After reading the 23-page Pennsylvania state grand jury report outlining 40 counts of felony sexual abuse against former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, I don’t know if I am more outraged by the allegations that he assaulted eight boys over a 15-year period or the subsequent behavior of university officials.
After pledging his “unconditional support” for former athletic director Tim Curley and senior vice president of business and finance Gary Schultz, who both stepped down and now face charges of perjury and failure to alert police about child abuse complaints, school president Graham Spanier is meeting with the Penn State board of trustees this week to discuss his future and likely that of football coach Joe Paterno. Given the apparent cover-up of such sordid acts, neither should keep their job.
Sure, Paterno immediately reported the first incident he learned of to his superiors and expressed remorse over the abuses after Curley and Schultz were arrested, but where was the outrage when a graduate assistant told him he saw Sandusky having sex with a 10-year-old boy in a university shower in 2002?
According to the grand jury, Penn State also failed to investigate a report that a janitor saw Sandusky violating an 11-year-old boy in a university shower in 2000.
Not only was Paterno chastised by the state police commissioner for not doing enough to stop the suspected abuse, since Sandusky retired in 1999, school officials allowed him to keep an office across the street from the Nittany Lions’ football team building.
While the university eventually banned Sandusky from bringing at risk-youth from his Second Mile charity to Penn State, he was still able to hold summer football camps at a satellite campus from 2002-08.
Grand jury testimony documents dozens of stories of Sandusky luring young boys with lavish gifts and tickets to Penn State football games.
The mothers of two of the alleged victims are now learning Sandusky began abusing their sons in 1998 and it continued for four years. College football’s winningest coach may be rightfully lauded for a tradition of academic excellence among his players and generous charity in the community, but an ill-placed loyalty and unforgivable silence have irreparably tarnished his legend.
One parting question: What would Joe Pa have done if a sexual predator had targeted one of his five kids or 17 grandchildren?
KGO (810 AM) Sports Director Rich Walcoff can be heard weekdays from 5 to 9 a.m. on the KGO morning news. He can be reached at RichWalcoff@gmail.com.