Custodian:

A person entrusted with guarding or maintain a property;

A person who has custody; a keeper; a guardian.

Every year newspapers publish summer reading lists. Usually something enjoyable to distract us.

Last month a different kind of reading came for us: The Freeh Report. Wanting to learn more about the truth of a man gone wrong and a community gone silent, I peeked into it.

As facts piled up and understanding did not, I latched on to a lifeline within the longer story about the temporary custodian who saw Sandusky administering to a boy pinned against a shower wall, and who said to his fellow custodian, “(I) fought in the Korean War…seen people with their guts blowed out, arms dismembered… . I just witnessed something in there I will never forget.” And his colleague, who had frequently seen Sandusky with young boys in the shower after hours, who said he would stand by the temporary custodian if he reported. But the first one said, “No, they’ll get rid of all of us.” And when the custodial staff assembled later that evening to calm the first one, no one decided to report, and when asked why, the second custodian told an interviewer “football runs this university” and “Paterno has so much power, if he wanted to get rid of someone, I would have been gone.”

A knot grows within, pushing up a scary question out of the dark and dirty air of the nighttime shower that rings with the slap of naked feet across a town that would have disowned a truth-teller trying to fulfill the full measure of a custodian. The knot asks me a disquieting question: “What kind of custodian would you have been?”

In this story with too much quiet, disquiet breathes me life.

Willy White

Oakland


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