The latest entity to get sucked into the Jerry Sandusky pedophile scandal that’s engulfed Penn State?
Amazon. Users are leaving angry comments on the site’s comment boards about “Touched: The Jerry Sandusky Story,” Sandusky’s 2001 biography. After languishing for a decade on Amazon, the unfortunately titled biography is now drawing plenty of attention.
Penn State’s former defensive coordinator and assistant coach, Sandusky is charged with sexually assaulting eight boys over a 15-year period, a charge he has denied. It is perhaps the biggest scandal in Penn State’s history and has already led to the firing of legendary football coach Joe Paterno and university president Graham Spanier. Neither Paterno nor Spanier are accused with doing anything illegal, but have come under fire for not doing more to discipline Sandusky.
Co-written by Kip Richael, a Penn State grad and former student equipment manager, “Touched” chronicles Sandusky’s life from childhood through his coaching career, and ends with his involvement in The Second Mile, the nonprofit he founded that works with at-risk children.
“The book paints an inspirational portrait of a dedicated humanitarian and a big-hearted advocate for troubled kids,” writes the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. “[A] far cry from the image that is emerging now of a predator who prosecutors said used his access to kids through The Second Mile to find victims.”
No surprise, then, that the Sandusky scandal has ignited a firestorm of outrage on Amazon, where his book is still sold, albeit by a third party.
One user said “Touched” was “a slap in the face to all of his victims.”
Another called Sandusky “a gross, disgusting, moral degenerate of a man.”
Some on Amazon have called for books behemoth to remove “Touched” from the site. Writes one, “How can you, in good conscience, have this book, with the unbelievably ironic title, still for sale?”
Almost exactly one year ago, Amazon came under fire for selling a pedophile advice book titled “The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure.” The online retailer came under heavy fire for selling the book and was eventually forced to pull the controversial book from its website.
“The issue raised questions over Amazon's protocol in deciding which books to sell when allowing writers to publish books themselves through the retailer's online store – a process in which Amazon shares in the sales revenue,” wrote the LA Times in an article last year. It continued, “In a statement issued Wednesday, Amazon said it ‘believes it is censorship not to sell certain books simply because we or others believe their message is objectionable.’”
In light of last year’s eerily familiar pedophile book controversy, it is unclear what Amazon will do with Sandusky’s book. As Monitor Books editor Marjorie Kehe wrote in a blog on the pedophile books controversy last year, “Do you provide absolutely unfettered access to 'the world's cultural heritage' or do you steer away from controversy? There doesn't seem to be any way of doing both.”
What do you think Amazon should do?
Husna Haq is a Monitor correspondent.