11.19.2011

Futuristic Criminal Investigations-Part XXI

Mike McQueary coaching from the sideline
Image via Wikipedia


Specializing In Forensic
 Child Sexual Abuse Investigations

By Lawrence W. Daly, MSc

“I would say in just about every investigation we have, there will be differences of opinion, where you have partial facts, as to what those facts mean.”
The information that has yet to come to light in reference to the child sexual abuse allegations involving the former Penn State University player and coach, Jerry Sandusky’s child sexual abuse allegations will be the most interesting aspect of this alleged sexual offender’s history as a player, coach and possible sexual predator. As I have discussed in earlier articles a sexual offender doesn’t begin molesting children at the age of 67. This is something that occurred early in life, most likely when Sandusky was a young adult. That would make his history of sexual acting out at 50+ years and many child victims who will never be identified.

To date the local police have said little about their role back in the late 1990’s about their investigation of Sandusky, if there ever was one. There have been several stories that the campus police investigated the alleged sexual abuse allegations, but found the allegations to be unfounded. The local police than concluded that there was no merit to the allegations and closed their case.

Over the past two years a grand jury has been listening to testimony about the potential sexual assaults that Sandusky allegedly committed on at least eight young male child athletes. There are now new stories coming out that Sandusky may have sexually assaulted at least ten more children. Nothing else is known about these new sexual assault allegations. But today, police sources told The New York Times reported that nearly 10 more people have come forward, alleging that they too were sexually abused by Sandusky, who has denied he is a pedophile.

Mike McQueary, the graduate assistant who a grand jury report said saw Sandusky allegedly sodomizing a boy in the locker room, said he stopped the act and went to the police.

The grand jury report detailed a 1998 investigation by Penn State police, begun after an 11-year-old boy’s mother complained that Sandusky had showered with her son in the football facilities. Then-District Attorney Ray Gricar declined to file charges. State police Chief King has been police chief since 1993. State College police did help on a case led by Penn State police into a 1998 allegation, referred to in a 23-page grand jury report on the Sandusky investigation as 'Victim 6.'

It wasn’t until 2002 when McQueary made the report to others that the state police began an investigation. In 2009 a mother claimed that her son was sexually assaulted by Sandusky. The grand jury was then put together and the 40 count indictment was issued two weeks ago.

In September 2010, Sandusky retired from The Second Mile Foundation, which he help found and build. The retirement came at a time when a grand jury was convening and investigating the sexual assault allegations against him.

On November 5, 2011, Sandusky was arrested and was later released on 100,000 bond, by a judge who had volunteer at The Second Mile Foundation.

Law enforcements involvement is still a mystery in reference to the investigative steps they took during this 13 year period. Some of the information indicates that there may have been an investigation into the alleged sexual assault allegations or there may have not. Once the law enforcement investigation(s) come to light, there will be the need to evaluate specifically what they did and did not do.

When the responsibility is placed on law enforcement to investigate an individual who is an icon in the community, politics will play a major role in how the investigative process will be handled. The law enforcement hierarchy in my experience will want daily reports, what the findings to date are and so forth. Law enforcement investigators are generally not free to perform at the highest level because the hierarchy wants everything handled in a certain and specific manner.

Some key issues which now need addressing is what will the future hold, so situations like the Sandusky matter are not repeated. Every state has some type of law which requires the reporting of child sexual abuse. These laws are to notify law enforcement and/or child protective services. The law also extends responsibility on both law enforcement and child protective services to notify one another about the alleged child abuse, physical, sexual and neglect.

An investigation into the allegation can only take place with law enforcement. Law enforcement has the training, education and knowledge of how to handle a criminal investigation. Child protective services are responsible to take care of the child and family’s needs and to provide services for the child such as medical services. Further, they are responsible to protect the child who is referred to them and there is a determination by their agency that the child comes from an abusive and/or neglect situation.

In the Sandusky matter what law enforcement did and didn’t do will become a significant fact in to why the allegations lodged against Sandusky was not handled and eventually handled in the manner in which it took place. There are some things the Sandusky case will impact in the future when it comes to law enforcement’s handling of alleged child sexual abuse allegations.

The future investigative process, procedures and protocols will deal with new legislative laws which will cover those investigative areas which have not been addressed for years in the State of Pennsylvania. These laws such as how many hours does law enforcement have to investigate a claim of alleged child sexual abuse; how much time does child protective services have to evaluate an alleged child abuse victim’s relationship with the alleged sexual offender; and how these allegations and follow-ups are documented will be of great importance to the citizens of the State of Pennsylvania.

The future and new reporting laws which will be passed at the legislative level across the United States will bring about significant changes in the law in many states. The many states which have current mandatory laws on reporting alleged child sexual abuse will tighten the already strict mandatory reporting laws to make sure there are no loopholes.

The future laws will encompass a more stringent law which will penalize those who fail to report any knowledge about an alleged child sexual abuse allegation within the required time. The investigative steps law enforcement currently takes are antiquated and needs changing as is apparent in the Sandusky criminal matter. With the ability to scan and email reports to one another, law enforcement agencies and child protective services no longer can blame communication as an excuse not to make a report of an alleged child sexual abuse allegations.

Tomorrow, I will continue further research into the area of law enforcement agencies and child protective services roles across the United States in the current laws on reporting an allegation of child sexual, physical abuse and neglect. I will ascertain if the current state laws in the state of Pennsylvania are consistent and comparable with other states. These laws must be futuristic, solid, with strong structures and laws which are thorough and complete, without misinterpretation by law enforcement officials and child protective service caseworkers. The laws are only as good as those who abide by them. 

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