Sex scandals

Wednesday afternoon, my son's father started talking to me about the Penn State football coach criminal sexual abuse case. Although I had seen a headline that day about Joe Paterno stepping down, I did not pay it much attention, mostly since Joe is 84 years old and I have been expecting his retirement for a while. But also, I must admit, because I generally speaking keep much better track of Icelandic news than U.S. news.

So the sex scandal I had been following was not the one most American's were following. I was instead reading all about the book written by the daughter of a deceased bishop accusing him of repeatedly sexually molesting her through her childhood, and the reaction to that book by the woman's family. Of course I am referring to Iceland's child sexual abuse story of the week.

With all due respect to everyone in Iceland involved in this, and with full cognizance of the status and power of a bishop, the child sexual abuse case at Penn State so completely dwarfs the Icelandic issue, I feel honestly rather upset at myself for not paying attention to it as it was unfolding. It now appears that the entire football program at Penn State colluded to keep the ongoing predatory rape of children from public attention simply because it would harm the reputation of their football program.

The Icelandic case is comprehensible in a way; I have heard of father's doing this sort of thing before to their children, and I can understand a family wanting to try to cover it up somehow. Families are supposed to love each other, for better or for worse. But here was a man who went out and sought victims, brought them to his place of work, and although his coworkers had direct evidence he was doing this, they did nothing to stop him because of money, because of some convoluted, artificial, overinflated sense of school pride?

At times like this, I do indeed miss Iceland. But the fact of the matter is it does not look like I will be going back to that idyllic little island in the North Atlantic anytime soon, and I need to start paying more attention to what is going on right here, in my own back yard.


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