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View Full Version : Life Penn State riot ends aspiring Army officer's dream


Reerun_KC
08-27-2012, 01:05 PM
http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/08/27/penn-st-riot-ends-aspiring-army-officer-dream/


Stints in jail. Hefty fines and restitution. Clouded futures. The consequences of their bad behavior have been steep for the Penn State students who took to the streets and rioted in the chaotic aftermath of Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno's firing last November.

Perhaps none have learned a harder lesson than Justin Strine, a young man from central Pennsylvania whose planned career as an Army officer is over before it began — the casualty of his own split-second decision to put his hands on a news van, and a judicial system that considered him as guilty as classmates who did far worse that dark night in State College.
As the fall semester gets under way Monday, Strine has returned to campus, along with 15 other students found to have taken part in a nationally televised riot that caused tens of thousands of dollars in damage and embarrassed Penn State.

As he resumes his studies, nothing's the same for the 21-year-old from Hummelstown. He spent part of his summer in jail. Far worse: He's been kicked out of ROTC, his dream of carrying on his family's proud military tradition now out of reach.

"I'm losing everything I worked my entire life for," Strine said.
Strine's father, a career soldier, questions whether that's a just result.
"I had to stand by and watch my son plead guilty to something he didn't do," said Jim Strine.

Penn State sanctioned 32 students for their involvement in the riot, suspending 10 of them from one to three semesters and giving probation to the rest, university spokeswoman Lisa Powers said. Dozens of students were criminally charged, as well, and the guilty pleas have piled up over the last several months.

An estimated 4,000 to 5,000 people poured into downtown State College on Nov. 9 after the Penn State board of trustees abruptly and unexpectedly fired Paterno — the beloved football coach who led Penn State for nearly 46 seasons — and removed President Graham Spanier over the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal.

What began as a peaceful protest of Paterno's unceremonious dismissal quickly turned ugly as a "riotous mob," as State College police would later call it, threw bottles and rocks, damaged cars, and tore down light posts and street signs.

Strine was in his off-campus apartment when he learned of Paterno's firing. He and a few friends decided to head downtown.
It was a rare misstep in what had been a slow, steady climb toward the officer ranks.

Strine's father is a helicopter pilot and instructor whose 28-year career has taken him to Iraq and Afghanistan. His grandfather is a retired Air Force flight surgeon. His brother and sister, aunt and uncle, cousins — all serve or have served. So it wasn't a surprise when Strine began plotting his own military career as an adolescent, reading the autobiographies of famed Army officers like Norman Schwarzkopf and Colin Powell.
At Penn State, Strine threw himself into ROTC as well as his studies, making the dean's list and spending the summer at Fort Benning, Ga., learning to jump out of airplanes. His goal: to be a pilot like his father.
"He was a good cadet," Jim Strine said.

A good cadet who made a bad decision the night of Nov. 9.
Strine had driven himself and a couple friends to the State College commercial district, where they joined thousands of other protesters. At one point Strine and his friend, Christina Assainte, found themselves in a large crowd moving toward a WTAJ-TV news van, where vandals were pelting it with rocks.

To the rippling chants of "Flip it! Flip it!" two young men approached the side of the van, motioning others to join them, a video recording shows. That set off a frenzied rush toward the van, and within seconds a large group started to push.

A second wave of spectators then pressed toward the front of the van, perhaps to get a better view. Strine and Assainte were in the front of that group.

With the vehicle already on two wheels and going over, Strine placed his palms on the hood. Four seconds later, the van was on its side. But that's all it took for police and prosecutors to charge him with felony counts of riot and criminal mischief — the same charges filed against students who did the actual pushing.

"I always felt I was on a good path, and all the sudden I'm being made into a criminal. It was shocking to me they wouldn't even hear me out and let me explain that yes, I was there and shouldn't have been, but I wasn't this person they are making me out to be," Strine said. "No one ever looked at me as an individual. They looked at me as 5,000 Penn State rioters."

