published Saturday, November 12th, 2011

Limits of justice in Penn State horror

Legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno has been fired over grave doubts about whether he and others who evidently knew of alleged sexual abuse of young boys by former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky did enough to stop it.

To all appearances, they didn't. Not by a long shot.

Sandusky faces multiple charges, and athletic director Tim Curley and university Vice President Gary Schultz have been charged with perjury and with failing to report a 2002 assault to authorities.

Paterno is not charged with a crime, as he met the legal requirement of telling school officials about a report to him by an assistant coach who said he had seen Sandusky in a shower with a boy in 2002. But Paterno's failure to call the authorities was a lapse in his "moral responsibility," the state police commissioner declared.

Now, he has been fired, as has Penn State President Graham Spanier. And if the allegations are true, several young boys suffered what almost certainly will be long-term, serious harm.

We hope justice will be done. But justice, no matter how necessary or severe, cannot undo the damage of this seemingly avoidable horror.

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