"Success without honor is an unseasoned dish; it will satisfy your hunger, but it won't taste good." Joe Paterno

I've spent a good deal of my life trying to make sense of child sexual abuse. In 1978, 26 sets of boys' bones were exhumed from serial killer John Wayne Gacy's crawl space. Three other bodies were found elsewhere on his Chicago property. I have been haunted ever since by the reality that a sick, dangerous man did unthinkable things to boys while I played hopscotch on my driveway just minutes away.

A couple of years after Gacy was found out, clergy abuse in the Catholic Church surfaced. Although I, nor anyone I knew in our local church and school where I grew up, experienced sexual abuse by the priests in our parish, evil seemed to strike dangerously close to home again. Was there nowhere a child could be safe?

Last week when the Penn State scandal broke and the Grand Jury report released graphic details of Jerry Sandusky's alleged rape of a young boy and other incidents of abuse, memories of Gacy I'd fought to suppress reemerged. And learning about the cover-up by college officials reminded me anew of the double-injury inflicted when our trusted institutions fail in their duty to report allegations of child sexual abuse.

Paterno's unseasoned dish

When Penn State's legendary (now former) head football coach Joe Paterno set out to conduct what has become known as his "grand experiment"—dubbed "Success with Honor"— his goal was to challenge his players to success both on the field and in the classroom. The program became the hallmark of Penn State's football program, as well as its entire athletics department: "Success with Honor is a daily, active goal, not an end result, and achieving that goal is defined not solely ...

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