Terrified of being branded a felon, Strine agreed to plead guilty to reduced misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct and criminal mischief. He served 30 days in jail — getting out Aug. 4 — and will either be on parole or probation until 2015.

The consequences didn't end there. Penn State suspended Strine for a semester, and he was booted from ROTC and will have to repay every dime of his scholarship money, a total of $34,000. He also owes $8,500 in court costs, fines and restitution.

Strine said he knows he never should have left his apartment that night, never should have been in the vicinity of the van, never should have laid a finger on its hood.

"The van was already going over. It was so crazy, it was mayhem, and in that moment you stop thinking," Strine said. "I know I wasn't completely blameless. I was there, I touched the van and that was wrong. That's why I was happy to do community service for Penn State. But the criminal justice system went overboard."

His father said he's not seeking to minimize or excuse Justin's involvement, but contended the district attorney's office was far too aggressive — and his son's punishment far too severe.
"He owns something in this," Jim Strine said. "He just doesn't own what he's got."
Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller did not return multiple calls and emails seeking information about her office's handling of Strine's case or the other riot cases.

Messages left with State College police Chief Tom King were not returned.
Lt. Col. Ken Weiland, commander of Penn State's Army ROTC program, declined to comment Monday on Strine's removal from the program, but cited military regulations that list a multitude of reasons why a cadet could be kicked out.

Powers, the Penn State spokeswoman, said any student who goes through the university disciplinary process can contest the charges or sanctions.

"Justin accepted responsibility and the sanctions in the disciplinary conference, and did not contest them through either avenue that was afforded to him," she said, adding that Penn State carefully assessed each student's culpability, the impact of the crime on the community, and other factors before imposing punishment.

Strine said he didn't contest the charges because he wouldn't have been permitted an attorney, and his testimony before the school could have been used against him in the criminal courts. He didn't challenge the sanctions because Penn State warned him that if he did, he could wind up being penalized more severely. And he said he was never told that a suspension would cost him his spot in ROTC.

Assainte, who was with Strine during the riot, said he had no criminal intent that night. She said he got a raw deal.

"I remember him saying, 'All I wanted to do was serve my country, and now I can't because of one little mistake that was caught on tape.' One lapse of judgment and he gets all this thrown at him? I felt so awful," she said. "I just think what happened was really, really unfair."

Reerun_KC
08-27-2012, 01:08 PM
Crazy how in a moments notice a life can forever be changed.

Frazod
08-27-2012, 01:10 PM
Crazy how in a moments notice a life can forever be changed.

All over a pure piece of shit getting a mere fraction of the justice he deserved, too. What an idiot.

Rain Man
08-27-2012, 01:10 PM
It could be worse. At least he wasn't anally raped by a football coach.

Saul Good
08-27-2012, 01:12 PM
Am I supposed to feel sorry for this guy?

Fish
08-27-2012, 01:13 PM
A second wave of spectators then pressed toward the front of the van, perhaps to get a better view. Strine and Assainte were in the front of that group.

With the vehicle already on two wheels and going over, Strine placed his palms on the hood. Four seconds later, the van was on its side. But that's all it took for police and prosecutors to charge him with felony counts of riot and criminal mischief — the same charges filed against students who did the actual pushing.

LOL... no bias from the writer there....

This kid knew the demands of the organization that he intended to enter. He should have stayed way the hell away if he didn't want to jeopardize that. I can't feel to sorry for him....

pr_capone
08-27-2012, 01:13 PM
That flat sucks for the kid. That said, I don't see how a misdemeanor would keep him out of joining the military. As long as he finishes his 4 year degree, he should even still go in as an officer unless being kicked out of ROTC precludes him from military service. I didn't do ROTC and I was enlisted anyway so I would not know.

Ace Gunner
08-27-2012, 01:13 PM
He shouldn't have guns anyway.

Buehler445
08-27-2012, 01:16 PM
LOL... no bias from the writer there....

This kid knew the demands of the organization that he intended to enter. He should have stayed way the hell away if he didn't want to jeopardize that. I can't feel to sorry for him....

