The trial of ex-Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky ended with a lengthy list of guilty verdicts, but the questions still unanswered go further than what his sentence will be.
A chain of emails has surfaced in an independent investigation concerning the 2001 incident in which Mike McQueary, then a graduate assistant football coach, caught Sandusky in the shower sexually assaulting a young boy. And they reportedly involve the correspondence of several former Penn State officials. However, its the presence of the name of the late Joe Paterno, Penn States iconic head coach and the former boss of both Sandusky and McQueary, that is so unsettling.
The emails suggest further involvement by Paterno, who died this year. They show that, at a particular moment after the 2001 incident, others favored reporting Sandusky to child welfare authorities. After talking with Paterno, they didnt think that was such a good idea anymore.
Assuming the accuracy of these emails, what was the full extent of Paternos involvement in the alleged cover-up of the scandal? How is it possible for adults to conclude that the humane thing to do was to ignore the plight of an abused 10-year-old boy? These questions demand answers, not only to understand what gave rise to the Penn State scandal but also for the sake of past and future cases in which children have been victimized at the hands of adults and were then made to live in shame.