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Paterno hires attorney, ‘is absolutely distraught over what happened to the children’

Joe Paterno AP

It was reported late Thursday night that Joe Paterno had either retained the services of a high-powered Washington D.C. attorney or was in the process of doing so.

In a statement released by the former Penn State head coach’s son a day later, Scott Paterno has confirmed that he has hired criminal defense attorney J. Sedgwick Sollers on his father’s behalf.  Sollers is probably best known for having represented former president George H.W. Bush in the Iran-Contra affair.

Paterno has not been charged with any type of crime related to the indictment of his former assistant on multiple charges of the sexual abuse of children, but the family is concerned about the ongoing investigation by the state — there’s also the possibility of a probe at the federal level — as well as the likelihood of civil lawsuits.

By way of WHTM-TV in Harrisburg, PA, here is Scott Paterno’s statement:

“Like everyone who has watched this story unfold, my father is experiencing a range of powerful emotions,” Scott Paterno said in the statement. “He is absolutely distraught over what happened to the children and their families. He also wants very much to speak publicly and answer questions.”

“At this stage, however, he has no choice but to be patient and defer to the legal process,” he said. “He cooperated fully with the grand jury and he will continue to cooperate with the investigation as we move forward.”

“On behalf of my father, I have retained Wick Sollers at the law firm of King and Spalding. My father’s desire is for the truth to be uncovered and he will work with his lawyers to that end,” he said.

“Going forward, Mr. Sollers has directed my father, our family and everyone associated with us to make no further public statements and to respond to no media inquiries. We will honor this request. Accordingly, all requests for comments or other information should be directed to Mr. Sollers.”

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30 Responses to “Paterno hires attorney, ‘is absolutely distraught over what happened to the children’”
  1. bmmayhew says: Nov 11, 2011 6:58 PM

    Lawyering up: the first sign of guilty.

  2. centexhorn says: Nov 11, 2011 7:00 PM

    No he’s not. If he was absolutely distraught about “what happened with the children” he wouldn’t have looked the other way and allowed it to continue. He’s absolutely distraught about what happened to himself.

  3. deadeye says: Nov 11, 2011 7:04 PM

    Words are cheap JoePa. You should not have traded Sandusky a cover-up for his forced retirement back in 1999.

  4. lbijake says: Nov 11, 2011 7:07 PM

    I do not know if it such a sign about worry of legal guilt but the many lawsuits that are about to follow. I think, fortunate or not, Paterno may not have much culpability legally but will face a tsunami of lawsuits that will make the lawyers rich(er) and possibly ruin him financially.

  5. lethimplaycoach says: Nov 11, 2011 7:14 PM

    Rush to judgment!

    When all of the facts come out I think we will see that JoePa did do more than just notify his boss.

  6. vikesfansteve says: Nov 11, 2011 7:23 PM

    More like absolutely distraught that his cover up was exposed.

    You are a clown Paterno. It’s going to come out you knew about this in 1999 or more likely 94. You are royally F’d.

  7. kfiz14 says: Nov 11, 2011 7:44 PM


  8. gatorprof says: Nov 11, 2011 7:48 PM

    devastated? please…you covered for the guy for at least 13 years, perhaps much longer.

    You are sorry that it blew up in your face before you retired or died.

  9. bunchesofone says: Nov 11, 2011 7:51 PM

    He got a good lawyer.Not only did this guy get HW off for bringing tons of cocaine to the US on CIA planes,his son and Cheney were never even questioned for allowing (or orchestrating) 911 and a 10 year war that has taken 7,000+ American lives.

  10. onceuponatimeinsports says: Nov 11, 2011 7:56 PM

    I agree with several of the other posters, the time to be “absolutely distraught over what happened to the children and their families” was back in 2002 or before.

    At this point JP is more concerened about covering his ass legally and that this whole sordid mess has become public.

    He’s going to get the pants sued off of him in civil court (No pun intended). The only good news in this for the Paterno family is that at 84, he most probably won’t live long enough to actually have to pay anybody off.

    His estate however, is going to get soaked…

  11. 6ball says: Nov 11, 2011 8:43 PM


    ” he has no choice ”

    Poor Joe ……..what choice did those children have?

    Ask not for whom the bell tolls, Caligula, it tolls for thee.


  12. littleatay says: Nov 11, 2011 8:44 PM

    lethimplaycoach: Really? Still defending the icon? That’s the problem in Happy Valley. Paterno did so much good you’ll overlook the bad. Did you view the Catholic Church the same way when the “priest” scandals broke?

  13. dmcgrann says: Nov 11, 2011 9:02 PM

    Scott hires attorneys for his Dad? Why can’t Dad hire them?

