Jerry Sandusky will no doubt die in prison. But his many unspeakable crimes will live on – in the tortured psyches of his victims, in the university whose reputation he soiled and in the courts, where criminal and civil actions will far outlive his own case.
One rarely talked-about bit of damage he leaves behind is a further-degraded American culture; our children have had to endure any number of “sports” stories introducing the
remotest regions of the human soul to their
malleable minds. He proved the existence of the bogeyman.
Sandusky himself must be seriously tortured to not only maintain his innocence in the face of a mountain range of evidence that he sexually abused multiple young boys while a coach at Penn State University, but to also suggest at his sentencing that he can somehow “cherish the opportunity to be a candle for others.” It’s quite the opposite; his darkness surely snuffed out some tender candles.
In the end, Sandusky’s sentencing gives no one much satisfaction, least of all his victims whose lives he forever polluted. But putting him away to die in prison is as much about protection as payback. No one else will ever be preyed upon by him, and perhaps others like him will be more recognizable now to a society that too rarely has admitted their presence.