their voices were silent and little boys continued to be broken

These are good men, all of them.  Well respected family men.  But they were silent when they should have screamed for justice for broken little boys.  Edmund Burke was right:  “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

Former Penn State president Graham Spanier charged in child sex abuse scandal 

(photo credit AP news)

Sources tell NBC News that state prosecutors have prepared charges against Graham Spanier, Penn State’s former longtime  president, as well as more charges for two ex-school officials who have already been indicted. They are accused of lying to a grand jury and trying to cover up the sex-abuse scandal involving convicted pedophile Jerry Sandusky. NBC’s Michael Isikoff reports.

By Michael Isikoff, NBC News investigative correspondent

Updated at 2:20 p.m. ET: Pennsylvania state prosecutors, citing what they called “a conspiracy of silence,” on Thursday charged Graham Spanier, the former president of Penn State University, with perjury, obstruction of justice and endangering the welfare of children abused by the school’s former defensive coordinator, convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky.

The prosecutors also brought new felony charges against two former top Penn State officials — Tim Curley, the ex-athletic director, and Gary Schultz, an ex-Penn State vice president who oversaw the campus police. Both men had been previously charged in the case and they, along with Spanier, have publicly insisted on their innocence.

“This case is about three powerful men who held high positions — three men who used their positions to conceal and cover up for years the activities of a known child predator,” state Attorney General Linda Kelly said at a news conference in Harrisburg. “This was not a mistake, an oversight or a misjudgment.

“This was a conspiracy of silence by top officials at Penn State, working to actively conceal the truth, with total disregard to the suffering of children,”  Kelly said.

“Graham Spanier has commited no crime and looks forward to the opportunity to clear his good name and well earned national reputation for integrity,” Spanier’s lawyers said in a statement. “This presentment is a politically motivated frame-up of an innocent man. And if these charges ever come to trial, we will prove it.”

“To be clear, Tim Curley is innocent of all charges.
We are carefully reviewing the presentment and will reserve a more comprehensive comment for a later time,” Curley’s lawyer said in a statement.

They also blamed the charges against their client on Pennsylvania’s Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, saying that Kelly – whom he appointed – had brought the case against Spanier to divert attention from the fact that when Corbett was attorney general, he had failed to bring criminal charges against Sandusky in 2009  – an issue that Democrats have criticized him for. Kelly on Thursday adamantly denied that politics played any role in the case.

The new charges come nearly one year after Sandusky was arrested and charged with repeatedly abusing young boys dating back to 1998, setting off one of the biggest scandals in the history of college sports. Sandusky, the longtime deputy to the school’s late legendary football coach, Joe Paterno, was convicted on 45 counts of child sex abuse last June and was sentenced last month to 30 to 60 years in state prison.

Full coverage of the Sandusky trial

Spanier, 64, a professional sociologist and family therapist, served for 16 years as president of Penn State, one of the largest public universities in the country, where he was a popular figure on campus and an active booster of the school’s football program. He was fired last year, after Sandusky’s arrest, and is now facing eight criminal charges, including five felonies, each of which carry a potential prison term of seven years.

The charges laid out in a new 39-page grand jury presentment are based in part on evidence uncovered in a report last summer by former FBI director Louis Freeh. But the grand jury report also provide new details– in part culled from previously undisclosed grand jury testimony and documents — of how Spanier, Schultz and Curley allegedly deceived investigators and hid key information from other university officials, including the chief of the campus police and, in Spanier’s case, from the Penn State Board of Trustees.

The grand jury report also provides new details about the trail of an incriminating “Sandusky file” that was kept in a file drawer in Schultz’s office — documenting a 1998 police investigation of Sandusky “with very detailed information” about Sandusky’s contact with a young boy in the Penn State shower and a later 2001 allegation about Sandusky abusing another young boy in the Penn State shower.

This and other material was not turned over to prosecutors despite  grand jury subpoenas for all documents relating to the defensive coordinator between 2010 and April 2012. In all, 22 boxes of Sandusky documents, photographs and other materials were not initially turned over in response to the subpoeanas and, as a result, the investigation into Sandusky was “signficantly thwarted and frustrated,” the grand jury report states.

According to the new grand jury report, the Sandusky file was removed from Schultz’s office by his administrative assistant last year and delivered to his home on Nov. 5, 2011, the same day the then-Penn State vice president was first charged in the case. A previous assistant testified she was given an “unusual request” by Schultz to never “look in” the Sandusky file and that the request was delivered in a “tone of voice” she had never heard him use before.

