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Questions remain at Penn State

By Brian Tabakin

Section: Sports

November 11, 2011

Even though Penn State fired Joe Paterno, the all-time leader in Football Bowl Series (FBS) wins with 409 during his 46-year career, significant questions still have to be answered. Who knew what and when? Will there be any consequences for assistant coach Mike McQueary, who saw Jerry Sandusky raping a 10-year-old boy in the shower but failed to call the police? Perhaps the most damning question that will arise from this entire scandal is why nothing was done sooner.

Penn State knew about the allegations concerning Jerry Sandusky’s sexual abuse of young boys since 2002. According to the grand jury investigation, on March 1, 2002, then-Penn State graduate assistant Mike McQueary entered the locker room at the Lasch Football Building in order to retrieve a pair of sneakers. While in the locker room, McQueary heard “rhythmic slapping sounds” coming from the shower, which he believed were those of sexual activity. McQueary looked into the shower and saw a 10-year-old naked boy being subjected to anal sex by a naked Sandusky. McQueary immediately left distraught and called his father to ask for his advice. His father told him to call Coach Paterno, then-head football coach of Penn State, and report to him what he had seen. The glaring question in this whole sequence is why didn’t McQueary stop the rape? He saw Sandusky anally raping a young boy but did nothing to stop it. McQueary could have protected the boy and gotten Sandusky to stop. Instead, McQueary just left while the boy continued to be raped. He didn’t even call the police.

Paterno testified that he met with McQueary the next morning. Paterno then called Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley to report what McQueary had told him. What is astonishing and utterly criminal is that Curley did not contact McQueary or act on the news for a week and a half. Three weeks after the meeting, the only action that had been taken was that Sandusky’s keys to the locker room had been revoked and that the “incident” was reported to Sandusky’s foundation, The Second Mile. Not once in this entire one-month period did anyone call the police.

The Second Mile Foundation was founded by Sandusky. It focused on helping children with dysfunctional and abusive families. The program’s specific mission is to “help children who need additional support and would benefit from positive human interaction.” Instead, Sandusky took advantage of little boys who had no where else to turn. They had come to Sandusky and his foundation to escape their families and try to live a better life but instead they were subjected to sexual abuse.

According to the aforementioned grand jury report, in May 1998 Sandusky told the mother of one of his many victims, “I wish I could get forgiveness. I know I won’t get it from you. I wish I were dead.” That sounds like a pretty rock-solid admission of guilt. Furthermore, in 1998 the State College police, where Penn State is located, concluded that there wasn’t enough evidence to arrest Sandusky even though he admitted to “hugging” a naked 11-year-old boy in the shower.

Penn State knew about these allegations in March 2002. But, just two weeks ago, Sandusky was seen using the weight room on the Penn State campus.

Despite knowing of these allegations Penn State never lifted a finger to stop it. The university was more worried about its football program and image instead of protecting the victims. Coach Paterno was more focused on breaking the record for all-time wins in a Division I football program than he was of stopping a sexual predator.

The question that must be asked going forward is why nothing was done sooner. Paterno and Curley both had the power to stop this monster yet neither of them did anything. It begs the question of whether Penn State knowingly and intentionally covered up these allegations and let Sandusky continue to prey on little boys in order to protect its image or was merely negligent.

In the coming weeks, many facts will be revealed. Already more disturbing reports are coming out of Penn State. According to Mark Madden, a prominent radio host in Pittsburgh, in an interview on the WEEI sports radio network, Sandusky is rumored to have been “pimping out” boys to prominent donors of the Second Mile Foundation. Put simply, Sandusky may have been running a child prostitution ring.

Many will cry foul that poor old Joe is being scapegoated in this whole scandal but these people fail to realize the most important issue: Joe Paterno is not the victim here. The victims are the 20 and counting boys that were sexually abused and raped by Jerry Sandusky. In the history of sports there have been numerous scandals; however, this is already the worst scandal in the history of sports and there is much information still to be released.

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