Jerry Sandusky, Pedophilia, The Gauchos And A Few Good Men

-A +A
0

Is there an unwritten bargain for adults to go blind eye and deaf in return for the opportunities offered by the Gauchos? How many "good men" should have or could still speak out?


[Black Star News Editorial] 

Speaking
on "Meet The Press" about the pedophilia and cover-up scandal at Penn
State University this morning, Bob Costas the NBC sportscaster borrowed
from Edmund Burke: "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is
that good men do nothing."

Yet we live in a nation where
priorities are turned upside down. Money, fame, celebrity and
reputations can trump everything: including the protection of children
from sexual predators.

Such is the case with the Penn State case.

Former
assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky allegedly fondled a pre-teen
boy in 1998 and was investigated; no charges were ever filed. In 2001, a
graduate assistant coach Mike McQueary caught Sandusky raping a 10-year
old boy in the shower at Penn State and reported the attack to head
coach Joe Paterno.

Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley,
Senior Vice President for Finance and Business Gary Schultz, and the
school's president Graham Spanier were informed of the attack. Yet no
one called the police. Athletic Director Curley and President Spanier
decided that Curley would merely tell Sandusky that he "needed
professional help," because they wanted to treat him humanely.

The
victims, from low income families, may not have been deemed worthy
enough of "humane" consideration by Penn State's head honchos.

It
took 13 years before Sandusky was finally tried and convicted. Adults
sold their souls and abandoned the children to the tender mercies of
Sandusky's proclivities. No one wanted to bring shame and dishonor to
the university's and renowned head coach Joe Paterno's reputations.
There was too much pride and money involved.

Through the years, Sandusky continue to join
in the cheering and exchange of high fives every time Penn State scored a touchdown. All along, coach
Paterno, Curley, Schultz and Spanier knew he was up to no good. The
screams of Sandusky's victims were ignored.

To paraphrase Sandusky's
own wife's testimony at his recent trial: "I heard nothing." Yet she was
reportedly upstairs while Sandusky was prowling in the basement of their
home. Penn State's top officials had decided to "hear nothing."
Officials had decided it was better for Sandusky to continue molesting young
boys.

The assistant coach had set up a non-profit foundation
called Second Mile years earlier, for children from low-income families.
The program included summer camps. It was a cover for luring his
victims.

Finally, in June 2012 Sandusky was tried and
convicted on 45 counts of child sex abuse in state court. He had been
charged with crimes covering a 15 year period against 10 boys. Now he
faces a maximum of 442 years in prison.

But how could've
Sandusky eluded justice for such a long time? How could've grown ups
knowingly allowed him to continue having his way with children? Where
was media in Pennsylvania?

At a news conference after
releasing the report, Louis Freeh said "it is more reasonable to
conclude that, in order to avoid the consequences of bad publicity, the
most powerful leaders at Penn State University--Messrs. Spanier,
Schultz, Paterno and Curley--repeatedly concealed critical facts
relating to Sandusky's child abuse from the authorities, the board of
trustees, Penn State community and the public at large." Coach Paterno,
Freeh said, was "an integral part of this active decision to conceal."

In addition to the cover-up within the university is it possible members of the media who may have been aware of  Sandusky's
attacks were reluctant to publish a report they knew would have brought
down Paterno's famed football program? Where then would these writers
go to cheer on Saturdays during the fall?

How unique is the
Penn State scandal? Where else around this country are grown ups keeping
quiet while one of their own take advantage of young people from
low-income families?

Some weeks ago, Steve Reed, the spokesman
for the Bronx County District Attorney Robert Johnson told this
newspaper that a hotline (718) 838-7382 had been set up through the Sex
Crimes Bureau for victims of alleged past abuse at The Gauchos and at
Horace Mann to call.

The Gauchos was founded 43 years ago by
multi-millionaire immigrant from Argentina Lou d'Almeida at a West Side
YMCA before he relocated the program to its current spot in The Bronx.
It's one of New York's most elite amateur basketball programs. Several
ex-Gauchos have gained fame in college and pro-basketball.

The
program is operated by a non-profit organization founded by d'Almeida
called Team Work Foundation. He is a well connected man.

In 1996, The City
Sun,
a weekly newspaper published my article based on interviews with
three former tutors at the Gauchos, including Joseph Luethke, all of
whom said they had caught d'Almeida performing oral sex on an under-aged
player inside his car which was parked some distance from the Gauchos
gym near  478 Gerard Avenue in the Bronx. After The City Sun's expose,
The Daily News and The New York Post also reported on the allegations.

District
Attorney Johnson deserves praise. He was the only prosecutor in the New
York region who told The City Sun that his office was investigating the
allegations against d'Almeida. The Daily News later reported that the
board of Team Work Foundation, had barred inappropriate contact between
the Gauchos managers and young players.


Until
recently, the names of the officers of the Gauchos appeared on the program's website.
D'Almeida's bio
appears with the history of the Gauchos on the website.
The website says: "Each year, the Gauchos serve between 400 and 500 New
York City boys of who approximately 73% are African-American, 25% are
Latino, and 2% are from other ethnic groups. While participants come
from throughout the city, the majority comes from the Mott Haven section
of the Bronx and from Harlem. In these communities there is an acute
need for a program which young people value and participate in healthy,
wholesome activities in a safe environment."


D'Almeida is listed as the retired founder on a
separate Team Work foundation website.
Other officers listed
on the Team Work website are: Charles Chiara (President); Rocky Bucano
(Executive Director); Billy Singleton (Director of Basketball); Russell
Smith (Weekend Development). Listed as Board members are: Matthew
Bronfman - Chairman;  Charlie Chiara - President;  Andrea Kretchmer; Ken
Wirth; Mark Limardo; Robert Cole; and, Vincent Indelicato.

D'Almeida has presided over the Gauchos annual fundraisers in recent years. 

Reporters,
one of whom wrote an article for The Black Star News, attended a 2010
fundraiser for the Gauchos at Yankee Stadium. The reporters, Nana Ama
Tanks and Shaheed Muhammad, also posed for a photo with d'Almeida.

The
Gauchos is a venerable program and offers an after-school facility for
young athletes to play while also getting academic tutoring by
volunteers. The players also get to go on trips for tournaments around
the country and even overseas in places like France. These opportunities
are almost out-of-this-world for children from low income families. 
 
Is
there an unwritten bargain for adults to go blind eye and deaf in return
for the opportunities offered by the Gauchos? How many "good men" should
have or could still speak out? 
 
In light of the Penn State
scandal, shouldn't The Daily News and The New York Post revisit the
Gauchos story since the newspaper published articles in 1996? Sports
Illustrated
also published a long and illuminating article about
d'Almeida in 1995.

 
Is District Attorney Johnson the only good man out there?


"Speaking Truth To Empower."

Also Check Out...

A Tale of Two Cities
NEARLY HALF A MILLION JOIN ROUSING
Ntozake Shange speaks to
How Sweet It Is
MEDICAL CENTER TO HONOR SIERRA
HUNDREDS HEAD TOWARDS SOCIAL MEDIA