Silence allowed coach's abuse to go unchallenged

College football fans everywhere were surprised to learn Saturday that a high-level coaching assistant at Penn State University had been charged with molesting children for more than 15 years.

This is, after all, Penn State, a school with a spotless record of playing by NCAA rules while winning championships and grooming players for the NFL.

But even more shocking was that several administration officials covered up eyewitness accounts of the abuse and failed to notify law enforcement officials as required under Pennsylvania law.

Defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, who retired after a 32-year career at PSU in 1999, was recently indicted for abusing at least eight boys through a sports camp charity he ran for underprivileged boys.

The grand jury heard graphic testimony from seven of the eight boys who were victimized at between 11 and 13 years of age.

The boys were participating in Sandusky's The Second Mile charity, a foundation he started in 1977 to help boys from at-risk backgrounds.

In classic molester fashion, the older man supplied everything from free athletic equipment to marijuana to gain power over the impressionable boys.

Although he retired in 1999, Sandusky continued to use the football team's facilities for another 10 years for his charity work.

Twice over those years, witnesses reported to university officials they had seen Sandusky having oral sex with the boys.

In 2000, a janitor at the school reported he had seen Sandusky having sex with a boy.

Then, in 2002, a graduate student and his father reported seeing inappropriate behavior between Sandusky and a boy in a shower.

They reported the incident to Coach Joe Paterno who reportedly told Athletic Director Tim Curley.

Curley and the university's business manager, who oversees the campus police force, talked to the father and son, but not to police.

Curley and the business manager, Gary Schultz, did nothing. They didn't even try to locate the boy to get his side of the story.

While all of the facts are not yet in, it certainly appears as if there was a conspiracy of silence which protected the image of the football team but allowed Sandusky to continuing abusing boys in his program.

At the very least, it seems as if Paterno and the athletic director fall under the state's duty to inform law.  It requires doctors, nurses, school teachers and coaches to report all suspicions of child abuse to law enforcement officials.

These men are, in effect, guilty of pulling the window shade down, allowing an abuser to continue harming children.

But this is how abusers manage to operate for years without detection. Family members, friends, relatives and co-workers fail to do the right thing.

If you suspect abuse, any abuse, call police as soon as possible.

Penn State could have exposed this scandal and ended this man's crimes a decade ago.

That university officials did not act is shameful.

rrhoades@sunjournal.com

The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of the ownership and editorial board.

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Comments

David  Cote's picture

A disagreement to my original post???

I'd like to know who disagreed with what I had to say on this subject and why. I can't believe anyone with a sembalance of logic would find my statement to be false.

RONALD RIML's picture

Why??

Folks disagree merely because they are disagreeable people - it has nothing to do with the content of your post. And sometimes it's merely a 'Popularity Contest' in here.....

Like some kids never got out of middle school......

David  Cote's picture

Ron

I'm not fishing for gold stars and compliments. I have been following this story since it broke and it disgusts me. This isn't some story with political slants that we normally spar over, or agree with. Have you read the grand jury report? If you have then you'd understand my anger over why I felt compelled to submit my last post.If you have not then please take the time to read it. I'd post it here but I haven't figured out how to do that on an android phone. This will end up being a much bigger story than even the media covering it realizes it will be.

RONALD RIML's picture

This goes

Long, dark, and deep.....

And true to form - 'God Sports' is protected at all costs - even the innocence of young children. I fully understand that.

But you'll still get disagrees. That's the nature of 'The Beast' here..... I could post "2 + 2 = 4" and the 'disagrees' would far outnumber the 'agrees' merely because who I am.

David  Cote's picture

Understood, Ron

And for the record, that "agree" on your post is mine. I always choose to agree or disagree with subject matter, not with the make up of an individual. Perhaps I'm old fashioned but I have always believed labeling people sucks because when one's busy labeling another, they're not listening. Thanks for your insight, Ron. And, by the way, nice beret. I own a couple of them myself. Have a most excellent day.

RONALD RIML's picture

Not a beret

but a 'Driving Cap'

Thanks for the post.....

David  Cote's picture

Thank You

A cyber handshake and a thank you on this Veteran's Day, Ron. Thanks for your sacrifies and your leadership of honor. Enjoy your day.

Steve  Dosh's picture

Silence allowed coach's abuse to go unchallenged

. . 11.07.11 10:20 am ish •  Right . Rex ? 
Remember the movie ,' Silence of The Lambs ' with Marylyn Maitlee and WilliaM Hurt ?
i dated a deaf girl in Loystone once whose parents didn't even know she was deaf until she went to kindergarten :) /s, Dr. Dosh
†here is all kinds of s i l e n † abuse going on http://sor.informe.org/sor/

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

No offense, Steve, but

No offense, Steve, but "Silence of the Lambs" starred Jody Foster and Anthony Hopkins. It was about a psychopathic killer named Hannibal Lechter. I know the film of which you speak, but that was not its title.

KRIS KUCERA's picture

You can try to deflect my allegation . . .

KRIS KUCERA's picture

Looks like the Nittany Lyins . . .

. . . and Joe Paterno stole their game plan from the Catholic Church's playbook.

To think Paterno doesn't have the honor to resign as he most certainly should. And Sandusky? A real-life monster who hopefully gets whacked in prison -- or in the street.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

If you're gonna go Catholic

If you're gonna go Catholic bashing, why not try another site before you get your ass kicked.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

I apologize for having made

I apologize for having made the above comment. It was posted in anger and unfortunately,it was just as tasteless and uncalled for as the post that provoked it.

KRIS KUCERA's picture

Such sincerity.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

The Catholic Church has

The Catholic Church has nothing to do with what is going down at Penn State. Similar problem; separate issues. Even a bright guy like you should be able to see that.

KRIS KUCERA's picture

They are nearly identical.

Both grotesquely protected organizational harmony instead of innocent little kids. I'm certainly not against Catholics per se, just the Church's myriad and longstanding hypocrisies. (I'm not against Muslims, just fundamental Islam.)

Have your final word; my point has been made in spades.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Myopically.

Myopically.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

You really don't want to go

You really don't want to go there.

KRIS KUCERA's picture

Already did.

KRIS KUCERA's picture

I stand by my comments.

And this USA Today story today, Patti? Give me a break. It's not like I'm a cavalier rogue here. Again, facts are stubborn things.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/story/2011-11-08/penn-state-abuse-...

David  Cote's picture

Sick to my stomach

I read the grand jury report. It's sickening. The fact this went on for decades is mind boggling. The fact Sandusky was witnessed in a shower on the campus sexually assulting a young boy and said witness turned and ran like a coward is unthinkable. And how much sordid will this story become when more victims step forward? How sad will we be when we here victim's stories of abuse and how their lives have played out in the wake of that abuse. And what of the victims we won't hear from? Victims who possibly committed suicide out of feelings of shame they had no right to be burdened with? Victims who were so messed up they turned to crime, and possibly committed acts of sexual abuse themselves. Everyone who knew of this still connected with Penn St., including Paterno, need to step down, today, right now. As for Sandusky, give him his fair trial and of convicted, lock him up, throw away the key and let him fend for himself among his own kind.

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