KENSINGTON, MD, November 10, 2011―I am shocked and dismayed by the allegations of a child sex abuse cover-up coming out of Penn State this week. As a mother, I would not allow my child go to Penn State.
To be fair, I would have had a hard time letting a child go to Penn State before this because I did my graduate work at Ohio State and well, no. I mean, Penn State’s no Michigan, but it’s still not on the list of Schools Acceptable for Children of Buckeyes.
At least not as an undergrad.
But friendly conference rivalries aside, each report about the handling of a situation wherein assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was known to be assaulting young boys is more troubling than the last. People actually witnessed this man raping children and they never called the police.
How can that have happened?
There is confusion in my mind about the sequence of events and about Sandusky’s relationship with the University administrators who neglected to begin a criminal investigation. However, it is abundantly clear that at least two people witnessed him assaulting boys, and they did not call the police.
They called the head coach. They called the athletic director. They called campus security. They did not alert law enforcement. They did not prevent this man from being around children in the future.
The person who finally did call the police was the mother of a victim, a mother who now knows that someone else might have been able to stop this man years ago and chose not to do it. A mother who has been effectively betrayed by Penn State University.
I stand in solidarity with that mother, all of the mothers of the victims. Penn State University betrayed us all.
I don’t care what the specifics of mandatory reporting laws are or aren’t. I don’t care what policies are in place in an institution regarding the reporting of wrong-doing. Child rape is a crime so horrific, so inhuman that there should be no thought for anything but helping the child. No university, no sports program, no chain of command is more important than picking up the phone and dialing 911 to report harm to a child.
Penn State failed to do that. Penn State, in my mind, is guilty of criminal negligence. Penn State is not a fit institution to educate my child.
As I write this, Penn State is cleaning house and purging its ranks of everyone who may have known about the rapist in their midst but didn’t report him. I’m fine with that outcome but I’m not sure it’s enough. I want all who stayed silent to do some penance to show the children who were abused - and their parents - that their pain matters.
These people should all do work with survivors of sexual abuse and help heal those who suffered the kind of harm that they did not prevent.
Rebekah is a DC-area mom with an over-developed sense of irreverence, socialist tendencies, ADD, and a blog. She recently quit her non-profit sector job to pursue her dream of not working. She now spends her time answering her 3-year-old son’s questions and ranting at her blog Mom-in-a-Million, talking about life as a DC Mom at The DC Moms and sharing her political views at The Broad Side. You can find her on Twitter at MomIn_AMillion.
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