What can we learn from the Sandusky trial?

The Penn State scandal is back in the headlines, as former football coach Jerry Sandusky’s trial on 52 counts of child sexual assault plays out.

Victims and observers have already taken the stand, with more to come, all detailing Sandusky’s alleged sexual acts with children as young as 11 years old.

For us, the trial brings to mind many things including child abuse prevention, intervention and mandated reporting.

The testimony of one witness in particular reminds us of the responsibility some legally have to report observed instances of child maltreatment. Mike McQueary, a young graduate assistant at the time, has testified that he witnessed Sandusky in the shower with one boy. He didn’t call the police, but told his father and then administration at the school. The administration never reported the alleged abuse though, by law, they were required to.

In December we posted a series of blogs on mandated reporting, which we’ve listed below. The national attention this case is getting should remind us all that child sexual abuse is still happening and there are ways we can help, including reporting abuse when we see it.

Mandated Reporting: How many could have been spared?

The Basics of Mandated Reporting

Background and Basics of Mandated Reporting

Mandated Reporting: What are the barriers?

Mandatory Reporting: Implications, Meanings and Practice

Other takeaways include being able to identify when a child has been exposed to violence or abuse and the importance of building resiliency to help victims cope

What are some other lessons you think can be learned from the Jerry Sandusky case?


One Response

  1. The failure to report by several individuals in this case is appalling. I hope that jurisdictions are considering more aggressive legal actions against those (individuals and organizations) who do not report. If even one of those with knowledge of this had come forward years ago, many innocent children likely would have been spared the (life-long) trauma of abuse.
    This scenario has been played out repeatedly in many groups, including churches, athletes (swimming & others), recreational organizations, and more. Until there is accountability at all levels, this type of abuse will continue.

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