  14. realityonetwo says: Nov 11, 2011 9:23 PM

    I’ll believe he’s “absolutely distraught” when he comes out and says it himself, not has his kid read it off a piece of paper. And then I still won’t believe it…

  15. Deb says: Nov 11, 2011 9:23 PM

    bmmayhew says:

    Lawyering up: the first sign of guilty.
    I’m sickened by this whole thing and am not one of Paterno’s defenders. But even if you’re pure as the driven snow, when the cops call, shut up then lawyer up. Prisons are filled with innocent people who figured only the guilty needed lawyers.

  16. gotcha42307 says: Nov 11, 2011 9:29 PM

    So…Paterno is “distraught” too? Seems to be his favorite descriptive word for everything and anything. McQueary was “distraught”, now Paterno is “distraught”….

    Here’s a few new words that should have applied in describing how you were feeling, JoePa:

    but your son’s statement belies the fact that you are:

  17. gotcha42307 says: Nov 11, 2011 9:43 PM

    And here are some personal descriptions from a PSU administrator who knew Paterno: “Fabulous and horrendous” … “Surreptitious” … “Self-absorbed” … “Calculating” … “Protective of everything he’s done.”

    Considering what he did and didn’t do in his handling of Sandusky, the “calculating” and “protective of everything he’s done” as a description of Paterno starkly stands out, doesn’t it?

  18. paulieorkid says: Nov 11, 2011 9:52 PM

    To all the posters who insist Paterno never felt for the victims and his only regret is that he got caught, consider this.

    At this point, none of us have any idea what Paterno was made aware of, and only assume he was fully aware some kid got sodomized. That is flawed logic, and assumes facts not in evidence.

    All we know at this point is that McQueary mentioned something about something in 2002 involving Sandusky. Wait until you first learn what Paterno was made aware of — before basing all your deductions on what could be misperceptions. Ever hear of GIGO? Look it up.

    McQueary could have said couched such a vulger act in generalities, such as something like, “Coach — I think I just saw Coach Sandusky doing something really messed up in the shower with one of his Second Mile kids” or something lacking the graphic detail we’ve all been exposed to now.

    (1) Who amongst us would ever imagine a trusted colleague of more than 20 years would ever be the sick freak that Sandusky was? In Paterno’s context, very few of us would have dreamt a long-time associate was this twisted, vile and disgusting.

    (2) Paterno reported what he knew up the line, and also reported what he knew to the head of campus police – and presumably assumed they’d look into it, gather additional facts and determine if there was real cause for concern, or if the matter was rectified.

    Many of you people are cocksure Paterno was privy to all the salacious details we now have all been exposed to after an extensive evidence gathering process —- a process that Paterno was never privy to …… until now.

    Gather more information — and you’ll be able to make a more informed decision.

    Many of you remind me of the torch-bearing lemmings who were banging the drum the loudest against the Duke Lacrosse team some years back.

  19. Deb says: Nov 11, 2011 10:16 PM

    @paulieorkid …

    Was just thinking about you a little while ago. I’m truly sorry about all this. I’ve always liked Penn State, and have admired Paterno all my life. It’s a horrible end to what was a legendary career. But it was reported tonight that McQueary testified he gave Paterno a graphic account of the assault he’d witnessed. It’s just impossible to understand why so many failed to contact law enforcement. In fact, a therapist working with one of the victims said he’s never seen a case where so many individuals were aware of a situation but failed to act.

  20. stevenfbrackett says: Nov 11, 2011 10:23 PM

    Paterno’s credibility has been proven less than worthless at this point.

  21. deadeye says: Nov 11, 2011 10:45 PM


    Please read this passage from the grand jury report:

    “Joseph V. Paterno testified to receiving the graduate assistant’s report at his home on a Saturday morning. Paterno testified that the graduate assistant was very upset. Paterno called Tim Curley (“Curley”), Penn State Athletic Director and Paterno’s immediate superior, to his home the very next day, a Sunday, and reported to him that the graduate assistant had seen Jerry Sandusky in the Lasch Building showers fondling or doing something of a sexual nature to a young boy.

    Approximately one and a half weeks later, the graduate assistant was called to a meeting with Penn State Athletic Director Curley and Senior Vice President for Finance and Business Gary Schultz (“Schultz”). The graduate assisant reported to Curley and Schultz that that he had witnessed what he believed to be Sandusky having anal sex with a boy in the Lasch Building showers. Curley and Schultz assured the graduate assistant that they would look into it and determine what further action they would take. Paterno was not present for this meeting.”

