"Although we understand the task of healing is just beginning, today's verdict is an important milestone. The community owes a measure of gratitude to the jurors for their diligent service. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the victims and their families."
-- Statement from Paterno family following conviction of Jerry Sandusky
The healing could have started a decade ago.
That's when Joe Paterno, the legendary coach of Nittany Lions football, was told by a coaching assistant named Mike McQueary that Jerry Sandusky was doing unforgivable things to little boys in the shower room at team training facilities.
Paterno's instincts were simply to protect his football program. He didn't report Sandusky's crimes to law enforcement or demand an investigation - he didn't even take steps to make sure that the creep left town. In that sense he fucked those kids, too.
Some people remembered his as a hero when he died in January - almost immediately after having been fired. He should have been universally vilified.
Take a moment to consider what you would do if you discovered that someone close to you was raping children. Any reasonable person would take immediate action. There would be no options to weigh - no reasoning - just a bit of evidence gathering and cop calling. Paterno and other Penn State officials have tried to paint the situation as "complicated" when nothing could be more distubringly simple.
The District Attorney's office has promised that the investigation into the scandle is ongoing, despite Jerry Sandusky's conviction on 45 counts. Any person who had knowledge that he was raping those boys - or even suspected that he might be - should be charged, too.
If Joe Paterno hadn't died it is likely that he would be the number one remaining target of the investigation. He certainly knew what was going on and he definitely did nothing substantive about it.
I agree with the Boston area columnist, Kirk Minihane, who wrote:
"Turns out dying was a good career move for Paterno, who we've learned was obsessed with protecting his image as The Last Good Man in college sports, the one purist in a world gone wrong, the CEO of the only clean program in America. But the reality is this: Paterno died a fraud, a coward, an enabler to Sandusky."
Paterno was satisfied to tell the Athletic Director that he suspected some fondling had gone on and move on with his quest to win football games. He made zero effort to follow up. He never demanded to know why Sandusky wasn't in cuffs. He, for some reason, didn't think it was a big enough deal to be bothered with. For that we should all piss on his grave.
In a way I believe that Paterno was a greater criminal than Sandusky. It was his program - his responsibility. He was negligent in allowing lives to be destroyed. No amount of success of the football field overshadows that.
He's lucky that he's dead.