This week, news surfaced of a sex scandal that took place within the infamous Penn State University football program. Jerry Sandusky, a former assistant football coach, sexually assaulted 8 or more young boys in Penn State athletic facilities. In 2002, Sandusky was prohibited from PSU’s main campus, after a witness saw him having sexual relations with a boy in the football locker room shower. The witness, Mike McQueary, who is now a Penn State assistant, reported the incident to head coach Joe Paterno the next day. He did not stop the incident, call the police, or confront Sandusky, instead he waited until the next day and told the coach. Paterno, a figurehead of Penn State, forwarded the information to the Athletic Director, Tim Curley. While Sandusky was prohibited from the main campus, he still continued to run camps for at risk youth at Penn State branch campuses. In 1999, Sandusky resigned, but continued to use University facilities.
Several witnesses saw Sandusky engage in inappropriate acts with minors after his resignation. Two janitors witnessed Sandusky with young boys. One saw him engaging in inappropriate acts in the shower, another walking hand in hand with a male child on campus. Neither witnesses reported the incidents to the university or to the police. The only action that was taken was the university prohibited Sandusky from bringing participants in his after school program on campus. From 2002 to 2008 there are a series of other events that take place, none of which are taken to the police, until a high school principal finally takes action.
This is a huge scandal to hit the football program and the entire population of Penn State University. The abuse is horrible and disgusting, but what is causing such a controversy is the fact that so many people could have stepped in and stopped the events, but no one did. Joe Paterno is famous for his emphasis on success, and honor, yet he was complacent in allowing the sexual abuse of several young boys to continue for years. These events took place on University property, and Sandusky used his position and power as a college football coach to control and abuse these boys.
Obviously this story does not exemplify the confrontation of the dirty hands problem we learned about. Nothing about what Jerry Sandusky did could be seen as a negative act in the name of a positive result. However, we can see how the dirty hands problem influences who we seen as culpable for a crime like this. As a Penn State leader, who has enormous influence over his university, Joe Paterno let illegal and immoral acts occur within his program. Can Paterno and Penn State University really clean their hands of this act? Who else is guilty other than Sandusky in this case?