Seduction of the Innocent: The Power of Doing Nothing…
Imagine your son, grandson or nephew was the victim.
Imagine your son, grandson or nephew was Jerry Sandusky’s prey.
Imagine if it was you.
Well for eight children, the nightmare of ever being sexually assaulted, inappropriate touched, or raped, has became a dark and harsh reality for them and their families. Their lives now changed forever. Their childhood forever altered. Their innocence taken away.
Why did not one adult, who witnessed or was told that Sandusky was molesting boys, do anything to stop him?
Not former assistant coach Mike McQueary, who witnessed Sandusky’s alleged sexual assault on a young boy, and didn’t confront Sandusky and rescue the alleged victim.
Not former Vice President Gary Schultz and Athletic Director Tim Curley, whom were notified of Sandusky’s allegations in 2002 and sat quietly, allowing Sandusky to continue his assault on the youth.
And sadly, neither did legendary coach Joe Paterno, who was informed by McQueary that he witnessed Sandusky sodomizing a 10-year-old boy in a shower. But despite reporting the incident to Curley, did not report the incident to police
In retrospect, Paterno most likely had a chance to keep his job if he did something, anything. But more importantly, he had a chance to protect these children. Maybe not the first or second victim. Or the fifth and sixth. But if Paterno informed authorities about Sandusky’s actions, protecting at least one child from being assaulted, that would’ve made a difference. Instead, Paterno’s fate was decided not by his actions on the field, but by his silence off the field.
Opting to protect his own people instead of the lives of innocent children, now has Paterno wondering if he could’ve done more. He has spent his entire coaching career leading by example. He has spent more than forty years teaching teenagers about football and life, and preparing them for adulthood and for some, the life of a professional football player.
But despite never being questioned by the NCAA for any infractions that occurred during his tenure at Penn State, Paterno’s 46-year reign is over.
But for the time being and in the weeks ahead, let’s not make this sexual assault scandal about the firing of Paterno. Let’s not feel sorry for him, or for anyone else at Penn State who lost their jobs over this. This isn’t about 84-year-old Paterno not taking more steps that might have stopped it.
According to the U.S. Department of national statistics, 1 of 3 girls and 1 out 5 boys will become victims of sexual abuse by the time they reach their 18th birthday. If the head coach of the football program wasn’t Paterno, or if this didn’t occur at Penn State, Sandusky might still on the prowl.
Now, these children may never to trust anyone ever again. Don’t only blame Sandusky for that, but let’s blame Paterno too.
Paterno has 17 grandchildren.
Imagine if it were one his grandkids in the shower with Sandusky.
Would he have stopped Sandusky then?
We’ll never know, but we can only imagine.