UPDATE: There are people of class everywhere. There are those who embody righteousness even amid scorn and discontent. The following article is written by one such. Most of the story (to date) of the horrors at Penn State University is of depraved acts, reputation, and holding the “honor” of a figurehead above the honor of an institution. Now that the penalties have begun to be determined (not all are finalized and some not yet begun), the true mettle of the individuals (past, present and future) will be shown. Does the reputation of Penn State Football retain it’s former demi-god status? Will the individual “lesser sins” be swept away, though they contributed to the greater sin? Will the organization accept what they’ve reaped, or protest that they didn’t now sow it. Finally, when all is said and done, will the greatness of the university sustain independent of their once proud demi-god or falter without the cover of “Happy Valley”? However these questions are answered, it is worth noting that there are some who stand as an adult, where many failed children.
Reference Article: Jerry Sandusky called “likely pedophile” in 1998 by psychologist
Think back to 1998
- President Clinton was defending himself against impeachment
- Sex in the City and The King of Queens began while Seinfeld and Family Matters ended their long runs in popular TV
- NASA found water on the moon
- Tennessee won the first-ever BCS National Championship
- Mark McGwire set the home run record with 70 in a season
Well one other significant thing happened in 1998, though only a few people thought it significant at the time. Jerry Sandusky, then Defensive Coordinator for the Penn State University football team, faced allegations of sexual misconduct with an 11-year-old boy that was in his care. The allegation was reported to Penn State University and the State College (that’s the name of the town) Police Department.
The police department consulted a local psychologist named Alycia Chambers. Dr. Chambers asserted that the “behavior that was consistent with a predator, a male predator, a pedophile.” You would think that if the town/county could not find means to arrest and charge Sandusky that it would be grounds for him to be put on the Registry of Suspected Child Abusers and under watch by the University and local police for further incidents. Neither of those happened.
Instead the investigation turned to a second psychologist, Dr. Jason Seasock who worked with the Centre County Office of Children and Youth Services. Now here is a professional who should clearly have the welfare of that, and other children, as first priority. Dr. Seasock found no evidence of inappropriate conduct, stating “All the interactions reported by (the boy) can be typically defined as normal between a healthy adult and a young adolescent male.”Now you might say, as I did, how can this be? Well let’s look at all the evidence that Seasock did not review when he made his assessment.
- did not review Dr. Chambers’ report
- did not review the police’s prior interviews with the boy
- did not elicit key details:
- Sandusky had kissed the boy
- Sandusky told the boy he loved him.
Absent those facts one can see how someone might have written the event off as misadventure and not sexual assault and misconduct with a minor. Yeah, I don’t buy it either. In case you were wondering, Dr. Seasock continued his diligent work in Child Psychology later into his career (see here). Now this would be sad enough if there weren’t other individuals, responsible individuals who had opportunity to see what was happening and stop it, or at least stop it sooner. When the 1998 allegation came in, the Pennsylvania State Department of Public Welfare investigated. They too found no indication of abuse…but they missed the same information that Seasock missed.
So now we’ve got the Penn State Campus Police, State College Police Department, the Centre County Police Department, two Child Psychologists and the state Department of Public Welfare with some level of knowledge about this incident…in 1998. It stands to reason that criminal allegations against a university employee and football coach made it to the attention of then Football Head Coach, Joe Paterno, and then University President, Graham Spanier.
Go four years, and I hate to think of how many victims, forward to 2002. This is the incident that, once it was finally reported to a Grand Jury by the victim 9 years later, broke the case open…Sandusky was caught raping a boy in a University locker room by a graduate assistant to the University’s football team. I don’t presume to know the details of what happened at this instance. It is safe to say that parties that knew better, parties that had responsibility for public welfare, child welfare, the university’s welfare and the state’s welfare did not own their responsibilities and let a predator continue to prey on children.
Many have made the case that profiling is a practice that is abused by law enforcement agencies (on ethnic, racial and religious grounds). I can agree it has been used to excess at times and in places. What happened here, where a profile was readily available on a pedophile in a position of power over many children, is just as much an abuse of profile because they threw a perfectly good profile out and let a perfectly bad person remain at large. I know that Graham Spanier and Joe Paterno paid a hard price for their involvement, or lack thereof, but I would state that everyone with knowledge of the early incidents is also at fault.
- Alycia Chambers, who made the right assessment but was overruled, still practices in State College, PA where most of the crimes were committed. Her advocacy or influence could have brought more attention to Sandusky which might have stopped him and spared some children.
- The same could be said for Mike McQueary, Joe Paterno, Graham Spanier, PSU Campus Police, and the State College Police.
- Dr. Seasock and the PA Department of Public Welfare are just sad investigators. Had they put their attention to all of the available information, they likely would have come to the same conclusion as Dr. Chambers.
Each and every person with knowledge of Sandusky’s behavior and previous encounters owns a part of the crimes he committed, because he should have been stopped 14 years ago. Had they taken what they knew, or should have found out, and stayed vigilant against Sandusky’s crimes, Dr. Chambers wouldn’t have this on her heart today.
“I was horrified to know that there were so many other innocent boys who had been subject to this, who had their hearts and minds confused, their bodies violated. It’s unspeakable.”
© 2012 His-Stor-E
- Penn State’s reputation, image soiled by Jerry Sandusky scandal (pennlive.com)
- Penn State’s Sandusky Convicted of Sexually Abusing Boys (nytimes.com)