With sadness and disgust, I am reading the news reports about Jerry Sandusky, former assistant football coach at Penn State. How could head football coach Joe Paterno and top university officials fail to act after being made aware, on several occasions, that Sandusky was molesting young boys on campus?
So very sad. How many more boys suffered because those in authority failed to contact the police? How many lives forever scarred because sex crimes were covered up and ignored by those in authority?
It shocks the conscience to hear that a college or university was informed that child sexual abuse had taken place, perpetrated by an employee, and no one alerted the police or made any effort to determine the well-being of the abused child. We have grown used to hearing reports of sex scandals in the Roman Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts of America. Now we have another institution, college sports, losing the trust of Americans.
Institutions do a bad job of policing themselves. How do we hold top school officials accountable? Criminal charges alone are not enough. Our civil justice system is designed to work in harmony with the criminal justice system to mete out punishment to wrongdoers, make those who enable abusers pay for the harm they have done, and send a signal to other top school officials that they better get sex criminals off the campus and turned in to the police.
Most coaches, teachers, clergy members, scout leaders, camp counselors and others in positions of authority are not abusers in waiting and are seeking to improve children’s lives. Yet among the good lurk the bad. The Penn State scandal is sure to result in lawsuits that last for years to come. If your child has been sexually assaulted and you are ready to hold those responsible accountable via a lawsuit, let’s talk.