"...When He [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." Matt 9:36

"Do not rob the poor, because he is poor... for the Lord will take up their case and plunder those who plunder them." Proverbs 22:22-23

Monday, November 7, 2011

At Least in College Football, Failing to Report a Molester Is a Crime - But How Does Joe Paterno Still Have a Job?

In one of the most disgusting and disturbing cases of repeated child molestations I've heard of, former Penn State assistant coach and football legend Jerry Sandusky finally has been arrested and won't be able to molest boys any more.

And thank the Lord two Penn State officials have been indicted by a grand jury for lying to the grand jury about one of the cases of abuse, and for failing to report the abuse to authorities.

While many Baptists get away with not reporting possible molestations of their clergy, at least in this case those who did not report are going to be held accountable.

Says Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly:

"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 first-hand."

The only question remains: how does Joe Paterno, the head coach still have a job? As recorded on pages 6 and 7 in the grand jury findings of fact (WARNING...the contents of the 23-page grand jury report are graphic and disturbing), a graduate assistant that observed Sandusky sexually assaulting a 10-year old in the Penn State locker room in 2002 reported the incident directly to Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno.

What did Paterno do? Well, he called his Athletic Director, Tim Curley. Curley was Paterno's immediate supervisor. Curley and another Penn State big-wig, Gary Schultz had a meeting with the graduate assistant and assured him it was being taken care of.

But Curley and Schultz both failed to report the incident to any authorities. In the grand jury report there was at least one young boy victimized by Sandusky AFTER the 2002 sexual assault - that would have been prevented had Curley and Schultz - or Paterno - done the right thing and gone immediately to the police.

Curley and Schultz are being charged with perjury as well, since the grand jury believes they may have lied to them, claiming the graduate assistant did not indicate that a crime had been committed or that the incident was of a sexual nature when he first reported the assault to Paterno. Read the grand jury report, and you'll see why the grand jury didn't believe their story.

Why am I writing about a football sexual molestation scandal on the Watchdog blog? I can't help but compare and contrast this report to similar cases of molestation involving "men of God" and how they are handled.

A few observations:

- Is it not amazing that all of these men that knew of the 2002 molestation never reported it to any authorities? Why not? The reason is obvious: they feared the negative consequences of a public scandal involving their beloved institution. Very smart men - a graduate assistant, the most beloved football coach in NCAA history, two administrators, even the graduate assistant's father - all made the wrong choice, and their inaction resulted in at least one more boy being needlessly victimized. We see the same in religious institutions - fear of negative publicity causing men to not report and letting the molester move on.

- the two men indicted for failing to report are now claiming they didn't know how terrible the actions were of Sandusky. Sound familiar? I think of the Trinity Baptist scandal with Bob Gray - what was the congregation told about the allegations? That whatever Gray was accused of was not of a "sexual nature". The fact is Bob Gray was a pedophile. He french-kissed boys and girls in his office, even molested a little girl during her baptism. Yet those in authority in the church who had the power to stop him failed to do it, and they conveniently mischaracterized his actions. He could have been stopped had one person made a phone call to the sheriff's office, but no one did.

- if you read the grand jury report you will see that Sandusky used his fame, his money, gifts and notoriety as a Penn State legend to befriend his victims. His legendary status gave him open access to young boys at Penn State, and at public schools. He took them to Penn State football games, had them stay at his house, took them on trips. Molesters are molesters - whether they are football coaches or pastors - and they will use their power and position to gain access to their victims.

Church leaders, pastors, ministers everywhere: take notice of this case. Nine years after these men at Penn State failed to report a sexual assault on a minor, and after their arrogance caused them to allegedly lie about it to the grand jury, they are going to be held accountable.

But it should come as no surprise: the Penn State University institution is standing behind Curley and Schultz, and they will pay for their legal defense.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Paterno did the right thing (reported it to his supervisor) and you are wrong to insinuate otherwise. There's not a snake under every rock.

When a pastor learns of sexual abuse he is bound by law to report it to the authorities. If they don't, then they should be prosecuted.

Anonymous said...

WD, when reading abt Sandusky and Penn State, I couldn't help but be reminded of how things are handled in our Baptist churches. Why is it always the institutions that matter more than the precious lives of children? Money, jobs, I guess.
THANK YOU for being a "self-proclaimed evaluator of all preachers" as one smarty pants put it. We need more men like you!

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Paterno's first phone call should have been to the police, and he should have encouraged the graduate assistant to immediately call the police. Get real.

Anonymous said...

Anon, 7:42 Joe Paterno is well loved and respected. Putting that aside, If you yourself were told of this incident, as Joe Paterno was, and it was never reported to the authorities in an effort to stop this molester from harming other children...could you sleep at night?

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Off topic, slightly: Christa Brown has an extremely insightful article this morning on the Sammy Nuckolls video voyeurism case. Please read it here. She makes excellent point about Lifeway's response in calling him a "only a contract pastor" being code for "not our responsibility". So glad that Christa is still writing on her blog.

Anonymous said...

I, too, want to thank you, WD. As sickening and heart-wrenching as these things are, if they are reality, they need to be exposed.

Let it become obvious to all what the true priorities are in so many of these situations.

And I give credit and honor to the victims who got up the nerve to tell and also to the mother for paying attention to suspicious details and taking action.

It's so clear that telling higher-ups just leads to cover-ups, not to protection of innocent children. Christa always pointed out that it was a big mistake to go to the leaders of a church instead of the police.

