Do you still wonder how and why beloved Penn State football coach Joe Paterno and his superiors contrived ignorance while child predator Jerry Sandusky was using their facilities to trap his defenseless young prey? If so, you have a definitive answer in the recent statement of Penn State trustee Albert L. Lord, in an e-mail to The Chronicle of Higher Education. that he’s..
“Running out of sympathy for 35 yr old, so-called victims with 7 digit net worth. Do not understand why they were so prominent in trial. As you learned, Graham Spanier never knew Sandusky abused anyone.”
Spanier is the dismissed Penn State president who was convicted of one count of child endangerment last week for his handling—non-handling, really— of complaints about Sandusky. The verdict was correct: Spanier, like Coach Paterno, intentionally failed to investigate repeated claims that Sandusky was molesting young boys on campus, because he didn’t want to know if the allegations were true, That would have endangered Penn State’s beloved football program, which meant more to him, and obviously Paterno, than crime, truth, education, or harm to innocent children. Spanier probably was certain the Penn State board would endorse his priorities. Based on Lord’s jaw-dropping message, it still might.
Some of the victims of Sandusky, Penn State, and the tactical apathy of Paterno and Spanier have “seven figures” because Penn State is estimated to have paid out about $93 million to more than thirty Sandusky victims over twenty years. Lord—a moron— seems to think they got the benefit of the bargain. After all, what’s a little sexual molesting when you’re ten? Hell, he’d take a little diddling for three million bucks! Who wouldn’t? Go Nittany Lions!
His statement is signature significance for an awful human being. The fact that Penn State, after all the revelations, all the law suits, the NCAA’s punishment, all the bad publicity, all the quotes from students showing how thoroughly football had swallowed and digested the school’s educational mission and soul, still has on its governing board at least one such ethically warped ass shows that its culture remains toxic and dangerous.
In response to Lord’s message, Ira M. Lubert, the chairman of Penn State’s Board of Trustees,wrote in a statement to the Chronicle,
“Al Lord’s comments are personal and do not represent the opinions of the board or the university. The sentiments of the board and university leadership were expressed in the very first line of the statement released by Penn State: First and foremost, our thoughts remain with the victims of Jerry Sandusky.”
Ethics Alarms head issue scout Fred asks, “But can a university trustee speaking to the press about university affairs ever be considered to be speaking as a private citizen?”
Exactly, and the answer is, “No.” He may not be officially speaking for the board, but Lord’s sentiment shows that the Penn State board contains at least one member who trivializes child sexual abuse. Lubert can’t say “our” thoughts remain with the victims, because at least one part of that “our” just said in print that he doesn’t think they are truly victims any more. If Lord had said that he personally thinks that it was mistake to end slavery, would the Penn State board argue that it has no obligation to make sure that a racist isn’t part of the university’s governing body, because he made the satement as private citizen?
As long as Lord is on its board, we will know that Penn State isn’t serious about changing the sick culture created by Joe Paterno, and that if another Jerry Sandusky is suspected of molesting boys in the showers, the response of its officials is likely to be, again, “Oh, no! We have to protect…football.”