The new grand jury report states that the emails and other documents show that Spanier, Curley and Schultz at first agreed to report to child welfare authorities a 2001 allegation by former graduate assistant Mike McQueary that he saw Sandusky sexually abusing a young boy in the Penn State shower. One indication of how serious they took it was found in documents showing that Schultz sought legal advice from Penn State’s outside lawyer, Wendell Courtney, who billed the school for a “Conference with G Schultz re reporting of suspected child abuse.”

But Curley later changed his mind “after talking it over with Joe” — a reference to the late coach Joe Paterno. (At the news conference, Kelly declined to speculate on whether Paterno would have been charged in the case had he been alive.) They then developed a new plan to encourage Sandusky to seek professional help. “This approach is acceptable to me,” Spanier wrote in a Feb. 27, 2001, email to Curley and Schultz.

Spanier added: “The only downside for us if the message isn’t ‘heard’ and acted upon, and we then become vulnerable for not having reported it. But that can be assessed down the road. The approach you outline and a reasonable way to proceed.”

According to the new grand jury report, Spanier initially told investigators in March 2011 that he knew nothing about the 1998 police probe of Sandusky (despite emails showing he was briefed on the investigation) and was given only sketchy information about the 2001 allegation, believing that involved only a contention of Sandusky “horse playing around” with a child. And he later made similar comments before a grand jury, including testifying  that there was “no discussion” about reporting the 2001 incident to child welfare or police — part of the basis for the perjury charge against him.

The report says that Spanier never told the Penn State trustees about either the 1998 or 2001 allegations. When he did brief the board in May 2011 — after a newspaper story first disclosed the investigation into Sandusky — Spanier directed the university’s chief lawyer, Cynthia Baldwin, to leave the room and then “specifically informed the Board that the investigation had nothing to do with Penn State and that the investigation was regarding a child in Clinton County [Pennsylvania] without affiliation with Penn State,” the grand jury report states.

what about the boys? FORBES re-blog

Passing on yet another great article for male survivors, written by Todd Essig, of FORBES.

Todd Essig

Todd Essig, Contributor

The Penn State NCAA Penalties: What About The Boys?

Today’s news includes the NCAA sanctioning Penn State for its complicit silence when administration learned of possible sexual abuse perpetrated by Jerry Sandusky. Lots of details, and of course the inevitable controversy in which people line up on two sides and shout “too severe” and “too lenient” at each other (as well as people like me who think the NCAA got it right). In the midst of this media maelstrom it is easy to forget what this is all about: the sexual abuse of boys by a powerful adult gratifying his sexual desires at their expense.

To keep the boys in mind in mind I turned to my friend and colleague, Richard Gartner, Ph.D., who is a pioneer in the treatment and study of male sexual victimization.  His most recent book is Beyond Betrayal: Taking Charge of Your Life after Boyhood Sexual Abuse. I’m reprinting the following with his permission. It’s a piece he wrote several years ago to remind people about the consequences of the sexual abuse of boys. It applies just as well today to Penn State as it did previously to Michael Jackson and renegade priests:


Now that Michael Jackson has gone to find a new Neverland and renegade priests are yesterday’s news, the public may mistakenly assume the problem of childhood sexual abuse has vanished as well.

But what about the boys? By age 16, as many as one in six boys in America has had unwanted sex with an adult or older child. And what about the millions of men, abused as children, who continue to live with the debilitating effects of shattered trust?

Unfortunately, the media did little to explore the lasting effects of boyhood sexual abuse, instead focusing mainly on the daily tribulations of a wayward pop star and the crises of a church that harbored predators. But at least those scandals brought boyhood abuse into the public discourse – at least we can talk about it now.

It’s disturbing to think about what it means to a boy when he’s sexually abused by someone he trusts. Uncomfortable as we feel, however, we must either face the reality of his experience or continue to live with its aftermath.

Abusers use their age or authority to satisfy their own needs without regard to those of their victims. Seemingly unbreakable bonds are broken when treachery is introduced into these relationships. Consequently, many sexually abused boys grow up distrustful, considering people dishonest, malevolent, and undependable. They often become frightened of emotional connection and isolate themselves. This may alternate with merging with loved ones so they hardly know where they end and others begin.

