BOSTON (CBS) – Everyone doesn’t share the same moral values. But if there’s one common denominator that extends beyond any other, it’s probably the notion that vulnerable children deserve protection from abuse.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

Add in the deeply-ingrained social taboo against rape, and you are left to shake your head in wonder at the findings of former FBI Director Louis Freeh in his report on the failure of Penn State officials to stop a longrunning pattern of child sexual abuse by a top football coach at the school, Jerry Sandusky.

“Our most saddening and sobering finding is the total disregard for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s child victims by the most senior leaders at Penn State,” says Freeh, who found that head coach Joe Paterno, the university’s president and vice president, and the athletic director “repeatedly concealed critical facts relating to Sandusky’s child abuse.”

How revolting. And you wonder – how on earth could they do that?

But it really shouldn’t come as a surprise. Circling the wagons to protect what is most important to you is a basic human impulse.

It’s what decent people do when they sense a child is in jeapordy.

It’s also what drove Richard Nixon to break the law to hide the Watergate scandal, what prompted Barney Frank to ignore the Fannie/Freddie fiasco, what moved the Archdiocese to protect pedophile priests.

The difference between decent people and the Penn State brass is that they valued the reputation of their workplace and their football program – and, apparently, the feelings of their buddy the child rapist – above the safety of children.

Pitifully, the Paterno family yesterday released a statement that “the idea that any sane, responsible adult would knowingly cover up for a child predator is impossible to accept… If Joe Paterno had understood what Sandusky was, a fear of bad publicity would not have factored into his actions.”

But that’s exactly what the Freeh investigation found had happened.

And even in the face of the facts, the grotesque misprioritizing goes on.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.


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