Paterno’s Legacy

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The Pink Flamingo has said very little about the Penn State horror.  There are several reasons, among those that the story is so much like what happened to me when I was a child that I’ve left it alone, until now.  In my case, the person who molested me was my elementary school principal.

He was hired by the local school board.  They hired him, knowing that he had been given a dishonorable discharge from the Army for molesting children in a nursery on base.  Nothing was done to him.  Pedophiles were not punished in those days.  He was, instead, institutionalized in the state mental hospital.  He came directly from the state hospital, where he had been incarcerated for molesting children, to local school, full of children.

My childhood was taken from me.  My life, for the next twenty years was an irrational blur of someone trying to cope with the destruction of innocence.  When a child is molested, they are destroyed, inside.  I went from a bouncy, outgoing, slightly hyper kid who loved to perform to someone who hid from the world.  Because of what was stolen from me, I will never know what I could have been.

The person who molested me also tried to kill me.  I was hidden in a closet in his office for an entire day.  To this day I am terrified of cold, dark places.  He prowled around my home, trying to get into my bedroom windows.  I remember waking up screaming one night when he was trying to break in, trying to raise the window.  He tried to take me out of my new school.

I was not allowed to go to parties.  I could not spend the night with friends other than two who were on the approved list.  I could not go places with our church group.  When my parents tried to have the man arrested, their attorney refused to help them. He went on to become a “legendary” family court judge.  The attorney who eventually helped them, Jerry Fedder, became a very good friend to my parents, and one of Lindsey Graham’s mentors.

All records of this person have been deleted from Oconee County.  Everything was covered up, so that he did not exist.  The school board members who hired him, turned a blind eye.  My mother was hysterical.  They did not want to harm the school.

Many who were in my position, have been molested as a child turn to drugs or alcohol, or hyper sex.  Fortunately, I did none of those things.  I became an introvert.  I had an operatic soprano voice.  I did not train it.  I had two full scholarships for Oxford University to study history.  I refused them.  I was incapable of doing much of anything, well into my late thirties when I finally came to grips with what happened to me.  Then came the hysteria, the suicide threats, and the freak outs.

When I finally “recovered”, I became a different person.  There were no million dollar pay days for me, no restitution, no help.  There was nothing.  I was one of the first people in our area to come “out” as having been molested, and demanding something be done, legally, to help survivors.

As a person, it crushed me. Because I was so frozen inside, incapable of real emotions, I was basically denied a home, family, children, and marriage.  I refused to have children because I could not cope with the idea that they could be vulnerable to what I experienced.

When I hear the late Joe Paterno’s family discuss what went on and his legacy, it makes me physically ill.  These are selfish, people who are incapable of understanding what that evil man did. What Paterno did was evil.  He allowed the molestation of little boys to continue, for year.  He did not nothing to stop it.

I don’t wish bad things on them, but I truly wish they understood what that man did, the evil that he allowed.  Unfortunately, they are incapable of doing so.  Reading through the blogsphere and comments, it is shocking how many people can’t connect the fact that the man allowed lives to be destroyed, in order to protect his damn football program.

I’ve learned how to forgive and to move on with my life.  As a Christian, I have used what happened to me to help others.  It is going to take these young men at least twenty years to deal with the ruins of their lives, if ever they do.  An equitable penalty for Penn State would be to have a loss of their precious football program until these young men finally rebuild their lives.

We’re talking college football.  Nothing else matters.

For those reading this, who haven’t come to grips with what happened to them, tell someone.  Open your mouth, expose it.  Find someone you can cling to until you deal with your life.  Therapy is good, forgiveness is better.  When you can finally forgive, then you recover.

 

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