The arduous task of rebuilding Penn State’s shattered image began Friday with a pledge by the board of trustees to search for the truth amid an unfolding child sex abuse case against a former assistant football coach, a scandal that has already claimed the jobs of coach Joe Paterno and the school’s president.
And now right-wing groups are using the scandal to lobby against the rights of gay parents and same-sex adoption.
Paterno, the winningest coach in major college football and Graham Spanier, president of Penn State, were fired Nov. 9 in the fallout of a shocking days-old grand jury report alleging repeated, illicit contact between retired assistant coach Jerry Sandusky (pictured) and boys as young as 10 over a span of 15 years, sometimes in Penn State’s facilities.
Sandusky has been arrested and charged with 40 counts of sexual abuse involving eight boys over a 15-year period.
Bryan Fischer, of the anti-gay hate group American Family Association, said the abuse by Sandusky shows that gay men are pedophiles.
“It’s a simple, stubborn fact that homosexuals molest children at much higher rates than the heterosexual population,” Fischer said. “This is one of the reasons the Boy Scouts have every right to keep homosexuals from becoming Boy Scout leaders.”
Appearing on the NPR news and analysis program “To the Point,” the Family Research Council's Jerry Cox, made the same implication. “I find it interesting that we talk about the Penn State situation, and then when we talk about people who claim to have these rights to adopt or foster; in both cases, the children's rights get put in second place.”
But Sandusky is not part of the LGBT community. In fact, he is married and has six children.
A grand jury report said that Penn State administrators did not contact law enforcement authorities after a graduate assistant for the football team said he saw Sandusky sodomizing a boy of about 10 years old in the locker room showers at the team’s practice center in 2002. Top school officials, including Paterno and Spanier, say they weren’t told about the seriousness of the matter.
Sandusky has been aware of the accusations against him for about three years and has maintained his innocence, his lawyer has said.