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How Corruption, Sandusky and Paterno Ruined “Happy Valley”

A scathing investigative report by former FBI director, Louis Freeh, reveals how morally corrupt and greed thirsty college officials helped a child sex predator prey on young boys. From the president of Penn state, football coaches and down to the janitor, everyone shares blame in allowing Jerry Sandusky to sexually prey on boys in Happy Valley, the nickname given to the Penn State community. Well, Happy Valley is now known by other names. It’s now known as child sex in the valley. If this were a movie, it might be R rated. In real life, it’s an X rated sex perversion that was allowed to exist solely due to the immoral, greed and ego of Penn State college administrators and officials, including “Papa” Joe Paterno. What was done in the dark has now come to light. And it paints an ugly picture of Penn State.

The investigative report reveals that the four most powerful men at Penn State, former President Graham Spanier, Senior Vice President Gary Schultz, Athletic director Timothy Curley and head football coach Joe Paterno engaged in a pattern of concealing Sandusky’s child sex activities from authorities and failing to protect against a child predator for over a decade. They empowered Sandusky to attract victims by having unrestricted access to the athletic facilities. The Board was inept by failing to oversee activities of the University. Once the board of trustees became aware of Sandusky’s activities, the board failed to inquire and receive information from Graham. The report found that there was a striking lack of empathy for the child victims by the most powerful men at Penn State.

The first known report in 1998 was Victim no 6 whose mother complained that Sandusky had showered with her son. The District Attorney declined to prosecute. The Board was never notified about the incident and investigation. Victim no 4 is assaulted in December, 1999. In November, 2000, a janitor sees Sandusky assaulting a child but fails to report for fear of his job. In February, 2001, McQueary sees victim no 2 assaulted in the shower. McQueary reports to Joe Paterno. Paterno consults with President Graham Spanier, Senior Vice president Gary Schultz and athletic director Tim Curley. In March, 2001, the board of trustees meet. They are never informed about the incident. And now we have a full blown conspiracy to cover up Sandusky’s predator acts by the four most powerful men at Penn State. It would not be until 2011 that the cover up is revealed. By then, many more victims have been abused.

Sandusky was rewarded with a $168,000 retirement payment on June 30, 1999 along with other benefits. And on August 31, 1999, Sandusky was awarded the title of “emeritus” a title that carries with it many University perks. Nothing was ever done to Sandusky by the University. Yet, a sports agent was banned in 1997 for buying $400 of clothing for a football player. President Graham Spanier said the sports agent, “fooled around with the integrity of the university and I won’t stand for that.” Clearly, Sandusky was in the Old Boys Club and the sports agent was not in it.

What we learned is that “Happy Valley” Penn State was  a secret society where, Sandusky, a known child sex predator was allowed to roam free for over a decade. The first known case occurred in 1998. It was investigated but nothing came of it. If the child sex brutality had been brought to light when discovered by college officials in 1998, the remaining children now adults would not have suffered at the hands of Sandusky.

The key players included former Penn State coach Joe Paterno who died shortly after the hidden sordid facts became known and after he was fired. Sandusky awaits his sentencing for the conviction. He faces almost 500 years. The remaining cases of Curley and Schultz for perjury have yet to go to trial. Graham Spanier , the former president was fired. The victims’ lives were changed forever by a morally corrupt college. Many lives were damaged or destroyed by the Penn State cover-up. Looking at the totality of the circumstances outlined in the report, the Sandusky cover-up was greater than any modern day cover-up.

For those of you who have children or care for or about children, protect them and scream to the authorities at the first suspected sign of any inappropriate sex abuse. And keep screaming to authorities until appropriate action is taken. And hopefully, it will not take over a decade like it did at Penn State. The full report is found on the New York Times web site.

Washington, DC based Debbie Hines is a former prosecutor and founder of LegalSpeaks, a progressive blog on women and race in law and politics. As a legal and political commentator she has appeared in national and local media including the Michael Eric Dyson Show, NBC, ABC and CBS affiliates, RT TV, CBC- Canadian TV, NPR, XM Sirius radio, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, USA Today, Black Enterprise among others. She also writes for the Huffington Post.

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