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Hope message is clear to abusers and enablers

June 27, 2012
Gary Andersen, Lee Smith , Fairmont Sentinel

No one will ever know how many children have suffered needlessly because adults decided it was less important to protect them than to avoid the taint of scandal at a school, church or other institution. But last week two juries in Pennsylvania issued reminders that the children always take priority.

By coincidence, separate trials in Philadelphia and Bellefonte ended Friday. In one, a jury in Philadelphia convicted a Roman Catholic church official of child endangerment for covering up situations in which priests had abused children. Monsignor William Lynn was the first U.S. church official convicted of a felony in such a coverup.

In Bellefonte, another jury convicted former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky of sexually abusing children during a period of about 15 years.

Sandusky had been under suspicion for years but, until he was indicted in 2011, no one at the university seemed willing to take decisive action against him.

What happened to children victimized by Sandusky and priests aided by Lynn was wrong - and some of it might have been prevented. Guilty verdicts handed down by the two juries should be remembered by anyone who, in the future, tries to forget.



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