The past year has seen the exposure of what is the greatest tragedy in the history of sports around the world.Â We have learned of the horrible atrocities committed by Jerry Sandusky, and of the disgusting assistance rendered to him by the formerly beloved Joe Paterno and a cast of enablers at the highest ranks of the University.
We’ve seen a trial, where the actions of one brave man led to the ability of others to confront a twisted monster who took their innocence from them.Â We’ve seen Sandusky convicted of near 50 counts of things tantamount to the torture of children.Â We’ve even seen a defense attorney all but punch his ticket to Hell.
Through this journey, we’ve seen great investigative journalism and proper investigation expose the horrors, and we’ve seen â€œpeopleâ€ like Matt Millen condone the actions of the enablers of this terror.Â What we have seen little of is the aftermath.Â We’ve seen little of the investigation, of how this process plays out, and of the re victimization these brave men had to endure to put away a monster whose full list of victims we may never know.
As some of you know, I am a Law Enforcement Officer here in Texas, with over 5 years of experience being in Criminal Investigations.Â In the course of this, I’ve investigated numerous crimes against children, and I think the real story of how you bring a horror like this from an accusation to a resolution is a story that needs to be told.Â I believe the people of this country need to know how awful this process is, and thus how horrible the people are who let this happen again and again to innocent children.Â I can never claim to properly conveigh just how disgusting and heart wrenching this is, but I hope a small glimpse stirs everyone who reads this to action to ensure no child ever endures this again, and no offender ever gets away with the murder of a soul.
Imagine this for a moment.Â You are a child, and whether you lead a happy life or one of more trouble than the average person, you are still a child. You still have hopes, dreams, and innocence.Â You don’t really know what this person, being an uncle, a trusted friend, a coach, a mentor, is doing, but you know it makes you feel dirty.Â Or worse yet, you are too scared to ask for help, but you cry in pain when this person shoves a broom stick or flashlight sized object into you.Â As you grow up, you mature and eventually begin to realize just what this person is doing to you. You feel conflicted and confused, because maybe this is just something you should do to make this person happy. This person who buys you things, or takes you places you never would have gone otherwise.Â Or worse yet, you cry out for help, and an adult who should defend you to death walks away and leaves you to the wolves. At some point the signs become evident, an adult sees something, or you finally muster the courage to tell someone something is wrong. You’ve been violated, destroyed, almost ruined as a person. Statistics say because of what this demon did to you, you could end up growing up and doing the same things he/she did to you. You may not ever have a normal life we are all accustomed to.Â You may even one day commit suicide under the pressure of the horrors forced upon you.
So this is where I, or someone like me somewhere across the country or around the world comes into the picture, along with an underfunded, under appreciated, yet dedicated team of professionals whose life mission is to help those who cant speak for themselves.Â The room seems friendly, and the person you are talking to seems nice, yet you have to relive the terror again. You have to speak to the horror.
This is of course unless the animal is caught in the act, and which point you bear the additional burden of being examined by a SANE Nurse to gather evidence off your body from the criminal who hurt you.
Meanwhile, your parent or loved one is dying inside, telling us what they know of what happened to you, this once normal happy loved one now driven to the brink of murdering the animal who did this. Iâ€™ve been in that room countless times everyone.Â To this day, it still pains me just as much as the first time I heard one of these stories.Â From there, in most cases, unless there is a trial the innocent victim gets to go home and let the Criminal Justice system run its course.
From there, the Police Officer watches the interview, normally several times to make sure every last detail, every possible bit of information is gathered.Â The pain in the eyes of these children, and their cries will haunt your dreams if you let them.Â This is something that will follow them the rest of their lives, and even your best effort might not keep them off a path of destruction set before them by someone sick pervert.Â Its one of the most heart wrenching and disgusting things you do in this job, but in my mind its the most important.
We write up our reports, submit our evidence, and prepare all the information to present to a judge, who then issues a warrant, almost always with a bond way too low.Â I’ve often wondered who thought a $50,000 bond was equal to that kind of crime, or in this case normally a paltry 10% ($5,000).Â Then, if the pervert doesn’t plead guilty, we head off to a trial and join with the prosecutors in a fight against the monster, a fight we thankfully win a lot more than we lose.Â Then, depending on the severity of the offenses, its off to prison for the pervert.
But what about the child?Â What happens to them?Â It doesnâ€™t just end for them at the end of the trial….its something that follows them for the rest of their lives, affecting every single thing they do.
That fact alone is what angers me so much when I hear Jay Paterno say this was just a short period in Joe Paterno’s career.Â Yeah Jay…..just like Sandusky spending a year molesting a now 30 year old man was a â€œshortâ€ period in his life..but he doesnâ€™t get to just forget about it and live his life off the 29 years where nothing happened.Â He has to live with it, and damn it your father has to pay for his sins too.Â Here in Texas, its a crime to not report Child Sexual Abuse just like its a crime to do it. Most jurisdictions have laws of the same type.Â The implication being IT IS NOT OK TO DO THIS TO A CHILD. IT IS NOT OK TO COVER IT UP.
I’ve been pretty vocal since the conviction that Penn State MUST be put to death by the NCAA, and most people today have been clear that this does meet lack of institutional control.Â The NCAA must act swiftly and severely, and we as a nation must act.Â We must not patronize Penn State. We must not allow them to continue their existence with our assistance. We must remove Joe Paterno from any sort of â€œsainthoodâ€ he held. Bobby Bowden is the new king of coaches, and thatâ€™s just the way it must be.
If the NCAA fails to act, no member institution should ever accept punishment from them again.Â No one could ever violate an NCAA rule that comes close to this, and if you wont punish Penn State for allowing children to be raped, then you wont be punishing my university for an impermissible phone call.Â Not going to happen, and the Big 5 Conferences shouldn’t allow it.
Joe Paterno’s statue needs to be removed from the campus.Â All the current players need to be allowed to transfer to any institution without penalty, and those who stay should be allowed to keep all eligibility when Penn State is allowed to start again in a couple years.
I know I didnâ€™t even begin to do this topic justice, as its so much more detailed and sickening than I can possible convey, but I hope now you folks have a glimpse of just how bad it is from all sides, you join me in calling for the death penalty for Penn State, and nothing less thanÂ life without parole for ANY person who harms a child.Â If your on Twitter, spread the hash tag #ShutEmDown and show your support for the victims of these crimes across the world.
If you know or suspect someone of abusing or being abused, please contact your local law enforcement agency, and keep making contact until your voice is heard.Â If your reading this, and this kind of horror is happening to you or has in the past, understand we are here to help you, we will listen to you, and we wont judge you.Â Thanks for listening…..
Follow Johnny on Twitter – @205Whisenant