I was taught not to speak ill of the dead, but I feel like I have to make an exception here. If this testimony is true, and Joe Paterno knew of Jerry Sandusky’s rampant and longtime sexual abuse for years without taking action, his legacy needs to be reevaluated. If true, he is a monster who cared more about the money, power and control he gained through his institution than about the young student athletes who revered him as their coach. This is an extreme case of a situation I’ve come across numerous times in a variety of organizations – the people at the top protect their favorites at the expense of other employees. Here, it seems as though Paterno protected Sandusky, not only at the expense of the other workers under his management, but at the expense of Sandusky’s many, many victims. There are clear parallels between this situation and the scandals the Catholic Church has dealt with in terms of child abuse – horrible abuses were shoved under the rug by higher-ups (possibly even previous Popes) instead of being called to attention. This is sickening news, and if it’s true, the Paterno family should adjust their defensive responses. Who is the bigger villain here – the man who perpetrated a heinous crime, or the man who knew about it and could have stopped it, but did nothing?
You can read more about the new testimony at The New York Times.
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