabated because there were allegedly witnesses who did not report what they had seen and there were cases when witnesses told university administrators but police were never notified.

“When you come forward, we will stand with you,” Jay Paterno said. “Child abusers do not need enablers — those who protect children do.”

Jay was an assistant coach at Penn State, working for his father and alongside Sandusky.

Finnerty reports from Harrisburg for Community Newspaper Holdings Inc.’s Pennsylvania newspapers, including The Meadville Tribune. Follow him on Twitter @cnhipa.

Text Only
State News
  • Well inspectors trying to keep up during boom time

    The state’s 83 well inspectors face a daunting enough challenge keeping tabs on 120,000 active oil and gas wells that have been drilled over the last century.

    July 27, 2014

  • PennDOT seeking outside help to make bridge repairs

    State officials are poised to sign a massive deal that will enlist outside help to rebuild and maintain up to 600 bridges, marking the Corbett administration’s latest foray into privatizing key government functions.

    July 24, 2014

  • Gov. Corbett pressures lawmakers in pension fight

    Gov. Tom Corbett is ratcheting up pressure on the Legislature to reform the state’s pension system by focusing on how often school districts use tax increases to offset costs.

    July 22, 2014

  • Experts: Expanding coverage fuels doc shortage

    Pennsylvania’s health care system absorbed more than 300,000 new patients who signed up for insurance through Obamacare’s exchanges. But experts worry the system can’t handle another wave of patients, twice as large, should the state expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

    July 13, 2014

  • Jerry Sandusky’s son tells story to Oprah Winfrey

    Jerry Sandusky’s adult son is speaking out about what he says was sexual abuse by his father.

    July 8, 2014

  • Environmentalists criticize drilling-for-dollars plan in state forests and parks

    Pennsylvania’s just finished budget calls for raising almost $100 million by expanding leases for gas development in state forests — even though leases the state has already issued are far from tapped out.

    July 3, 2014

  • Pennsylvania House approves Republicans' $29.1B budget

    The Legislature voted late Monday to put a looming, $1.5 billion shortfall in its rearview mirror, with a deal to pass a $29.1 billion budget that increases state spending by 1.8 percent but doesn’t hike taxes.

    June 30, 2014

  • Food safety delivery concerns rise with fuel prices

    A few weeks ago state agriculture inspectors forced a trucker to toss 2,000 pounds of food in the garbage after finding the cargo had not been kept at safe temperatures.

    June 15, 2014

  • Tow truckers hope to put brakes on dispatch system

    Some tow truck operators are boycotting a computerized dispatch system put in place by state police, complaining that it’s confusing and leads to longer response times than when troopers and dispatchers manage a call.

    June 1, 2014

  • 'Economics' of state gubernatorial campaigns

    Gov. Tom Corbett’s re-election campaign hailed April’s jobs numbers. Pennsylvania’s unemployment dipped to 5.7 percent — its lowest since 2008 and well below the national average of 6.3 percent.
    “The people of Pennsylvania elected me to Harrisburg on my promise of less taxes and more jobs, and we continue to see that promise ringing tr

    May 25, 2014

Business Marquee
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide