I’m sure that many of you have seen the news of the serial sexual abuse of young boys by a trusted football coach at Penn State University. Reading the grand jury report on the case is a harrowing look into the reality of evil — demonic evil. It tells the story of the charming, charismatic father-figure who, for years, was abusing children in the most horrendous way.
Looking back at the situation, you can see all the warning signs that were overlooked — the “special” relationship, the gift-giving, the rough-housing and wrestling, the private time alone. At the time, people didn’t understand their significance — the warning signs of a predator are hard to distinguish from the behavior of a charismatic, empathetic mentor to needy children.
The worst part of the story is that on two separate occasions, people caught the predator in the act of raping young boys.
Twice. In the act. Rape.
And nobody rescued them.
This story is very, very real and very, very disturbing to me. I am having a hard time getting it out of my head.
I am the director of the child protection program here in the Archdiocese. This means I think about child sexual abuse on a daily basis. Every day, I dread answering the phone, because of what it might bring. From time to time, victims of sexual abuse come and speak to me about what happened to them. Men and women sit in my office and describe the abuse they suffered, sometimes as long as forty years ago. I sit there while grown adults weep over the suffering they endured as children.
Because nobody rescued them.
We in the Church have learned from our failures in the past. We can only hope that others will learn the lessons from the Penn State catastrophe.
Awareness. Prevention. Vigilance.
Tags: Sex Abuse Crisis