Confusing affection with abuse, desire with tenderness, sexually abused boys often become men who have difficulty distinguishing among sex, love, nurturance, affection, and abuse. They may experience friendly interpersonal approaches as seductive and manipulative. On the other hand, they may not notice when exploitative demands are made on them – they’ve learned to see these as normal and acceptable.

Believing sexual closeness is the way to feel loved but experiencing love as abuse, some of these men solve their dilemma by engaging in frequent, indiscriminate, and compulsive sexual encounters. These are not free, joyous expressions of erotic passion. Sex is pursued incessantly, but with little chance for intimacy. Although strongly desiring love, these men have no sense of feeling loved once the sex act is concluded. They’re left feeling empty and lonely, while the idea of fully pursuing relationships fills them with dread. Many believe sexually abused boys almost inevitably become sexually abusive men. But, while a significant proportion of male abusers were victims themselves, there’s evidence that relatively few sexually abused boys actually become abusers. Because of the myth, however, many men fear they’ll become abusive or worry that if they disclose their history, others will consider them predators.

Sexually abused boys are also troubled if they were aroused while being abused. Teenagers have little control over the hormones surging through their bodies. But if they’re stimulated by aspects of their experience, they may feel they participated in or even invited the abuse. This confuses a boy who also knows he was repelled by the experience. Feeling guilty about any sexual pleasure he felt during his molestation, he may become ambivalent about all sexual pleasure.

Also, masculine gender expectations teach boys they can’t be victims. Boys are supposed to be competitive, resilient, self-reliant, and independent, but certainly not emotionally needy. “Real” men initiate sexual activity and want sex whenever it’s offered, especially by women. For many men, these qualities define masculinity.

As a result, boys may not even recognize their sexual victimization. They may assert that they weren’t abused, weren’t hurt, or were in charge of what happened. For them, acknowledging victimization means admitting they’re weak or “not male.”

Finally, when the abuser is male (and even sometimes when she is female), many boys – whether straight or gay – develop fears and concerns about sexual orientation. Conventional wisdom says sexual abuse turns boys gay, although there’s no persuasive evidence that premature sexual activity fundamentally changes sexual orientation. Nevertheless, a heterosexual boy is likely to doubt himself, wondering why he was chosen by a man for sex. A homosexual boy may feel rushed into considering himself gay, or may hate his homosexuality because he believes it was caused by his abuse. Whether boys are gay or straight, these manipulative introductions to sexuality can set lifetime patterns of exploitation and self-destructive behavior.

These aftereffects are ugly. They’re not only painful for victims but also costly to our society. Boys who grow up without coming to terms with their childhood abuse often struggle as men with addictions, anxiety, depression, and thoughts of suicide as well as the inability to develop or maintain relationships.

The good news: healing is possible. A first step is acknowledging abuse occurred and articulating what has been silenced. Putting the experience into words is freeing for many men, whether they tell a loved one, a professional, a confidant, or simply write in a journal. Beyond that, there are several options. Knowledgeable professionals can help, as can healing retreats, some 12-Step programs, and men’s groups focused on victimization and masculinity. The Internet offers several options, including web sites for sexually abused men such as, where men can find one another and talk, anonymously if necessary, about their common dilemmas.

male survivors … triggers and self care: a re-blog

I counsel women, most often regarding domestic abuse and sexual trauma, so when I initially put this site together I had no idea that so many male survivors would be reading it, and that it would be helping and encouraging them as well.  For all of the wonderful men who are following my blog, this is for you.  My heart is broken by your stories, and I am humbled by your trust.

Sandusky, Triggers, and Self-Care

Some things you can do if news coverage of abuse stories is triggering you.

Feeling powerless can be a major trigger for many survivors. So too is the feeling that your voice is not going to be heard or your thoughts are not important. The current coverage of the Sandusky trial (and the other stories that are sure to follow) can easily to give rise to these feelings. Since the start I know I’ve struggled with both these feelings and it’s very likely that a lot of other survivors and their loved ones will be triggered as well. As the Sandusky trial focuses society’s attention to the issue of sexual abuse, it is also inevitable that someone is going to say something (or not say something) that will send someone else into a spiral of anger, frustration, sadness, or even fear.

My hope in posting this information with you is to share a few things:

1. What does being triggered feel like?,

2. What can I do if I feel I’m becoming triggered and/or feeling overwhelmed?, and

3. What can I do to make a difference?

What does being triggered feel like?

