In the law, there is such a thing as being an accessory after the fact. Tony Soprano warned Carmela about being an accessory after the fact when she asked questions about how Richie Aprile was killed, “Carmela” Tony said, “After 18 years of marriage don’t make you an accessory after the fact” which of course answered Carmela’s question. But in real life, the definition of being an accessory is “ the accused must generally be proved to have had actual knowledge that a crime was going to be, or had been, committed. Furthermore, there must be proof that the accessory knew that his or her action, or inaction, was helping the criminals commit the crime.” Therefore, if you know that a crime has been committed, it is illegal not to report that crime to the authorities, and a person who fails to do so has made themselves an accessory to the original crime. At Penn State, there are so many people who could be accused of this it’s revolting.
What I can’t understand about this whole scandal is how could grown men and women (including Sandusky’s wife and the coaches and players at Penn State) think it was normal for a grown man to have sleepovers with young boys, take them to games and tailgate parties, and spend time alone with them? Is the fact that the man is ostensibly straight and married, and more importantly, a member of the coaching staff at a big university filled with straight men what gave him the cover to molest young boys for years? What did his wife think about him spending time with little boys? What did the parents of the boys think? From reading the grand jury indictment we know that at least one mother reported Sandusky to the charity Second Mile, the charity I might add that Sandusky created so he could have access to young boys. Yet despite this report nothing was done.
While some people may think that the graduate assistant who witnessed the abuse…well, let’s just call it what it was, Sandusky was raping a 10 year old boy in the ass in the shower…is a hero for reporting the abuse to Paterno, why didn’t he intervene when he saw the boy being raped? Was he so cowed down by who Sandusky was as a friend of Paterno’s that he was afraid for his own career if he reported it to the police? I think anyone who stands by and doesn’t rescue a young boy from being raped should be prosecuted as an accessory after the fact…despite what he subsequently did.
And Paterno himself, instead of calling the police when the graduate student told him what he saw, phoned the athletic director and the vice-president of the university, who essentially covered it up. My first phone call would have been to the police…not the university police, the state police or the county sheriff. To do any less is criminal. Quite frankly Paterno is only sad that he got caught, that his allegedly illustrious career ends on such a tawdry note. Then 2000 students riot in the streets in support of someone who allowed a man to continue to abuse young boys? These students should immediately expelled from the university.
And what of the Penn State football program? Paterno has always held himself up as this paragon of virtue, it has been traumatic for the students at Penn State to realize he has clay feet just like the rest of us. People other than Paterno had to have known about Sandusky’s behavior, yet they did nothing. And you can’t tell me the players didn’t know as well. I believe the NCAA should institute the death penalty for Penn State for two years and not allow them to play any football. SMU got the death penalty for paying players and covering it up, which, if we believe there are levels of crime that are worse than others, isn’t as bad as covering up the anal rape of a 10 year old boy. Penn State needs to be taken down a notch; their students need to get over the idea that there are gods that reside among us. Joe Paterno was no god, illustrious career notwithstanding. Joe Paterno is a flawed man as we have found out this week, the Penn State athletic program is flawed, and Penn State as a whole is flawed. The students should be wearing hair shirts, not rioting..