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Penn State Scandal Fallout: Can We Trust Charities?

Submitted by on November 16, 2011 – 6:05 pmNo Comment
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By now, everyone in the nation has heard about the scandal that has rocked Penn State. From getting the former president of the university removed as well as Head Coach Joe Paterno, starting riots (as students protested the firing of the head coach, who didn’t call police when he was notified of his assistant coach’s disgraceful actions).

At the center of it all is Gerald “Jerry” Sandusky, assistant coach at Penn State for 30 years before retiring in 1999. Although 30 years sounds like a long time, Sandusky actually retired early, at the age of 55. However, he was granted emeritus status at the university, retaining an office and access to university facilities.

Back in 1977, Sandusky formed The Second Mile, a charity dedicated to the encouragement and development of children, providing them with mentorship, educational assistance and fun activities. Sounds like a nice thing to do, but if the kids there are sexually assaulted by the charity’s founder, it begins to look like quite the hoax. Sandusky is accused of sexually assaulting/abusing eight children over the course of 15 years, all of them were participants in his nonprofit. He is also the author of a book ironically titled Touched. That begs the question, can we ever safely trust charities?

How many people in our communities call themselves mentors or role models for children, opening tutoring centers or starting mentor programs? Do we really know their true intentions or what really goes on when kids are in their care? Who is coming into contact with our children? Are background checks conducted on all volunteers? Even if they are, it only helps if the person has a history of misconduct.

The point is not to lock our children inside our houses until they are old enough to defend themselves, but to ask the questions and recognize the telltale signs that indicate serious problems. Furthermore, parents have to perform their due diligence instead of expecting that just because their child is in the care of a charity, nothing will happen especially when the founder is a man who only seems to brush his two front teeth.

Of course, the blame falls rightfully on the shoulders of the very sick Sandusky—who, by the way, lives next to an elementary school, has six adopted children and is known to take in foster children—for traumatizing these young boys. Blame also falls on the witnesses and superiors who all failed to notify police of what they had seen, heard or been told.

We can never be too cautious when it comes to the youth so, when in doubt, we must check it out.

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