Judge Louis Freeh, hired by Penn State University to investigate the tragic Penn State sex abuse saga, has concluded that Penn State officials, including Joe Paterno and the school’s President, among others helped cover-up for Jerry Sandusky and thus allowed him to continue abusing young boys. The report indicates that school officials were more concerned for the Sandusky’s reputation and the school than those who were being subjected to criminal sexual abuse at the hands of Sandusky.
While sad, this was not unexpected news. We’ve seen this before with other institutions of public trust namely, the Boy Scouts of America and the Catholic Church. The tipping point at which a public institution begins to care more about its own reputation and standing than the public it serves is a dangerous one-both for the institution and the public at large.
According to MSNBC, “Freeh also found that “although concern to treat the child abuser humanely was expressly stated, no such sentiments were ever expressed” by university officials, including Paterno and the university president, for Sandusky’s victims. The report says that five boys were assaulted by Sandusky on university property after officials knew about a 1998 criminal investigation.”
It may take years of hard work and real reform before such institutions regain the public confidence, if ever. Public trust is a sacred, fragile thing. Abuse of same should rightly come with severe consequences.