Instead, he lied. And by doing so, Paterno betrayed himself, his legacy, his university and, most of all, the children who were victims of Sandusky's serial pedophilia.
May 13, 1998, 2:21 p.m. Curley emailed Schultz 10 days after Victim 6 was assaulted by Sandusky in the shower.
"Anything new in this department? Coach is anxious to know where it stands."
Jan. 12, 2011. Paterno testifies before the grand jury.
Question to Paterno: "Other than the  incident that Mike McQueary reported to you, do you know in any way, through rumor, direct knowledge or any other fashion, of any other inappropriate sexual conduct by Jerry Sandusky with young boys?"
Paterno: "I do not know of anything else that Jerry would be involved in of that nature, no
. I do not know of it. You did mention -- I think you said something about a rumor. It may have been discussed in my presence, something else about somebody. I don't know. I don't remember, and I could not honestly say I heard a rumor."
Paterno knew. Spanier knew. Curley knew. Schultz knew.
Now we know.
The Paterno family insists that the all-time winningest coach in major college football history was deceived and fooled by Sandusky, that JoePa had a blind spot that lasted from 1998 to 2011.
"To think, however, that [Paterno] would have protected Jerry Sandusky to avoid bad publicity is simply not realistic," said the family in its Thursday statement.
Really? Why not? Because the Paternos say so?
Paterno could have spoken out in 1998, but didn't. He could have spoken out in 2001, but didn't. Whatever his motives, he did nothing or, in the case of the 2001 assault incident witnessed by McQueary, he did the absolute minimum.