But also be prepared to counsel them, to offer them the help and support that should have come years ago, and to write some big, fat checks. Because this university will be hit with a class action lawsuit, and hard. See also: Church, Catholic.
You look at Paterno and you see the thick glasses and the grandfatherly face and you may feel pity. I do, too. I pity his complete lack of understanding for the damage he has wrought. For nine years, by failing to take decisive action, a predator was allowed to remain free. When I look at Paterno, I think of a lot of innocent children who are no longer innocent.
Penn State’s board of trustees fired both Paterno and school president Graham Spanier on Wednesday night, further cleaning house in the wake of a grand jury investigation into child sex abuse allegations against Jerry Sandusky, Paterno’s former assistant.
Strange, isn’t it, this particular scandal? It’s not shoes or tattoos or parties with Ponzi-scheming hangers-on. No money exchanged hands; no AAU coach profited. And yet, despite the cynicism that builds up after nearly 30 years in this business, I have been so angry, so heartsick since Saturday that I can hardly think of anything else. Am I the only one?
Not all of those boys could have been saved. The very first ones — the ones we still don’t know about and probably never will, because they were victims before anyone suspected anything — those boys likely are lost. Predators start slow, and are often respected men. They usually don’t get caught on their first try. We do know that Sandusky started Second Mile, a group foster home that grew into a charity for underprivileged kids, in 1977, and he didn’t resign until 2010. That in itself is amazing.
Because in 1998, finally, a child had the courage to tell his mother what happened to him in those showers, and his mother called university police. The investigation was closed after the Centre County district attorney’s office refused to file criminal charges. However, the notion that Second Mile and Penn State officials knew nothing of an investigation done under their noses strains credulity. The next year, Sandusky resigned his assistant’s job. But he still had full access to campus. He still had access to the bait.