The voice of a Pennsylvania State Senator trembled as he delivered an emotional, sometimes tearful defense of Joe Paterno at Tuesday’s Senate session in Harrisburg.
Jack Corman, an influential Pa. State Senate Republican who chairs the appropriations committee, lost his composure and was forced to pause three times before finishing a half-hour speech in which the Penn State alumnus was repeatedly overcome with emotion.
Corman’s intial remarks scolded the public for allegedly dismissing what he called the “the 60 years of his (Paterno) life’s work” after a Nov. 5, 2011, Pennsylvania Grand Jury presentment revealed that the ex-Penn State football coach failed to report directly to police allegations that former PSU assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky had sexually abused a child in the Penn State locker room in 2002.
“Today I wanted to come to the floor of the Senate and talk about one of my constituents that I thought there was a rush to judgement on. (Paterno) spent the better part of six decades building a community, building an insitution and a building a program that somehow was all lost, sixty years of his life’s work was all lost in a matter of days due to a rush to judge everyone’s actions (involved in the Sandusky case).”
Most of Corman’s comments on the floor of the Pennsylvania Senate Tuesday involved chronicling Paterno’s past accomplishments at Penn State, while the Senator also refused to conclude that the former Penn State football coach was wrong for not reporting directly to police alleged child sexual abuse by a former longtime colleague at Paterno’s then-current workplace.
Corman broke down twice in the final throes of his emotional plea to the people of Pennsylvania to not hold Paterno’s lack of action - in the face of alleged child rape - against the former coach:
“When you look at the life of Joe Paterno and what he’s meant, the biggest compliment I could say my community where I live, my alma mater where I went to school, the commonwealth which I raised my family is a better place. (pause) It’s a better place because Joe Paterno chose to live here.”
With his voice trembling, Corman closed with the following:
“He’s (Paterno) in the biggest battle of his life now but when you view his history he will win. Our prayers are with him and I can only hope my community, my institution are worthy of his efforts to make us grow.”
Corman, who represents the Penn State area in the Senate, currently serves on the Board of Directors of The Second Mile, the charity Sandusky founded to allegedly facilitate his sexual abuse of children.