Thursday, July 12, 2012

Gerald A. Sandusky: Professor Emeritus

Freeh Report Blasts Paterno, University Administrators in Sandusky Abuse:
The most senior officials at Penn State University failed for more than a decade to take any steps to protect the children victimized by Jerry Sandusky, the longtime lieutenant to head football coach Joe Paterno, according to an independent investigation of the sexual abuse scandal that rocked the university last fall.

“Our most saddening and sobering finding is the total disregard for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s child victims,” said Louis J. Freeh, the former federal judge and director of the F.B.I. who oversaw the investigation. “The most powerful men at Penn State failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children who Sandusky victimized.”

Sandusky last month was convicted of 45 counts of sexual abuse, including rape and sodomy, by a jury in Bellefonte, Pa. The jury found he had assaulted young boys at his home, on the Penn State campus and at other locations over many years. 

Incredibly, we hear from Paterno today...from the grave.
Paterno, through his family, insisted after Sandusky’s arrest that he never knew anything about the 1998 case. But Freeh’s report asserts that Paterno not only knew of the investigation, but followed it closely. Local prosecutors ultimately decided not to charge Sandusky, and Paterno did nothing.

Paterno, in a letter that he had prepared but that was not published before his death, asserted that whatever the failings in the Sandusky affair — his or the university’s — it did not constitute a “football scandal.” 

“Regardless of anyone’s opinion of my actions or the actions of the handful of administration officials in this matter, the fact is nothing alleged is an indictment of football or evidence that the spectacular collections of accomplishments by dedicated student athletes should be in anyway tarnished,” Paterno said in the letter. 
::sound of crickets chirping out at the cemetery::

Not only was it most definitely a "football scandal", but it showed (as I opined here, here and here last fall) the total corruption of higher education by powerful university athletic programs.

The Freeh report faults virtually every single office in higher education at Penn State for either their outright criminal actions and inactions. The university trustees, university president, vice-president and provost, athletic director, football coach, office of legal affairs, general counsel, office of risk management, office of internal audit, the university police department, office of human resources and the department of intercollegiate affairs were all engaged in:
  • "a total and consistent disregard for Sandusky's child victims...
  • "failed to protect against a child sexual predator harming children for over a decade...
  • "a striking lack of empathy for Sandusky's victims by failing to inquire as to their safety and well being...
  • "empowered Sandusky to attract victims to the campus and the university's prominent football program...
  • "granting him license to bring boys to campus facilities for grooming for targets of his assaults." 
  • and driving all of it: "A culture of reverence for the football program that is ingrained at all levels of the campus community."
Even some of the hapless janitors suspected something was going on with Sandusky in the showers, but in interviews with Freeh's team, did "not report the assault for fear that 'they'll get rid of all of us.' Another janitor concluding that the university would close ranks to protect the football program."

Worse, after Sandusky's initial retirement back in 2001 (after the umpteenth reporting of sexual abuse), Paterno, the AD, the university president, the provost and the Pennsylvania board of regents actually granted Sandusky "professor Emeritus" rank with "all the privileges associated with" including "lifetime access to recreational facilities." 

As the one protester's sign said last fall: "They all knew. All of them." But blinded by the millions and millions of donor dollars that run universities and their athletic programs, eh, what's a few whiny kids and their "problems" with good ol' Jer, right?

The Freeh report also blasts the criminal justice system, calling the District Attorney's handling of the cases back to 1998 "a disgrace" and the investigative techniques of the university keystone cops, er, police department as "amateurish" and "inept." The latter being evidenced in the lead "detective's" handling of Sandusky after the first report was made in 1998. Dude "advised Sandusky not to shower with young boys in the future," to which Sandusky replied "ok, sure." End of investigation.

As I wrote last fall, the civil justice system is fundamentally the wrong place for this drama to continue to play out as the lawsuits mount. Granted, Sandusky is going to prison for life, and the former president and AD are facing criminal charges, but more criminal charges should be brought in the matter before the university and its stooges are allowed to hide behind immunity via the civil justice system and never fundamentally "pay" for what they did. 

Restitution is fine, up to a point, but a measure of retributive justice (scores of defendants seated in the docks) might send a stronger message to higher education and college athletics around the country. 

The Nuremberg defense wasn't valid 50 years ago and it isn't valid today.

UPDATE: And if there are any Paterno apologists left out there, today's (7/14) headlines should silence them once and for all.

Paterno Won Sweeter Deal As Scandal Played Out:
In January 2011, Joe Paterno learned prosecutors were investigating his longtime assistant coach Jerry Sandusky for sexually assaulting young boys. Soon, Mr. Paterno had testified before a grand jury, and the rough outlines of what would become a giant scandal had been published in a local newspaper. 

That same month, Mr. Paterno, the football coach at Penn State, began negotiating with his superiors to amend his contract, with the timing something of a surprise because the contract was not set to expire until the end of 2012, according to university documents and people with knowledge of the discussions. By August, Mr. Paterno and the university’s president, both of whom were by then embroiled in the Sandusky investigation, had reached an agreement.

Mr. Paterno was to be paid $3 million at the end of the 2011 season if he agreed it would be his last. Interest-free loans totaling $350,000 that the university had made to Mr. Paterno over the years would be forgiven as part of the retirement package. He would also have the use of the university’s private plane and a luxury box at Beaver Stadium for him and his family to use over the next 25 years. 
I'll leave it to the theologians and religious experts to debate the existence of Hell, but being the avowed Catholic he was, I'm not sure how "JoePa" didn't think he'd end up, literally or metaphorically, roasting on an open spit for all eternity.

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