Posted by Christopher Johnson | Saturday, November 12th, 2011 | Uncategorized | 28 Comments
Devote yourself to any sports team, no matter what the sport, and you’ll soon discover a basic fact. Our favorite teams can force us through every emotion there is, from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows and every emotion in between. As the sixth game of the recent World Series demonstrates, sometimes our teams can do all that in the same game a few moments apart.
Here in the United States, we have the added dimension of college sports. College football and basketball are one of the last vestiges of fierce state identity here. If you live in Missouri, Idaho, Minnesota, Alabama, Mississippi or some other state, you avidly follow one of your state’s major college athletic programs, despise any other major teams in your state and despair when you lost to them.
If you live in a state like Missouri, you only have one major college team for which to live and die. I’ve lived in Missouri since my family moved here in 1956. I attended the University of Missouri-Columbia received a Masters there. I follow the Tigers whenever I can, delighting in their wins but not taking their losses too hard.
Now I’m not College Football Guy by any stretch of the imagination. I don’t own 25 MU T-shirts, 6 MU sweat shirts and MU authentic home and road football jerseys with my name embroidered on the back. I don’t own MU coffee or travel mugs and I don’t put an MU car flag in my window the day the team plays.
But if I was that guy and the University of Missouri handled a controversy as badly as Penn State handled the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal, I would throw away all my MU stuff and load up on Army, Navy, Air Force or Slippery Rock gear:
Sex abuse charges have been filed in Centre County against Penn State coaching legend and Second Mile charity founder Jerry Sandusky.a more-than two year grand jury investigation that began when a Clinton County teen alleged inappropriate contact against the 67-year-old former coach.
The charges follow:
During the investigation, older allegations from 1998 surfaced as well. In the older case, Penn State police investigated inappropriate touching in a shower.
The charging paperwork has not yet made it to the District Magistrate Judge’s office in Centre County. However, felony charges of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse of someone under 16, aggravated indecent assault, indecent assault of someone under 16, indecent assault of someone under 13, and corruption of minors charges have been filed in the state court docket system.
The offense dates include 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, and 2005. There are 40 counts included in the paperwork filed against him.
Here is the grand jury report. It is extremely unpleasant reading. It is also outrageous if you scroll down to Page 6, read the account of what happened to “Victim 2” and pay particular attention to the almost complete lack of any meaningful action on the part of anyone at the University, up to and including legendary coach Joe Paterno.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly has filed charges against Sandusky and two other Penn State officials in connection with this horrible case.
Attorney General Linda Kelly and Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan today announced that criminal charges have been filed against three Centre County men as the result of an extensive and wide-reaching grand jury investigation into reports of the sexual abuse of children.
The defendants include:
Gerald Arthur “Jerry” Sandusky, age 67, of 130 Grandview Road, State College, former Defensive Coordinator for the Penn State University football team and founder of The Second Mile, a charitable organization that operates programs for young people.
Timothy Mark Curley, age 57, of 201 Meadowlark Lane, Boalsburg, the Director of Athletics for Penn State University
Gary Charles Schultz, age 62, of 636 Rosslyn Road, Boalsburg, Senior Vice President for Finance and Business at Penn State University, a position that includes oversight of the Penn State University Police Department.
“This is a case about a sexual predator who used his position within the university and community to repeatedly prey on young boys,” Kelly said. “It is also a case about high-ranking university officials who allegedly failed to report the sexual assault of a young boy after the information was brought to their attention, and later made false statements to a grand jury that was investigating a series of assaults on young boys.”
“Despite a powerful eyewitness statement about the sexual assault of a child, this incident was not reported to any law enforcement or child protective agency, as required by Pennsylvania law,” Kelly said. “Additionally, there is no indication that anyone from the university ever attempted to learn the identity of the child who was sexually assaulted on their campus or made any follow-up effort to obtain more information from the person who witnessed the attack first-hand.”
The “penalty” imposed on Sandusky, was, says Kelly, worse than a joke.
