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November 07, 2011

Sex Abuse Allegations Rock Penn State Football

Joe Paterno's former defensive coordinator got caught (it is alleged) performing oral sex on a 10-year-old boy in the showers and everyone covered up.

This is actually a more difficult question than most people credit it as. As a matter of justice and ethics, you are duty-bound to rat on your friend.

I chose that word "rat" intentionally, because that's how it feels to the people who find out about the misbehavior of a friend. It feels like ratting. Maybe if they had the proper perspective, they'd see it wasn't "ratting" or "snitching," but bringing a predator to justice, but personal relationships and affections always complicate this.

I know what I should do in this situation. But people can convince themselves that the thing they want to do is actually the right thing to do rather easily. People are very good at rationalizing away their duty. I can imagine this guy, Sandusky, swearing (while crying like a baby) that it was just a slip-up, that he'll never do it again. I can see people making a case to themselves that it's better for the 10 year old boy if they don't report it -- after all, the boy shouldn't carry this around forever, should he?

Why, if we just keep our eye on Sandusky and make sure he flies the straight (ahem) and narrow, why, we'd be taking the win-win-win route. We make sure our friend gets help, we protect that boy's reputation, and we make sure no further victims come about. It's nothing but win!

Of course, that's wrong, and a pedophile isn't going to stop just because he cries like a bitch when you catch him. And I guess, then, that people having that impulse -- "Hey, let's just bury it and pretend it won't happen again" -- that makes it all the more important that outside forces be injected into the situation (and all future similar situations) and demand, "No, no matter what your personal affections for the pedophile, you must report it, or we'll come after your heads for covering it up."

But I do understand how people convince themselves that this is the "right" thing to do. This dynamic, I'm thinking, was at play in the Catholic priest pedophilia scandals.

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posted by Ace at 01:39 PM

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