By | January 23, 2012

Joe Paterno and ignorance of evil

Joe Paterno, the legendary Penn State football coach, has died.

I can’t help but wonder if the travesty of the last few months, with his former assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky, being charged with sexually molesting 10 young boys over 15 years, killed him.

I’m not an alumna of Penn State. (I am, however, an alumna of Syracuse University, with its own scandal of an assistant basketball coach allegedly molesting boys.) Still, I hate to see the storied career of Joe Paterno forever blackened by the malevolent behavior of one man, if that proves to be the case.

Some people argue that Paterno had to know what was going on. They argue that Paterno was so concerned about his legacy, the reputation of his football program and Penn State University, that he was willing to turn a blind eye to the behavior of Jerry Sandusky.

I’m not so sure.

Since the scandal broke in November, Joe Paterno has given only one interview, to Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post. The story was published on January 14, 2012. It characterizes Joe Paterno as unable to comprehend what Sandusky may have done, because it was simply too foreign to the way Paterno himself lived his life. Jenkins writes:

He reiterated that McQueary was unclear with him about the nature of what he saw and added that even if McQueary had been more graphic, he’s not sure he would have comprehended it.

“You know, he didn’t want to get specific,” Paterno said. “And to be frank with you I don’t know that it would have done any good, because I never heard of, of, rape and a man. So I just did what I thought was best. I talked to people that I thought would be, if there was a problem, that would be following up on it.”

Is it possible to be that unaware of the existence of evil? Yes, it is, and we all know it.

While I was uninitiated, meaning, before my direct, personal encounter with a social predator, I never in my wildest dreams thought that I would cross paths with evil. I didn’t know that someone who appeared to be so loving and caring could have a hidden agenda. I lived a life of integrity, and I believed that the people who were part of my life were like me.

But, some may argue, sex abuse of children has been in the news for years—look at the stories about the Catholic Church. Well, my cousin was abused by priests. He received financial compensation many years ago—it was probably one of the first cases to be settled. I heard people in my family talking about it. Still, I did not comprehend what he must have experienced.

I didn’t understand the human capacity for manipulation and evil until it happened to me.

So, yes, I can believe that Joe Paterno was clueless. He grew up in a different era, when although the sexual abuse of children probably occurred, it certainly wasn’t talked about. He was inspired by his father. He believed in education. He believed in turning troubled athletes around. His whole life was about winning with integrity.

So for Paterno to realize, at this late stage of his life, that he may have been hoodwinked by someone so close to him must have been a terrible shock. It probably didn’t cause his lung cancer. But it may have sapped Paterno’s strength to fight it.

Read Joe Paterno’s last interview, on


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Ox Drover

Donna, I agree with you that the stress of all this must have greatly hurt Joe’s ability to fight lung chance or even his will to live. To be blind sided at an advanced age with your entire reputation in shreds and to be fired from the college he thought he would be memorialized by must have been a terrible shock.

I also can believe that he didn’t realize what he was dealing with, or that it was even POSSIBLE for what he was being told to be “true” EVIL in any real sense. After all, he KNEW (he thought) Sandusky.

What Paterno DID though, his not believing, allowed Sandusky to go on and on with what he was doing.

Just because we don’t believe a truth, just because a truth is UNbelievable to us does not mean it is not TRUE and that it will not hurt us or others.

Look at the story I have told here recently several times, about the woman in Canada who was born in Germany and her father knew the Nazis were coming, and he told his Jewish neighbors over and over to get their kids and LEAVE GERMANY THAT THEY NAZIS WOULD KILL THEM, but the people could not believe what their friend was saying and they said to him “But what would we do with the furniture?” or “the business?” and they stayed. The woman’s father took her and her sibs and her mom and the clothes on their backs and walked out of Germany to get to Canada….but the neighbors ALL PERISHED BECAUSE THEY COULDN’T COMPREHEND SUCH EVIL BEING REAL.

Many of us have been “warned” about some or all of the psychopathic people we have been scammed in one way or another by. I remember one guy my husband and I did business with, I was warned about his man, but he had already “love bombed” us enough that I was under his spell and so was my husband….and when”the rubber met the road” he stabbed us in the back and the heirs of our other partner and stole the entire thing….we barely got out with our underwear. I told the man who had warned me, “thanks for the warning, I wish I had listened.” Shortly after skinning us and the heir of our other partner who had died in the middle of the project, the man got liver cancer (and without insurance) he used up all the money he had scammed for medical bills…Ah yes, Karma is a biatch!

I could recount other episodes in dealing with people high in Psychopathic traits that I was warned….and didn’t listen. I can also recount many times I have WARNED others and they didn’t listen. My egg donor is a prime example of people who SEE the evil and STILL DO NOT BELIEVE…or they believe the “good out weighs the bad.”

I can throw rocks at old Joe…but I will be throwing them from the balcony of my GLASS HOUSE because there are plenty of people who can throw rocks at me for my own unbelief in the face of warnings by people I should have listened to.