Getting triggered does not give rise to a simple, uniform set of symptoms that can be easily labeled. Everyone (survivor or not) presents a unique blend of emotions and reactions to any given stimulus. But, if you find yourself struggling with more negative emotions than usual—anger, sadness, anxiety, bitterness, etc., if you are noticing that things that normally do not bother you are becoming stressors (for example, maybe you are more irritable in traffic than normal); and/or if you find yourself pushing others away and wanting to be alone—these can all be signs that you might be upset and need to take some time to rest, reflect, and exercise some self care.

What can I do if I feel I’m becoming triggered and/or feeling overwhelmed?

It’s important to remember a few things: First, all of these emotions are normal reactions to having a painful subject discussed. Outside of the therapeutic environment, where these feelings can be processed, there is a higher risk that these emotions can be destabilizing. If you feel yourself getting triggered (e.g. if you are having strong emotional swings, feeling out of balance and unable to focus, and/or if you find yourself more irritable and moody) and do not have a therapist to process these feeling I strongly recommend finding someone to talk with, even for just a session or two. Our resource directory is a great resource for finding people local to you. And if you do not see a therapist in your area listed, contact your insurance provider or the nearest rape crisis center and ask for help finding someone to speak to. As always, if you are in severe crisis or considering self harm and have no one else to speak to call your doctor, emergency services (such as 911), or National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in the US or the Samaritans in the UK.

Hopefully, you can find some support and exercise “exquisite” self care during this time, as Dr. Howard Fradkin encourages us all to do. A few tips along those lines:

  • Ensure you are getting proper rest. This is especially a time to make sure you are getting enough sleep every day.
  • Try to exercise regularly and maintain as regular a schedule of self-care as possible: mediation, yoga, and working out are all excellent ways to disconnect from all these stories and get recentered on the most important person—you.
  • Maintain a healthy diet—Again, this is even more important in times of high stress and anxiety. Simply avoiding junk food and eating a few more fruits and vegetables can make a huge difference to how you feel physically. As you feel better in your body, you will feel better in your mind.
  • Try to moderate, or eliminate, use of alcohol and other mood altering substances. If you find yourself self-medicating to a greater degree at this time, it is especially important to discuss that with your doctor or therapist. And please, inform your doctor if you have increased your use of prescriptions.
  • Perhaps most importantly—do something FUN. Regardless of whether you are a survivor or not, there is a part inside all of us that needs to be allowed to have some fun. Do a silly dance for no reason, sing a song that you love (whether you can sing or not), for example. And if you have children, make sure to make time for them and play a game or go for a walk.

What can I do to make a difference?

If you are looking for some things to do that might have a positive effect, here are a couple suggestions.

  1. If you feel an overwhelming urge to say something or do something—stop. First go for a cleansing walk. Take a walk around the block or get up from your desk and go get a glass of water. Close your eyes and take three deep breaths and try to focus on something calming—a color you like or the sound of ocean waves, for instance.
  2. Try to spend at least an hour each day with the TV, Internet, and radio (if it’s tuned to the news) off, and do not read or listen to any information on the trial. Find something else to focus on in your life. The most effective thing you can do at this time is make sure you are doing what you need to do to take care of yourself.

ONLY AFTER doing both of these things, if you still feel a strong desire to do something productive here are a few suggestions.

  • Write an email, or better yet handwrite a card or letter to the brave young men who are testifying in the Sandusky case. You can send messages to Voices4Victims, which is working with the accusers’ attorneys to ensure that these messages of support are getting into these courageous young men’s hands.
  • Spend some time doing some volunteer work for a community organization, preferably doing something wholly unrelated to survivor issues. There are a lot of people and organizations that need help and are being ignored as our attention is focused on these matters. Go improve a local or donate, give some time to an animal shelter, or donate blood for instance.
  • Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. (if you are in a large city, find your neighborhood newspapers) Don’t try to send a message to the national media outlets, the likelihood of your message getting through is much higher on the local level. That said, remember that the act of sending out a message should not be to get a response, but rather to feel empowered by expressing yourself. Keep any letters you write short and try to focus on statements of support for surviors who are testifying in court, and/or that resources such as MaleSurvivor are available to provide support for healing, and/or that healing is possible for every single survivor.

Lastly, here are two things that I strongly caution you against doing.

