Jenkins on Paterno story: ‘I certainly didn’t walk away from the interview satisfied’

The Washington Post
Sally Jenkins interviewed former Penn State coach Joe Paterno twice and walked away unsure whether he was telling her the truth about Jerry Sandusky. “It was tough, tricky interview, compromised by his health and monitored by his attorneys, and I certainly didn’t walk away from the interview satisfied,” she said in a Washington Post Web chat. She also explains how she got the scoop:

I was contacted by a representative for Paterno who said Paterno wanted to go public with someone and would we want the interview, given certain conditions. He didn’t want to go on television, as he doesn’t look great or sound great, and also the chemo affects his ability to be fully lucid at times. The conditions were that his lawyer be present, since he’s a witness in an ongoing criminal trial, which, after discussing it with my editors, we agreed to.  This next part answers a question from above: I wrote a column back in November about “acquaintance molesters” in which I interviewed an FBI profiler named Ken Lanning who outlined how a molester is able to embed himself so deeply in the community and become so trusted. My understanding is that Paterno felt it was more reasonable than some things had been written, which is why he gave me the interview. Which may be one way of saying they took me for a patsy. At any rate, we jumped at the interview, as everyone wants to know what Paterno has to say about this case.

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  • Carla Kendall

    The fact is it showed Paterno’s guilt and cowardice, even if she didn’t press the interview.  The best lie Paterno could come up with, after months of coaching, is that he “never heard of rape and a man”.

    Of course,  he is Catholic, and this happened in 2002, when the biggest story in the country was the rampant rape of children by Catholic priests.  Either Joe doesn’t read or doesn’t tell the truth.  And he is a coward.

  • Poynter

    Here’s that passage, in response to the question, “Do you believe Paterno?,” Jenkins replied: “I don’t know. That’s my best answer. I wrote a story about a man
    battling on three fronts, fighting for his life, and his life’s work,
    and his reputation, who had decided to break his silence. Some of his
    answers I found completely genuine, some I’m not as sure of.” You can read the entire transcript here:

  • Anonymous

    I want to know where Jenkins says she didn’t know if Paterno was telling her the truth or not.  Or is that just some poetic license the media likes to use to make their headlines look better?