On Wednesday night, I felt compelled to watch the press conference held by the Penn State board of trustees. “Joe Paterno is no longer the head football coach, effective immediately,” said John Surma, the vice chairman of the trustees and the CEO of Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel.
The magnitude of the charges brought against former Penn State football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky didn’t begin to really hit me until I heard those words. Arguably college football’s most storied head coach and Sandusky’s immediate superior, Joe Paterno now leaves behind a legacy of gross negligence, incompetence, and utter disregard for the welfare of young and vunerable children, regardless of Jerry Sandusky’s criminal fate.
Unfortunately, it appears that the number of individuals known with involvement in the alleged cover-up will grow. Reported by Deadspin, the tax returns of Sandusky’s charity, The Second Mile, reveal that Sandusky received an annual consulting fee of $57,000 beginning in 2001. Sandusky stopped earning income from The Second Mile in 2009.
Although The Second Mile asserts on its web site that possible wrongdoing on Sandusky’s part was not brought to the charity’s attention prior to 2009, there are strong indications of otherwise. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that in 1998, attorney Wendell Courtney served as counsel for both Penn State and The Second Mile. At that time, Sandusky was under investigation for sexual misconduct with a minor male child taking place in a Penn State shower, according to the presentment by the investigating grand jury.
Jerry Sandusky founded the statewide non-profit organization The Second Mile in 1977 to provide support for at-risk children. This organization may have continued to pay—and hence support—Jerry Sandusky after it became aware of his possible sexual misconduct. It’s unfathomable enough to think that even one man is capable of the horrific acts alleged in the indictment. To think that the organization he founded facilitated the conduct makes you wonder how many people were aware this was going on.
At this point, all we can do is show our support for the victims and hope all those involved are brought to justice.