It’s been both disturbing and shocking the news coming out of Happy Valley, Pa this last week with the child sexual abuse revelations. As someone who hails from Western Pennsylvania, Penn State University and their football program has been the model of excellence for many years. Even as far back as when I was going to high school in the late sixties and early seventies, Coach Joe Paterno was revered and respected. He’s done nothing but add to his remarkable career since then.
As despicable as the allegations are against the former Penn State Assistant Coach, it was still quite surprising that the media fervor created sufficient outrage to bring about the firing of Coach Paterno, an institution unto himself. Despite the fact that Sandusky was 12 years removed from active coaching on Paterno’s staff, the mere fact that the primary incident took place on the campus, witnessed by a coaching intern and first reported to Coach Paterno, the board of trustees felt the only way to demonstrate how serious they took the allegations was to severe ties with the program’s icon.
It is unfortunate that one person as disturbed or evil as you might consider him, can have such a devastating effect on so many lives. His alleged crimes to the young victims under the disguise of assisting under privileged young boys made the events even more shocking. We live in a society full of stereotypes and Sandusky didn’t fit the type of person we think of when we picture a child predator. Unfortunately we continue to realize the world is full of individuals who can’t control their impulses and they come from all walks of life.
As our justice system and further investigations into the incidents continue, we’ll learn more details of the events surrounding these hideous allegations. Once again though, we must learn from events such as these and become even more vigilant to all types of abuses in society but especially to our young and those most vulnerable. It’s almost certain we’ll learn that somewhere in Sandusky’s past he too was a victim of abuse.
Dan Alexander is publisher and CEO of Denton Publications. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.