Glad to see the Penn State undergrads were able to get enough control over their grief for their grandfather figure/football coach, “Joe Pa,” to organize an observation in honor of the victims. Restores my faith in the undergrads, but the whole sordid affair reinforces the perception of academia as being populated by ineffective CYA-ing administrators who live in the world inside their own heads.This guy Sandusky was allowed –wink/wink—to “horse around “(their words) (see the grand jury report at wwww.abclocal.go.com/wpvi/feature?section=news&id=8421115) with young boys in the shower in spite of suspicious behavior observed by many and horrific behavior observed and reported by a few.
In our society, some institutions are trusted with our well-being. This includes places where we work, and most particularly places where our children are educated. Mr. Sandusky abused the trust given him as a member of the hallowed PSU football coaching staff, covering that position with the do-gooder cloak of a charitable group helping boys, in order to sodomize the very same boys. When it comes to such abhorrent behavior, the people in charge need to do more than the minimum and to attempt to “protect the brand.” They have to act to protect the next victim.
Protecting the Next Victim
Several years ago, an employee came to me with a complaint of sexual harrassment.. The employee was an attractive female, and a male employee had Xeroxed his genitals and written a note on the page next to the picture, promising to do things with the pictured member. She was frightened.
He had slipped the note into the lap drawer in her desk. (Today, he would probably send her a picture taken with his smart phone, but in those days, the Xerox machine was the pervert’s media of choice.) I contemplated various courses of action to deal with the complaint, and eventually decided to report the incident to the local police, against the wishes of the company president and other officers, who were concerned about “corporate image.” My rationale was based on the threatening nature of the promise of action in his note. I was worried that he would act out on his desires, either with the employee to whom he had written, or another female. Several days later, he was identified by matching the handwriting in the note with the handwriting on his employment application, with the expert help of the police. He was not arrested, nor did the complaint go on his record with the police….I had a counseling session with him, as did a couple members of the vice squad, and there were no further incidents from him. Several weeks later, I terminated his employment. As managers and executives responsible for the well-being of people in our organizations, I hope we are always able to place a higher value on protecting the next victim, and never on “protecting the brand.”