DALLAS, July 9, 2012 – The Penn State cover up of Jerry Sandusky’s repeated molestation of young boys has been revealed in stunning detail. Convicted on 45 of 48 counts of child sexual molestation of 10 victims, Sandusky will serve up to 442 years in jail. Saying is paying a price for his actions. But could he have been stopped sooner?
Unfortunately, the answer yes.
E-mail communications between Penn State President Graham Spanier, former Athletic Director Tim Curley, Gary Schultz, University Vice President, and Head Football Coach Joe Paterno, show an intimate knowledge of Sandusky’s molestation of a young boy in 2001 at a Penn State facility.
Graduate assistant Mike McQueary witnessed Sandusky molesting a young boy in the shower room of the Penn State Athletic facility. After consulting with his father, McQueary reported what he had seen to Paterno who contacted his boss at the time, Tim Curley. Ten days later Curley and Schultz contacted McQueary who told the pair of Sandusky’s actions with the young boy. Curley and Schultz came up with a plan to contact the proper authorities including the charity Sandusky founded, the Second Mile Foundation.
They also planned to discuss “proper” use of Penn State Athletic Facilities with Sandusky. Curley indicated in his e-mails that he had spoken with Penn State President Graham Spanier, but before the plan was enacted he spoke with Joe Paterno.
It is at this point that thingstook a turn for the worse.
Paterno expressed concern about the plan and Curley decided to handle the matter internally in a “humane” fashion. They decided to tell Sandusky he can no longer bring “guests” to the Penn State facilities. Spanier agreed to this plan but expressed concern over the vulnerability of Penn State in not reporting the incident to authorities.
Their failure to properly report Sandusky allowed Sandusky to continue molesting boys using his Second Mile Charity as a hunting ground until his arrest in 2011.
His stepson Matt, who originally supported him, has recently come forward to say he was also molested by Sandusky.
Graham Spanier, Tim Curley, Gary Schultz, and Joe Paterno are as guilty as Jerry Sandusky for letting this serial predator continue to operate under the guise of a revered figure cultivated by Penn State. Sandusky’s wife, Dottie, is also equally guilty for showing a callous indifference to the stripping away of a child’s innocence.
As a survivor of child abuse I cannot help but be enraged by the actions of these individuals. I have experienced behavior such as theirs in my own efforts to report my own abuse. I am going to shock you and say that behavior like theirs is not uncommon, and there are hundreds more like Sandusky molesting children, and people like this are shielding them.
I can still see the faces of doctors and teachers that I pleaded with to help stop the horror that I had endured for so many years. Each victim of child abuse has to tell an average of nine people before they are believed, and in my experience that number is conservative. When I cried out for help the first words that were uttered by any adult I told were either, “You’re a liar!” or, “You have a wild imagination!” What followed next for me were severe beatings, one of which fractured my ribs to teach me to “keep my mouth shut.”
Victims of child abuse are sentenced to a lifetime of pain that includes the possibility of suicide, drug addiction, alcoholism, criminal behavior and chronic depression. The average pedophile serves less than a year and a half in jail if they are convicted. The silence of pedophiles’ victims is guaranteed by the psychological blackmail and threats of making an already toxic family situation worse with false accusation of criminal or worse behavior.
The trap a pedophile sets for his victims is inescapable and once the trap has closed the perpetrator allows their sick impulses to have free reign. In an earlier article I refer to Tim Curley, Gary Schultz, as the “Guardians of Silence,” and for all practical purposes Curley, Schultz, Spanier and Paterno were at the shower room door shoving these victims back into the clutches of Sandusky as they tried to escape. This may seem like a harsh assessment but I have suffered a lifetime of indescribable pain due to individuals such as these.
According to the CDC, 1,740 children aged 0 to 17 died from abuse and neglect in 2008. They also estimate the lifetime costs associated with child abuse at $124 billion. I have seen the suffering of other survivors of child abuse and seen them struggle with addictions and depression. I have also had the unfortunate experience of experiencing suicide on a personal level. When I was twelve years old I reached an impassible point in my life after my efforts to tell responsible adults of my abuse had met with failure. With a bottle of my mother’s sleeping pills in my hand and a bottle of vodka, I tried to take my own life. I was clinically dead for three minutes before I regained consciousness to the amazement of the Emergency Room Doctors.
I have also had friends who successfully took their own lives after their own families turned their backs on them and refused to believe that they were abused.
If individuals such as Curley, Schultz, Spanier and Paterno are not held accountable for their actions, innocent lives will continue to be lost, and survivors will continue to suffer behind the wall of silence. Mike McQueary may have been able to do more at the time he observed Jerry Sandusky molesting a young boy in the shower, but his testimony against Sandusky has helped provide vindication for his many victims.
During McQueary’s testimony, an individual in the courtroom was overheard saying, ‘He’s a lair!” and ‘He’ll never work again!” This is typical of how those who report abuse are treated in a culture where silence is enforced with reckless abandon. There have to be mandatory reporting laws in every state, and Mike McQueary’s case is a prime example of why legislation such as this is necessary.
It is sad to think people have to be forced to report abuse, but the collective conscience of our society needs a “wake up call,” and the case of Jerry Sandusky is exactly that. We must educate and empower parents about the signs of child abuse and educate teachers and all responsible adults about the signs as well. This is the only way to prevent future tragedy.
During the trial of Jerry Sandusky, the prosecution was not allowed to call expert witnesses on the topic of child abuse, according to Pennsylvania State Law. Following the trial, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett signed into law a bill that would finally allow expert testimony in Pennsylvania courtrooms and will be used if further charges are filed against Jerry Sandusky. The law itself has taken six years to be signed into law, and Pennsylvania was the last state in the nation to enact such a law.
There has been positive change as a result of Jerry Sandusky’s conviction but there is still work to be done. Monsters like Sandusky are all around us, and people like Curley, Schultz, Spanier and Paterno continue to protect them. All survivors of child abuse and the organizations that support them have an obligation to never forget the horrors that innocent young boys suffered in silence as Penn State officials looked on.
I have dedicated myself to the cause of saving as many young boys and girls from the tragedy of child abuse as I can. If I leave this life saving just one child I will have done my work. I hope that all of you will join me in advocating for the voiceless children who are suffering all around us.
It is only through our collective efforts that we will bring an end to the tragedy of child abuse.
Let legislators know that we have to extend the statute of limitations on reporting child abuse and sign laws requiring the mandatory reporting of child abuse so there is no excuse for pedophiles to find shelter and continue molesting. Jerry Sandusky is paying the price for his actions, and his victims finally have the vindication they deserve. Let’s work together so that not another monster will find as opportune a lair as the Second Mile Charity and Penn State University.
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