Very much this. Lots of people get kicked out of the ROTC because they were dumbasses. He is just one more.

vailpass
08-27-2012, 01:18 PM
Crazy how in a moments notice a life can forever be changed.

Oh my god that can mean like more than one thing. What you did here, it's so poignant, so powerful.
Just wow.

Reerun_KC
08-27-2012, 01:21 PM
Oh my god that can mean like more than one thing. What you did here, it's so poignant, so powerful.
Just wow.
WTF are you talking about?

Rain Man
08-27-2012, 01:22 PM
I'd really like to learn more about how Paterno had such a loyal cult following. I'd like to start a cult myself some day, and the fact that he could get a bunch of twentysomethings to vandalize stuff on his behalf when he's in his 80s is very impressive.

Pestilence
08-27-2012, 01:23 PM
Matt Cassel sucks.

loochy
08-27-2012, 01:37 PM
Sorry for him feel one bit I do not

DJ's left nut
08-27-2012, 01:38 PM
They've picked the wrong target here.

The 'criminal justice system' didn't screw him. It arrested him for being part of an unruly mob, offered him a deal and he took it. In the end, the charge he plead guilty to was probably a pretty fair one and the sentence certainly wasn't that extreme. He wasn't required to take the plea and frankly if his conduct is as he claims, he likely wouldn't have been found guilty anyway.

It was the ROTC and the school that really put the boot to him. He almost certainly had to know what was coming down the pipe there when he chose to accept the plea.

In the end you have to ask what his preferred course of action for law enforcement would have been there. Should they have just let everyone go? Should they have not offered misdemeanor plea deals?

Their complaint should be with the ROTC and Penn State, but in the end that makes for a far less sympathetic victim. It sucks for the kid and I do think the ROTC was hard on him, but it's their rules. Ultimately I'm sure he could still enlist and move up the ranks without the ROTC involvement.

Saul Good
08-27-2012, 01:43 PM
They've picked the wrong target here.

The 'criminal justice system' didn't screw him. It arrested him for being part of an unruly mob, offered him a deal and he took it. In the end, the charge he plead guilty to was probably a pretty fair one and the sentence certainly wasn't that extreme. He wasn't required to take the plea and frankly if his conduct is as he claims, he likely wouldn't have been found guilty anyway.

It was the ROTC and the school that really put the boot to him. He almost certainly had to know what was coming down the pipe there when he chose to accept the plea.

In the end you have to ask what his preferred course of action for law enforcement would have been there. Should they have just let everyone go? Should they have not offered misdemeanor plea deals?

Their complaint should be with the ROTC and Penn State, but in the end that makes for a far less sympathetic victim. It sucks for the kid and I do think the ROTC was hard on him, but it's their rules. Ultimately I'm sure he could still enlist and move up the ranks without the ROTC involvement.

All the poor guy is guilty of is being at the wrong place at the wrong time. I mean, who here hasn't just had their hands on a van that was being overturned during a riot?

I place my hands on vans all the time. I've just been lucky that it's never been during a riot when someone else turned the van over.

ReynardMuldrake
08-27-2012, 01:44 PM
What kind of bullshit is this? If the kid didn't want criminal charges, he shouldn't have participated in criminal acts. He got exactly what he deserved.

Frazod
08-27-2012, 01:54 PM
Am I supposed to feel sorry for this guy?

Only if he gets banned from ChiefsPlanet for being a troll.

mr. tegu
08-27-2012, 01:56 PM
All the poor guy is guilty of is being at the wrong place at the wrong time. I mean, who here hasn't just had their hands on a van that was being overturned during a riot?

I place my hands on vans all the time. I've just been lucky that it's never been during a riot when someone else turned the van over.

LMAO

vailpass
08-27-2012, 01:57 PM
Seems like the prosecutor could have applied some leniency in this case when deciding whether to press charges or not.

