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Did Penn State Officials Cover Up Child Abuse Scandal on Campus?

By Katherine Stone |

Penn State Sandusky

Penn State is caught in the middle of a former coach's child abuse scandal.

A major child abuse scandal broke this week at Penn State University that has students and parents reeling. As former Nittany Lions football coordinator Jerry Sandusky is released on bail, two more of the college’s officials will be arraigned today for covering up his alleged abuse of several boys in their early teens.

One would hope that when you send your kids to college you can at least feel safe that they are going to a good place with responsible adults who will look out for the best interests of children of all ages, but that may not be so in this case.

Penn State’s football team’s former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky has been indicted for inappropriate touching and rape of eight boys over a 15-year period.  Sandusky met the boys involved through a charity he founded for at-risk youth called The Second Mile.

Some of the assaults reportedly took place on campus in a Penn State athletics building. When an eyewitness reported one such incident to Nittany Lions head coach Joe Paterno, Paterno immediately took the information to the school’s athletic director Tim Curley and senior vice president for business and finance, Gary Schultz. Both Curley and Schultz failed to contact police or any other authorities after receiving the eyewitness report, and when they were questioned by a grand jury investigating Sandusky, their testimonies were “not deemed credible,” says FOX News.

Were Curley and Schultz protecting the beloved Penn State football team’s reputation from being tarnished? Did they feel it would be better for the school not to report a young boy being assaulted in a shower?

I have to wonder why Joe Paterno didn’t call the police himself, nor did any of the other people who saw questionable things happening between Sandusky and these young boys. They just reported up the chain of command at Penn State. USA Today reports the scandal, “puts a spotlight on Paterno, 84, who had Sandusky on his staff for 32 seasons. It’s unclear how much Paterno might have known or suspected and if there were any action he could have taken.”

I shudder when I think about the fact that my son is just eight years away from going to college. He hasn’t hit the teenage years yet, which I hear are awful enough that it makes it easy to send your kids away. He’s still an adorable, loving ten-year-old, and the thought of him leaving breaks my mama heart. I hope wherever he goes there are more responsible adults than some of the leaders at Penn State University.

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About Katherine Stone


Katherine Stone

Katherine Stone is the founder of the most widely-read blog in the world on postpartum depression, Postpartum Progress. She writes about parenting and maternal child health on Babble Voices and Babble Cares, as well as at Huffington Post Parents. Katherine is a mom of two and lives in Atlanta. Follow her on Twitter at @postpartumprog. Read bio and latest posts → Read Katherine's latest posts →

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0 thoughts on “Did Penn State Officials Cover Up Child Abuse Scandal on Campus?

  1. mama b says:

    I feel horribly for these children, not only were they from questionable home lives, they get involved with a foundation to help them only to be molested by an evil monster who preyed upon kids who people really didn’t care for. The first report of his sexually abusing a child was from 2002. It took 9 YEARS for this info to come out. How many countless children has he molested in that time, and how many before that? The boy in the shower is reported by eyewitnesses to have looked about 10. This guy is sick and the jerks who protected him are guilty too. They all should be fired. Gross, they are all guilty IMO.

  2. Suzie says:

    Total cover up. Penn State is sooooo screwed.

  3. michelle says:

    More evidence that college sports is a totally immoral system. I bet Sandusky was a great defensive coordinator, so, you know, they overlooked his “quirks.”
    Also, why exactly do we allow colleges and universities to deal with sexual assault internally rather than refer all cases to the police? That practice is another reason why the administrators felt they could get away with overlooking Sandusky’s behavior. They “handle” it internally all the time when female students are assaulted on campus.

  4. Tracie @From Tracie says:

    Mama B – if you read the grand jury report ( you will see that there were allegations earlier than 2002, and that one of those staff members (Schultz) knew about the 1998 incident (which also happened on Penn State property!).

    This was a far reaching, long-lasting cover-up.

  5. Brad Ballard says:

    This is a much more complicated story than just a potential cover up by the university.

    1. An investigation in 1998 that despite a quite a bit of smoke, the DA ended up closing the case. It is only clear that Schultz knew this. The university police report through him.

    2. Above D A has been missing since 2005

    3. His charity was notified of the 2002 incident and told the university closed the case.

    4. He duped many state agencies that work with his charity.

    There are many layers to this onion and we are just scratching the surface.

  6. Sanriobaby =^.^= says:

    Yes I agree w/Brad, there is a whole lot more to this story and it goes far deeper than we all realize. There are many in the inner circles of Penn State that knew exactly what was going on and most of them turned a blind eye. I can’t see how any of them, most of whom are parents themselves, continued to work w/this man. Those who choose to do nothing to stop this are equally as guilty as that monster and they should also be held liable. What’s sad is that these kids were in need of those services and this disgusting animal preyed upon thier trust and appreciation. It’s this very reason why laws need to be changed and make it so that schools/universities are not allowed to handle even the smallest of accusations internally. I hope all involved are sent to jail and that the victims and thier families sue Penn State for all they are worth! The money won’t change what happend to these kids, but at least it will allow them to hopefully do good with it.

  7. Amber @Beyond Postpartum says:

    As a PSU alum I literally am grieving this whole thing. It’s easy to say what we would have done had we seen something like this happen, or if someone else had told us it happened (whether in detail or not). It’s a lot harder when you are in the situation. When it’s second hand information and “you” don’t even know the child/ren being abused personally or perhaps even which group the child was associated with, I don’t know that “you” would have called the police either. I’ve been here, as a teacher and church employee. If only the world were black a white…
    It’s truly a shame that an incredible multi-decade career of being an amazing mentor, athletic and personal coach, and face of a University can be over-shadowed by and damaged beyond repair by someone else’s actions.

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