Sunday, June 17, 2012
My Sunday Feeling
Could there have been anything more heart-rending than the testimony of the young men at the trial of former Penn State Defensive Coordinator Jerry Sandusky who is charged with molesting numerous young boys? The witnesses, now adults, bravely, and at great emotional cost to themselves, took the stand and described in vivid and graphic detail what Sandusky is accused of doing to them when they were kids.
The prosecution put Mike McQueary on the stand last week to testify about what he saw one night in the shower in the Penn State locker room. McQueary was an assistant coach there at the time. He testified that he saw Sandusky raping a young boy. He said that he slammed a locker door hard to let Sandusky know he was there. But that's all that he did.
"Physically, [I] didn't physically remove the young boy from the shower or punch Jerry out," he testified.
"I was extremely frustrated and flushed," he testified. "Once I saw them separated, it's safe to assume I assumed it was over. I've said repeatedly I didn't do anything to stop it. Its been well publicized."
My buddy Don asked a pretty simple question. Again, why not?
McQueary's not a bad guy. He reported the incident to Head Coach Joe Paterno who, following protocol advised the Athletic Director. He then told his story to the Athletic Director and the Vice President in charge of the campus police. Who did nothing. Anybody that got hurt by Sandusky after the incident in the shower that night, that's not on McQueary.
The sporting press has been full of arm chair psychology about that night in the locker room. Most of them don't fault McQueary for not intervening because "none of us know what we would do if we were in the same position as he."
Which is bullshit. I know what I would have done. Don knows what he would have done. And nobody has ever mentioned either of us alongside the phrase "physical bravery."
You pull the attacker off the kid. You tell the kid to run. If the attacker fights you, well, bad for you. Most likely if McQueary had intervened Sandusky would have run away. Fine. The cops would have known where to find him. You get a towel or blanket to cover the kid. You comfort him without touching him and you assure him that he is safe. You don't touch him to let him know that you are different than the bad man that hurt him. You also don't touch him because his body is basically a crime scene and he will have to be examined by a doctor with a rape kit.
And you call 911. You frigging call 911.
It is a no-brainer to me. And it is a no-brainer to just about anybody I know.
Meanwhile, back in Court, Sandusky's lawyers won a ruling that will let them put on an expert who will testify that Sandusky has a "histrionic personality disorder." Their theory, as I understand it, is that the disorder caused him to seek the affection and companionship of young boys while not necessarily grooming them to be victims of molestation. Talk about your thin lines.
Well, I'm not exactly Mr. Criminal Defense Lawyer but gooooood luck with that. The problem with such "diminished capacity" defenses is that they are rarely successful. And that's because they are interposed to explain a defendant's behavior. In other words, since they can't refute the facts, they will use this in an attempt to explain away the facts. As I have said, "good luck."
But what the hell. From what I can tell they don't have much else going for them. It's not like he has an alibi. It's not like it's normal for a grown man to shower with young boys. It's not like they can put Sandusky on the stand. He's too stupid and squirrelly to stand up to cross-examination.
But who cares about him?
This whole sorry situation represents a massive institutional failure on the part of Penn State University to protect the weak and the vulnerable. It is easily the worst scandal to have visited college sports.
And I will have to believe that Mike McQueary will kick himself all the way to the grave because he didn't "punch Jerry out."