Media's Role In Penn State And Gauchos Sex Abuse Scandals

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[Black Star News Editorial]

Two additional victims who were allegedly sexually abused by former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky have reportedly spoken to the authorities. One of the alleged victims is said to be a Sandusky relative.

The 67-year-old Sandusky who remains out on bail is already charged with sexually assaulting eight boys over a 15-year period, in a 40-count indictment. Why did the sexual abuse of young boys by Penn State assistant coach Sandusky continue for such a long time? His reported rapes of boys as young as eight or 10 years old can be traced as far back to 1999; meaning the abuses could go even way earlier than that, given Sandusky's age.

In one of the most chilling allegations, Mike McQueary, who was  a Penn State graduate assistant and is now an assistant coach there, claimed he caught Sandusky anally raping a boy in the showers on campus. But why did it take until 2011, only after Joe Paterno, Penn State head coach had set the record for most wins in Division I college football, for Sandusky to be arrested? Why was Sandusky allowed to possibly abuse several more young men, from poor and broken families, even when he had been investigated as far back as 1999? After all, he was only 55 when he was forced to retire that year, meaning someone at Penn State, probably including Paterno, knew of his perverted proclivities.

Why was Sandusky not exposed and arrested earlier?

To be sure there was a conspiracy of silence involving: the school's senior administrators, including Penn State President Graham Spanier; officials in the athletic department, including the athletic director Tim Curley; some investigators within the Penn State police department; administrators at Sandusky's charity Second Mile, and; possibly some elected officials in Pennsylvania.

But beyond these key players all of whom failed the young alleged victims, the silence of other key players was required for this shameful travesty of justice and care for the young to occur.

This was the silence of the media-- that's what allowed the alleged rape spree of the minors to continue and to remain concealed. One can see how school administrators, coaches, politicians and even investigators could have covered up the Penn State scandal -- in order to protect what had become in essence a revered and powerful untouchable institution.

But what of the media whose role it is to expose such scandals and coverups?

Without media's collusion, through a conspiracy of silence, Sandusky would have been exposed much earlier. Perhaps many of his alleged rapes would have been prevented. Of course this means the scandal might have cost Paterno his job much earlier and also prevented him from securing the most coaching wins.

Penn State is a major football program and Paterno was one of the most nationally-recognized names in all of sports. It's one of the most well-covered college football programs, having won two national titles in the past and having generated hundreds of millions of dollars for the school.

It's not believable that not a single one of the hundreds of sports and general news writers who covered Penn State through these many years had never heard of Sandusky's perverted proclivities and the alleged rapes of boys. Many reporters, many editors, and many news producers on television and radio stations must have played along by ignoring the story or not pursuing it aggressively.

This brings here to New York City and the case of Bronx-based Gauchos basketball program. The Gauchos is a renowned youth basketball program. Famous players who once participated in the Gauchos, or offered basketball tips for the young players, and whose photos appear on its website include Chris Mullin, Ed Pinkney, Stephon Marbury, Rod Strickland, Mark Jackson, Kenny Anderson, Patrick Ewing, John Salley and others.

The Gauchos has indeed offered young players from low-income families the opportunity to improve their skills, gain discipline, and even a path towards college. Yet, some New York writers have known for more than 15 years about the alleged sexual proclivities of its multi-millionaire founder, Lou d'Almeida. The Gauchos operates under the umbrella of a foundation called Team Works. Most of the players are pre-teen and young teen Black boys from low-income families in the Bronx.

On April 17, 1996, Brooklyn-based The City Sun reported on allegations by three former academic tutors that they had witnessed d'Almeida performing oral sex on a young African American boy, inside his car. These tutors also reported the alleged sexual abuse to the Bronx County District Attorney, Robert T. Johnson.

It was clear that even before The City Sun's report, many reporters in the New York area had been aware of the allegations against d'Almeida. Almost immediately following The City Sun's report, The New York Post and The Daily News published articles about d'Almeida's alleged sexual abuse of the Gauchos player, quoting from The City Sun article.

Reporters at another New York publication even interviewed some of the young victims who had been sexually abused by d'Almeida.

Later, The Daily News reported in another article that the board of directors of Team Works Foundation, instituted a policy barring inappropriate physical contact with the young players.

For those who have been following the Sandusky scandal, this of course sounds very similar to what Penn State did when McQueary alerted Paterno about the alleged rape in the shower by Sandusky. Penn State had merely barred Sandusky from bringing young boys to the school's facilities.

Meanwhile, in New York City, d'Almeida is very much involved with the Gauchos. This year, former Gauchos Dwayne "Pearl" Washington was the guest of honor at the annual fundraiser. The Gauchos' website has posted a video of d'Almeida expressing his admiration and love for the former Syracuse University standout. (Syracuse University itself has now been rocked by a scandal stemming
from allegations by two former ball-boys that many years ago, they were
sexually abused by Bernie Fine, Syracuse assistant basketball coach).

On September 16, 2011, The New York Post published a glowing article about this year's Gauchos fundraiser. There was no mention made of the past sexual abuse allegations against d'Almeida. A September 29, 1996 article in The Daily News also reported that the Gauchos had obtained a $28,000 grant from a New York City agency, even though d'Almeida "was under under investigation for alleged child molestation" by Bronx County DA Robert T. Johnson.

Since the Penn State scandal erupted with the arrest of Sandusky on November 5, not a single one of the New York media outlet --except this newspaper-- has revisited the Gauchos' scandal.

At least The Post and The Daily News have both published something about d'Almeida and the Gauchos scandal. Not a single word from The New York Times.

What's worst? The alleged sexual abuses or the silence of some major media in the Penn State and Gauchos cases?

Editor's Note: If you have any information about the Gauchos please contact us at or or (212) 481-7745.

"Speaking Truth To Empower."

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