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PSU abuse

Published November 08. 2011 05:00PM

If you told a person a week ago that more than a dozen satellite trucks would be parked on the Penn State campus in State College this week it might not seem that big a deal.

After all, Nebraska is coming to town this weekend for a big football game with the Nittany Lions.

But if you told that person the trucks and the hundreds of media have nothing to do with the big game at Beaver Stadium, then that fact would certainly grab his attention.

Events that have transpired since last Friday's allegations surfaced on former Defensive Coordinator Jerry Sandusky are producing media headlines the likes of which are turning this week's game into a footnote. News of the last four days have not only rocked the football program but shaken the university system to its core.

On Monday, the Director of Athletics and the Senior Vice President for Finance and Business became the latest casualties in the abuse scandal. By the time the attorney general's office completes its investigation - and the tentacles to this story seem long and frightening - many others could topple from power.

One defense that's hard to accept in a case of this disgusting magnitude is how someone who knew of the situation could simply follow protocol in reporting to superiors, but fail to alert law enforcement. Reports of Sandusky bringing boys to football practices or taking them to bowl games are very disturbing and open up a ton of questions on who allowed this to happen.

When it comes to covering up something as despicable as deviate sexual intercourse with a child, there must be accountability.

The attorney general says it was the action of officials at Central Mountain High School, not the university, that finally brought this case to light. Sandusky was volunteering as an assistant at the Clinton County school when a 15-year old student told authorities that the coach abused him. The victim reported the abuse to a parent, who took it to school officials, who properly turned it over to police.

"I hope people will understand that any suspicion of sexual abuse should be reported to the police," State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan said at a press conference.

University officials must account for the 12 years that Sandusky retained campus privileges as a coach emeritus following his retirement in 1999. One report said he was seen using training room facilities as late as last week, just prior to his arrest.

One of the many disgusting and disturbing revelations in the attorney general's statement said:

" ... there is no indication that anyone from the university ever attempted to learn the identity of the child who was sexually assaulted on their campus or made any follow-up effort to obtain more information from the person who witnessed the attack firsthand."

Saying that officials fulfilled their legal responsibility by reporting to their superior is not good enough. There was a moral obligation - to the victims and families involved.

A university and football program that prided itself in producing some of the best graduates in the world must now come to grips with finding how the system failed to protect the most vulnerable of victims - defenseless boys who were endangered and abused inside its own facilities.

Some in the PSU hierarchy apparently swept this crime under the rug, lacking the human decency and moral courage to even seek out the identities of those young victims who were emotionally scarred for life.

By Jim Zbick

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