Saturday, July 21, 2012

As If Penn State Couldn’t Do Any Worse in the Child Sexual Assault Scandal – Here’s Something Almost as Disgusting as the Case Itself

The Cover Up and Shame of a Great University Continues

[Editor's note:  Sometimes what goes on in the world is so disgusting that The Dismal Political Economist can only write one post because of the induced nausea.   This is one of those things.]

Think about the following scenario. Something like this happens at your job. 

You go into your boss’s office and tell him or her that you have been accused of covering up a co-worker’s sexual assault and sexual abuse of children, and that as a result you are charged with major crimes, including perjury.  The reaction of your boss is

A.     Immediate termination with no severance, no benefits, only an order to get the hell off the premises.

B.     A statement of how horrible this must be for you, and that the company will pay your salary and keep you on and pay for your defense costs.  Oh, and take time off, as much as you need.

Centre Daily Times/Associated Press
Visitor shows where halo painted over 
Mr. Paterno's head when he died 
was removed Saturday.

Okay, not a difficult question for most of us, one that even the former President of Penn State University might be able to answer.  For just about every American the time left in your employment could be measured in seconds.  But at Penn State, the rules of decent conduct don’t apply to the top administrators, those charged with crimes that allowed a vicious sexual predator to continue to assault children. 

Now we have no idea if the individuals at Penn State are guilty of any crime; that is for a trial and jury to decide.  But Penn State has already apparently found them innocent.  Or maybe Penn State thinks that covering up horrific crimes is part of the job description of these men, something they would do in the ordinary course of doing their job.

Mr. Curley, who is on leave but is still being paid a salary, and Mr. Schultz, who retired, have been charged with perjury and failure to report abuse, have maintained their innocence and are awaiting trial.

Mr. Spanier was fired as president, but retains his position as a tenured faculty member. Mr. Spanier is on sabbatical and receiving his salary as president.

Yeah that's what happens when you are involved with criminal acts like Mr. Spannier, you are allowed to take a year off with full pay.  And then there is this final insult to the decent members of not just the Penn State community, but to all of us as well.

As of April 30, 2012, Penn State said, it had spent $11.9 million related to the Sandusky case, including $870,000 in legal fees for Messrs. Curley, Schultz and Spanier.

That’s right, Penn State is paying for the legal defense of its top administrators.  Yes, these men are entitled to a fair trial, they are entitled to the presumption of innocence.  But are they really entitled to have their defense costs paid for by the state of Pennsylvania?  Well the politicians would say they wouldn’t be if they were poor people charged with a capital crime and facing the death penalty.  But then that’s not who they are, is it?

And how has Penn State spent the rest of the money, really $11 million?  Has that gone for legal costs for other people, has it been spent on the investigation, has it been spent covering up other things that might embarrass the school?  

And does anyone else get the irony that the state of Pennsylvania is paying for the prosecution of this case, and at the same time providing the finest defense attorneys money can buy for the accused?  Anyone at Penn State suggesting that the University should pay for the lawyears for the victims?  No, no one.  Didn’t think so.

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