Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Joe Paterno Chose Evil

In the wake of the testimony in the Jerry Sandusky child rape trial, being unsealed there is new shock and outrage directed at Penn State and Joe Paterno and rightly so. Paterno facilitated what may well have been a criminal child sex trafficking operation by turning a blind eye to reports of Sandusky's depravity as far back as 40 years ago. 

As a reminder the first contact about Sandusky with police was in 1998. He wasn't arrested until 2011.  The nation in general and sports fans in particular were dumbfounded. People were shocked when reports surfaced that Paterno was made aware in 2001 and informed higher ups at Penn State who did nothing. 

Now we know that 22 years of additional victims exist. From a numbers perspective we are talking about thousands if not tens of thousands of individual acts of sexual assault and child rape perpetrated by Sandusky. Hundreds of more victims. 

It's important to understand that when a perpetrator like Sandusky has access to a victim, he doesn't just assault the victim once.  Generally speaking, there's grooming behavior, then inappropriate touching, then acts like oral sex and anal penetration.  In 22 years of conducting forensic interviews of children, maybe a dozen have told me it happened only one time.  

An overwhelming majority of sexual abuse and child rape victims suffer the abuse over and over and over. Due to confidentiality, I can't be specific but I had a case with a perpetrator who was abusing a child 7-10 times a day. This is the rule not the exception. 

The sad thing about all of this is the response by the Paterno family and Penn State officials. Anthony Lubrano, a Penn State trustee and a staunch supporter of Paterno was interviewed by Dan Bernstein and Barry Rozner on WSCR 670 The Score in Chicago today.  He's still making the case that Sandusky didn't commit any crimes.

I read much of the testimony of the victims in the trial, as well as the statements made in the original indictment.  The details provided by the victims are the key to their credibility. It's what we look for when interviewing victims, the more detail, the more corroboration.  Sorry, Mr. Lubrano, but the allegations aren't uncorroborated. 

It's important to remember that as many as 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused. The percentage of false reports is infinitesimal. Very few people make up sex abuse allegations, that's not to say there aren't false reports, but we members of the child protection community can weed those out pretty quickly.  

Today's revelations underscore one of the things we tell people.  If you see or suspect child abuse call the authorities. The worst thing that will happen is that professionals will meet with a child and determine they are safe, and not being abused.  

All of the coaches named today bear some responsibility for the evil they let go unchecked, but Paterno was the man in charge. A man charged with molding young men into productive adults, didn't have time for a 14 year old telling him he was abused. He told the young man John Doe 150, "I don’t want to hear about any of that kind of stuff, I have a football season to worry about"

Joe Paterno was fond of talking about the Grand Experiment, coaching football and educating young men at the same time.  Paterno read the classics and often quoted Plato. Plato once wrote "Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the law". Make no mistake, Joe Paterno was not good people.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Joe Paterno Facilitated Child Rape.

On the same day that an appeals court judged granted Jerry Sandusky a hearing on a possible appeal, a second story about the Penn State child rape scandal broke.  Penn Live is reporting that as far back as 1976 Joe Paterno was made aware of  Sandusky's  abuse.  That's a full 35 years before he was told about the abuse witnessed by a grad assistant in 2001 .

Per Charles Thompson of Penn Live: "A new bombshell dropped in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal Thursday.
It came in the form of a single line in a court order on a related insurance coverage case involving Penn State, and its full ramifications can't immediately be gauged.
But that line was eye-popping in itself.
The line in question states that one of Penn State's insurers has claimed "in 1976, a child allegedly reported to PSU's Head CoachJoseph Paterno that he (the child) was sexually molested by Sandusky." "
To say this is shocking is an understatement. Paterno's excuse for not reporting in 2001 was that he was old and didn't fully understand what was being reported. In 1976 he was neither old nor confused. He was a  powerful football coach at a power school.

