Penn State and Pittsburgh Steeler legend Franco Harris has launched a crusade to rehabilitate his former coach Joe Paterno, who was left stained by the Jerry Sandusky scandal, along with the school itself.
He is the front for a group of 15,000 PSU alumni called Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship who say the guilty party is not Penn State but Sandusky’s charity, The Second Mile; State College police; Centre County Children and Youth Services; and the state Department of Public Welfare.
Well, the group has a point. It is about time that someone started making noise about the lack of an investigation by the appropriate authorities — including missing D.A. Ray Gricar — into the 1998 report of a molestation by Sandusky. And while JoePa was certainly no hero, he is not a villain either, and it is quite inappropriate to make him the face of the tragedy. Why would one be upset about an aging football coach’s failure to investigate when those charged to do investigations failed to investigate, especially considering that Paterno did pass on the report of the crime?
Penn State’s institutional role, however, can’t be ignored. School administrators all the way up to former President Graham Spanier covered up Sandusky’s crimes and the The Second Mile was certainly well-connected with PSU.
Even more damningly Spainer appears to have pointedly ignored at least one other accusation of child molestation involving a school celebrity — namely special education teacher John T. Neisworth.
Still, we are glad Franco’s group is stirring the pot and shining the light on the ignored heart of the scandal. Something really stinks in Happy Valley.
The Attempt To Rehabilitate Penn State