PA - SNAP applauds Freeh report but urges further action
We applaud this report, but by itself, it changes nothing. Understanding the past is good. Changing the future, however, is hard. So everyone involved should be vigilant and determined, not naive and complacent.
Often, we assume that when a scandal is exposed, reform will result, but that's not necessarily true. Information sometimes leads to action, but sometimes not. Penn state students, staff and alumni must continue to push hard for practical changes to the unhealthy, self-protective institutional culture at the school that endangers kids.
For starters, top school officials need to be prosecuted as vigorously as possible and punished as severely as possible. That is perhaps the best way to deter future cover-ups.
Next, every single honor ever given to Joe Paterno should be rescinded and removed. That will remind wrongdoers that no amount of professional success ever can or ever will "outweigh" harm to children.
And the university's culture and climate of athletics worship must be overturned. When we put individuals and institutions on pedestals, they are bound to be brought down at some point. Such idolatry is unwise and unhealthy.
The Freeh report on Penn State’s actions following reports that Jerry Sandusky was sexually assaulting young boys could be summed up in the words “Again, they showed no concern about that victim.” The reputation of the institution was put ahead of the safety of children.
Very powerful men chose to remain silent even though they had a least one credible allegation that Sandusky had molested a child. The report criticizes Paterno for his failure to “alert the entire football staff, in order to prevent Sandusky from bringing another child into the Lasch Building.” The location of the crimes is not the issue, Paterno failed to report the crimes to law enforcement, failed to take any action that would protect other children and failed to make any effort to locate or help the victim.
By turning a blind eye, Sandusky was allowed to continue to assault children. Those that enabled and shielded Sandusky should be held accountable to the full extent of the law.
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
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