Legendary Penn State Coach Prolific At Winning, Child Abuse


This has been a weekend of complicated emotions for fans of Penn State’s Nittany Lions football team. On one hand, they’re number 1 in this week’s Big Ten Power Rankings and have an impressive 8-1 record; it’s possible the team could be headed to the Rose Bowl. On the other, former longtime defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky has been charged with 40 counts related to serious incidents of child abuse that affected 8 at-risk youth over the course of more than a decade, and it sounds a lot like university officials knew about what was going on but did nothing. Two high ranking PSU folks have already resigned, and others are calling for the head of 5,000 year old head coach Joe Paterno.

Defensive Coordinator Jerry Sandusky worked on the Penn State coaching staff from 1969 to his retirement in 1999. During his coaching tenure, he was named Assistant Coach of the Year twice and was beloved by players and fans alike. In 1977, he founded a charity called The Second Mile, which started as a foster home for boys with absent families and grew into a multi-branch statewide charity that raised millions to help underserved youth. It also sent young boys to sports camps and gave them the opportunity to be abused by a real, live college coach, especially after Sandusky retired from coaching in 1999 in order to “devote my full-time energies to expanding the reach and influence of The Second Mile in a day and age when more and more kids seem to be at self-esteem.”

Friday’s indictment comes at the end of a 3 year investigation that was spurred by one concerned mother who caught wind of what was going on with the coach and her son. The investigation uncovered dozens of similar incidents with a handful of other boys. According to the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s indictment, Sandusky abused 8 children from 1994 until as recently as 2009. Most of them were teenagers and younger. All of the incidents detailed in the report are horrifying, but most disturbing and damning of Penn State officials are two incidents that happened in 2000 and 2002.

In 2000, a janitor named Jim Calhoun witnessed Sandusky performing oral sex on a boy between 11 and 13 in the assistant coach’s locker room showers. The man, Korean War vet, was so upset by what he witnessed that his coworkers feared he’d have a heart attack. His immediate supervisor told him to whom a report should be given, but Calhoun never filed a report, nor did his supervisor.

In 2002, a then-graduate assistant (who is currently still working for the football program) walked in on Sandusky anally raping a 10 year old boy in the Penn State football showers. Understandably disturbed, he reported the incident to Head Coach Joe Paterno, who told university officials, who called the graduate assistant in for a meeting and then reported the incident to approximately nobody. They weren’t complete abuse-enabling turds, though; Sandusky was banned from bringing children from The Second Mile to campus. And that’s it.

Two months later, Sandusky’s autobiography was published. It’s called Touched: The Jerry Sandusky Story. Shudder.

The entire incident leaves many questions besides “What the everloving fuck?” Why did Joe Paterno only tell his boss after the incident and not the police? Why didn’t university officials report this to police? Why did the graduate assistant continue to work for a football program that did approximately nothing in response to an eyewitness report of the sexual assault of a child on University property? Is the legacy of a retired football coach really that fucking important that we need to endanger the health and well being of children in order to let him have his unabated shower jollies?

University action against the guiltiest looking parties has been swift now that the entire world knows the extent of Sandusky’s alleged predatory behavior. He was indicted on Friday and banned from campus on Saturday. Last night, the Board of Trustees held an emergency meeting, during which it was decided that both Athletic Director Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, who is in charge of the University police, would be resigning in order to devote more time to fighting the perjury charges stemming from their lying in front of a Grand Jury. University President and Head Coach Joe Paterno are still on Penn State’s payroll, but some speculate that they shouldn’t be for long.

At this point, they could blow up Happy Valley and declare it illegal in the state of Pennsylvania to utter the word “football,” but if the allegations are true, nothing the University or Coach Sandusky does can undo the fact that eight boys were sexually abused on Penn State’s campus. Any response by the University is the organizational equivalent of a kid who sets his neighbor’s dog on fire and attempts to seamlessly replace it with a dead squirrel wearing Barbie clothes.

Penn State Officials head to Court Amid Cover Up Allegations, Sex Abuse Scandal [Fox]
Sandusky Grand Jury Presentment [PA Attorney General]

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