Book: Culture Of Silence Led To Penn State Scandal
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The days of rage at Penn State – a scandal of never-been-seen proportions – led to riots erupting at the firing of legendary football coach Joe Paterno.
“I didn’t sleep for two months,” Bill Moushey, a Point Park University journalism professor, said.
For Moushey, it meant round-the-clock work on a book about what had brought a great university to the brink.
The result is “Game Over,” indicting a culture of silence at Penn State – a compulsive desire to handle all matters internally, keeping the public and press at bay.
“The closed society is a bad society, and that is what existed up there,” he said.
The book takes an unflinching look at Paterno himself, questioning whether the beloved football coach could have interceded to prevent the alleged serial molestation of boys.
“We built his legacy up in that book, but the fact of the matter is that his legacy was partially destroyed by his own inaction and we wrote what happened, so if there’s backlash to that so be it,” Moushey said.
What’s well-known is that Paterno and top Penn State officials were told by then-graduate assistant Mike McQueary that he saw Jerry Sandusky molesting a boy in a campus shower in 2002 and that police were never notified.
But “Game Over” explores a similar shower room incident involving Sandusky four years earlier. Though those allegations were investigated, charges were never brought and Paterno said he was never made aware — though Moushey says it was well-known throughout the campus.
“There are many people who say … it would be impossible for Paterno to not at least know what was going on,” he said. “People have told us he knew what the light bill was in that football locker room.”
The book also questions the commitment to the investigation by then-Attorney General Tom Corbett when new allegations surfaced against Sandusky in 2008.
Only one investigator was put on the case and the book cites more than $600,000 in contributions given to now-Governor Corbett by Sandusky’s charity, the Second Mile.
The governor’s office denies this saying Corbett gave the investigation “all the appropriate resources” leading to charges against Sandusky.
“There are going to people that aren’t real happy about what we wrote, so that’s not a first in my career either,” Moushey said.
It’s the first of what will be many books on this scandal, but perhaps no other will be quite as explosive, taking on people in high places and the legacy of a legend.