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Penn State sex abuse scandal rocks sports world and beyond

by AirTalk®

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Penn State University head football coach Joe Paterno leaves his house on Nov. 9, 2011, in State College, Pennsylvania. Paterno is now under fire for his failure to follow-up on the child abuse report after police were never contacted. Rob Carr/Getty Images

For 23 years, Jerry Sandusky helped well-respected Pennsylvania State head coach, Joe Paterno, lead their football team to victory after victory. For 23 years, Sandusky was a major player in the high-profile world of college sports. Now, he’s been brought low by sex abuse allegations from eight young boys that he allegedly recruited through a charity that he founded to help troubled youth.

According to a Grand Jury report on the case, Sandusky was caught on several different occasions having inappropriate contact with boys. But the instance that could bring down head coach Paterno as well as other officials at Penn State is one in which a graduate assistant allegedly caught Sandusky assaulting a 10-year-old boy at the campus football building. The graduate assistant reported what he saw to Paterno, who called athletic director Tim Curley. Curley and a senior vice president of finance, Gary Schultz, assured the graduate assistant that they’d take care of the matter. The police were never contacted.

Now Curley and Shultz have been charged with failure to report child abuse and perjury before a grand jury. Both men have left their positions at Penn State but are fighting the charges. Grand jury testimony also indicates that Penn State President Graham Spanier also knew of the allegations; now calls for his ouster are mounting.


How could these men have ignored something this serious? Is there a psychological element at play? Does the will to win, and to keep the big paydays coming, overwhelm the will to do right by eight young boys? And how does the culture of high-profile sports teams play into this case? As a sports fan how are you feeling about the Penn State scandal? We’ve seen predatory coaches in many sports, so as a parent what can you do to keep your child safe?


Scott Detrow, reporter for WITF in Harrisburg, PA

Casey Cooper, licensed sports psychologist

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