Trustee’s comments appalling
Graham Spanier had the power to halt former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky’s molestation of children about a decade before Sandusky’s perverted deeds were revealed in late 2011.
The fact that Spanier, Penn State’s former president, didn’t inform police immediately upon being told of suspicions involving the former coaching assistant allowed Sandusky to continue to add to his list of young victims over about the next 10 years.
During the sexual abuse Sandusky inflicted, some of it in university facilities, the young victims suffered psychological and emotional wounds that most, if not all, will carry with them for the rest of their lives.
Financial settlements and apologies never will fully exorcise the mental trauma that the many Sandusky victims incurred as a result of being abused in sordid ways.
Meanwhile, Spanier, who on March 24 was convicted of child endangerment for allowing Sandusky’s horrific conduct to remain unchecked for so long, must continue to live with how grievously he failed those young people.
Spanier doesn’t deserve sympathy, but sympathy remains in order for Sandusky’s victims.
It’s incredible in a terrible way that a current Penn State trustee, despite his right to remain a Spanier supporter, believes that there’s a limit to the sympathy that should be extended to Sandusky’s victims.
As reported by the Mirror on March 31, trustee Al Lord said he was “running out of sympathy” for those whom he described as Sandusky’s “so-called victims with seven-digit net worth” — apparently referring to financial settlements awarded to them.
According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, Lord expressed that opinion in an email to the publication in the wake of Spanier’s conviction.
First, Sandusky’s victims were not “so-called victims,” and that characterization demeans them, as well as being absurd.
They truly were victims of a long-respected individual who was in fact a monster.
And, alluding to “seven-digit net worth” was an irresponsible slap at formerly vulnerable people who deserved every dollar of the settlements they received — perhaps, in some cases, even more.
It’s a tragedy that one man — Sandusky — was responsible for the disgrace and losses that the university has incurred, and continues to endure.
It’s a tragedy that the insatiable, perverted sexual needs of one man — Sandusky — ultimately brought an end to university careers — including Spanier’s — that up until that time had been held in high regard, not only by the university community but well beyond.
But it was Spanier, by virtue of the power of his university presidency, who could have put the brakes on Sandusky’s victimization of children immediately, after receiving the first allegation against the former assistant coach. A phone call to police was all that was needed.
That necessary action didn’t happen.
For Lord, a university trustee, to now “run out of sympathy” for Sandusky’s victims is appalling. It’s reasonable to ponder whether he merits membership on the trustees board.
“First and foremost, our thoughts remain with the victims of Jerry Sandusky,” reiterated trustees chairman Ira M. Lubert, in response to Lord’s statement. Lubert said Lord’s comments were “personal and do not represent the opinions of the board or the university.”
The inanity of Lord’s comments cannot be overstated. Sandusky’s victims and the university deserve better.