Sunday, November 13, 2011

Finally Calmed Down

Friday evening, I read through the grand jury report about the child rape* investigation at Pennsylvania State University.  In a nutshell, one of the coaches in the football program is accused of abusing young boys he found through his own charity for underprivileged youth over the space of a couple decades, the head football coach and other senior members of Penn State leadership are alleged to have known about it and done nothing, and no-one knows for sure how many young boys were harmed due to evil and indifference.

To say that my blood was boiling and I wanted to throw up by the time I was done would be an understatement of unbelievable proportions.  It took me an hour of talking with Irish Woman and doing other things before I felt better.  Now remember, I only read about it in a report that was pretty dry and legalistic.  I didn't actually witness the acts, or have a trusted subordinate come to me with detailed allegations of horrific abuse. But I was still ready to lash out over it.  If what is alleged is true, then the people involved failed to protect children who were put under their care or the care of their organization.  While I was outraged and upset over reading about it almost a decade after the fact, everyone from a janitor to the university president chose to do next to nothing to stop it while it was occurring.

If the allegations are proven to be true, those involved need to go to prison.  No deals to admit fault and pay a fine and pick up gum wrappers on the weekend should be made.  In order to deter other adults from failing to protect the innocent, they need to serve hard time in a way that others can see is the consequence of doing nothing in the face of evil.  End of discussion on that point.  One of the sacred responsibilities of any adult, and an educator particularly, is the safety of children.   Willful ignorance or outright indifference to the plight of a horrifically abused child is not only criminal, it is evil.  My gut tells me that the alleged actions were taken so that the Penn State football program and the university itself wouldn't look bad, a motivation that in the end perpetuated the abuse of children and will probably tarnish Penn State for decades to come.

Over at In From The Cold, George Smiley suggests that the football program at Penn State be taken down entirely, and I agree wholeheartedly.  The leadership of the program appears to be either rotten through and through or is ignorant and incompetent.  Either way, there is no way in my mind that current coaching staff and management did not know of at least past allegations and still did nothing to stop the abuse or report it to the proper authorities.  If Penn State wants to keep its standing as both a respectable educational institute and a top-tier athletic program, it needs to thoroughly gut its leadership corps and bring in an entirely new slate of coaches and administrators.  Keeping even one person who either knew or should have known about the abuse on the payroll delegitimizes the entire organization.

Failing that, the NCAA would do itself credit by disassociating itself from Penn State entirely. 

I hope that before he goes to his appointed place roasting over a coal fired spit, the filth that committed these horrific acts has the decency to provide the names of his victims so that they can be offered compensation and support.  I hope that the people who saw this abuse and did nothing can realize just how wrong they have been and try to make amends.  I also hope that the victims of this evil can find peace and healing in their lives.  But most of all I hope that this tragedy is used as a negative example by all who take responsibility for the most vulnerable members of our tribe so that they can better protect them from the savages and predators in our midst.

*I hate the soft words molestation or sexual abuse.  Having or attempting sex with a child or anyone else who is incapable of giving consent to sexual contact of any kind is rape.  Period. Dot.  Softening the term just makes it sound like something much less horrific.


Mamma Bear said...

I would like to know why that young man who witnessed the rape did not tackle that evil (insert whatever name you'd like) and tear him apart. I am a 5'3 woman and I believe I could have caused him serious injury should I have come upon the act.

These coaches make millions a year all to promote a game that has nothing to do with education. This is one of the reasons college educations is so out of reach for many of our young people who actually want an education.

This entire thing stinks to high heaven and I hope they all rot in jail if proven guilty.

Duke said...

Nice blog, just stopped in from Stephens blog. Look forward to reading more.

Ruth said...

The Atomic Nerds did a good write up on it a couple days ago, I was gonna link to it and do a short post of my own, but by the time the thoughts had come together their blog was down, so I'm waiting for it to come back up.

I have a certian amount of sympathy for the reactions of the people who actually witnessed it, currently I'd have likely reacted like Mamma Bear, but it wasn't THAT many years ago that I can honestly say I don't know that I would have, though I CAN say that regardless I'd have found a secluded payphone and called 911. I don't understand how those folks could STILL have kept silent years later after he was caught again and again, but the inital reaction I can sympathize with.

Stephen said...

I just finished writing a post about this very subject..written out of anger too..perhaps I should of cooled down...but oh well. Then I come here and read your words, now I'm pissed again...

Ruth said...

Oh, and my Husband, who generally avoids the news, but adores football found out about this for the first time at work on Thursday. One of his co-workers was very vocal in support of Paterno. Husband came home in such a rage that the (happy go lucky, oblivious to everything) puppy greeted Husband by dropping flat on his belly, showing his throat.

DaddyBear said...

Mamma Bear, I want to know the same thing too. I've heard a couple of people say that he might have worried about getting fired or not being asked to take a job with the university if he blew the whistle. Personally, I believe that that probably had something to do with it. Personally, I hope that if I was put in the same situation, I would have the intestinal fortitude to not worry about myself as much as I did about the child being raped.

Thanks Duke. I'm checking out your place too.

Ruth, LabRat was what pointed me to the report. I would have linked to her, but her site was down before I was calm enough to write my own thoughts down. And I agree that the people who saw this thing happening could have at least made an anonymous call to the authorities to get it to stop. They knew who was doing it, when it happened, and where it happened. That's about all that CPS would have needed to stop this a decade ago.

Jay G said...

My son is the same age as the boy that this "human" was abusing.

He also plays football.

Suffice to say, my response to "what would you do" cannot be reproduced lest I find myself under heavy sedation.

I'll just leave by saying they would still be picking that bastard's DNA out of my teeth...

Mrs. Crankipants said...

So many people had so many chances to stop this - no one stepped up, there were no heroes. Lives have been ruined. I hope Penn State's football program collapses and they lose every dime they have from lawsuits.

BeccaJaneStClair said...

I'm a Penn State alum, and I have to say -- most of the news reports were getting it ALL wrong.

Jerry Sandusky did a horrible thing. Ironically, the boy who he supposedly did it to actually DENYS the event happening.

The grad student who saw it happen went to JoePa and didn't tell him "I saw Jerry raping a boy", but said something along the lines of "I think I might have been...", which isn't much to go on. JoePa took it to the higher ups, and one of those men he told was in fact head of the campus police at the time. As far as JoePa was concerned, he did his job.

Interesting to note as well - local police do not have jurisdiction over Penn State. We have our own police force, so news outlets stating that "no police report was made with the local authorities" is exactly right. If you try to ring State College police about an incident that happens in University Park, they tell you to ring UP Police.

I am saddened that this event seems to have torn my university apart, but what upsets me even more is how JoePa is being treated - it's as if he's the one who did the raping! IMHO, not the way things should have been handled.

Creative Commons License
DaddyBear's Den by DaddyBear is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at