Another Farewell to Innocence
By: Patti Bankson
If thereâ€™s one thing that stands out in the Penn State University scandal that broke last week, itâ€™s that it could have been stopped, many times, as far back as 1995, but wasnâ€™t. There were many opportunities missed, by many people, to do the right thing by these boys. Unfortunately, the only one who didnâ€™t miss an opportunity appears to be PSU coaching legend, Jerry Sanduskyâ€¦ he not only took advantage of every opportunity that came his way, he even created some through his own charityâ€¦ his own convenient stable of innocents.
Well, maybe Sandusky wasnâ€™t the only one who didnâ€™t miss an opportunity in this horrific situationâ€¦ thereâ€™s Mike McQueary, a then-graduate student, who is now an assistant football coach, who was an eye-witness to one of the assaults. He once had had the quick-thinking, and guts, to break up a knife fight involving a couple of players in a campus dining hall, but both his quick-thinking and guts were nonexistent when he saw a young boy pinned with his hands against the wall, being assaulted by Sandusky in a campus locker room shower. Just as heâ€™d stepped in during the knife fight, which police said couldâ€™ve been very ugly, (you mean the police were actually called?) he should have stepped into that locker room shower, where things were already much uglier than a knife fight, and protected that little boy. Instead, it looks like he, and all the others who knew something, but did nothing, opted to protect their own futures, instead of a young boyâ€™s innocence, and what the loss of that innocence would do to his future. I donâ€™t even know how you walk away from something like that.
What makes this sick situation even sicker is that McQueary was only one of many who kept silent. Oh, sureâ€¦ he told Coach Joe Paterno, the next dayâ€¦ after heâ€™d talked to his father. But, once again, the person who was told, Paterno, only passed â€œthe storyâ€ up the chain of command, to his superior, Athletic Director, Tim Curley and (now-resigned) Vice President Gary Schultz. They met, 10 days later, andâ€¦ did nothing.
In 2010, the Patriot-News broke the Sandusky story, but before doing so, they spoke to University President, Graham Spanier, asking him whether he was aware of a grand jury investigation of Sandusky. His answer? No. But by his own grand jury testimony, he knew Sandusky was seen â€œhorsing aroundâ€ with a young boy, in 2002. Itâ€™s not clear whether he knew about his universityâ€™s police force six-week long investigation into a similar incident in 1998 (no charges were filed), but how could he NOT know??
Thereâ€™s much more to this storyâ€¦ more incidents, more turning a blind eye, more cover-ups and more little boys whose lives were forever changed because people wanted to keep their jobs, or just wanted their football program to continue. Can you imagine?? I donâ€™t care what your job is, or what your sport is, you can always find another jobâ€¦ (and, Iâ€™m happy to report that all involved here will now be looking for new jobs!)â€¦ you can always assemble a new football team, but all those boys who were victimized by someone in authority, can never get another childhood.
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Â© 2011 Patti Bankson
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