Contemptible conduct by Penn State coaches, administrators
The Kansas City Star
The investigation into who knew what when about former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky’s sexual abuse of children has confirmed the worst fears of Penn State alumni, of which I am one.
Louis J. Freeh, the former federal judge and FBI director who conducted the investigation, summed up the disgusted conclusions this morning:
“Our most saddening and sobering finding is the total disregard for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s child victims.The most powerful men at Penn State failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children who Sandusky victimized.”
It now appears legendary football coach Joe Paterno was untruthful when he insisted after the scandal broke that he knew nothing about a mother’s allegations in 1988 that Sandusky had molested her son in the shower at a university athletic building. According to Freeh, Paterno knew about the allegation and followed it closely.
Worse, Paterno appears to have dissuaded university athletic director Tim Curley from going to state authorities with an assistant football coach’s account of witnessing Sandusky raping a young boy in the showers.
According to Freeh’s report, Paterno and Curley decided the “humane” approach would be to warn Sandusky not to bring children on campus any more.
These were people completely oblivious to their moral and legal obligations. As Freeh observed, they never tried to help Sandusky’s victims or find out who they were, much less comply with the law.
Paterno died of lung cancer in January at age 85. If he were alive, you can bet people would be calling for criminal charges against him. He had a duty to report those allegations.
Freeh’s report confirms what many Penn State grads, including me, have said: That Paterno and the football program had too much power. Paterno controlled the athletic director and the athletic director dictated to the university’s top administrators. The trustees failed to set the balance right. Nobody had the guts to stand up to Paterno, and the result was utter disaster.