Another child sex saga, different result
In light of the actions taken by the NCAA in the Penn State scandal, here’s a question for you: Do you think that if a professor of, say, economics, was discovered to be a serial sex abuser of young boys, that the university’s economics department would be shut down?
If you answered “of course not,” I think you’re right. It would be ridiculous to do any such thing.
But if you answered “that depends,” then you might want to consider the case of Scott Ward, a University of Pennsylvania marketing professor who just a few short years ago was sentenced to 25 years in prison for possession of child pornography.
Kiddie porn, however, was the lesser of Professor Ward’s crimes against children. Ward was a serial child molester. And officials at Penn and its prestigious Wharton School knew it — or should have — for years. And even knowing about Ward’s penchant for sexually abusing children, the school kept him employed and even helped finance his sexual access to kids overseas.
The story of the “brilliant” Professor Ward was chronicled in a 2007 issue of Philadelphia magazine.
The piece begins in 2006 with Ward being busted by immigration agents after returning from a trip to Thailand, where he enjoyed copious amounts of sex with prepubescent boys. Fortunately for prosecutors, he brought home the DVDs to prove it.
It wasn’t the first time Ward had been charged with sex crimes against children.
Some 13 years earlier, the good professor was charged with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a minor, but found not guilty.
He continued to teach at Wharton.
Three years later, he was accused of soliciting sex from a 23-year-old undercover state trooper posing as a 15-year-old boy. Ward pleaded guilty to promoting prostitution and the attempted corruption of a minor.
And he continued to teach at Wharton.
After his arrest in 2006, federal agents went to Ward’s office at the university’s Huntsman Hall and found 80 images of Ward fondling a 15-year-old boy. The very presence of those photos made the campus itself a crime scene.
The university’s response to calls from reporters about Ward and his alleged crimes was, “No comment.” All media inquiries were effectively stonewalled.
And what happened?
Well, here’s what didn’t happen: The university didn’t hire the former head of the FBI to investigate how Ward managed to elude detection and stay employed at the school despite his numerous arrests and rather obvious problem.
If the school investigated itself for its handling of the matter, it didn’t make the results of that investigation public.
Other than the excellent story in Philly mag, there was no great media campaign to make the university come clean about how and why it protected a known child molester for years.
As pointed out in the story:
“In 1993, Ward had been the subject of a sting at his Ardmore mansion, where several teenage boys lived with him, and he was accused of molesting a 13-year-old there as often as 100 times. But after two highly publicized trials, he was sentenced to just five years of probation, during which time he continued to teach at Wharton and to travel — on Penn’s dime — to Thailand and other hot spots where the touch of a young boy could be had for a price.”
So not only did U of P look the other way while Ward engaged in hundreds of crimes against children in this country, it subsidized his kiddie sex trips abroad.
Again from the story:
“Though he taught only 22 courses from 1999 through 2005, Wharton still paid for him to teach at its partner school in Bangkok — an especially baffling arrangement, since right there, in his CV filled with research on kids and his consulting jobs overseas, is the blueprint for his lifestyle, one made possible in large part by his connection to Penn.”
So here we have an Ivy League school not only refusing to deal with a known pedophile in its midst, it enables him to continue to sexually exploit dozens (hundreds?) of poor children in foreign lands.
And yet, no outside agency — not the Ivy League, not the U.S. Department of Education, not any university accrediting agency — has found the necessary chutzpah to demand the University of Pennsylvania cough up $60 million with the goal of helping sexually abused children.
Ward was every bit the star at Wharton that Jerry Sandusky was at Penn State. Like Sandusky, Ward also founded a nonprofit program for at-risk kids. But he was different in one respect: Ward was far wealthier than the ex-football coach. He made millions serving as a marketing consultant and by being on various corporate boards.
He used his wealth, smarts and his social status as an esteemed Penn professor to discredit his pathetic accusers and to elude justice for years. And yet, if his colleagues had any problem with that, there is no public record of it.
By 2005, Ward had finally become enough of an embarrassment for Penn to take the extreme action of reducing him to the status of professor emeritus. He was arrested and locked up for good a year later.
So I ask you, where’s the outrage at Penn? Where’s the lynch mob for those department heads and administrators who knew (or “should have known”) that Ward was a sexual predator but took no effective action to stop him?
Where’s the independent investigation that might turn up emails that suggest one, two or three of his colleagues knew about his crimes, but didn’t want to report them for their own bizarre reasons?
Finally, I’d very much like to know where one of Penn’s most esteemed graduates, Pulitzer-prize-winning author Buzz Bissinger, stands on all this. After all, no single person in America has publicly expressed more outrage and disgust over the failures at Penn State University.
In his columns and TV appearances, Bissinger has not only applauded the sanctions against Penn State and the crippling of its football program, he has led the campaign to vilify the late Joe Paterno as a “dictator” and dangerous egomaniac. He has made clear that he finds the culture of big time college football sickening and directly blames it for the failure of nerve that allowed a sexual predator like Sandusky to run amok.
So what explains the culture at his own alma mater that allowed Professor Ward to continue his own decades-long crime spree?
If Buzz Bissinger weighed in on the Ward case, I couldn’t find it. But I would love to hear him explain why PSU should pony up $60 million for its allegedly protecting a pedophile and the Wharton school should not. Why PSU’s football program should be eviscerated and the academic institution that protected Ward by means of tenure and due process should not. And why not.
Wouldn't be surprised if these things were intertwined. Pennsylvania seems like a pretty creepy place.
“I’m definitely not about to let my team lose two games in a row to Michigan.
It’s just not going to happen. I’m not going to let my team do that."
-- Kalin Lucas
Oddly coincidental... But the NCAA's approach is pretty interestingly hypocritical to each situation
what does the ncaa have to do with that? if the dude was using wharton's prestigious football program to lure his victims i'm sure they'd fine them too.
that said, fcuk pennsylvania. they should beat everyone at that school with a wrench then burn the place to the ground.
The Department of Education should have stepped up and punished them. State of Pennsylvania should have done something.
NCAA has no part as it never had anything to do with athletics from what you posted that I saw.
I still agree 100% with the $60million fine, the removal of statues and even Paterno's wins/losses (to an extent- Sandusky banging little boys didn't help bring in recruits or give the team a competitive edge)... I still don't agree 100% with them all but terminating the football program for the next couple years.
If setting a precedent was the goal as many have stated (ie- making a point that football is not all important)- then comparable punishments should have happened to UoP's business school by the Dept of Education. It's a double standard.
Last edited by joeking1978; 07-30-2012 at 10:56 AM.
Well. I was going to defend the institution a bit, saying that you have to be absolutely sure before firing someone on this because if you are wrong- you have wrecked his career unfairly. No one hires people with that stigma. And that means he will destroy you in court.
However this guy...well...should have been let go a long time ago.
Dear micmac, If you see me behind you then you're already dead. Respectfully, My car- Mike V
It was the responsibility and duty of the DoE to do something. Their complete and utter lack of action has nothing to do with the NCAA. Two separate entities with separate mandates and areas of concern.
The state of PA also is at fault for not taking serious and direct actions. Both have yet to state their stances on the PSU issue. Precedent would seem to show they will just stick their heads farther into the sand and keep humming as to not know anything.
Until some kid shows up at school with a "non healthy" lunch. THEN they will jump into action.
The lack of action by the state of PA and DoE should not keep the NCAA from acting if they feel it's justified.
Using the case you cited, the NCAA could just close the whole infractions department if taking their cue from the way that prior case was dealt with. If you don't act on something like that, when the hell are you going to?