The Noise Heard ‘Round the Country

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This past week the country has been spellbound by the gut wrenching testimony emanating from the Sandusky child sex abuse trial courtroom leaving spectators and jurors in tears. While Jerry Sandusky is presumed innocent, the lurid and detailed account of his alleged abuse should not come as a surprise. 

The steady stream of victims relate Sandusky’s classic grooming and seduction  techniques. The calculating and manipulating PSU defensive coordinator chose his victims carefully; victims were either foster children or from single family homes and all from the Second Mile Charity founded by Sandusky. These were high risk children and Sandusky played high risk stakes with their lives.

Why did this go on for over a decade? Why didn’t someone think it strange that Jerry Sandusky was always surrounded with young boys? Were the adults waiting for the children to disclose the abuse? Jerry’s alleged victims, like most victims of sexual abuse, were threatened by Jerry to stay silent.

In 1998, two boys did disclose Jerry’s sexual abuse. Yet, no one reported their allegations about Jerry to local or state law enforcement. The boys’ voices were muffled to protect the powerful Penn State institution. 

Surely, the adults on campus and in the football program were suspicious of Jerry’s behavior. The court testimony, as well as the grand jury report, paint the same picture: Jerry Sandusky was always surrounded by young boys, in coaches’ meetings, on the sidelines, at out-of-state Bowl Games, in the locker room showers. Did everyone look the other way because Jerry was the prominent defensive coordinator and exposing Jerry Sandusky would bring scandal to the storied Penn State football program. 

Of all the grueling testimony, one witness provided the reason that Jerry Sandusky was able roam free and abuse so many boys for so many years.

John McQueary, father of Mike McQueary, testified that after the shower incident witnessed by his son, he met with Gary Schultz, then Vice President of Penn State. 

In the meeting, Schultz told John McQueary that he had heard “noise” about Sandusky, even before Mike McQueary’s report.  

Noise?

Oh, how flippant of you, Mr. Schultz. 

Was the “noise” that Jerry Sandusky liked little boys?

Was the “noise” that Jerry was creepy and showered with little boys?

Did the roar of the fans from the PSU football stadium drown out the “noise” about Jerry Sandusky? 

Did you hear about the “slapping noise” described by Mike McQueary as he walked into shower and saw the boy being sexually assaulted by Sandusky? 

Was that “noise” muffled by the fear of a scandal to the premiere PSU football legacy? 

Did you dismiss the noise, as annoying racket, or mere gossip, or just distracting chatter about boys from high risk homes?  

Did you ever once, stop to think that the “noise” might be true?

Did you ever once, stop to think that the “noise” was about the sexual abuse of young, defenseless, little boys?

Did you ever once ponder the “noise” of the boy victims as they cried themselves to sleep?

What was done about all the “noise” surrounding Jerry Sandusky? 

Silence. 

There is an African proverb, “Much silence makes a powerful noise.”

Surely, the “noise” about Jerry Sandusky’s strange and troubling behavior reached a fever pitch, yet no one at Penn State reported him to law enforcement. 

The noise was drowned out by silence. 

When adults remain silent in the face of child abuse, a powerful noise will eventually emerge in the cries of adults who have silently suffered through abuse as children. The country is now listening to the voices of the victims of Sandusky. The noise is deafening.

As children, they were threatened into silence by the powerful Sandusky. As adults, their words  now overshadow the once prestigious PSU football program. 

As adult victims of childhood abuse, their voices drown out the roar of the Nittany Lions.

The silence from the boy victims of Jerry Sandusky has been broken. 

Oh, what a powerful noise from the courthouse in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. 

The jury will not be silent.

 

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