Unless you’ve been under a rock for the last week and a half, you have been inundated with the news from Happy Valley about the decade-long cover up of Jerry Sandusky’s grotesque alleged crimes. I’m assuming that if you’re reading this, you are already aware of the basics. So I’ll skip the background information and cut right to some facts that are both disheartening and sickening. We all knew that this would be bad when it broke, but it has since become an unimaginable disaster.
While this bombshell is only 13 days old, it has already taken more twists and turns than a Dan Brown thriller. The first was when the judge who arraigned Sandusky on the charges, Leslie Dutchcot, granted him $100,000 unsecured bail even though the prosecutors asked for $500,000 and an electronic leg monitor. For 40 accounts of sexual assault, such a low bail, especially one that does not make the accused put up money or property as security, is uncommon.
As it turns out, Dutchcot is not only a volunteer for The Second Mile — Sandusky’s charity that he allegedly used to prey on young boys — she is a donor who gave to the charity in 2009. The fact that she didn’t recuse herself immediately is unbelievable. Fortunately, the state stepped in on Wednesday and pulled her from the case citing “unique circumstances,” code words for a conflict of interest.
The next shocking piece of news to come from Happy Valley was that Sandusky had access to the program until the week he was finally arrested. Even though Penn State had banned him from bringing children onto campus after 2002, he remained a regular at State College. Up until his arrest, Sandusky was seen using Penn State’s facilities to work out. Even more shocking is that he was allowed to run overnight football camps for children up until 2009 at Penn State’s satellite campuses.
After these twists came to light, Joe Paterno was fired. Now, let me say this as a caveat: I am sure that the vast majority of Penn State students and fans are level-headed people. But the actions of the boisterous few after Paterno’s firing were heartless, if not downright cruel to the people that were abused. Watching the “riot” unfold on Penn State’s campus was like watching a train wreck in slow motion. While most students were no doubt contemplating the moral implications of this scandal, the vocal knuckleheads could only think about football.
One day after Penn State’s loss to Nebraska, Mike McQueary, the graduate assistant who saw Sandusky sexually abusing a child in 2002, decided to clear his name. He sent an email to some select friends and asked them for secrecy, a decision he surely regrets. In the original testimony that he gave to the grand jury, McQueary stated that even though he saw the abuse, he never tried to physically break it up. The email he sent seems to contradict his previous testimony and states that he made sure the abuse stopped and even called the police. Apparently, McQueary has issues with the truth as well.
I certainly hope that he tried to break up whatever he saw, but I’m not convinced. State College Police reported Wednesday that they received no statement from McQueary in 2002. Further, they had never even been notified of Sandusky sexually abusing anyone on campus even though a bevy of school employees either directly or indirectly knew about his crimes.
In perhaps the biggest blunder since the incident was reported, Joseph Amendola, Sandusky’s attorney, thought it would be a good idea to have Sandusky answer some of Bob Costas’ questions, a mistake that he will not soon forget. In response to one of Costas’s questions, Sandusky bizarrely said the following: “I have horsed around with kids. I have showered after workouts. I have hugged them, and I have touched their legs without intent of sexual contact.” Then, Costas went for the knockout, and Sandusky awkwardly balked when he was asked a question about whether he is sexually attracted to young boys. After repeating the question and mumbling for about 17 seconds, he finally answered: “I enjoy young people, I love to be around them, but, no, I’m not sexually attracted to young boys.”
I’m sure the jury will see it that way as well, Mr. Sandusky.
All of these bizarre twists are a microcosm of why Sandusky’s alleged crimes were swept under the rug for so long. It only would have taken one good coach or administrator to stand up and report Sandusky’s abuse, but all those who knew prioritized the status quo of the university over the plight of the victims. They all failed their human moral duty and enabled a monster. The saddest part of this entire story is that even if Sandusky is brought to justice, no one wins. — not the school, not the students or alumni, and certainly not the children who will be forever haunted by Sandusky’s heinous actions.
Matt Emch is a sophomore in the College. Riding the Pine appears every Friday.