An incriminating scandal has simultaneously rocked the foundation of Penn State University and called into question the moral integrity of the once hollowed grounds of “Happy Valley.” Once considered the favorite in a field of candidates looking to take the place of legendary football coach Joe Paterno, Jerry Sandusky has recently become the subject of immense scrutiny. A legendary defensive coordinator in his own right, Sandusky is now faced with the monumental task of defending himself in a court of law. According to a 40-count indictment issued by the state Attorney General’s office, Sandusky has allegedly committed lewd and salacious acts of sexual abuse with approximately eight young boys.
Before he retired from the Penn State football program in 1999, Jerry Sandusky was as much a part of the legendary football reputation as Joe Paterno himself. His uncanny ability on the defensive side of the ball helped Paterno earn the most wins as a coach in the history of Division I football. Subsequently, he established an unquestioned reputation that acknowledged the Penn State football program as “Linebacker University.”
However, his passion for football was equally rivaled for his devotion to underprivileged children. During his reign of defensive supremacy, Sandusky established The Second Mile, a foundation dedicated to helping young children burdened with dysfunctional families or absent of them completely. Founded in 1977, The Second Mile has challenged young people to achieve their potential as individuals and community members by providing opportunities for them to develop positive life skills.
Unfortunately, The Second Mile provided Sandusky with a mechanism in which he could surround himself with vulnerable children. Linda Kelly, the reigning Pennsylvania Attorney General, suggested that Sandusky used The Second Mile organization to find his victims. According to court documents, Sandusky allegedly used The Second Mile as a means to engage in inappropriate conduct with three different boys harbored by the foundation.
It was not until 1998 that the proper authorities were made aware of Sandusky’s salacious actions. The mother of an 11-year-old boy, who claims Sandusky showered with her son and may have had inappropriate contact with him, alerted school officials of the misconduct. The following year, an investigation by the Pennsylvania attorney general began once a Clinton County, Pa. teen boy told authorities that Sandusky had inappropriately touched him several times over a four-year period.
Mounting suspicion led to an intensive two year investigation. Incriminating evidence and witness testimonials culminated in the arrest of Sandusky on November 5, 2011. He was charged with eight counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and numerous other charges, including aggravated indecent assault, corruption of minors and endangering the welfare of a child. Of the 40 counts leveled against him, 21 are considered felonies. If convicted, the Penn State sexual abuse lawsuit may result in life in prison for Sandusky.
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