Whatever Joe’s part in the Sandusky scandal, and my opinion is there will never be a completely “truthful” or “factual” picture of it emerge because our legal system still doesn’t let that happen, so we may never truly know, and he is dead now, so cannot testify to a grand jury. I would predict that Sandusky will be convicted and sent to prison and there will be multimillion dollar pay outs by several agencies or schools to quite a few young men who will have proven they were molested by Sandusky, and the people who lied to the grand jury will go to prison for a shorter period of time, but we will never ever know the WHOLE TRUTH and NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH.

I am sad for the boys abused because old Joe couldn’t believe (if that was indeed the case) and I am not dismayed by how aggressive Sandusky was in his pursuit of victims. I am guessing that the number of victims (because I think even in the light of multimillion dollar pay outs) I think most of them will remain hidden and silent. I hope Sandusky and the ones who KNOWINGLY covered up for him rot in a special hot spot in hell. If Joe did that knowingly, I hope he is there in that spot waiting for them, but I will leave it up to a just God to judge him because I cannot know a man’s heart, or the WHOLE TRUTH, but I believe there is a just God who does.


No one knows what was going through Joe Paterno’s head except God. Everyone sins, some more than others obviously.
But not for a second do I believe he didn’t comprehend at any logical level that there was something wrong going on with Sandusky.
He probably thought he was doing the right thing by reporting it and letting someone else handle the problem because he had more important things to worry about, coaching a successful football team. I believe he was so consumed with his job that everything else had to be directed to the other “appropriate” authorities.
I truly believe it is that simple.
Trying to explain it so that it appears he didn’t even know or understand the evilness or seriousness of what occurred is not believable to me, sorry.
I understand how easy it is to be duped, but it was me, my feelings and emotions, my insecurities, issues, and compassion the ex spath was manipulating. It was harder in a sense to see this.
I could much more easily see someone else getting hurt than realize I was being hurt. I hope I’m explaining this right.


If he was a decent person, I can only hope that he felt great remorse before he died and that his error weighed on him heavily. I think death was certainly enough punishment for his sin. Sadly, punishment of the guilty doesn’t change the past and take away the suffering of the boys. The only good that can come out of this is that it can bring awareness. And perhaps the next time someone goes to a coach and says, “Hey, Coach so-and-so was doing some unsavory things to little boys in the shower,” that person will take it seriously and call the police. It’s all we can hope for at this point. The whole thing is such a tragedy.

Model Six

Mr. Paterno was by most accounts a brilliant man, and as a successful coach he must have had at least a passing familiarity with psychology and human behavior.
Perhaps it is unfair, but I can not summon much sympathy for him, as I believe he should have known better. In a way, I agree that it might be easier to see others getting hurt than one’s self, as you can see what is happening in front of you as opposed to having an alleged loved one confusing you and taking advantage of your self doubt.
Unfair as it may be, in cases like these where someone has been told of the wrongdoing, stupidity is the only fathomable excuse to me. It is in fact the only way I have been able to forgive my family for the many things that have happened in the past, including an attempted molestation. When I was twelve or thirteen or so, a nasty filthy old man who was the father of my uncle’s evil wife tried to slide down the strap of my bra (at a thanksgiving party no less), and I got up and ran away before he succeeded. I told my family at the time, and although it caused lots of drama no one sent him to jail. Not too long ago, my family said that they didn’t fully understand what I was trying to tell them. That they thought he was just ‘annoying me’. It still doesn’t fully make sense, since my mom in particular is proud of herself for telling the evil wife (who was slandering me, as a thief and a liar and lord knows what else by the time she was done… puppy kicker? Bond villain? the Antichrist?) that whatever I may have done wrong, I was only a kid and [the evil wife]’s father was an old man who ought to know better. First of all, what a ringing endorsement of my character, and secondly, how can she say that she knew but at the same time she didn’t really know like that?
My spouse and the therapist I used to go to both said that its essentially because they are stupid. And I guess that is how I have been able to forgive them to the extent that I have, because you can’t help being stupid.
But when I see someone who is clearly not stupid, I expect a damn good excuse for them missing this kind of behavior.
Additionally, while Mr. Paterno is not the perpetrator, even Sandusky’s death may not be satisfying for the victims. I feel cheated that the nasty filthy old man did not go to jail, and was not labeled for the rest of his life for what he tried to do to me, and what I assume he must have at least tried with others.


I believe that Paterno was a narcissist but not a spath. He was duped by Sandusky because he believed what he wanted to believe. He chose to turn a blind eye and wash his hands like Pontius Pilate, while the innocents suffered. He admits that even further description might not have done any good.
“And to be frank with you I don’t know that it would have done any good, because I never heard of, of, rape and a man.”

At age 85, he’s never heard of rape and a man?

His cognitive dissonance was a form of self protection. He couldn’t bear to know that his world view was wrong, so he just decided not to. His sin, was refusing to grow up because it would have been painful.

I was speaking on the phone with a 19-year old man just a couple of days ago and I segwayed the conversation into spaths and evil. He said, “I believe that most people do things that are wrong because they just don’t see the harm they are causing…etc…”

That’s what I used to believe, when I was naive. Now I know that people do things that harm others because they CHOOSE TO. They choose to be selfish. They choose to see what makes them feel safe.

At age 19, I can see why this man is naive. At age 85, Paterno has no excuse.

Great topic, as usual.



