A Birthday Present for Joe Paterno and the Penn State Child Molester

Aside from conversations with friends and the occasional comment on Facebook, I’ve stayed out of the whole Penn State mess. I did it out of respect for a great friend who’s an alumnus there and a very proud member of the cult of Papa Joe Paterno. I value her friendship and didn’t want to strain it.

I can’t remain silent any longer. I think it’s time to say something about it.

The Pilgrimage is built on the concept of action through social justice, or proving our faith through works as James talks about in the 2nd chapter of his book. In the realm of social justice and the various opportunities there, few are as important as the cause of child protection. There are a lot of needy people and causes out there, but children are a class of people that have limited chances to take care of themselves. In other words, they need our protection. They need good people to stand up for them.

So, after reading portions of Penn State Assistant Football Coach Mike McQueary’s testimony and bristling at how it made me feel an anger I cannot easily put into words, I thought it would be fitting to dive headlong into the fray on this, the 85th birthday of head coach Joe Paterno. He deserves this present from me.

McQueary testified that he heard running water and rhythmic, slapping sounds of skin on skin. He looked in a mirror and saw a naked Jerry Sandusky, the former assistant coach, holding a young boy by the waist from behind, up against the wall in the campus shower. He told Paterno the next morning, to which Paterno replied, “I’m sorry you had to see that.”

Now, I can’t answer for other people, but I know how I would have responded had I seen that or even something similar.

Let’s say I came across two adults engaging in consensual sexual activities in the locker room. It wouldn’t matter if it was two guys, two women, or a man and a woman. I would have cleared my throat really loud,  slammed a stall door, or slammed the bathroom door really loud. Two normal people would have likely stopped what they were doing because they got caught.

What about non-consensual activity? If I came across non-consensual sexual activity of any kind, I would have felt duty bound to stop it, to rescue the person being hurt. A child, a woman, a man. It doesn’t matter at all. Non-consensual sexual activity goes by many names and can include a wide variety of victims. Rape and molestation are two of the most commonly used terms. The rape or molestation of a child is one of the darkest, most evil things a person can do.

What exactly would I have done to stop this? I don’t know. Pull the offender off of the kid and beat the crap out of him. Call the cops and let them do it. I don’t know. I might be more aggressive than some, but my natural instinct would be to rescue the child and make sure that the offender spends the night or possibly the week in the hospital, and then call the cops.

I can tell you what I wouldn’t do. I wouldn’t walk away. I wouldn’t tell Coach Joe the next morning over coffee and let it ride. I wouldn’t let a child molester continue doing that over and over. I wouldn’t condone it. I wouldn’t worry more about the public image of Penn State and their beloved football coach than I did about those poor boys.

I would do everything I could to make sure that Coach Sandusky and anyone else involved in the act or the cover up paid for it.

That’s my humble take on the whole Penn State fiasco. I just can’t understand how so many decent people are making excuses for these guys. Even today I saw a news release regarding a letter sent out by hundreds of former Penn State players in support of Coach Joe Paterno, a man who allowed the abuse and molestation of who knows how many boys by protecting a serial child rapist.

One of our jobs as Christians is to protect others from evil. You should never step aside and allow evil to continue if there is anything you can do to stop it. It is your calling. It is your responsibility. To do less is just not right.

My question to you is, what would you do if you saw a child being molested?


8 thoughts on “A Birthday Present for Joe Paterno and the Penn State Child Molester

  1. Via Facebook- Cindy wrote: “This is repulsive to me! We have an obligation to protect the weak, or those that cannot protect themselves. I you do not do your job as a MANDATED REPORTER you are guilty too! I do not care who you are, you are not above the law. On my watch I will hunt you down, I will find you and I will take care of you, legally speaking of course. If you know foul play is happening, especially this nature of criminal actions you must address it. There is no excuse for ignoring it.”

  2. Via Facebook- Cindy wrote: “Thanks for posting this, even though it bothers me to read it, someone has to start facing the truth and standing up for what is right.”

  3. Via Facebook- Cindy wrote: “Not from my stand point. I don’t care if it was my Pastor, my husband, or the President of the USA himself. I would do everything possible to protect the child FIRST! Then I would report it to the POLICE, The Child protective services and the child’s parents (as my code of ethics requires.) Then I would report it to the authorities that govern the perpetrator’s employer and licensing board, AND I would hold everyone involved accountable. Then it would be necessary to assist in filing charges against the “PERP.” If it were my church or my pastor, I would leave them both (Just as I did with my previous employers.) If it were my husband (or any family member), I would leave him or them as well (fortunately for me I believe neither my husband nor pastor would ever do such a thing.) Never the less, if they are “caught in the act of committing the crime”, I would not hesitate to prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law. I cannot say exactly what else I might do, because I fortunately have not been in that particular situation, but if I were, I would not stop until justice was served. If that didn’t work, then I’m calling YOU or another, professional “hitman/body guard” to help me out. Perhaps, my friend, Lori’s friend John would help me out. I hear he is the MEANEST man on the earth, and he trains our police officers here locally.”

  4. Via Facebook- Eileen wrote: “We all can judge, say what we would have done…. but if you want to play the Christian card- two things: plank filled eyes and loving your brother. We do not know everything by any means and when I hear things that Coach Paterno DID indeed do that is not getting the media attention (just judgement like this), it is a shame…. on top of an already disgusting situation.”

  5. I am not defending Joe Paterno because none of us know what he did know or did not know. However, If someone I didn’t know told me something like that about one of my friends, I would have a tendency to believe my friends and not the accuser and I think this may have been the case. People who witnessed something like this should speak up and stand up for the child to prevent it from happening to another or try to stop it immediately when they saw it happening. I can’t believe that someone could see something like that and walk on by. But this is not the only case where we have seen this. People have been stabbed to death in New York streets with plenty of witnesses and no one helps the victim. On the other hand, people can also be the victim of lies and gossip and if we hurt people with things like that we are also committing evil . Sometimes the damage done with words is worse and more lasting than physical damage. I think we should hold judgement on Mr Paterno until we know more. And Sandusky is still claiming to be innocent and until we know for sure about him we have to wait and see. For all we know the person who said they saw it, may have not stopped it because he didn’t see it. I think he probably did but we do not know for certain. It is up to the officials and God to make this judgement.

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