The legend of Penn State football coach Joe Paterno was ultimately tarnished by the heinous crimes of Paterno assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. Before Sandusky, however, there was another monster connected to the school’s football program — one whose many unspeakable violations are only coming to light now, in Junod and Lavigne’s tireless, exhaustive investigation. This is a long, difficult piece. It’s also a necessary one.
And yet, just as there is a cost to keeping silence, there is cost to breaking it. Decades after Betsy called Ann to tell her what had happened on the night of Sept. 13, they both remain reluctant to speak the word that names what Hodne did to her. The daughter is now 64. The mother is 84. They are close; they know most of what there is to know about each other. But they both remember that phone call, and the weight of the word, and how breaking the silence broke them. They can say it now; they can say that Betsy was raped. But they still grieve each time they do. And both of them, far away from one another, in separate phone calls, still weep.