Why didn’t he tell till now? Why should I mix in?
ליינט וועט עטץ אביסעל פארשטיין - Read and you’ll gain a little insight
By Donna Leinwand Leger, USA TODAY
December 6, 2011
As police investigate allegations of child molestation by coaches at Penn State and Syracuse, nagging questions linger about signs that may have been missed — or ignored.
Experts say many bystanders who witness inappropriate behavior or even obvious sexual abuse remain silent, too horrified to report what they have seen.
“It’s not that it’s so invisible. It’s that it remains a silent crime. People worry if they say anything they could ruin someone’s life,” said Maia Christopher, executive director of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers in Beaverton, Ore. “Now everyone is asking what did you see and who did what (at Penn State). We know that people did see things and did not respond in a way that could help.”
Police arrested former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky on Nov. 5 on 40 counts of sexually abusing eight boys over a 15-year period. He says he is innocent.
Court papers describe a long list of people who may have had knowledge of possible abuse. They include the university’s president, senior vice president, athletics director and legendary football coach Joe Paterno. A janitor, high school assistant principal and wrestling coach, campus police officers, and officials with Second Mile, a charity founded by Sandusky to help disadvantaged boys, also may have witnessed or been told about abuse or unusual behavior, the grand jury report says.
Paterno, fired by Penn State’s trustees for failing to do more, never spoke to Sandusky about possible misconduct, Sandusky said in an interview with The New York Times.
Reluctance to report abuse is common, said Jennifer Marsh, hotline director for the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, or RAINN. Calls to the hotline rose 54% in the two weeks after police arrested Sandusky.
“Reaching out to the authorities in itself can be scary. People may be intimidated because they don’t know what process will follow,” Marsh said.
Whistle blowers may fear criticism for accusing someone who is well-liked in a community, said Carol Beebe Walser, a clinical and forensic psychologist with practices in San Francisco and Charlotte, N.C.
“It can be fear of ruining someone’s life and their family. It can be fear of disrupting a community or an institution and being faulted for that,” Walser said.
Mike McQueary, the Penn State wide receivers coach, received death threats after court papers disclosed that as a graduate student in 2002, he had witnessed Sandusky having sex with a boy in a shower. Police and McQueary have not disclosed the nature of the threats.
“I’ve been going over it in my mind a number of times, but I never really noticed anything different about Jerry,” said former Penn State head football trainer Jim Hochberg, 78, who retired in 1992. “He was an overgrown big kid who liked to horse around with the players.”
Hochberg said the allegations stunned him. In more than a decade at the school, he said, he never heard even a whisper of anything untoward.
A Pennsylvania child welfare investigator who helped review initial misconduct complaints about Sandusky in 1998, which did not result in prosecution, now wishes he had known more.
Jerry Lauro said he believed that it was “inappropriate” for Sandusky to have showered with the child — now designated by a Pennsylvania grand jury as “Victim 6.” But he said there was no apparent evidence of abuse beyond that.
Lauro said he viewed it at the time as a “boundary issue.”
According to the grand jury report, the alleged victim’s mother became suspicious when her son returned home from an outing with Sandusky with wet hair. She confronted Sandusky with two police officers listening in, according to the grand jury report, when the coach allegedly admitted his actions were wrong.
Lauro said police never shared what was said in that confrontation. “I feel really badly that I didn’t have more red flags,” he said. “You can bet that if I felt child abuse occurred (at that time) something more would have happened.”
Some people may fail to report abuse because they don’t want to believe what they saw. “There’s a sense of horror that can result in emotional shutting down. The horror causes denial and disbelief,” Walser said.
When people do report, the community may be so aghast that it rejects the allegations and the person who delivered them, Walser said.
“Society’s horror at the issue, the repulsion, produces a type of prejudice,” she said. “No one wants to believe that this kind of thing happens, so there’s a real internal drive to make it untrue.”
Last week, Syracuse University fired assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine after three men alleged Fine molested them as children. Fine, who has not been charged, says he is innocent.
As at Penn State, a number of people had knowledge of possible abuse for years. Former ball boy Bobby Davis said he told Syracuse police in 2002 that Fine molested him in the 1980s and 1990s. Davis also gave ESPN and the Syracuse newspaper a recording of Fine’s wife allegedly admitting knowledge of the abuse. Police said they told Davis that it was too late to pursue criminal charges. Davis in 2005 complained to Syracuse University, which investigated but could not find any evidence to corroborate Davis’ claim.
When Davis went public with his allegations Nov. 17, coach Jim Boeheim defended Fine and said Davis was probably after money.
After the university fired Fine, Boeheim said he regretted his statement and urged anyone with information about the allegations to come forward without fear. “I am personally very shocked because I have never witnessed any of the activities that have been alleged,” Boeheim said.
Deborah Donovan Rice, executive director of Stop It Now!, which works to prevent child sex abuse, said the “ick factor” can influence how child sex abuse cases are handled.
“We don’t like to think that these things go on and are done to people we know and love,” Donovan Rice said. “I think people recognize it more than we are willing to admit. We’re not honest with ourselves about how many times we have felt uncomfortable about what another adult is doing. It’s time we get honest with ourselves.”
Contributing: Jon Saraceno in State College, Pa.; Kevin Johnson in Washington
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Posted by Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg at 12/06/2011
פארוואס דערציילט ער ערשט היינט? - פארוואס דארף איך מיך אריינמישען?
Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg