**Warning: This post contains language that may be offensive to minors and adult supervision is strongly recommended**
This may not surprise you, but until yesterday I had never heard the name Joe Paterno. Now his name is everywhere.
Due to the actions of some misinformed/prideful/immature college students, the campus of Penn State and the city of State College, Pennsylvania has been torn apart. Physical damage is rampant and obvious. The deeper, emotional damage is evident in the words of Penn State alumni, fans, and students but pales in comparison to the boys that were abused.
Yeah, remember them?
The background story of how Joe Paterno plays into the children that were abused;
A graduate assistant (Mike McQueary) witnessed a former assistant football coach (Jerry Sandusky) having anal sex with a young boy (he guessed around 10 years old) in the State Penn football building's showers. McQueary phoned his father for advice and his father counseled him to report what he witnessed to the head football coach (Joe Paterno). McQueary told Paterno what he saw. The next day, Paterno asked the Athletic Director (Tim Curley) to his home and relayed McQueary's story.
About 1 1/2 weeks later, McQueary was called to a meeting on campus with Curley and Gary Schultz (the senior vice president for finance and business). McQueary once again, repeated the incident he had witnessed in the shower between Sandusky and a minor child. Curley and Schultz assured him that the matter would be taken care of. A few weeks later, McQueary was told by Curley that Sandusky's locker room keys were taken away and that the incident was reported to The Second Mile (charity founded by Sandusky, where all of the victims met Sandusky).
Curley reported to the University President Graham Spanier of both the story told by McQueary and the steps Curley had taken with Paterno. Spanier gave his approval of Curley's actions.
McQueary was never questioned by Penn State campus police or anybody else until he testified before the Grand Jury in December of 2010.
November 5, 2011
Sandusky was arrested after the Grand Jury determined he was guilty of sexually abusing eight boys over a 15 year span.
Curley and Schultz have been charged with perjury and failing to report to authorities what they knew of the allegations.
Testimony throughout the Grand Jury investigation is contradicting, with Curley and Schultz denying they were told the specifics of the March 2002 incident and had no idea sexual abuse was involved. The Grand Jury report notes that parts of the testimonies of both Curley and Schultz are "not credible", whereas the testimony of McQueary is "extremely credible".
November 9, 2011
Paterno issued a statement Wednesday morning saying he was planning to retire at the end of the current football season and disclosed that he "wish (I) had done more".
The Penn State Board of Trustees did not agree and fired Paterno Wednesday night along with the university president, Graham Spanier.
In March of 2002, McQueary was a university graduate student and twenty-eight years old. Clearly he was old enough and smart enough to know right from wrong and he should have gone straight to the police. His father should have directed him to the police instead of Paterno. Paterno should have called the police in addition to Curley. On and on and on.
Sandusky founded The Second Mile in 1977 and until 2010 was active in the organization. He was a volunteer football Coach at many local schools and had regular contact with minors. How may more children did he abuse than the eight boys (abuse happened 1996-2008) covered under this grand jury investigation?
Penn State is in a world of trouble. Highly educated and well paid people time and time again made decisions and acted in the best interests of money, sports, and reputation instead of the well-being of children.
The sexual abuse by Sandusky went on for so long that it is almost inconceivable. But it is true.
So many people, including those outside of Penn State were witnesses to abuse or were the first person the abuse was reported to, did nothing.
In fact, a university employee (Jim Calhoun) was an eye-witness to the sexual abuse of a boy by Sandusky in 2000 and told his immediate supervisor. The supervisor (Jay Witherite) informed Calhoun who he should report the incident to, "if he chose to report it". There is no evidence that Calhoun ever did so.
The Grand Jury investigation took years. In the meantime, there was countless opportunities for somebody to come forward.
In 1998, the Mother of a boy who was sexually abused (on the Penn State Campus) by Sandusky called the University Police. An investigation was launched and the State College Police Department and the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare was involved. The investigation was eventually dismissed by the then County District Attorney and no criminal charges were filed. Spanier testified to the Grand Jury that he was not aware of the investigation stemming from the 1998 incident.
Finally, in 2000, when the Mother of one of the abused boys contacted the High School he attended and not only was Sandusky barred from the school district, but the authorities were notified of the abuse. From there, the Grand Jury investigation was launched.
This story hits close to home for me.
I am an abuse survivor. I was a victim of sexual/physical abuse in my childhood. I am also a victim of the adults who covered it up. The difference with me is that all of the adults are related to me. The similarity is all adults acted out of a desire to uphold personal and/or institutional reputations ahead of stopping abuse.
We need to stand up as parents and adults and make sure things start to change. Whether it is your relative, your child, or a stranger, speak up and protect our children.
That is the right thing to do.
Help for child sexual abuse:
1-888-PREVENT (1-888-773-8368) Stop It Now
1-800-656-HOPE Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)
- To get help or report abuse in the US or Canada, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453).
- In the UK, call 0800 1111 (NSPCC Childline).
- Australia: 1800 688 009 (Child Abuse Prevention Service).
- New Zealand: 0800-543-754 (Kidsline).
- Or visit ChiWorld.org for a list of other international child helplines.
P.S. Here is the Grand Jury report (courtesy of the Wall Street Journal) if you are interested in reading it or passing the link on to somebody who is spouting off about the subject, but has no real information.
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