Academic journal article Journal of Information Ethics

The Penn State Sex Abuse Scandal: Personal and Psychological Insights

Academic journal article Journal of Information Ethics

The Penn State Sex Abuse Scandal: Personal and Psychological Insights

Article excerpt

I have both personal and psychological insights about the sex abuse scandal at Penn State that lasted for years as assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky sexually abused children. The personal insights come from twice applying for jobs there, including an on- campus interview as I was getting my doctorate. Also, the job I finally got, at Temple University, was in the same university system as Penn State, so I was somewhat aware of events there. Coach Joe Paterno took over the discipline of all Penn State football players, even though there was a separate university office for this. But, he never allowed that office to do its job, as he kept control of what was or was not done to his players. He was powerful enough to enforce his control here.

Interviews

My job interview at Penn State occurred as I was getting my doctorate in clinical psychology at the University of Georgia. Penn State is isolated from just about everything else. I had to take two planes and a long taxi cab ride to get to the campus. It is a major university in a rural setting, the great God of the area one could say. And many people in the geographic area who went to college went to Penn State, or worked there, or had some kind of ties to the university. The district attorney who, many years ago, first heard of charges against Jerry Sandusky and decided not to prosecute, had graduated from Penn State.

did not get the job, although I had a good interview. In fact, one of my interviewers became a high- level administrator at a flagship state university and tried to recruit me to teach there. I was later told that the Penn State psychology department had already offered the job to someone else but that person took a long time to decide, so in the meantime they interviewed me. Finally, he accepted. I wonder if that is ethical: interviewing me when the job was already offered to someone else? It certainly is in their self- interest but is it ethical? I am not sure. But, even if it is not ethical, they can get away with things like that.

Years later, while at Temple, I applied for the job of Director of Clinical Training in the Psychology Department at Penn State. I did not get this job either, but instead it went to the Penn State faculty member who was head of the search committee. …

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