Those of you that have been around my blog know I love sports. Love em. Especially College football. The events this week have just hit me hard and I am so upset by the scandal now going on at Penn State. So today's post is not really about my weight or diet, but about something far more important. I just had to get these thoughts out.
For those who do not know, a former coach has been accused of child sexual abuse. There is a grand jury indictment against him. At least 8 boys so far and there are apparently many many more coming forward. The really upsetting part is that an assistant coach witnessed it, reported it to the head coach, Joe Paterno, who in turn reported it to his supervisor, but no one called the police or child services. That assistant wasn't even the only witness. There were others and still no one call the police.
On top of that, the guy accused was still at the school up until last week. He had an office there, worked out there with football players and was frequently on the side lines. He ran a youth charity that was supposedly helping disadvantaged boys. And even they knew of accusations and an investigation as early as 1998, but he still was involved with the kids.
As a parent I am horrified, but sadly not surprised. This should remind all of us that PEOPLE THEY KNOW are the people our children are most at risk from. We teach our kids about strangers, but sometimes we forget that it is almost ALWAYS a trusted person that preys on children around us. We all need to learn something from this mess. Of course you'd think the same sort of scandal in the Catholic church would have taught us already.
First we need to spend real time talking to our children about how to be safe and how to protect their bodies. We need to make sure that our kids understand that even if it is someone that they know and trust, even someone in their family, if they are touched in any way that makes them uncomfortable, they need to tell someone. The really sad part of this Penn State mess is that the first boy told and nothing happened.
Second, we as a society need to wake up. Children are hurt and abused every day. It is a sad fact and we all need to do everything we can to protect them. No matter how respected. No matter how successful. No matter how upstanding a person may appear to be, we have to take ANY accusation of abuse very very seriously. It must be reported to authorities. The child comes first, not the reputation of the person accused. Not the institution they happen to work for or be associated with. Anyone that was involved in this coverup, knew of the abuse and did not get it stopped must be fired and no longer in charge of kids.
Even Joe Paterno needs to be gone. He knew. He knew and didn't get it stopped. I mean come on, one time you might fool yourself into believing your buddy couldn't do that, but more than one? AND you have a first hand witness that says he saw that bastard in the shower with a child and you didn't make damn sure he never touched another boy? I don't care how long you've coached, how many games you've won, how much good you've done in the past, this is inexcusable.
My son walked into the room this morning while I had on ESPN. He heard a little of the reports. I turned the TV off and we talked about this. We talked about being safe. Not being afraid to speak up when you see something really wrong. How to protect himself, even from people he knows. I encourage you to do that with all of your kids, at an age appropriate level. Don't fool yourself into believing that sort of thing doesn't happen to nice families in nice neighborhoods like mine. Don't fool yourself into believing you can recognize a pedophile by looking at them. You can't. Protect your kids.
I pray that some good comes from this by raising awareness. I pray that those poor boys will have some comfort knowing that the bastard is going away forever and will never, ever touch another boy. I pray that God has a special place in hell for child predators.