Monday, November 14, 2011

Granny Bird Award: Those Who Knew And Did Nothing

This edition of the award, given from time to time to individuals or groups who adversely affect the rights and interests of the elders, goes to all the people who knew that Jerry Sandusky was molesting children and did nothing to stop him. It goes to everyone at Penn State who knew, to the public school employees who certainly suspected, to the donors to his "child care" organization who may have availed themselves of Sandusky's services: all of them. Their excuse that "No one said no to Jerry Sandusky" is appalling.

No one said no to Jerry Sandusky.

That's the underlying message from those closest to the alleged victims in the child-molestation scandal that has engulfed Pennsylvania State University.

After all, Jerry Sandusky, once the heir apparent to legendary football coach Joe Paterno, had been an assistant football coach at Penn State, a longtime community volunteer, and the founder of a well-known charity to help troubled youth.

Last Saturday, after a multiyear grand jury investigation, Sandusky was arrested on charges of sex abuse of eight minors from 1994 to 2009.

I have avoided comment on this horrific story for many reasons, chief of which was my profound disgust and heartbreak over the details as they slowly began to emerge. People freakin' knew, they knew. But Sandusky was a big shot at the big shot football program at the big shot university. They let him slide. They protected him. They let the children suffer.

Like all elders I know, I am deeply concerned for the generations which will follow me. I may not have children or grandchildren, but my friends and relatives do. I care about those children and all children. They represent the future, the continuation of our species even after I'm gone. I don't like the thought of all that the next generations will have to face because of our misfeasance. And I hate the thought that these children will have an even heavier burden because of the malfeasance of the perpetrator(s) and their enablers.

May God forgive them all. Quite frankly, right now, I cannot.

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