clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Penn State's Nominee For Worst Scandal Ever

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

The situation at Penn State is the athletic equivalent of a neutron bomb: the buildings will still be there, but the people involved are going to be all gone, and that may very well include Joe Paterno.

So far, the line is that Paterno did report an eyewitness account of sexual assault by former assistant Jerry Sandusky, but that may not be enough to save him.  This is going to go beyond normal scandal boundaries.

The state charges that there is evidence that Penn State, institutionally, indulged Sandusky and protected the program rather than doing the right thing and turning him in.

The fact that the A.D. and vice president for finance and business Gary Schultz were indicted on perjury charges is bad enough; read the specific allegations though, and things look much, much worse.

This is, out of the gate, the worst college scandal since Dave Bliss tried to manipulate a murder investigation at Baylor.  The two differences are that no one died at Penn State, thankfully, and that the parties at Baylor, we believe, were all adults.  Young adults in some cases, but adults nonetheless.  Hardly the case in the Penn State indictment.

The allegations set forth by the Grand Jury are disturbing to say the least.  More importantly, the eight alleged victims describe very similar situations and strategies they claim Sandusky used to manipulate them into sex.

We learned something from the lacrosse case about presuming guilt or innocence and certainly a jury will decide Sandusky's guilt.  In the lax case though, charges were brought by one unstable woman and were almost immediately found questionable.  In this case, multiple victims and witnesses are at hand and that's a very tough hurdle to overcome.

For us, the most haunting part of this account is the account of the graduate assistant allegedly catching Sandusky in the act, in the shower, anally raping a child. How could you not immediately go to the police?

The other thing that this underscores to us is something we read a few years ago in an interview with an imprisoned pedophile.  He made the perfectly logical point that you will find pedophiles where children are to be found, in Sandusky's case, his charity.

It wasn't something we had ever considered before, but it's advice all parents should take seriously. That's not to say that one should fear everyone who works with children, because many if not most of them are sincere, eminently decent people.  But there is still truth in what the convicted pedophile said, a truth which was underscored, quite tragically, in Happy Valley.

Things there will never be the same again.

DBR Auctions!
The DBR App!
DBR Is On Twitter!(DBRTweetz)