The justice system took care of retired Penn State University defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky two weeks ago with an across-the-board guilty verdict on a multitude of child sex abuse charges.
But Thursday was the day of reckoning for Penn State University. And it was a heartbreaking day.
The report of former FBI Director Louis Freeh confirmed what we have suspected but hoped was not true: The most powerful people at Penn State completely fumbled responsibility for 14 years and knowingly concealed the despicable sex abuse scandal.
Freeh's report is not whimsical, subjective fantasy. It was drawn from interviews with 430 people and reviews of more than 3.5 million emails, handwritten notes and other documents.
The story that emerges from those interviews and written words is that President Graham Spanier, former Athletic Director Tim Curley, former vice president Gary Schultz and then Coach Joe Paterno had intimate knowledge of allegations against Sandusky and chose to "actively conceal" what was going on.
Confronted with real evidence first in 1998 and again in 2001, they chose the course of keeping the atrocities under wraps. For 14 years, they allowed a sexual predator to occupy an office, roam the Penn State campus and continue receiving a generous retirement package. Why?
It's alarming. It's shameful. And in the case of the late Coach Paterno, it is a nearly incomprehensible break from a lifetime of doing things with integrity, honesty and principle. It was an unforgivable betrayal of everyone who has believed in the program based on the principles Coach Paterno summed up as the Grand Experiment.
We can't help but think this underbelly of concealment is the reason Paterno was allowed to retain his coaching job long after his most effective years had passed. And we wonder if a younger, sharper Paterno would not have acted more aggressively when first confronted with reports of Sandusky's behavior.
The university's new administration and board of trustees are left to pick up the pieces and guide Penn State through difficult days ahead. Costly civil suits loom. Questions about the school administration's leadership, conduct and system of decision making must be answered with actions that show the message of these atrocities has been received.
Does Coach Paterno's now-indelibly stained statue remain? That depends on what the university perceives the statue to be a reminder of a half century of football excellence with integrity or a tragic cover-up of sexual abuse.
Should the trustees be forced to resign en masse based on their poor oversight and inability to establish authority over the administration and Coach Paterno?
Should the Penn State football program receive the dreaded death penalty or other symbolic sanctions from the NCAA?
For Penn State University to move on from the horrible Sandusky sex abuse scandal, there unfortunately had to be a day like Thursday.
We can only hope this dark report ushers in a new era of awareness and determination at Penn State, all other schools and society in general to act rather than conceal wrongdoing of this nature.