- Faith & Family
Penn State University is the latest institution to be rocked by a sexual abuse scandal involving children after former Penn State Football Coach Jerry Sandusky was arrested on multiple charges of sexual abuse. Two other Penn State officials, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, were also arrested and charged in failing to report the alleged sexual abuse to law enforcement and lying about it to a grand jury. The school’s legendary coach, Joe Paterno, was fired for not doing enough to stop the alleged abuse. Penn State is to be commended for their decision to fire Paterno.
It is unfortunate when we are so focused on protecting the image of a school or an individual that we would put the lives of our children at stake. Most of us will agree that any allegations of sexual abuse should have been reported to law enforcement and not just school officials.
As, egregious as these allegations may be, this is a testament to what extreme some will take in order to protect a hallowed institution over human lives, even the lives of children. Perhaps we will learn something from this tragic situation that will help other youth. Each of us needs to take a good look at ourselves and see what is it that we can do differently to prevent similar incidents from occurring where we work, worship or live.
Have we become so engrossed in our cliques that we too are willing to place our morals and values on the back burner to protect what we revere?
The saddest part about this situation is that one person could have stopped these children from being sexually abused. But no one in the circle of Penn State — not employees, coaches or officials — was willing to risk tarnishing the reputation of their iconic public institution.
Many of the victims were participants in Sandusky’s Second Mile — a state-wide non-profit at-risk program. Could it be that this man started the program only to make it easier to gain access to young children? We may never know the answer. But as parents, we must not simply allow a clean criminal background check or a favorable character reference lull us into letting down our guard. As parents we must remain vigilant at all times and protect our children from those who may have ulterior motives. And then we must teach our children that they can always come to us whenever they are confused without being fearful of our response. We must remain on duty for the sake of our children.
By Queen Brown
Community Activist, Queenb2020@bellsouth.net