Imagine you were one of them.

Imagine you were 10 years old. A coach you trusted. A man you liked. A guy with white hair. An "older" person.

Imagine the setting. A bathroom. A shower. Imagine he said it was OK. Imagine his tone. Imagine his eyes.

Imagine the shame. The confusion. The rage.

Imagine going home. Eating dinner with your family. Going to school -- elementary school, fourth or fifth grade.

Imagine years passing, seeing the event, again and again, whenever you close your eyes. Imagine the nightmares. Imagine the loss.

Now imagine keeping all this to yourself.

Because most people do.

The damage done by former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, if the charges against him prove to be true, is almost unimaginable -- except for the roughly 14 percent of boys and 33 percent of girls, according to some estimates, who have been molested before the age of 18.

That's right. A third of all girls. A seventh of all boys. And most abuse goes unreported.

Did you watch the Nittany Lions game Saturday? Was it not surreal? Think about, in a matter of days, the lives Sandusky knocked over with his alleged behavior.

Here, for the first time in 62 seasons, was a Penn State team without Joe Paterno, who was watching, presumably, on a television set somewhere. He was weeks from a potentially glorious retirement, a celebration of all he had done and represented at his school. Gone now. Vaporized by the mere allegations against Sandusky -- not a trial, not a conviction, just the charges alone. The mere idea that Paterno did not take more serious action if aware of Sandusky's behavior was enough to ban him forever from a sideline and to punt seven decades of football into a cesspool.

The damage done.

The school president, Graham Spanier, one of the longest-serving university presidents, is gone, ousted. Same for Tim Curley, the athletic director, and another high-ranking school official, both of whom, in 2002, allegedly heard from a graduate assistant about Sandusky having relations with a boy in the showers of the football building.

That graduate assistant, now an assistant coach, is on leave, hiding somewhere, the object of death threats.

The current players, who had no part of any of this, are now altered, their experience shadowed. The university and the townspeople, once unified by Blue and White, are split over who to blame and who to pity.

So many affected. One man's actions.

Imagine these last few weeks.

Imagine being questioned by authorities. Imagine having to relive the nightmare. Imagine anger. Imagine relief. Imagine fury. Imagine surrender.

Imagine saying, "Finally." Imagine saying, "What took so long?" Imagine seeing rallies in support of those who knew -- or might have known. Imagine thinking you will be blamed and hated for bringing a program down.

Imagine pain and confusion, all over again.

This is not a football story. This is not a Joe Paterno story. This is a daily story, an American story, an international story, a human tragedy. The shame, pain, hurt and confusion are no different for Sandusky's suspected victims than they are for the dozens of cases reported last week, or the hundreds last month, or the thousands last year.

Fingers point. Blame is an arrow. And the months to come will unfold an already wincing story. But you need only survey the landscape to see what happens when an adult robs a child of innocence.

One man. A million little pieces.

The damage done.