Radar Chief
08-27-2012, 02:01 PM
That flat sucks for the kid. That said, I don't see how a misdemeanor would keep him out of joining the military. As long as he finishes his 4 year degree, he should even still go in as an officer unless being kicked out of ROTC precludes him from military service. I didn't do ROTC and I was enlisted anyway so I would not know.

I don’t know if 1 misdemeanor would keep him from being an officer, I do know it can play hell with getting a security clearance which I would think is pretty important to an officer.
Certainly wouldn’t keep him from joining as enlisted. Joining with a 4 year degree he could quickly make it to E-5.

Pitt Gorilla
08-27-2012, 02:09 PM
One of the things Penn State did correctly was fire Paterno. "Rioting" about said firing is insane.

Reerun_KC
08-27-2012, 02:14 PM
I don’t know if 1 misdemeanor would keep him from being an officer, I do know it can play hell with getting a security clearance which I would think is pretty important to an officer.
Certainly wouldn’t keep him from joining as enlisted. Joining with a 4 year degree he could quickly make it to E-5.

The difference between enlisted and officer could be compared to Cassel vs Rogers.

I am encouraging my son to go in as an officer.

pr_capone
08-27-2012, 02:23 PM
The difference between enlisted and officer could be compared to Cassel vs Rogers.


Ummmmmmm.... wat?

Horrible analogy.

Reerun_KC
08-27-2012, 02:38 PM
Ummmmmmm.... wat?

Horrible analogy.

According to whom?

I served this country, I can use whatever analogy I want.

Pestilence
08-27-2012, 02:42 PM
According to whom?

I served this country, I can use whatever analogy I want.

No matter HOW retarded it fucking is.

Enlisted is like Cassel? As a former enlisted member....you can go fuck yourself.

Reerun_KC
08-27-2012, 02:46 PM
No matter HOW retarded it ****ing is.

Enlisted is like Cassel? As a former enlisted member....you can go **** yourself.

As in, you can die in a hippo shit filled aids pool.

Had to put it in terms that your pea nugget brain could comprehend...

Fish
08-27-2012, 02:52 PM
Seems like the prosecutor could have applied some leniency in this case when deciding whether to press charges or not.

Why? The kid admittedly had his hands directly on a vehicle that was overturned and destroyed. No matter how delicately the author described the situation, this kid wasn't some innocent bystander. He directly participated in the destruction. His group affiliation doesn't and shouldn't grant him any leniency. Otherwise, a case could be made for every other person there. I'm sure most of them are members of some group or another, and they probably didn't even push very hard when participating in overturning a vehicle.

He chose to participate. At any time, he could have said "Man, this is escalating a little too much, I should probably keep some distance." He didn't, and ended up overturning a vehicle. Tough shit at that point.

saphojunkie
08-27-2012, 02:57 PM
Seems like the prosecutor could have applied some leniency in this case when deciding whether to press charges or not.

You could apply leniency on our brains and go away, but you don't.

vailpass
08-27-2012, 03:42 PM
Why? The kid admittedly had his hands directly on a vehicle that was overturned and destroyed. No matter how delicately the author described the situation, this kid wasn't some innocent bystander. He directly participated in the destruction. His group affiliation doesn't and shouldn't grant him any leniency. Otherwise, a case could be made for every other person there. I'm sure most of them are members of some group or another, and they probably didn't even push very hard when participating in overturning a vehicle.

He chose to participate. At any time, he could have said "Man, this is escalating a little too much, I should probably keep some distance." He didn't, and ended up overturning a vehicle. Tough shit at that point.

I hear you. Fact is your age and background do matter and there are times when leniency is applied. I would have liked to see this be one of those cases.

pr_capone
08-27-2012, 03:42 PM
According to whom?

I served this country, I can use whatever analogy I want.

According to me and I think it would be safe to say ever other person who served as an enlisted man. Since I served as well, it seems that I have equal rights to comment on your statement as you did in making that analogy.

Congrats, you degraded the largest part of the military because we don't have some shiny bullshit on our collar.

vailpass
08-27-2012, 03:43 PM
You could apply leniency on our brains and go away, but you don't.

