Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, who announced Wednesday that he would be retiring at the end of this season, told reporters that he and his wife would “start praying for those kids that got involved with some of the problems that were talked about.”
Referring to the victims of the alleged sexual abuse by Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, Paterno said Tuesday in a video captured by the Daily Collegian, Penn State’s student newspaper: “They don’t deserve it. We owe it to them to say a prayer for them and to make sure that they understand that their life is still one that can be enriched.”
Speaking at his home, Paterno admitted, “There’s been some criticism of the way we’ve handled some of the poor victims. You know, my wife and I, we have 17 grandkids from 16 to three, and we pray for them every night. We’re gonna start praying for those kids that got involved with some of the problems that were talked about.”
The Smoking Gun said what many were thinking when they wrote: ”Paterno did not address, of course, the likelihood that his prayer pledge would be unnecessary had he just called the cops after learning a decade ago that his former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was allegedly spotted sexually assaulting a 10-year-old boy in the shower at the university’s football facility.”
For more on the religious and moral issues raised in this case, read Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld’s post for On Faith local, on complicity with evil, watch Rabbi Brad Hirschfield’s analysis of the moral responsibilities, and check out USA Today’s Cathy Lynn Grossman’s article on the parallels from Penn State to the Catholic Church’s sex abuse crisis.