Sometimes NOTHING has happened to these predators to make them like they are. They choose their actions in the same way we chose our inaction, to stay and partcipate in our own vicitmization. Not every predator had some horrible history, and even if they did, they still CHOOSE their courses of action. I was abused daily during my childhood and throughout my life, I chose abusive partners.

Now that I am a mother, I CHOOSE not to abuse my daughter. Have I ever had an urge to hurt her? I’ve felt myself losing patience and have had to walk away from her for a few minutes. I’ve called a parent line for support and talked to the pediatrician and counselors for advice in disciplining and encouragement. But I know that ultimately, no matter how terrible of an upbringing I have had, acting out on my child would still be a choice I make…


I truly believe that Paterno knew far more than he admitted. It is very interesting that the worst four years of PSU football under Paterno occurred in the early 2000s, when he became aware of Sandusky’s transgressions.

Ox Drover

Travis I have to agree with Marie that people have choices, even if they have genetics or poor parenting that make them want to do things that are considered “evil.”

For example, my mom’s brother, that I call “Uncle Monster” was an alcoholic and from a long line of alcoholics, though his father was not one, but his grandfather was and he had the genes I am sure that made him want to drink. He also had psychopathic genes and when he was drunk he became very violent—but only with those he was more powerful than, and could over power. He was, even if he was drunk, in control enough that he never tackled someone he could not whip. So he was into beating women and children, his elderly mother, etc. but he had choices and control over those choices.

Not even a large minority of people who were abused become abusers, and even those who choose to do so, have CHOICES. Even those who have the psychopathic genes, have choices about their behavior. Not many people who were sexually abused as children become abusers themselves.

I firmly believe in FREE WILL and that those adults who are not mentally incompetent or insane have choices in their behaviors and the consequences of those behaviors should fall on their shoulders. I think there is some question about when a person becomes an “adult.” I think it actually varies very widely from person to person due to a lot of issues as well as culture.


Marie ~ Good Post. Your daughter is a lucky little girl.

Hugs to you both ((()))))

Ox Drover – I cannot speak for others. I only have my own experiences to relate to.

I made some poor choices in my life as a young man. Some would say “unforgivable”. After working on myself (with the help of my creator), I came to understand that I did the very best I could given the circumstances. This really opened the door to self- forgiveness for me.

I appreciate everyone’s comments and it is a very sensitive topic for some that have recently been abused, but I do have a very different view than most here.

As controversial as it may sound, I believe that people do the very best they can given their level of consciousness and circumstances at any given time. This includes my father.

When we condemn people instead of forgive and help them, we are playing God.

My whole outlook is that our sickest citizens need help, not condemnation. My feeling is we are afraid to look too closely because we might see ourselves. It is easier to judge as “evil” and turn away.

To my understanding there is nothing that cannot be forgiven by God. I try not to make my own rules in regards to this spiritual teaching. Jesus demonstrated this on the cross.

I have heard that all sin is due to ignorance. We are only capable of making choices that we believe to be right at the time.


ALL sin is due to ignorance? Dude, you heard wrong. And yes, we ARE capable of making choices that we believe to be right at the time….here’s the problem-we’re CAPABLE, but we still DON’T make the right choices.
You cannot truly believe everyone is always doing their very best, given what they’ve got. Good Lord, I can tell you flat out that I have not done my very best. I have intentionally hurt people. You said yourself you did some bad things in your youth.
So I am thoroughly confused by your posts now. You have a very different perception and experience with a psychopath/evil than I have. I cant relate, you lost me with this one.

Ox Drover

Travis, I agree that God can forgive (and “forget”) anything because the blood of Jesus covers OUR sins….however, we are not talking about forgiveness in heaven but HERE and again what does “forgiveness” mean? Also Jesus says that by a tree’s fruit that we shall know if it is a good tree or not….in other words by a man’s acts.

I do NOT believe as you do “that all sin is due to ignorance.” When a person KNOWS it is wrong to steal and does it anyway….what about that. When a person, like your father and my son, KNOW IT IS WRONG TO KILL and does it anyway” Is that IGNORANCE? I believe not.

Did my son think that his choice to kill that girl was RIGHT? In a sense of right and wrong? Of course not! He knew what he was doing was wrong, but he did NOT care. He had a “reprobate mind” and had turned his choices over EVIL. To Satan if you will.

When a person has acted in a way that shows their choices are EVIL, their “fruit” is EVIL then we CAN judge that is EVIL. We In fact SHOULD judge that I believe. Jesus said that we should judge what is good and what is evil.

Sure, anyone who has REPENTED and wants to change their lives should be allowed and helped to do so…but those people who are unrepentant and refuse to change their ways, those people are beyond help because they don’t want it. How CAN we help them?

In my opinion, Travis, Forgiveness doesn’t mean that we absolve someone of what they have done or the choices they have made. Even though we get the bitterness out of our hearts toward them, they are not absolved or forgiven by God until they repent. THAT is between them and their God.

I’ve done some things that I am not proud of either, but I have also forgiven myself and believe that I am forgiven by my God. NO one is without sin. We have all failed at times in our lives, and will fail again and that is what we must deal with with our own consciences and learn to do better and to forgive ourselves. To make amends where we should, apologies where we should, and resolutions to do better in the future.

We are only capable of making choices that we believe to be right at the time.


