Wednesday, November 09, 2011

937 The Fall of St. Joseph

937 The Fall of St. Joseph

(STATE COLLEGE, Pa.) -- Joe Paterno is the biggest Big Man on Campus, and one way or another, he’s washed up.  JoPa, as they call him in this quaint university town in the middle of the state, surrounded by lovely small mountains and farms, and bloated by an undeserved and unearned sense of self importance, is a football coach.

But he’s not just any football coach. He’s “winning-est” "this" and the “longest lasting” "that" and the “legendary” "the-other-thing."  And he is caught on the edges of a sex scandal he might have prevented if he lived up to the press releases and other publicity that made him the most moral of moral authorities in America.

He didn’t.  So now, at Penn State University, they have a former Paterno assistant and so-called pillar of the community and founder of a respected (until now) charity to aid at-risk kids who is charged with 15 years worth of raping and otherwise sexually abusing boys aged ten through 16.  His name is Jerry Sandusky, 67, a 30- year friend of Paterno who is 84 and has been at Penn State since the Bronze Age.

Paterno was told about all this, apparently more than a decade ago.  He reported it to his nominal boss, the president of the school, one Graham Spanier, and no one did anything.  Joe isn’t facing charges, or at least is not a target of the grand jury investigation that eventually yawned around to indicting Sandusky.  But if we are to believe those press releases the school has been issuing about JoPa, he should have done more.

Two other BMOCs are facing perjury and cover-up charges.  They are the athletic director Tim Curley and the school’s business vice president, Gary Schultz whose responsibilities include running the police force -- whose members are trained sworn officers with guns and not square-badge mall cops.

Everyone’s innocent, if you ask them or their lawyers (paid for by the university in the cases of Curley and Schultz.)  Sandusky’s “charity” apparently was a source of candidates for his proclivities although it has some wiggle room about what it knew and when.

The president, Spanier, got up and made headlines by supporting Curley and Schultz “unequivocally.”  Polish up your resume.  You won’t be around long enough to watch the donations stop coming in.  He called the charges disturbing.  Not nearly as disturbing as standing up for the good old boys instead of the vulnerable young boys.

Of the community pillar, Sandusky:  Did he do it?  That’s for a jury or for plea-bargainers to decide.  Sandusky now is banned from campus where he’s been in emeritus status for a good stretch, still had an office and brought some of his “at risk” boys to the gym for some “horseplay” in the showers.

There are witnesses.  It looks like an open and shut case.  But we’re not the jury or juries or the plea bargainers.

Terrible swan song for St. Joseph (R-Brooklyn) and one he could have prevented.  The most charitable end for his storied career would be to let him finish out the season and then put his feet up and his chin up -- proud, for all but one of his accomplishments.

And Sandusky? At the request of his daughter-in-law, the court has barred him from being alone with his grandchildren.

Shrapnel (Penn State Edition):

-- The school is what’s called here a “state related university,” which is not part of the state university system but receives a good chunk of public funding.  So, PSU is a private school when the fancy strikes it but a public school the rest of the time.  There are four such colleges in the state.

--PSU is the economic engine of the region and brings some economic and employment stability to it.  But it is the athletic program in general and the football program in particular that is the economic engine of the economic engine.  This-all will not affect attendance at the games, which almost always attract at least 100-thousand attendees and countless other radio listeners and television viewers.  It should.

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com
© WJR 2011

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