The Scandal of all Scandals: The Case of Stolen Innocence

By Eric D. Graham BASN columnist
Updated: November 15, 2011

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Joe Paterno, guilty in All children's hearts

Joe Paterno, guilty in All children's hearts

NORTH CAROLINA—”There comes a time when silence is betrayal.”-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

While the University of Penn State, as an institution was crumbling brick by brick with the biggest scandal in the history in college football, coaches were planning their exit strategies.

Why? Because, they were too busy protecting themselves, their careers, and their names, instead of protecting the lives of innocence children, who were allegedly sexually abused.

But who knew that a place called Happy Valley could be filled with so much sadness and sickness?

Oddly, it was a “say it ain’t so, Joe” type of moment.

Why? Because, Joe Paterno is Penn State.

Or, should I say, was Penn State?

Paterno, who became Penn State’s head coach in 1966, remarkably appeared in 37 bowl games while winning a record best 24 of them.

But despite all of that, his legacy and iconic status has been tainted by a scandal involving his former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, whom many considered his “anointed” successor.

Yes, the one they called Joe Pa, the “Father Figure, “seemed to have turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to the inappropriate behavior of his former assistant, who was charged with sexually molesting eight boys over a 15-year period.

Now, his legendary career is over with his recent firing plus his name has been removed from the Big Ten Championship Trophy.

As result of his firing, some Penn State students angrily took to the streets protesting and rioting in his honor.

But how could this happen?

Paterno was supposed to be the moral compass of college football. He was supposed to be the one to lead us in the right direction in this age of corruption.

But unfortunately, he failed us miserably.

Dr.Martin Luther King Jr. prophetically captured the essence of this scandal when he was quoted as saying:

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

Bigger than Joe Paterno

Truthfully, this child abuse scandal at Penn State is bigger than Joe Paterno and bigger than any game against Nebraska.

It is, in fact, bigger than any win in Paterno’s legendary career. Because in the end, we all will remain win less unless we get to bottom of this seemingly bottomless scandal.

As a result, now, our focus must be on the victims instead of the victories.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the typical child sex offender molests an average of 117 children, most of who do not report the offence. It is estimated that approximately 71 % of child sex offenders are under 35 and knew the victim at least causally. About 80 % of these individuals fall within normal intelligence ranges; 59% gain sexual access to their victims through, seduction or enticement.

Monster in the locker room

According to grand jury reports, Sandusky enticed one of his alleged victims by taking him to professional and college sporting events and showered him with gifts, “including golf clubs, a computer, gym clothes, dress clothes and cash.”

Despite all of this, it is still unbelievable to think that there was a “monster” in the locker room lurking unnoticeable in the dark and sometimes walking in broad daylight and nobody did anything about it.

This is the harsh reality we all must face, that an alleged serial pedophile was a part of a prestigious football program like Penn State football and no one seemed to care.

But maybe not wanting to know, caused some of them not to see the obvious.

“The fact that someone we thought we knew might have harmed young people to this extent is deeply troubling. If this is true we were all fooled, along with scores of professionals trained in such things, and we grieve for the victims and their families. They are in our prayers.” confessed legendary head football Joe Paterno..

Prosecutors said that former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky allegedly created a non-profit organization in order to groom young men for his sexual pervasion, where he allegedly preyed on at-risk children.

This may offend a few people but this was the same pattern of behavior Bishop Eddie Long allegedly displayed in another sexually abuse scandal that rocked the African-American church last year.

The Case of Stolen Innocence

Commissioner Frank Noonan Pennsylvania State Police said this is a case about children, who had their innocence stolen from them and a culture that didn’t do anything to stop it or prevent it from happening to others.

According to grand jury reports, Penn State missed several opportunities to stop Sandusky including in 2002 when then graduate assistant and former Penn State quarterback Mike McQueary saw Sandusky raping a 10-year old boy in the team’s shower. The next morning McQueary went to coach Paterno’s home and told him about what he saw after consulting with his father. Paterno then reported the incident to former Penn State athletic director Tim Curley and former university vice president Gary Schultz, who did not alert the police.

But by not alerting the police, it allowed Sandusky allegedly to continue to molest more boys up until 2009.

