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Christianity, Culture, Religion

The Penn State Scandal Makes the Church Look Even Worse.

The Penn State Scandal has moved beyond sports news into the mainstream, and for very good reason.  If you’ve been under a rock, here’s the short version:  Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky has been accused of numerous counts of child molestation during his tenure at the university.  Head coach and football demigod Joe Paterno has been implicated for not reporting the alleged crimes to the police. (LINK) Although no legal charges appear likely for the football legend, affectionately known as “Joe Pa,” it appears that his career will be ending in disgrace, and he’s retained a lawyer to fight the civil litigation which is sure to follow.

The good news is that the agencies responsible for taking action are doing so, and swiftly.  Penn State University is cooperating fully.  Sandusky is the subject of intense scrutiny by law enforcement, and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent that the state can prove their case.  His coaching career is over, and he will probably never set foot outside a jail for the rest of his life.  Joe Paterno and  Penn State University President Graham Spanier, who has not been charged with a crime, but who knew about the allegations and did not report them to police, have been fired.

For Sandusky, the crime was child molestation by a coach in a position of power.  The moral turpitude also rests squarely on those who did nothing to further the cause of justice, and shielded the perpetrator.  With swift and decisive action, the courts of both public opinion and University Regents have ruled:  Child molesters and those who protect them are not to be tolerated in an institution as sacred as NCAA Sports.

If only we could say the Church had the same intestinal fortitude.  In the continuing battle over allegations that the Catholic Church has been sheltering child molesters and even aiding them in evading criminal prosecution, the “good Christians” remain defiant.  The UK Guardian reports a judge has ruled that bishops may be held accountable for the actions of priests under their watch in certain circumstances.  This sets an important precedent to help bring justice to pedophiles and to provide restitution to victims.  (LINK)

Despite protestations by the Church that they are “deeply concerned” with the problem of child molestation, the Holy See is not taking the high road, as Joe Paterno has done at Penn State.  Instead of publicly owning up to their responsibility and stepping aside while justice is served, they will be appealing the decision and continuing to try to protect both their priests and material assets for as long as possible.

On this side of the pond, we see another example of a “good Christian” caught in a web of sex scandals.  Presidential Candidate Herman Cain remains defiant after numerous allegations of sexual misconduct by numerous women.  (LINK)  While it is far from definitively proven that every allegation is true, it seems difficult to imagine that the entirety of the story is completely untrue.  Nevertheless, Cain continues to affirm his total innocence while trying to tarnish the reputations of his accusers.

The irony here is that the NCAA — an organization rocked by numerous allegations of financial corruption in recent years — seems to have a more grounded moral compass than the Church and its leadership.  Pressure from both without and within has been brought to bear on Penn State, and there will be a changing of the guard.  Those who knowingly protected a child abuser will not have a career in sports, and that is the way it should be.  Meanwhile, the G.O.P. and the Catholic Church continue to evade, obfuscate, and shift blame for the crimes committed within their ranks.



12 thoughts on “The Penn State Scandal Makes the Church Look Even Worse.

  1. No surprisingly, Joe Pa. is Catholic and went to Catholic school. This is where he learned his morality. For as much ‘respect’ they show fetuses in the womb, once the kid is out, abuse of children is OK. Joe must have learned from his Catholic upbringing that abuse of the defenseless by the more powerful is OK. Might makes right is the only morality Joe Pa apparently ever learned.

    The NCAA FB system is immoral, you have old men making money off the system and off the players.

    Posted by BOH | November 12, 2011, 1:05 am
  2. So BOH, we should ignore the actual causes of pedophilia and just focus on that?

    Posted by Alison | November 12, 2011, 3:23 pm
  3. Paterno isn’t a pedophile. I’m just commenting on why I think he developed this morality of not protecting children which is the same as many bishops in the Catholic church. This church has been a place were the abuse of children, (physical emotional and sexual) is tolerated.

    Posted by BOH | November 12, 2011, 3:56 pm
  4. Oh sorry, I got the names confused, I don’t follow Football.

    Posted by Alison | November 12, 2011, 6:49 pm

    From: Robert Baty
    Date: Saturday, November 12, 2011
    Time: 8:05 PM MT

    In light of the Penn State story, I am left to wonder how
    Women’s Medical Fund/Gaylor handles the “abuse” issues
    involved in dealing with underage pregnancies.

    There appears to be hundreds of them, yet there is no
    mention in the article regarding the efforts to deal with
    the obvious “abuse” implications in having young, underage

    Are the cases reported for investigation?

    It may not be “required” in Wisconsin, but the popular,
    public discussion in the Penn State case involves a lot
    more than just what was “required”.

    Posted by Robert Baty | November 12, 2011, 11:19 pm
  6. Robert, I don’t know the law in Wisconsin, and in fairness, I’m not in a position to make any kind of statement of policy on Anne’s behalf. Having said that, you’ve raised a very good point, not just for the WMF but for lots of other charities. In government agencies like DFCS, employees are mandated reporters. That is, if they suspect a crime they are required by law to report it. Private companies don’t always have this requirement.

    In practice, both mandated reporting and non-mandates have their problems. In a chain where everyone is required to pursue every single violation of the law, it often happens that a molehill becomes a mountain and people’s lives are disrupted for months or years over something that probably would have been better left alone. On the other side, sometimes horrible crimes go unpunished when nobody is required to report them.

