The Jerry Sandusky sex scandal of 2011 remains one of the worst sex abuse cases involving a public figure. Sandusky was one of the top assistant coaches in college football history, the linebacker coach at Penn State, which came to be known as Linebacker U. He retired after a career at Penn State from 1969-1999 and started a charity to help young boys.
A grad student saw Sandusky anally raping a pre-pubescent boy in the shower, reported it to famed head coach Joe Paterno, and … nothing happened for years. Sandusky was eventually convicted on 45 counts of raping young boys. He will remain in prison at least through age 98. Coach Paterno was kicked to the curb.
A few observations: It was widely assumed at the time that this would pull back the curtain on all sorts of cases of seemingly straight football coaches raping youths.
Strikingly, however, this hasn’t happen.
I recall some headlines immediately after the Sandusky story breaking about a male basketball coach of a female high school team having an affair with an approximately 17 or 18 year old girl on his team, which is bad, but not exactly Sandusky-level depravity. And that was about it.
UPDATE: Readers remind me of an assistant basketball coach at Syracuse U. who shortly after Sandusky took off for Israel after accusations involving ball boys. See comments for details.
Why not? Most male football and basketball coaches are pretty normal heteroexuals. With scandals breaking at the moment involving men in the arts, it’s likely that the overall pattern will turn out to be that gay pederasty is more common among artistically inclined men than among football-inclined men.
Another thing: Sandusky was closer to a genuine gay pedophile than a typical gay pederast interested in teenage boys. It’s a big part of The Narrative to redefine gay pederasts who get caught, as in the bulk of the Catholic priest scandals, as “pedophiles” attracted to children rather than as gay men attracted to youths. Sandusky, however, started grooming boys at 8 to 12.
Sandusky’s sex acts with the boys were more brutal than most of the ones in, say, the Catholic priest scandals, which tended to be more groping. Many of the priest pederasts were gentle lonely alcoholic gays who are not naturally brutal. Sandusky, in contrast, was one of America’s leading experts on how to knock down 220 pound running backs.
So, the Sandusky case, from the perspective of a half-dozen years later, looks fairly anomalous. That’s one reason it’s so notorious is that it was closer to the exception that proves various rules. And before you write in to complain like Judge Posner that exceptions can’t prove rules, let me say instead that the extreme notoriety of the Sandusky case suggests that most similar scandals aren’t all that similar.