MiLo, thank you! Hugs to you, too ((()))

Travis, your follow up comment has definitely got me thinking… And I agree, it is a very sensitive topic for the recently abused. I appreciate your views as well! I definitely do not want to play God, I just have a hard time understanding the lack of accountability I witness in so many people.

I do not know what to think of sociopaths in the whole realm of God and creation… (Admittedly, I don’t know entirely what to believe ABOUT God and creation either). I read Lovefraud and read Donna Anderson’s spiritual viewpoint of sociopaths and it seemed plausible. Maybe the sociopath is an exercise in forgiveness?

I tend to love quotes and your last sentance called to mind the one I posted for another reader here on LF last week:

“I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” – Maya Angelou

I sent it to her as an encouragment to forgive herself for the guilt she felt toward her daughters for her decisions. Now I see that I love the quote for the victims of predators. I am not quite there yet to be able to apply the quote to the actual predators. So there is an awareness in participating in this thread 🙂 I think for me personally, and maybe others at various points in their healing, I am at a place where I do need to once in my life make it about me and not focus on the needs of the abuser, and so forgiveness will remain at bay until I heal some more. I do feel, from reading some of your comments and those of Ox Drover, that forgiveness is important. I know that harboring anger and resentment will hurt me in the long run, but I think the anger motivated me into consciousnes and then action in the first place!

I learn so much here, and remain grateful to everyone who shares their experiences and their hearts here. Even when we don’t all agree, there is such a tremendous power in our community here at LF!


Wow, I posted then I saw Ox’s post…

I don’t want to “play God” but I do want to discern who is safe and who is not… And if I looked at my ex’s track record vice listening to the siren’s song of repentance and change, and did not discount my intuition that was warning me about him (cause I didn’t want to “judge him,” who was I to “judge him), I may have run for my life instead of giving him a chance. I really liked what Ox had to say

“When a person has acted in a way that shows their choices are EVIL, their “fruit” is EVIL then we CAN judge that is EVIL. We In fact SHOULD judge that I believe. Jesus said that we should judge what is good and what is evil.”

My ex PRETENDED to be a repentent person! And he got me but good! My silver lining is my child, but she is also how he will likely continue to try to hurt me…

I feel confused, but I like parts of what both Travis and Ox had to say. I feel bad about maybe “playing God” but if I had judged my ex (in this case, listened to my intuition or as some say it is the “holy spirit” I’m not sure), I would have spared myself a lot of misery.



I guess it’s this part that I feel confused about:

“When we condemn people instead of forgive and help them, we are playing God. ”

“My whole outlook is that our sickest citizens need help, not condemnation. My feeling is we are afraid to look too closely because we might see ourselves. It is easier to judge as “evil” and turn away.”

My ex preyed upon me because I was one of a few people who looked past his evil deeds and gave him a chance. He acted like we were in it together, me and him against the world. He would often say these things to me. I have letters and cards with these exact phrases and similiar. I believe it was because I didn’t turn away and acknowledge evil for evil, because it wasn’t “right” to judge him, after all, hadn’t I done things, etc. that actually primed me to be ensnared by him. So, maybe it depends on the situation and the person. And also, he didn’t really want to change, he just pretended he did. With duplicity such as the psychopath displays, where does the line between self-protection and condemnation get drawn? It was guilt over the “playing God” statement that caused me to keep reading your post to figure out why I felt so upset… It was by telling myself similar comments that I chose to get involved with my ex spath…


Regarding the word “repentant,” I wonder if truly religious persons are particularly vulnerable to manipulations by sociopaths, particularly political or religious ones?

I am appalled by the lack of condemnation of both Newt Gingrich and Herm Cain by the very people who see “family values” as a core political belief.



I was thinking of my sister in her abusive and utlra religious relationship. We were brought up with both abuse and religion. She is with a horrible N who has nearly destroyed her and her children. And I think your observation is on target… Truly religious people appear to be especially vulnerable to the manipulations by spaths, N’s. I think it was through some religious guilt I felt I had to “forgive” and give my ex spath a chance…

To forgive does NOT mean to trust.


How can I help a person I cannot trust? How do I establish a helping rapport with the person?


My whole relationship was one of helping…


Travis, you’re welcome to try and help the ex spath in my life, but he’ll rape you, steal from you, give you an STD, lie to you constantly, destroy and abuse you in every possible way and then he’ll go get wasted while looking up child porn first. Oh, then he’ll blame you for all of it. Good luck.
My point being, the very reason I was victimized was because I thought I could help. I did not judge or condemn. I did more than anyone in his whole existence to reach him and support him. What I got in return was a look at evil. And no, I did NOT see myself in him.

Ox Drover

BBE, yes, people in religious institutions (churches etc) are more likely to be conned by “forgiving” and “accepting” a person who says “I have sinned, but I’ve changed my ways” they want to “save souls” so they take people in who say they have repented at FACE VALUE…just “saying sorry” is enough to get the person accepted without any concern for whether or not the person is truly repenting or is just pretending.

Forgiving in my book does not mean to trust and does not mean absolve someone from the guilt that belongs to THEM.

