sharing with her name removed, but if you know her, you know she hits the nail on the head My take on the “OSU sex abuse scandal”...for what it’s worth. FRIDAY, JULY 20, 2018 I have tried to keep my mouth shut, which as you all know isn’t something I do very well (LOL). So while this is a story still unfolding and therefore totally incomplete, I am going to share my thoughts in the interest of not severing my tongue...... Being a Nittany Lion and living in Buckeye Country for the past 10 years hasn’t always been easy. Although I was always proud of my affiliation with Penn State, I really wasn’t such an obvious cheerleader. Of course, I owned a PSU hoodie or two, I watched football games on Saturdays in the fall (although I didn’t change plans to do it) and I applauded the success of Russ Rose and his team every year they dominated collegiate volleyball. I didn’t really understand wrestling, but I sure celebrated with PSU wrestling when they were able to pull off a victory. That said, I didn’t really “plug in” to PSU until the shit hit the fan in 2011 and the Sandusky “scandal” became known as the worst sexual abuse scandal in the history of collegiate athletics. I knew immediately that something didn’t smell right. I followed the scent. I discovered a board of trustees that was largely under political and financial influence. I’m no investigator, but I became acquainted with others who were more adept with investigation. Together we learned about personal and political vendettas, how trustees were using the university for nest feathering, financial shenanigans, failures of state child welfare agencies, rampant professional misconduct in the office of PA’s attorney general, media malpractice and what it feels like to be called a football crazed child rape enabler. It was, and remains, a real eye opener! At it’s lowest point, Penn State’s board of trustees failed the university and its community and capitulated to media and public pressure to accept blame for the crimes of a former employee. The NCAA piled on, in an attempt to show its muscle, and placed draconian sanctions on a program that, to this day, has never been found to violate a single NCAA rule. The world applauded. Some people felt the punishment wasn’t strong enough. I personally endured some off color jokes, was chastised in grocery stores and even at school events where I dared to wear a PSU sweatshirt when my children were competing in a sport. It was ugly but I persevered in my pursuit of the truth....I’m still doing so today. Fast forward 6 years and we now have abuse scandals that are plaguing both Michigan State University and The Ohio State University. Now I know your initial reaction will be, “it’s not the same thing” and, to an extent, you’ll be right and to an extent, you’ll be wrong. So let’s lay out the similarities and differences in these cases........we’ll start with the differences. Bear with me on this. Jerry Sandusky’s victims were children. While employed by Penn State, Jerry Sandusky was investigated for possible inappropriate behavior with one child and both the police and child welfare agencies determined there was no crime. He was convicted of 40 some crimes against children committed AFTER he was employed by Penn State. All of his victims were participants of his charity, The Second Mile. None of his victims were Penn State students (that’s important when you consider the NCAA involved itself). At last count, I believe there were about 33 men who came forward to accuse Jerry Sandusky of abuse. Larry Nassar was convicted of crimes against both children and legal adults. His case is somewhat unique in that he was working for both USA gymnastics and also Michigan State University at the same time. At last count, there were close to 300 accusers to claim they were abused by Larry Nassar. Reports about Larry Nassar were brought forward for years and were apparently investigated by police, but no action against him was ever taken. Allegations against Richard Strauss appear to revolve around legal adults although that investigation continues. The numbers of reported victims are in the hundreds. As yet, I’m not aware that there were any police investigations into his behavior but certainly there appear to be ongoing reports over the years that were at least looked into by the university. This story will continue to unfold as OSU has rightly begun an investigation into the matter and I hope that, unlike PSU, will do so in an honest and open manner. (Word of caution to OSUers - your trustees are all gubernatorial appointees and that can create conflicts of interest. Keep an eye on that!) Now for similarities......Sandusky, Nassar and Strauss are all affiliated with B1G university athletic programs. All exhibited behavior that was considered odd by some, reported as odd by others and in some cases reported to and investigated by law enforcement without consequence. They’re all men. They were all highly regarded in their profession. All were married with children. All are accused of carrying out their crimes over decades in their profession. But the only similarity that really matters between Jerry Sandusky, Larry Nassar and Richard Strauss is that they were all pillar of the community sex offenders (PCSO). PCSO’s may have preferences for certain ages or sexes of victims but their only requirement is this - they need victims who are vulnerable to manipulation because of their standing in the community and can be easily deceived. I won’t go into significant explanation about PCSO’s because it’s already been done through funding by Sue Paterno who engaged an expert on the