Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What do Sandusky’s victims think about PSU’s fate? One answer may surprise you…

image At least one of Jerry Sandusky’s victims is upset and dismayed that Penn State University took down the statue of Joe Paterno and that the NCAA levied such crippling sanctions against the school on Monday.

The devoted Penn State fan feels that Sandusky’s victims should at least have been consulted.

In an interview with WGAL, Benjamin Andreozzi, the attorney for Victim No. 4, says that his client deserved to provide some input:

"The victims were not Penn State or the NCAA, the victims were the young men who testified in the courtroom and I think NCAA and Penn State owed it to them to at least consult with them before rendering a decision," Andreozzi said.

"I think you at least owe it to these young men to hear what their positions are regarding Joe Paterno and the statue, regarding whether Penn State should be sanctioned from participating in athletic events," Andreozzi said. "Instead Penn State and the NCAA took it in their own hands to play the role of judge and jury in this case without hearing from what could be construed as critical witnesses."

I agree. Would a Sandusky victim’s pleas for mercy have had an impact on NCAA President Mark Emmert’s single-handed dismemberment of the Penn State football program? Probably not. I am not the only one troubled by the unprecedented action announced during the 3:00 press conference Monday.

While I recognize that the university deserved punishment from college athletics governing body and that the statue needed to come down (at least temporarily), the victims of a crime should always be given the opportunity to provide input before sentencing.

The precedents here are breathtaking and they should literally scare you to death.

Consider the following scenario:

A college football coach engages in a long, adulterous affair with a female employee, which would constitute sexual harassment and create a hostile workplace. This behavior is repeated as the harasser moves from victim to victim. The school president knows what’s going on, but doesn’t step in to take action until the harassers actions are made public by say, a motorcycle accident.

While sexual harassment doesn’t rise even close to the level of evil committed by Sandusky, this is a pretty bad and likely unprecedented lack of institutional control, is it not?

The NCAA President now has the power to bypass the enforcement process and issue sanctions against the school, and need not even consult the victims before swinging the axe.

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