One of the things I have always been ambivalent about since arriving in North America is college sports. I like sports, but here college sports can get just crazy. Here, they're bigger than Jesus - certainly at least on a par with most major religions. And now we have a situation at a college that mirrors that of the worst of Catholic priest excesses.
There's much instant journalism out there right now, but I challenge anyone and everyone to shut the hell up until they've read the grand jury report on the Sandusky charges.
The bulk of reporting has focused on victim 2, the 2002 case, but the stories of the 8 victims paint a picture that's pretty damning. Between football staff, campus detectives, janotprs, teachers, school principals and parents, there's really no wiggle room out of this for the child rapist. The only real question is how many times these stories have been swept under the rug before finally coming to light.
Dave Wischnowsky at CBS Chicago has an excellent article that questions the circumstances surrounding Sandusky's retirement in 1999 at age 55, in perfect health, when he was one of the most successful assistant coaches in the game. He was the heir apparent o an aging Paterno, but was informed by Paterno in no uncertain terms that he would not be succeeding him as head coach of Penn State. Sandusky was heavily pursued by many other programs for a head coaching job, but oddly chose to retire with full access privileges at Penn State.
There's certainly a question going begging there on what exactly happened then and who knew what, given that Sandusky was on the brink of having charges filed against him in 1998 (Victim 6) that were inexplicably dropped when Centre County Distrcit Attorney Ray Gricar deciced there would be no criminal charges. Again, oddly enough, Gricar disappeared in 2005 and was eventually pronounced dead in July this year.
Gricar vanished April 15, 2005, after taking a day off work as the Centre County district attorney. His red Mini Cooper was found abandoned in a Lewisburg parking lot, and his county laptop and hard drive were found in the nearby Susquehanna River, too badly damaged to be read. Gricar was 59, and just about eight months away from retirement.
I'm sure there are many enemies a DA can make in a career and many reasons a DA might find to disappear or be disappeared, but it's particularly convenient that it happened here.
It's really just inconceivable (maybe I don;t know what that word means) that Paterno knew nothing of Sandusky's proclivities. The truth will out eventually.
And then there's Mark Madden, Pittsburgh sports radio host, who has been peddling rumors that the Sandusky situation is merely the tip of pedophile ring iceberg. That would turn the scandal of the decade into the scandal of the century.
The bottom line is that this kind of exploitation of vulnerable children can happen anywhere there is a religious fervor and a cultish atmosphere that predators can exploit to their advantage. The church isn't the only place that can create that kind of atmosphere.