Penn State probe of sexual abuse exposes disturbing inaction to protect children
The probe of Penn State's handling of former coach Jerry Sandusky's inappropriate behavior with children shows that the university had ample opportunity to stop him. Now the NCAA will decide.
Seattle Times Editorial
"IS what we are doing more important than the safety of children?"
There's nothing in the new probe of Penn State's handling of a child-abuse scandal that indicates former head football coach Joe Paterno and other university officials literally asked that question of themselves. But if they had — and answered honestly — they would have admitted that for them football outweighed the safety of children.
The report released Thursday said the late Paterno and other university officials "failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children who (Jerry) Sandusky victimized."
Now it is up to the NCAA to consider what sanctions should be levied, including suspension of the program.
Sandusky, a former Penn State coach, has been convicted of 45 criminal counts for abusing 10 boys.
Since at least 1998, there were complaints against Sandusky, observations of him sexually abusing children and "more red flags ... than you could count over a long period of time" that Penn State had a serious problem, said former FBI director Louis Freeh, who led the investigation sought by university trustees.
The investigation found that Penn State officials concealed information about Sandusky's activities to avoid bad publicity.
For the past year, Penn State has been torn by a storm by criticism over the actions of Sandusky and the lack of reaction by Paterno and the university. Would the publicity have been any worse in 1998 if it became known that the university had taken action on a mother's complaint about Sandusky showering with her son? Or in 2001, if the university had turned over to child-welfare authorities information that a member of Paterno's staff had seen Sandusky showering with a boy on campus?
Football or children?
Football won the coin toss each time at Penn State. The program was spared bad publicity at the time, but Sandusky was not stopped. His later victims likely would have been spared their sexual assaults if he had been.
Football or children? Now it's time for the NCAA to answer that question.