What kind of leaderless fool organization allegedly let a 60-year-old man take showers with 10-year-old boys on its premises, no matter how innocently? What kind of leaderless fool organization let kids use Penn State’s weight room facilities at night without monitoring? What kind of leaderless fool organization let Sandusky’s Second Mile charity operate on campus without respecting the basic literature — which dates from 1939 Boy Scout handbooks — that shows molesters use youth-serving organizations to meet victims, and that deprived pre-adolescent boys are an extremely troubled, craving, and vulnerable group?
Answer: a totally arrogant and incompetent one. Graham Spanier, your time is up.
If Sandusky is guilty, he used Penn State’s mystique as a powerful tool of seduction, and its reputation as a cover, luring boys with the chance to run on the field, and see the inside of the locker room. He allegedly took them to practice, and into the weight room, worked them out, and then proposed taking a shower.
Schultz got his first report of this kind of thing in 1998 and wrote it off as “horsing around.” What kind of fool administrator didn’t read the long literature that says this kind of “horsing around” is how child molesters “groom” victims, draw them closer and and wear away their inhibitions?
Lanning’s manual says, “Loyalty to the leader and group, competition among boys, a system of rewards and recognition, and indoctrination through oaths and rituals can all be used to control, manipulate, and motivate victims. Leaders in such organizations should be carefully screened and closely monitored.”
We need to ask ourselves what the worst sex abuse stories of the past few years have in common. Sports are hardly the only area deviants infiltrate; but they are one in which identifying them is made even harder by the tendency to consider identification an act of disloyalty, because it might damage an iconic franchise. And that is a hallmark of institutions that fail to protect victims. You want a profile of a place that harbors a profiled molester? Here it is:
“This is something that can happen to all institutions, but it is worse in organizations that have a certain aura about them,” Lanning says. “Two of the largest organizations in this country that have the biggest problem with this are the Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts. When you have that image, a program idolized as pure, the harder it is to admit you’ve made a mistake. If you have this need to appear to be perfect, the harder it is to admit that you made an error in judgment.”