Monday, 28 November 2011

Did the assistant coach really abuse all of those children?

The story of Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State football coach accused of sexually abusing eight boys, took another sickening twist as Sandusky denied the allegations and made a feeble attempt to explain how multiple witnesses mistook his behavior for child abuse. In a telephone interview on Rock Center, Bob Costas questioned Sandusky in detail about the charges, which the coach chalked up to locker room horseplay and outright lies.

Sandusky claims that he's entirely innocent. He admitted that he did commit some of the acts he's charged with, but he says he touched boys in a manner that wasn't intentionally sexual. He said, "I could say that I have done some of those things. I have horsed around with kids I have showered (with) after workouts. I have hugged them and I have touched their legs without intent of sexual contact."

One of his alleged victims stated that when he was sitting beside Sandusky in his car when he was a child, Sandusky would place his hands on the boy’s upper left leg. If this is so, I am forced to ask myself why he would do this in the first place.

Costas points out that it's almost inconceivable that the Penn State graduate assistant could have misconstrued the sight of a man raping a boy in the locker room showers. Sandusky remembers the incident in detail, but is hazy about the slapping sound that Costas graphically describes. He says it was caused by, "possibly snapping a towel, horseplay."

The graduate assistant who later became an assistant coach and was later suspended after the Sandusky matter became public, stated that he actually saw Sandusky having anal sex with a ten or an eleven-year-old boy in the locker room. If he is telling the truth, then the so-called snapping of a towel as suggested by Sandusky is pure fabrication on his part.

As for why police heard him admit to a mother that his genitals touched her son, he says he was only expressing that if the boy was of the opinion that he was touching him inappropriately, then that would be wrong. Try deciphering that explanation.

In a sexual assault defense that's troublingly similar to that used by Herman Cain, (the black politician running for leadership of the Republican Party) Sandusky says that in addition to people not understanding his playful nature, some of his accusers are just making things up.

Sandusky's lawyer told Costas that some of the eight victims will come forward soon and admit that (much like the ladies who get their jollies by falsely accusing Cain) they were lying about the charges. Though prosecutors say they can't identify the boy who was allegedly raped in the shower, Sandusky's lawyer claims they've tracked him down and he denies the rape ever took place.

I am forced to ask myself, “Why would the boy deny being raped in the shower when in fact it was his testimony in the Grand Jury hearing that prompted the matter to become viral?”

Costas remarked, "So you've identified him, but the Commonwealth hasn't," to which the lawyer says, "interesting, isn't it?" Of course, Sandusky makes it sound like he made a habit of going nude in the locker room around children, so it shouldn't be too difficult for the defense to find a young shower partner who wasn't assaulted.

When I taught swimming in the YMCA (both in Victoria, B.C. and in Hollywood, California in the mid 1950s) it was the custom of the YMCA everywhere then that when boys swam in the pool, they were to be nude. However, instructors were to wear their swim trunks. At no time did I ever shower nude in the showers of the YMCA when the boys were showering. I never even saw other swim instructors or life guards showering nude in the YMCA showers while the boys were around. So why did Sandusky choose to shower in the nude when the young boys were around him in the showers?

Sandusky has finally realized that getting too friendly with children isn't the best plan, but he isn't beating himself up about it. He says of the scandal, “I don't think it's my fault. I've obviously played a part in this. In retrospect I shouldn't have showered with those kids. That's what hits me the most. The Germans have a saying for this. Too smart too late.

Legally, Sandusky is still innocent until proven guilty at his trial but the roundabout way he answers a simple question about whether or not he's sexually attracted to little boys won't help his case as far as the public is concerned. As Costas, who conducted the interview with an appropriate look of horror and disbelief on his face, told Sandusky, "It seems that if all of these accusations are false, you are the unluckiest and most persecuted man that any of us has ever heard about."

Unlucky, yes but is he an innocent man who is being persecuted for crimes he didn’t commit?

Pennsylvania's Children and Youth Services agency revealed recently that it has been investigating two new cases of alleged sexual abuse by Sandusky. Since these are the first reports to involve victims who are still minors, the new accusations have intensified the debate over why it took law enforcement officials so long to charge Sandusky if they believed he was still an active threat to children in this current year.

The Patriot-News reported that the cases were reported less than 60 days ago and the investigations are still in their initial stages. In Pennsylvania when an adult claims they were abused as a child, the case goes to the police. Since Children and Youth Services is involved, these new accusers must certainly be under 18 years of age.

While members of the general public were initially focused on why officials at Penn State failed to report the abuse, they're now becoming increasingly incensed about the length of time it took government authorities to move on the case — particularly because for all that they knew, more children were being abused during the years they should have been investigating the allegations against Sandusky.

The young man who's referred to as ‘Victim One’ in the grand jury report came forward in 2008. For the first 15 months of the investigation, only one state trooper was assigned to the case. In 2010 Attorney General Tom Corbett, who's subsequently been elected governor, got involved, and the case expanded to include more investigators as seven more people accused Sandusky of abuse.

