PA - Victims blast NCAA Penn State action

PA - Victims blast NCAA Penn State action

When money was misspent at SMU, play is suspended. But when boys are raped and crimes are concealed at PSU, play continues. This sends absolutely the wrong signal. We're very disappointed that there's no suspension of football. That's the most effective deterrent to current and future cover-ups.

If the goal is to decrease the chances of wrongdoing, a clear signal is best. And no clearer signal could have been sent that suspending football.

A few will argue that the program has been punished too harshly. We disagree entirely. Vacating wins is a hollow punishment that will be forgotten by the time the next season begins. Bans from bowl games have been issued in the past because players traded championship rings for tattoos. This is not a punishment that is equal to the horrific crimes that happened at Penn State.

We're glad the fine will be spent on abuse prevention programs. We hope some of it will be used addressing the cover up of child sex crimes.

What we’ve learned from decades of similar scandals in churches is that agreements like this lack real follow up. We caution all who care about kids to remain vigilant. Over time, attention shifts elsewhere, officials start backsliding, and promises end up being violated. It’s crucial that parents and the public keep the heat on the University.

No penalty addresses the extraordinarily callous public demonstrations by many at Penn State in support of Joe Paterno. The school’s administration failed egregiously to reign in those whose actions intimidated victims, witnesses and whistleblowers from speaking up.

The rallies and riots were a clear indication that kids aren’t safe in the Penn State community. Yet even now, almost no one’s talking about or addressing the rallies and riots. That’s an egregious oversight.

We’re also disappointed that the NCAA president said nice things about the University’s president and board chair. It's premature to assess the initial steps by the University's new leadership. The real test is how officials act when public furor subsides and public attention wanes. It’s reckless to assume that a handful of new University staffers can or are making effective reforms.

The unhealthy culture of secrecy and self-preservation at the University didn’t spring up suddenly. It won’t be fixed suddenly. And it certainly won’t be fixed by wishful thinking and naïve hopefulness.

Kids are safe when adults report abuse. Adults report abuse, in part, when employers punish those who don’t. The NCAA missed this chance to punish Penn State University officials.

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  • published this page in Media Statements 2012-07-23 09:06:10 -0500