DON’T engage in debates or battles over the Internet in chat rooms, discussion boards, or comment pages. There are people out there who will not believe you, who will attack you for their own reasons, and who are just generally rude and immature. Fighting with them will not help you feel better. In addition, I strongly recommend that you NOT disclose in one any of these places. Except, of course, for the MaleSurvivor forums, none of the places are a community of healing where you are likely to receive the support you deserve and need after disclosing. This is true even if you have made great progress in your healing.

And maybe most importantly:

DON’T allow yourself to fall into despair. Having been in the courtroom for the first two days of the trial and seeing and hearing the first two young men speak with such courage and bravery I can tell you that something truly amazing is happening in that courtroom, and every single one of those brave young men has a great deal to be proud of. We have much to be hopeful about. It’s important to remember that healing IS possible for every single survivor and we are all, collectively, making strides every day. It can be hard to see the big picture that as awareness increases, so does the possibility of healing. And that, in the long run, is what will help all of us get better.

As always, please remember that there is a whole community of support at MaleSurvivor to help you as well.

—Photo credit: ST33VO/Flickr

how the mighty have fallen

While I was driving home today, I heard on NPR that “JoePa“‘s statute at Penn State is most probably going to be demolished, “so if you want your picture taken in front of it, you had better get there quick.”   Nike has apparently already removed his name from a child care center.  So sad.  Everything this great coach, loving father and good man did is now cast aside, his honorable name tarnished forever because of what he did NOT do.  Something unforgivable.

The following is a Yahoo! Sports report

Jo Paterno’s Role in the Cover-Up of a Child Molester

Sat, Jun 30, 2012 2:14 PM EDT

The Penn State administration had finally hatched a plan. It was too kind, backward and included possibly tampering with a criminal investigation. Still, it was enough of a plan that it could’ve stopped Jerry Sandusky, child molester, back in 2001.

Just a couple weeks earlier, a football graduate assistant, Mike McQueary, had witnessed Sandusky abusing a boy in a Penn State locker room shower. He told coach Joe Paterno. He told vice president Gary Schultz and athletic director Tim Curley. He could’ve been more specific. He was clearly specific enough, however, to get their attention.

Schultz plotted out a course of action, according to a bombshell report by CNN, citing an email exchange that’s been uncovered in the school’s independent investigation by former FBI chief Louis Freeh. The report could be released as early as next month.

According to CNN in an email dated Feb. 26, 2001, Schultz wrote to Curley about a three-part plan that included talking “with the subject asap regarding the future appropriate use of the University facility,” … “contacting the chair of the charitable organization” and “contacting the Department of Welfare.”

Former Penn State athletic director Tim Curley’s alleged email could be damaging for Joe Paterno. (AP)It would have been better to skip directly to the third action and let the welfare authorities do the meeting and informing, but this should’ve been enough to end Sandusky’s reign of terror.

Except that Curley sent an email to Schultz and school president Graham Spanier on Feb. 27, 2001, that changed everything.

“After giving it more thought and talking it over with Joe yesterday, I am uncomfortable with what we agreed were the next steps. I am having trouble with going to everyone but the person involved. I would be more comfortable meeting with the person and tell them about the information we received and tell them we are aware of the first situation,” Curley’s email said, according to CNN.

It’s unclear why Curley suggested that Sandusky (the “person involved”) wouldn’t be contacted when Schultz’s email told Curley to “talk with the subject asap.” But the bottom line is that child welfare services was never contacted. And Sandusky, convicted earlier this month on 45 counts of molestation, continued to stalk and abuse the area’s disadvantaged boys for seven more years.

The email is devastating on multiple levels, perhaps most for Paterno, who had escaped some measure of scorn thus far by having played the, in-hindsight-I-should’ve-done-more angle. Paterno, who won more games than any other major college football coach, died at age 85 in January of lung cancer.

[Yahoo! Sports Radio: Dan Wetzel on the Sandusky verdict]

According to Curley’s email, Paterno participated more than he ever admitted, including likely talking Curley – and thus the others – out of the plan to turn Sandusky over to authorities.

Take a second for that one to sink in.

It is now perfectly reasonable to postulate that Joe Paterno protected Jerry Sandusky, who had been a Penn State assistant coach from 1969 until retiring in 1999. Sandusky went right along with his business of showering with boys in the locker room, of bringing kids to the sidelines during games, of sitting in the press/luxury box area of home games. Sandusky used the program’s allure like a lollipop to draw kids into his van.

