Penn State: The Conspiracy of Silence
From 1998-2011 that’s pretty much what it was like on the campus of Penn State University. That was the time frame that the allegations of child molestation against a long time assistant coach and heir apparent to the legendary Joe Paterno remained concealed.
Jerry Sandusky now faces a total of 460 years in prison if the alleged offenses are proven true and deserving every single one of them. But I wonder, how many years would have been taken off his sentence if his conduct would have been stopped when they were first observed instead of being allowed to continue under a shroud of silence?
Considering that the education they peddle at a college institution is to better prepare individuals to be more well-rounded human beings it’s ironic that when these horrific acts first came to light the Penn State University brass decided putting brand first was more important than human life.
When Joe Paterno was alerted of the alleged abuses he decided to tell his athletic director instead of the authorities. Washing his hands of the situation and looking the other way is appalling considering JoePa IS Penn State. Had he done the right thing sure, there’d still be a scandal but he would now be the HERO instead of being disgraced.
But Joe’s from a time when there was no Internet, no Facebook or Twitter and no 24/7 tabloid media. Things like this happening in his day were simply brushed under the rug and never spoken about again. If a human life had to be collateral damage for the good of the brand well then so be it.
Fact is, Joe KNEW what was going on and did only what he was “legally” required to do. I guess we’re lucky he at least went that far. So from a legal standpoint he may have succeeded but as a human being he’s failed miserably. Even he himself admits that in hindsight he should have done more.
Coincidentally, when now former university president Graham Spanier, who also had to have known about Sandusky’s indiscretions chose brand over boy he forfeited his human being membership card too.
But what’s most appalling of all is when then graduate assistant and now assistant coach Mike McQueary actually walked in and noticed Sandusky in the act of molesting a ten-year old boy and did nothing but tell Joe Paterno instead of the authorities essentially keeping it quiet. Why this man didn’t first stop the abuse he witnessed and alert authorities is beyond me. And why he is still an employee of Penn State is even more of a travesty.
How can this man even look himself in the mirror? How many times has he walked past that shower room and not thought about what happened there?
Worse still: How many times did he tell himself over the years to keep quiet?