The Lasting Lesson From The Sandusky Scandal

You probably heard that Jerry Sandusky was sentenced today to what amounts to a life sentence. 

You may have also heard that he still claims that he is innocent – after being convicted of 45 counts of child sex abuse.

So after all of the fallout, including upcoming trials for former Penn State administrators, the firing of a legendary football coach, and unprecedented sanctions against the university’s football program (one of the most renowned in the country), Jerry Sandusky essentially suggests that all of these actions were misguided because he didn’t do what everyone has concluded he has done.

Or put another way – the individuals who spoke up about his abuses are lying.

And that leads us to the lasting lesson of the Sandusky scandal – abusers lie. They often paint their victims as liars. They especially like to suggest that kids are not trustworthy reporters of their behavior and that their actions are misunderstood. They like to hide behind a public persona and want you to not only believe that they are being vilified by people in the community and, in this case, the press and the court.

They want you to doubt the truth.

And that’s what we have learned. If a parent gets a signal that something is not right between their child and an adult that is entrusted to them, the parent has to pursue it properly and vigorously. They have to go through the chain of command and not stop until they are completely satisfied that they have learned the truth. Sure, you can’t assume an adult has done something until you uncover more evidence – but the fact is that you shouldn’t assume an adult in a responsible position is inherently incapable of committing a horrendous act just because of their reputation in the community. The days of assuming that kids can’t be trusted to speak up, and that adults should be trusted because of “who they are” are long gone.

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  1. by Mary

    On October 10, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    Bottom line – if you child says something isn’t right, trust them.