This week attorneys in central Pennsylvania reported that more alleged victims of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky had come forward. One of those attorneys, Ben Andreozzi, has said he will have information on additional alleged victims next week. Current assistant coach Mike McQueary claimed in an e-mail that he had notified police of his alleged discovery of Sandusky sexually abusing a 10-year-old boy in the showers at Penn State in 2002, though the authorities say they have no record of that. Yesterday, the NCAA announced an investigation of “institutional control over the athletic programs” at Penn State.
Meanwhile on Thursday night, ESPN reported that two men who had been ball boys for the men’s basketball team at Syracuse University during the late ’70’s and ’80’s had accused long-time assistant coach Bernie Fine of sexually abusing them. Fine has been placed on administrative leave, though Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim, citing an investigation which was dropped six years ago for lack of corroboration, has characterized the charges as lies.
When I spoke last week with Charlie Pierce about the sexual abuse of children that had allegedly gone on at Penn State, he left no doubt about what he considered to be the story’s core.
“There is nothing here except the rape of children…there’s nothing else to talk about,” Charlie said. “Some coach’s legacy, college football, I don’t care about that. The rape of children is the only thing you should care about here, and if we haven’t learned that after 20 years of covering this in the Catholic church, I don’t know when we ever will.”
Charlie’s comments generated a great deal of e-mail and lots of Facebook posts.
Laura Howat wrote, “the fury in your voice and words echoed my anger. Thank you for your right on commentary.”
Rand Robinson of Margate, Florida wrote, “Charlie’s thoughts are spot on. It’s about rape and molestation of children, plain and simple,” and Micala Sidore e-mailed to say she thought Charlie’s comments were “totally appropriate, courageous, and thoughtful.”
In her e-mail, Rebecca Latson of Angleton, Texas referred to Charlie as “someone who actually sees and understands the real issue in the Penn State fiasco.”
Dr. Arthur Lyford, who hears “Only A Game” on New Hampshire Public Radio, also e-mailed us. In reference to Charlie’s remarks he wrote: “You said it all. The parallels with the church and reverence for the personality cults generated by some Division One football programs is pertinent. Thank you. Your words brought me to a saddened standstill.”
Among the many postings on our facebook page was this one from Robert Ihry: “I am not a Penn State fan, but I think Charlie Pierce’s comments were sanctimonious and self-serving.” Mr. Ihry went on to accuse Charlie of “beating his favorite whipping boy, college athletics.”