Before I get to a point I do not hear anyone talking about I must begin with what everyone is talking about. What Jerry Sandusky was convicted of are heinous crimes that should never happen. And if everything alleged in the Freeh report is true, it is doubling sickening. A violent crime against an innocent child breaks my heart. A preventable violent crime against a child enrages it. I hope the victims have found or will find peace and are able to move forward in their lives in a positive way.
Now that I said what must and should be said, here is what I really want to add to the discussion. Physical and sexual abuse of children occurs on a daily basis in this country. Where is the outrage for all of the other Sandusky’s of the country and those that enable them? Where is the sympathy and calls for justice for all of the other victims?
In the Penn State scandal, there is seemingly as much or more outage directed at the late Joe Paterno, and the Penn State administration that enabled and or could have prevented what transpired, as there is for the perpetrator himself. I am not here to defend them. But what about judges in states like Vermont and others that do not have Jessica’s Law? (Mandatory sentencing for child sex offenders) That give no, or minimal prison time to convicted child sex offenders who repeat their offenses? Where is the outrage towards them??? Where are the calls for change??? These are judges!!! Not a football coach. Not an athletic director. Judges!!! I am not suggesting we lower the standard that we hold the people of Penn State, rather that we elevate the standard we hold judges that are too lenient.
I do not want to debate Jessica’s Law specifically, but can we agree that it is reprehensible for a judge to give zero prison time, or a few months to a convicted child sex offender? Can we agree that states that do not already do so, implement laws that prevent this?
Understandably the Sandusky case has received a lot of coverage in the sports world because it occurred at a major college program, seemingly and disturbingly with the knowledge of a legendary football coach. I believe that the outrage expressed by all to be sincere. However, lets not let it go when this news cycle ends and the next story descends upon us.
Yes bringing this case to light is good. Punishing Sandusky is right, as is compensating the victims. But the calls to give Penn State “the death penalty”, which I do not have a problem with, will not help the children in states, without adequate laws, become victims of tomorrow.
While the spotlight is still on the issue and has the public’s attention and outrage, I call upon the worldwide leader in sports, ESPN, to take a stance outside of its realm. First Take, Skip Bayless, Steven A. Smith, PTI, Mike and Mike, and all the rest to join with child advocates like Oprah Winfrey, John Walsh and Bill O’Reilly.
Perhaps if sports, entertainment and news… people of different political ideologies can come together on this, not only will we protect children on major college campuses but also we can protect more children everywhere.