11.14.2011

Futuristic Criminal Investigations-Part XVIV

Penn State Nittany Lions head coach Joe Patern...Image via Wikipedia Joe Paterno

Specializing In Forensic
 Child Sexual Abuse Investigations

By Lawrence W. Daly, MSc

The fear of your athlete child being sexually abused by a coach, who you thought you knew, is now a concern. The concern comes from what has been taking place at the Penn State University, where a former coach, Jerry Sandusky of the University has now come under investigation for allegedly molesting approximately 8 young male athletes.

The main controversy is why head coach Joe Paterno didn’t provide the information to the police when he was told about the alleged sexual abuse. This controversy has taken the spotlight away from the alleged sexual offender, Sandusky and focused on the actions of head coach Paterno, who was fired by the University last week. The argument against those who have learned of what transpired at Penn State for years, are arguing that head coach Paterno should have done more, than just reported the alleged sexual abuse.

Let us examine some of the facts which have been reported to the media in what exactly occurred back in 1994 until 2009. Fifteen long years of alleged child sexual abuse by an assistant coach that everyone at the time respected and knew, as a solid and charitable individual. If the allegations are true and Sandusky committed the sexual acts against these eight young male athletes, then the background investigation should uncover numerous if not hundreds of victims. Statistics have demonstrated that individuals like Sandusky do not begin a career of abusing children at the age of 50; Sandusky is now 67 and that his sexual offending behavior may have begun 50+ years ago.

Society needs to understand the make-up of a sexual offender who targets a specific population of children, male and female and sexually abuse them. Sandusky if a sexual offender may have some of the known characteristics, such as the below information:

According to Dr. Mace Knapp, Nevada State Prison Psychologist:
·         There are 400,000 registered sex offenders in the United States, and an estimated 80 to 100,000 of them are missing. They're supposed to be registered, but we don't know where they are and we don't know where they're living.
- Ernie Allen, President of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to co-anchor Hannah Storm on The Early Show.
• Dr. Gene Abel estimates that between 1% and 5% of our population molest children.
• 2/3 of all prisoners convicted of rape or sexual assault had committed their crime against a child.
-BJS Survey of State Prison Inmates, 1991.
• 89% of child sexual assault cases involve persons known to the child, such as a caretaker or family acquaintance.
-Diana Russell Survey, 1978
The typical offender is male, begins molesting by age 15, engages in a variety of deviant behavior, and molests an average of 117 youngsters, most of whom do not report the offense.
-Dr. Gene Abel in a National Institute of Mental Health Study.
• About 14% of child victimizers carried a weapon during the violent crime, compared to nearly 1/2 of those who victimized adults.
-BJS Survey of State Prison Inmates, 1991.
·         About 10% of violent offenders with child victims received life or death sentences and the average prison term was 11 years, somewhat shorter average sentences than received by those with adult victims.
-BJS Survey of State Prison Inmates, 1991.
·         More than 1/2 of all convicted sex offenders are sent back to prison within a year. Within 2 years, 77.9% are back.
-California Department of Corrections.
·         Recidivism rates range from 18-45%. The more violent the crime the more likelihood of repeating.
-Studies by the state of Washington.
• Like rape, child molestation is one of the most underreported crimes: only 1-10% are ever disclosed.
-FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin.
• The behavior is highly repetitive, to the point of compulsion, rather than resulting from a lack of judgment.
             -Dr. Ann Burges, Dr. Nicholas Groth, et al. in a study of imprisoned                   offenders.
A grand jury which took two years to investigate the allegations brought a 40 count criminal indictment against Sandusky. When information came out about the manner in which the alleged sexual abuse allegations were handled, Paterno was attacked for not going to the police. In the State of Washington, the duty to report child sexual abuse, 26.44.030, is specific for someone who is in the position of head coach Paterno. It states:

(b) When any person, in his or her official supervisory capacity with a nonprofit or for-profit organization, has reasonable cause to believe that a child has suffered abuse or neglect caused by a person over whom he or she regularly exercises supervisory authority, he or she shall report such incident, or cause a report to be made, to the proper law enforcement agency, provided that the person alleged to have caused the abuse or neglect is employed by, contracted by, or volunteers with the organization and coaches, trains, educates, or counsels a child or children or regularly has unsupervised access to a child or children as part of the employment, contract, or voluntary service. No one shall be required to report under this section when he or she obtains the information solely as a result of a privileged communication as provided in RCW 5.60.060.

In discussing if the manner in which head coach and the rest of the responsible authorities at Penn State University handled the alleged child sexual abuse allegations is under investigation. Head coach Paterno according to numerous individuals Paterno had a moral duty to make sure the alleged sexual abuse was report to the police. In examining the above law of the State of Washington, Paterno did exactly what the law states his responsibility is.

According to the authors, Steve Wieberg and Jack Carey, of USA Today stated, “In a statement Sunday, Paterno called the charges against Sandusky shocking. “If this is true, we were all fooled, along with scores of professionals trained in such things, and we grieve for the victims and their families," he said. "They are in our prayers."

Tomorrow, I will continue reviewing the alleged sexual abuse allegations and the manner in which they were handled. There is much to discuss and write about and the child sexual abuse allegations have been shocking to society. It is important that all parents evaluate if their child have been or are in a position of vulnerability and immediately take their child out of the any potential sexual abuse situation and then contact law enforcement and make a report to them.
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