Paterno will never have the chance to defend against this charge or answer these troubling questions.

However, what would be his defense?

The first could be that he and Curley never met on or about Feb. 27, 2001, or if they did meet, Sandusky wasn’t mentioned.

In a 2011 appearance to the grand jury, Paterno said McQueary detailed what he saw in the shower. Within a couple days Paterno relayed the story to Curley over the phone. He said he wasn’t involved in the investigation after that.

“Because I figured that Tim would handle it appropriately,” Paterno testified on Jan. 12, 2011. “I have a tremendous amount of confidence in Mr. Curley and I thought he would look into it and handle it appropriately.”

Curley’s email tells a different story, that he discussed with Paterno the plan to bring in child protective services.

Perhaps Curley lied in that original email, although why is anyone’s guess. Perhaps Paterno forgot about the meeting (a decade had passed by the time the then 84-year-old testified in front of the grand jury). Or perhaps Paterno was trying to cover his tracks by not mentioning it under oath.

The other possibility is that the meeting did take place and Paterno supported turning Sandusky over to child welfare but Curley, after “giving it more thought,” overruled Paterno’s position and changed direction.

That one is difficult to believe. Tim Curley was Joe Paterno’s boss in title only. Curley grew up in State College in a house just down the street from the current Beaver Stadium. He parked cars and sold programs as a kid. He played football at Penn State and was said to be JoePa’s handpicked choice as athletic director years later.

This latest report could really damage former Penn State coach Joe Paterno’s legacy. (AP)Tim Curley, like so many in State College, stood in awe of Paterno. Forget the organizational chart, he worked for the coach more than the coach worked for him.

The notion that he would ignore Paterno’s advice, and then upon doing so never have Paterno question him or later overrule him, is highly unlikely.

There are more details to be sifted through. One is Curley cryptically mentioning he would “tell [Sandusky] we are aware of the first situation.”

This seemingly refers to Sandusky being investigated by Penn State police in 1998 for abusing a boy, later known as Victim No. 6, in the showers. The Centre County district attorney at the time chose not to prosecute Sandusky.

While most believe there could be no way that Curley, Schultz and Spanier, let alone Paterno, didn’t know about the 1998 investigation when choosing not to act in 2001, this is a smoking gun. It establishes that at least the three administrators did know. And wouldn’t Curley have brought it up when discussing Sandusky with Paterno?

It’s the most galling and evil part of the CNN revelations. These officials were learning of a second allegation that Sandusky had abused a boy in the showers and yet their reaction wasn’t to turn the case over to authorities. Instead they allowed Sandusky to continue to operate on campus, only with the caveat he wasn’t supposed to bring children around, an order he routinely violated.

After 1998, you could argue there wasn’t much they could do. There was an investigation but no charge. People who work with children are always in fear of such a thing. If the district attorney said there was nothing to it, then you accept there was nothing to it.

Until a similar accusation is made, this time not from a possibly confused kid, but from McQueary, your own 27-year-old, no-reason-to-invent-such-a-story graduate assistant.

[Dan Wetzel: Sandusky is guilty and his victims are heroes for testifying]

In 2001 there was zero excuse to not stop Sandusky. Zero. Penn State’s decision was pathetic.

It’s a chief reason why Curley and Schultz are facing prison time for failure to report a crime. It’s also why Spanier remains a candidate for similar indictment from the attorney general.

Did Spanier realize the stakes of his decision? You bet he did. His email back to Curley concerning not going to child welfare says as much.

“I am supportive,” Spanier wrote, according to CNN. “The only downside for us [is] if the message isn’t heard and acted upon, and then we become vulnerable for not having reported it.”

Graham Spanier is a bad person. That wasn’t the “only downside” or even the primary downside of Sandusky not hearing “the message.”

The fact that additional children would be abused was the downside. Spanier, ever the self-obsessed top administrator, cared only about his own liability, not some terrified 10-year-old in an empty shower room. At no point, apparently, did anyone write an email about finding the boy McQueary said was being molested.

What remains is the question of why otherwise reasonable people would make such an ethically bankrupt and criminal decision. These are highly educated, high-functioning men. The answer may never be determined. It may help to go back to that moment.

In hindsight, the smart move would have been to have Sandusky arrested. Viewed from today, Curley, Paterno, et. al. would have been lauded for making the correct decision.

