Joe Paterno and CJ Mahaney: The Parallels of Peril

13 Jul
English: CJ Mahaney, founder of Sovereign Grac...

English: CJ Mahaney, founder of Sovereign Grace Ministries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Penn State Nittany Lions head coach Joe Patern...

Penn State Nittany Lions head coach Joe Paterno on the sideline during warmups prior to the 2006 Homecoming game versus the University of Illinois on Friday, October 20, 2006. Taken by me. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The newly released report by Loius Freeh paints a damning picture of Penn State and Joe Paterno.

According to Freeh,  when Penn State officials first learned of possible abuse by assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky.  They concluded a quick investigation and then buried it to avoid bad publicity for the school and the athletic program.

About Joe Paterno, Freeh had this to say:

“The facts are the facts,” Freeh said. “There’s a whole host of evidence here and we’re saying the reasonable conclusion from that evidence is that he was an integral part of this active conspiracy to conceal. I regret that, based on the damage it does, obviously, to his legacy.”

The document detailing the reported incidents is over 200 pages long.  A brief summary tells us that the first accusations of sex abuse with boys as young as 8 years old, first occurred in 1998.  Three years later, more incidents were brought to Penn State officials but subsequently went unreported to the police. Sandusky was advised to not bring children onto campus, but the Athletic Department (including Paterno) advised Penn State’s board to allow for Sandusky to get counseling and not report the incident to the proper authorities (Police and Child Welfare).

You can read a more detailed report here, that includes links to the actual Freeh investigation report.

Putting Public Image Above People and The Law

One of the big disappointments, is the apparent lack of concern for the actual victims of Jerry Sandusky.  Joe Paterno and Penn State’s board seemed more concerned with their school’s reputation than with doing the right thing.  They put the public image of the school above the law and did not report the incidents to the proper authorities.

This same dynamic (putting public image above the law) has been reported in multiple sex abuse/ child abuse incidents in Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM).  In many cases, families of the victims were told to forgive the abuser and accused of being bitter or divisive if they objected.  Often times victims families were advised not to speak about the crimes committed against their children.  In many cases, SGM pastors advised parents to NOT call the police and did not inform their congregation of the abuse that had occured.

I won’t go over specific cases in detail, but you can read Noel’s Story here,  and exCLCer’s story here.

At the helm of SGM and CLC church, where many of the alleged abuses occurred, was CJ Mahaney.

Much like Joe Paterno, it appears that CJ Mahaney would rather ignore the law and assist abusers instead of taking a lump for the victims.  It seems, that the price of bad publicity was a price that CJ Mahaney was not willing to pay.

Much like Paterno, CJ Mahaney seems more comfortable with coddling sex abusers than dealing honestly with the victims of those crimes.

An unfortunate legacy for both men, who have been admired from afar for decades, but in the end, will go to their grave with the knowledge that they did not go the second mile for innocent children. Children that deserved better than to be raped and then ignored by those with the power to help.

14 Responses to “Joe Paterno and CJ Mahaney: The Parallels of Peril”

  1. Ahab at 6:04 pm #

    I watched the press conference on the Freeh report yesterday, and I was livid. Countless children were abused in part because cowards in leadership positions did nothing. We see the same moral laziness and protection of perpetrators in so many institutions: SGM, the Catholic Church, and now Penn State.

    • christianagnostic at 7:00 pm #

      I agree…it’s almost unbelievable that so many people knew about the abuses, but chose silence for over a decade. At least Penn State is trying to do something, maybe too little too late…but they look like saints compared to SGM and the Catholic Church.

      • Grace at 10:19 pm #

        Well, Penn State has to do something because they want new students and money from their alums, and the entire country is watching now. This is one of the frightening things about tiny “non-denominations” like SGM – absolutely no oversight or scrutiny…

      • christianagnostic at 10:34 pm #


        You’re right of course…no real oversight is a perfect description of SGM.

  2. mARK at 3:28 am #

    Joe Paterno was disgraceful person. He knew everything and did nothing I hope he rots in HELL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. acme at 4:54 pm #

    Joel Achenbach in a Washington Post editorial ends with these lessons learned:
    “Question authority. Speak up. Report it. Silence is the enemy.” Exactly.

  4. Freedom at 3:56 pm #

    Pedophile State decided that winning football bowl games was more important than doing the right thing. Thankfully everything is being brought out into the open. That statue of Joe Paterno souldn;t even be an issue – it needs to come down ASAP. I feel sad for all the damaged kids because of Sandusky and the Penn State cover up.

    Cj and his boys on the other hand wanted to keep a squeaky clean image of SGM across the evangelical wasteland and grab more tithing members to control and keep the SGM 401k payments coming in. So, they hid the rape and sex crimes against kids. Fortunately there were people brave enough as Noel and ex-clcer to come forward and share the stories without fear of retaliation by cj and his henchmen.

    The one thing that still gets me are the people that still defend Joe and CJ! I just don’t understanding having loyalty so blind to the obvious that they are willing to overlook the HUGE illegal actions of the men they follow. Talk about cult of personality!

    Both Joe and CJ are in the wrong and didn’t do the right thing when it came down to it – they wanted things covered up quickly so they could get back to being the gods of their domain.

    • christianagnostic at 2:50 pm #

      “The one thing that still gets me are the people that still defend Joe and CJ!”

      Me too, hard for me to understand that kind loyalty.

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  6. Donald Miller at 7:30 am #

    The implications about this go far beyond sports. This is an indictment of the US educational system. Unless everyone involved in that cover-up is removed from the positions of authority they now hold, the message to the students is clear as day. “We don’t care about you. But we do care about the money you are spending taking our bullshit classes on Ethics and Philosophy–along with the intentionally way overpriced books that go along with those courses that we are making a joke of by not going somewhere slimy to drop dead.

    • christianagnostic at 2:59 pm #

      I agree that this is about an educational system that put a sports program above it’s own ethics and standards of conduct. Just imagine the reaction if the history department was guilty of this sort of criminal conduct.

      Of course, the history department probably doesn’t have as many scholarships and television contracts to worry about.

      The price gouging of students for textbooks is a whole other topic. The revising of texts to simply make used texts obsolete, is more of scam on the publishing side of things. Not sure how much Universities have sought to change that system.


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