    My gut feeling, Robert, is that Anne does her best to do whatever is best for each and every woman that calls her. Maybe that sounds like a cop-out answer, but the truth is I don’t know the private details of the women who call her. (And that’s a very good thing! ) Still, a woman who would devote so much of her life to this kind of effort is clearly interested in doing the morally correct thing. So I’d guess that in cases of obvious abuse, some kind of effort is made to punish the abuser.

    Posted by Living Life Without a Net | November 13, 2011, 12:49 pm
  7. I think it could be an example of a person trying their best to do what they think is moral, but being misguided. I also noticed the underage clients mentioned in Will’s article, and that raised some alarms for me.

    Anne may talk to every case [as mentioned in the article], but I don’t think she’s a psychologist or any of the sort, and can’t pick up signs of abuse. Some are sutile. The fact is girls lie about abuse all the time. They have a black eye because a door closed on them, he really loves me etc…

    I’m afraid Anne is missing those things with this charity. Personally, I think underaged girls seeking abortion should seek counsling. If you’re worried about confidentionality issues, don’t be, because it’ll be like going to a medical doctor and the parents will only be informed if there are signs of abuse and an investigation needs to be launched. Otherwise, it’s completely private.

    This is why I don’t support the “no questions asked” approach to abortion. If a woman walks into an emergancy room with black eyes, broken arms, with her husband who insists that she fell down the stairs and that he loves her sooo much, questions should be asked. Same thing here.

    But the damn Liberal hippies seem to insist the uterus vacuum is the best answer and shouldn’t be delayed by minor things such as abuse or statorary rape.

    Posted by Alison | November 13, 2011, 1:48 pm
  8. Alison, you don’t have to be any kind of expert, particularly given the business Gaylor is in, in order to recognize that underage pregnancy is a “sign” of abuse (e.g., rape, incest, exploitation, etc.). Gaylor appears to have seen hundreds, if not thousands, of those cases. She knows what’s going on with those girls. Maybe she makes some reports, maybe not. I’d like to hear more about that side of her story; particularly in light of the popular, public discussion regarding the Penn State story. I don’t think she was a “mandatory” reporter. In one or more other states, she would be considered someone required to report. That, however, as we are seeing in the Penn State story, is not the end of the matter. Maybe we’ll just have to wait and see if one or more of Gaylor’s clients turns up in the news due to some horrific circumstances that could have been avoided when it is determined that Gaylor could have prevented it had she made a report to authorities due to the underage pregnancy. Alas, most of those stories don’t make much news.

    Posted by Robert Baty | November 13, 2011, 2:00 pm
  9. Robert, it doesn’t matter what the law says. If I see a drunk driver, I’ll report it regardless of if I’m required by law or not.

    Penn state should report touchy coaches, and churches should report touchy priests even if the law says you don’t have to.

    I don’t know about Anne’s program, but I hate the Liberal idea that abortions are the answers. Simply providing the abortion may not be enough, they may need psychological help or have to report to law enforcment that their abortion is a result of rape or abuse.

    In other words, ignoring the problem, while treating the symptons and then defile and de-humanize anybody who wants to dig further to make abortions UNNECESSARY in the first place is the ultimate act of immorality.

    I don’t know what Anne tells the women. I don’t know what they discuss when she answers, I would like to know though. I would sure hope that abuse is one of them and if a woman does report to Anne about rape and abuse, Anne doesn’t just give her the uterus vacuum and send them on their merry way, which would be morally deplorable.

    That said, I’m not saying it’s what Anne necessarily does. I’m not saying that every underage pregnancy is the result of rape or abuse, and not of just bad decisions.

    Posted by Alison | November 13, 2011, 6:00 pm
  10. Alison, I think the article on the Women’s Medical Fund/Gaylor was not very well written. One of ways such a story might be improved is as you, and i suggest; deal with the underage pregnancy issue and what, if anything, Gaylor has done by way of reporting given the hundreds, if not thousands, she has been made aware of. The State of Pennsylvania is now considering changing their rules to put a reporting requirement on more folks. Maybe Wisconsin should do the same. However, Alison, as you suggest, the issue goes beyond what may be legally required.

    Posted by Robert Baty | November 13, 2011, 7:54 pm
  11. U.S. Congress to consider Penn State/Women’s Medical Fund issue!



    November 15, 2011

    In the aftermath of the Penn State child sex
    abuse scandal, questions still abound over
    who knew what, whom did they tell, and who
    should be culpable.

    In light of that, Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) is
    calling on his colleagues to hold a hearing
    examining federal laws requiring a witness
    of sexual abuse to report it to police.

    He also plans to introduce related legislation.

    Casey has met with national and state child
    protection advocates, and intends to
    introduce legislation

    > “to require states to improve their mandated
    > reporter laws to ensure that all adults recognize
    > their legal responsibility to report suspected
    > child abuse,”

    he wrote.


    Posted by Robert Baty | November 15, 2011, 7:52 pm
  12. While it’s a good thing to report child abuse, that law may have unintended consequences. Such as people may be unwilling to testify because they think they’ll get in trouble if it’s found out that they didn’t report the abuse.

    That said, deliberate cover up of the fact like for Penn state and Bishops, is morally deplorable.

    As for privacy issues, abuse should be brought to law enforcement, not CNN. Anne’s case is a little trickier. I think she should convince the child to go to law enforcement, I don’t know about her program, so I don’t know if that’s the case, and I don’t know Anne, so I wouldn’t know if she’s the kind of person to do that sort of thing.

    Posted by Alison | November 16, 2011, 1:18 pm

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