Some time has passed since Joe Paterno's funeral. The legendary football coach from Penn State did wonderful things for the university and touched the lives of many people. Inreading the news story of the funeral, I got a chance to see things from the point of viewof his biggest fans and family. Many people adored Joe Pat, and I can understand why. He did do many good things. However, during his eulogy, it was said that Joe was "a hero wronged". Obviously, this was a reference to the child sexual abuse scandal that broke out and resulted in the termination of several prominent staff members, includingMr. Paterno.
The article went on to say that Paterno had done everything required of him when he heardabout the abuse, which was to report everything to his superiors. I took a moment to place myself in Joe Paterno's shoes. Would I have done the same thing if I was a beloved and devoted coach to Penn State? Honestly, I probably would. Many people probably would. I became an advocate for sexually abused children because God opened my eyes to their suffering. Before that, I hated child sexual abuse, but most everyone does on a philisophical level. I didn'thave any conviction to do something about it.
I'm sure Paterno hated the idea of young boys being raped, especially by the leader of a program associated directly with his school. I'm sure he hoped reporting it to his superiorswould bring it to a stop. But it didn't make it stop. This leads me to a question - why? Why didn't he or anyoneelse take deliberate action to make things right? No one can go back in time and look intohis head to find out what he was thinking, so any answer is pure conjecture.
Even so, these victims have been horribly scarred for the rest of their lives. It's difficultto understand the pain unless you've experienced abuse or witnessed the effects first handin someone else. Sexual abuse scars stay hidden in a person's soul, haunting them. I think that sometimes creates a mental disconnect for those looking on. Therefore, when you have a case with people whowere on the peripheral of the situation, and could have intervened to stop it, it's a littlemore difficult for the public to call for their punishment.
Look at it this way...at any point Joe Paterno and every other staff member who knew about the abuse could have said, "forget policy, charges these serious need to be investigated by the police. If boys are really being raped, it has to stopnow. Even if Penn state gets a black eye, they deserve justice." But none of them ever did. I'm not saying Paterno was a bad guy, I'm just saying hemade a bad decision. It's unfortunate that his life of good deeds was tainted at the end by scandal, but he was not wronged. He made a choice.