With Week 1 of the Jerry Sandusky trial officially in the books, the defense will begin calling witnesses Monday as it attempts to persuade the jury to acquit a man accused of over 50 counts of child-sex abuse.
Anyone following the trial, though, realizes how difficult that will be. Sandusky’s attorney, Joe Amendola, was borderline befuddled at times this week by the testimonies from alleged victims; his best defense was attempting to discredit the witnesses during cross-examination. The first four days of the trial swung emphatically in favor of the prosecution.
Sandusky is entitled to the due process of the law and innocent until proven guilty, but most would ponder why it took this long for him to be tried given the timeline of the allegations against him. When the scandal broke open last November, fingers instantly pointed to a line of individuals within Penn State who failed to do more in a situation that calls for more action.
But as recent reports have suggested, Sandusky’s long-time immunity may be attributed to a cover-up rather than a failure to “do the right thing.” NBC News reported Monday that former PSU president Graham Spanier exchanged emails with then-VP Gary Schultz in 2001 regarding what would be “humane” for Sandusky. A day later, a Pittsburgh-based news outlet reported Schultz had a “secret file” of allegations against Sandusky.:
Speaking to the Associated Press, a PSU trustee opined that, perhaps, the Sandusky scandal was indeed a cover-up:
Keith Masser, a Penn State trustee, said in an interview that he initially thought the scandal was about a failure of administrative oversight of the football program. Now he suspects it goes deeper.
When the board of trustees ousted Spanier on Nov. 9, four days after Sandusky’s arrest, it was “because we didn’t have confidence in his ability to lead us through this crisis,” Masser said. “We had no idea (at the time) he would be involved in a cover-up.”
Masser stressed he was speaking for himself and not the board at large, and said he wants to be careful not to draw premature conclusions. But he said it now appears like “top administration officials and top athletic officials were involved in making the decision to not inform the proper authorities.”
There is a discernible difference between failing to do the right thing and blatantly doing the wrong thing, but what’s done is unfortunately done. The fact — and the tragedy — remains that there are many people, both inside and outside of Penn State, who had numerous opportunities to listen to their gut… to take accusations seriously… to follow through…