We cringe when we hear sports commentators say the allegations of child rape perpetrated by a former Penn State University have given a black eye to college football. This sordid business has nothing to do with college football. What went on at Penn State is a sad indictment of what happens when people in charge fail to do the right thing.
There are few heroes in this story, but there are plenty of victims who might have been spared from the horrible violations that prosecutors say were inflicted on them by former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky had someone at the university acted responsibly. Assistant Nittany Lions football coach Mike McQueary could have been a hero had he asked for a criminal investigation of Sandusky. McQueary told a grand jury that as a 28-year-old graduate assistant coach in 2002 he saw Sandusky sexually assault a young boy in a shower at the school.
He told his father of the rape before informing head coach Joe Paterno, who was fired last week for his lack of diligence in pursuing the matter.
Nobody in charge at Penn State did the right thing. Paterno certainly didn’t. Neither did the school’s president, Graham Spanier, who was also fired as a result of the scandal. Two other Penn State officials, the university’s vice president and the school’s athletic director, have been indicted on charges of lying to the grand jury.
McQueary could have been a hero had he gone directly to the police. He didn’t do that. Instead, he allowed the powers that be to sweep the matter under the rug.
As a result of his silence, prosecutors say other young boys were assaulted by Sandusky. All the while, the leaders of Penn State were intent to treat these serious charges of child rape as nothing more than idle campus gossip.