I’ve been hearing quite a bit about this story on the news and it makes me wonder. Joe Paterno, age 84, has been a coach at Penn State for 46 years and he was planning to retire at the end of the season. He had a very long career at the university and was well loved by students and faculty alike. He was a legend in his own time. And suddenly, a scandal erupts and his fifty years of dedicated service is flushed down the toilet. He is unanimously fired over the phone. His long career ends in disgrace and humiliation overnight.
The news stunned everyone, students especially. They could not keep from expressing their feelings and some were even arrested for “rioting.” Joe Paterno technically did nothing wrong. The scandal involved Jerry Sandusky, a former defensive coordinator of the school, who faces 40 counts of allegedly sexually abusing eight young boys for more than a decade. Boys who came from an at-risk charity called The Second Mile. It is reported that he also invited them over for sleepovers. The crimes allegedly took place on campus. They were witnessed! This is the sequence of events: “After being told by then graduate assistant Mike McQueary in 2002 that he’d witnessed Sandusky assaulting a young boy in the locker room shower, Paterno told athletic director Tim Curley and vice president of business and finance Gary Schultz was later informed, according to the Attorney General's report. Schultz and Curley said they told Spanier. The decision was made to not allow Sandusky back on campus with the boys from his charity, The Second Mile. No one informed the police.”
And there lies the problem. No one reported it further. No legal action was taken because the authorities were not informed. University officials were told, nothing was basically done. The crime of those who knew and choose not to take it further is that they allowed the abuse to continue and also go unpunished. And everyone involved seems to be getting let go. University money depends on them taking action. Maybe they didn’t do enough not to expose a scandal which would not be good for the school. Better to turn a blind eye to it and hope it goes away on its own? It’s really disgraceful that at an institution of higher learning doesn’t take sexual abuse of children more seriously. Of course now that it is in the media, they can’t do enough, they can’t be outraged enough, they have got to rid the school of everyone who had knowledge of the situation and did nothing. And that’s where Joe Paterno comes in. He reported it and then dropped the ball. He didn’t follow up to see what, if anything, was being done.
Penn State and it’s officials dropped the ball on this foul case of abuse. Eight young boys who were supposed to be receiving help, were victimized. Several adults knew about it, the acts witnessed and reported. Nothing was done…till now. Now it’s in the media and heads will roll, charges will be pressed, everyone will want justice. How do you get justice for 10 years of abusing eight boys? What is a fair punishment? And how do you live with yourself knowing you did nothing, NOTHING to stop it from going on?
It becomes more impossible for parents to protect their children every day. The people they are supposed to be able to trust are the ones they have to fear the most.