A story broke on the news wire last week that is incredibly disturbing. It seems that Jerry Sandusky, a long time football defensive coach at Penn State University is accused of molesting at least eight young boys over a 15 year time period. He is currently facing 21 felony counts. Additional victims are coming forth by the hour. The final count of molested children will likely be much higher.
If the accusations are accurate, Mr. Sandusky should face the full fury of our legal system. But that’s not all that is disturbing to me. The plot thickens significantly when you realize that any number of other Penn State administrators, coaches (including Joe Paterno, the 84 year old, winningest coach in college football history) apparently KNEW that he had sexually attacked at least one boy and all they did was report it to their supervisor. They may have met the minimal requirement of the law but they certainly did not meet the requirements of a moral society.
Instead, the school officials decided to try and handle it “in house” and allowed Mr. Sandusky to retire and seemingly slip away quietly. He slipped away to start a foundation that serves underprivileged youth, with an office right on the campus. If he is a sexual predator, that situation could not be any more ideal for his escapades.
There is more here to consider than just the obvious issue of the prosecution and punishment of the predator and those who were complicitous in the cover up. There is the issue of how you and I protect children everywhere. Each child deserves the protective covering of our society. Whether we are a coach, a teacher, or just a next door neighbor, we are mandated not just by law, but by conscience to speak out and protect these kids.
No longer should any organization think they can handle these crimes “in house.” No church should look the other way. No school or college should pause for any reason, much less for the sake of a legendary football program. Call the police. Report the crime. Protect the kids!
This week, take a long look at your own children or grandchildren. Consider how innocent and vulnerable they really are. Stiffen your resolve to actively protect them, at any cost. It shouldn’t take a nano second for any of us to call the authorities and have the matter fully investigated. It is not our job to adjudicate the matter; it is our job to blow the whistle, loud, long and clear!
By His Grace and for His Glory,
Sherry L. Worel