Tuesday, November 15, 2011

You contact the police…

Ugh.

Last night I watched Bob Costas interview former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. Sandusky did his interview over the phone with his lawyer present in the NBC studio.

It seems as if decades of not asking the hard questions during interviews with steroid enhanced cheaters in sport has toughened Costas up…he asked the hard questions, follow-up questions, and even confronted Sandusky once the man answered questions. Sad to say, but journalism has deteriorated to the point that those basic tasks are more the exception to the rule.

Sigh.

Sandusky denied all of the allegations made against him.

That’s not surprising. What is surprising is that he would do so, after such an extended silence, on national television…knowing that anything and everything he said would be chewed within an inch of its life and possibly even used in the case against him. 

Some may interpret that as the act of an innocent person…

…but I was reminded of a television show I watched years ago that featured a young woman, whose abuse was horrifically well documented by medical and eye witness testimony, as she confronted the man who abused her as a child on hidden tape. The man denied everything…told her she imagined or was brainwashed or misinterpreted his actions. It was stunning to see…much like a rapist claiming that his victim asked for it or an abusive partner demanding an apology for being “forced” into beating another human being.

Either way, Sandusky will have his day in court.  His interview sheds light on what his defense will be…and it is that which should turn the stomach of everyone involved in not taking this case to the police immediately.

Sandusky will likely argue that the victims are mistaken…maybe even that they have been brainwashed…but most definitely that they misinterpreted his actions.  His lawyer or lawyers will likely make the case that the adult witnesses were uncomfortable with what he calls “horseplay” but that doesn’t make it a crime. Team Sandusky will take the court-based field and say that Jerry is guilty of making bad decisions and showering with young boys…nothing else. 

And all of that…every smidge of it…will have been enabled by the amount of time that has passed between grown people witnessing and grown people being forced to finally report allegations of child sex abuse to the police.

Because of that, Penn State will be dragged through this dung over and over again so that the prosecution can try to explain the delays, the lack of follow-up, the lack of outraged disgust and swift action that should come from adults having witnessed what folks said they witnessed.

That is nothing compared to the harsh reality that not taking swift action probably led to further abuse. Just look at the multiple cases of child abuse across decades within the Catholic Church. Or look toward the alarmingly similar scandal unfolding over at The Citadel…where officials knew about a predator and did not take action, where that predator then went on to abuse more children…

…and where those school officials are now left offering apologies.

One simple statement is running on a loop through my mind - you contact the police…you contact the police…you contact the police…you contact the damned police.

11 comments:

The Raven said...

Sandusky...I suppose he believes his own bullshit. That's why he's making public statements, instead of referring all questions to a lawyer. Scary. Do most abusers brainwash themselves? I suppose yes.

Erica said...

The "horseplay" excuse is just sick. Name ONE "game" involving "naked" and "shower" that doesn't become radically inappropriate the minute you point out the participants are a child and an adult.

Roz B said...

Why does it seem like an epidemic of adults that are turning their heads when confronted with BLATANT child abuse? Folks that learn about abuse and pack their kids up and leave, without ensuring the proper authorities are informed. Or people that do not hold the same authorities accountable for doing the right thing.

This is all so sordid and sad.

Roz B said...

@Erica:

I wish Bob Costas would have called him on the whole "We showered and engaged in naked horseplay" mess. Asked him "REALLY?!?! How could you NOT know this is inappropriate?"

J9 said...

Agree with Erica. Also - don't google Presidio and sexual abuse - it is a horrible HORRIBLE and long lasting abuse case at a PRE-SCHOOL, and left kids dead. It was perpetrated by MORE THAN one person, and covered up by the military...

charmngbilly said...

what is it about the culture of these insstitutions (the church, the citadel, penn state) that enables these predators? on NPR last night, the young man who works toward 'unionizing' the NCAA athletes suggested that the athletics programs at large universities as such sacred cashcows that nothing could be tolerated that might upset the cash flow. perhaps, given that apparently the athletics program was valued more than the children harmed, this school should lose it's Athletics Dept.??? just a thought.....i mean, if all of them are in jail (where they should be) there's no department left anyway, right?

Shiloh said...

That was his defense... yeah he is going to prison. His lawyer practically threw his hands up and surrendered when stated that there was nothing wrong with his client showering with children. He won't be able to go far enough to get an unbaised jury. Personally, I think Mr. Sandusky will think differently about showers in the future. Let's see him horse round with inmates. As for those who knew about the abuse and did not report it , they should all be brought up on criminal charges and terminated from their jobs at the University. The University should be bracing its self for endless lawsuits, lost revenue, lost donars, lost prestige, and fines.

Susan said...

May I use this space to remind tv news people that rape is assault NOT a "sex scandal." Victims are NOT "alledged" no matter what the lawyers say. I'm tired of the dishonesty of euphemisms that dominate our public discourse. That is what enables a predator like Sandusky to think he can go on television and cover up the truth. Bob Costas knows where his paycheck comes from. This kind of performance will earn him no respect, but a huge audience.

Holliday Vann said...

What continues to boggle my somewhat normal mind is how mentally ill perverts can seem to function so normally for so long around others and there's never one person with a spirit of discernment/guts/morals ever in their presence (year after year) who thinks: "Hmmm, something's not right about this guy." I don't get it. I simply cannot fathom this level of perversion on the part of the perve or the perves who knew.

J9 said...

@ Susan - I completely agree about the watering down of language so that people are not so "uncomfortable" with these subjects, and we should be WAY more than uncomfortable.

Major Dôme said...

There is an issue with the systematic denouciation of abuse agains children:
children, like adults, can lie (and have no idea of the consequeces).
In the early 2000, a french ministry of education promoted systematic denonciation: more than halv turned out to be children'lies, with innocent teacher commiting suicide.

I know a part of my french province town where children tried last year to blackmail social workers with sexual abuse allegations ... The consequenc is that social worker do not want to work in this poor household..