MILLSTONES

Saturday, November 12th, 2011 | Uncategorized

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.

At all.

“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.

28 Comments to MILLSTONES

Michal
November 12, 2011

As the line from “I, Claudius” goes (pace, Robert Graves fans): “Let all the poisons in the mud hatch out”. One wonders if this is the end of the story.

Christopher Johnson
November 12, 2011
Katherine
November 12, 2011

Yeah, I saw that story, Christopher (the one you linked in the comments). This whole thing is nauseating. I don’t know if Paterno worked for the AD or if it was the other way around. However, it was his football program. There is absolutely no excuse for failing to root this plague out of the program in the mid 1990s. They also should have taken steps to see that Sandusky was run out of his charity, which he continued to work with until 2008!

Sometimes tough decisions have to be made. It would have been so much better for the football program, for the university, and most especially for a lot of young boys, if Paterno had taken the appropriate steps sooner rather than later. They’d have had bad press for a short time followed by good press for taking resolute action. Instead, boys have been ruined and so has Penn State’s reputation, not temporarily, but for a long, long time.

I feel sorry for the current football players, but not for Paterno and the others.

Katherine
November 12, 2011

By the way, congrats on Mizzou’s win today.

James1
November 12, 2011

And welcom to the SEC

Katherine
November 12, 2011

Sandusky was recruiting for Penn State this season. This, after being told not to bring any boys on campus. They knew, and still they allowed him to hang around young men under Penn State’s wing. Unconscionable.

Bill (not IB)
November 12, 2011

The problem is, as Chris points out, it’s the leaders who are at fault – not the players, nor the students. (Granted, the reaction on the part of many students is very appalling in that it degrades the victims and seems to lionize the offenders.)

It would be wrong to impose a “death penalty”, because that causes much more hurt to the innocent (players & fans) than it does punishment to the guilty. I’d have to say that the best punishment which could be imposed would be to require that Penn State turn over all documents related to the football program for the past 20 years to the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office, and cooperate fully in criminal and civil legal actions against the offenders. Put the bastards in jail, and/or sue them into the ground. And follow up on *every* name that appears in the mess – if there are big-name donors, high-profile alumni, whoever – hold them accountable for any part they may have had, be it in covering-up or failing to disclose.

Brize
November 12, 2011

Have there been any indications that the NCAA is going to take any sort of action on this?

Bill2
November 12, 2011

I’m not sure criminal sexual assault is covered by the NCAA.

Makes under the table pay-offs and tattoos for jerseys seem tame though.

Penn State will have to, and should, fire pretty much every coach and administrator who’s ever touched or smelled the football facilities the past 18 years.

Bill2
November 12, 2011

After the lawyers are done, the $1 billion in endowments they think resulted from Joe Paterno and the success of the football program will be history, and rightfully so. I just hope the victims actually see some of the money.

JM
November 12, 2011

It’s as easy to pile on as being a little late on the tackle. Coach Paterno never received a disturbing report from a graduate assistant. He went to the campus honchos and reported it. They spoke directly to the eyewitness. Now, Coach Paterno, who had no personal knowledge of any crime, but failed to report the hearsay allegation to the police, has been fired. The eyewitness, who failed to report the incident to the police, is still on staff.

Maybe there is more to the story than has appeared so far. But as of this writing no one has alleged that Coach Paterno has violated any law or NCAA rule. Obviously, in retrospect, he should have marched the eyewitness down to the police station to fill out a sworn complaint. But he didn’t know his superiors were criminals, and would not act appropriately on the allegations. (We know they are criminals because they were indicted and we have all agreed to flush the presumption of innocence down the drain.)

The story does put things in perspective, however. Maybe a player trading memorabilia for tattoos, or going to a strip club on the booster’s dime, are not so bad after all.

JM
November 12, 2011

Correction: Paterno ONLY received a disturbing report.

The young fogey
November 12, 2011

What JM said. Even if Penn State was warped about football and the resulting power went to Paterno’s head, Paterno’s a scapegoat.