We must look at a person in whole, not in part….and if someone has an addiction, be it to drugs, alcohol or perverted sex then if they say “I’m sorry, I have repented” we can accept that but we do not make them the sunday school superintendent or put them over the communion wine until they have been around a LONG time and been sober! LOL

I can’t judge a man’s heart, I can only go by how he/she presents themselves and by their ACTIONS and by observing them over a period of time

I can forgive them but want no relationship and give them no trust. But having no relationship and no trust, and then not wanting my “help” there is no way I can “help” them except by praying for them. But what that does for them is between them and God.

I like Marie have done things I knew were wrong at the time I did them. I did them anyway. MY CHOICE. MY guilt for doing so.

So I do not go along with “ignorance” being the cause of all sin or wrong doing. I also don’t think that people always do the best they can in a situation. I’m an example of people who don’t do the best they could have done because they were angry, or just felt lousy that day so did wrong and knew it was wrong. LOL

But I do realize that some people do things out of ignorance, but I think, frankly that is quite rare.

We cannot help someone who does not want to be helped….and


Oh My That’s one way to put it..



You *must* be joking.

Have you ever looked into what people have to say about Paterno’s “Happy Valley?” It’s often compared, by its residents, as having been the victim of a cult of personality, lead by the narcissistic Paterno.

He was fired because he dared to challenge the authority of the Board of Trustees by trying to set the terms of his departure from the football program. In that nauseating statement he said he would spend the rest of his life helping the university. Did he even mention helping the children… you know, the ones who were shattered? Ah. No. It was all about him setting the terms and drawing the attention back to where he wanted it. He ordered that the Board of Trustees “should not spend a single minute discussing [my] status. They have far more important matters to address.”

Guess what, bud? His lousy leadership made this mess and daring to challenge authority in the midst of a scandal is the height of narcissism.
No made you king and public universities don’t work that way.

Except Penn State did for far too long. When they tried, desperately to fire him some years before, his power was too strong.

This was roughly the same time as some of the scandals happened. Do I think it’s possible that he kept a lid on “something of a sexual nature” towards “a child” and kept Sandusky around to keep things quiet? Yes. Because *no* sane non-sociopathic human being would tolerate “something of a sexual nature” towards a child in their workplace.

It’s kind of hard to be hoodwinked by a subordinate who travels with young children on his business trips, and sleeps in the same room as him. Did the boss have *no* sense of boundaries or propriety? And, there was a lengthy police investigation in 1998. There’s no way he could have missed that.

Was the subject to difficult for his sensitive aging ears? Then perhaps he should not have had the responsibilities he had. Children suffered because of his willful service to self.

I would suggest that such matters did not trouble his sensitive ears but rather titillated them. Recall that several years after this happened, he excused a player who had been accused of sexual assault by mocking the victim and claiming that women were flooding into players’ hotel rooms and he would point the way.

He put one of his own players into a key game after the player was suspended by the school for a sexual assault. When this kind of thing happens at other universities, there is an enormous uproar because playing ball is a privilege and its one reserved for students. Not on Peterno’s campus where he told people that it was “nobody’s business but mine” who played. Ahem? Seriously? At a public university? He seriously needed to get over himself but did not.

Between 2002 and 2008, 27 (TWENTY SEVEN) Penn State players were found guilty of crimes.

Paterno created and commanded Penn State’s most valuable asset. As the leader of that organization he ignored a potentially (and, as it turns out, true) horrific situation. He sacrificed innocent children. His organization was one where where evil was allowed to flourish.

He was viewed as a favored sons, felt he could call the shots without fear of the consequences, and he was blind to his moral responsibilities as a leader.

Before this came to light, he had been described by former assistant coaches as controlling, vindictive, and demanding complete devotion to his program.

I have worked at several public universities and have been in the upper levels of administration in two of them. I can assure you that a common guideline is “avoid the appearance of impropriety.”

Paterno doesn’t seem to have cared a bit about such niceties.

Rather than weep teers for an ass, consider what happened to Vickey Triponey at Penn State and salute the courage of whistleblowers everywhere.

We have a responsibility to act civilized and to expect that others do as well. It trumps everything else, even one’s most precious world views.


I just watched him on the video. He does not appear to have a great deal of remorse. He seems to be in denial and probably didn’t want to rock any boats at this time in his life. A really truly decent person would feel horrible that they didn’t do more.


It is truly mind-boggling that any adult would not be alarmed at another adult traveling with young boys and sleeping in the same room as them.

Even more mind-boogling is that it happened in what is general a homophobic environment. I can’t believe Paterno did not find Sandusky’s actions “queer.”


thank you for your post, you brought up most of the relevant issues concisely. Especially Vicky.

The problem with believing Paterno didn’t know, is that it puts us back into the position that brought us to LF in the first place: believing that everyone is as innocent and naive as we were.

This is why we believed the spath was just “thoughtless”, because we keep trying to project our own way of thinking onto everyone else. Haven’t we learned by NOW that there are selfish people who will do anything to get their way?

Paterno may not have been a spath, but he had his agenda: Football at Penn State and his legacy there. He will say anything to protect that. And he’s a terrible liar. He said he knew very little about Sandusky because they were very different ages. Paterno 85, Sandusky 68. HUGE DIFFERENCE – NOT!
His lies continue from there. His life has been about a GAME. That really speaks to someone who never grew up.

