The Penn State/Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal has been a topic of discussion in many households in recent days. The discussions in my family have always focused on what should have been done to protect these innocent young lives that are now scarred by the abuse they were allegedly subjected to at the hands of those in authority.
When a person is in a position of authority the moral obligation to make sure a child is not abused is solely theirs. A child cannot be expected to tell. They are the victims. In the case of Sandusky, he was in control, and he had all of the power.
Now legislators in all states are looking hard at what laws are on the book to protect children and have adults be in legally obligated to report abuse. Maryland State Sen. Nancy Jacobs, from Harford County, said she will again push a proposal to make it a crime to fail to report suspicions of sex crimes against children.
State law already requires suspected cases of child sex abuse be reported to police and social services. Teachers are required to report suspected child abuse, under the penalty of losing their certification to teach in Maryland.
The difference is that Senator Jacobs’ bill would attach criminal penalties to anyone who doesn’t.
Senator Jacobs has stated that the incident at Penn State and Jerry Sandusky as proof of the need for penalties. There are questions as to how this kind of legislation could be investigated and enforced.
Many have argued that people in power such as Joe Paterno, Head Coach for Penn State Football and former supervisor of Jerry Sandusky, former Penn State Defense Coordinator, did the minimum amount required under the law. There is a growing chorus of people who are asking what happened to the moral obligation, of the adults who knew of the abuse allegation in 1998 and continued to allow Sandusky to remain in the charity and in close contact with the boys in the program.
Where is the moral obligation to follow-up on the charges that abuse was taking place? A graduate football assistant, and former player and current assistant coach at Penn State, McQueary, report the abuse he witnessed to his supervisor, Paterno. In the grand jury documents, McQueary testified that he walked into the area where the showers were at Penn State and witnessed Sandusky and a boy who he thought was about 10 years-old being sodomized by Sandusky.
There is no testimony in the grand jury testimony to indicate that McQueary or Paterno followed-up with police authorities in any way. These gentleman, in no way broke any law according to Pennsylvania authorities.
Second Mile is the charity founded in 1977 by Jerry Sandusky. Second Mile Chief Executive Officer, Jack Raykovitz resigned his position with Second Mile. The charity’s board said it had hired an outside law firm. The firm will investigate how Second Mile responded to previous reports that Sandusky had abused boys he met through the charity.
The grand jury report states that a Penn State official had told Raykovitz after a graduate assistant at the campus allegedly witnessed Sandusky sodomizing a boy in 2002. Raykovitz said later in a statement that he was notified only that a Penn State employee was “uncomfortable” seeing Sandusky in the shower with a young boy. Sandusky remained active in the charity.
In 1999 Sandusky resigned his position on Penn State Football coaching staff. However, Sandusky will have emeritus status, and he will maintain an office on campus and have access to all Penn State facilities.
All of this is after allegations surfaced by an alleged victim in 1998. In the grand jury report, a boy known as Victim 6 is allegedly taken into the locker rooms and showers. According to the documents the victim was in the showers with Sandusky. Sandusky lathers up boy and says, “I’m going to squeeze your guts out.” When Victim 6 is dropped off at his home, he tells his mother of the incident and she reports the information to university police, who investigate.
The grand jury documents further indicate that investigators eavesdrop on two conversations between the mother and Sandusky, and after one conversation, Sandusky asks for forgiveness, even telling the mother, “I wish I were dead.” Then Centre County district attorney Ray Gricar ultimately says no charges will be filed against Sandusky.
The Penn State University Athletic Director Tim Curley and Senior Vice President Gary Schultz have been charged with failure to report suspected child abuse and perjury before a grand jury. They are accused of looking the other way after learning in 2002 that Sandusky was suspected of sexually abusing a boy on Penn State’s campus. This incident again occurred in the showers at Penn State and is the incident reported by McQueary to Coach Paterno. Paterno then reported the incident to his supervisor Curley.
Curley has taken a leave of absence from his job, while Schultz has retired. Both gentlemen made their first court appearances on Monday, November 14, 2011 in Harrisburg. They weren’t required to enter pleas. Curley and Schultz were released on $75,000 bail each. Lawyers for the 57-year-old Curley and 62-year-old Schultz will seek to have the charges dismissed.
When leaving the courthouse on Tuesday, November 8, 2011, the media pounced upon the lawyer for Curley and Schultz. Curley’s attorney, Caroline Roberto, said that the “failure to report” charge is an offense no stronger than a “speeding ticket.”
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett said lawmakers in his state are proposing changes. This is why Maryland State Senator Jacobs is attempting to bring the issue of changing Maryland laws regarding reporting suspected child abuse.
So for those of you who are having problems following this mess that is still unraveling, the following people knew of allegations but, no charges were filed against Sandusky until the grand jury concluded its investigation.
- Michael McQueary – Assistant Coach Penn State Football (On Leave from Penn State)
- Joe Paterno – Head Coach, Penn State (Fired)
- Tim Curley – Athletic Director, Penn State (charged with perjury to the grand jury & failure to report suspected child abuse)
- Gary Schultz – Senior Vice President Penn State University State – (Resigned) (charged with perjury to the grand jury & failure to report suspected child abuse)
- Ray Gricar – Former Centre County District Attorney (Fired) — (disappeared in 2005)
- Jack Raykovitz – Former CEO of Second Mile (Resigned)