And it floors me that Sandusky's WIFE was trying to contact a victim-I'm assuming for the purpose of influencing him to not cooperate or something-who knows. Is there no limit to what some women will put up with from their husbands? It's truly amazing to me.

Thy Peace said...

NYT > Two Penn State Officials Stepping Down

Off Topic: NYT > Preaching Virtue of Spanking, Even as Deaths Fuel Debate

Dee said...

WD
Thank you for continuing to highlight these stories. Brown is correct. I know a church who went to all lengths to portray the pedophile as a"volunteer" as opposed to a paid worker. Like that exonerates them??? They are still morally culpable.

Anonymous 7:42AM-If Paterno was a real man, he would have called the police and prevented further abuse. Punting it to a superior does not release any human being from the responsibility to protect the young and innocent.

David said...

Dawg, Sandusky was no longer an employee of Penn State, and so Paterno passed the information on to the Athletic Director. This was an allegation, and as far as we know Paterno is not indicted for lying or covering up anything. Of course, its just speculation but Joe Paterno likely has the most spotless image of any coach in college football so could it be that Paterno simply did what he deemed best since he has not likely had this happen very often. What if he believed that what was reported to him and then he passed on to his supervisor, would then be given to authorities?

With all this being said, it's so nice for you to always think the worst of people (Do unto others as you would have them do unto you). Let's see what crimes have been committed and let law enforcement and the courts do their jobs. What has happened to these young boys is beyond reprehensible, but I am struggling to see how you now are going to be the Watchdog for the rest of the world, when you can't even clean up your own house in Jacksonville?

Anonymous said...

I have never understood why Tom Messer is not in jail.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"I have never understood why Tom Messer is not in jail."

or Paul Williams
or Steve Gaines

Thy Peace said...

NYT > Paterno Is Not a Target in Sexual Abuse Inquiry

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

David - nice try.

Joe Paterno, the head coach of the cleanest football program in the country, the face of Penn State football for decades, the face of college football even...and when told by a graduate assistant that he saw one of Paterno's former players, a former coach, having violent anal sex with a 10 year old boy, and Paterno doesn't know enough to immediately pick up the phone? Get real.

And why would the guy go to Paterno?? Completely insane.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

And David, sorry that your comment got hung up, it was stuck in the spam folder and I just saw it and posted it...same with you Dee...

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

And David - it is not so clear cut as Sandusky not being an employee. He had a "tenured" status at the college. That means he had unfettered access to all buildings, to all athletic facilities, etc. etc. etc.

He was more than an employee, he was someone who had the full resources of the football program at his disposal. For crying out loud, if you read the indictment the man was having sex with boys in the Penn State showers.

Are you a pastor, David?

Anonymous said...

Any person ever observing a law being broken has a responsibility to report the matter immediately and directly to the police department. Period--famous football coach or not!

How can anyone care so little for children that this situation wasn't immediately addressed and the assistant coach dealt with if found guilty? God help us!

David said...

If he retired in 1999 then he was no longer a school employee and certainly not under the direction of Paterno. He had privileges at the university but this was not approved by Paterno but the AD. Did Paterno report the allegation that he did know to his immediate supervisor (per university policy)?

Why do you think that people always hide the truth? Are you the Dawg for the whole world? Has God put you in charge of the abuse charges for the church worldwide? Why is it that you have such a bitter taste in your mouth about churches, pastors, leaders, and the like. Out of the hundreds of thousands of churches in America and the one million pastors and staff, how many do you personally know? Do you think your criticism of churches and pastors is truly accurate and fair given that you have only experienced a very small percentage of the total population.

For the record: even the claims of this case make me sick. The places where I have volunteered and worked go to lengths to interview, screen, and monitor activities of both employees and volunteers alike. Sometimes I think it is more prudent to hold back the gallows until we do know the whole truth. I have served as a Judge before and I know that accusations are one thing but the truth is not always the same thing. Why not wait and find out the truth? Did you not use the legal system to clear your name or find justice in Jacksonville? Do you want people assuming the accusations, rumors, and tales made about you or your family are true? Let the authorities do their job by investigating the allegations, charging the defendant appropriately, and taking the case to trial. When a person has been found guilty of a crime then it is time to put their face and life all over the Internet.

Anonymous said...

"Are you a pastor, David?" What a pathetic cheap shot. The internet is saturated with BLOGS catering to any and every type of sexual perversion. I won't stoop to your level by asking the question.

Anonymous said...

How can anyone care so little for children that this situation wasn't immediately addressed and the assistant coach dealt with if found guilty? God help us!
\
November 7, 2011 9:28 PM

Exactly. Notice how the victims are shunted aside as some get caught up in diverting positions and processes.


It is simple. You call the police and let them investigate. Period.

Anonymous said...

"Let the authorities do their job by investigating the allegations, charging the defendant appropriately, and taking the case to trial."

Exactly. They, the authorities, should have been called first. Why do you have a problem with that? Why is the AD more qualified to decide if they should be called?

If you were ever a judge, I am very scared for our system. You comments show you lack good judgement.

Anonymous said...

When a person has been found guilty of a crime then it is time to put their face and life all over the Internet.

November 7, 2011 11:58 PM

Pedophiles usually have tons of victims before they are caught. We MUST put their names out there. Now, you sound like someone who cares very little for children. Do you realize what these boys have to live with all their lives? Perhaps you do not care.

Anonymous said...

It is simple. You call the police and let them investigate. Period.

The police is nothing but a crime syndicate. They investigate what they want. Only when people speak up a true investigation will be brought forth. wake your clogged mind.