Friday, November 25, 2011
by Holly Hughes
The more I hear about the Penn State pedophilia scandal, the angrier I get. A bunch of grown men sat around and did nothing for years, allowing who knows how many young boys to be sexually molested.
It boggles my mind that a grown man walked in on the rape of a child and did nothing to stop it. Forget for a moment the whole question of who it should have been reported to. Just pause and think about what really happened back in 2002 in a Penn State locker room shower. Mike McQueary, a grown man, a graduate assistant at the time, has said he heard the sound of skin slapping on skin. He went into the shower area and saw a young boy, whose age he estimates to be around ten, with his hands pinned up against the wall and Jerry Sandusky was having anal intercourse with the child. In response to this assault McQueary turns and walks away. He doesn’t yell out or stop Sandusky from raping this little boy, he just simply leaves. He goes home and tells his father. Still, neither of them telephone the police.
To this day, despite the indictment and charges levied against Sandusky, that little boy from the shower is still unidentified. No one knows if he is even alive today. Unfortunately, the statistics tell us that abused children often get into drugs, prostitution and other trouble with the law. McQueary tells his “boss,” Joe Paterno, who passes the information on to Tim Curley and Gary Schultz and nothing is done.
This case is a cautionary tale in many respects. Time after time there were multiple opportunities to stop this monster, Sandusky, from abusing children. As early as 1998, Sandusky was reported to authorities as having inappropriate contact with young boys. Despite the fact that Sandusky admitted to the boy’s mother, on tape, that he had showered with her eleven year old son and other boys and “wishes he was dead”, nothing is done. Despite interviewing another young boy who also reports that Sandusky showered with him, nothing is done. The District Attorney at the time, Ray Gricar, declines to prosecute this predator, and nothing is done. Thomas Harmon, who headed the campus police force at the time, closed the investigation and nothing is done.
In 2000, a janitor named Jim Calhoun tells a co-worker and his supervisor that he saw Sandusky engaged in sexual activity with a young boy in the showers. The supervisor tells Calhoun who he can report it to if he wants. Again, another grown man, this time Calhoun, does nothing to stop the sexual assault of a child while it is in progress. No one, not Calhoun, his coworker or his supervisor calls the police and nothing is done.
Another highly disturbing aspect is that all of these grown men (and more) knew Sandusky had six adopted children, took in foster children and ran a charity he had established for “troubled” youth. Did these men honestly think that those children were safe in Sandusky’s care? It is unconscionable to me that all of these men turned away and did nothing at the expense of every victim since the first reported one in 1998. Not one of them can honestly say they thought pedophilia was a one time event. Their behavior is indefensible.
The average pedophile is said to have 100 victim over his lifetime, but I fear Sandusky is far worse than the “average” pedophile. This is a man who, thanks to his friends, had an endless supply of young boys to victimize. They enabled a child molester to continue unchecked for years.
The Penn State officials, who had a mandatory duty to report suspected child abuse, never did so. Their answer was to take away Sandusky’s keys to the locker room. Really? Really? So, what’s the message there, “It’s okay to rape children, just don’t do it on our campus"? I have heard all the excuses. They didn’t want to destroy the integrity of the football program? Well, how’s that going for you boys? The janitor didn’t want to lose his job. How about his humanity? His compassion? His sense of decency?
Having prosecuted homicides, hate crimes and high profile cases for ten years, I didn’t think there was much that could still shock me. I was wrong. The depth of this cover up at the expense of children is sickening. Even as I write this piece, more victims are coming forward. Sadly, there will be more victims unidentified than the number we will know about.
As the Senate schedules congressional hearings and the California legislature proposes laws to prevent this from happening again I can’t help but think of the sad irony. It takes a tragedy like this for people to wake up and realize that we are failing the children of this country in horrifying ways.
Frighteningly, it didn’t take a special hearing of Congress to prevent this particular tragedy. It would have only taken one of those grown men to “man up” and take a stand. To report this monster and expose him, before he abused all of his victims.
Sometimes it takes a village, sometimes it just takes one good man. How tragic that we didn’t have one here.Tweet