Lessons from the Sandusky Trial

June 26, 2012

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Grown men should not shower with boys, ever.

A man with a Heart of Gold does not mean he is safe with children.

Single mothers are tougher than any defensive coordinator.

Cover ups always end up being uncovered.

Predators choose their victims carefully, looking for vulnerability.

Beware of men bearing gifts for your children.

Just because he is married doesn’t mean he is safe around children.

Just because there is a wife in the house, doesn’t mean your child should stay overnight.

Beware of a man who always surrounds himself with young boys.

Child sexual abuse rarely is disclosed, often denied, and always leaves permanent scars.

If a child is being abused, call 911 or child protective services.

Don’t ever let the status of the perpetrator intimidate you.

Be ever vigilant of children and take action when warranted.

The “noise” and gossip about Sandusky was accurate and should have been acted on.

Sexual attraction to children destroys lives of victims.

Predators grow old, but seldom stop abusing children. Ignoring sexual abuse will only cause more victims to be abused.

Child predators don’t stop.

Telling them not to shower with boys is silly, useless and meaningless to predators.

Not every child who comes in contact with a predator is abused, only the vulnerable ones.

Parents pay attention to the little signs and changes in your child’s behavior.

Mothers must stand up to powerful institutions that won’t protect children.

Believe children.

Children are always threatened by their abusers to remain silent.

Where there is one child victim, there are countless others.

© Elizabeth Yore-2012 All Rights Reserved.

Elizabeth Yore is the former Special Counsel at Harpo, Inc.where she served as Oprah Winfrey’s Child Advocate. She was also the former General Counsel at the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

 
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The Noise Heard ‘Round the Country

June 15, 2012

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This past week the country has been spellbound by the gut wrenching testimony emanating from the Sandusky child sex abuse trial courtroom leaving spectators and jurors in tears. While Jerry Sandusky is presumed innocent, the lurid and detailed account of his alleged abuse should not come as a surprise. 

The steady stream of victims relate Sandusky’s classic grooming and seduction  techniques. The calculating and manipulating PSU defensive coordinator chose his victims carefully; victims were either foster children or from single family homes and all from the Second Mile Charity founded by Sandusky. These were high risk children and Sandusky played high risk stakes with their lives.

Why did this go on for over a decade? Why didn’t someone think it strange that Jerry Sandusky was always surrounded with young boys? Were the adults waiting for the children to disclose the abuse? Jerry’s alleged victims, like most victims of sexual abuse, were threatened by Jerry to stay silent.

In 1998, two boys did disclose Jerry’s sexual abuse. Yet, no one reported their allegations about Jerry to local or state law enforcement. The boys’ voices were muffled to protect the powerful Penn State institution. 

Surely, the adults on campus and in the football program were suspicious of Jerry’s behavior. The court testimony, as well as the grand jury report, paint the same picture: Jerry Sandusky was always surrounded by young boys, in coaches’ meetings, on the sidelines, at out-of-state Bowl Games, in the locker room showers. Did everyone look the other way because Jerry was the prominent defensive coordinator and exposing Jerry Sandusky would bring scandal to the storied Penn State football program. 

Of all the grueling testimony, one witness provided the reason that Jerry Sandusky was able roam free and abuse so many boys for so many years.

John McQueary, father of Mike McQueary, testified that after the shower incident witnessed by his son, he met with Gary Schultz, then Vice President of Penn State. 

In the meeting, Schultz told John McQueary that he had heard “noise” about Sandusky, even before Mike McQueary’s report.  

Noise?

Oh, how flippant of you, Mr. Schultz. 

Was the “noise” that Jerry Sandusky liked little boys?

Was the “noise” that Jerry was creepy and showered with little boys?

Did the roar of the fans from the PSU football stadium drown out the “noise” about Jerry Sandusky? 

Did you hear about the “slapping noise” described by Mike McQueary as he walked into shower and saw the boy being sexually assaulted by Sandusky? 

Was that “noise” muffled by the fear of a scandal to the premiere PSU football legacy? 

Did you dismiss the noise, as annoying racket, or mere gossip, or just distracting chatter about boys from high risk homes?  

Did you ever once, stop to think that the “noise” might be true?

Did you ever once, stop to think that the “noise” was about the sexual abuse of young, defenseless, little boys?

Did you ever once ponder the “noise” of the boy victims as they cried themselves to sleep?

What was done about all the “noise” surrounding Jerry Sandusky? 

Silence. 

There is an African proverb, “Much silence makes a powerful noise.”

Surely, the “noise” about Jerry Sandusky’s strange and troubling behavior reached a fever pitch, yet no one at Penn State reported him to law enforcement. 

The noise was drowned out by silence. 

When adults remain silent in the face of child abuse, a powerful noise will eventually emerge in the cries of adults who have silently suffered through abuse as children. The country is now listening to the voices of the victims of Sandusky. The noise is deafening.

As children, they were threatened into silence by the powerful Sandusky. As adults, their words  now overshadow the once prestigious PSU football program. 

As adult victims of childhood abuse, their voices drown out the roar of the Nittany Lions.

The silence from the boy victims of Jerry Sandusky has been broken. 

Oh, what a powerful noise from the courthouse in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. 

The jury will not be silent.

 


Yore Learning Lessons from the Sandusky Trial*

June 12, 2012

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Lessons Learned from the victims/children of Sandusky

Day One-Victim #4

Type of Predator

  • Often Married
  • Often Highly Prestigious Profession
  • Often Appearing Generous, Caring, Thoughtful, Solicitous of Family and Child
  • Grooms parent to have access to child

Type of Victim

  • At risk background
  • Single Family household
  • Foster child-previous abuse
  • Needing Attention
  • Poor
  • Boys-pre-pubescent

Type of Predatory Behavior

  • lavishes gifts and attention on child
  • taking child alone
  • taking child on trips
  • taking a child on a sleepover
  • taking child on trips outside of state
  • lavishes praise on child and parent

Why the victims don’t talk!

  • Boy victims seldom talk because of shame and humiliation
  • Fear that the gifts and attention will stop
  • Fear that no one will believe them
  • Fear that they were complicit in the abuse (Predators tell them)
  • FEAR -threatened by predators not to talk
  • Fear that they should not break “the contract” with Jerry Sandusky
  • Psychologically and physically controlled by predator

CHILDREN RARELY DISCLOSE ABUSE. Children will often deny abuse.

*Allegations and testimony from victims of Jerry Sandusky during the June 11, 2012 trial. Jerry Sandusky is presumed innocent until proven guilty by a jury of his peers. 

© Elizabeth Yore-2012 All Rights Reserved.

Elizabeth Yore is the former Special Counsel at Harpo, Inc.where she served as Oprah Winfrey’s Child Advocate. She is also the former General Counsel at the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

 

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