elmoOh my, 2012 was just dripping with scandals. Some of them were salacious and silly -- but most of them were shocking and disappointing. We've rounded up what we think were the biggest scandals of the year. It's the kind of list that could almost make you lose hope in humanity, but just keep in mind: 2012 saw plenty of heroes and heart-warming stories, too.

Sandusky Scandal: This story exploded in November 2011. But Jerry Sandusky's trial was this year, and we heard far more details than we ever wanted to know.

Kevin Clash/Elmo Sex Scandal: The scandal that made moms everywhere cringe and cry "say it isn't so!!!" Or maybe that was just me. Clash was accused of having a sexual affair with an under-age teen. I refused and refused to believe -- but then more young men came forward. Kevin Clash eventually resigned, but the scandal will always haunt the memory of one of our most beloved children's characters.

The David Petraeus Affair: CIA Director and former 5-star general David Petraeus resigned after his affair with biographer Paula Broadwell. And from there the circle of scandal just got wider, dragging in socialite Jill Kelley and General John Allen. Lord have mercy.

Secret Service Scandal: 11 Secret Service agents were caught with prostitutes in their hotel rooms while serving at a U.S. Embassy in Colombia.

Boy Scouts "Perversion Files": Tens of thousands of pages of documents revealed that the Boy Scouts of America had covered up allegations of sexual abuse for decades. Most of the time, the accused were allowed to quietly slip away in order to protect the good name of the BSA. Parents shuddered at the news.

Susan G. Komen Scandal: The Komen foundation cut ties with Planned Parenthood and announced it would cut hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding for breast cancer screenings and other women's health services -- and supporters fled. Komen executives stepped down and the foundation eventually reinstated the funding, but it may still never recover.

Bobby Petrino Affair: University of Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino lost his job thanks to his affair with 25-year-old Student Athlete Development Coordinator Jessica Dorrell. He was caught after riding off into the sunset with Dorrell on a motorcycle, only to crash.

Attack in Libya: An attack on a U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya resulted in the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens. Following the tragedy, there were conflicting reports about the reason and nature of the attack and about the way it was reported to Americans.

Kate Middleton Nude Photos: Poor Kate Middleton, her royal assets were exposed thanks to an extra-long camera lens. But what about Prince Harry's naked dancing?!?

47 Percent Tapes: Mitt Romney was secretly recorded telling donors, "There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it." And cue backlash!

What do you think were the biggest scandals of 2012?

 

Image via nickstone333/Flickr