Last night, a jury found the odious Jerry Sandusky guilty of 45 out of 48 sexual abuse charges. In related news, yesterday Monsignor William J. Lynn, a former aide to the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua of Philadelphia, was found guilty of child endangerment charges, for his role in covering up the crimes of pedophile priests.
Eight of Sandusky’s victims bravely came forward and put themselves through the ordeal of testifying in the trial. It’s exceedingly likely, though, that there were many more victims; at least one of them was his own adopted son, Matt Sandusky, who was willing to testify about the abuse in court. In the coming years, these victims and others who have not yet gone public are virtually certain to hit up Penn State with an astronomical bill for a legal settlement, and rightfully so. But since Penn State is a public institution, it’s the taxpayers who ultimately will be footing the tab. Sandusky’s monstrous crimes are horrifying enough, and the fact that they were enabled for so long by so many people is grotesque. But the fact that taxpayers will, in effect, end up paying for them is what really sticks in my craw.
One more footnote: so long as we’re on the subject of sexual abuse, I want to link to this excellent piece by Slate’s Emily Yoffe (she’s their “Dear Prudence” columnist) about how she was sexually molested three times as a child and teen and yet never told her family or went to the cops. I am sorry to report that one of the men who assaulted her was the late Father Robert Drinan, a former Congressman, Jesuit priest, and pro-choice liberal icon. I’d always admired Drinan — he seemed to exemplify the best of the Vatican II type priest that, sadly, Popes John Paul and Benedict have all but driven out of the Church. But after reading Yoffe’s all-too-credible-sounding account, I can’t continue to have the high regard for Drinan I once did. And the non-denial denial issued by Drinan’s family tends, if anything, to add credibility to Yoffe’s story, rather than detract from it.