As much as I, and many others, loved “Joe Pa”, Joe Paterno knew about the actions of Jerry Sandusky, even if only in the vaguest sense. There are too many written documents (emails, etc.) along with countless other obvious indications that Paterno knew at least something criminal was taking place within the Penn State University athletic facilities. Whether or not he felt such an allegiance to the program, or to his old friend and assistant coach will never be answered, but he knew things of an abusive nature were at the heart of this scandal. Why he didn’t do more, we will never know.
It is very likely that Paterno knew about the abuse and has not released information and attempted to cover it up by failing to release those audio files. Whether or not he participated in the sex abuse scandals is uncertain. It would be very difficult to get a testimonial from Paterno due to him being deceased, however it's very possible he knew about the abuse and covered it up and had not brought the information he knew about Sandusky to light.
After reading the Freeh Report, it seems highly unlikely that he was unaware of the incident. The first documented case was in 1998, and from what I believe, Paterno knew about the incident and chose not to report it. I don't know if he knew about the continued abuse but he was definitely aware of the initial incident.
Yes, I believe Joe Paterno must have known what abuse was going on with some Penn State staff members. Having worked closely with Jerry Sandusky, I am not sure he could not have known about the abuse he committed toward young boys and especially because of how long the abuse lasted. He had to have known.
McCreery reported inaccurately either out of embarrassment or stupidity and wasn't direct with an old man he respected or was so in shock by what he had to say that he didn't want to say the words. Nobody should exonerate Paterno and obviously the rumors should have gave him great concern about the issue and he COULD HAVE AND WITH HINDSIGHT SHOULD have been more proactive with regards to the issue but damn did ANYONE have the fortitude to go forward and pursue the issue? IF I saw a man in a locker room having sexual contact with a young boy the last person I call is the head coach! I stop the attack, take the boy and call the police.
I doubt Paterno, Schultz and Curley were fully aware of Sandusky's crimes. If either of them suspected Jerry to be the serial molester he really was, I believe they would have notified the authorities. There is more to the cover-up allegations than meets the eye. All they had at the time was McQuery's account of the shower incident in 2001. The blame needs to stop being directed exclusively at Penn State.