Sandusky, who retired as an assistant coach at Penn State in 1999, founded a group called Second Mile in 1977. It was a perfect grooming opportunity for his victims. Second Mile serves disadvantaged and at-risk youth. You know, kids unlikely to complain, or to be taken seriously when they complain, about being molested or raped. Virtually every reference to Sandusky, other than the statement now on the organization's website home page, has been stripped from Second Mile's website. They had removed him from their activities in late 2008. I cannot imagine how utterly horrifying it must be to the staff of the organization to think that Sandusky used them, and the children they sought to help, as a means of grooming new children to molest and rape. Only, wait a minute there, it seems that some did know that there was something not quite right about Sandusky. Namely, CEO Jack Raykovitz who you would think should know that Jerry Sandusky shouldn't be showering in the nude with a child.
In spite of my immense cynicism and extensive writing on the Catholic sex abuse scandals, the Centre County Grand Jury's findings that led to indictment of Jerry Sandusky (40 counts of child sexual abuse), Penn State athletic director Tim Curley, and former Penn State Vice President of Finance Gary Shultz are absolutely astonishing to me. Their 23 page report alleges at least nine victims of clear child molestation and/or rape. (The ninth victim was unable to testify to the Grand Jury as he is stationed overseas with the military.) And it is almost as damning a report, with respect to Penn State, as it is to Sandusky.
Recounting the timeline, thanks to CNN, is simply nauseating.
How many children has Sandusky violated, one wonders? And how, HOW, could the Penn State individuals who knew of this live with knowing what this monster was doing, and live with their choice not to call the police? Only high school principal Steven Turchetta appears to have acted on Sandusky's suspect behavior, which he termed, even without any further evidence than close physical contact, unacceptable and decided that Sandusky be kept away from his school's children. Only Turchetta called the police! Even the graduate assistant (reportedly Mike McQueary, whose statements, according to the indictment, page 8, were considered to be "extremely credible" by the Grand Jury) who reported his horrifying observation of Sandusky subjecting a child he estimated to be only ten years old to anal sex in a Penn State locker room shower, did not call the police. Instead, he called head coach Joe Paterno, who felt his duty was done when he told athletic director Curley. While I can better understand a graduate assistant's fear of being a whistleblower (more courage evidently, would have been required to ask why Sandusky wasn't then arrested, why he himself was never interviewed by police, even campus police about an incident that was so clearly illegal), I cannot comprehend Paterno's lack of action nor the State's Attorney's lack of charging him with failure to report sexual abuse allegations involving a minor, at a minimum. Joe Paterno had much on his side in coming forward with this illegal behavior. He had a powerful reputation, which is now, justifiably, forever tainted with his cowardice.
As the New Jersey Star-Ledger's Editorial Board puts it:
"He knew this much: Sandusky, little boy, shower, vacant locker room. What more detail did he need to alert authorities that something might be wrong?"and,
"Paterno insists, “I did what I was supposed to do,” by handing off to Curley, but Paterno did only the minimum the law required. Telling Curley doesn’t absolve Paterno from a moral obligation. He should’ve taken action himself. Failing to do that allowed Sandusky to victimize boys for another seven years."
Calls for Paterno, who has still not been charged, to step down are coming from all quarters, as well they should. As it is, Paterno's own written response is so wholly off-mark that one wonders if he sees anything at all wrong with child abuse.
And Curley and Schultz? Let's be frank about what Penn State's agenda was here and call a spade a spade. This was a business decision for them. They chose their bottom line with donors, who might balk at the idea that the football program had held a sexual predator among its ranks, over the welfare, health and psyches of children of their community.
What was Penn State's basic reaction to the revelation that Jerry Sandusky was raping children in the locker room showers on the Penn State Campus?
Paterno, Schulz and Curley only told Jerry Sandusky that he could no longer rape little boys on Penn State's campus.
And for that, they should ever be remembered as the men who enabled Sandusky's pedophilia.
These men, while not as vile as Jerry Sandusky, are despicable cravens.
Penn State's Shame:
Joe Paterno, Tim Curley, and Gary Schultz
(Photo credits: Little for the AP, Sports Illustrated, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
Oh, and talk about irony, six weeks ago, Penn State dedicated it's new Child Care Center in the name of retired Penn State Vice President Gary Schultz. Because, you know, Gary's all about caring for kids.