Yet evidence and testimony from the trial show there were plenty of people, not just those at the highest levels of Penn State university, who had ample opportunity to stop a man accused of violating 10 boys over 15 years:
— A janitor failed to tell authorities he allegedly caught Sandusky performing oral sex on a boy in a campus shower a dozen years ago.
— A district attorney with a reputation for prosecuting cases involving children and sexual abuse victims declined to charge Sandusky over a 1998 molestation allegation even though the detective who investigated thought it was a solid case. The DA, Ray Gricar, disappeared in 2005 and was declared legally dead last year.
— School district officials were skeptical of abuse claims brought by the young man known in court papers as Victim 1 because, the accuser testified, Sandusky was considered to have a “heart of gold.” Victim 1’s allegations eventually triggered the state investigation that produced charges.
— One accuser testified he screamed out for help at least once when Sandusky’s wife, Dottie, was in the house. He doesn’t know whether she heard his cries.
— And, famously, coaching assistant Mike McQueary saw Sandusky having what he believed to be anal sex with a young boy in 2001. But his report to Athletic Director Tim Curley and Vice President Gary Schultz went nowhere. McQueary’s dad testified that during a conversation, Schultz said he was suspicious of Sandusky, and NBC reported this week that emails between former university President Graham Spanier and Schultz aiming to keep McQueary’s allegation from going further were turned over to the attorney general.
— Others also saw Sandusky engaging in behavior that was at least odd, if not criminal. Longtime assistant coach Tom Bradley walked into the shower when one boy was with Sandusky, the accuser testified, and a wrestling coach told jurors he saw Sandusky and a child rolling on the floor.
— Several accusers said their parents or caregivers failed to grasp what was happening to them. Victim 4 testified that one weekend he did not want to go with Sandusky and told his mother, “I’m pretty sure he’s gay,” but she dismissed the idea. “She said, oh, whatever, this is just one of your lies,” he told jurors. He also said at one point he told his grandmother to tell Sandusky he wasn’t home when he called.
The testimony of eight of the 10 alleged victims named in a grand jury report prompted disgust and revulsion from Penn State alumni and others who took to Twitter last week to express their dismay — and to call for the heads of anyone involved in concealing abuse. “Anyone who knew and didn’t report should burn!” tweeted one.
The sad part is that most children know their abuser. Parents are concerned with letting their children outside to play, fearful that someone will abduct them or worse. But really, they should be concerned with the people their child interacts with on a daily basis. These are the people that abuse children (for the most part). Our job is to guard against those who would prey on children.
The description — “sickening” of adults using young people to satisfy their sexual fantasies — isn’t harsh enough.
Take care and STAY SAFE!
Taking a bold effort to reach into communities across the country, Anny Jacoby is a Prevention Specialist and an authorized Facilitator for Stewards of Children through the Darkness to Light program, an organization whose mission is to train adults in every community to responsibly attack the issue of child sexual abuse.
Please contact Anny to schedule Children’s of Steward’s training or to arrange a Prevent Now! meeting for your community.
Sony Pictures released “That’s My Boy,” a movie that glorifies statutory rape between a teacher and her 13 year old student.
Numerous media outlets are reporting that Adam Sandler’s new movie “That’s My Boy” makes light of statutory rape in its depiction of a thirteen-year old boy’s sexual relationship with his teacher at school. That relationship results in the teacher’s pregnancy, a jail sentence, and Sandler’s character being forced to raise the child himself. When the child turns eighteen, he leaves home and does not interact with his father again until the eve of his wedding, when the Sandler character shows up at his home in need of money.
Some will argue in defense of this movie by stating that the story ultimately focuses on the characters’ reconciliation and that since the movie is a comedy, advocates such as organizations like Prevent Child Abuse America, Darkness to Light and Stop It Now! are taking the story line too seriously. We would suggest that these arguments are specious at best. They do not excuse the movie’s outdated views on child sexuality, and the sexuality of boys specifically, much less the long term impact of sexual abuse on children. Nor do these arguments ameliorate the fact that the corporate culture of Columbia Pictures and Happy Madison Productions is one that embraces child rape as a means for making a profit.
