With so much attention being given to the firing of football coach Joe Paterno and school President Graham Spanier, as well the long-term impact on the school from the sexual abuse scandal that came to light at Penn State this week, there's a danger of the alleged victims being forgotten.
Harrisburg's Patriot News reminds us that if former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky did indeed sexually abuse at least eight boys over the past decade or so (he denies the charges), there are some young men and their loved ones who are suffering — and that what's happening now is causing them more pain.
The sister of one boy is a junior at the school. She's spoken with the newspaper (which did not identify her to protect her brother's identity). Her brother was 11 when he was allegedly molested by Sandusky in one of the school's showers. She says:
-- "I've been going to minimal classes, because every class I go to I get sick to my stomach. People are making jokes about it." Others, she said, have coined the verb "Sanduskied." You can imagine the context.
-- The young woman also says that the scenes in State College, Pa., last night of students rioting in the streets because they're angry about Paterno's firing, mean that "if there was any pride left at PSU, it's gone now."
"I've just been really upset about it all," she added, "because a lot of people aren't focusing on the victims in this. And instead they're focusing on other things, like football."
Meanwhile, attorney Ben Andreozzi is advising some of Sandusky's alleged victims and their families. He says the Penn State trustees should have anticipated how students would react to news of Paterno's firing and perhaps held off — allowing the coach to retire at the end of the season instead, as Paterno wished.
Trustees "should have considered these victims watch TV and are aware of the students' reaction and may not want to be associated with the downfall of Mr. Paterno," Andreozzi tells the Patriot-News. "The school instead elected to do what it felt was in its own best interest at the time. Isn't that what put the school in this position in the first place?"