Emails from February 2001 on how Penn State was allegedly planning to address accusations of sexual abuse by Jerry Sandusky that were leaked to CNN - to 1972 Bishop Guifoyle graduate Susan Candiotti, by the way - have left a definite chink in Joe Paterno's statue.
In case you've been in a cave, CNN last week reported that Paterno squelched a plan to turn Sandusky in to authorities. That plan reportedly was hatched by PSU President Graham Spanier, athletic director Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, then vice president who oversaw the university police.
According to the email, Schultz suggested bringing the allegation to the attention of Sandusky, The Second Mile (the charity Sandusky founded) and the Department of Welfare, which investigates suspected child abuse.
After meeting with Paterno, CNN reported Curley emailed Spanier and said he was "uncomfortable" turning Sandusky in. Spanier and Schultz accepted that and agreed that the more "humane" way to treat Sandusky was to encourage him to seek professional help.
Do I think Paterno assumed control of the wheel of this reckless vehicle Penn State could not or would not steer?
I don't know, and it doesn't matter what I believe.
It matters what Louis Freeh believes, and the former FBI director appointed by Penn State to independently find out what went woefully wrong is due to issue his report soon - maybe next week, maybe the following week, maybe early next month.
After eight months of turmoil and speculation, I'm willing to wait for it.
Freeh has interviewed more than 400 people associated with Penn State, seeking to find out all he could about how the Sandusky case was handled internally and how Penn State's culture contributed to it.
I'm especially interested how much he'll delve into the 1998 case in which charges were not pressed against Sandusky, who was investigated for showering with a young boy.
I'm also curious whether Freeh will examine the discussions in early 1999 between Paterno, Spanier, Sandusky and Penn State Altoona officials that would have placed Sandusky in charge of a proposed football program at the local campus.
Fortunately, the idea did not come to fruition.
Given that Paterno passed away in January, how many former colleagues will be forthcoming about matters that he cannot defend? And, if obtained, will Freeh pass them along?
Or, as he attested shortly before his death, did Paterno not know of the 1998 case?
And what of the beleaguered Board of Trustees, including current Athletic Director Dave Joyner? Will Freeh learn its members knew more than they let on about Sandusky?
It doesn't figure to be flattering information.
Either way, Freeh's efforts will bring a more complete picture of the case - the truth, hopefully - and are a lot more important than suspicions, mine, yours or CNN's.
The Freeh report will help us all further determine not only how we feel about Joe Paterno but about everybody else who failed to corral a serial pedophile whose shame brought to Penn State will far outlast the glory brought to it by anybody else.
Mirror Managing Editor Neil Rudel can be reached at 946-7527 or firstname.lastname@example.org.