Instead, I want to take a moment to recognize and honor all the children who were victimized by Jerry Sandusky. The boys who felt fear, shame, anger, dismay, pain, betrayal and more at the heinous hands of a man who preyed on their vulnerability and abused his position of power. Every thing I read makes me more sick to my stomach. The Grand Jury Report drove me to tears. When I was a Lieutenant in the Navy JAG Corp, my job was providing defense counsel to service members. I had multiple clients who were charged with sexually assaulting minors. It was the most difficult thing I ever had to do to hear the details of their crimes. Fortunately, they all pled guilty, but unfortunately, I was exposed to a decrepit form of a human. These men were soulless. They hated themselves. They loathed themselves and like Jerry Sandusky, they could not stop themselves from committing (usually repeatedly) such disgusting and morally reprehensible crimes against children. Children. One of my clients videotaped his 13-year-old step-daughter showering and using the bathroom and then tried to sell the tape online to an undercover Federal Agent. Another client was a Sunday School teacher who sexually assaulted one of his five-year-old students. These are crimes against nature. Crimes against humanity. Who stands up for the children. Is there any grey area? I don't think so.
What really irks me is that, in my opinion, Jerry Sandusky wanted to be caught. According to the Grand Jury Report many of the alleged incidents took place in the Penn State Football Locker Room showers. That is not a private location. That is a very open and public location to at those who are a part of the football program, part of the coaching staff, part of the janitorial crew. What is even worse is that HE WAS CAUGHT! MULTIPLE TIMES!
Does it take special training to know to call 9-1-1 when you see a horrific crime taking place? Here is the deal. If you see a sexual assault, or any crime for that matter, taking place it is your moral (and in some places legal) obligation to report it. Especially, especially, especially a heinous crime against a child. As far as I am concerned, anyone who witnesses such violence against a child is just as guilty as the perpetrator.
What kind of society are we if we do not protect children? What does that say about us?
This week, there are victims who have lived with the shame, fear and trauma of having been abused by a man who was in a very powerful position at a very powerful university. Have these victims told anyone of the abuse? I don't know. But I can imagine that if they haven't, they now are having to re-live the trauma and the shame and they have to live with the daily guilt that many victims hold close to their hearts:
Did I do something wrong?
Could I have stopped him?
Why did he pick me?
For those dear children, who society, role models, coaches and adults did not protect, I mourn tonight for their lost innocence and I pray for them to find peace in knowing that they did nothing wrong. That this man was sick, twisted and cruel. That an entire university failed them and turned its cheek against their basic human rights. For their stolen childhood. Tonight I honor these lost boys who lost so much more than their childhood at the hands of a cruel and sick perpetrator.
If there is anything to come of this, it is the lesson to all in what to do if you see a child being abused in any manner. 9-1-1.