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Friday, June 9, 2023

Staff Editorial

Sandusky case tarnishes Penn State’s reputation

When you bring up Penn State, the first things most people think about are prestigious academics, tradition and football. But after this weekend, that image may be forever blackened.

A former member of the football staff — defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky — was arrested and charged with 40 counts of sexual assault Saturday. He is accused of molesting eight boys over a period of 15 years.

Sandusky founded an organization called “The Second Mile,” whose purpose was to support troubled youths. Instead, it looks like the former coach was using this as a way to gain access to children and harm them.

Gary Schultz, Penn State’s former Senior Vice President for Finance and Business, and athletic director Tim Curley also face charges. They are accused of lying to investigators about Sandusky and failing to report his behavior to authorities.

This is far worse than a cover-up for athletes receiving improper assistance with their classes or getting paid in illicit benefits.

Cheating scandals or illegal payments have derailed athletic programs before, but that usually happens when supporters are willing to cut corners. This, however, is a different level of corruption. The well-being of eight minors was jeopardized, yet powerful university officials deemed it advisable to sweep the entire situation under the rug.

Curley and Schultz should face just as much criticism as Sandusky because they are accused of protecting a child molester. The university administrators who conspired to hide these deviant acts are just as guilty.

The face of Penn State’s football team, 84-year-old head coach Joe Paterno, is also guilty. Paterno is known for being stubborn, but this time his hard-headedness could come back to haunt him. He was aware of Sandusky’s behavior, and fulfilled the minimal requirement by reporting it to a superior. However, he should have done more.

Sandusky posted his $100,000 bail and will have his first hearing Wednesday. If the allegations against him are true, then he deserves to spend the rest of his days in prison.

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