The Freeh report is now out and we have been informed of the NCAA sanctions that are going to be issued. There is talk of the impending civil settlements or trials that will follow, so there is a lot more information about what happened and what is going to be done about it. Hopefully, the survivors who have come forward will finally see justice.
That being complete, we still need to look into what happened to figure out what else can be learned. Not to keep digging at old sores, but to ensure that nothing like this happens again. To make sure all survivors who are out there understand that if they come forward, there is protection and help. To let each hidden pedophile know that they will be uncovered and that they need to stop now.
CNN had an interesting angle on the efforts of Vicky Triponey who had been fighting with the school and the coach for the years that she was a vice president of student discipline and how she was an early voice against the institutional powers that existed there. As they reported,
she was told she was too aggressive, too confrontational, that she wasn't fitting in with "the Penn State way."
She clashed often with Paterno over who should discipline football players when they got into trouble. The conflict with such an iconic figure made her very unpopular around campus. For awhile, it cost Triponey her peace of mind and her good name. It almost ended her 30-year academic career.
These are the early voices who do fight for disclosure and for following the rules.
Instead, the school continued to hide and up until the very end, work to reward those in power. As the investigation grew the coach, enriched himself with an accelerated contract:
Mr. Paterno was to be paid $3 million at the end of the 2011 season if he agreed it would be his last. Interest-free loans totaling $350,000 that the university had made to Mr. Paterno over the years would be forgiven as part of the retirement package. He would also have the use of the university’s private plane and a luxury box at Beaver Stadium for him and his family to use over the next 25 years.
Yet another example of the institution sticking their head in the sand as the truth came out. Think of this as they fight to protect their money and their reputation against those who were truly hurt in this tragedy.
Zero tolerance is done as a preventative measure. The key is preventing future children from being put in harm's way.
The very nature of having a strong tort system is to make sure that punishment is a deterrent. The addition of rare punitive damages is to send a message that these types of actions never take place again.
Abuse of children and the continued silence by the offenders needs to be prevented. If you suffered, saw, or suspected such events, it is important to know that there is help out there.
A founding partner with Bradshaw & Bryant, Mike Bryant has always fought to find justice for his clients—knowing that legal troubles, both personal injury and criminal, can be devastating for a family. Voted a Top 40 Personal Injury "Super Lawyer" multiple years, Mr. Bryant has also been voted one of the Top 100 Minnesota "Super Lawyers" four times.