With all of the intense emotions that surround the story of Penn State football and Jerry Sandusky, this is not a story I would really want to touch with a 10 foot pole, but what kind of news-based blog would we be without talking about what is possibly the biggest news story of our generation? As someone who is a HUGE college sports fan, is very interested in law and politics and followed this story pretty closely, I figured I was the one to tackle the saga that is the Penn State Scandal.
For those of you who have zero clue what I am talking about let me give you a quick overview of what has happened. In 1998 Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was investigated for sexual abuse of a child, no charges filed. 1999, Sandusky retires but stays on Penn State’s payroll as a “coach emeritus” who kept his office and had access to all Penn State facilities. In 2008, a new investigation is initiated by a Grand Jury after new reports surfaces of possible sexual abuse committed by Jerry Sandusky. In 2010, assistant coach Mike McQueary testifies to witnessing what he believed to be sexual activity in the shower of the Penn State locker room. When he went into the locker room he saw Sandusky and a boy about 10 years old in the shower naked together. A lot more testimony is given in the trial and finally on June 22, 2012, Jerry Sandusky was found guilty of 45 of the 48 sexual abuse (dates ranging from the 70’s to the present) counts he was charged with.
Editor’s Note: There is A LOT that I did not have time to cover, please look at some of the articles I put at the bottom to get the full story.
At the core of the investigation was the question of the involvement of the higher-ups at Penn State in the cover-up of any potentially dangerous actions of Sandusky, namely Joe Paterno, head coach of Penn State football, Athletic Director Tim Curley and head of Penn State police Gary Schultz. All of these individuals were thought to have personal knowledge of the actions of Sandusky and chose not to report them to the police. In the midst of trial and the investigations, these three individuals were fired. Still to this day there are investigations open into what actually happened at Penn State all those years and exactly who knew what. Now that Sandusky has been tried and found guilty, the investigations have turned their attention to Joe Paterno and others at Penn State to determine any additional punishments that are to come in the future. There are a lot of opinions out there ranging from a complete shutting down of the football program (known as the Death Penalty) to the firing of anyone and everyone who knew anything about Sandusky’s actions, all the way to opinions that the investigations should be stopped immediately and the whole thing should be dropped now that Sandusky is behind bars.
The main person under scrutiny now is Joe Paterno. On July 12, 2012 former FBI director Louis Freeh released his investigation into the entire scandal. In this report, Freeh claims that Paterno not only knew about Sandusky’s repeated sexual abuse actions, but was an active member in the mass cover-up story in order to preserve good public relations for the University. Since that report surfaced, the question that is on everyone’s mind is whether or not Joe Paterno’s statue should be torn down and name removed from the library he built.
There are very heated opinions on both sides. On July 16th a plane flew over Penn State and bore a banner that said “Tear down the statue or we will”. This gives you a glimpse of what one side of the argument is. Those that argue the statue should be taken down say that it will only serve as a reminder of one of the darkest moments in the history of Penn State and will prevent the community from rebuilding after these tough times. They believe that all things Joe Paterno need to be removed from the University so the rebuilding process can continue. They believe that Paterno was in part responsible for the continuing of Sandusky’s sexual abuse after he was first informed about them. They believe children could have been saved if not for Paterno; therefore he should be removed in all aspects from the University. They believe Paterno was the face of the University and should have gone to authorities to preserve the safety of the children.
The other side claims that the statue should remain up as a reminder of all of the good that Joe Paterno did for the University and serve as a reminder to the community. They believe that Paterno did what he had to when he learned of Sandusky’s actions when he reported them to University officials. They believe that Paterno should not be blamed for the actions of Sandusky and the football program and the students currently involved should not be punished for things they did not participate in. They believe the next step is just to move on at this point and stop the bleeding where you can. Keep the statue up to serve as a reminder for the University and move on to greener pastures so to speak. Current students have been gathering around the statue to protest its removal.
According to University officials, a decision on whether or not the statue stays up will be given in the next 7-10 days.
Freeh Report: http://thefreehreportonpsu.com/
As I said at the beginning, I wouldn’t touch the story with a 10 foot pole, therefore I am going to keep my opinions silent and not come down on either side.
GIVE US YOUR THOUGHTS
As this is a very sensitive and serious matter, please play nice with the comments.