“It goes without saying,” stated Jim Hmurovich, President & CEO, Prevent Child Abuse America, “that Adam Sandler and Columbia Pictures would never have made a similar movie about a thirteen-year old girl and a teacher of hers, so how is it that in 2012 they still find it acceptable to make such a movie about a character who is a boy? This is a movie about rape, plain and simple, and while we could have an endless dialogue about how is this is a comedy, or a story that highlights the resilience of children, I call upon the viewing public to express their strong disapproval. Along with my colleagues from Darkness to Light and Stop It Now! we have sent the producers of the film an offer to discuss how misguided this attempt at humor is, and what message can be salvaged from this screenplay. All of us regardless of what we do in our lives have a responsibility to the children and families in this country. I suggest we figure out together how they can fulfill that responsibility in a way that supports the healthy child development of all children.”
Via Darkness to Light:
Help us send Hollywood a message that sexual abuse is not a joke.
As you know, for victims of sexual abuse, this issue is no laughing matter. Sony Pictures should stand with victims, not unite against them. At a time when child sexual abuse is finally getting the attention it deserves, Sony Pictures wants to take a huge step back by endorsing statutory rape.
I hope you will pass this petition along and keep the pressure on Sony Pictures so they will see the error of their ways.
Thanks again for your partnership in protecting children and for using your voice to speak out!
ABOUT DARKNESS TO LIGHT
Darkness to Light is a national non-profit organization with the mission to empower people to prevent child sexual abuse. We do this by increasing public awareness of the issue, educating adults to prevent, recognize the signs and react responsibly to child sexual abuse, and by engaging communities in building and sustaining child sexual abuse prevention initiatives. Learn more D2L.org.
ABOUT PREVENT CHILD ABUSE AMERICA
ABOUT STOP IT NOW!
Stop It Now! ® prevents the sexual abuse of children by mobilizing adults, families and communities to take actions that protect children before they are harmed. We provide support, information and resources so individuals and families around the world can keep children safe and create healthier communities. Read more at StopItNow.org.
Many communities “plant pinwheel gardens” each April of colorful pinwheels spinning in the wind which represents a child living in the community who was abused last year.
April is National Child Abuse Awareness Month and many local organizations offer tips on preventing abuse.
Congress first declared April as National Child Abuse Awareness Month, a time designated each year to raise awareness about child abuse and neglect, in 1983, and each year the president issues a proclamation calling on Americans to use the month to help prevent child abuse.
The first step in helping abused children is learning to recognize the symptoms of child abuse. Although child abuse is divided into four types – physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse and emotional maltreatment – the types are more typically found in combination than alone. A physically abused child for example is often emotionally maltreated as well, and a sexually abused child may be also neglected. Any child at any age may experience any of the types of child abuse.
Child abuse leaves more than just bruises. Long after children have recovered from the physical results of any type of abuse, abused children suffer from emotional and psychological trauma that can last the rest of their lives.
Unfortunately, many bystanders witness child abuse and do nothing about it. Neighbors and friends may hear or even see child abuse happening, but don’t want to intrude or interfere with “the rights” of the parents. Such inaction can mean years of pain and heartbreak for young children who are unable to get out of a horrific situation.
Abused children need your intervention. In their helplessness, they must rely on capable adults who are willing to take a stand and get them out of an abusive environment. By being aware of child abuse, and helping to educate the people you know, you can help prevent child abuse in your community.
Identifying Child Abuse
While it is impossible to determine the presence of abuse or neglect by behavior, the following signs may signal the presence of child abuse or neglect:
- Shows sudden changes in behavior or school performance
- Has not received help for physical or medical problems brought to the parent’s attention
- Has learning problems or difficulty concentrating that cannot be attributed to specific physical or psychological causes
- Is always watchful, as though preparing for something bad to happen
- Lacks adult supervision•Is overly compliant, passive or withdrawn
- Comes to school or other activities early, stays late, and does not want to go home
- Shows little concern for the child
- Denies the existence of, or blames the child for the child’s problems in school or at home
- Asks teachers or other caretakers to use harsh physical discipline if the child misbehaves
- Sees the child as entirely bad, worthless, or burdensome
- Demands a level of physical or academic performance the child cannot achieve
- Looks primarily to the child for care, attention, and satisfaction of emotional needs
The Parent and the Child:
- Rarely touch or look at each other
- Consider their relationship entirely negative
- State that they do not like each other
Preventing Child Abuse
Learn about child abuse. Educate yourself and keep these key facts in mind:
- Child abusers can be any age, any gender and any race. They can be from any economic class, and have any level of education.