This is the kind of thing that attorneys use all the time when defending drunk drivers. In order to win the jury’s sympathy, they will bring out the “There but for the grace of God, go you and I” defense. How can you argue against that?

Choice. At age 85, he’s had many opportunities to accept the grace of God and make the right choice to grow up. I thank God that He gave me a spath that scared the crap out of me and forced me to grow up – before I was on my death bed.


I have seen photos with paterno’s arms around sandusky, in a friendly embrace – I dont think paterno was to upset about sandusky’s behavior..


“I believe that people do the very best they can given their level of consciousness and circumstances at any given time. This includes my father.”

So the very best your father could do was murder folks……
I don’t know what cult you learned that information in……but I suggest you step away from the Kool aid!

I don’t see my former husband as doing the very best he could with his level of consciousness or anything else……he conned each step of the way. He hurt people each step of the way……
Same with my bus. spaths……

We are ALL capable of better…..IF WE CHOOSE! Some don’t choose to adhere to the right is right wrong is wrong concept…..or, it’s all about me and what I can take, take, take.

I was abused and raped and molested…..and I didn’t do anything such as this to my own children or anyone else on earth…..human, animal or plant…..I have a choice! I chose to NOT continue the cycle of abuse…
My choice was made because I knew what it felt like and i wouldn’t want another to live with what I have! I chose!
Your father CHOSE. My spath chose…….

I refuse to look past evil and see only good in others….I believe it’s one of the qualities spaths look for to exploit. I see it regularly….and it sickens me!
I DO see good in people around me, I live a life I’m proud of and do good in others day to day life……I do trust some people and know there are plenty of trustworthy folks around….I am one of them…..
BUT….I also know just as theri are trustworthy’s…..there are untrustworthies……and GOD sure in hell ain’t gonna sit my ass down and point em out each time.
That’s UP TO ME and my awareness!

I have no issues condemning someone for such horrid actions……I have a problem with the bible about judgement etc…..If you do condemning actions….your gonna get condemned by EB!

Meanwhile…..we can continue to live a good life we can be proud of…….present and future!!!

“I believe that people do the very best they can given their level of consciousness and circumstances at any given time. This includes my father.”

OK…I will try to explain my position a little more clearly as it relates to this post. I understand why this may seem confusing. As usual, I will share my experience since that is all I really have.

My dad told me about the killings and this is what I observed. For whatever reason, HE believed that there was some gain in killing people for money. He “thought” it would make him feel better. As sick as that is, and it is as sick as it gets, that is how he saw it. He justified murder.

When I make decisions, right or wrong, it is always based on believing there is some benefit in the choices that I make. I do not always get it right, but even when I make the wrong choice it is because, for whatever reason, I saw some sort of gain in it. My father was no different, just much, much sicker. The key is to find some spiritual peace and guidance that will help us make the right choices that benefit all. I found that through forgiving.

The other concept (I only speak for myself) is that “I” made decisions that put me in relationships with sociopaths. Until I learned to forgive I kept repeating the same mistake. Please do not take this as self blame, because it is nothing of the sort, but for true change to take place, I needed to understand why I made the decisions that “I” made.

Ok, forgiveness and compassion. This does not mean I interact with sociopaths. I do pray for my father and that is enough. Society should be protected from him and others…it is just not up to me to “condemn” them. Their behavior, of course, but not the person. I do not have that authority. Besides, when I judge and condemn, that is what “I” feel and I do not like that. When I forgive, that is what “I” feel and I like that better. To give is the same as to receive. What I offer others in my mind and in prayer is what I receive. What we fear the most, we attract.

Finally, all of this has freed me from encounters with sociopaths, not made me more vulnerable. I had multiple encounters with sociopaths in my life even though I “thought” I knew what evil was. Now that I have forgiven and no longer fear them, I am more aware. Not only am I no longer attracted to them, but they are not attracted to me.

This is all about freedom for ourselves, not them. I do not in any way recommend interacting with a sociopath on any level unless absolutely necessary.

I hope all understand that I am not asking anyone to believe what I say. I only share what I believe to be true based on my own experience.

I am grateful and peaceful today. This works for me.


joe paterno reminds me of the catholic bishops , who systematically covered up for their child molester priests for generations.

sharing the journey

Are judges playing God when they sentence criminals

Are the police playing God for aprehending them.

Are psychiatrists playing God when diagnosing.

I think not.

Unfortunately I found myself in the position of playing all three roles when dealing with my ex H p. He blindsides me by raping me calling me by my two daughter’s names. Incest fantasies.

What I am working on is forgiving myself for taking him back ten years ago. He put on his good guy mask for six years and I believed he had changed. But underneath unbelievable evil was brewing.

What I console myself with–is that if I had seperated with him all those years ago he would have had full access to my very young daughters in overnight stays as I was completely innocent of knowing this about him.

As it was–I was with my girls and he didn’t touch them==just me.

For that I am grateful for.

If God is busy somewhere else–somethimes we have to do his work.

This comes from a person who in their pre-spath days was the most non judgmental person you could know.

If I am put in the position to judge then I have ther courage to do so.

Somwhere it is quoted and I don’t remember who from.

‘All it takes for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing’.

In my case-I leave it for God to forgive and in this way I am not playing his part.


