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A Child Abuse Investigator's Opinion of Joe Paterno: "He Chose Evil"

Paterno read the classics and often quoted Plato. Plato once wrote "Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the law". Make no mistake, Joe Paterno was not good people.

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This is a guest post by Patrick Perion, a child abuse investigator working in the Mid West. 

In the wake of the testimony in the Jerry Sandusky child rape trial being unsealed, there is new shock and outrage directed at Penn State and Joe Paterno -- and rightly so. 

Paterno facilitated what may well have been a criminal child sex trafficking operation by turning a blind eye to reports of Sandusky's depravity as far back as 40 years ago.

The first contact about Sandusky with police was in 1998, yet he wasn't arrested until 2011. The nation and sports fans in particular were dumbfounded at this revelation, and were more shocked when reports surfaced that Paterno was made aware of the crimes in 2001 and informed higher ups at Penn State who did nothing.

Now we have learned that 22 years of additional victims exist. From a numbers perspective we are talking about hundreds of more victims, and thousands -- if not tens of thousands of individual acts of sexual assault and child rape perpetrated by Sandusky. 

It is important to understand that when a perpetrator like Sandusky has access to a victim, he doesn't just assault the victim once. In cases like this there is almost always grooming behavior, inappropriate touching, followed by acts of oral sex and anal penetration. In 22 years of conducting forensic interviews of children, maybe only a dozen have told me it happened only one time. An overwhelming majority of sexual abuse and child rape victims suffer the abuse over and over and over. 

Due to legal confidentiality, I cannot be specific but I had a case with a perpetrator who was abusing a child 7-10 times a day. This is the rule and not the exception.

The saddest thing about all of this is the response by the Paterno family and Penn State officials. Anthony Lubrano, a Penn State trustee and a staunch supporter of Paterno was interviewed by Dan Bernstein and Barry Rozner on WSCR 670 The Score in Chicago today. He is still making the case that Sandusky didn't commit any crimes.

I read much of the testimony of the victims in the trial, as well as the statements made in the original indictment. The details provided by the victims are the key to their credibility. It is what we look for when interviewing victims -- the more detail, the more corroboration. 

Sorry, Mr. Lubrano, but the allegations are not uncorroborated.

It's important to remember that as many as 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused. The percentage of false reports is infinitesimally small as very few people make up sex abuse allegations. That is not to say there are not false reports, but we members of the child protection community can weed those out pretty quickly.

Today's revelations underscore one of the things we always tell people: If you see or suspect child abuse call the authorities. The worst thing that will happen is that a professional will meet with the child and determine whether they are safe and not being abused. 

All of the coaches named today bear some responsibility for the evil they let go unchecked, but Paterno was the man in charge. A man charged with molding young men into responsible adults who didn't have time for a 14 year old telling him he was abused. He told the young man John Doe 150, "I don’t want to hear about any of that kind of stuff, I have a football season to worry about"

Joe Paterno was fond of talking about the Grand Experiment, coaching football and educating young men at the same time. Paterno read the classics and often quoted Plato. Plato once wrote "Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the law". 

Make no mistake, Joe Paterno was not good people.