- Children are more likely to be abused by their own parents than by a stranger.
- Rarely does an incident of child abuse happen in isolation. When a child is abused once, it is likely to happen again.
- Educate your neighbors and friends about child abuse.
Stop child abuse when you see it. If you have trouble identifying the difference between child abuse and acceptable forms of discipline, learn the Federal and State laws and find resources that distinguish between discipline and abuse. Do not hesitate to contact the National Child Abuse Hotline (1-800-4-A-Child). During your anonymous call, their counselors can help you evaluate the situation and help you make a child abuse report to the proper authorities. If you are nervous about making a report, they will even stay on the line during a 3-way call to offer you support. If a child is in life-threatening danger, call 911 immediately.
It’s time that people take a stand against child abuse. Your simple actions will help prevent child abuse and give abused children hope for a brighter future.
Take care and STAY SAFE!
A grand jury is a type of jury that determines whether a criminal indictment will issue. A grand jury is so named because it has a greater number of jurors than a trial jury.
The Grand Jury Report below is extremely graphic and detailed accounts from victims and witnesses. The release of this documentation was due to a computer glinch according to the PA’s governor. However, legal documentation from investigations is vitally important for the public to clearly understand and gain knowledge of testimony leading to alledged crimes committed and arrests.
As individuals and communities, we are all impacted by the horrible allegations of child sexual abuse by a former assistant football coach at Penn Sate. These reports leave us wondering how such atrocities could happen when so many well-minded adults were around –– yet none took the necessary action steps to end the abuse and the offender’s access to children. Further, parents are left wondering how they can best protect their children.
Shock, disbelief and outrage are often the first reactions to such news. However, this incident can serve as a teachable moment to empower adults to recognize the signs, have the courage to react responsibly and, ultimately, prevent child sexual abuse before it happens in the first place.
The accused did not wear a trench coat and lure a child into a dark alley. Rather, he was a talented man who was revered by the public as a coach and trusted mentor. He allegedly used that trust to obtain access to children. Tragically, this scenario plays out all around us every day. Hundreds of thousands of children are sexually violated by adults every year, and shockingly, more than 90% of the time, the child is abused by someone the family knows and trusts.
At Darkness to Light, we have spent the last decade educating adults — those who are in a position to protect children — how to prevent abuse and recognize warning signs so communities can react responsibly and with confidence.
Penn State could have benefited from having its staff trained so that witnesses would come forward. Having policies and procedures in place, and staff empowered to hold others accountable to the policies, would have made all the difference in the lives of the children involved and the reputation of the institution.
There are more than 42 million adults in America who were sexually abused as children. Research shows that between eight to 20 percent of our children are abused every year. The immediate impact to a child is devastating and the long-term impact costs society more than $35 billion annually. Child sexual abuse is linked to personal dysfunction, mental health issues, teen pregnancy, violent crime, substance abuse, and sex trafficking – among other issues.
Now is the time to finally shine a spotlight on the much avoided subject of child sexual abuse. We must talk to our kids and our communities about prevention. Public dialogue about child sexual abuse helps shape better societal beliefs and responsible actions. The more we can talk openly about child sexual abuse signs or perpetrator patterns, the better we are able to recognize behavioral red flags and have the courage to take action.
We should expect our youth-serving organizations to have policies that govern how adults may interact with youth. Further, these organizations must offer regular trainings, so that no one is left wondering what their legal or moral obligation is when discovering that a child has been sexually abused. The youth-serving organizations should hold staff and volunteers accountable, while our communities, parents and students, in turn, should hold the organizations accountable.
We encourage the public to continue the dialogue that has been started and find hope in the fact that there are things we all can do to reduce the risks in our own homes and organizations. Get involved in your local school, church, youth service organization, youth camp or sports league to ensure that prevention is being addressed and comprehensive policies and training are in place to identify potential problems.
If you believe that your child has been victimized in any way please get immediate help through your local child advocacy center. In addition, Darkness to Light is here as a resource to any parent or organization who wants to get involved in making their community a safer place for children.
Anny is a Steward’s of Children Authorized Facilitator and Prevention Specialist who trains adults to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse through Darkness to Light’s certification programs.
Take care and stay safe.