A Lesson from the Penn State Scandal

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An unidentified individual at the former site of the Joe Paterno statue.

A key lesson from the Sandusky scandal at Penn State is the harmfulness of corruption.  This scandal came from the top:  the president, athletic director, VP of finance and security, and a hugely powerful head coach.  Even the board of trustees has been implicated in various ways, from the former chairman, Steve Garban, who resigned, to the general counsel Cynthia Baldwin.

This scandal was about two separate crimes, those of Jerry Sandusky, and those of the administrators.

The crimes of the administrators have affected thousands, maybe even tens of thousands of people.  First, they allowed Sandusky to continue his ways and molest, frighten, intimidate, and otherwise damage additional children.  Beyond that the University, its students, its football fans, and perhaps in some ways the entire state of Pennsylvania has been damaged.  The financial toll alone will be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

If they had performed their duty and if Sandusky had been stopped the whole thing would have been over.

Corruption means being in a position of responsibility and not doing what you are supposed to do.  These people, the elected or appointed officials, had (have) a responsibility they seemingly didn’t understand.  They failed in their duty and the consequences have been gigantic.

This is a situation that was eventually exposed and prosecuted.  How many others are out there and what, and for whom, are the consequences?

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