1971

The first known case of Jerry Sandusky abusing children happened in 1971, just two years after he was hired as a coach by Joe Paterno:

Penn State's legal settlements with Jerry Sandusky's accusers cover alleged abuse dating to 1971, which was 40 years before his arrest, the university said Sunday in providing the first confirmation of the time frame of abuse claims that have led to big payouts.

The disclosure came as Penn State president Eric Barron decried newly revealed allegations that former football coach Joe Paterno was told in 1976 that Sandusky had sexually abused a child and that two assistant coaches witnessed either inappropriate or sexual contact in the late 1980s. Paterno, who died in 2012, said that the first time he received a complaint against Sandusky was in 2001.

Barron said the accusations were unsubstantiated and suggested that the university is being subjected unfairly to what he called rumor and innuendo.

Responding to questions about the president's statement and claims against the school, university spokesman Lawrence Lokman told The Associated Press and ESPN's Josh Moyer that he could confirm that the earliest year of alleged abuse covered in Penn State's settlements is 1971.

ESPN goes to great lengths to push that date--1971. Good God, forty years of being able to abuse human beings and no remorse, nothing out of these people. Why is that important? That date changes the narrative. It makes things that went away come back with a vengeance.  It opens up the whole process again because it was widely believed that Sandusky did not abuse children until the 1990s. There's a whole other aspect to this that has to be addressed, and that is the institutional indifference to human suffering.

In 1971, Paterno could and should have been fired if he had covered up Sandusky's crime. As a coach, Paterno was not a legend by any stretch of the imagination. He was definitely a winning coach--two Orange Bowls and two perfect seasons in the late 1960s will give you some power at a university, but he didn't win a National Championship until 1982. After that, he would have been untouchable. In 1971, he would have been a difficult man to fire, but it could have happened if the scandal had blown up that year and if he had played a role in covering it up.

Is the NCAA going to do anything? I sure hope so. This is unfinished business that should have informed how the school was punished initially. This new revelation makes it seem like they got off light, doesn't it?

What the University President and everyone else seems to miss is that you need to stop blaming the victims. You need to put that strategy to rest because there has been a conviction. There are no allegations anymore--they've been proven in a court of law. I think what they fear are millions more in settlements and more sanctions for the football program. I think that they have to purge college football of Paterno's records and they have to make damned sure they have institutional control over the athletic department.

We're left with what might have happened if they had dealt with Sandusky when they knew about him. There is a remote possibility that he might have gone to jail--unlikely given the times. He might have been dealt with as a problem if he had been fired but that would have simply displaced the tragedy. Instead, he rode Paterno's coattails all the way to local prominence and his own victim grooming farm, also known as his Second Mile charity.

Just when you thought the whole thing couldn't get any sicker, everything turns. Is there any way to hold Penn State University accountable? If not, then we're all part of the problem.