*Disclaimer. Bruce Cameron has been a regular contributor to my blog on the Penn State Scandal based on his extensive professional experience and expertise in the area of sexual predators. His views are his own.
Jim Clemente, a former FBI profiler and specialist on child sex crimes was asked to report on Paterno.com his analysis of the Freeh report, which stated many concerns regarding the negative connotation toward Joe Paterno. Clemente makes an good effort to minimize and direct all of our attention to the actions of Jerry Sandusky, who has now been convicted 45 of 48 charges of child sexual abuse.
Clemente’s findings suggest that the Freeh report ignored behavioral dynamics of Sandusky, victims and witnesses. He focuses on the cunning “grooming” skills that Sandusky employed to lure victims to be abused. These “skills” were so slick that he operated under the radar of detection, all of which is true. Mr. Clemente is absolutely correct in his description of sex offender “grooming” behaviors. This is a “tool of the trade” and apparently was one of Sandusky’s main avenues for access and engagement of child victims. Offenders who employ these tactics are deceptive and unsuspecting. However, as it may be, other individuals, along with Joe Paterno, allowed Sandusky’s sex offending to continue. Clemente is correct in that Paterno never made any attempt to hide information from investigators, hinder an investigation, or create obstacles, but he certainly did not help. Additionally, he asserts that the Sandusky case has nothing to do with Penn State football or Joe Paterno. Clemente objects about how this case was investigated (stranger danger vs. nice-guy acquaintance offender) enabling Freeh and his huge task force to draw erroneous conclusions.
The Special Investigations Task Force is a multi-disciplinary team of federal and state officials that examined more than 3.5 million emails/documents, and conducted over 430 interviews of persons in various roles and capacities related to the Penn State campus. That is a lot of data. I am confident that strong themes and trends were more than evident upon examination of the evidence and data collected. Was this a Conspiracy? It is clear that these crimes against children occurred on the Penn State campus for approximately 14 years. This does not happen by chance, nor was it due to the extraordinary “grooming”, the nice-guy predator skill of Sandusky. Decisions were made throughout the years that followed, whether to report or not report. Clearly, many of these choice points crossed the paths of janitors to Penn State senior leaders, most certainly including Paterno throughout the years. Call it what you will, but it is more than obvious that sustained efforts from numerous individuals had to occur in order for Sandusky’s reign of terror to go undetected for so long.
What was the role of Paterno? Unfortunately, Joe Paterno died before he could be interviewed by the Task Force. He did consent to be interviewed. Despite his passing, Paterno made numerous documented statements in his grand jury testimony, public statements, personal notes and papers that were provided by Paterno’s attorney. Joe Paterno had said, “I didn’t know exactly how to handle it and I was afraid to do something that might jeopardize what the university procedure was. So I backed away and turned it over to some other people, people I thought would have a little more expertise that I did. It didn’t work out that way.” Evidence shows that Paterno and others knew about a 1998 criminal investigation about Sandusky related to sexual misconduct with a young boy in a Penn State football locker room shower. Evidence also revealed that Paterno failed to take any action. Mr. Paterno could have taken steps to prevent Sandusky from bringing other children into the Lasch Building. Paterno nor any of the other officials spoke to Sandusky about his conduct. Nothing was done and Sandusky was allowed to continue with impunity. Task Force documents indicate Mr. Paterno telling Mr. Mcqueary on Febrary 10, 2011 when McQueary reported what he saw Sandusky doing in the shower the night before: “You did what you had to do. It is my job now to figure out what we want to do.” Why would anyone have to figure out what to do, given these circumstances? Examining the available witness statements and evidence the Task Force concluded, in order to avoid the consequences of bad publicity, the most powerful leaders at Penn State University, Paterno directly named as one of these, repeatedly CONCEALED critical facts relating to Sandusky’s child abuse from the authorities, the Board of Trustees, Penn State Community and the public at large.
Despite Clemente’s passionate appeal to cast this tragedy solely on the shoulders of Sandusky, Joe Paterno played a role that enabled Sandusky to continue his sexual misconduct with children. The Freeh Report/ Task Force investigation was based on data, not feelings. Conclusions based on data are far less subjective. Sexual Abuse of children is a crime that immediately generates emotion and feelings. Here are mine. Regardless of Clemente’s appeal, he can’t make this foul ball fly straight. This is an attempt to disassociate Paterno’s stellar career and reputation in football from Sandusky’s sexual offending. However, the light of truth prevails, which more than tarnishes all of the above. Truth has a way of doing that, especially when unthinkable acts were allowed to continue for almost two decades. Sadly, it is my opinion Paterno sold out to the “system” and the machine of “look the other way” that continued to roll over and victimize countless children by a monster named Sandusky. No amount of distractions, reminders or accolades of Paterno will erase or justify the damage he allowed to continue under his regime and the truth that was ignored.
Sandusky, Paterno, and other senior officials, failed to take proper steps in not protecting THE children, OUR children, that will forever be known as Sandusky’s victims. Paterno’s name will be, should be and deserves to be linked to this tragedy and crimes against children, and for that matter humanity. It is our responsibility to never allow this to happen again and to not let history repeat itself.
“Losing a game is heartbreaking. Losing your sense of excellence or worth is a tragedy. ” Joe Paterno –
I’ll just let that speak for itself.
Since 1990, Bruce Cameron has worked as a therapist, administrator, and Treatment Oversight Specialist for the U.S. Department of Justice/Federal Bureau of Prisons. His professional credentials include Licensed Professional Counselor/Supervisor, Licensed Sex Offender Treatment Provider, and Certified Addiction Specialist. He is also a Diplomate of Clinical Forensic Counseling.
Mr. Cameron received his graduate training in clinical psychology at the University of Wyoming, and completed his American Psychological Association internship in clinical forensic psychology at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. This was followed by a fellowship in clinical forensic psychology with the Federal Correctional Institution in Butner, North Carolina, where he opened the Pilot Residential Drug Abuse and Sex Offender treatment units. He was promoted to Director of psychology services at the Federal Medical Center in Carville, Louisiana. He then opened the female Federal Medical Center Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas, focusing on addiction treatment. Presently, his duty station is in the Bureau’s South Central Regional Office/Transitional Services section in Dallas, Texas, which procures and provides technical oversight of drug abuse, mental health and sex offender treatment services for releasing federal inmates in a five-state region. Mr. Cameron also maintains a private counseling/consulting practice in Southlake, Texas, and an adjunct faculty appointment for Columbia College, Columbia, Missouri.