Joe Paterno Reportedly Played Major Role in Penn State Cover-Up

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CNN has reportedly been informed of the contents of emails between top Penn State officials that allege a cover-up of a 2001 incident involving Jerry Sandusky, and the messages seem to implicate that it was Joe Paterno's idea to not report Sandusky. 

Earlier this month, news broke that emails existed between former Penn State President Graham Spanier, Vice President Gary Schultz and athletic director Tim Curley were aware of a 2001 incident between Sanducky and a child, and that they decided it would be "humane" to not report Sandusky to authorities. 

The emails reportedly never mention Sandusky by name, instead referring to him as "the subject" or "the person." The first email, sent 16 days after Mike McQueary reported witnessing Sandusky in the shower with a boy, was from Vice President Schultz to athletic director Curley explaining the plan was to "talk with the subject [Sandusky]... contact the charitable organization [Second Mile]... and contacting the Department of Welfare."

But, a few days later, Curley apparently wrote this in an email to President Spanier:

"After giving it more thought and talking it over with Joe [Paterno] yesterday, I am uncomfortable with what we agreed were the next steps. I am having trouble with going to everyone, but the person involved. I would be more comfortable meeting with the person.. tell him the information we received... and tell him we are aware of the first situation." 

They develop a plan to deal with the problem in house, to tell Sandusky there's a problem and offer professional help. Curley writes in an email that if Sandusky cooperates, they'd be willing to work with him. If not, they'd have to inform Second Mile and the Department of Welfare. Former university President Spanier was supportive of the new idea, but was also aware how bad it would be if people found out they didn't report Sandusky: 

"The only downside for us is if the message isn't 'heard' and acted upon, and we become vulnerable for not having reported it. But that can be assessed down the road."

It was in that same email that Spanier used "humane" to describe the way they were planning on handling the situation. All three men have been fired from Penn State, but Schultz and Curley could face perjury charges for lying to the grand jury if these allegations are true. Besides Spanier's acknowledging how awful it is that they didn't report Sandusky abuse, the emails will hit Paterno's legacy the hardest if it's true the university decided to not go to authorities after a conversation he had with Tim Curley. Watch the full CNN report here: 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.