At first I thought I was reading this wrong but now I'm looking at it again in this quote.
Yep, you actually said that.

Reerun_KC
08-27-2012, 03:55 PM
According to me and I think it would be safe to say ever other person who served as an enlisted man. Since I served as well, it seems that I have equal rights to comment on your statement as you did in making that analogy.

Congrats, you degraded the largest part of the military because we don't have some shiny bullshit on our collar.
Enlisted usaf 92-97.

You're welcome.

pr_capone
08-27-2012, 04:04 PM
Enlisted usaf 92-97.

You're welcome.

still love you though

/no homo
/or maybe just a little :thailor:

memyselfI
08-27-2012, 04:06 PM
Guess that teaches him not to be on the wrong side of an issue.

Reerun_KC
08-27-2012, 05:46 PM
still love you though

/no homo
/or maybe just a little :thailor:
Did we just have a moment?

vailpass
08-27-2012, 05:48 PM
Did we just have a moment?

Don't ask don't tell.

Nightfyre
08-27-2012, 06:01 PM
Fact is, he demonstrated a severe lack of judgement and leadership in a high intensity moment. Is that really what you want in a combat leader?

jspchief
08-27-2012, 06:14 PM
I hear you. Fact is your age and background do matter and there are times when leniency is applied. I would have liked to see this be one of those cases.

How do we know it wasn't?

Baconeater
08-27-2012, 06:28 PM
Sounds like the kid learned a valuable life lesson.

pr_capone
08-27-2012, 06:43 PM
Did we just have a moment?

Will you take back the Cassel = Enlisted comment? Fer fucks sakes man... anone but Kasl.

milkman
08-27-2012, 08:02 PM
I don’t know if 1 misdemeanor would keep him from being an officer, I do know it can play hell with getting a security clearance which I would think is pretty important to an officer.
Certainly wouldn’t keep him from joining as enlisted. Joining with a 4 year degree he could quickly make it to E-5.

It can be pretty important to grunts like me.

I had a fairly high level security clrearance when I was in the Navy.

Setsuna
08-27-2012, 09:11 PM
Dumb kid. The choice to go downtown solidified his fate. He has no resolve.

el borracho
08-27-2012, 09:25 PM
The editor probably should have used the alternate title, "Dumbass gets what's coming to him".

KILLER_CLOWN
08-27-2012, 09:39 PM
It could be worse. At least he wasn't anally raped by a football coach.

LMAO true, true.......

listopencil
08-27-2012, 09:42 PM
Enlisted usaf 92-97.

You're welcome.

USAF? Bullshit, that doesn't even count.

listopencil
08-27-2012, 09:49 PM
Oh, by the way, joining in on a riot and taking part in vandalism that amounts to blatant destruction of private property really isn't conduct becoming of an officer and a gentleman.

Garcia Bronco
08-27-2012, 09:50 PM
Life has a way of giving us exactly what we need.

Reerun_KC
08-27-2012, 10:01 PM
Will you take back the Cassel = Enlisted comment? Fer ****s sakes man... anone but Kasl.

Okay okay okay I take it back.

Reerun_KC
08-27-2012, 10:02 PM
USAF? Bullshit, that doesn't even count.
My time in combat communications says otherwise.

listopencil
08-27-2012, 10:04 PM
My time in combat communications says otherwise.

So? They give megaphones to cheerleaders too. And pretty uniforms.

notorious
08-27-2012, 10:06 PM
So? They give megaphones to cheerleaders too. And pretty uniforms.

Jebus.


LMAO

Reerun_KC
08-27-2012, 10:08 PM
So? They give megaphones to cheerleaders too. And pretty uniforms.
They gave me an AR-15. Do you still have your megaphone?

listopencil
08-27-2012, 10:15 PM
They gave me an AR-15. Do you still have your megaphone?

That's nice. Did it impress the other Airedales, or did they not know what it was?

