I've refrained from saying much about the Penn State child sex abuse scandal, largely because I was absolutely sickened by it. Considering the difficulties I found within the Catholic Church, and that organization's dilatory and wholly inadequate response to a much more widespread scandal until it was far too late to mitigate the damage, you'll understand, I'm sure. (See the sidebar for my articles on that subject, if you're interested.)
I found the 'punishment' meted out to Penn State by the NCAA to be pathetically inadequate. All the tens of millions of dollars in 'fines' they imposed won't undo the harm done to a single child, let alone the dozens, perhaps scores that were victimized. To my mind, the only punishment that would fit the crime is something like this:
- The dismissal of every person in authority at Penn State who knew about the situation, but did nothing to prevent it from continuing;
- Those persons' loss of every benefit from Penn State, up to and including their pensions;
- Criminal charges against them wherever sufficient evidence is available to prove their criminal neglect; and -
- A total ban on Penn State's football activities for a period corresponding to that during which the neglect took place. If University authorities knew about the abuse 12-14 years ago, but did nothing, then Penn State should be barred from intercollegiate football for a similar length of time.
I was pleased to read two other bloggers' perspectives on the issue tonight. Jennifer and Labrat have both come out swinging against those who are protesting that the NCAA penalties levied against Penn State are somehow excessive. I fully support these two ladies' position that they're not only not excessive - they are, in fact, wholly inadequate, given the magnitude of the crime.
I'd like to think that other collegiate football teams have something of a sense of honor. I'd like to hope that they'll refuse to play against Penn State. Unfortunately, since most college sports administrators are probably all too similar to those at Penn State, they'll probably 'follow the money' rather than following ethical and moral considerations. Pity about that . . . and about the message it sends to their players, their supporters and their students: namely, that child sex abuse is of no importance compared to making money.
I don't want to suggest that all who think like that - or whose behavior suggests they think like that - should themselves be rampantly and repeatedly sexually abused by bigger, stronger assailants until they're bleeding and begging and weeping and pleading for mercy. I really don't want to suggest that . . . but, dear Lord, I'm tempted!