I am Catholic and it is my belief that child molestation is unforgivable even by God. I believe all child molesters, therefore, go to hell. I believe that a child molester who uses any religion, Catholic or otherwise to gain access to their victims will go to a worse kind of hell than the child molester who doesn’t put on a religious frock. I believe anyone that helps cover up the molestations also go to hell.
This is my belief, and hell doesn’t necessarily mean fire and Satan, but a realm totally void of God’s love.
If you call that being judgmental, okay, I can live with myself.

sharing the journey

Totally with you woundlicker. From what I have read on LF and the conclusions of many–is that they already live in this void. I hope so.



skylar, the first response of yours is right on re the narcissism. I found it a great way to think about narcissists overall. thank you. I hope you’re doing great, I’ve not been here for a while… Hi. 🙂


Something crossed my mind a bit back and I will put this forward very, very delicately. Did anyone else ever think Paterno and Sandusky were “kindred souls”?


I completely understand Donna’s and Oxdrover’s point of view. I do personally believe that evil is very difficult to discern for those of us who weren’t raised with it, or with having to identitfy it. Our society does not “train” us to know and understand evil until we are much older and are face to face with it. Growing up, I did not come face to face with this kind of evil…not just the molestations but with any kind of blatant evil. Therefore, I had no way to read between the lines and see what was really there. Even my own sister was molested by my stepfather in the mornings when I left to do my grooming in the bathroom. It wasn’t until 15-20 yrs ago when this kind of thing became more publicized. One day I had an a-ha moment and knew instantly that my sister had been molested in those early morning hours when my stepfather came and sat on her bed, cooing to her. I did not learn about it until I was in my 50’s, and it took me at least several years before I could understand what was going on. Even then, I had to do extensive research in order to be validated in what I knew was true, but couldn’t attach to my belief system. Today, it’s a whole different story because this evil business has come into my life many times in the past 10 years.


Hi Newstepmom,
great to see you. Things are going well. How is everything working out with your situation?

yeah there is something there. I think they are both “Peter Pan”. Although Paterno is probably not as perverse as Sandusky.
Paterno’s wife, Sue, is an N and an enabler. The article ends with:

Whenever someone in her family loses their emotional way, and sits at the kitchen table weeping for something that’s been lost or torn down, Sue holds a frame out to them and shows them a photograph of unspoiled familial innocence.

“Look at this picture,” she tells them. “This is who we are. And no one can take us from us.”

sharing the journey

I am one of the lucky ones that does not have a history of child sexual abuse and when I was confronted by it by my ex H P my reaction was severe shock and horror.

To think that I loved=LOVED this thing is horrific to me.

Thankfully my children were unhurt apart from association. I had no schema for this. But my reaction tells all.

I don’t think I will truly recover from this knowledge.

Skylar-I get so amazed that you can accept this part of your ex. I hope to get there.

Ox Drover

Jesus said, referring to little children that “a man who harms these (children) would be better off with a mill stone tied around his neck and tossed into the sea.” (paraphrased) You know, I agree. I think there is a hot spot in hell for such people who harm children in any way!

sea storm

There is no doubt in my mind that we live in an offender protective society. While people are aghast that Mr. Padermo turned a blind eye to the abuse that was revealed to him by passing the buck on to the “proper” authorities.he followed the protocal for dealing with disclosures.
This is a very slippery slope where each person passes the disclosure to someone else and no one wants to deal with the children who are abused.

I worked in a school system as a counselor and I heard disclosures of sexual and physical abuse often. When I reported to the principals at the different schools the reaction was always the same: they were very scared. Scared of the repercussions, scared of making false accusations and being sued, scared of offenders who came crashing into the office like angry bulls denying what they were accused of. One accusation of sexual abuse requires a team of very skilled and courageous professionals to hold back the tide of rage, fear, and aggression that often comes after the accusations have been made.

Sometimes I would report abuse and it was handled by an interviewer who did not get much information from the abused child so it looked like I was exaggerating the abuse. One principal said that “we don’t have the staff to handle disclosures” so he wanted the safe touch program cancelled. One does not have to go as far as a university sports team to find serious abuse. One in five children have been sexually abused. This is a staggering statistic. That means you already know several kids who have been abused and you haven’t noticed it or reported.
That is because we a trained NOT to notice and if we do notice, to push it to the back of our primordial brains.

From what I have seen I would say that the higher one is up the ladder in a bureaucracy, the more one colludes with denial of sexual abuse. After all Joe had the good of the many as his goal, rather than the good of the few who were being abused. As a very busy man he could just file the disclosures into a neat little file and delegate it to some subordinate who may or may not have the courage to probably lose his career over taking hold of the tiger’s tale.

I sure respect people who help children and continue to support them through the process of disclosing sexual abuse. Each person from then on has to be willing to step up the plate ie parents, social worker, court system, social network, church. It is not easy.

Joe is the tip of the iceberg. I hope that he becomes
an example of how not to behave. He is hung out to dry but he is behaving the same way that multitudes in his place are trained to behave. To pass the buck.

sharing the journey

I would like to add to the above post. Whistleblowers are treated with less respect than the offender even though child abuse is very common and always has been.

Even in this supposed to be ‘enlightened’ 21st century.



