Penn State University and the Folly of ‘Moving Forward, Not Looking Back’

By: Monday July 23, 2012 10:45 am

For fourteen years, the university put its prestigious football program ahead of doing anything for the children, who were victimized. This is appalling and despicable. And, now, today the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has levied incredibly severe penalties against the institution for covering up crimes that were committed against children. What does this case tell us about holding other institutions and officials, including government, accountable for their actions?


Penn State Sanctioned Harshly by NCAA for Sandusky Sex Abuse Scandal

By: Monday July 23, 2012 10:08 am

The NCAA has banned Penn State from college football bowl participation for four years, fined the university $60 million, vacated 110 victories from 1998 to 2011, and enabled all football scholarship athletes at the school to transfer without having to sit out a year. Except for banning, this is perhaps the most that could otherwise be done in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal.

Penn State President Graham Spanier in His Own Words

By: Monday July 16, 2012 3:30 pm

Since last November, when the Jerry Sandusky saga propelled Penn State into the headlines, I’ve wondered about Penn State’s former president, Graham Spanier. After reading the Freeh Report in its nauseating detail, I did more than wonder — I started digging for Spanier’s own words on what it means to be a university president.

What I found does not make for a pretty picture.

The Freeh Report: The Cost of an Accountability-Free Climate Comes Home to Roost

By: Thursday July 12, 2012 1:54 pm

Louis Freeh’s long-awaited report is out on the institutional handling of the Jerry Sandusky affair at Penn State, and it is brutal. More than anything, it comes down hard on the climate of Penn State that denied the need for accountability and oversight.

Sandusky’s TV Admissions Already Fit Legal Definition of Sex Crimes

By: Wednesday November 16, 2011 11:30 am

The fallout from the worst idea ever for an exclusive interview while under indictment continues. Just what Jerry Sandusky admitted to Bob Costas on national television, all of which is admissible as evidence, is enough to put him in jail for up to five years

Choosing Between Two Visions of Institutional Loyalty at Penn State

By: Saturday November 12, 2011 9:00 am

Institutions faced with allegations of criminal misconduct like the rape of children have a choice. The president of Penn State, following the model used by the bishops of the Roman Catholic church, backed his athletic director and VP for finance unconditionally when they were indicted. But the Board of Trustees took a different path, demanding openness to wherever the investigations by prosecutors takes them. That kind of institutional loyalty will, in the long run, help Penn State come to grips with what has happened in their midst — much more so than attempts to cover up, make excuses, and otherwise keep silent.

I’ve been a campus pastor, and my heart goes out to the campus pastors at Penn State. But one of them has a much tougher assignment than the others: Father Matthew Laffey. The Roman Catholic church in Philadelphia is facing a remarkably similar criminal indictment of Monsignor William Lynn, the former assistant to the former Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua. Lynn faces trial next March on charges that he protected priests he knew to be pedophiles, with the knowledge and support of his boss, the Cardinal. It doesn’t help matters for Father Matthew that Penn State’s Catholic campus ministry is in the middle of constructing the Suzanne Pohland Paterno Catholic Student Faith Center. (That’s Mrs. JoPa.)

Good luck with all that, Father Matthew.

Legal Worries for Paterno Don’t End After Firing

By: Friday November 11, 2011 2:15 pm

There’s a deep undercurrent here that people don’t really want to talk about. But it’s there. The lives of children are entrusted to the all-American tradition of athletics, and the controls on keeping predators out of that tradition are obviously lax.

The Penn State Scandal and the Loss of Faith in Institutions

By: Wednesday November 9, 2011 11:30 am

Penn State’s football coach Joe Paterno submitted a pre-emptive retirement, effective at the end of the season, before the Board of Trustees of the university meets to investigate the case. The day before, Paterno appeared at an impromptu pep rally on his front lawn, cheering on student supporters. It’s a horrifying cap to an era of elite failure.

Late Night FDL: Joe Paterno for Pope

By: Monday November 7, 2011 8:00 pm

You are never going to be able to get rid of all sick people ever. These people find kids to victimize like that is their job. So absent a science fiction vaccine that wipes out whatever wiring flaw in people’s minds as makes them do this, what you have to have is an oversight structure with its eyes on the prize. The prize isn’t the football coach’s reputation, or the university president’s, or the football team’s, or the town’s. The prize isn’t keeping everybody quiet so that nobody at Sports Illustrated has to write anything awkward. The prize isn’t letting Joe Paterno retire quietly as a legend because legacy and winning and blah blah blah.

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