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ESPN Sandusky's continuing cowardice


Stashed in: Football, corruption

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None of the eight alleged victims of 68-year-old former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky should've been made to squirm on the witness stand and tell how Sandusky reportedly molested them in campus showers, basement bedrooms, even the football team sauna.

Testifying under their own names, they wept. They whispered. They trembled. One left the courthouse with a black bag over his head. Justice shouldn't cost this much.

But all eight of these young men, ages 18 to 28, had to testify because Jerry Sandusky didn't have the guts or the courage or the decency to cop a plea and go to jail. He could've saved them the pain, the shame and the degradation.

If Sandusky really did abuse them the first time, then this was the second.

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I am a Penn Stater. And during my time in Happy Valley (94-99), I was deeply involved in campus politics: student government, faculty issues, dealings with the state gov't in Harrisburg, Board of Trustees and other university governance issues. Sandusky's preference for boys was highly rumored, and the 1998 incident upon which he suddenly "retired" was very well known in the campus's inner circles.

But what no one outside of these circles understands is the worst victimization was perpetrated the University itself, the purposeful negligence of the Board of Trustees, and specifically, then-University President Graham Spanier. Since 1970, the University's bylaws vested 100% total authority in the University President solely, who in his secondary duty as Secretary of the Board of Trustees, also has sole authority to set and move the Board's agendas, and the Board of Trustees is obligated to accept his word as the sole source of information regarding the state of the University. Furthermore Trustees are legally restricted from engaging in any investigation into any campus issue without presidential approval, and more importantly, all EMPLOYEES AND STUDENTS are specifically restricted from involving any outside persons or organizations, including the State, in any University affairs without approval from the University President.

This means the University President is a complete autocrat over the affairs of the University. The buck doesn't just stop in 201 Old Main Bldg. it isn't allowed out in the first place.

The problem compounded itself in the person of Graham Spanier, who was appointed President, over massive objection, in 1995. His leadership style is that of a hands-off micromanager. He micromanaged the smallest of issues, while at the same time abjectly refused to allow his personal involvement to be recorded. I've even personally witnessed him refuse to acknowledge in writing, his mere presence in the room regarding his own decision regarding the use of a particular student fund.

Which gets me closer to my point: He was hired specifically to monetize Joe Paterno's reputation for the University endowment. Everything else was secondary. Absolutely nothing was to get in the way of that objective. Budgets were made secret. Contracts were made secret. Campus police incidents were illegally censored from the State Police (a requirement under PA Law) and the public. Spanier even declared, with no complaint from Harrisburg, that PSU was exempt from the state sunshine/public meetings law. Under NO circumstances was a potentially negative incident to interfere with alumni fundraising... PERIOD.

This is the environment under which Athletic Director Tim Curley (someone I dealt with frequently and once respected) and Campus Police Affairs Chief Gary Schultz operated when Asst. Coach Mike McQueary discovered that predator AGAIN (yes, it wasn't the first time he was caught!) raping a young boy in the locker room shower. HE did the right thing. HE reported it to the police.. the campus police... a university department... under the complete and total control of University President Graham Spanier.

And Curley and Schultz did meet him on the incident... and HE DID NOTHING. As far as he was concerned it was simply another campus crime incident... which PSU stopped reporting to the state in, iirc, 1996... for the good of the endowment campaign.

Those men who were forced to humiliate themselves and testify, and every life broken after at least 1998, is, as far as I'm concerned, laid at the feet of Graham Spanier, who, as is so typical of his MO, managed to avoid the public shame he so completely deserves.

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Wow, Jason thanks so much for the thoughtful response. The whole thing is a mess, and a great shame; I'm glad and thankful for the courage of 10 who spoke up.

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