Hometown View – Monday, 11/17/11
I know there are quite a few expecting me to comment on what’s happening at Penn State University because of the tweets and texts I received over the weekend.
For those that don’t know I pledge my allegiance to the school as my family have been Penn State fans for as long as I can remember. That’s because my father served in the Marines and had a life-long friendship with the late George Paterno, brother of the 84-year old Nittany Lions football coaching legend Joe Paterno. My loyalty grew even more when my son enrolled at Penn State, where he graduated from in 2008. Now my daughter is a happy sophomore in Happy Valley, which is not very happy right now.
In case you somehow missed it over the weekend the University and its football program have been rocked by a child-abuse sex scandal involving former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, who retired in 1999 to devote all his time to an organization called The Second Mile which he founded years before to help at-risk children. On Friday the 67-year old was arrested and charged with sexually abusing eight young boys over a 15-year period….all of them came in contact with Sandusky through his foundation. While he has not coached at Penn State in more than a decade he had access to the school and its football facilities and it was there in 2002 where a graduate assistant witnessed a perverse and troubling incident. He reported it the next day to Paterno who notified his Athletic Director Tim Curley right away. From all indications JoePa did nothing after that and Curley and another school administrator apparently didn’t do much either except deem the incident as one that was not criminal in nature. The two are also charged with lying to a Grand Jury which has been investigating the case for more than two years and they are expected to be arraigned on perjury and other charges today. Last night at a special Trustees meeting it was announced Curley and Gary Schultz would be leaving their positions to concentrate on their legal problems.
I have read the Grand Jury report and it’s shocking and disgusting. At this point it appears Paterno did nothing wrong and he has been cleared but you have to wonder if his loyalty to a longtime coach and friend did not cloud his judgment. Could he and should he have done more which could have prevented other boys from being abused after the 2002 incident? Meanwhile the sharks are circling as there are many who are relishing the fact that the image of Paterno, the football program and the school are being tarnished. Take your shots because at some point this will be yesterday’s news…it can’t happen soon enough.