Sex abuse scandal: Should Joe Paterno resign immediately?

The Penn State coach, dogged by child molestation charges against an ex-assistant, will retire at season's end. That's not soon enough for some critics

Penn State coach Joe Paterno has won more games than any coach in college football history, but he'll retire amid scandal after an ex-assistant was arrested on child molestation charges.
(Image credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Legendary college football coach Joe Paterno's 46th season at Penn State will be his last. The 84-year-old head coach of the Nittany Lions announced Wednesday that he will retire at the end of the season, felled by a sex-abuse scandal involving former defensive coach Jerry Sandusky. Sandusky is accused of sexually assaulting as many as nine boys over 15 years. Paterno was reportedly made aware of a specific incident involving a 10-year-old boy in 2002, but took the report no further than the school's athletic director (who is now being accused of perjury and failing to alert the police). "It is one of the great sorrows of my life," Paterno said in a statement Wednesday. "With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more." Though Paterno is not accused of any legal wrongdoing, the state police commissioner says the coach may be on the hook for a lapse of "moral responsibility." Penn State's board of trustees is reportedly still considering its options, including forcing Paterno to step down immediately. Should Paterno be allowed to stay until the end of the season?

To save Penn State, Paterno must go now: "Penn State needs to decide if their [priority is] winning football games or speaking out against child molesters," says Ronn Torossian at Business Insider. America is watching as students rally in front of Paterno's home, celebrating him as a hero because of his wins on the football field. But really, is football even "nearly as important" as the children whose lives were destroyed by Paterno's apparent negligence? Penn State's reputation, future alumni donations, and recruitment are all at stake. The only way to save them is to fire Paterno now.

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