Thursday, November 10, 2011

Mistakes That Haunt Us

Well, society just gets more and more depressing. I'm talking, of course, about Penn State's now infamous child rape/abuse cover-up. You know, how the former defensive coordinator would rape children on campus in shower rooms, created an at-risk youth group that would actually put these defenseless young boys into his path and grasp, and how the graduate assistant witnessed a rape early on, told Coach Joe Paterno about it, who told his boss, who then didn't do anything except tell Sandusky not to bring children onto campus anymore? That one?

Yeah.

It's sickening.

And then, when it all came to light (years after several boys --at least 15 --were raped and abused), the Board of Trustees did the actual decent, moral, and justifiable thing --they started firing people. Joe Paterno, the famous college football coach (their own LaVell Edwards) was included in the firing.

And students are rioting and protesting and calling "foul" and are devastated that their beloved coach would be fired for something so trivial.

What I can't stop thinking about (after hearing all the details):

*The poor graduate assistant who witnessed the rape and didn't rush in and beat the snot out of Coach Sandusky. Instead, he walked away and told Joe about it. How different could it have turned out if this kid could have had the courage to save that poor boy? The biggest advocate an abuser of this kind has is SECRECY. When the secret is exposed (like being humiliated at being caught in the act, having the police arrest him immediately, being stopped, etc.), it kind of stops abuse, you know? How this graduate assistant must be regretting not intervening, you know?

*Why didn't Joe follow through on the investigation? Why didn't he call the police?

*Those poor victims, already in high-risk situations, thinking they are a part of something awesome, and then having all of their innocence stripped from them in one incident. My heart breaks for them.

It doesn't matter that Joe Paterno didn't actually abuse anybody. It doesn't matter that he's been such a great, outstanding coach and man all these years. He looked the other way, plain and simple, and he allowed this coach --under his responsibility! --get away with the worst of the worst and vilest of vile crimes. Repeatedly. By simply ignoring the possibility of it happening again.

The other week, Brandon and I were talking about forgiveness. He was explaining that (up to a point) to give people a chance to prove they have changed is something worth fighting for. We all make mistakes, right? We all deserve the chance to repent, move on, and be better. This is especially true to people who may have inadvertently hurt us, ex-cons (like my awesome cousin), etc. But I also pointed out to him that there are exceptions. For example, nobody would allow a pedophile to hang out with children alone just to prove that the pedophile has changed for the better, right? I mean, we wouldn't do that to a child. The chances of the child becoming abused or a victim are too high. It's not worth it. No matter the ideal or hope.

So, look. Joe may have made a "simple mistake," but this mistake was HUGE. It very well may have aided in the raping of 14 more boys. He was an accessory by looking the other way. His "mistake" will haunt him forever.

It makes me sick. Sad. Disgusted. That this could happen at a respectable University (for so long) just hurts my heart. And I would be lying if I didn't say that it makes me a little more proud of BYU and how it handles Honor Code violations. Can you imagine if something like this was discovered at BYU? I can pretty much guarantee you would never see a cover-up (I hope!). So, I say Kudos to any University that doesn't allow this kind of disgusting and evil behavior to carry on in their Universities, and I applaud Penn State for bringing justice to those poor victims --no matter how long it took.

3 comments:

Middle-aged Mormon Man said...

Matthew 18:5-6
And whoso shall receive one such little child in my aname receiveth me.

But whoso shall aoffend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

The whole think makes me sick. I lay in bed physically ill one night thinking about my own sweet boys and the existence of monsters like this guy. I agree with everything you said except for the assumption that it probably wouldn't happen at BYU. It could happen everywhere because Satan is everywhere. He's such a jerk, really. This whole story just makes me want to punch him in the face. (and a few other people)

Cheryl said...

What I meant, Steph, was that a cover-up would probably not happen at BYU. True, that awful stuff could happen, but it wouldn't happen more than once!