Penn State and the failure of men

What kind of man sees or hears a child being raped, or suspects rape, and leaves the child to his fate? The kind of man with low character and a heaping helping of cowardice. What must a child think when a man rapes him or when another man sees him in peril and walks away?

On Monday, the Pennsylvania State University Board of Trustees released a report explaining why they “removed” the late head football coach Joe Paterno and university President Graham Spanier last November. Penn State alumni, students, and others complained about the firings and asked the trustees to “state clearly” why they did so. The report is their response.

According to the grand jury presentment, graduate assistant coach Mike McQueary said he witnessed former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky raping a child in the shower in 2002. McQueary went to Paterno’s house and told him what he saw. Paterno reported the incident to athletic director Tim Curley. Paterno testified that McQueary said Sandusky was “in the Lasch Building [on campus] showers fondling or doing something of a sexual nature to a young boy.”

I’ve read some of the grand jury presentment, and it’s not for those with weak stomachs. What Sandusky reportedly did to those children is sad, nasty, blood pressure raising, and evil.

Although Paterno, according to the report, “did his legal duty by reporting” the crimes to Curley, his decision not to do more to follow up “constituted a failure of leadership.”

The trustees also concluded that Spanier “took insufficient action” after he learned of the child’s rape.

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La Shawn Barber is a part-time freelance writer whose work has appeared in Today’s Christian Woman, Washington Times, Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, St. Louis Post-Dispatch and other publications. She has a bachelor’s degree in English and a law degree from Temple University School of Law. She attends Capitol Hill Baptist Church.