U of I, Penn State Cases Share Similar Facts

We are surprised how few seem to have connected the dots between the tragic murder of the University of Idaho Coed and the child rape allegations at Penn State.

In both cases university officials were advised of horrible crimes and/or threats, but no action was even taken to launch full fledged investigations. All concerned should take note and never let it happen again.

Only when the media shed light on these events did those in charge step up and take action. In the case of the coed murder, it took legal action by Idaho media to get the facts out of the university. At State College, Pennsylvania it was media revelations that led to the ouster of the university president and famed coach Joe Paterno.

Like the Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts, universities apparently worry more about reputations than protecting the victims of predators.

UPDATE–Apparently the Daily Paper had an EDITORIAL on the subject. We missed it.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. The biggest hurdle to get past is DENIAL any problem or crime has been committed. Companies and institutions are loathe to meet these things head on for what might happen to tarnish the image of the company or institution.

    The other issue internally is the perception that a manager might be perceived as inept if he or she takes something up the internal chain of authority. Hear no evil, see no evil and do no evil, have been institutionalized in this country.

    The other side of this issue is false allegations that can ruin a career.

  2. I think actually The Statesman did on Friday – writing about institutions choosing to protect themselves and tied UI to the PSU Grand Jury report.

    Few reflexes are more innate than “circling the wagons” in organizations. The more family-like the organization is and the more longer-serving principal employees are the more prone they tend to be to protecting their own.

    We have whistleblower laws to protect those who do the right thing, but that can still be career-destroying to the whistler.

  3. I don’t see the same connecting dots. The timeline in the UI case shows that police were contacted by UI and Benoit. It also shows a formal process being initiated from day 1. I encourage you to reread the timeline.

    UI never protested releasing the records, but wanted to make sure that they did so legally. “It has always been the university’s intention to be as open and transparent in this matter as the law allowed us to be and the judge has given us that legal path,” said Kent Nelson with the council.

  4. Just a Thought
    Nov 14, 2011, 1:46 pm

    I totally agree that both cases are very tragic. The ultimate victimization of all the people involved should have never occurred. But there is nothing similar with the Penn State case and the U of I case…..not even close.

    The Penn State issue deals with CHILDREN as the victim. The U of I case deals with an ADULT as the victim. There are laws that requires people with knowledge about child sexual abuse to report it to the authorities…no such laws exist for incidents that occurred such as Benoit’s.

    Those that are an adult and are a victim of a crime (such as having a gun pointed at you) should report this CRIME to the POLICE…not the U of I. The U of I even tried to get her to file a complaint with the police but she did not want to do that. The U of I can not force her to do such things since she is an adult.

    Reports of sexual harassment, biases, etc are complaints for the University to handle. Criminal issues are for the POLICE to handle.

    Therefore comparing U of I to Penn State is totally uncalled for.

  5. Is it possible that student concerns do not come first at many of these institutional employers? Sounds similar to issue we find in sectors with strong job protections. Quality suffers? Costs increase.

  6. Just a Thought. As evidenced by the Benoit case, the police will do nothing substantive until someone gets injured or killed. The Moscow police have admitted that they knew a threat had been made with a gun. Any person in Boise who has reported threats will tell you that the police do nothing. I am not sure whether it’s prosecutors unwilling to take on a “he said she said” or a decision at the police level.

  7. Apples and Oranges. Clancy, and Just a Thought hit on all the right points. There is a big difference between threatening to do something (UofI) and doing it (Penn St).

    UofI case is tragic a jealous ex lover committed murder, it is very sad but not a new phenomenon to the human race and very difficult to predict.

    UofI is in a no win situation, nothing they say they did or tried to do will be enough for people with the luxury of hindsight.

    EDITOR NOTE–Apples and oranges are both fruits, both grow on trees, and both produce food and juice…and yes they are also very different.

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