Donal's picture

    In Loco Parentis

    When it rains, it pours. I attended and graduated from GP in the 1970s:

    Former priest put on probation for fondling two Georgetown Prep students

    A former priest was sentenced to five years of supervised probation Thursday for fondling two students at Georgetown Preparatory School, where he taught from 1989 to 2003, as prosecutors compared the school’s initial response in the case to the scandal unfolding at Penn State University.
    “The matter was passed up the chain of command, another word we’ve heard a lot of the last few days,” Montgomery Assistant State’s Attorney Donna Fenton said in court, invoking the Penn State case. “The headmaster dismissed the allegations as untrue, and the matter was not reported to the Montgomery County Police Department for seven months.”

    Susan Gibbs, a spokeswoman for Georgetown Prep, said the school “looked carefully” at the allegations, starting in fall 2003, and contacted police about six months later. ...
    Eric Ruyak, who was groped by Orr in 2002, and his father said in interviews that they were disappointed with how certain officials at the school reacted when he came forward. The Washington Post does not typically identify abuse victims, but Ruyak agreed to be identified.

    “They were not interested in dealing with Orr,” Eric Ruyak said. “They wanted it to go away.”

    His father, Robert Ruyak, who served on Georgetown Prep’s board of trustees from 1994 to 2007, said certain school officials, namely two teachers, conspired to paint his son as a rumor-spreading liar.

    “They tried to get him expelled from school. It was absolutely ridiculous,” Robert Ruyak said, stressing that he still supports Georgetown Prep as an institution.

    When I attended, Prep was a small school with only about 90 in each class year. There was a distinction between the boarders, who came from various states and nations and the day students, who came from the DC suburbs. I don't think that has changed much. I lived just far enough away that I boarded for two years, then commuted when I could drive.

    The residential floors were proctored by Fathers, Brothers and Misters (seminarians). I recall only one lay hall proctor. They mostly made sure we were studying, weren't smoking, drinking or fighting, and were otherwise behaving. A few were martinets, most were reasonable guys. We called one priest The Hook because he seemed devoted to catching guys smoking, drinking, coming back late or being in cars with girls. A few kids were tossed out for being caught with weed, but most just had to do laps.

    I know of only one sexual incident during my time, and there was no harm to students, just consternation. I was away, but according to my roommate, one of the more humble and approachable religious men on staff went off his head one night and went running around the hallways, yelling things like, "Oscar Wilde was queer!" I didn't even know what queer was back then. He was gone by the time I heard about it. I only saw him once again. After a few weeks he was ushered in to get his things, smiling sheepishly, then ushered out.

    Reading the Washington Post story makes me wonder what could have happened, but to me Prep has always been more about my classmates, my swim teammates, the teachers that encouraged and challenged me and particularly two seminarians that were a buffer against the social pressures of the boarding school.

    Someone posted a letter from an Ohio State fan to Penn State fans on Facebook last night:

    Dear Penn State Fan/Alumni,

    ... We’re both proud disciples of two of the most storied programs in all of college football, and although you’d be hard pressed to get a Buckeye fan to say it to your face, we respect the hell out of you and your traditions.

    I’m writing because I know how you feel right now.  The actions of your beloved president, coach, and athletic director have shaken your program to the core and have threatened your own faith in humanity.  You’re shocked that someone you idolized could have done something so stupid, so selfish, so infuriatingly contradictory to the values they spent decades promoting.  ... 

    This is what I want to say to you.  You are not Joe Paterno.  You are not Tim Curley.  You are not Gary Schultz.  You are not Graham Spanier, and you are sure as hell not Jerry Sandusky.  Their alleged sins are not your own.  They may be the most recognizable faces of your beloved program, but they are not Penn State.  They are not a 156 year old center of higher learning.  They are not a century of football tradition.  Their flaws cannot eclipse the innumerable scientific, artistic, and humanitarian contributions your university, and its 44,000 students and 570,000 living alumni have made and will continue to make to the world at large.

    ...  Say a prayer for the children, and on Saturday, put on your Silas Redd jersey, brave the cold, and cheer your ass off for your team. Not because you support the coaches, because you support the men on the field.  Not because you endorse the administration, because you believe in the University as a collective whole.  Penn State University has always been (and will always be) about one thing and one thing only: making life better.

    It’s not just a motto, it’s a mission.  And you’re still a part of that.

    Pray for the children.  Cheer for the team.  And in two weeks, make the drive to Columbus, so you can watch us bury your Big Ten title aspirations in person.

    I appreciate the spirit of the letter, but the author seems a bit too eager to put the reality behind us so everyone can get on with their lives, and play some football. To some extent that is what we always do. Since we are not the one's injured, we turn to our affairs.

    We do owe concern to the victims, however, and must hold the institutions accountable.

    Update: Scandal has Penn State alums running on empty

    Tragedy. Closure. Time to heal. Moving on. Moving forward. Never again. Remember. Pray for.

    Hollow tripe.

    From Columbine to Katrina, we're experts when it comes to "dealing" with grief. We parrot phrases that really say, "I feel bad, but I'm not terribly interested in thinking about this anymore."

    If you went to or attend Penn State and you truly love the place, then you should sit in this horrible stink and filth and let it fester for as long as you can possibly stand it. You want things to change, then DON'T move on. Examine every aspect of this abomination and figure out how Penn State University, with its sterling academic reputation, brilliant faculty, passionate student body and massive alumni network can re-establish itself as a force for good after all of this.

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