Later, when asked why the investigation took so many years, Corbett said, "The one thing you do not want to do as a prosecutor is go on one case. You want to show a continued course of action." He went on to say that the investigators' actions were justified because it would have been more difficult for prosecutors to make additional charges if they'd publicly accused Sandusky after Victim One came forward, and then lost the case.

If a victim had been victimized by Sandusky, why wasn’t the prosecutor going ahead with the prosecution? Is that not the same as watching a man robbing a bank but instead of arresting him, they wait until he robs a second bank and then arrests him as a serial bank robber?

Meanwhile, Sandusky's lawyer Joe Amendola was arguing that the foot-dragging of both Penn State officials and authorities is evidence that they didn't think Sandusky was a real danger. He told ABC News, "(It also) defies absolute logic that that someone could see something that horrific, that god awful, and not one, do anything about it, and number two, continue to interface with the person that he saw doing it."

While we don't want to think that someone wouldn't immediately report child abuse, sadly it doesn't really ‘defy logic’ that people either pushed the task of contacting authorities off on their superiors or purposely chose to keep quiet to protect their careers and reputations.

I strongly suspect that the Penn State graduate assistant who claims he saw Sandusky anal raping a child chose not to stop Sandusky from doing what he was doing out of fear that Sandusky would get even with him and make sure that he was no longer an assistant coach. It would have been simply easier for the graduate assistant to report it to the University police and let them deal with the crime. As we all know by now, they didn’t approach Sandusky but rather they instead went to the president of the university and he chose not to go to the local police.

I don’t know if Sandusky has committed all or some or any of the child sexual crimes he has been charged with but there is something that concerns me. Why are the so-called victims of his sex crimes now claiming that he sexually abused them when they could have complained about his alleged abuses years ago?

Penn State University has extremely deep pockets and legitimate victims who can prove that they were sexually abused by Sandusky will be able to claim a fairly large sum of money from the university’s insurance.

But is it possible that some of his accusers were merely showering with him and were never touched by him other than perhaps a harmless pat on their shoulders? Since they would be able to establish that they were in the showers with him, can he prove that he didn’t sexually abuse them? Have you ever tried to disprove a negative? It’s almost impossible.

Amendola, his lawyer has also come up with two new angles for his victim-blaming media campaign. He has been claiming that the victims may be changing their stories to please prosecutors, because they're kids who've had tough lives and now "they're pampered, they're encouraged, they're treated specially" by law enforcement. He added that that Victim One's claim that he was repeatedly assaulted in Sandusky's home can't be true because his client was never alone in his own home. According to Amendola, "Jerry tells me his house was like a hotel, particularly on football weekends, which is when this young guy says that he was at Jerry's house. The house was filled with people. At any given time, probably when this activity was allegedly going on, there might have been 25 to 50 people at Jerry's house."

As we all know, when you have a few dozen people over your house, it's difficult to go into another room and change your clothes, make a phone call, or use the bathroom without being seen by someone in the house. If in fact Amendola is correct about Sandusky’s home being always filled with people, then I agree with him that it would be unlikely that he would molest a child in his home with all those people in his home.

One of the new allegations brought against Jerry Sandusky accuses him of abusing his own grandchild, according to his lawyer. His lawyer said the accusation comes from the wife of one of Sandusky's five adopted sons. I would sure like to know why we are only hearing about this now.

We all know why the second allegation of child abuse against Michael Jackson was dismissed. The boy’s mother was overheard saying that she intended to get as much money as she could from him.

The word of a child, whether mistaken, coached, or the result of a deliberate lie, is all that it takes to ruin lives. Here is an example for you to consider.

In 1992, Robert Hays was convicted of four counts of sexual assault and four counts of lewdness with his then eight-year-old daughter, Jennifer. He was sentenced to life in prison. Over the years, Jennifer has repeatedly refuted the allegations against her father and has publicly denounced them as false. She insists that her father never molested her and has signed several sworn affidavits to reflect this. The first of these affidavits was signed within a week of Robert’s conviction.

Statistics show that once a man is accused of sexual abuse, the law goes on to incriminate him, often unjustly, regardless of the fact that he might actually be innocent. Sexual crimes against children have the highest conviction rate of all felonies in this country. I strongly suspect that some of the accusations were false.

Sandusky is still free with unsecured bail, and now his attorney is worried that if new charges are brought, "he's going to wind up in jail." Heaven forbid that a man accused of raping and sexually assaulting eight or more kids be kept away from the rest of the population until his trial. What is interesting about him being released on unsecured bail by the judge is that the district judge that released him was a volunteer with the Second Mile, the charity that works with children which Sandusky started. As I see it, the judge should have recused herself from the case as there is the appearance of a conflict of interest.

If on the other hand he is really innocent of crimes of sexual abuse against children, then it might well be construed as being unfair to imprison him while he is waiting for his trial.

In Canada, that wouldn’t necessarily be so much of a problem because in Canada, innocent persons who the courts rule are truly not guilty of the crimes they have been charged with will be well compensated for any time they spent in jail waiting for their trial. One innocent man in Canada who spent only six months in jail was awarded a million dollars compensation. I don’t think that Pennsylvania is that gracious enough towards innocent defendants who are in custody waiting for their trials and who are later acquitted of their crimes.

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