A former Penn State assistant coach testified this week that it was not uncommon to see Jerry Sandusky bring young boys into gym showers with him.
The coach, Dick Anderson, said it never struck him as extraordinary and added that in other gym settings it is not uncommon for people of all generations to shower together.
The idea that Sandusky may have been trying to demonstrate sound hygienic practices contradicts the experiences of almost every young person who participated in school sports or physical education class and managed to survive without having to share a shower with a coach or teacher.
There are protections that any organization can take to shield volunteers and staff from baseless allegations or suspicion. Adults should not be spending time alone with individual minors.
Sandusky's entire mode of operating through The Second Mile ran against the grain of this common sense guideline.
The Penn State defense in the Sandusky case would seem to be: University staff were too naive to be suspicious of Sandusky.
This blind loyalty somehow survived two eye- witness reports and a police investigation into one parent's allegations after another Penn State assistant described how he witnessed Sandusky raping a young boy in one of those gym showers. Grand jury testimony included allegations that a former janitor saw something similarly horrific involving Sandusky and a young boy.
Former FBI director Louis Freeh's investigation into the university's role in the Sandusky case revealed emails between former university President Graham Spanier and other administrators that showed university leaders had heard reports that Sandusky was accused of molesting young boys, but the school did not immediately notify law enforcement.
The weight of the evidence is slanting toward the conclusion that university officials had ample opportunity to recognize what was going on and, being university officials, had both the intelligence and obligation to follow through. They made a decision to ignore their opportunities to put a stop to Sandusky's alleged predatory behavior out of concern that the allegations would hurt Penn State's brand.
They were right: The brand is tarnished in a way that no one could ever have imagined.
The Sandusky defense appears to be positioning itself to make the claim that some of the accusers are motivated by the prospect of a financial payday from civil lawsuits.
It is a stretch to imagine a conspiracy of eight young people fabricating stories in the hope of cashing in.
Penn State officials have every reason to worry that they will be asked eventually to shoulder some of the liability for Jerry Sandusky's crimes. One simple rule could have prevented this.