Wednesday, November 9, 2011

London's Run


Hi everyone, ready for another race?  This time we are getting a group together down in Queen Creek, AZ for London's Run.  You have the option to run a 2 mile race, a 10k, or a half marathon.  Our goal is to raise awareness of the problem of childhood sexual abuse.  The run is on January 28th, 2012.  If you are interested in running with our team, please contact us at info@runforinnocence.org. 

Help us spread the word!  Change the world... one race at a time!


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Thoughts on the Jerry Sandusky Case


I was watching a Penn State football game earlier this season and fount myself thinking, "Wow, Penn State is one of the only big national programs that doesn't seem to have any NCAA violation or scandals surrounding it."  I was impressed with how successful they have been, but even more so in the manner in which they did it.  All of that has changed with the recent developments in the Jerry Sandusky case.

(Please note: the following is my opinion on the case.  For detailed information, please refer to the Grand Jury Presentment.)  For those that don't know, Jerry Sandusky was an assistant football coach at Penn State University from 1966 to 1999.  Even after his retirement, he stayed close to the program.  In his years as a linebacker coach and defensive coordinator, he coached many outstanding defensive squads, and Penn State gained a reputation for outstanding linebacker play.  During his time, Penn State produced 10 first-team All-Americans at that position, and acquired the nickname "Linebacker U".

In 1977, Sandusky founded "The Second Mile," a non-profit organization with the mission to help children who need additional support and would benefit from positive human interaction.  According to the Grand Jury Presentment, the Second Mile gave Sandusky "access to hundreds of boys, many of whom were vulnerable due to their social situations."  It seems that exactly what Sandusky did.  So far eight boys has come forward admitting that they were victims of Sandusky and without a doubt there are many more.

Sandusky was first investigated back in 1998.  This investigation involved Victim 6 (mentioned in the Grand Jury Presentment), but it yielded no criminal charges.  Who knows how many boys could have been saved if Sandusky could have been convicted back then.  Even though he admitted to the mother of Victim 6 that his contact with her son was inappropriate (read the interview with the mothers of two of the victims here), Sandusky as never charged.

In 2002, Jerry Sandusky was seen in the locker room showers engaged in sexual activity with Victim 2 in the Grand Jury Presentment by a Penn State football graduate assistant.  The graduate assistant reported the incident to Head Coach Joe Paterno.  Paterno reported the incident to the Athletic Director Tim Curley.  Eventually others in the Penn State hierarchy were also made aware of the situation.  However the authorities were never notified, and another opportunity to stop a predator was missed.  So what was Sandusky's punishment?  He was just restricted from bringing children to Penn State Campus, as if that could really be monitored that closely.  However the restriction did not stop him.  Sandusky has several confirmed victims after this incident and "investigation."

A big question surrounding this case is Joe Paterno's involvement.  Legally Paterno did what he needed to do, he reported the incident to the AD.  But is doing the bare minimum enough?  Legally he is innocent, but morally, I believe he should have done more.  If he in fact knew that sexual acts between Sandusky and a young boy had taken place, how could he not see that the police were notified?  How could he allow Sandusky to come back onto campus and still be around the Penn State football program?  Is Paterno a bad guy?  I don't think so, but if he did know what took place, he should have done more.  If he would have, many boys could have been saved from Sandusky.  

I am sure over the coming days and weeks much more information will come to light.  If all of the allegations end up being true, I hope that Sandusky receives the punishment that he deserves.  I also hope that if anyone one at Penn State was in fact involved in a cover up, they are punished to the full extent of the law.  

This case is just another illustration that when it comes to sexual abuse, a child's accusation should not be taken lightly.  Most kids, especially young ones will not lie about something of this nature.  To dismiss an accusation as "the child just wanting attention" is unacceptable.

Jerry Sandusky carefully picked out his targets.  He tested the "water" with each victim seeing how far he could go.  He know which ones would give in.  We as parents must talk candidly to our kids about sexual abuse and let them know what to do if ever in those situations.

Society tends to put too much emphasis on "stranger danger."  I think this is because it is the easy way out.  Putting a "stranger" type pedophile away for life isn't hard.  When most of us imagine a pedophile it is the "stranger" type.  But the one who is least understood, least talked about, and the most likely to get away with molestation is the "nice guy."  The "nice guy" molester is a babysitter, a next-door neighbor, a Boy Scout leader, or even a family member.  It seems like the nicer you are, the longer you can get away with it.  On the outside they seem like normal people, but the "nice guy" molester is manipulative and cunning.  They are able to groom their victims to the point where they don't need to use force.  Because of this the child is more likely to feel at fault and feel guilty.  They will be less likely to talk and in turn causing the abuse to continue.

As parents we must do everything we can to prevent this.  We need to talk openly with our children and make sure they understand.  Although we can be there ever moment of the day protecting them, we need to be involved in their lives.  We need to know who they are with.  We need to develop a relationship of trust and communication with them so that if something like this happens they know they can come to you.

It is up to us to help our children, to keep them safe, and to protect their innocence.