In 1976 there was no social media so it's entirely possible he could have at minimum dismissed Sandusky and at maximum had him investigated. There would have been no blight on the program nor on Paterno. There would not have been more than a national eye brow raising and a tut tut over Sandusky's crime.

Instead of doing right by children, Paterno chose to do right by himself.  He clearly thought his program would suffer.  Perhaps people would doubt his status, his genius. Maybe people would question if Sandusky was the only coach preying on young boys.

What happened since 1976 has been well documented.  Sandusky raped at least 10 boys and was convicted for it.  He used his position of authority at his charity First Mile and his stature as a coach to groom them. He gave them gifts of team merchandise and trips to bowl games to buy their silence.

The fact that Paterno was aware of Sandusky's crimes in 1976 and still let him bring minor boys to bowl games could very well be considered trafficking.  Penn State Football essentially was a front for a child sexual abuser.  If Paterno was alive he could be facing Federal charges for criminal conspiracy

The tragedy in all of this is not that Paterno didn't get the perp walk he so richly deserved. The tragedy is that an uncounted number of boys were abused by Sandusky over a 35 year period and it could have been stopped. I'm spitballing here but I'd guess a minimum of 100 victims in those 35 years.

Joe Paterno facilitated child sexual abuse.  He knew about it. He ignored it. We once thought that he was covering up for his program for 10 or 11 years. Now we know that he was covering for 35 years. I'm not sure there's a level of hell deep enough for him.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Dennis Hastert, Child Molesters, Homophobia and Transphobia

Child sexual abuse is a scourge that this country tries to overlook, it's an epidemic that no one likes to talk about. Child sexual abuse became a central topic in the media and social media over the last two weeks. The nation reacted in shock when it was revealed that Dennis Hastert was a serial child molester. 

Recently former Speaker of the House was sentenced to 15 months in prison for a number of bribery charges stemming from his sexual abuse of teens when he was a wrestling coach 40 years ago.  In the aftermath of his sentencing there were a number of misconceptions about sexual abusers in general and him in particular.

A number of people, mostly on social media started referring to Hastert as a closeted gay child molester because he molested boys.  Aside from perpetuating a bigoted myth, this is wrong for a couple of reasons.  Closeted gay men and women may have illicit affairs in secret.  They may visit bath houses or adult book stores. They may carry on relationships with someone of the same sex for years.  They don't abuse children unless they are child sexual abusers.

Child sexual abusers can identify as gay, straight, bi, queer, trans or any combination in between. Sexual abuse of children, like rape is about power and control.  It's about sexual gratification but it is NOT about orientation. Child sexual abusers often abuse children of both biologic genders. In 22 years in hundreds and hundreds of cases, the split between people abusing one gender or both is about a 50/50 split.

The most important aspect of child sexual abusers is opportunity.  They most often groom and abuse children they know.  Statistics show that about three quarters of children who are sexually abused are abused by someone they know.  There are a few child sexual abusers who do abuse strangers but this is extremely rare. The few cases I've done with abusers assaulting kids they don't know have happened in situations like sleep overs.

This brings me to the topic of the hysteria by right wing demogogues about Trans people using the bathroom they identify with.  This is just unadulterated bigotry and hatred. It is patently false that men dress up as women to abuse girls or adult women in bathrooms. As I illustrated above, child sexual abusers don't need ruses and costumes.

Claiming that bathroom laws protect women and girls totally discounts the fact that sexual abusers can be women abusing girls or men abusing boys.  Making sure men don't dress as women to abuse 'little girls' is just code for bigotry.

Dennis Hastert's crime brought the issue of child sexual abuse back to the public eye.  It's a horrific crime that leaves the victim scarred for a lifetime. It's crime that people don't like to talk about and when they do it's important that they use facts, not myth.

Gay men and Trans people are not child sexual abusers because they are gay or trans. That myth is bigotry, not fact. Child sexual abusers are child sexual abusers. Period.