Who knew what at Penn State?

Having fired its head football coach, Joe Paterno, and its president, Graham Spanier, for failing to act on their knowledge of child abuse by former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, why has Penn State instead granted paid administrative leave to Mike McQueary, a current assistant coach who in 2002 actually witnessed Sandusky’s sexual assault on a child but who failed either to intervene to stop the assault or to report what he saw to the police?

McQueary was 28 years old when he witnessed Sandusky’s sexual assault on a child. He was physically able to intervene to halt the sexual attack on a child by Sandusky, who was then 58. Instead he just called his father, and on his father’s advice, the next day, described what he had seen to head coach Paterno. No report was made to police.

Penn State may have some explanation for why it would allow Mike McQueary to remain on the payroll as an assistant coach in a football program with the motto “Success with honor”. But until it offers that explanation, observers could conclude that Penn State’s sense of honor and morality is consistent with McQueary’s failure to act back in 2002, and that Penn State may still view McQueary as a role model for its student athletes. Or that Penn State may fear a dismissed McQueary may start naming names of others who knew about Sandusky’s sex crimes against children but also failed to act.

Similarly, why has Penn State allowed its athletic director Tim Curley to take administrative leave? Just like Paterno and Spanier, Curley failed to act on the same knowledge of child abuse. And in addition Curley has been charged with perjury for allegedly lying to a grand jury. Yet Curley remains on Penn State’s payroll while on administrative leave.

Again, Penn State may have reasons for keeping Tim Curley on its payroll while on administrative leave. But its silence invites speculation that it views Curley more favorably than Paterno and Spanier who were fired. Or that it fears what Curley might say upon dismissal.

The big question is, who else at Penn State participated in the cover-up of Jerry Sandusky’s sex crimes against children?

Jerry Sandusky was known as an outstanding assistant coach and defensive coordinator. People like that are normally recruited by other schools for their football programs. Why wasn’t Sandusky?

Jerry Sandusky was only 55 years old when he retired from the Penn State football program in 1999. Why did he retire so young, at the peak of his professional success, when the head coach he might succeed, Joe Paterno, was already 73 years old? And having retired from Penn State’s football program, why wasn’t he then recruited by other schools?

Somebody had to know. A lot of people had to know. Who were they?

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.