For many Pennsylvanians, the case of Jerry Sandusky has been a source of shock, of surprise, and/or morbid curiosity.
Questions abound as to what happened, how could it have happened, and why?
But that is not the focus of my attention.
Rather, it is the case of a young boy who, disturbed and perhaps traumatized by Mr. Sandusky’s inappropriate attentions, talked to his mother, who, in turn, took it up with her son’s school officials.
These officials urged the parent to be cautious, as Mr. Sandusky was a powerful figure in Joe Paterno’s State College, and was, arguably, the second most powerful person in town. They quietly urged her to ‘let it go’.
‘Let it go.
‘Don’t rock the boat.’
I thought of this exchange again in the context of the case of Terry ‘Butta’ Williams, who, according to a recent court ruling was victimized and sexually abused when he was a youth.
For Williams and an accomplice were charged and convicted of beating and killing an older man who was known (by the Das!) to be a sexual predator. Williams’ conviction landed him on Death Row, and his accomplice was given a life sentence for testifying against Williams.
Recently a Philadelphia post- conviction judge ruled that Williams’ death sentence was obtained illegally, and that the DA withheld from the defense evidence that could’ve been used to defeat the death sentence.
Williams’ death sentence was reversed, and a new sentencing hearing ordered. His convictions were left untouched.
One wonders: what would’ve happened if the boy in State College, told by adults there was nothing he could do about it; to just ‘let it go’, had attacked, beaten, and possibly killed Sandusky?
It is entirely possible that the young man would’ve been prosecuted, and perhaps, sent to death row.
It is more than possible – it is probable.
Young people, exploited by older, more powerful people, are harmed deeply –perhaps irreparably.
They shouldn’t be told to ‘let it go’.
For, try as they might, they never can.