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Sandusky Cover Up Goes Beyond Penn State University

Penn State fought harder to protect its image than protect Jerry Sandusky's victims. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

There was always something different about Penn State.  They had fallen behind some programs in national prominence, but Joe Paterno and his staff always found a way to stay relevant.  What made Penn State different is that they were winning games while maintaining a squeaky clean program.

Had news broken that a Nittany Lion player or players received improper benefits we would have shaken our heads and said collectively ‘well it’s a sign of the times.’  Nothing could have prepared us for what happened over the weekend.

To make a long story short former defensive coordinator, and the architect of ‘linebacker u,’ Jerry Sandusky has been molesting and raping young boys since at least 1994 and probably before.  After the initial shock of the story wore off there were some key questions.  Who knew what, when did they know it, and why did they not report what they knew to the police.

Like the Catholic Church, the high ranking officials at Penn State seemed much more concerned with protecting the brand image of the university than dealing with a major and ILLEGAL problem.  The thing that troubles and disturbs the most people, including me, is that the victims were the least of anyone’s concern.

State College, Pennsylvania is a small town and Jerry Sandusky was almost always seen with young boys.  I suppose people would rather bury their heads in the sand than face the fact that one of the most prominent members of the community was a predator.

There are no excuses or rational explanations for what happened, but we are all searching for answers.  If anyone has read the disturbing 23 page grand jury report on Sandusky, you realize that this cover-up goes beyond Penn State.

The grand jury report lists eight known victims.  More victims have come to light since the story broke.  I won’t go into the details about what Sandusky did to victim 6, only the mind-boggling lack of action taken by the university and city police departments.

The mother of vicitm 6 had become suspicious of Sandusky’s motives and actions.  The victim’s mother reported the incident to Penn State Police.  After a lengthy investigation by university police, Centre County district attorney Ray Gricar decided not to press charges against Sandusky.

It gets worse.  University detective Ronald Schreffler and State College Police Department detective Ralph Ralston decided to eavesdrop on two conversations Sandusky had with the mother of victim 6.  The victim’s mother had consented to this.

The mother confronted Sandusky about showering with her son, the effect it had on her son, and whether Sandusky was sexually attracted to her son.  Sandusky told her he showered with other boys.  When the mother asked Sandusky to promise not to shower with boys he told her he couldn’t.

Then the mother told Sandusky he couldn’t see her son and he replied, “I understand.  I was wrong.  I wish I could receive forgiveness.  I know I won’t get it from you.  I wish I were dead.”

Armed with this evidence, the detectives did not launch a full investigation.  Rather Detective Schreffler advised Sandusky not to shower with any child and Sandusky said he would not.

God only knows what the detectives were thinking, but the abuse that went on for another decade plus could have been stopped the very evening the detectives eavesdropped on Sandusky.

We may never know why seemingly everyone turned a blind eye to Jerry Sandusky.  One thing is certain.  The image that Penn State fought furiously to uphold has been tarnished forever.

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