Tulsa Counselor: We Can Learn From Penn State Child Sex Abuse Cover-Up

Thursday, July 12th 2012, 6:33 pm
By: News On 6

An internal investigation at Penn State shows campus leaders did nothing to protect young boys who were being sexually abused by Jerry Sandusky on university property.

The scathing report comes after an eight-month investigation headed by former FBI director, Louis Freeh.

He concluded that legendary coach Joe Paterno, and others on campus, hid information for 14 years about the abuse to avoid bad publicity.

Child abuse counselors in Tulsa say we can learn from Penn State.

Rose Turner is managing director of the Child Abuse Network in Tulsa.

"I think it highlights how hard it is for a victim to disclose," said Turner.

She said the Penn State abuse scandal exemplifies the challenges and tragedies of child sexual abuse.

"Sometimes adults don't want to get involved if they suspect something. They don't want to get in people's business," Turner said.

Former FBI director Louis Freeh's investigation found that Joe Paterno and other administrators at Penn State knew of child sexual abuse accusations against Jerry Sandusky as early as 1998, but did nothing.

"These men concealed Sandusky's activities from the board of trustees, the university community, and authorities," said Freeh. "They exhibited a striking lack of empathy for Sandusky's victims by failing to inquire as to their safety and well-being,"

Turner said 50% of the abuse cases at the Child Abuse Network in Tulsa are sexual in nature, and she said the national statistics are alarming.

One in every four girls and one in every six boys will be sexually abused by the time they turn 18, and 90% of the abusers know their victims personally.

"They especially bully victims, which is why it's so hard for a child victim to tell, because often times in sexual abuse, it's a child's word against an adult's word," Turner said.

She said she hopes the Sandusky case makes more people aware of the signs of child sexual abuse and the ways to prevent it.

"Is it still going to happen? Are we still going to have child sexual abuse happen? Probably, but the quicker we get to helping a child hooked up with resources and counseling and therapy, the better they will be long term, in terms of their healing," Turner said.

State law in Oklahoma requires anyone, not just a teacher or authority figure, to report suspected child abuse to DHS. That number is 1-800-522-3511.