    For those who believe JoePa really didn’t know that Sandusky had sodomized a child (as he currently claims), you have to believe the following:
    1) McQueary described his account in a vague and minimized way to Paterno, and then later described it in full, clear detail to Curley and Schultz.
    2) Paterno arranged a meeting between McQueary, Curley, and Schultz on the basis of “fondling or doing something of a sexual nature to a young boy”, and then chose to not be present for the meeting.
    3) Curley and Schultz, upon learning that McQueary saw “Sandusky having anal sex with a boy”, did not report back to Paterno the far more severe nature of McQueary’s account even though Paterno was supposedly unaware of it.
    4) Paterno from that point forward never followed up with McQueary, Curley, or Schultz about the incident, even though the description he was originally provided was vague.
    5) In making the decision to sweep the incident under the rug, Curley and Schultz didn’t consult with Paterno who was the most powerful decision maker in the entire PSU football program.
    6) Paterno allowed Sandusky to continue to have access to PSU facilites even though he was aware that Sandusky had been “fondling or doing something of a sexual nature to a young boy”.

    None of those points are the slightest bit plausible. McQeary told Paterno the exact same thing he told Curley and Schultz. Curley and Schultz would have unquestionably informed Paterno about any information he had wrong or was missing. And under no circumstances would they have made a decision of that magnitude without Paterno’s input and permission. JoePa’s testimony is a lie intended to protect his reputation and legal culpability. He is misusing the trust he has built up over the decades to decieve his blinded followers. People, please wake up and learn to think for yourselves.

  22. fatfreddystubbs says: Nov 11, 2011 11:00 PM

    Lawyering up: the first sign of guilty
    I’m glad that, as i’m typing this, that idiotic comment has more thumbs down than thumbs up (the fact that it’s kind of close doesn’t say much but whatever).

    the idea that if know or feel in your heart you’re innocent, you don’t need a lawyer (or a good one) is so stupid it’s mind-boggling. Or that hiring a lawyer, especially a high-priced one that you can afford, is an admission of guilt, i just don’t know what to say. It’s amazing how many stupid people there are in this world.

    Seriously, if you believe this and you’re ever charged with a crime, even if you’re completely innocent, either represent yourself or hire a first year kid out of law school to save a few bucks. Let me know how that turns out.

  23. gotcha42307 says: Nov 11, 2011 11:12 PM

    Joe “I don’t know nothin’ about nothin'” Paterno

  24. hittfamily says: Nov 12, 2011 1:19 AM

    Pedophile Sanctuary University. Home of the Nittany Liars

  25. promickey says: Nov 12, 2011 2:25 AM

    Wow, so it took a Brown University graduate like Paterno more than ten years and media exposure to show concern for the children………..I have no respect for Joe Paterno.

  26. opiedamus says: Nov 12, 2011 8:25 AM

    Question: why did it take until now to arrest Sandusky? The police investigators were, at least, aware of something going on in 2002. That’s 9 years…….if not before then, they knew something.

  27. stillworker says: Nov 12, 2011 11:18 AM

    Paterno is only ‘distraught’ over being outed.

  28. paulieorkid says: Nov 12, 2011 12:17 PM

    (1) @ Deb: still have yet to hear Paterno was informed of anything in graphic detail; doesn’t mean this hasn’t been reported — just that I have yet to see it reported

    (2) @ deadeye: appreciate the thoughtful post of yours, but it still doesn’t eliminate the possibility of Paterno may have not been informed of anything more than “Coach, saw something I believed to be disturbing and inappropriate with Sandusky and one of his Second Mile kids in the shower,”; then Paterno reported it to the people who are responsible for investigating such matters.

    Also, it’s understandable that a young grad assistant trying to get his career launched would couch what he saw in more benign verbiage. He’s speaking to the program’s 75 year old legend.

    Finally, if Curley, Schultz and anyone else clued in on this did know what level of depravity was involved and yet did seek to cover it up — Paterno may have been the one person most desirable to keep in the dark.

    (3) I realize my view may include an element of wishful thinking – but just waiting for the facts (not public opinion and outrage) before I draw a conclusion of this magnitude. I

    I justcan’t look at a man who – over the course of many decades – spent many millions of his own dollars (and his time) for the benefit of others, and yet, spent very little on himself, living in a very humble home ——> and ignore a half century of selflessness, and then immediately assume here that he became instaneously abhorrently selfish for one isolated matter.

  29. digvb31 says: Nov 12, 2011 3:02 PM

    He didn’t look very distraught when he was leading cheers in his front yard 2 nights ago.

  30. Deb says: Nov 12, 2011 5:09 PM

    @paulieorkid …

    Human beings are complex creatures, and Paterno is someone you’ve admired from afar. You don’t really know what he might do in these circumstances. I’ve personally known “good” people who got rid of a child-raping teacher and figured they’d handled it. But all they did was ship him off to another district where he was free to prey on other kids.

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