KC
November 13, 2011

you cannot really believe that Paterno answered to anyone at Penn State…..the fact that at least one incident of Sandusky “fondling” a 10 year old in the showers was reported to him and he never asked Sandusky a single question about it is damning…

Katherine
November 13, 2011

Various news reports indicate that this 2002 incident was not the first time Sandusky had been implicated in “inappropriate” behavior. Sure, these guys are entitled to a trial, and perhaps witnesses will not be as convincing as news reports indicate, and perhaps convictions will not occur.

JM, YF, you are the director of a large program. A subordinate reports seeing a serious sexual assault on a young boy. You inform the next levels up. And then … nothing happens. You don’t follow up? Or suppose you are the guy who witnesses the assault. You don’t wonder what’s going on when the police don’t come to see you?

Ed the Roman
November 13, 2011

Joe Pa had everything he needed to have asked the subordinate “when did you call the cops?” and replied “what the EXTREMELY BAD WORD is the matter with you!?!” and started dialing 911 when the answer was “no”.

To describe “Coach, I saw Coach Sandusky [butt-f______g|getting blown by]* a kid in the shower” merely as “disturbing” is disturbing. The statement itself goes WAY past that.

* I haven’t read the indictment – server is slammed. So I don’t know which it would be.

Ed the Roman
November 13, 2011

Joe Pa had all that any reasonable man needed to ask “have you called the cops yet?”, replied “what the hell is the matter with you!” when the answer was no, and started dialing furiously.

The idea that HE had to play mother-may-I with the AD and the President is really cute.

Dale Matson
November 13, 2011

In business, profit is the bottom line. In sports, winning is the bottom line. If a team has a winning record, people look the other way. Woody Hayes and Bobby Knight were not fired until their teams had losing seasons yet their uncivil behavior was tolerated until then. Duffy Daugherty the late MSU football coach once said, “We base our scholarships on academic ability and need. By “academic ability”, I mean whether they can read and write and by “need” I mean whether we need them.”

Barney
November 13, 2011

Having coached at the High School and NCAA Div II level I can only say that JoePa, as the head coach, was responsible for the people working for him. There can be no argument with that. If there was a question of Sandusky’s behavior, JoePa was morally and ethically required to have it investigated. His failure to so, is unacceptable.

I coached with a guy who had a drinking problem. He was told to come to practice and games sober… he showed up once with booze on his breath and he was immediately fired.

JoePa was wrong…

JM
November 13, 2011

People, don’t forget that when Paterno heard the allegation, Sandusky was no longer on Paterno’s staff. Therefore, it is not clear what control he had. He might have issued a fiat banning Sandusky from any contact with the football program, and gotten sued by Sandusky and the Second Mile Foundation, and probably disciplined by Penn State for overstepping his authority.

As to not hearing the results of the investigation for many months and years: That is troubling. You would think an allegation such as this about a guy you thought you knew would spark an irresistible curiosity about what the facts were. Organizations tend not to tell people about their investigative efforts until the investigation is concluded, but Paterno probably could have marched into the President’s office without an appointment and demanded an answer.

As to going to the police himself: He could. I am not sure how the police would respond if you showed up and said “Somebody told me that somebody committed a crime and I want to report it.” But, the eyewitness, McQueary, was on Paterno’s staff. He could have required the witness to report it to police.

So, as Paterno has acknowledged, in retrospect he could have done more. But (absent additional facts) it appears he broke no law or NCAA rule. So, I think Penn State owes him the rest of his contract. Lucky for Penn State it is only the rest of the year.

gppp
November 13, 2011

JoePa could have helped stop it years ago, but his moral ineptitude allowed him to report it and then look the other way, knowing all the time that Sandusky was still molesting young boys.

It’s interesting, though purely coincidental, that this breaks at about the same time as the PB’s cover-up of her misdeeds with regard to Bede Parry.

I can’t help but feel outrage, because I have spent all my life in music in TEC and although never molested certainly rebuffed more than a few wholly inappropriate homosexual advances.

Don’t anyone feel at all sorry for JoePa. He’s had his days in the sun at the expense of young boys whose innocence was stolen by a demented homosexual, whose lives may never be whole again.

MargaretC
November 13, 2011

OK, I’ll admit that all the facts aren’t in yet, and that no Christian should rush to judgment. That said, I read the grand jury report and it makes very disturbing reading.