“Despite this so-called ‘ban’, which was reviewed and approved by University President Graham Spanier without any further inquiry on his part, there was no effective change in Sandusky’s status with the school and no limits on his access to the campus,” Kelly said. “Sandusky’s ’emeritus’ position, alleged negotiated as part of his 1999 retirement, provided him with an office in the Lasch Football Building; unlimited access to all football facilities, including the locker room; access to all recreational facilities; a parking pass; a university Internet account; listing in the faculty directory and numerous other privileges; he had remained a regular presence on campus.”
There were warning signs about this guy as early as 1995.
The earliest documented report of possible abuse at the hands of Sandusky is in 1995, when his now-legally adopted son was still a teenage foster child in his home.
The adoption file for Matt Sandusky, who had a different name at the time, contains letters of concern from his mother to children and youth officials and to a Centre County judge.
Matt’s biological mother, Debra Long, testified before the grand jury.
Matt, 33, is not one of the victims in the grand jury presentment, but he did testify before the grand jury.
A lot of people involved in this case seem to have been afraid of making the University and the football team look bad.
The travesty and tragedy of botched attempts to investigate Jerry Sandusky began in 1998.
Though the grand jury indictment includes four previous victims, an 11-year old boy in 1998 was the first to come forward. He is called Victim Six in the grand jury presentment.
The boy told police that Sandusky had showered naked with him. A second boy was in the showers at the time, but did not testify before the grand jury.
Then-Centre County District Attorney Ray Gricar set up a sting in the mother’s home. Sandusky had requested to meet with the mom, and Gricar had officers hide in another room and listen to their conversation.
One of those officers was Detective Ron Schreffler, the lead investigator in the case.
Investigator Jerry Lauro said this week he didn’t feel there was enough evidence for abuse charges solely based on interviews with the boys.
“At that time, the information that we had wasn’t sufficient enough to substantiate a case,” Lauro said. “I don’t want [the mother)] to think we didn’t believe their kid back then. We did, but we didn’t have enough.”
Lauro said Schreffler never told him the details of Sandusky’s confession at the victim’s house.
“I remember my last conversation with him concerning him hiding in that room,” Lauro said. “He didn’t tell me details. All he said was, ‘There’s nothing to it — we’re going to close our case.’ And I said, ‘That’s fine, I’m going to close my case, too.”
They never had another call regarding Sandusky, Lauro said.
Gricar disappeared suddenly in 2005. He remained missing and was declared dead earlier this year. Tony Gricar, family spokesman, said his uncle had developed a “bitter taste” for the football program and Paterno.
What we have here is a sytemic failure of truly epic proportions. People connected with the Penn State’s athletic department, up to and including legendary coach Joe Paterno, were more concerned about the football program than they were with the fact that a monster with free access to university facilities was systematically destroying young lives for his perverted sexual gratification.
Does anyone at the University understand what’s happened? The Board of Trustees seems to grasp the situation.
Penn State football coach Joe Paterno has been forced to resign immediately and will not coach another game, the Board of Trustees announced after Wednesday night’s meeting at the Penn Stater Hotel.
John P. Surma, Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees, made the announcement at a press conference following the meeting.
Paterno was notified of the move over the phone earlier this evening.
In the end, Paterno and Graham Spanier simply couldn’t escape the firestorm that has enveloped Penn State in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.
The university’s board of trustees voted unanimously Wednesday night to fire Paterno, just hours after the 84-year-old football coach announced he would retire at the end of the season. The board also forced out Spanier, the long-term university president, with another unanimous vote.
On the other hand, these PSU students don’t understand it.
After top Penn State officials announced that they had fired Joe Paterno on Wednesday night, thousands of students stormed the downtown area to display their anger and frustration, chanting the former coach’s name, tearing down light poles and overturning a television news van parked along College Avenue.
The demonstrators congregated outside Penn State’s administration building before stampeding into the tight grid of downtown streets. They turned their ire on a news van, a symbolic gesture that expressed a view held by many: that the news media had exaggerated Mr. Paterno’s role in the scandal surrounding accusations that a former assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky, sexually assaulted young boys.