Hi skylar, oh great, I’m glad you are doing well. I am in some ways, and making progress talking to my husband whose ex is a spath of some sort about his seeing the ex’s psychological issues, and in his seeing how his own narcissistic tendencies work between he and I, and a little about how they contributed toward he and his ex. Which I feel from reading about “negotiating” with any unhealthy narcissism, makes me lucky, that he’s open to considering it, and actually does some thinking about it on his own..

Other than that things are up and down? Given the comments here, I had bought several narcissism books in order to see how he and I could more effectively interact with his ex wife. Though the more I read, the more of my husband I saw in his and my relationship. While I find that his ex wife is at the more extreme end of unhealthy narcissism, he’s somewhere in the middle, and… I’m not sure where I am exactly. But it’s kind of horrifying, but hopefully helpful for me to see myself on that continuum too, wherever I might lie? I know I am unrelenting when hoping to communicate something to someone close to me who seems unwilling to understand what I am saying and prefers to shut me down (by walking away or attacking me or changing the subject). But what is my unrelentingness, too, I wonder? I guess that is kind of like my being a tyrant too, in my communication efforts perhaps. When I do it, it’s my goal to be understood and partnered with, versus just walking away un-understood, and without our partnering together on the issue we are discussing. I have known for years and years that I strive, very hard, for mutually satisfying resolution to conflict, though if the other just wants to ignore it, I guess I need to learn to respect that option too? That is super hard for me, especially when I am pushing for us to agree to resolve conflict… it’s almost like catch-22, I think. Ugh. I have agreed that a statement like, “I’d prefer to resolve this later,” can work fine, but the later needs to happen.

Anyhow, my husband is going in to mediation at his ex wife’s insistence this week, I’m sure it will be fun. She has given him no list of issues she wants mediated. Mutual friends have let us know the ex wife tells these friends that their kids don’t like me, that we lock them out of our cabin when we are on vacation with them [she actually said this which is incredible + alarming], and that we don’t provide clothes for them over here. I let the husband know he needs to be prepared, documenting is super important obviously, because I would not be surprised if she whips all of this out in an effort to try to get sole custody of their kids. We consulted with a div atty a few months ago to ask about this (okay, I asked, the husband still doubts she’d do this, even given what the ex wife is telling friends), who noted that it’s a very hard road for her to get sole custody, and that much proof needs to be delivered which while making us feel a little bit better, is unsettling anyway. Given how she “settled” their divorce, she knows we have very little money compared to her household’s at least 700k a year so they potentially have the ability for a longer legal thing than we do, certainly.

I feel kind of nauseous as I write this out. But… is there much on here about support for the documentation efforts?! I have found it very hard, even though I have known I need to do it since reading things, here and researching what I see in her. Yuck. Thank you for any helpful advice re documenting!

What an exchange of ideas.

After living what I just lived the last 30 years, I am in the camp of belief that spaths and N know EXACTLY what they are doing and choose it. I can tell you at least with my spath, he took the very most advantage of me when I was weak and vulnerable.

Our times were roughest when I was pregnant, had little kids, exhausted, etc. When I was on top of my game, feeling good, the spath was a fairly decent guy. He played to the public. He was all about [how do I look] and reputation. But behind closed doors he was usually a booze guzzling asshole.

This is the Jekyl Hyde, roller coaster mind f*ck. The predator mentality, mean spirited bully. These vampires don’t strike on people who they think will hit back (at least very hard).

I saw spath bully his own children. I’ve seen him literally kick the dog. He was miserable

My role: I thought I could help, I thought I could make a difference. The kinder I was – he sensed it for weakness. I think agape love only works on children. And all the talk about kids…. It’s absolutely despicable preying on someone who entrusts and the trust is breached because of “authority.” It is the ultimate act of a bully !!!!

Um, did Paterno know? Ya, I think so. Probably best he left the earth before opening up that can of worms.


newstepmom ~

Helpful remarks on documenting over on January 13 or 16th topic “Psychopathic Mom Pressing For More Time With Kids.” Go to end of topics showing now and go back one page – at the top.

Rule on documenting – document EVERYTHING

sharing the journey

Mine got the shock of his life when he experienced weak, kind, forgiving, unjudgmental, saw good in everyone and every situation me hit back hard.

He touched my kids-even if it was only in his mind.


Ox Drover


I am glad tha tyou are still here and still reading and learning.

The learning starts out to be about them, but ends up being about ourselves, and I see that you are doing some SELF LEARNING and searching about your own issues. That is good.

We do need to discuss and communicate, but you cannot FORCE communication on people. There are some people, also that you will NEVER BE ABLE TO COMMUNICATE with. That is a fact of life that must be accepted.

Those people with whom you cannot communicate and who do things to you or others that are not things that you can live with, sometimes those people must be moved out of your life.

Sometimes that is difficult but it might be that you and your husband might want to have HIM primarily spend time with his kids, and you not so much until the ex wife calms down about how he married a “witch”—Good luck and keep on learning!


Hi, thank you so much MiLo, Ox Drover, I really, really appreciate your comments. And thank you for referring me over to the topic of moms pressing for more time… how did you know this one is doing that as well? Thanks so much. I feel so happy to have this resource.

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