Penn State has been rocked to the foundation over the last few days. If the allegations are true, then a former coach, Jerry Sandusky, who retired in 1999 and then headed a charity from the university campus, was raping and molesting young children for over fifteen years. What is worse, again if the allegations are true, is that the university knew about this for over nine years yet did nothing to stop it. This is a disgrace.
I will not go into the full sordid details contained in the grand jury indictment against Sandusky, except to say that the indictment does state that, in 2002, a then Graduate Assistant named Mike McQueary witnessed Sandusky raping a ten year old boy in showers in a university building.
What did McQueary do on seeing this? You may well ask. According to reports, instead of intervening or calling the police, he called his father and asked him what he should do. His father, we are told, said that McQueary should tell his boss, the Penn State Head Coach Joe Paterno, a man reportedly revered as a living saint at that institution.
At this point we should all shake our heads in disbelief. Why would any able bodied young man, and while young McQueary was still an adult, not intervene and stop the rape of a ten year old? If he would not intervene, why would he call his father instead of the police? And, why would any father say, “Go and tell your boss” rather than “call the police, now”?
The questions must legitimately be asked: If McQueary had seen anyone else, other than a coach (albeit former) raping a boy or girl somewhere in the community, would he have called his father? Or, would this tall, physically imposing man have intervened or called the police?
In his defense, it has been argued that McQueary's youth meant he knew no better: I contend we are all born knowing better. “What should I do, dad?” is not a question any adult, even a young adult, should ask when they see a ten year old being raped. It allows people to imply that reputation of program and institution came before the welfare of a small child. An implication that can be leveled at everyone involved in this sqaulid tale.
The story however gets worse, according to reports. McQueary did as his father suggested and told his boss, the "legendary" Joe Paterno who, like the young Graduate Assistant, did not call the police regarding the rape of a ten year old. Instead, he called his supervisor and then, it appears, washed his hands of the whole matter. Paterno’s supervisors did not report the matter to the police, they did not call child welfare; they did not even ban Sandusky from their campus.
Knowing that nothing had been done, did Paterno, filled with outrage as any person should be, then call the police? Did he ask questions? Did he ask after the welfare of the raped child? Did he inform others and ask them to ask questions? No. Paterno, it has been reported, did nothing.
Now, at this point there are some, who I would suggest value sports more highly than the well being of a small child, who argue that it was not Paterno’s job to inform anyone other than his boss. This contention is as immoral as it is naïve. It was everyone’s job, who had even the slightest scintilla of information, to ensure that information was reported to the police and that action was taken. Paterno, McQueary, anyone with information who knew that Sandusky had not been investigated or even that he was still roaming free on campus had a moral duty to act; they did nothing.
Now we hear today that there have been riots at Penn State!
Was this rioting because there had been a rape on the campus and no timely action was taken against an alleged child rapist? NO
Was this rioting because a GA who witnessed a small child being raped reportedly called his dad instead of the police, and then was told by his dad to call his boss instead of the police? NO
Was this rioting because Joe Paterno had only reported the alleged rape to his boss and, when he saw no action was taken against Sandusky, decided to remain silent rather than go to the police? NO
Was this rioting because no-one checked up on the welfare of the ten year old victim or his family? NO
Was this rioting because an administration’s failure to take action, and their perhaps engaging in keeping this quiet, may have led to other children being raped or abused? NO
This rioting was because a football coach had been fired!
Any students involved in these riots have no business remaining at Penn State. They are a disgrace to that institution. This is not about football, the university president, Joe Paterno, Mike McQueary or the upcoming game on Saturday and they should get that through their heads.
At issue here is the fact that Jerry Sandusky stands accused of child rape on Penn State property.
At issue here is the report that several university employees, including Joe Paterno, knew that Sandusky had been seen raping a ten year old in university showers almost ten years ago.
At issue here is the report that these same employees, knowing none of the others had reported this to the police, themselves stood silent while Sandusky remained on campus and, allegedly, committed his vile acts again.
At issue here are the vile crimes of child rape and child sex abuse and what we as a society should be doing to prevent them. THE ISSUE IS NOT FOOTBALL.
As long as people let their love for sports get in the way of their desire to stop people being raped, abused, and victimized these horrific acts will continue to haunt and corrupt our society.
It’s about the children!