“I think the point people are trying to make is the media is responsible for JoePa going down,” said a freshman, Mike Clark, 18, adding that he believed that Mr. Paterno had met his legal and moral responsibilities by telling university authorities about an accusation that Mr. Sandusky assaulted a boy in a university shower in 2002.
“Mr. Paterno had met his legal and moral responsibilities?” Really? Jim Rome begs to differ. At just about any other college in America, the football coach works for the athletic director. Joe Paterno, on the other hand, works for nobody at all.
Jerry Sandusky, a former assistant coach and player to Joe Paterno is charged with molesting 8 boys and 2 school administrators have been charged with covering up at least one incident and have already left their jobs. Meanwhile, the sport’s all-time winningest coach, one of sport’s most respected leaders and someone known as much for his integrity as his wins, was content to simply report the incident to his boss and just keep moving. One problem: you’re Joe Paterno. You are the boss. You don’t work for A.D. Tim Curley, he works for you. You are that Athletic Department: everyone works for you and at that time, you remained one of the more powerful men in the entire state.
At least one Penn State student gets it a lot more than you and I ever will.
In a parallel universe, going to class might be a nice distraction, to get her mind off the chaos surrounding the arrest of the man accused of molesting her brother.
But not as a junior at Penn State, where students are making jokes about being “Sanduskied.”
“I can’t escape it,” said the junior, whose brother was allegedly molested in a shower by former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky when he was 11.
“I’ve been going to minimal classes, because every class I go to I get sick to my stomach. People are making jokes about it. I understand they don’t know I’m involved and it was my brother, but it’s still really hard to swallow that.”
“I’ve just been really upset about it all because a lot of people aren’t focusing on the victims in this,” she said. “And instead they’re focusing on other things, like football. As much as you shouldn’t blame the football players … they should be focusing on their respect for the families and what they’ve been through.”
Instead, the outrage on campus has been directed mostly at national media, which descended during the weekend, set up camp and have stayed put as the scandal violently jolts in directions that, each day, seem more unbelievable than the last.
And thousands of PSU students turned out for a candlelight vigil to remember Jerry Sandusky’s victims.
So where are we? Sports teams can delight you embarrass you or provide you with a few hours of cynical amusement(see the St. Louis Rams). But this is the first sports program of any kind that has literally sickened me.
And as far as American intercollegiate athletic corruption is concerned, Penn State just raised the bar impossibly high. Free cars. free booze, fake jobs and hot women have just tapped out because they know they can’t compete.
Should PSU shut things down? A lot of people are tossing around terms like the “death penalty.” This is a sanction that, as far as I know, the National Collegiate Athletic Association has only imposed once and it would involve literally eliminating Penn State football completely for a period of years.
I’m not ready to go that far although I might have shut things down for the remainder of this season. The current players had nothing to do with any of this and shouldn’t be held accountable. But they will be. Penn State players and fans had better know what they’re in as well as the kind of smack opposing players and fans are going to be running for a very long time.
Today, the Nittany Lions lost at home to Nebraska 17-14. Next week, they travel to Columbus, Ohio to play Ohio State and the week after that, they visit Madison, Wisconsin to play the Wisconsin Badgers.
If I’m Nittany Lion Fan and I’ve got non-refundable plane tickets, hotel rooms and ducats for one or both of those games and I insist on attending, I’d leave the Lions gear home. The “Pedo State” signs are going to be hard enough to deal with without some liquored-up Buckeye or Badger fan coming up to you and giving you a personal taste.
High school football recruits have already started backing away from the Penn State program. And this isn’t just going to affect the Penn State football team. Other PSU men’s and women’s teams will probably hear all about it during their road matches.
The simple fact of the matter is that it will take Penn State football years, if not decades, to recover from this disaster, if it ever does. Meanwhile, the victims will rebuild their lives as best they can, secure in the knowledge that many officials and students of a major university cared more about themselves than it did about them.
So if Penn State football is reduced to a shell of its former self, with losing seasons for the foreseeable future, its players and fans have no right to complain.