Scandal Tarnishes Paterno, Penn State


Penn State Nittany Lion head coach Joe Paterno leads his team onto Beaver Stadium against the Purdue Boilermakers in 2005. Mandatory Credit: Craig Melvin/US PRESSWIRE Copyright (c) 2005 by Craig Melvin

By Dennis J. Freeman

College football will never be the same. For that matter college sports will not be the same as a result of the child-rape activities by an esteemed football coach that took place on the campus of Penn State University. For over a decade a child predator roamed the campus and football facilities of the Penn State football team.  

For over a decade young boys found themselves at the mercy of a sexual deviant who utilized absolute power and control over them because of his powerful position as an assistant coach on the Penn State football team. For over a decade Penn State officials chose to turn their heads and look the other way.

Children were allegedly sodomized while school administrators put their heads in the sand as this coach had his lustful sexual appetite for boys reach beyond fantasizing.  Inappropriate sex between former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky and young boys involved in “The Second Mile,” a charitable program started by Sandusky for at-risk children, allegedly go as far back as 1997, maybe even earlier.

The alleged sex acts took place often and was masked in deceit by the attraction of gifts, attending college and pro football games and guilt. The incidents took place in swimming pools, in Sandusky’s home and at Penn State football team’s practice facilities.

Sandusky, according to a grand jury indictment, even went so far as to tell one of his alleged victims, “I’m going to squeeze your guts out” as he went about his business to commit a reprehensible act of the seduction of a child. Before that incident took place a Penn State football graduate assistant testified to that same grand jury that he witnessed an alleged rape of a boy by Sandusky take place in the team’s locker room showers.

That grad student chose to call his father instead of placing a call to the police. That was in 2002. Nothing became of that incident until now. And now the school has a full-blown scandal on its hand. The fallout now at Penn State is ugly. It’s about to get even uglier now that Penn State coach and cultural institution Joe Paterno and the president of the university have been given their walking papers.

More heads are going to roll. And well they should. The repercussions will be felt years to come and well beyond the football field.  This is why the Penn State board of trustees decided that Paterno had to go now instead of at the end of the season. Paterno retiring at the end of the season on his own terms simply was not good enough.  It shouldn’t have been good enough for anyone who cares about children and their well-being.

It shouldn’t be good enough for anyone who has read the 23-page, graphically-detailed indictment handed down by the Pennsylvania attorney general accusing Paterno’s former right-hand man of being a serial child molester.

 Allegations filed by the attorney general state that Sandusky allegedly sexually abused eight boys in a 40-count indictment. The number of victims molested and sexually assaulted has grown in a matter of days. The ineptitude Penn State brass, which promises an investigation of the own, finally woke up from its deep sleep of inaction and silence to finally stop some of the bleeding.

 It shouldn’t be that surprising since these are the same buffoons who chose to put their heads in the sand and said nothing when Sandusky was allegedly running around butt-naked, lathering up boys in the shower, having soap battles and raping male adolescents. Paterno was one of those perpetrators.

And this is why he will not be allowed to coach another football game. The 84-year-old Paterno may not committed the horrendous crimes Sandusky committed, but his silence on the matter has made him culpable and complicit because of his inability to step up to the plate and put an end to the alleged child abuse that took place for over a decade.

Either out of stupidity or lack of concern, it is because of the lack of boldness to act that now have sullied Paterno’s reputation forever. And it’s not just Paterno who failed to act on the behalf of these children. Putting the well-being of a football program over the safety of children seems to be the theme for the busters who run Penn State.

I’ve seen and heard enough out of Paterno in regards to the alleged child abuse case. He should have done the right thing nine years ago. Everything Paterno and the Penn State brass haven’t said speaks quite clearly to me.

There’s a deafening tone of silence right now from Penn State administrators that seems to be getting louder and louder as each passes by. These are dark days for Penn State and its esteemed football program.  It’s even darker for the alleged victims of Sandusky’s sick lust to allegedly molest children.  

The firing of Paterno and the arrest of Sandusky on child-molestation charges is just the beginning of many, many more dark days for Penn State and the Happy Valley community.

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