So Basically Jerry Sandusky Raped Children For 14 Years And Nobody Gave A Damn

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When Penn State college kids were photographed throwing a campus riot in response to their beloved football coach Joe Paterno getting fired, I thought the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse case couldn’t get any worse. While the images were not representative of the entire college’s sentiments, the image of young people prioritizing mere football pride over the rape of children will probably forever stay with me. But in the wake of a new 267-page report by former Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Louis Freeh, known as the Freeh report, it’s now apparent that this case is in fact much more sordid.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the “widely anticipated” investigation determined that fellow Penn State chums not only didn’t act on suspicions of Sandusky’s abuse, but “repeatedly concealed critical facts” of his little boy penchant specifically for the sake of publicity. From the university’s former president Graham Spanier all the way to the recently deceased Paterno, we’re talking “the most powerful men at Penn State” having full knowledge about the violation of children and turning the other way simply for the sake of maintaining credibility:

“Our most saddening and sobering finding is the total disregard for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s child victims by the most senior leaders at Penn State. The most powerful men at Penn State failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children who Sandusky victimized. Messrs. Spanier, [vice president Gary] Schultz, Paterno and [Tim] Curley never demonstrated, through actions or words, any concern for the safety and well-being of Sandusky’s victims until after Sandusky’s arrest.”

Not only that, but the report maintains that these same four administrators were well aware of a 1998 investigation pertaining to Sandusky’s behavior with a child. Yet, these gentlemen didn’t do anything or tell anyone, nor did they prevent Sandusky from using football programs and campus grounds to procure more victims:

“Indeed, that continued access provided Sandusky with the very currency that enabled him to attract his victims. Some coaches, administrators and football program staff members ignored the red flags of Sandusky’s behaviors and no one warned the public about him.”

The Paterno family released a statement saying that they are still reviewing the report for accuracy. While they address the utterly soulless choice by an adult to prioritize press over the continued rape and victimization of children, they float a different theory:

The idea that any sane, responsible adult would knowingly cover up for a child predator is impossible to accept. The far more realistic conclusion is that many people didn’t fully understand what was happening and underestimated or misinterpreted events. Sandusky was a great deceiver. He fooled everyone – law enforcement, his family, coaches, players, neighbors, University officials, and everyone at Second Mile.

In the Freeh report, Paterno’s words do seem to reflect that possibility, citing a violation of “university procedure” as his reason:

“I didn’t know exactly how to handle it and I was afraid to do something that might jeopardize what the university procedure was. So I backed away and turned it over to some other people, people I thought would have a little more expertise than I did. It didn’t work out that way.”

The fact that concern for “university procedure” could even take precedence over the safety of kids is perhaps the clearest window into the kind of warped priorities these men actively maintained while at Penn State. Priorities that involved dealing with the abuse internally as vice president Schultz reportedly determined that “this is a more humane and upfront way to handle this.” “Humane” isn’t exactly what comes to my mind when considering that adults, with so much combined clout, chose to give more weight to reputation than children’s suffering — 100% preventable suffering.

Fear of serial predators like Jerry Sandusky may be what most mothers and fathers glean from this case. But I find the existence of these “powerful men,” who upon being confronted with child abuse and thought only of their careers, much more terrifying.

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(photo: David Lee/ Shutterstock)