Jerry Sandusky Sex Abuse Case Could Rival the Catholic Scandal

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Penn State University

It's hard to know who to be more disgusted and outraged at right now -- Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State assistant football coach accused of abusing young boys -- or the members of his old boys club who supposedly knew about it and appeared to just dismiss it as nothing serious or harmless horseplay. The 23-page report released by a grand jury today on the 40 counts related to allegations of sexual abuse of 8 young boys over a 15 year period are both shocking and difficult to read, with details about Sandusky allegedly engaging in a variety of sexual acts with young boys under the age of 15 -- showering naked with a boy as young as 10, apparently having anal sex with him, showering naked with other boys, taking them to games and on trips with his own family (the 67 year old is married).

Then enter several of Sandusky's colleagues at the university who apparently knew inappropriate behavior was going on and the story takes an even more evil turn. What is it with men of power or in powerful organizations that they would place the reputation of one of their own over the health and welfare of an innocent young child? I will never understand this, nor do I believe that we'd be hearing this same story if the subjects were women.

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Everyone loves to name the Catholic Church as the bastion of sexual abuse of young children, but this latest horrific incident reminds us that that is not fair nor is it accurate, not by any stretch. If one big organization is covering atrocities like this up, others are too. And others, and others, and others.

Sandusky was something of a prodigy in the university's football hierarchy, at one point being next in line to replace legendary coach Joe Paterno, so I understand the huge ramifications of news like this getting out to both the university and those involved. But I still don't understand the chain of thinking here. Did the university officials honestly not believe anything bad was going on? It definitely does not sound that way from reading the indictment, otherwise why would one deal with allegations of these incidents by ordering Sandusky not to bring any of the boys from his The Second Mile foundation on the university grounds and leave it at that. I'm not buying the "playing dumb" act, and I certainly hope a jury won't either.

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Which only leaves a cover-up. If anything, the university should have learned from the Catholic Church that a cover-up is never a cover-up forever and that the right thing to do -- for any organization to do -- is to deal with it, report it, stop it, and take measures to prevent if from ever happening again in the future. I will never understand why an organization would think they would come off looking anything but gleaming for doing something like that.

 

Image via Davynin/Flickr

crime, sports