Columnists nationwide slam Penn State response to sex scandal
Penn State officials are in for a rough ride Tuesday morning as they make their Internet rounds and open their morning papers. Nationally and locally, columnists and opinion-makers are taking a dim view of the school's response to the signs of a brewing child sex scandal that involved its vaunted football program.
The scandal centers on allegations by state law enforcement officials that Jerry Sandusky, the retired defensive coordinator, sexually assaulted eight young boys between the late 1990s and 2009. Two top administrators -- Athletic Director Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, a senior vice president for finance and business -- are also accused of lying to a grand jury and failing to report suspected abuse.
All men have declared their innocence through their attorneys.
A sampling of opinion pieces, from Pennsylvania and beyond:
John Baer, Philadelphia Daily News political columnist:
"I don't know how anyone connected to the horrific child sex-abuse charges, and a very apparent cover-up, survives. And I mean anyone.
And I don't know how the university gets its pristine profile back.
I know there's a presumption of innocence. And the three men (so far) charged proclaim theirs.
Fine. But it sure doesn't seem there are innocents here, except for the eight (so far) victims whose abuse is graphically detailed in a 23-page grand jury presentment."
The Philadelphia Inquirer editorial board:
"Say it ain’t so, Joe Paterno. He was among many in the world of Pennsylvania State University football who did far too little to stop a once-trusted coaching colleague now accused of repeated sexual assaults on minors.
Penn State has its work cut out in assuring such failings never again darken Happy Valley."
Sports Illustrated's Michael Rosenberg:
"Today, Penn State looks precisely like the Catholic Church looked for so many years. There were accusations of pedophilia. The allegations were so horrific that they threatened to undermine the reputation of the institution. The people in charge should have brought the allegations to light. But they were more worried about how the institution would look than the values it is supposed to uphold."
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial board:
"Penn State officials must answer for a culture that cowed so many people to look the other way rather than come to the aid of the boys involved. It was only because of action taken by officials in a Clinton County school, and the mother of one alleged victim, that the grand jury probe was undertaken.
Now the university must fully explain what was known, what was done and why it wasn't more."
Emily Kaplan, columnist at The Daily Collegian, Penn State's student newspaper:
"I can’t help but fear that everything we once proudly believed is now tainted because of one man’s alleged disgustingly reprehensible actions and others apparently concealing the crimes for fear it would tarnish the university’s brand. And these men were supposed to be leaders, true blue and white."
-- Richard Fausset
Photo: Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan holds a news conference on Monday in Harrisburg, Pa., to discuss the child abuse investigation against former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. Credit: Matthew O'Haren / Centre Daily Times/MCT