Penn State officials harbored a serial child molester for decades

*Trigger warning*

A chilling story from Penn State that reveals how far people will go to save face and maintain their reputations. In this case, allowing a child molester to continue working, despite knowing they are in fact a child molester. When simple questions of wrong and right get blurred in the service of sports, reputation and ego–you’ve got a major problem.

Jerry Sandusky, the widely regarded former assistant coach for the Penn State football team, was indicted last week on 40 counts of sex crimes against boys (horrifyingly cherry picking his victims from a summer program he had set up for troubled boys). Along with his indictment and subsequent arrest, two Penn State officials Gary Schultz and Tim Curley have been charged with failing to report to police that they knew Sandusky had sexually assaulted a young boy in the PSU locker room–Curley instead told Sandusky not to bring boys into the locker room anymore. That’s not even a slap on the wrist, that’s just turning a blind eye.

One of the last men standing appears to be Joe Paterno, head coach, who worked with Sandusky for 44 years. Paul Campos at LGM discusses how it is impossible for him to have not known,

In any event Paterno did acknowledge in his grand jury testimony that he’s known since at least 2002 that Sandusky was a child molester, although incredibly enough now he’s even trying to walk back that admission. He testified that Mike McQueary told him he had seen Sandusky “fondling or doing something of a sexual nature to a young boy” in the PSU football locker room showers (McQueary testified that he saw Sandusky anally raping the child). Now in his statement Paterno is trying to get people to believe that he was told that his 58-year-old lifelong friend and co-worker was doing something “inappropriate” to a ten-year-old boy in a shower, but that he had no idea it was anything all that bad: certainly not bad enough to cause Paterno — by far the most powerful person in the PSU AD and arguably the most powerful person on campus — to wonder why the only thing that happened to Sandusky was that he was told not to bring the kids he was raping into the locker room any more (Sandusky retained all his access privileges to the campus until yesterday, and indeed was running football camps for young boys on Joe Paterno’s hallowed football field until two years ago).

This disgusting and horrifying spectacle is among many other things a cautionary tale about what can happen to someone when you indulge his selfishness and egomania to the extent that PSU in particular and the national sports media in general have indulged Paterno’s over the past few years.

Sandusky was teaching the summer program until two years ago? That’s appalling.

Scott Lemieux also points out that PSU president Graham Spanier should also be fired. The president was not only forwarded the report that Curley merely asked Sandusky to stop bringing his victims to campus, he approved of the decision and failed to bring it to the attention of the authorities.

This story is horrifying. My only hope is that the survivors have the opportunity to see that they were done a gross disservice from the people that are supposedly first in line to support them in realizing their dreams. How any of these men slept at night knowing they were harboring a serial rapist–I have no idea.

Join the Conversation

  • toongrrl

    Squick….they hired a child molester?

  • Becky

    I am a sophomore at Penn State. I love my school. I love the people.

    However, I am so disappointed in the administration in the last few days. I hate that the reputation of my school may be tarnished because of the horrifying acts of a few people.

    I wish that Joe Paterno’s resignation could have been on better circumstances.

    I don’t know if Graham Spanier will be asked to step down, but honestly, I think all of them should go. It’s a strange, heavy feeling atmosphere on campus today.

    • michele

      @Becky. I wouldn’t worry too much about the reputation of your school being tarnished. This shouldn’t reflect upon the “school,” as we all know that big sports have an entire existence of their own. There are always a few bad apples no matter where you go. The good news is you are getting rid of them.

  • nazza

    Penn State covered it up for the same reason everyone covers it up. Child molestation is an act too horrible for most people to even contemplate. A friend of mine was regularly sexually abused by her father for years, but the family was complicit in keeping the secret. And, the church they attended also kept it hushed up.

    Based on what happened to me, I can again understand why a code of silence exists. Few people want to really go in depth and get to the root of the problem. This is not a new phenomenon. Children have been abused for years.

    • udontneedtoknow

      I’m sorry if I misunderstood you but are you defending the actions that they took? If we go with your way of thinking then nothing should be done because it’s nothing new and will continue to happen so why bother right?

  • Kate

    I graduated from Penn State a little over 2 years ago. Like Becky, I love Penn State, and I love the community. I can tell you that every one of my PSU friends is completely heartbroken over this scandal, not just the deplorable and disgusting acts by Sandusky, but also by the apparent corruption in the PSU administration. How any of these 5 men could live with the knowledge that a child rapist was not only free, but also had continuing access to the children he preyed on is beyond me. I do think there needs to be a complete overhaul of the system which rids PSU of all 5 of these men and also sends a clear message to other Penn State employees that this sort of lack of ethical responsibility will not be tolerated. I also hope that people realize, as much as Joe Pa is the face of Penn State, he and the other men involved are not representative of the wonderful community that is Penn State. The greater community supports the victims and their families for everything they’ve been through and everything they are yet to go through. I’m so sorry that they have been victimized both by a sexual predator and the Penn State administration, and I want to praise the young man who finally had the courage to come forward which opened the door for other boys to come forward as well. I think he is truly a hero as who knows how many boys he saved from abuse in the future.