Note: For more background on the case, you can go here.
As such, I am using Saturday, my usual blogging-day-off, for a follow-up.
First, I wanted to recognize JJ from Phila as he was the first person (that I am aware of including local and national media) to post the connection between former Penn State football assistant coach Jerry Sandusky's arrest and the unsolved missing persons case of former District Attorney Ray Gricar.
Despite blogging being his unpaid side-job, JJ continues to provide fresh insights to Gricar's strange disappearance.
Second and in general with Penn State, when the allegations initally surfaced that involved football coaches, the athletic director (Tim Curley), a vice president (Gary Schultz), and the university's president (Graham Spanier), all of these folks should have immediately been placed on administrative leave (the VP retired and the athletic director were).
With these persons on leave, university executives could have then started to manage the crisis. Instead, the institution's leadership, through the board of directors, was not seen as doing anything until voting to dismiss President Graham Spanier and legendary Head Coach Joe Paterno on Wednesday night.
Rather than speculating as to what Joe Paterno knew or did not know, I selected several quotes/summaries of testimony by the folks involved in this situation to examine:
1) The President (now former)
"...With regard to the other presentments, I wish to say that Tim Curley and Gary Schultz have my unconditional support. I have known and worked daily with Tim and Gary for more than 16 years. I have complete confidence in how they have handled the allegations about a former University employee.
Tim Curley and Gary Schultz operate at the highest levels of honesty, integrity and compassion. I am confident the record will show that these charges are groundless and that they conducted themselves professionally and appropriately."
--An excerpt from Graham Spanier's initial statement
I think this statement will be used by journalism classes in the future as an example of "What Not to Say."
Dr. Spanier failed to grasp that by saying the charges are "groundless," he implies that those who testified to the grand jury are lying; including the young victims of the alleged abuse.
This is not the type of message the leader of a nationally respected institution should be providing on a case that centers around child sexual assaults.
Since these two administrators were charged criminally, the statement should have been limited to "this is a serious matter" and "cooperating fully with authorities" and "this university is initiating it's own inquiry."
2) The Head Coach (now former)
"If this is true we were all fooled, along with scores of professionals trained in such things, and we grieve for the victims and their families. They are in our prayers."
-- Coach Joe Paterno
Coach Paterno could be referring to "scores of professionals" involved with Sandusky at The Second Mile foundation.
But, what if he is saying that Sandusky had received professional counseling previously for what was characterized by others as multiple inappropriate behaviors around children?
3) The Graduate Assistant
No direct quote, but in sum from the Grand Jury's Report--then 28-year old graduate assistant Michael McQueary (now a full-time coach on the team) testified that he saw Jerry Sandusky molesting what appeared to be a ten-year old boy in the shower at a Penn State football facility. He fled the shower area, called his father, and then reported the incident to the head coach the following day.
Much has been said regarding what McQueary should have done rather than leaving. Instead of belittling his reaction, I'd encourage others to try to make a positive from his story in that they could prepare themselves mentally for that one moment in their lives when they need to take immediate action to save a life/stop violence--so that they shine.
Anyway, I would rather ask a question of Coach McQueary that I have not heard discussed:
After witnessing a graphic sexual attack in a facility shower, telling the person in charge, repeating the story to his bosses, and then watching nothing happen to the perpetrator, why would you want to continue to work for that employer?
This incident was allegedly observed in 2002, yet Coach McQueary is still employed by Penn State almost a decade later.
You evidently accepted that it was ok for the perpetrator, again a man that you saw victimizing a child, to continue using the team's facilities, have an office in the athletic buildings, and according to the Altoona Mirror's Cory Giger, bring young boys to Penn State football events as late as 2007.
When he is permitted to discuss the incident, I hope that someone asks Coach McQueary why on earth he would remain at a university that, based on his own awful encounter, failed so miserably at protecting the innocent.
4) The Athletic Director
Again summarizing a part of the grand jury report, resulting from the 2002 incident, athletic director Tim Curley stated that Sandusky had been prohibited from bringing children onto campus--but later admitted that the ban was unenforceable.
Attorney and sports guy Jay Bilas nailed this one.
He said that the university's so-called punitive action, in general, translates into we are not interested in what you are doing Mr. Sandusky, just don't do it in our facilities.
He also said (as the Penn State officials acknowledge) that, at the least, administrators knew an older man was showering in the football facility with what looked to be a ten-year old boy. How much more information do you need to take action?
So, Sandusky moved his football camps to another satellite PSU campus (where officials were unaware of the allegations), and he allegedly continued targeting children. For several years.
This is a sad story that touches the lives of so many.
I don't see how the non-profit involved in the scandal, The Second Mile, can survive--despite many years of good work. I'd expect the agency to dissolve and try to reorganize under a new name.
Meanwhile, authorities are still searching for the identity of the alleged ten-year old victim from the 2002 shower scene; since Penn State officials failed to investigate or have others investigate as to who that young man was.
Dark days in Happy Valley indeed.