Monday, November 7, 2011

So much "For the Glory"

Before I launch into my thoughts about the scandal at Penn State involving former assistant (until 1999) football coach Jerry Sandusky and the apparent cover up (at least ignoring) of Sandusky's sexual abuse of youth, let me say that unlike many alumni, I cannot personally be embarrassed by something involving my alma mater when I had nothing to do with what happened. I am still Penn State proud, though a little less for sure.

Now on to the story...

The 23-page attorney general report on Sandusky in graphic detail recounts how a respected man sexually abused eight youth over the years and next to nothing was done to either stop it or keep it from happening again. It is pretty sickening. Throw in a dozen other news stories, blogs, and comments from various people and you find your head spinning as you try to figure out what really happened.

Here are some of my thoughts:

I understand it was a report and not a trial, but the stories of eight youth as well as the eye witness accounts of several adults are pretty damning to me. I can believe that one or even two kids made this stuff up; it happens all the time. But eight? And that several adults witnessed different deviant acts? I don't need a trial to be convinced that Sandusky is a sick man who committed unspeakable crimes.

The most troubling to me, because of what is alleged to have happened and because it involves people at Penn State, goes something like this:

In 2002, Mike McQueary, a 28-year-old graduate assistant at the time, witnessed a heinous act in the football building shower between Sandusky and a kid who was approximately 10 years old. (Sandusky had virtually unlimited access to Penn State, negotiated as part of his retirement.) McQueary, distraught, talked to his dad, who said McQueary should go to Joe Paterno. McQueary called Paterno and went to his home the next day, reporting what he saw. What McQueary reported to Paterno, according to Paterno, was not as sordid what McQueary stated in his testimony as part of the report.

Paterno called AD Tim Curley, his supervisor (let's face it, JoePa really has no supervisor), to his home the next day and recounted what McQueary said, sharing a more sanitized version than what McQueary stated he had said. About one and a half weeks later, McQueary was called to a meeting with Curley and Senior VP for Finance and Business Gary Schultz (who as part of his position oversees campus police) and reported what he witnessed. Much as it was with Paterno, Curley testified that McQueary said Sandusky and the child were "horsing around," which is much less damning than what McQueary testified to having said to both JoePa and Curley/Schultz.

The two PSU officials told McQueary they would look into it. A few weeks later, Curley told McQueary that Sandusky's keys to the locker room were taken away and that the incident was reported to the Second Mile, a charity for at-risk youth that Sandusky was heavily involved with until 2008 when the allegations came to light. President Graham Spanier apparently was also notified about the incident. And that is pretty much where it ended.

There are many things that strike me as wrong or at the very least questionable:
  • Curley, Schultz, and JoePa insist McQueary did not tell them all the sordid details that McQueary said he did, which is suspicious. So much so that Curley and Schultz have been charged with perjury. Thankfully the two have stepped down (though Curley's leave may only be temporary).
  • But even if McQueary said only that Sandusky and this kid were "horsing around," how is it these men decide that act did not warrant going to the police? Is it normal for a man and a boy to shower together?
  • And at the very least why weren't the campus police, which Schultz oversaw, notified?
  • What is worse is that Schultz knew of an investigation involving Sandusky in 1998 during which a similar incident was alleged to have occurred. So we have now have a second incident and you still think you don't need to go to the police?
  • And interesting that Sandusky retired in 1999, a year after the 1998 incident came to light. And yet knowing that incident happened, the University thought it was okay to let Sandusky have full access to the campus as part of his retirement and bring in youth (from the Second Mile)? 
  • But back to McQueary. Shouldn't he have followed up? I don't necessarily fault him for not going to the police to begin with (he probably should have), but since he did not, I feel as if he at the very least had a moral obligation to see if something was done beyond that.
  • And interesting that McQueary was made a wide receivers coach a year or two after this happened. 
  • Some commentors insist McQueary should have stopped the act himself, as a large, former football player, but I don't think that is up to him. He was shocked, as most people would be. It is so easy for someone to say he would have knocked Sandusky out or grabbed the kid. But to actually jump into the shower and do it?
  • One thing I am not questioning is McQueary's future at Penn State. I suspect he won't be the wide receivers coach much longer, but rather will be made a scapegoat.
  • As much as I hate to say it, JoePa must go. Technically he did nothing wrong (he was not obligated to report what he saw to the police since he did not witness it), but I think as a leader of men and knowing what he did (and I suspect he knew/knows more than what he claims), he had to do more. He should not have let it drop. 
Yes, it is a sad day/week in Happy Valley. Hopefully, the glory can be restored and, more importantly, justice will be served. Those poor kids...

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Joe must go. Talk about doing the bare minimum. And I read something from the lawyer of one of those other guys saying that what that guy did (not goin to the police( was akin to a speeding ticket. Wow. Just wow.

Facie said...

Anon: For the record, I think Joe must go on his own accord. And Spanier too.

And how about this comment: "A statement by The Second Mile, which runs programs for at risk children and which Mr. Sandusky founded, said its chief executive officer, Jack Raykovitz, testified at the investigating grand jury that he had been told by Mr. Curley in 2002 that an internal investigation had found no corroboration for an allegation of inappropriate contact by Mr. Sandusky with a youth in a locker room."

So what, now they are saying McQueary made it up, or that Sandusky horsing around in a shower with a boy is not inappropriate.

Grrr.