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At Penn State, a damning report on child sex abuse

Penn State coach Joe Paterno stands with his

Penn State coach Joe Paterno stands with his players before taking the field for an NCAA college football game against Ohio State in State College, Pa. (Nov. 7, 2009) Credit: AP

It's been said that evil occurs when good people do nothing.

But confronted with allegations of child sex abuse against Jerry Sandusky, who'd been defensive coordinator in Penn State University's vaunted football program, school officials "repeatedly concealed critical facts" in addition to doing nothing to protect his young victims. Those are the findings, anyway, of an independent investigation the university commissioned from Louis Freeh, the former FBI director. The report paints an ugly picture; Freeh himself describes the results of his inquiry in stark terms:

“Our most saddening and sobering finding is the total disregard for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s child victims by the most senior leaders at Penn State. The most powerful men at Penn State failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children who Sandusky victimized."

Top officials, including Joe Paterno, the school's renowned head coach at the time, “never demonstrated, through actions or words, any concern for the safety and well-being of Sandusky’s victims until after Sandusky’s arrest.”

Sandusky is awaiting sentencing following his child abuse conviction, and Penn State has adopted a number of policy changes aimed at preventing a recurrence. Meanwhile, it's appalling and infuriating to read once again that responsible adults didn't just ignore child abuse in their midst but, as in the case of the Catholic Church, actively helped to conceal it. If only the "good" people had confined themselves to doing nothing. But maybe they weren't so good after all.

Pictured above: Penn State coach Joe Paterno stands with his players before taking the field for an NCAA college football game against Ohio State in State College, Pa. (Nov. 7, 2009)

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