The newly released report by Loius Freeh paints a damning picture of Penn State and Joe Paterno.
According to Freeh, when Penn State officials first learned of possible abuse by assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky. They concluded a quick investigation and then buried it to avoid bad publicity for the school and the athletic program.
About Joe Paterno, Freeh had this to say:
“The facts are the facts,” Freeh said. “There’s a whole host of evidence here and we’re saying the reasonable conclusion from that evidence is that he was an integral part of this active conspiracy to conceal. I regret that, based on the damage it does, obviously, to his legacy.”
The document detailing the reported incidents is over 200 pages long. A brief summary tells us that the first accusations of sex abuse with boys as young as 8 years old, first occurred in 1998. Three years later, more incidents were brought to Penn State officials but subsequently went unreported to the police. Sandusky was advised to not bring children onto campus, but the Athletic Department (including Paterno) advised Penn State’s board to allow for Sandusky to get counseling and not report the incident to the proper authorities (Police and Child Welfare).
You can read a more detailed report here, that includes links to the actual Freeh investigation report.
Putting Public Image Above People and The Law
One of the big disappointments, is the apparent lack of concern for the actual victims of Jerry Sandusky. Joe Paterno and Penn State’s board seemed more concerned with their school’s reputation than with doing the right thing. They put the public image of the school above the law and did not report the incidents to the proper authorities.
This same dynamic (putting public image above the law) has been reported in multiple sex abuse/ child abuse incidents in Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM). In many cases, families of the victims were told to forgive the abuser and accused of being bitter or divisive if they objected. Often times victims families were advised not to speak about the crimes committed against their children. In many cases, SGM pastors advised parents to NOT call the police and did not inform their congregation of the abuse that had occured.
At the helm of SGM and CLC church, where many of the alleged abuses occurred, was CJ Mahaney.
Much like Joe Paterno, it appears that CJ Mahaney would rather ignore the law and assist abusers instead of taking a lump for the victims. It seems, that the price of bad publicity was a price that CJ Mahaney was not willing to pay.
Much like Paterno, CJ Mahaney seems more comfortable with coddling sex abusers than dealing honestly with the victims of those crimes.
An unfortunate legacy for both men, who have been admired from afar for decades, but in the end, will go to their grave with the knowledge that they did not go the second mile for innocent children. Children that deserved better than to be raped and then ignored by those with the power to help.