matter. Read more here: http://www.paterno.com/Expert-Reports/Jim-Clemente.aspx#.W1Jy_9JKhPY Please don’t dismiss the importance of this report, especially if you’re the parent of a child in youth sports, in school, involved in church activities or any other place where a child is being influenced by an adult in a position of authority. Your child is vulnerable. Don’t kid yourself. If you’re an alum of PSU, you already know this but what the press needs to create a story that will garner clicks is a big name to which they can attach the story. That happened to Joe Paterno at PSU. It’s now happening to Jim Jordan at OSU. MSU had Aly Raisman and other Olympians. None of these stories would have made headlines without those names because, at the end of the day, people don’t actually care as much about the abuse as they do sports hate (allowing them to point fingers at a rival institution) or celebrity the press can use for exploitation. I saw it. You’ll see it. It is what it is. But here is the important part - PCSO’s don’t need enablers to carry out their crimes. Everyone wants to make these stories about “turning a blind eye”. The story is always the same....an athlete or child reported behavior to a person in authority and no action was taken. Blind is actually a fairly accurate description but intent is a whole other matter. Where PCSO’s are concerned, people are “blind” to their behavior because the predator has established themselves as pillars of the community and no matter who makes the report, it is simply unbelievable. If you don’t believe that, listen to the words of the parents of gymnasts abused by Larry Nassar who witnessed the abuse reported by their daughters and simply didn’t “see” it. One such parent committed suicide because he finally recognized that what his daughter was telling him was true and he didn’t believe her. He didn’t intend to hurt his daughter. He was blinded by a pillar of the community. Joe Paterno, Jim Jordan and all of the other people who will ultimately be accused of turning a blind eye are no more guilty than were the parents of Larry Nassar’s victims, or any of us who might find we were in the company of a pillar of the community offender we don’t “see”. What WILL make us guilty is if we continue to make this about sports rivalry so we can laugh at clever jokes about a hated opponent who found there was, or is, a sexual predator on their campus. Newsflash - there is a predator on every campus and every community and they are positioning themselves in target rich environments. That’s what they do! Now on to some people who deserve some significant criticism - Lou Anna Simon and Ed Ray. Back in 2012, the NCAA, in an attempt to show they had muscle, strong armed Penn State (albeit with assistance from Penn State itself) into sanctions that punished an entire program and group of student athletes who were in no way involved in any misconduct. At the time, Lou Anna Simon was on the NCAA executive committee and Ed Ray was chair of the executive committee. Both Lou Anna Simon and Ed Ray spoke out very publicly against Penn State, Simon calling what happened at Penn State “pretty pervasive” and Ed Ray stating this was a moment for all NCAA institutions to do a “gut check” about priorities. While they pontificated from their altar, both were completely unaware that the institutions they oversaw were plagued by pillar of the community sex offenders who were abusing actual students for whom they bore responsibility. Lou Anna Simon would eventually be forced to resign from MSU and faced nothing more than questioning by Congress. Ed Ray, who was provost at OSU during the Strauss years, remains at Oregon State University and has yet to face a consequence or even any questions. Penn State officials were charged with conspiracy to conceal the activities of Jerry Sandusky and none were convicted on the charge. There was no conspiracy to conceal anything, an inconvenient fact that PA’s attorney general, Penn State and the NCAA still refuse to acknowledge. In any case, both Lou Anna Simon and Ed Ray owe their colleagues at Penn State, and all of the student athletes they sanctioned, a huge apology for jumping to conclusions and fueling the bandwagon that still carries this false and outrageous narrative. So does Mark Emmert, but that’s a whole other story. The good news for the athletic departments at MSU and OSU is that the NCAA will NEVER involve themselves in the matters of Larry Nassar or Richard Strauss because they know they went way overboard by sanctioning a program over crimes committed by a former PSU employee whose victims weren’t even students, let alone athletes. My advice to my OSU friends - hold your university and board of trustee’s feet to the fire. Do NOT allow them to fall on the sword on behalf of an entire university community who was victimized by a predator. If you don’t think they will, just ask Baylor! And use this opportunity to educate your friends, family and colleagues about pillar of the community offenders. If Penn State’s board and administration had any integrity, they would reach out to their sister institutions at MSU and OSU and tackle this issue head on. Imagine the impact if 3 huge research institutions put their collective resources toward research, education and philanthropy to stop abuse. Just imagine. My advice to everyone else - read the Clemente report. Learn about PCSO’s. Invest in protecting your children. Don’t assume that people who are interesting in helping you or your child are doing so just because they care about you. Games are games. Abuse is abuse. What do you really care about????