1. No official in any organization should be immune from regular oversight and review the way Joe Paterno was. Nobody.

2. It is very, very difficult to drop the hammer on someone you’ve known and worked with for years. You will want very much to believe whatever excuses and apologies they offer, as well as their assurances that it will “never happen again.”

It’s a miserable story, and I doubt if we’ve heard the last of it.

Christopher Johnson
November 13, 2011

Scapegoat? Wrong.

Joe Paterno may not have been culpable but I think he was a large part of the reason why this situation happened. Like I said before, the idea that Paterno worked for anybody is laughable. And while Sandusky may no longer have been on the coaching staff, remember that he’d played for and coached with Paterno for something like 30 years.

I’m just speculating here but I suppose that Paterno heard the charge against Sandusky and fell back on the chain-of-command dodge because he didn’t have the courage to confront his old friend and coaching associate. Everybody else in the athletic department froze up because they were afraid of what the old man would say or do.

I also think that deep down, Paterno understands all this. Recall that shortly after the news broke, he suddenly announced that he was going to retire when the season was over. I also think that the Penn State Board of Trustees understood that this situation happened in large part because Paterno was there and so, for the sake of the football program and the reputation of the university, they had to immediately turn the page.

And it’s not like they were cruel to the old man. The Nittany Lions were in friendly confines yesterday. They’re not going to be the next two weeks. Buckeye Fan and Badger Fan are going to be rough enough on Penn State without having Paterno around. If he had been with the team, Paterno would have heard first-hand what other people think of the football program he’d spent his life building. And what they think of him.

Brize
November 13, 2011

What Chris said.

Grandmother
November 13, 2011

Well, I’m inclined to believe there is a bit more to the story than we are hearing.. Rush pointed out, there’s something missing, and it didn’t take me long to figure it out.. No one reported the story because of the sexual proclivities of that creep.. First thing, he would claim “discrimination”, long before any other witnesses came forward. If the man was hetero, and molested girls, no problem.. In this case there was a HUGE problem, political correctness et. al.

Also, I agree with the heresay argument. I’m not sure the police would accept it. The witness says he told his father about it too before going to GoPa.. We’ll probably never know the entire story. But, if anyone else in the administration knew/heard anything they should have their comeuppance also..

Grandmother

AnglicanXn
November 13, 2011

Excellent article and thoughtful comments.

The more I learn, the more dreadful the situation reeks of scandalous depravity. And there is still more to come, I fear.

In a closed society of an athletic department, the network of relationships certainly plays a large part. The abuse prevention policies may call for a certain procedure to be followed, but that procedure is not being done in a vacuum. The culture of mutual help, etc, certainly plays a part – and not at all a helpful one.

Tonestaple
November 14, 2011

I have to disagree with all who speak against the NCAA imposing its “death penalty.” I would have no objection to the NCAA helping players find places at other schools. I would have no objection to Penn State paying for the rest of college for the players who would be out of a job. But the management must be punished and punished harshly. And really, so must the alumni who created the cult of personality around Joe Paterno and who clung to the idea that he and his program could do no wrong.

They knew about Sandusky’s predatory proclivities in 1998 and they did NOTHING. They permitted Sandusky to keep on raping and raping and raping and every single person who had knowledge, or even a suspicion, has moral responsibility for every single one of those crimes that happened at that snakepit of a school and for every last one of the lives ruined by Sandusky.

Personally, I would like to see the entire university shut down, the buildings blown sky high, and the ground sown with salt. But I’ll settle for the end of the PSU football program.

JM
November 14, 2011

It’s as easy to cast blame as to throw a penalty flag. I am not convinced that Paterno “knew” what Sandusky was doing — certainly not on the basis of one allegation against a guy he had known and worked with for years.

There were allegations against Sandusky from 1998. Those were found to be unsubstantiated by a no-nonsense DA, so no charges were brought. Then the DA later turned up missing, and has never been found.

If Paterno had confronted his old assistant coach, people would be saying that Paterno intentionally compromised the investigation by tipping off his friend.

When he didn’t personally march the witness McQueary down to the police station, there was no good outcome left for Paterno — whether Sandusky ends up convicted or not.

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