Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was found guilty on 45 counts Friday night in perhaps the most high-profile child sexual abuse case in our nation's history. But numerous signs indicate the Sandusky story is far from over, with ongoing investigations and multiple civil cases hinting that others are likely to become ensnared in a twisted tale of predation and abuse of power.
Perhaps Americans now are ready to come to grips with a problem that should have been addressed when the Franklin Scandal emerged, with connections to the Reagan and Bush I White Houses, in the late 1980s and early '90s. A cover up pushed the Franklin Scandal, and its tales of corporate and political elites using boys as sexual playthings, back into the darkness.
Jerry Sandusky has been described as a "monster" in the wake of Friday night's guilty verdicts. But he hardly is the only monster who preys on children while operating in powerful circles. And he had plenty of enablers along the way. Dave Zirin, of The Nation, puts it in perspective:
America’s always been very good at forming a crowd ready to cheer a good hanging. The national fabric has been woven with witch trials, executions, torture, and now presidential kill lists and on it goes. We love to slay those we label as monsters. We are less vigilant about the people who allow the monsters to roam the countryside. They get to write books, give lectures and be guests on the late night talk show circuit. (See Rumsfeld, Donald.)
There are many “Rumsfelds” in The People vs. Jerry Sandusky. During the trial, two facts kept appearing like a reoccurring malignancy. The first was something we already knew: that Jerry Sandusky’s God-like stature as defensive football guru at Penn State was his tool for both attracting children and winning the unquestioned trust of parents or guardians. The other stubborn fact is that people in positions of power at the university and in state politics smothered accusations as they swirled around Sandusky and his children’s charity, The Second Mile.
Life might soon get pretty uncomfortable for some of the "Rumsfelds" in the Sandusky story. And we suspect the nation now is going to be more likely to scrutinize other alleged monsters--and the "Rumsfelds" who allow them to operate. Let's examine a few subcurrents in the big Sandusky picture:
Did Sandusky pimp out boys for the sexual pleasure of corporate and political elites?
This angle surfaced last November and has largely faded from view. But the Web site corporatemediaexposed.com quickly raised the issue after Friday's guilty verdicts:
Sadly justice may have only been partially served with the corporate controlled media and most of the world ignoring the initial claims that Sandusky was running a child sex ring through his foundation, Second Mile.
Months before the Sandusky story broke through the corporate media, little known sports reporter Mark Madden broke the story which was then largely ignored
Shortly after the corporate media finally started to report the story and the scandal became known worldwide, Madden and others in the corporate press then reported a series of shocking claims that were then backtracked and labeled as “rumors” and unfounded without so much as being investigated by one major paper or cable news outlet.
Sandusky's lawyers have complained that their client was rushed to trial, and they were not able to adequately prepare. Corporatemediaexposed.com hints that the trial was rushed in order to help provide cover for those involved in a possible pedophile ring. The faster Sandusky could be convicted, the less likely his powerful playmates would draw scrutiny.
Michael Collins seems to touch on this issue in a splendid analysis at OpEd News titled "Unanswered Questions Remain About Sandusky Case." Collins notes Sandusky's habit of "grooming" his victims, and then notes that the coach seemed to think he was untouchable, even by football icon Joe Paterno, PSU president Graham Spanier, Athletics Director Tim Curley, and Vice President Gary Schultz:
When Sandusky got down to the purpose of his grooming, the sexual abuse of boys, his behavior was, at times, flagrant. Twice he was caught and reported for forcing sexual acts on male children in the PSU showers. Was Sandusky out of his mind with this ultra-high risk behavior?
Perhaps, but Sandusky behaved as if he were immune from punishment for his swaggering displays of deviance. Why else would he tempt the fates with the shower rapes unless he knew that fate wasn't involved; unless he knew that he had enough power to defy the most powerful people at the university, including Coach Joe Paterno . . . ?
What power did Sandusky have? Did he know something so compromising about the university that it got him off the hook?
Did he have friends even more powerful than Paterno, Curley, Schultz, and Spanier?
If so, what favors did they owe Sandusky to enlist their protective services?
Until we know who Sandusky had on his side to allow his flagrant public deviance, we won't know the true story of the Sandusky case.
Matt Sandusky raises the issue of abuse at home
The most disturbing testimony in the trial involved accounts of Sandusky showering with boys in Penn State locker rooms. But Matt Sandusky, the coach's adopted son, came forward near the end of the trial to say he had been victimized, too.
That raises the issue of child sexual abuse inside the home. We suspect that is where most abuse takes place--and why such cases are difficult to crack. If Sandusky had limited his perversions to abusing his own children, within the four walls of his home, he probably never would have been caught.
Penn State officials failed to report clear signs of child sexual abuse
Many states have laws that require any person or institution with cause to suspect a child is being abused to report it. We already have addressed this issue in a North Carolina case, where multiple medical and law-enforcement officials failed to report a clear case of child abuse. Pennsylvania has a law similar to the one in North Carolina, and two former Penn State officials--Athletics Director Tim Curley and Vice President Gary Schultz--already face criminal charges of failure to report. But Sara Ganim, of pennlive.com, says an ongoing investigation by former FBI director Louis Freeh could bring even more woes for officials connected to the university:
Several people interviewed by the investigators have told The Patriot-News the questions seemed centered on the workings of the athletic department and former head football coach Joe Paterno.
They’ve interviewed people going as far back as Bryce Jordan, the 87-year-old Texas resident who was university president from 1983 to 1990.
And they have recovered emails once thought to be lost during technology upgrades that are said to show conversations between administrators.
The attorney general’s office in court filings said the emails show that former President Graham Spanier was involved in the decision not to tell police about an allegation made against Sandusky in 2001.
The release of the Freeh report will come as Penn State tries to maintain its football legacy in a post-Paterno era with new coach Bill O’Brien.
The recovered emails could be particularly damaging for Penn State--and that issue hits close to home here at Legal Schnauzer. As regular readers know, I was wrongfully terminated at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), after 19 years on the job, because I wrote on this blog (in my own time, with my own resources) about the prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman.
That's not just a guess on my part; I have a tape-recorded conversation with a UAB human-resources official who admitted I was targeted because of my blog content about the Siegelman case. An e-mail trail undoubtedly exists that would show the unlawful actions of UAB officials in my case. That's why a corrupt federal judge named William M. Acker Jr. unlawfully granted summary judgment without allowing me to conduct discovery. That ruling is under appeal, but Acker clearly knew discovery would yield proof of how I was cheated out of my job.
That's the kind of corruption that exists in postmodern higher education. It is likely to be unmasked at Penn State, and as long as I have a breath in my body, it will be unmasked at UAB.
The Sandusky story hits close to home in at least one other way. I reported recently that I have been researching a case of alleged child sexual abuse. It has ties to corporate America, Wall Street finance, and (like the Sandusky case) higher education. I've uncovered stomach-churning details that are worse than anything revealed so far in the Sandusky case, and I'm close to having the story ready for publication.
Is America, and its institutions, ready to come to grips with the monsters in our midst? We are about to find out.