Santorum: ‘Angel’ award for Penn State’s Sandusky
Ex-Sen. Rick Santorum, running for the Republican presidential nomination, in 2002 nominated former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky for a “Congressional Angels in Adoption Award.”
The nomination by Santorum was made in the same year that a Penn State graduate assistant spotted Sandusky allegedly performing a sex act with a young boy in a shower at the university’s athletic complex. He reported the incident a day later to head football coach Joe Paterno.
“Its philosophy is simple: It is easier to develop a child than to rehabilitate an adult
,” read the citation from Santorum in an awards dinner program dated Sept. 24, 2002.
The citation was referring to The Second Mile, a charity launched by Sandusky in 1977 to serve disadvantaged children. It was first reported Wednesday by the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Sandusky has since been charged with multiple counts of child abuse. The university’s athletic director and a vice president have been charged with perjury. Paterno, 84, coach for more than four decades, announced on Wednesday that he will retire at the end of the year.
Santorum is running for president as a social conservative and family values champion. He is a strong opponent of abortion, critic of contraception, and outspoken foe of such gay and lesbian causes as marriage equality.
Santorum, a 1980 Penn State graduate, defended Paterno in an ABC News interview, saying he hoped the spreading sex-abuse scandal would not damage a coach who “served in such distinction for all these years.”
The Angels in Adoption awards program is sponsored each year by the non-profit Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.