Santorum: Paterno deserves to tell his side of story
November 8th, 2011
06:22 PM ET
2 years ago

Santorum: Paterno deserves to tell his side of story

Manchester, New Hampshire (CNN) – Penn State graduate and presidential candidate Rick Santorum said Tuesday that embattled head football coach Joe Paterno should be given a chance to speak about his role in a scandal that has already brought down his bosses and an assistant coach.

Paterno, who has the most wins among major college coaches and a largely spotless record, is under pressure because of his response to allegations brought to him in 2002 by a graduate assistant who said he had seen retired defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky sexually assaulting a young boy in the shower at the campus football complex.

Paterno reported the allegations to his boss, and Pennsylvania's attorney general said it appeared that the coach had met his obligations under state law. Still, some critics have said that he should have reported the suspected abuse to police.

Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator who is running for the GOP nomination, called Paterno a "revered figure" at Penn State.

"I know Joe Paterno and I've known him for many years," Santorum told reporters after visiting his campaign office in Bedford. "These are horrible, horrible gut-wrenching, gut-punching allegations of what went on there. All I can say is obviously heads rolled and there may be more heads to roll."

But he would not call for Paterno's ouster.

"The bottom line is that after all the years of what he's done for that university and beyond that for so many others in this country, he deserves the opportunity to tell his side of the story," Santorum said. "I'm not going to make any judgments until that happens and he certainly is owed that."

Penn State canceled Paterno's regular press conference Tuesday.

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Filed under: 2012 • Pennsylvania • Rick Santorum
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    "All I can say is obviously heads rolled and there may be more heads to roll."'

    I suggest you turn your attention to Wall Steet if you're looking for that...we're taking the whet stones to the guillotines as you speak.

    November 8, 2011 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  2. Matt

    Whoa. For probably the first time in my life, I completely agree w/ Rick Santorum.

    November 8, 2011 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  3. notsosure

    This is one thing I can agree with Mr Santorm about JoPa can be accused of misjudgement, but it was not criminal, and he was not an eye witness, he reported to the AD, which was his only responsibility. Did he have a moral obligation to tell the police himself? The only thing he could tell them is what he heard from someone else.

    November 8, 2011 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  4. Jean Sartre, Milwaukee, WI

    Joe Paterno and Rick Santorum as BFF's will both have plenty of time to tell their stories, as well the should have. That is a right in the USA...

    I just don't know how many media people are going to want to go into their prison cells to hear their stories.

    November 8, 2011 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  5. lisa

    It was rape of a child. He has no side to tell.

    November 8, 2011 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  6. Becky

    Gee, Sen. Santorum, you say you are a children's advocate because you are against choice, but it is ok for grown men to molest little boys?

    November 8, 2011 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  7. BB

    Thats a serial homo on the loose! he needs to be locked up and through away the keys!

    November 8, 2011 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  8. FRETNOMORE

    so someone 'revered' should be exempt from the scrutiny? and he reveres the pope who has possibly helped cover-up molestations from priests. religion and football, such quality examples of traditional family values.

    November 8, 2011 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  9. PF Galante

    He's just a football coach. What exactly has he done for the country? Then again, you could say the same about Santorum...

    November 8, 2011 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  10. gt

    i hope sandusky gets a real mean room mate in the pin..named bubba,,, the perverted homosextual child molester sandusky is the guilty one ...not joe..

    November 8, 2011 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  11. Angy

    Regardless what is "his side". The fact that he KNEW about it, is enough for him to GO!

    November 8, 2011 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  12. Rick in OP

    Santorum is as dumb as a stump. And I am a conservative Republican.
    Paterno should have been gone this morning.

    November 8, 2011 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |