PENN STATE–A Failure of Power-Speaking up for the Child Victims

Penn State-SILENT PARTNERS-It’s Not Enough to Fire Coach Paterno and the University President!

SanduskyShame on All the Silent Partners-Shame on Us

“Evil Prevails when good men do nothing” Edmund Burke

Blog from Shari Karney, Esq.

How did Former Penn State Football coach, Jerry Sandusky manage to prey upon young boys using Penn State as his personal Neverland?


Children getting sodomized and raped in the shower of a university by a popular football coach? A graduate student witnessed a child being sexually assaulted and called his father but neither of them reported it to the police? A legendary and seasoned football coach was informed of the rape of a child in his football training building, on his campus, in his locker room showers but didn’t do anything about it except cover it up? A University President was told about the sexual violation and does not report it to the University Police, or state law enforcement because he doesn’t want it to get out? A distraught mother of a victim called the University Police and is disregarded and no action is taken on behalf of her son? The District Attorney was told about the heinous event and does nothing and failed to press charges against the child predator. Even a janitor witnessed a coach performing oral sex on a frightened child, and does nothing but tell other janitors?
First, as a retired coach, “Sandusky had unlimited access to the football facilities, including the locker rooms.”

“Sandusky was not banned from any Penn State buildings” and the ban against bringing children on campus was not enforced. He held emeritus status with Penn State. In addition to the regular privileges of a professor emeritus, he had an office and a telephone in the Lasch Building (where much of the child sexual attacks took place).
How Did the Child Sexual Abuse Unfold?
(Summarized from the Grand Jury Report on alleged Penn State Sex Abuse)
It was 9:30 p.m. As the Penn State graduate assistant entered the locker room doors he was surprised to find the lights and showers on. He then “heard rhythmic, slapping sounds. He believed the sounds to be those of sexual activity.” As he put the sneakers in his locker, he looked into the shower. “He saw a naked boy, victim 2, whose age he estimated to be ten years old, with his hands up against the wall, being subjected to anal intercourse by a naked Sandusky.” (March 1, 2002).

The graduate student called his father, reporting to him what he had seen. His father instructed his son to leave the building and come home. {Why didn’t they call the police?} The graduate student and his father “decided that the grad student needed to promptly report what he had seen to Coach Joe Paterno, head football coach of Penn State.” The next morning, the graduate assistant telephoned Paterno and went to Paterno’s home where he reported what he had seen.

One and a half weeks later, the graduate assistant was called to a meeting with Penn State Athletic Director Curley and Senior Vice President for Finance and Business Schultz {hmmm—finance and business–it’s about the money the football team was raking in for the University and nobody wanting to jeopardize it !}.

The graduate student reported what he saw and Curley and Schultz assured him that they would look into it. Curley testified that he also advised Penn State University President Graham Spanier of the information he received from the graduate assistant. Neither Spanier nor Curley, reported it to the University Police.

Sandusky was employed by Penn State for 23 years as the collegiate football program. He played football for four years at Penn State and coached a total of 32 years.

Sandusky Founded Charity, The Second Mile, to help troubled boys.
While coaching, Sandusky started “The Second mile” in State College, Pennsylvania. It began as a group foster home dedicated to helping troubled boys. It grew into a charity dedicated to helping children with absent fathers.

Sandusky, according to the Grand Jury Report had access to “hundreds of boys, many of whom were vulnerable due to absent or dysfunctional families.”

“It was within The Second Mile program that Sandusky found his victims.”

The Victims—What Happened in the Showers at Penn State?

Victim 1-Testified that Sandusky performed oral sex on him “more than 20 times” on the Penn State campus.

Victim 2-Was anally raped in the shower at  Lasch Hall, trapped against the shower wall, struggling to escape, while Sandusky brutalized him. Victim 2 was 8-10 years old.  (Lasch Hall is where the Penn State football program is located and where the graduate assistant witnessed the sexual attack.)

Victim 3-Invited by Sandusky to go to Penn State Football games and to Holuba Hall (the Penn State Football practice building). Sandusky touched Victim 3’s genitals through his athletic shorts on at least two occasions.

Victim 4-“The Soap Battle”– Sandusky engaged him in workouts and then showered with him at the East locker room at Penn State. Sandusky started a soap battle which turned into wrestling in the shower, which turned into indecent contact occurring many times both in the shower and in hotel rooms at Toftrees. Sandusky even guaranteed Victim 4 he “could be a walk-on player at Penn State.” Victim 4 was in a video made about linebackers that featured Sandusky, and he appeared with him in a photo accompanying an article about Sandusky in Sports Illustrated.

Victim 4 became a fixture in the Sandusky household, sleeping overnight and accompanying Sandusky to charity functions and Penn State football games.

Victim 5– Age 8-10 years old was taken to Lasch Hall’s sauna area. Sandusky pinned Victim 5 up against a wall in the corner. Sandusky then took Victim 5’s hand and placed it on his erect penis. Sandusky purchased cigarettes and marijuana for Victim 5.

Victim 6– Arrived home with wet hair one night in 1998. His mother immediately questioned him about this and learned the eleven-year-old boy had showered with Sandusky. She reported the incident to University Police who investigated. University Police turned the matter over to the District Attorney. Investigation closed after the then-Centre County District Attorney Ray Gricar decided there would be no criminal charges.

Victim 7-On more than one occasion “Sandusky put his hands down my waistband pants.” Sandusky showered next to Victim 7 even through there was multiple showerheads in the locker room. Victim 7 has blurry memory of what transpired with Sandusky in the showers.

Victim 8-“In the fall of 2000, a janitor named James “Jim” Calhoun observed Sandusky in the showers of the Lasch Building with a young boy pinned up against the wall, performing oral sex on the boy.” He immediately made know to other janitorial staff what he had witnessed.

Nine years later Sandusky is finally arrested Saturday, November 5, 2011and charged with preying on boys he met through The Second Mile charity he founded. Two high ranking Penn State administrators (Curley, Penn State’s Athletic Director and Schultz, Senior V.P. for Finance and Business) face charges that they lied about knowledge of Sandusky’s crimes to a grand jury.

Why?  Conspiracy of Silence
What accounts for this conspiracy of silence that all victims of child sexual abuse suffer on a daily basis? No one wants to rock the boat, confront a beloved father, grandfather, or football coach. Suffer the children. You pick your team and it’s not the children’s team—it’s team profit and power. Victims are dispensable–we simply get in the way of the greater goal whether its winning the State championship, keeping the family together, money, media, publicity or profit, our cries and pleas are ignored and our predators protected.  All is well in the kingdom of pretend.

Penn State let a predator stalk and catch its prey on their home court. As long as he helped win those State Championships, brought home the bacon, kept up the façade …well, so what that a few troubled young boys were sacrificed? Are you taking your mentoring from the Catholic Church, Penn State?

Backs were turned on innocent children who will forever be damaged by the handprint that this child sexual assault will leave on them. A handprint, like a tattoo. One that can only be removed by laser therapy, and even then, the scars will be apparent. I weep for those children and for myself. I hang my head in shame for us all. I hang my head in sorrow for all child victims who grow up to be wounded, traumatized, maimed adults, struggling to make sense our of the insensible.

And as a nation we are shocked at what was uncovered at Penn State? We who deny it in ourselves and in our families, who protect the perpetrator and blame the victim, who sacrifice the children for the greater good of the family, the team, the University, the church, the you-name-it. Kids come last. Kids don’t count. You give lip service to how precious children are but you don’t mean it. It’s all lies to make us feel much kinder and more compassionate than we are. And if you don’t believe me, then take a look at Penn State. Because Penn State is a microcosm for every family, every institution, every church, every organization.

And by the way, Penn State just got caught. Beware Colleges, Universities, Graduate Schools, Law Schools, Medical Schools, Schools of Engineering, Science and Computer Science. Do you want to be the next Penn State? It is time for faculty, staff and student education, training, and reporting laws.  Do we really believe this is an isolated incident, just at Penn State?

Child sexual abuse affects one in three girls, one in five boys.  The United Nations did a world report on child sexual abuse and the numbers are staggering. They estimate 55 million boys worldwide and 127 million girls, with a grand total of around 173 million know child sexual abuse survivors. They also indicated that a full 90% of all child sexual abuse goes unreported. These are the reported cases only.

I know you are good and you want to help. Here’s what you can do. Work with your legislature to introduce mandatory reporting law. California has them and so many other states.

I for one believe that the legislature of Pennsylvania (and any other state that doesn’t  have mandatory reporting laws) must pass a law that requires any employee, staff,  or outside service providers of any instructions or educational facilities, to tell authorities, the police, and report to child protection services child abuse of any kind.

Why aren’t there mandatory reporting laws in the great state of Pennsylvania and across the United States? The victims in the Penn State “massacre” and victims of sexual abuse nationwide could be protected if there were such reporting laws passed and enforced nationwide. Laws should be passed that require any employee or outside service provider of any instructions or educational facilities, to tell authorities, the police, and report to child protection services child abuse of any kind.

We Don’t Want to Face It—It’s Painful and Heavy
We turn the other way when our children are sodomized in showers by coaches they trust, we allow relatives to fondle, molest, perform oral sex on, use and abuse our little ones. We pick profit and power over protection of our innocent children. We pick the perpetrator over our little ones. We pick secrecy at all costs. And the costs are enormous. Health care costs, mental health care expenses, loss of work, loss of profitability and full functionality. Child Sexual abuse creates a deep sadness, guilt, longing, anger, victimization, fear, inability to trust, to love, to be intimate, an inability to fully function and achieve one’s destiny. It robs a child of  light and love and trust. You can help stop it. You can speak up and speak out—tell the truth or at least be willing to see the truth and face the truth. To love and support someone from your own family who has the courage to step forward and tell.  If anyone at Penn State had stood up and spoken up for these boys and against their perpetrator, a whole lot of other children could have been saved the scrounge of this crime.

Penn State and how it was handled for  over ten years,  brings me back to my own childhood of sexual trauma and torture. To my own tortured past, to the massive destruction and havoc it wrecked in my life, to the long road to recovery.
When will it stop?

When good people decide to do something so that good can prevail?

Join us. Sign up for the newsletter. Let’s get legislature moving in every state. No more Penn State. No more coaches hiding pedophiles in charities for the most vulnerable and helpless among us.

I believe in you.  I know you have a good heart and I love you with all of my heart.

I’d love to hear from you.
Please respond.

With Love and Gratitude
Shari Karney, Esq.
Survivor of Child Sexual Abuse