The following is a guest post written by Paula McGee, dynamic preacher, writer, and inspirational speaker. She earned a Master of Divinity from the Interdenominational Theological Center and a Master of Arts in Religion from Vanderbilt University. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Women’s Studies in Religion at Claremont Graduate University. Her personal mission is “to inspire others to recognize, accept, and fulfill their call to greatness.”
“As the graduate assistant put the sneakers in his locker, he looked into the shower. He saw a naked boy, Victim 2, whose age he estimated to be ten years old, with his hands against the wall, being subjected to anal intercourse by a naked Sandusky.”
Can the students at Penn State read? I saw thousands of students rioting in the streets after the Board of Trustees announced the termination of football coaching legend Joe Paterno and President Graham Spanier. I wondered if the students had read page 6 of the 23 page Grand Jury report. The report provides detailed information on 8 victims. So I can’t imagine any student that would question the university’s decision to fire Joe Paterno, if they had read any portion of the report from the Grand Jury’s investigation. The details on page six have caused the most controversy. In 2002, a 28 year old graduate assistant walks in on Jerry Sandusky raping a ten year old boy. Sandusky is now telling people that he only showered with boys.
Sandusky played at Penn State and was the defensive coordinator under Joe Paterno for 23 years. He was so integral to the Penn State football program that he was being groomed to take over Paterno’s head coaching position. The university allowed Sandusky to retire and after finding out about more than one incident, they contacted his charity and banned him from campus facilities. However, they never reported him to the police, which is a crime in the state of Pennsylvania. Sandusky founded Second Mile, a charitable organization for children to entice his victims. Ironically, the name of the charity is from the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:41): “Whoever compels you to go one mile, then go with them two.” The president of the charity has resigned, but at the time like the leadership at Penn State, he did not feel compelled to go the second mile for children that were victimized by Sandusky. The report says that on more than one occasion, he was taking showers with boys at the facilities on the campus. The rape of victim 2, however as witnessed by the graduate assistant was the most credible and incriminating evidence against both Sandusky and Penn State. The graduate assistant is also a former player at Penn State. In 2002 he was just a grad assistant, but now he is the coach for the wide receivers and in charge of recruiting. Mike McQueary did tell Joe Paterno about the incident. But, no one contacted the police and McQueary left a ten year old boy in the shower with Sandusky.
The current abuses are by far the most outrageous, but this is not the first time that Penn State has been accused of covering up abuse from high profile coaches. Several years ago the university settled a lawsuit for discrimination and abusive treatment by another coach. Rene Portland, the women’s basketball coach was accused of abusing her power and discriminating against the players on her team that were lesbians. Portland was eventually forced to resign. Her story is chronicled in a documentary entitled Training Rules. This abuse also happened with the same athletic director and leadership team.
The firing of Joe Paterno and whatever other decisions that the Board of Trustees might make in the coming weeks, will not be enough justice for the violence and inhumanity Sandusky was allowed to inflict on the most vulnerable. Fortunately, instead of marching in the streets and rioting some students have decided to pray for the victims. I suggest that they might also want to include an exorcism for all those campus locker rooms and showers where Sandusky violated children. They should also coordinate several fundraisers for the many victims that are sure to surface in the coming weeks. These victims are well within their rights to file civil suits against everyone involved. Forgive me, if I am not upset with the firing of Joe Paterno or that the Board of Trustees fired him by phone and not in-person. Paterno will survive! Penn State will survive! The athletic program will survive! I think that now all of us should be focused on the many victims and their survival. The victims deserve our outrage and all children deserve our protection from predators that use their power and position to prey on them.