Governor Tom Corbett has created a controversy among Penn State alumni, friends, and fans over the Commonwealth's lawsuit against the NCAA. While many do not favor the governor politically or personally, they are willing to saddle up with him for what is "the only game in town" for fighting the NCAA.
What could be more unjust than the sanctions levied on Penn State?
THIS: Since the time that Mike McQueary witnessed that incident in the showers in 2001, over 400 children have been murdered in child abuse incidents in the Commonwealth. The numbers are actually higher because some of the deaths are included in other crime statistics.
The record is atrocious and there's no plan to change things.
The sad reality is that children don't vote. They don't have money.
Therefore, they are of little use to the governor and he's willing to take a pass on protecting them in an attempt to win favor with the voters of Pennsylvania -- who have both.
A report from the PA Task Force on Child Protection, recommending needed changes to the system sits on the Governor's desk. It's been there since November 27th.
He's held no press conference to announce the recommendations that he's chosen to implement.
He hasn't invited abused children or the surviving family members of the children who were murdered to his mansion for dinner.
DPW and CYS's Track Record of FailureIn the wake of the Sandusky Scandal, the state government convened a task force to decide what improvements should be made for protecting children. Don't you love it when legislators react to the latest news du jour, instead of actually being ahead of things and preventing the next crisis?
The task force went about their business holding hearings through the summer and fall about child abuse. Many people testified.
At one end of the spectrum was Mike Gillum, the psychologist who worked with Aaron Fisher, and helped bring Sandusky to justice.
At the other end was The Honorable Beverly D. Mackereth, Deputy Secretary, Office of Children,Youth, and Families at the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare. Most people have no idea who this nameless, faceless bureaucrat is -- but I do.
Ms. Mackereth, as a caseworker in York County in 1982, was instructed by doctors not to allow little Aleta Bailey, who had been severely beaten by her mother's boyfriend, to be returned to her home and be a subject of future abuse by the boyfriend. Against the orders, Mackereth returned the child to the home and within one month, Aleta was beaten to death.
Anyone who has read this blog knows that the DPW and CYS reacted similarly to a recommendation from Dr. Alycia Chambers, who concluded Sandusky was exhibiting grooming behaviors typical of a pedophile. Like Mackereth, DPW and CYS ignored the Chambers report and stopped investigating Sandusky, letting him roam free to prey on children for 14 years.
If you've followed the news and the Sandusky trial closely, you might know that Clinton County CYS did not require the Second Mile to institute a "safety plan" after Sandusky was "indicated" as a child abuser in 2009. And if you've really followed things closely, you'd know that Sandusky was likely abusing Victim 9 while the investigation was in its beginning stages.
It is long past time for much needed reforms at CYS and DPW and I think that we, as Penn Staters, should be asking the Governor to put as much emphasis on protecting children as he is on fighting the NCAA.
Are We Who We Say WE ARE?I never met Joe Paterno, but Joe was and is a great inspiration to me.
I knew about Joe for a long time, growing up in Central Pennsylvania in the 1970's it was hard not to know about him. But I didn't learn who Joe was until I read Paterno By The Book. Then I got to understand the depth of Joe Paterno, what he stood for and what he believed in.
There are many quotes of Joe's which are timeless, but at the moment, one quote stands out:
"There's more things in life that are more important than a football game."
I know from reading his books -- and I've read many of them -- and from looking at history, that Joe preached academics and family were ahead of football. The graduation rates and academic success of Penn State football players was and continues to be magnificent.
It was the Grand Experiment. Top flight football played by athletes who excelled in the classroom. What was a small agricultural college, when Joe arrived, transformed into a world class institution.
The time is now that we demand that Governor Corbett takes steps in taking Pennsylvania toward world-class levels of child protection.
This is not an either or decision. We can do both.
As Joe used to say,
"Let's show them who we are!"