I have no intentions of this post or the conversation that ensues to discuss the Freeh report or our opinions and condemnation of those involved. This is just something that I feel needs to be said as I've heard far too many conversations outside of this community that are missing the point.
To the Pennsylvania State University Board of Trustees and the Penn State administration,
I've had time to review the Freeh report as well as pretty much every other piece of information I have access to regarding the events that transpired at Penn State. I am not looking to criticize actions taken or exonerate or defend anyone involved in the matter. My intentions with this address are to make sure that we as Penn Staters never allow something such as this from happening again within our community and also provide as much information and help as possible to help other communities ensure it never happens to them either. Regardless of your judgments on the actions taken and the people involved, it is apparent that the actions taken in this matter were wrong. Looking at the wrong decisions that were made, I believe there is one component I believe we must prioritize and advocate above all else. We must never again assume that something such as this can not happen here.
We as a community are not exempt to the evils of this world because of the values we hold and the ideals we strive for. The moment we believe that something such as this can't or won't happen here is the moment we create the opportunity for it to exist. I do not know the motives or thoughts of those involved in the 2001 investigation, but what I've concluded from the information in the report is that there was a fundamental assumption made that we as a community were not at risk for what we are now being held accountable for. This assumption seems to have led to several key decisions that resulted in the situation we are in today, including the lack of training sessions attended for this particular issue as well as the decision by those involved to look into the matter on their own before alerting authorities. If we believe that child abuse can happen within our community, we will maintain the vigilance necessary to attend those training sessions and err on the side of caution in matters relating to sexual abuse. The moment we do not accept the possibility of what occurred is the moment the worst case scenario in those decisions changes and leads to incorrect actions.
Whether you believe what I have written is accurate to this situation or not, please do not disregard the point I'm trying to make. There were many people involved at various stages, including school counselors, coaches and faculty that witnessed signs of abuse. Not all of those people are evil individuals. Sexual abuse happens far too frequently and is ignored because it occurs in places and with people that nobody believes would be capable of allowing it to happen. The public perception of Sandusky is that he is a monster and a child molester, but to those familiar with him prior to November of 2011, he was quite possibly the antithesis of that. Pedophiles are not easy to recognize and identify, as anyone in this matter will be able to tell you. It's because of this that we must make sure to always believe it is possible for it to happen to us, in our homes and our own community, in order to recognize it when the signs emerge. If we prioritize this attitude and spread it to other universities and communities, it will go a long way in identifying and stopping child abuse before it's too late and ensuring that no other communities have to endure what we have.