Joe Paterno’s power may have reached well beyond football, and newly released emails obtained by CNN indicate that the late head football coach for Penn State University demanded to handle scandalous and illegal issues internally.
Penn State hired former FBI Director Louis Freeh to conduct an investigation into the sex abuse and the alleged cover-up that happened at the school.
Freeh’s investigation has unearthed new emails that allegedly demonstrate the power and control Paterno wielded in State College, Pennsylvania.
In a 2005 e-mail from Vicky Triponey, then-vice president of student affairs in charge of disciplining students, to other Penn State administrators including then-Athletic Director Tim Curley, she criticizes Paterno for giving preferential treatment to his players.
"Coach Paterno would rather we NOT inform the public when a football player is found responsible for committing a serious violation of the law and/or our student code -- despite any moral or legal obligation to do so," writes Triponey.
In the same e-mail, Triponey refers to the pressure her office received from coaches and others. "I must insist that the efforts to put pressure on (Student Affairs) and try to influence our decisions... simply MUST STOP," she writes.
Curley later replies acknowledging that Triponey's opinion about her conversation with Paterno was correct.
Triponey replies to Curley saying, "I know you are caught in the middle of a very difficult situation."
In a later e-mail to then-Penn State President Graham Spanier, Triponey doesn’t hold back. "I am very troubled by the manipulative, disrespectful, uncivil and abusive behavior of our football coach," she writes.
According to a CNN source with information about the investigation, Triponey told Freeh investigators that she resigned from the school after an incident in 2007, in which more than a dozen players crashed an off-campus party and started a violent fight.
During the incident in 2007, it seems Paterno sent an e-mail though his assistant to Spanier saying, "I want to make sure everyone understands that the discipline of the players involved will be handled by me as soon as I am comfortable that I know all the facts."
Paterno’s attorneys say their client didn’t have a personal email account, but the emails found by Freeh's group indicate his assistants sent emails for him.
According to the source, after Triponey attempted to discipline the players involved as she would other students, she was allegedly harassed both online and at her home. Someone allegedly put a “for sale” sign in her front lawn.
The source also says Spanier suggested she reconsider her future employment at the school, and she resigned.