Reerun_KC
08-27-2012, 10:17 PM
That's nice. Did it impress the other Airedales, or did they not know what it was?
We used them as door stops while we were staying at the holiday inn.

listopencil
08-27-2012, 10:19 PM
We used them as door stops while we were staying at the holiday inn.


LMAO

Reerun_KC
08-27-2012, 10:20 PM
LMAO
That was the best I could come up with tonight.

listopencil
08-27-2012, 10:21 PM
That was the best I could come up with tonight.

Meh. I was getting kind of tired of fucking with you anyway.

Valiant
08-27-2012, 10:24 PM
I am fine with the outcome.. It seems to be more of a problem because he will not get to be an officer by his account and the blacksheep in the family.. From my understanding, he can still join, but it is going to be waaaaaaaaaaaay harder for him to work up the ranks..

He will need to graduate, then enlist and work his ass off now to become an officer imo..

Reerun_KC
08-27-2012, 10:27 PM
Meh. I was getting kind of tired of ****ing with you anyway.

It's okay. I went to the air force for a reason. I wanted out of my home town. I didn't want to be one of those so called home town bad asses. You know the guy that went to the marines comes back 2-4 YEARS later and tries to relive high-school again.

Now we r doing just fine thanks to the usaf. It treated us well during and.after service.

pr_capone
08-27-2012, 10:31 PM
We used them as door stops while we were staying at the holiday inn.

roflmfao

listopencil
08-27-2012, 10:39 PM
It's okay. I went to the air force for a reason. I wanted out of my home town. I didn't want to be one of those so called home town bad asses. You know the guy that went to the marines comes back 2-4 YEARS later and tries to relive high-school again.

Now we r doing just fine thanks to the usaf. It treated us well during and.after service.

Yeah, I've seen a lot of those. Pretty sad. In all honesty my nephew is USAF. Doing pretty good by him. Most of the rest of my family is/was Navy/Army.

Frazod
08-27-2012, 10:42 PM
Oh, by the way, joining in on a riot and taking part in vandalism that amounts to blatant destruction of private property really isn't conduct becoming of an officer and a gentleman.

I don't know. I served with some pretty shitty zeros over the years.

listopencil
08-27-2012, 10:46 PM
I don't know. I served with some pretty shitty zeros over the years.

No doubt, but they are usually at least smart enough not to get caught red handed like that.

crazycoffey
08-28-2012, 05:15 AM
LOL... no bias from the writer there....

This kid knew the demands of the organization that he intended to enter. He should have stayed way the hell away if he didn't want to jeopardize that. I can't feel to sorry for him....

ditto.

One less idiot with brass on his hat trying to lead in the greatest military forces on earth.

We all make some bad decisions. but with perspective, joining a mob and turning over a vehicle has to be above the acceptable lowest level for national public service.

crazycoffey
08-28-2012, 05:19 AM
I hear you. Fact is your age and background do matter and there are times when leniency is applied. I would have liked to see this be one of those cases.

No thank you. When things start to get out of hand, I want a strong leader that can curb the mob mentality and get things back in order. Fact is, most times these leaders are from the backbone of the Military like NCO's. But EVERY strong NCO is outranked by a snot nosed butter bar fresh from his college experience. Better to know this officer "want to be" doesn't have what it takes to be an officer now, than in a "real life and death" situation.

crazycoffey
08-28-2012, 05:24 AM
It's really only sad that many young men didn't make the right decision when they had the chance to. And also sad that the only one really convicted of any wrong doing is the one entering the life of military service. We, the people, should all be held to stronger convictions. Wallstreet workers, Salespeople, Police, Judges, POLITICIANS, Mothers, Fathers, Construction Workers, etc. Everyone.

bevischief
08-28-2012, 07:08 AM
No thank you. When things start to get out of hand, I want a strong leader that can curb the mob mentality and get things back in order. Fact is, most times these leaders are from the backbone of the Military like NCO's. But EVERY strong NCO is outranked by a snot nosed butter bar fresh from his college experience. Better to know this officer "want to be" doesn't have what it takes to be an officer now, than in a "real life and death" situation.

Ain't that the truth.