Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Emotional Rant Ahead

This week has been rough on me emotionally. Not because of anything happening to me or my family. We have our share of difficulties, to be sure. But this week is okay in that way.

I'm sure by now you've heard of the Penn State child sex abuse scandal. Joe Paterno, long-time coach who was widely respected for running a clean program, ended up losing his job. And I completely agree with the board's decision that he had to go.

Because in 2002 Joe Paterno was made aware of an assault on a child that took place in the very showers his own players used. The perpetrator was well-known to Paterno. Jerry Sandusky had been a defensive coordinator for Paterno for years. He'd also been investigated for similar allegations in 1998 involving minor boys and showers. Sandusky retired the following year, leading many people to believe that the shower incidents were the reason. So basically, Joe Paterno know he had a sexual deviant coming into his facility and bringing young boys with him.

When a grad assistant - one of Joe's former players and currently an assistant coach at Penn State - told Joe about the sexual assault, Joe reported the incident to the VP and the athletic director. Then he did nothing. Knowing that Sandusky had a history of this behavior, Joe Paterno didn't contact the police. He washed his hands of it. He thought his obligation to that poor child ended when he told some higher-ups, even though he knew that no legal steps had been taken to investigate the abuse.

So why does this bother me so? I'm not a Penn State alum. I'm not even a Penn State fan.

But I'm a mom. With a 10-year-old son. The same age as the boy in the 2002 assault. And I can't fathom how so many adults could so totally fail to protect innocent children when they knew Sandusky was a pervert. How could they turn a blind eye to the abuse?

My emotions have run from anger to sadness to disappointment to downright rage this week. I'm drained. My heart breaks for those poor boys who could have been spared if just one person had done the right thing. I can't help but think, what if that had been my child who had been abused then forgotten by people who could have helped him? And I really, really want to hurt someone. Maybe that makes me a bad person, but I want to hurt the man who violated those children, and I want to hurt the people who ignored it.

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