Shocked disgust grew inside as I listened to the news report about allegations against retired Penn State Defensive Coordinator, Jerry Sandusky, who has been accused of sexual misconduct with young boys dating back to 1994. Sandusky had full access to the Penn State campus football facilities after retirement and this is where much of the alleged abuse took place.
Most disturbing was the report of the many opportunities to report that were passed by while the abuse continued. Victims came into contact with Sandusky by way of ‘The Second Mile,’ a charity helping at-risk youth.
According to the Grand Jury Report:
- In 1998 an incident of sexually inappropriate contact was investigated by child welfare after the child’s mother reported it. Sandusky apologized. No charges were filed and the university police chief instructed that the case be closed.
- In 2000 a janitor told his supervisor, as well as another janitor that he had seen Sandusky performing a sex act on a young boy. The incident was not reported to authorities.
- In 2002 a graduate assistant witnessed Sandusky sexually assaulting a young boy. He reported the incident to Coach Joe Paterno, who then reported it to Athletic Director Tim Curley and Senior Vice President for Finance and Business, Gary Schultz. ‘The Second Mile’ learned of the incident, which was internally reviewed. At the very least, five people were aware of this one incident. Any one of the five could’ve reported to child protective services. Why was there no report?
In the years that followed, others noticed unusual and suspicious behavior on the part of Sandusky. Why didn’t anyone report it?! I’d like to suggest it’s because we don’t value our children enough. Jesus blessed the children and also said that if anyone caused a child to stumble, it would go better for them if “a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were drowned in the depths of the sea.” (Matthew 18:6) He made it clear that causing harm to a child is a serious offense. Those who know and who have seen the long term impacts of sexual abuse on children will agree.
Sandusky has been arrested on seven counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and numerous other charges, including aggravated indecent assault, corruption of minors and endangering the welfare of a child. He is free on $100,000 unsecured bail. Curley and Schultz are each charged with one count of felony perjury and one count of failure to report abuse allegations. “Joe Pa” has done nothing legally wrong (although many would argue he had a moral responsibility in this case). He is still a beloved coach in one of the most highly respected football programs in the USA.
I wonder what our response will be and what it will say about how much we value our children. What do you think?