The Devil is in the Details

“Jerry Sandusky admitted to my face, he admitted it. He admitted that he lathered up my son (victim #1). They were naked and he bear-hugged him.” said the mother of one of the boys, who was allegedly molested by Sandusky during a recent interview with the Harrisburg Patriot News.

“If they would have done something about it in 1998, then again in 2002… There was two chances. They dropped the ball and I think they should all be held accountable.”

If the mother of victim #1 is telling the truth, are Paterno and the rest of his staff, guilty by association?

Shockingly, the rabbit hole gets deeper in this scandal, because the Judge, who released Sandusky on an $100,000 unsecure bond was also a volunteer for The Second Mile, the charity which Sandusky spearhead in 1976.

In Paterno’s defense, he claimed that he was never told about the full extent of the abuse in the team’s shower. But with such a disturbing report, many people felt Paterno had the moral obligation to report the incident to the police and not just to university officials.

The New York Daily News reported that one of Sandusky’s victims testified to the grand jury that he would hide in the basement of Sandusky’s house to avoid contact in which Sandusky would get “onto the bed on which Victim 1 was already lying and rolling under the boy. With Victim 1 lying on top of him, face to face, Sandusky would run his arms up and down the boy’s back and ‘crack’ it. … Eventually, Sandusky began to kiss Victim 1 on the mouth. Victim 1 was uncomfortable with the contact and would sometimes try to hide in the basement to avoid Sandusky. Victim 1 testified that ultimately Sandusky performed oral sex on him 20 times through 2007 and early 2008. Sandusky also had Victim 1 perform oral sex on him one time and also touched Victim 1′s penis with his hands during the 2007-2008 time period. Victim 1 did not want to engage in sexual contact with Sandusky and knew it was wrong. Victim 1 stopped taking Sandusky’s phone calls and had his mother tell Sandusky he was not home when Sandusky called Despite all of these allegations of sexual misconduct, Sandusky still had access to the university, an office on campus, a parking space and was still frequently seen with children at football games.

Penn State and the Catholic Church

With this “so-called” cover-up, Joe Paterno and Penn State University, now, have been compared to the Catholic Church, who also has an evil past of abusing children and trying to hide it from the general public.

Sadly, in the religion of football, Joe Pa is the Pope of Penn State and Sandusky was one of his Cardinals, who preyed on little boys.

As a result, after hearing this disgusting story, the sports world as well as the rest of the nation, in general, felt that this was just another example of the powerful overpowering the powerless, where the interest of an institution overshadowed the interest of defenseless children.

This evil event evolving in from of our teary eyes, in fact, gave credence to the old cache’ that “Absolute Power corrupts absolutely.”

Too Many Unanswered Questions

But how could Joe Pa, who statistically is the winningest coach in NCAA history, with 409 wins, turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to these allegations for at least a decade?

Some dare call it a conspiracy?

But isn’t it coincidental that the child abuse scandal was leaked to the media a week after Paterno broke Grambling’s head football coach Eddie Robinson’s victory record?

Was this an additional reason Penn State hide these sexual abuse allegations?

People wanted to know some answers.

Besides, how much did Paterno really know?

And when did he know it?

I am absolutely devastated by the developments in this case. I grieve for the children and their families, and I pray for their comfort and relief” Paterno said.

“I have come to work and every day for the last 61 years with one clear goal in mind; to serve the best interest of this university and the young men who have been entrusted in my care. I have the same goal today.” he continued.

Even though the sports world was happy that Paterno finally addressed the child sexual abuse scandal, they still wanted to hear directly from the monster’s mouth.

From the Mouth of a Monster

To their displeasure, the Monster finally spoke during a telephone interview conducted by Bob Costas on NBC’s “Rock Center” on Monday night.

In his creepiest voice, Sandusky tried to conceal his guilt and justify his inappropriate actions with children.

BOB COSTAS: Mr. Sandusky, there’s a 40-count indictment. The grand jury report contains specific detail. There are multiple accusers, multiple eyewitnesses to various aspects of the abuse. A reasonable person says where there’s this much smoke, there must be plenty of fire. What do you say?

JERRY SANDUSKY: I say that I am innocent of those charges.

