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Justified outrage

I appreciate what Fritz Metzinger is trying to do when he asks us to "Beware the Paterno witch-hunt" (Nov. 10) - scandals have a habit of spinning out of control, and we should be wary of easy targets for the public's anger. But the situation at Penn State is more than a scandal - it's a failure of a community obligation to protect its most vulnerable members.

Jerry Sandusky isn't Kobe Bryant; he stands charged with multiple counts of child rape, committed throughout the course of a decade. Joe Paterno was confronted with first-hand evidence of the offense, and he revoked Sandusky's use of team facilities - an admission that, yes, something was happening. Despite this, he declined to contact the police. Instead, he watched for ten years as Sandusky used the glamour of Penn State football to lure, abuse and rape other children.

Has Joe Paterno committed a crime? No. Did Joe Paterno do his legal minimum when confronted with allegations of rape? Yes. Was this enough? Absolutely not. That public anger is occasionally premature does nothing to erase the fact - and disgrace - of his inaction. It's worth putting this another way. For at least a decade, and probably longer, Jerry Sandusky organized his life around the sexual abuse of children. The universe gave Joe Paterno a chance to stop this, but rather than demonstrate genuine leadership - the kind you cannot show on a football field - he walked away. Losing his job is the least of what he deserves.\n\nJamelle Bouie\nCLAS '09