Penn State grads say scandal about kids, not football

November 09, 2011|By JENNIFER FITCH |

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — As the shakeup at Penn State University continues in the wake of a child sex scandal, alumni living in the Waynesboro area are questioning who knew what and how the story will continue to unfold.

Some say the alleged victims of former Assistant Coach Jerry Sandusky are getting lost as the media focuses on top university officials as well as Wednesday’s announcement of head football Coach Joe Paterno’s dismissal.

“This isn’t just about football. This is bigger than football; we’re talking about the welfare of children, which should be the most important thing and not just at Penn State, but any institution,” said Steve Minnich of Waynesboro.

Minnich, who graduated from Penn State in 1986, called the situation sickening, disgusting and reprehensible. He said the damage that was done to the children can’t be fixed.

“There was so many wrongs made with that. There are no rights,” Minnich said.

Kenton Broyles, 80, did not attend Penn State University, but he is an ardent supporter of the school. The Waynesboro man said he’s missed four home football games in 35 years.

“Mistakes were made. We must go on,” Broyles said.
Broyles said he met Sandusky and the other staff members involved, and he especially liked Athletic Director Tim Curley, who stepped down this week. Curley is charged with perjury and failure to report allegations of child sexual abuse.

“It hurts, and it’s too bad,” Broyles said.

“I feel for the kids.... They’re living through this now, and it’s being brought up all over again,” said Jill Kessler, a 1985 graduate.

Kessler, of Waynesboro, said she’s frustrated by the amount of time that passed since the first reported incidents. She’s also concerned about the three years that passed during the police and grand jury investigations.

“I don’t know if my feelings will change toward the school in general, but I guess for the ones who make the decisions,” said Kessler, who noted that she received a good education at the university.

“My major concern is, when the police were involved in, I believe it was 1998, and the DA was involved, the charges were dropped. Why wasn’t it ended then?” asked Rick Boyer, a Waynesboro resident who graduated from Penn State in 1969.

Boyer said he’s unhappy that the media “jumped on” Paterno and his career.

“I don’t think he deserves it,” Boyer said.

However, he said Paterno did the right thing by stepping aside to allow the board of trustees to focus its attention elsewhere.

“People are ignoring the real perpetrator himself who started it,” said Jim Rock of Waynesboro.

Leaders do need to be held accountable for things that happen on their watch, Rock said.

“We’ll still be Penn State, and we’ll still go on. It has nothing to do with my support of the university,” he said.

Penn State University is about its people, not the actions of a few individuals, Rock said.

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