Just when you thought the Penn State child rape case could not get worse, it did. Shortly before Jerry Sandusky was convicted of 45 counts of sexual abuse against children, NBC obtained emails that were exchanged between former Penn State President Graham Spanier, Gary Schultz, and Tim Curley. The emails reveal that the trio, contrary to their claims, were well aware of the allegation against Jerry Sandusky, and that they were far more concerned with protecting Sandusky and their own reputation than protecting a child:
In an exchange of messages from February 26 to February 28, 2001, Spanier allegedly acknowledges Penn State could be “vulnerable” for not reporting the incident, according to two sources with knowledge of the case.
“The only downside for us is if the message (to Sandusky) isn’t ‘heard’ and acted upon, and we then become vulnerable for not having reported it,” Spanier purportedly writes.
The alleged e-mails among Spanier, Schultz, 62, and former Athletic Director Tim Curley, 57, never mention Sandusky by name, instead referring to him as “the subject” and “the person.” Children that Sandusky brought on campus –some of whom might have been victims — are referred to as “guests.”
The purported exchanges began 16 days after graduate assistant Mike McQueary first told Head Coach Joe Paterno on February 9, 2001, that McQueary believed he saw Sandusky make sexual contact with a boy in a locker room shower.
This looks like a cover-up even in the best light. The coded language only makes it look worse. But by far the worst part is this:
The next afternoon, Schultz allegedly responds to the Penn State president and its athletic director. Schultz signs off on handling the matter without telling anyone on the outside, at least for the time being.
“This is a more humane and upfront way to handle this,’ Schultz purportedly writes. But he makes clear Penn State should inform Sandusky’s charity Second Mile “with or without (Sandusky’s) cooperation.”
As for telling child welfare authorities, he adds, “we can play it by ear.”
If there is clear evidence that these men knew something was wrong and decided to protect Sandusky over protecting a child, that exchange is it. Their sole concern was for being more “humane” towards Sandusky, even to the point of waiting to until one of them spoke with Sandusky before deciding to report the incident to the police.
This is just disgusting, but on a legal level is it criminal because they not only turned a blind-eye to child rape, but these emails suggest they lied under oath. For instance, Curley told the grand jury he never heard of the 1998 incident, but he mentions it in the email exchange.
The oddest part about this is that these men likely covered this up in order to prevent the very thing that is happening now. Had they reported the incident immediately, all the media scrutiny could have been avoided. They would have been spared the embarrassment of protecting a child rapist. And they would have spared dozens of boys years of torment. If any of these men had an iota of sense or compassion, they would have done the right thing.
Actually, if they had an iota of sense they would not have allowed Sandusky anywhere near children after the 1998 incident. They certainly should not have allowed him to shower with boys.