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Posts Tagged ‘The Second Mile’

Blackened lives
Sunless skies
Our bare world weeps
Black hearts now reign

This is a lyric from a band you’ve probably never heard of called Unearth, but I felt that it properly represented Jerry Sandusky’s execrable contribution to this world. Last night, in Bellefonte, PA, Sandusky was convicted on 45 of 48 counts, and his reign of terror over his victims finally, mercifully, met its end. Prosecutors claimed that he sexually abused 10 boys over a period of 15 years. They, and everybody else, know it was much more and much longer than that. His organization, The Second Mile, which provided him with a nearly bottomless cache of vulnerable, fatherless victims, was founded in 1977. Once again, 1977. You do the math, because I really don’t want to. Hopefully, the other victims that we don’t even know exist have taken some sort of solace in the guilty verdict and are receiving the emotional help and support that they need.

Aside from the unfathomable physical pain and psychological torture that 68-year-old Jerry Sandusky’s victims have endured and will continue to endure for the rest of their lives, the greatest tragedy in this case is Sandusky’s old age. When Sandusky exits this planet, he will receive a permanent respite from the suffocating ignominy and shame that he brought upon himself, his family and Penn State University. Society will be spared of his existence, but his death will be a tragedy, as he will no longer have to suffer in a prison where solitary confinement would be a gift. We can only hope that wherever he ends up will be worse than a life behind bars. If Hell does exist, there will be a special cage on the 50-yard line reserved just for him, complete with a great view of a black, inescapable eternity.

The haunting testimony from the cavalcade of victims described in detail the acts of a pederast and revealed how the secretive culture of a university acted as a sentinel and provided a safe house for his pedophilia. Penn State University aided, abetted and rationalized his conduct all in the name of shielding the football program from public humiliation and protecting the Penn State brand. How’s that brand looking now? During an interview with ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap, Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly struggled to find words to answer Schaap. The question: “What took so long?” Unfortunately for Penn State, it will have to answer that question and explain its indifference to the world.

Athletic Director Tim Curley and former VP of Business and Finance Gary Schultz are charged with failure to properly report suspected child abuse and perjury for lying to the grand jury and will face their first hearing on July 11. Former President Graham Spanier has not yet been charged, but indications are that charges will be forthcoming. Around the time that the trial started, NBC News released a report with this bombshell:

Internal e-mails and documents they say show former President Graham Spanier and others discussed whether they needed to tell authorities about a 2001 allegation involving a late-night encounter between a naked Sandusky and a young boy in the Penn State shower room. The sources say documents show Penn State even did legal research on the issue. But in one e-mail exchange, two sources say, Spanier and former vice president Gary Schultz agreed it would be ‘humane’ to Sandusky not to inform social services and the incident never got reported.

Whoa. If these e-mails say what NBC is reporting, they will prove without a doubt that Spanier, Curley and Schultz conspired to harbor Sandusky and looked the other way as vicious crimes were being committed on their watch. I’m no expert, but sounds like these boys would be well advised to hire a good lawyer (hint: avoid Amendola) that will get the best plea deal possible, because they don’t want this going to trial. They’ll end up right next to their old buddy Jerry. I wonder if it was worth it.

Penn State now must put as much distance between itself and Sandusky’s accomplices as possible. Some people, whether Curley, Schultz, Spanier, other Penn State employees or the university itself, are about to get annihilated, and it won’t be “humane.” Penn State is staring at the possibility of a scorched earth, not just for the athletic department, but for the entire university. The once-respected institution could be immolated as a warning to others, and deservedly so. It hired administrators who willingly ignored the warning signs and who cared more about their jobs than the well-being of children. It had the power to stop it and chose not to. And it didn’t just stand by idly as this was happening. It willingly and actively took steps to give Sandusky carte blanche to continue to play his despicable game.

Penn State enabled the abuse, exploitation and rape of innocent children.

It best chew on that as it considers how to respond to the inevitable federal investigation. And it best fire anybody and everybody that could have had knowledge of Sandusky’s actions or the simultaneous cover-up. If not, the university could see its name etched on numerous federal indictments.

Hopefully, some good will come from the legacy of this case. It could lead to more victims coming forward without fear. It could lead to more people acting upon their suspicions and alerting the police. And it could lead to a change in institutional policies at Penn State and across the country that make it impossible for school administrators to conspire to allow abuse to take place. Unfortunately, any good that comes from this case will never compensate for all the evil that Jerry Sandusky created in his lifetime. His victims must live with the permanent memories of the “Tickle Monster,” a man with an infested brain and a soul of miasma who was allowed, and even encouraged, to ruin their lives.

At least today, we can say with confidence that Sandusky is where he belongs. It will be nice if he stays alive and suffers for many years in prison, but if he dies soon, there will be someone eagerly awaiting his arrival. Hopefully the Devil’s got a few tricks up his sleeve for this one.

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