Years before news leaked of Jerry Sandusky turning the Penn State campus into his own windowless van of depravity, he was lauded as the eventual successor to Joe Pa. A man legendary and loved enough to replace the most iconic head coach in the history of college football. When he retired in a fairly abrupt fashion in 1999, many logically assumed that he had grown tired of the stubborn old man in his path to a head coaching gig and decided to call it quits. What no one knew then was his retirement came the year after the first reported incident of indecent behavior with little boys. While the grand jury presentment focused primarily on a 2002 incident, seen and reported by a then 28 year old Mike McQueary,it disturbs me that the first allegations came a year prior to Sandusky's retirement. More than anything else, that allegation puts Penn State leadership in the cross hairs for me.
Following the 1998 allegation, Sandusky was investigated by the school and state investigators and the resolution was that he promised not to shower with young boys in the locker room again. Really? That's akin to Michael Jackson making Macaulay Culkin sleep in a different room at the Neverland Ranch. This is profoundly disturbing to me. We are 13 years and at least as many young boys removed from Sandusky's original investigation. How in the hell does a guy who had a known sexual abuse case get unfettered access to Penn State facilities? Care to guess when Sandusky was banned from PSU's campus? November 6th, 2011.
Oh, and there's this little number that'll give you goosebumps. Jerry Sandusky founded Second Mile, a charitable organization with the mission statement of "Providing Children with Help and Hope," in 1977. Just how many children did he grope and poke when he was leading a group intended to help and provide hope? We know, factually, that Sandusky faced allegations of abuse in both 1998 and 2002. We also now know that Sandusky resigned from his foundation in....... 2010. I can't understand how a man accused of unspeakable acts against helpless children is allowed to use a foundation to groom young boys for his own deviant sexual amusement.
Recapping what I've just written, Sandusky first faces allegations during the 1998 season when a boy he showered with came home with wet hair. He retires in 1999, five months after PSU's season ends. In 2010, in the middle of the investigation that lead to the current explosive reports, he again uses retirement to elude his accusers. One man can't avoid trouble for decades without some assistance. The fact that the assistance allegedly came from people within the university is deeply disturbing.
I've read the entire grand jury presentment, which you can read by clicking the link at the bottom of this article, and it's both graphic and disgusting. Details of the allegations will repulse you. Jerry Sandusky's case will go down as one of the most damning sexual abuse cases in history. He faces 40 counts currently, and with the list of accusers growing, could face more before all is said and done.
On top of what we know to be in the report, Sandusky's perversions raise questions that may never be answered. Those questions are perhaps the most disturbing as Sandusky was permitted to adopt six children and foster several others with his wife. If his perversions were present during the time those children were in the home, just how far reaching is his demonic reign over children? It's horrible to have to think about, but most perverts don't just flip a switch and turn into monsters. Their depravity grows from within, meaning the possibility exists that there are more victims than we already know about.
The bottom line is that Sandusky used his position of power and influence, as a trusted coach, and further as a leader of a non-profit dedicated to helping children, to destroy their lives in showers, saunas, and secret basement bedrooms for more than a decade. Although they'll be a bit old for his perverted tastes, Sandusky will find plenty of willing participants for his shower games. The problem, of course, is that even rapists and murderers hate pedophiles. In a fitting twist, the man who made his money coaching linebackers may very well get sacked in prison.
One more thing, Jerry Sandusky wrote an autobiography in 2001. It's title; "Touched."
THE OTHER PLAYERS IN THIS MESS
Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, the Athletic Director and Senior Vice President for Finance and Business respectively, both face jail time for perjury. These are the two men who were informed by Joe Paterno of what Mike McQueary saw in the men's locker room in 2002. Both men told investigators that the accusations were not of a sexual nature, but when questioned further, admitted that even their stories implied some sexual contact between Sandusky and the child identified as Victim 1. These two men held high-ranking positions at a state funded institution and chose to sweep this story under the rug for the better part of a decade. When the allegations against Sandusky are proven to be true, as I believe they will be, I hope that both Curley and Schultz will receive full sentences for their role in covering up what should have been an open and shut case. These two men are the reason Sandusky was allowed to turn Penn State to Ped State for as long as he was. They deserve everything that's coming their way, as their blind eyes gave Sandusky access to areas he should've long been forbidden from. Pennsylvania law dictates that any and all suspected sexual abuse cases in schools have to be reported to authorities within 48 hours. Thanks to Curley and Schultz, that 48 hour window extended to NINE YEARS.
Stretching the web of deceit even wider, PSU President Graham Spainer was relieved of his duties today for his own failure to report the incidents that Curley and Schultz reported to him. In essence, every important person at Penn State knew of the accusations against Sandusky and made the decision to do as little as humanly possible. In my opinion, losing their jobs is only the beginning. All three will try to wiggle out of the situation they knowingly put themselves in, but I sure hope they don't.
WHAT HAPPENS TO JOE PA?
Joe Paterno will not finish the season as head coach of PSU. While he made an effort today to avoid termination on someone else's terms by announcing his retirement, Penn State University and the state of Pennsylvania, will have no choice but to remove Paterno from his position. We don't know exactly what he knew, but we do know this. Joe Paterno, by his own admission could've and should've done more. He has known Sandusky longer than any living person. Sandusky played under Paterno beginning in 1963, and worked under his former coach for 31 years (1966-1999; coached elsewhere in 67 and 68). When, exactly, Paterno first learned that his friend preferred the company of 5th graders to that of his wife is unknown. We can, however, make the conclusion that he was definitely aware of it by 2002 and only spoke of it when forced to. It's not enough to just tell the athletic director the information shared with him by Mike McQueary. While Paterno fulfilled his legal obligations in 2002, he's spent too much time ignoring his moral obligations to go out his own way.
Granted, if someone accused one of my best friends of the things Sandusky's been accused of, I'm going to have my doubts. I may have difficulty believing the allegations, but I'm certainly not going to take that same friend to a carnival and let him jump around in a bouncy castle with boy scouts, which is essentially what Paterno did by continuing to allow Sandusky to come and go as he pleased at the athletic facilities.
While I hate to say it, I have to, Joe Paterno shares some of the responsibility in this matter. Penn State can't make the same mistakes it has made in the past. Allowing Paterno to finish the season with fanfare and a farewell tour will only multiply the criticism heaped upon the university.
In Paterno's official statement, he said he "wanted to do what was best for Penn State." If he intends to do that, his most important duty is to step away now and let that university begin a healing process that is likely to take years. Sadly, Joe must go.