Todd Hodne was a 61-year-old former football player who had a promising career at Penn State University, but ended up as a convicted rapist and murderer. He died of cancer on April 29, 2020, while serving a life sentence in a New York prison. His story was recently featured in an ESPN article that revealed the dark side of his life and his connection to Penn State football, which had already faced another sexual abuse scandal involving former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.
What Happened to Todd Hodne?
Todd Hodne was born on April 23, 1959, in Wantagh, Long Island, New York. He was a talented linebacker who played for St. Dominic High School and was recruited by Penn State in 1977. He played in seven games as a freshman, including the Fiesta Bowl, and was expected to have a bright future in football. However, his career and his life took a turn for the worse when he was arrested for robbing a record store with two friends in the summer
However, Hodne did not reform his behavior. Instead, he became a serial rapist who preyed on women in Penn State and in his hometown. He was convicted of raping two Penn State students in 1978 and 1979, and was expelled from the university. He was also charged with four counts of rape and other crimes in Long Island, where he had returned after being released on bail
In 1986, Hodne was granted parole, despite the objections of the prosecutor who had tried his case. He moved back to Long Island, where he got a job at his family’s home improvement company and started seeing a therapist. However, he soon relapsed into drug addiction and crime. He stopped attending his therapy sessions, lost his job, and was evicted from his girlfriend’s apartment. He also left a rehabilitation center after a week. In 1987, he killed a taxi driver during a robbery and was arrested and convicted of
How Did the Football World React?
Todd Hodne’s death and his crimes were largely unknown to the public until 2022, when ESPN published a detailed article about his story and its link to Penn State football. The article, written by Tom Junod and Paula Lavigne, revealed how Hodne’s case was mishandled by the university, the police, and the justice system, and how it exposed the culture of silence and denial that surrounded Penn State football.
The article sparked a lot of controversy and criticism, especially from Penn State fans and alumni, who accused ESPN of sensationalizing and exploiting Hodne’s story to tarnish the reputation of the university and its football program. Some also questioned the accuracy and the sources of the article, and claimed that it was unfair to blame Penn State for Hodne’s actions
What Was the Impact of His Story?
Todd Hodne’s story had a significant impact on the public’s perception of Penn State football and its legacy. It also raised awareness about the issues of sexual violence, drug abuse, and mental health among college athletes and students. It also prompted some of Hodne’s victims and their families to speak out and share their experiences and their pain. Some of them also sued Penn State for negligence and failure to protect them from Hodne’s assaults.
Todd Hodne’s story also inspired some people to take action and make a positive difference in the world. Some of them donated to organizations that support survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, such as RAINN and Safe Horizon. Some also donated to organizations that provide education and prevention programs for drug abuse and addiction, such as SAMHSA and NIDA.
How Can You Help?
Todd Hodne’s cause of death was cancer, but his life was a tragedy that was shaped by his own choices and the failures of the system that was supposed to help him. He was a football star who became a serial rapist and murderer, and who left behind a trail of victims and suffering. His story is a reminder of the importance of addressing the root causes of violence, addiction, and mental illness, and of providing support and justice for those who are affected by them. If you want to help and honor the memory of Hodne’s victims, you can do the following:
- Share this article with your friends and family and spread the word about Hodne’s story and its implications.
- Visit the websites of the organizations mentioned above and learn more about their missions and their work.
- Donate to the organizations that support survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, such as RAINN and Safe Horizon.
- Donate to the organizations that provide education and prevention programs for drug abuse and addiction, such as SAMHSA and NIDA.
- Donate to the organizations that promote mental health and wellness among college students and athletes, such as Active Minds and The Jed Foundation.
- Send your condolences and messages of support to Hodne’s victims and their families.
Todd Hodne’s cause of death was cancer, but his life was a tragedy that could have been prevented and changed. Let’s hope that his story serves as a lesson and a catalyst for positive change, and that his victims find healing and peace.