At the time, however, the story would’ve been about a recently retired defensive coordinator molesting kids in JoePa’s locker room.

Paterno was 74 and coming off a 5-7 season. He didn’t have much of a team for the foreseeable future, either. Rumblings were growing that it was time for him to retire, that the game had passed him by, that at his age he couldn’t handle the responsibilities of a major college football program.

An act of child molestation in the locker room would have only fueled that. When word would have eventually leaked out that in 1998 Sandusky had been investigated for the same charge yet still maintained all-hour access to the facilities, it may have too much for Paterno to survive, let alone explain.

In the precise moment, each of the men must have feared being fired. Even Joe Paterno.

Perhaps that wasn’t the case. We may never know and it certainly isn’t an excuse for allowing Sandusky to continue. It may explain it, however. Self-preservation is a powerful motivator.

If Sandusky had sought the help they suggested, had he stopped his behavior, had the school not commissioned Louis Freeh to dig through every scrap of information in the football program, a witch hunt that found its witches, they may have gotten away with it.

They didn’t, though. Instead, the whole thing gets worse for Penn State. The full report looms. The noose tightens on Curley, Schultz and Spanier.

And Joe Paterno, the beloved saint of the Nittany Lions, is left looking nothing like the man everyone believed he was.

it’s a crime, not a scandal: a re-blog

Now, why didn’t I write this?   It’s been a bug-bear of my mine every time I read the headline of “sex scandal.”   It’s not a sex scandal, it’s a sex CRIME.   Here’s a re-blog worthy of a read:


Stop Calling it a Sex Scandal

Dear media: Learn the difference between abuse and sex — otherwise, you’re sensationalizing violence and rape
July 1, 2012  |
 This story originally appeared at Salon.

Let me fix this for you, headline writers. When you’re dealing with a story that involves rape or harassment or abuse or molestation or child porn or anything that falls under the rubric of criminal behavior, you should call those things rape and harassment and abuse and molestation and child pornography. You know what you shouldn’t call them? Sexy sexy sex scandals, that’s what.

For example, when you’re covering a story involving charges of “rape, aggravated sexual contact and multiple counts of aggravated sexual assault” at the Lackland Air Force Base, you might want to reconsider framing it, as the Washington Post does, as a “widening sex scandal,” or as the Boston Herald calls it, a “growing sex scandal,” or even, as the Christian Science Monitor says, a garden-variety “sex scandal.” If you happen to say, as the AP does, that the “Air Force says 31 victims so far in sex scandal,” or as already credibility-strained CNN declares, that there are now “31 victims identified in widening Air Force sex scandal,” please note that word “victims” there. It’s the important one.

Similarly, if you’re ABC and you want to talk about priests who’ve abused children, don’t couch it as a “guide to Catholic sex scandals.” If you’re the L.A. Times or the Hollywood Reporter, don’t say that Jerry Sandusky made for a “Penn State sex scandal.” If you’re the Village Voice, don’t say that  the molestation that allegedly went on for years at a New York private school is a “Horace Mann Sex Scandal.” Just don’t.

A sex scandal is Mark Sanford ditching his state to cavort with his mistress. A sex scandal is Tiger Woods and a waitress. The San Antonio Air Force base story is certainly a complex one, involving charges that range from assault and rape to obstructing justice, all the way down to “having a personal social relationship.” But when the media uses the word “sex” within a story about something where there are alleged victims of assault, it’s a semantic failure on an epic scale. It diminishes crime. It sensationalizes it. It removes the distinction between a normal, consensual act and violence. Sure, you could say that sex is an element of those stories. But you’d be missing the part about force and pathology. It’s like calling armed robbery a “shopping scandal.” It’s lazy and it’s dumb and it’s hurtful to victims. Rape and abuse are not sexy. So stop making it sound like they are.

another one for the good guys …

79 teenagers, all U.S. citizens between the ages of 13-17  who had been kidnapped and forced into prostitution by sexual trafficking rings all over the United States, are now in safe hands.   Thank God.  Thanks to the FBI, sting operations in 57 U.S. cities rescued these children from hotels, truck stops and store-fronts in a three-day sweep.  One of the victims reported being held since the age of 11.

Sexual trafficking happens everywhere, including Ohio … Toledo was one of the cities in the sweep.   According to a workshop I attended a few weeks ago, Toledo is one of the top cities involved in this horrendous human slavery business.

For the whole story, see this resource from the Chicago Tribune.