The comparison was inevitable. The Penn State scandal and the Boston Church sex abuse scandal. In both cases, there were rumors and allegations of child sexual abuse. In both cases, it took years before anyone took action. And in both cases, many children's lives were ruined in the meantime.
Over a decade ago, the Boston Catholic Church was rocked when the allegations of sexual abuse were brought to light. Dozens of priests were accused of sexually abusing hundreds of children, reports the Associated Press.
Cardinal Bernard Law, the Archbishop of Boston at the time, was accused of presiding over an organization that tried to hide the allegations of abuse and attempted to make the problem disappear by shuffling abusive priests from location to location. And for many years, the church got away with it.
However, the victims eventually grew up and some came forward and blew the scandal wide open. No rug was big enough to hide the problems and the church dealt with substantial criminal and civil liability eventually leading to the ouster of Cardinal Law.
Now, this same pattern of abuse and cover up has repeated itself at Penn State where a former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky is accused of assaulting multiple boys despite the university's alleged knowledge that the man was a potential predator, reports the AP.
Joe Paterno played the role of Cardinal Law this time -- allegedly knowing of the abuse and at best doing nothing or at worst attempting to cover up the scandal.
When (not if) the victims of the Penn State sex abuse bring a civil lawsuit against the university, the university will likely have to pay a heavy price for putting the best interests of its football program ahead of the best interests of the child victims. The school likely knew about the abusive former coach and still allowed the man to walk around campus and host children at school facilities. The school will likely be charged with violating its duty to keep the children safe.
The Penn State scandal and the Boston Church sex abuse scandal bear many similarities. Unfortunately, yet again, history repeated itself.
- Find a Boston Personal Injury Attorney (FindLaw)
- Lawyer worries Penn State abuse victims will become scapegoats (National Post)
- Sex Offenders and Sex Offenses: Overview (FindLaw)
- Priest Sex Abuse List Revealed -- At Least Partly (FindLaw's Boston Personal Injury News)