Outrage: Sexual Abuse Cover-Up Rocks Penn State Football

BlogHer Original Post

A major sexual abuse scandal broke this week at Penn State University that has students, parents, sports fans and the general public reeling. How could this happen again? A grand jury alleges that former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky preyed on boys he met through a charity he founded for at-risk youth called The Second Mile.

A major sexual abuse scandal broke this week at Penn State University that has students, parents, sports fans and the general public reeling. How could this happen again?

A grand jury alleges that former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky preyed on boys he met through a charity he founded for at-risk youth called The Second Mile.

Sandusky, 67, was arrested Saturday and released on $100,000 bail after being arraigned on 40 criminal counts based on alleged sexual abuse of eight boys over a 15-year period. USA Today quotes Pennsylvania's attorney general:

"This is a case about a sexual predator who used his position within the university and community to repeatedly prey on young boys," state Attorney General Linda Kelly said Saturday.

Penn State Sandusky arrest
Nov. 5, 2011 - State College, Pennsylvania, U.S. - Former Penn State football defensive coordinator GERALD ''JERRY'' SANDUSKY (R) walks with his attorney, JOSEPH L. AMENDOLA, as they leave the office of Centre County Magisterial District Judge Leslie A. Dutchcot. Sandusky has been charged with sexually abusing eight boys from 1994-2009. (Image: © Teresa Bonner/Centre Daily Times/MCT/ZUMAPRESS.com)

The New York Times reports that Sandusky allegedly enticed the boys to a Penn State athletics facility, where some of the assaults allegedly took place. The grand jury report states that a graduate assistant who witnessed such abuse in a men's locker room reported the incident to head coach Joe Paterno, who took the information to the school's athletic director Tim Curley and senior vice president for business Gary Schultz. Curley and Schultz apparently decided it was better to bury information on the pedophile in their midst.

Both Curley and Schultz have been charged with perjury and failing to report what they knew about the allegations in a case that prosecutors said uncovered a years-long trail of a predator and those who protected him. Curley and Schultz stepped down late Sunday after an emergency meeting of the university's Board of Trustees.

A post on USA Today Faith & Reason blog compares the abuse and subsequent cover-up to the Catholic Church scandal.

A trusted adult, respected by the community, offers special programs for vulnerable boys -- then sexually abuses them. Word travels up to higher authorities but no one calls the police. They handle it within...

Sound familiar? It's the Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal rewritten on a university campus.

Meanwhile, Paterno, 84, who last week became the coach with the most wins in Division I football history, appears to get a pass in any wrongdoing. Paterno had Sandusky on his staff for 32 seasons, until 1999. What did the legendary coach know or suspect of the abuse during the years they worked together? What more could he have done after he told his superiors of the incident? Why didn’t he call the police? Though Papa Joe may not be legally culpable, he had a moral responsibility. Sports journalists, Penn State students and bloggers are expressing their outrage today.

Mike Wise at The Washington Post, could barely contain his outrage over Penn State's shocking silence.

You want to grab hold of and shake those who reported the crime only to their superiors, washed their hands of responsibility and then let it go, treating a kid's life as if it were a football that slipped through their hands.

You can't read the 23-page grand jury report and come to any other conclusion; Penn State football and its pristine reputation apparently superseded the alleged sexual assault of a young boy -- perhaps as many as eight young boys -- over 15 years by Sandusky.

Joe Pa knew, if the charges are true. They all knew. And they never told police.

In Enraged. And Joe must go," Virginia Montanez of That's Church wrote,

 If you’re like me, you've spent a portion of this weekend reading the details of the Jerry Sandusky case. If you’re like me, you read the entire Grand Jury report. You read it and you wept. You read it and you got angry at everyone and everything and you wondered if this was real life.

 My anger is directed at every single person involved except the kids.

The Washington Post reports that Penn State students protested on Sunday night.

 

A handful of students stood outside the administration building with signs reading: "Protecting molesters?" and "Tonight I am ashamed of PSU." Meanwhile, students and alumni petitioned onlinefor PSU President Graham Spanier to step down or be fired. Twitter lit up with outrage.

 

Under Paterno's four-decades-long helm, the Nittany Lions were considered the top tier of college football. Devoted fans packed the stadium in State College, a campus town nicknamed Happy Valley. Thanks to Paterno and his success in 46 seasons as head coach, Penn State's football teams were lauded for winning games -- including two national championships. During a time when other programs were accused of recruiting improprieties and rocked by NCAA sanctions, Penn State retained a relatively squeaky-clean image.

So what will the Penn State legacy be now? Sandusky was once considered Paterno's heir apparent, but now both men are tarnished.

As the Chicago Tribune's David Haugh wrote, “Happy Valley has become Creepy Valley. ... Big Ten officials should demand the timely eradication of scandal from a once-proud program, Paterno's legacy be damned."

If you're not already outraged, read the grand jury report but be forewarned -- the details are horrific.

@jschonb

dare to dream

Also online at prettytough.com and womentalksports.com

 

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