“Child abuse casts a shadow the length of a lifetime” — Herbert Ward
Normally, this site will be forever devoted to humor, laughs, and of course sports gambling. Unfortunately, the tragedy that befell Happy Valley this week hit pretty hard and I would like to take a minute and express my feelings on the topic. Undoubtedly, you have heard about the child molestation charges filed against long time Penn State defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky. In summary, Sandusky was indicted by a Grand Jury earlier this week on more than 11 counts of child molestation and stands to spend the rest of his life in prison. I’m not going to waste your time rehashing the facts, go to CNN or ESPN, and you’ll get your fill. I just want to take a minute and illuminate what has irked me all week – Ignorance and disregard for a crime of this magnitude is unacceptable, and more people than just Sandusky need to be brought to justice, notably head football coach Joe Paterno.
Joe Paterno needs to be fired immediately. As in yesterday. I know my ensuing statements may be deemed controversial, but take a moment and hear me out. In my humble opinion, the facts are quite clear that one of the most iconic coaches in college football history, should be held accountable for these absolutely heinous crimes performed under his watch. While not guilty of the offense, by turning a blind eye to the more than 20 reported cases of abuse upon minors, Paterno is liable for gross negligence and needs to be held accountable for his ignorance. Spare me the Steve Tressell/Pete Carroll oblivious defense. This is not a case of paying a 20 year old $400 to buy a suit. To turn a blind eye towards child molestation goes far beyond incognizance, it allows and essentially promotes further abuse.
Believe me, I used to love Paterno: The huge thick spectacles, the white neck towel, and that old Grandpa stare, only Bill Baker could replicate. The man personified integrity, longevity, and passion. Now he is nothing more than a coward, whose jaded moral compass needs to accept his mistakes, and step down immediately – not at the end of this season. Otherwise, I think he should look each and every one of his 17 grandchildren in the eye, and think what atrocities they would face at the hands of a sexual predator.
I understand you may not share my feelings on this sensitive topic. What I do want to say, is something I will take to my fiery grave. If you witness any sort of unwarranted abuse, molestation, or rape, it is your job to not only report the crime, but to make sure it never ever happens again. If you don’t, it will, and the blood is on your hands. Ignorance is just disguised cowardice, and it’s incomprehensible the amount of people who turned a blind eye over the course of 13 years. What follows is a brief ESPN timeline of just 1 victim that portrays my point:
March 1, 2002
A Penn State graduate assistant enters the locker room at the Lasch Football Building. In the showers, he sees a naked boy, known as Victim 2, whose age he estimates to be 10 years old, being subjected to anal intercourse by a naked Sandusky. The graduate assistant tells his father immediately.
March 2, 2002
In the morning, the graduate assistant calls coach Joe Paterno and goes to Paterno’s home, where he reports what he has seen.
March 3, 2002
Paterno calls Tim Curley, Penn State athletic director to his home the next day and reports a version of what the grad assistant had said.
Later in the month the graduate assistant is called to a meeting with Curley and senior vice president for finance and business Gary Schultz. The grad assistant reports what he has seen and Curley and Schultz say they will look into it.
March 27, 2002 (approximate)
The graduate assistant hears from Curley. He is told that Sandusky’s locker room keys are taken away and that the incident has been reported to The Second Mile. The graduate assistant is never questioned by university police and no other entity conducts an investigation until the graduate assistant testifies in grand jury in December 2010.
According to the grand jury, no further action was taken and the case was set aside. That was over 9 years ago. 20 victims have already been identified, I can’t even fathom how deep this investigation could go.
Just take a minute, close your eyes, and imagine a version of your 10 year old sister/brother/son/daughter being sexually molested, and think about what you would do. I have three brothers, and I would be serving 50 to life right now, if I ever witnessed any of them subjected to anything close to what happened that night.
I may seem to be coming off a little over the top, even preachy, but I hold this type of depravity comparable to murder. To use your power of authority and exert sexual acts upon an innocent child robs that adolescent of more than their dignity, it strips them of their childhood.
I had the opportunity to attend a charity event through my work last year. A young girl talked about being sexually molested by her foster father. I still remember her speech word for word: “In one terrible night, he not only stole my pride and dignity, it felt like he essentially murdered my soul.”
On Tuesday Joe Paterno held a press conference where he lamented, “As you know, these kids were victims, I think we ought to say a prayer for them.” Save it JoePa. I think you need to say a prayer for your integrity, and while your at it, any sense of a legacy. I recognize and acknowledge your amazing career, and now I’m going to turn my back on it like you did on that horrific night. Many of these kids are going to need more than a lifetime of expensive therapy. I just hope you pick up the tab Joe.