Torrington High School Sexual Assault is an Example of Faulty Culture

By David Miller
Joan Toribio Edgar Gonzalez Torrington
Torrington Police Department

Torrington High School is in the small town of Torrington, Connecticut, about 35 miles north of Newtown. It was here that we recently got another reminder that something is very wrong with the sports culture of this country. Football players Joan Toribio and Edgar Gonzalez, each 18 years of age, are being charged with Second-Degree Sexual Assault in a case involving two 13 year old girls. That is bad enough, but unfortunately it gets worse.

We all know that the accused are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. I agree and have no problem with that whatsoever. There is a huge difference however, between not assuming their guilt and smashing the 13 year old victims of the alleged crimes. So called, “good” students at Torrington took to Twitter bashing the young girls for being where they should not have been. What business does a 13 year old girl have hanging around with an 18 year old? Something must be wrong there.

Yes, something is wrong, but it isn’t the 13 year olds. Their only possible wrong doing is being caught up in the culture of hero-worship of high school football stars. I realize that star players put rear-ends in the seats and bring revenue to the school, but that doesn’t mean they can do no wrong. It certainly should not mean that the alleged victims of statutory rape are somehow to blame for what an 18 year old did to them.

Would the same happen if it were a 40 year old bum? How about if it were another student at the school but just the recluse that never spoke to anyone? Would it be the girls fault then? There is a problem here that goes much deeper than any issues that Toribio and Gonzalez might have in their personal lives. Just look at the way the adults at the school are talking about it.

Torrington Athletic Director Mike McKenna told the Register Citizen, “If you look at crime statistics, these things happen everywhere and we’re not any different than any other community.”

Are you kidding me? That’s the problem! No matter what the situation, the football star is innocent because we need his butt in the big games next season or next week. Everyone scramble to protect our cool football star. Really? How about find a lineman on the team that just goes out week after week and does his job, then goes home to bed afterwards? Maybe a guy that helps out in the community? McKenna is right, they are no different. That’s just it, be different. Kick the problem kid to the curb until he gets his life straight. If he commits a crime, let him do the time. Don’t cover for him.

Why would an Athletic Director make such a ridiculous excuse for his player anyway? Let’s look at one possibility just using Toribio. How about 942 rushing yards on 107 carries? That figures up to about 8.8 yards per carry. Add to that 14 touchdowns including one for 88 yards and you have someone that can do no wrong.

This culture of sports is completely upside down. It shouldn’t matter how well the guy can run, if he commits a crime, he should do the time. If he is accused of an alleged crime, as is the case here, let the system run its course and see what truths come out. But do not accuse the alleged victim of somehow being responsible. That is utterly embarrassing.

The only way this is going to get fixed is if some community starts standing up and saying that they are going to be different. Someone needs to say that the behavior of its sports stars matter. A school needs to ignore their sports teams for a semester and promote the students with 4.0 GPA’s as stars for a change.

Until schools start standing up to be different, McKenna’s words about being just another community that sees this happen will continue to be true. A man or woman in a supervisory position in a school should never flippantly shrug their shoulders at a charge against any of their players, much less something as serious as Sexual Assault.

David Miller is a Senior Writer for Follow him on Twitter @davidmillerrant, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google+.

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