Shots Across the Bow

A Reality Based Blog

 
Friday, November 11, 2011

Joe Paterno Belongs in Jail, not the College Football Hall of Fame

Believe it or not, there are sports writers that want us to take all the good that Paterno has done for college football over the years into account instead of remembering him just for the fact that he covered up for a child rapist.

Pete Rose must be furious.

I don't give a damn what 'good' Paterno did as he taught young men how to play a game; he covered up a child rape, and by doing so, enabled the rapist to continue hurting children for over a decade. To me, that's grounds not just for dismissal, but a life time ban from being around kids, civil penalties, and jail time as an accomplice before and after the fact. The Penn State football program should be given the death penalty by the NCAA, the entire chain of command from the assistant who saw the rape through the President needs to be fired and prosecuted.

I'm on vacation and haven't been at the computer that much, but from what I understand, the basic storyline is that Jerry Sandusky, a coach at Penn State has spent the last 30 years or so abusing young boys, most of whom he met through his charitable foundation, The Second Mile, a foundation designed to help boys with bad families. He brought the boys to the Penn State locker room, where he showered with them, and raped them.

In 1998, State College Police were notified by the mother of one victim that Sandusky had showered naked with the boy. They investigated, along with the Pennsylvania department of Public Welfare. Sandusky admits to showering naked with the boy, but no charges are ever filed.

In 2000, a janitor sees Sandusky performing oral sex on a boy between 11 and 13. he informs his superior, as well as his co-workers, one of whom also sees Sandusky with the boy. The report goes nowhere.

In 2002, then graduate assistant Mike McQueary sees Sandusky having anal sex with a 10 year old boy in the shower. He does not stop the rape, does not call the police, but does call and tell his father. The next day, he informed Coach Paterno of what he saw. Paterno does not call the police, but informs the AD, Tim Curley. Curley informs Senior Vice President for Finance and Business Gary Schultz. Neither Schultz nor Curley call the police or inform the family, although several weeks later, they tell McQueary that Sandusky no longer has keys to the locker room, although he still remains on campus and has an office in the athletic complex.

In 2008, a boy's mother reports to her son's school that Sandusky has had sexual contact with her son over a period of several years. In 2009, the DA begins an investigation. In November of 2011, Sandusky was arraigned on 40 counts relating to sexual abuse of at least 9 victims. Curley and Shultz step down, while Paterno and University President Graham Spanier are fired by the University's Board of Directors.

How can you see a 10 year old boy being raped and not step in to stop it immediately? And when you hear about it, how can you cover it up? How can you not call the police? How can you put the welfare of a University or a football program over that of a young child?

Apparently, our culture has sunk to the point where the value we place on our children is lower than the value we place on our institutions and our sports teams. Students at Penn state rioted when they heard that Paterno had been fired, and sports journalists are busy trying to whitewash his reputation already, insulting him from the damage he's caused through his cover up. This even though there is a report that Sandusky has been on recruiting trips for Penn State even this year, which means that Paterno, despite knowing what Sandusky has done, is comfortable sending him out to interact with high school boys.

That just staggers my imagination.

As I said at the start, Paterno needs to go to jail, as does Curley, Schultz, McQueary, and anybody else at Penn State who knew what was going on and did nothing to stop it. Given that the coverup reached the highest level of the school administration, and extended over 10 years, during which time more kids were abused, the NCAA should give Penn State the death penalty for football, if not for all athletic programs. The fact that this probably will not happen is a disgraceful commentary on our society.

A culture is not judged by its best and brightest, but by the lowest level of performance it accepts. Penn State set the bar about as low as it could be set.

Will the rest of us raise it?

Posted by Rich
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