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Area Residents React to Penn State Situation

Have mixed feelings about Paterno and how things have unfolded.

As news about the sexual abuse situation at Penn State has trickled down from Happy Valley, many Sachem community residents with ties to the area or opinions about the incidents that have transpired have spoken out with mixed feelings.

Justin Cirillo, an on-air personality with 91.9-FM The Arrow, a student operated radio station in the Sachem Central School District, feels the negligence that each party showed in responding to Jerry Sandusky's alleged actions was a disgrace to the storied history of the university.

From Penn State athletic director Tim Curley and university vice presisdent Gary Schultz to legendary head coach Joe Paterno and assistant coach Mike McQueary, Cirillo doesn’t think any lived up to their moral expectations.

“I do not believe that one should have been fired unless all of them were,” he said. “[McQueary’s] moral obligation was the same as Paterno's. He needed to go to PA police after his superiors failed to handle the situation properly.”

Bob Kohn, a Sachem alum, area resident and board member with the Sachem Sports Club, is disappointed in Paterno’s judgment, or lack thereof, in reporting on Sandusky properly.

“In hindsight I am sure JoePa himself would agree he should have done more,” said Kohn. “I don't think he himself is a criminal but should lose his job and should be held accountable for not taking further action than what he did.”

Stacey Dowdle, a former Sachem runner, suggests a letter should be sent to the Penn State Board of Trustees to boycott the Penn Relays until the event’s governing body introduces a mission statement protecting all visiting athletes.

“We were 14 when we competed there,” she said.

Lauren Cox, who chimed in on the Sachem Patch Facebook page and is a Middle Country area resident, said the people rallying behind Paterno need a wake-up call.

“He stood by while horrific acts were done to children and did virtually nothing,” she said. “No amount of wins justifies that, not a single trophy or championship. As an adult he has a responsibility to take greater action.”

Ray Gentner, who graduated from Sachem in 1959 and is the grandfather of Sachem East football star Steven Casali, said this situation is not about Paterno, but about the kids involved.

“I am saddened by anyone having their reputation sullied by association with or culpability for this, but all kid’s safety are the first issue,” he said. “It is my opinion as a man, a father, grandfather and great grandfather that it is better to clean house in any organization that doesn’t take every action to clean up these messes. Abuse - physical, sexual or mental - cannot ever be tolerated.”

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