As yet another child sexual-abuse scandal begins to unwind, this one in State College, Pa., I find myself moved to ask:
What sort of person, upon entering a college locker room later in the evening and hearing “rhythmic, slapping sounds” he believed to be sexual activity, and who walks further into that locker room and sees a boy “whose age he believed to be 10 years old,” with his hands up against the wall and a man in his late 50s having vigorous anal intercourse with that boy — what sort of person immediately leaves the room, “distraught,” goes home to tell his father, and supposedly tells the head coach of the football program, but doesn’t go into specific detail, so that the coach later says he only heard the two were “showering together.” What sort of person does that, I ask you?
The reeling back, I understand. The brain does that, asks, did I really see that? But give it a few seconds, and it sinks in: I just saw an AARP-eligible adult fucking a 10-year-old. What do I do now? The fact this graduate assistant did nothing of consequence, this I find astonishing. This wasn’t a teenager, but a boy. This was rape by even the narrowest definition. Who doesn’t walk back in and break things up? And even if he had a reason to leave, who doesn’t call the police immediately? And if he had a reason not to do that, who then would tell others but somehow leave out the nature of the act he witnessed?
I just don’t believe it. If Penn State football coach Joe Paterno claims he was told the boy and his former defensive coordinator were merely “showering together,” I say he’s lying. And if he isn’t lying, he’s taffy-headed. And if Penn State doesn’t have a row of heads — taffy, silver-haired and otherwise — on pikes by the end of the week, then I guess we have a situation like that Stephen Colbert quote people keep passing along, which I will modify to suit: That either we accept that criminal sexual abuse of children is wrong and we are morally and legally obligated to stop it whenever we can, or just admit that when it conflicts with the interests of the most powerful church in the world, or a college football program, we simply don’t want to do it.
What’s most disgusting is the fact the boy in this case was one the alleged perp, Jerry Sandusky, found through his special charity to help “at-risk” kids. I’ll say they’re at risk. And the thing is? Predators know this, and cut kids like this out of the herd like jackals. I recall a case in Fort Wayne, a lawyer of extremely minor reputation who would contribute columns to our op-ed page. He owned rental property, and one day he put aggressive moves on the daughter of one of his Section 8 tenants, pushing her against a wall and feeling her up. Fortunately, the girl and her mother refused to be cowed by this stuffed shirt, called the law and got his ass charged.
If you want to know why youth organizations now have to have elaborate, creepy policies regarding contact between teachers/counselors/coaches and the young people they serve, now you know. Thank Jerry Sandusky, Joe Paterno, et al.
OK, then. Eastern Standard Time arrived this weekend with the usual fun of an extra 60 whole minutes of sleep, followed by nightfall at dinnertime, and friends? Not ready for that yet.
Do we have any interesting bloggage? Let’s see…
Dahlia Lithwick hardly ever writes a lousy column, but this one, about Herman Cain and sexual harassment in general, is particularly good. And in keeping with today’s rancid theme, I might add.
If you’re young, chances are you’re worse off financially, in comparison to your elders, than any time, ever.
Gee, can you tell I hate Mondays? So have a Monday, then. I’m off to have mine.