Most of you who either know me or who read what I write on a regular basis are very much aware that I’m gay, I’m out and I’m proud of BEING out. I and WonderWife – and a host of other GLBT folks of our generation – lived the Great Masquerade. That was a condition of life where we, basically, lived an out and out lie for most of our lives. That lie was that we were heterosexuals just like “everybody else” around us. There were then (and still are now, in various places in the world) very compelling reasons for this; the two most important ones were (and are still, in some cases), to insure our own physical safety as far as we could, and to be allowed to keep our families, both our birth families and our children. There are other reasons, but these two are paramount.
There have been far too many episodes of bullying, mostly, in these days of children who are perceived as being GLBT, and I am whole-heartedly in favour of Dan Savage’s IT GETS BETTER PROJECT (http://www.itgetsbetter.org/). However, that doesn’t address what I am speaking to at this point. That’s a column for another day.
Over the weekend, one of the former coaches at Penn State was arrested and charged with multiple counts of sexually inappropriate behaviour with male children.YOUNG male children. Young male children 10 years old and younger. This monster self-identifies as heterosexual. The two men that covered up his abominable behaviour self-identify as heterosexuals. Joe Paterno self-identifies as heterosexual.
On Saturday, Jerry Sandusky, 67, was charged by a State of Pennsylvania grand jury with myriad counts of deviate sexual intercourse, corruption of minors, endangering the welfare of a child, indecent assault and other offenses after a three-year state police investigation. The first incident was reported to Mr. Paterno happened in 2002, while he was an assistant coach at Penn State, working with Joe Paterno.– NINE YEARS AGO – and involved an “incident” in the showers between Mr. Sandusky and a 10 year old boy. That’s a TEN YEAR OLD CHILD.
Mr. Paterno made a statement over the weekend, and his words are truly appalling: “As my grand jury testimony stated, I was informed in 2002 by an assistant coach that he had witnessed an incident in the shower of our locker room facility,” Paterno’s statement read. “It was obvious that the witness was distraught over what he saw, but he at no time related to me the very specific actions contained in the Grand Jury report. Regardless, it was clear that the witness saw something inappropriate involving Mr. Sandusky. As Coach Sandusky was retired from our coaching staff at that time, I referred the matter to university administrators.”
In other words, he passed the buck up the food chain and forgot about it. His excuse? Coach Sandusky was retired “at the time”. No follow-up, no worries about what happened on his watch: just pass it on up the line and fergedaboudid.
The two school officials who were the ones that were charged with investigating the alleged inappropriate behaviors were the AD Tim Curley and Penn State vice president Gary Schultz; both were also charged with failure to report the abuse of a child and perjury for claiming they were not told of “sexual acts” by the graduate assistant, who the Harrisburg Patriot-News has identified as current Penn State assistant Mike McQueary. Both of them basically swept the entire business under the carpet and then lied about it. Both of them have resigned and are the focus of a grand jury probe. Mr. Paterno, as I said, did what was protocol: he passed the information on and forgot about it. Mr. Curleys' and Mr. Schultzs’ reactions were to band Mr. Sandusky from the campus, whether alone or in the company of little boys. Nothing came of the 2002 incident and Sandusky was allowed to live free for another 9½ years, where he went on to abuse more victims.
I won’t even go into Joe Paterno’s pathetic excuses. Pennsylvania law asks employees to pass the information up their chain of command, where it fell on Curley to tell authorities. However, Mr. Paterno is no normal middle manager. He is a powerful and iconic figure across the state and Mr. Curley worked as much for him as he did for Mr. Curley. Mr. Paterno also built his reputation as much for his moral compass and NCAA compliance as his 409 career victories in his five-plus decade career as head coach at Penn State. Mr. Paterno has always been about doing more than the letter of the law – at least, while he’s talking.
How could he possibly agree that there was concern that something inappropriate may have occurred between an old man and a young boy in the shower of what should’ve been a closed locker room yet apparently believe the information wasn’t inappropriate enough to call the cops himself? Yah, I can hear you all saying out there, “Well, he really wasn’t legally obligated to do more than that, so what’s the problem?”
The problem is that Joe Paterno, for years and YEARS, has held himself to a standard (at least in public) that he cares for children, cares for his football players and that he and his wife really, REALLY care what happens to children. Well, gangers, what he did in the past has, unfortunately for Mr. Paterno, is that the only thing that he really cares about is being head football coach of Penn State. IF he had truly cared about either the allegations or the welfare of the child, he would have – and SHOULD have – done more than just kick the problem up the food chain. Even 10 years ago, this man wielded the power to make everybody sit up and take notice.
What’s done, unfortunately, is done. What make me sick, and will continue to make me sick, is the FACT that a bunch of self-identified HETEROSEXUAL MEN were informed about a self-identified HETEROSEXUAL man possibly abusing children, and did nothing.
They did nothing.