Heroes, Power, and Abuse
There is a common thread among the sex scandals of the Catholic Church, Penn State, and Herman Cain - those with power become heroes to some, and when they abuse that power, the hero worshippers rush to defend the indefensible. It's actually more complicated than that, I suppose.
Why did popes cover up the Church's scandals? Why did Paterno and the Penn State administrators cover up terrible crimes in which they had no direct part? Why do Herman Cain's supporters rush to throw money at him now that it's all but certain that he is finished?
An attempt to defend a legend that's already a lie? Denial so strong that it trumps every evidence of reality?
It's pretty clear that we humans indeed have powerful tools for fooling ourselves. Why it should be so is harder to explain.