When women see Joe Paterno, they see a football coach. Apparently, when the Penn State campus police, the Penn State Athletic Director, its President and a graduate assistant see him, they see legend. Or at least it would seem. Some of the most powerful men in America were not only told about Sandusky’s child abuse behavior, they closed their eyes, their mouths and apparently their souls. It would take a mom, a female school principal and a female attorney general to finally do what none of the men before them had the integrity to do, shut down a serial pedophile and bring him to justice.
The Maureen Down opinion piece in the New York Times brought tears to my eyes. She included graphic testimony from court papers that was so haunting that I could barely breathe. This week, Sandusky was confronted on Good Morning America and appeared amiable, and aloof as if it were all just a misunderstanding. What is incredibly upsetting is the amount of men who witnessed or knew about the many incidents where Sandusky was witnessed raping boys and yet nothing happened. Ten years ago in 2002, then graduate assistant Mike McQueary witnessed a 10 year-old boy being raped in the locker room shower by Sandusky and did not stop it. Instead, he called his dad and asked for advice, then went to Paterno. According to Wikipedia, Paterno “reported the information to his boss, Curly, and then never spoke of the incident again, according to a grand jury presentment.” By this time, Sandusky had already “resigned” from the Penn State coaching staff in 1999. There is now speculation that his resignation was due in part to 1998 allegations, allegations that he would apparently admit on tape, but he was never charged. After Sandusky’s resignation, he continued to have full use and privileges of the Penn State athletic department. After McQueary’s confession, these powerful men told him not bring boys back to the locker room BUT from 2002 to 2008 he operated a summer camp for young boys. And, as they say, he probably would have gotten away with it, but for one courageous mom who stood by her son and faced down an entire franchise.
According to Pennlive.com it was a series of women who stood by a 15 year-old boy, through three years of police investigation, beginning with his mother and ending with his female principal, ““They did call him to the office that day and I remember [the principal] was in tears and she said, ‘You need to come here right away.’”
“Officials at Central Mountain High School have said they immediately reported the abuse, and Attorney General Linda Kelly praised them for doing the right thing.”
According to the story, the victim’s mom was the giant that protected her son and pushed for an indictment, “In the beginning, it was extremely upsetting. I was so shocked. It got so bad we didn’t know what to do,” she said. “[He] is really, really afraid of Jerry. He told me numerous times when he started backing away from him, you just can’t tell him no. I said, why not?”
Her son replied, “You just don’t do that.”
“His attorney was saying how these disadvantaged children, you can’t trust them … because they come from low income. I don’t think that has any bearing on anything,” she said. “I was warned that is what this basically would be about, because kids in The Second Mile are basically disadvantaged.”
Thank God for Moms who aren’t afraid and anything.