The 267-paged report from former FBI Director Louis Freeh confirmed what many who have followed the Jerry Sandusky case always suspected, that Penn State covered up the now convicted pedophile and former Penn State defensive coordinator for 14 years (1998-2011). No one told the Board of Trustees, and no one said a word to students that a possible threat to their community was on campus. Nothing. It just makes you sick to your stomach.
The scandal broke last fall amid accusations of Sandusky sexually abusing a child in 2001, and it was only speculated that top university officials knew about his monstrous behavior before then. Today’s report stated that the late legendary head coach Joe Paterno, former President Graham Spanier, former Vice President Gary Schultz and former Athletic Director Tim Curley all knew of the allegations of child molestation going back to at least 1998 and “repeatedly concealed critical facts” about the case from authorities and the public at large, for fear of the “consequences of bad publicity.” This finding was based on the analysis of 430 interviews and sorting through millions of emails relating to the case. And who, besides naive and biased Penn State students and alumni can question that now?
When former graduate assistant Mike McQueary told Paterno about what he witnessed between Sandusky and a preteen in a locker room shower that occurred on Febuary 9, 2001, JoePa took his time notifying his superior because he didn’t want to bother anyone on a weekend. And an email showed once Curley and Paterno talked about the allegation, it was decided among the top brass that Sandusky should be treated “humanely.” In other words, they willfully covered up what would have been a devastating scandal that would’ve meant the loss of the prestige of the football program.
This was selfish, morally wrong and a violation of federal law (the Clercy Act) that requires reporting such actions to authorities and warning about alleged crimes that could threaten the local community. Plainly put, those four just didn’t give a fuck about any past and possible future Sandusky victims on their campus.
Perjury charges have already been handed down to Schultz and Curley over what they knew, but somehow Spanier and the late JoePa got spared from any legal ramnifications.
So what to do now? JoePa got fired before he was indicted, so nothing further can happen to him, I would think. But how about indicting Spanier for violating federal law? .
More than that, the football program needs to lose bowl eligibility for at least a year or two. That would send a strong message to NCAA football teams and fans everywhere that football doesn’t come before child safety. If this means current and aspiring Penn State football players have to transfer to another school, so be it. That’s not more important than issuing severe conseuqences for allowing Sandusky to ruin the lives of (at least) 10 kids over a 15-year span.
Whatever happens now at Penn State, the “culture” there has to change. This “hero worship” of Paterno has to end—that includes removing the statue of him currently on campus. He was a legend, but he made the biggest mistake of his life by not making Sandusky go away for good in 2001. He was so influential in that university and chose not to use the great power he had. Instead, JoePa went to his grave (in January) knowing he could have done more, much more to help the powerless. Today’s Freeh report only confirms that.