BOB COSTAS: Innocent? Completely innocent and falsely accused in every aspect?

JERRY SANDUSKY: Well I could say that, you know, I have done some of those things. I have horsed around with kids. I have showered after workouts. I have hugged them and I have touched their leg. Without intent of sexual contact. But — so if you look at it that way – there are things that wouldn’t — you know, would be accurate.

BOB COSTAS: Are you denying that you had any inappropriate sexual contact with any of these underage boys?

JERRY SANDUSKY: Yes, I — yes I am.

BOB COSTAS: Never touched their genitals? Never engaged in oral sex?

JERRY SANDUSKY: Right.

BOB COSTAS: What about Mike McQueary, the grad assistant who in 2002 walked into the shower where he says in specific detail that you were forcibly raping a boy who appeared to be 10 or 11 years old? That his hands were up against the shower wall and he heard rhythmic slap, slap, slapping sounds and he described that as a rape?

JERRY SANDUSKY: I would say that that’s false.

BOB COSTAS: What would be his motive to lie?

JERRY SANDUSKY: You’d have to ask him that.

BOB COSTAS: What did happen in the shower the night that Mike McQueary happened upon you and the young boy?

JERRY SANDUSKY: Okay, we — we were showering and — and horsing around. And he actually turned all the showers on and was — actually sliding — across the — the floor. And we were — as I recall possibly like snapping a towel, horseplay.

BOB COSTAS: In 1998, a mother confronts you about taking a shower with her son and inappropriately touching him. Two detectives eavesdrop on a conversation with you, and you admit that maybe your private parts touched her son. What happened there?

JERRY SANDUSKY: I can’t exactly recall what was said there. In terms of — what I did say was that if he felt that way, then I was wrong,

BOB COSTAS: During one of those conversations, you said, “I understand, I was wrong, I wish I could get forgiveness,” speaking now with the mother. “I know I won’t get it from you. I wish I were dead.” A guy falsely accused or a guy whose actions have been misinterpreted doesn’t respond that way, does he?

JERRY SANDUSKY: I don’t know. I didn’t say, to my recollection that I wish I were dead. I was hopeful that we could reconcile things.

BOB COSTAS: Shortly after that in 2000, a janitor said that he saw you performing oral sex on a young boy in the showers, in the Penn State locker facility. Did that happen?

JERRY SANDUSKY: No.

BOB COSTAS: How could somebody think they saw something as extreme and shocking as that when it hadn’t occurred, and what would possibly be their motivation to fabricate it?

JERRY SANDUSKY: You’d have to ask them.

BOB COSTAS: It seems that if all of these accusations are false, you are the unluckiest and most persecuted man that any of us has ever heard about.

JERRY SANDUSKY: (Laughs) I don’t know what you want me to say. I don’t think that these have been the best days of my life.

After the riveting Bob Costas interview, most people, who saw it came to the quick conclusion that Sandusky was “as guilty as hell” and deserves the Death Penalty for his actions.

While people feel the Death Penalty is the end all-cure all for Sandusky, they also believe Penn State, as an intuition, should be given the Death Penalty as well as.

If the NCAA could punish Southern Methodist University for illegal recruitment violations and paying athletes, Penn State must be punished even harsher .

Besides, this was not a Cam Newton “pay-for-play scandal.” Neither was it a A.J.Green selling a jersey for cash scandal. Or an Ohio State scandal involving tattoos and football memboralia. This was a scandal involving children being sexually abused by an assistant coach.

For the love of God, hopefully, the NCAA will do the right thing, this time.

If not, they should remember the scripture that says “Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God’ (Mark 10:13-14).

Because, these children, in this case, deserve it.

Yesterday a Pennsylvania judge has again denied Sandusky’s request to push back the start of his child sex abuse trial.

Judge John Cleland issued an order Wednesday stating jury selection in the trial will begin as previously scheduled on June 5. Arguments in the case will not begin before June 11.

Sandusky’s attorney, Joe Amendola, had already requested once before that the trial be delayed so he could have more time to prepare his defense.

Cleland denied that motion earlier this month.

A final pretrial conference is scheduled for later Wednesday so Cleland can go over any outstanding issues with prosecutors and Sandusky’s defense team.