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Penn State Rocked by Sandusky Sex Abuse Scandal

First, I should note that I believe this situation is the worst scandal in the history of college athletics. I never thought I would see the day when I would say that the Baylor Basketball scandal was surpassed in sordidness, but that day has come. According to the grand jury indictment, Jerry Sandusky, who served as Joe Paterno's top assistant from 1969-1999, allegedly molested a series of little boys over the course of his tenure with the school and with his Second Mile foundation. The (alleged) molestation occurred in football facilities, and the scope of it is almost unimaginable. Paterno has finally released a statement, and I believe he does himself no favors in it:

If true, the nature and amount of charges made are very shocking to me and all Penn Staters. While I did what I was supposed to with the one charge brought to my attention, like anyone else involved I can't help but be deeply saddened these matters are alleged to have occurred.

Sue and I have devoted our lives to helping young people reach their potential. The fact that someone we thought we knew might have harmed young people to this extent is deeply troubling. If this is true we were all fooled, along with scores of professionals trained in such things, and we grieve for the victims and their families. They are in our prayers.

As my grand jury testimony stated, I was informed in 2002 by an assistant coach that he had witnessed an incident in the shower of our locker room facility. It was obvious that the witness was distraught over what he saw, but he at no time related to me the very specific actions contained in the Grand Jury report. Regardless, it was clear that the witness saw something inappropriate involving Mr. Sandusky. As Coach Sandusky was retired from our coaching staff at that time, I referred the matter to university administrators.

I understand that people are upset and angry, but let's be fair and let the legal process unfold. In the meantime I would ask all Penn Staters to continue to trust in what that name represents, continue to pursue their lives every day with high ideals and not let these events shake their beliefs nor who they are.

SB Nation's Penn State blog, Black Shoe Diaries, takes a hard look at what happened, and what should be done about it. After the jump, I will do the same.

I concur with nearly every conclusion that Grovich draws in that piece. How in the world does any person who played a part in this disgusting tragedy survive this professionally? While Paterno is not as culpable as Curley and Schultz (particularly in a legal sense), morally, he's clearly on the losing end of the argument. Paterno is Penn State. Had he pressed the issue in 2002 (or, if I'm reading the story correctly, even as early as the mid-90s), many little boys would have been saved from this predator. While others bear the legal responsibility for having covered this up, Paterno's moral obligations clearly went unmet, and for that, he should pay with his job and his reputation.

Additionally, the reprehensible "statement" (which can be found in the Black Shoe Diaries link above) issued by the PSU president Graham Spanier should cost him his job and reputation as well. In it, he offers his "unconditional support" to Curley and Schultz, whose repugnance in this situation is only surpassed by Sandusky's own. He supports them, in spite of the fact that both men have now been indicted for their cover up of Sandusky's raping of a 10-year-old boy.

It beggars belief that two men of Paterno and Spanier's stature and experience do not understand that their actions during this tragedy have been indefensible. In my view, Spanier at least might well face some legal jeopardy--a "what did he know and when did he know it"-type of issue, if you will. While I think Paterno is in the clear in a legal sense, morally speaking his silence over the last nine years has cost many young boys their childhood. He will have to go to his grave knowing this, and perhaps that will be the worst punishment of all, for a man who has preached honesty and integrity for so many years.