Abuse victims’ group blasts Syracuse officials

Abuse victims’ group blasts Syracuse officials

It’s heartbreaking to read that a victim of a predatory Syracuse coach came forward to police and university officials years ago but nothing happened. It's the trifecta of betrayal - a predator who commits child sex crimes and an employer and a police department that seemingly do little or nothing to stop those crimes.

This is a painful reminder that even when the police are contacted with credible child sex abuse reports, the outcome is far from certain. We beg victims, witnesses and whistleblowers in abuse cases to report to law enforcement and keep on reporting – as often and as long as possible – even though it’s extremely hard.

We commend Bobby Davis and Mike Lang for reporting Fine, subjecting themselves to questioning and scrutiny, and for doing so publicly, not anonymously. It’s very hard to disclose childhood victimization, but especially hard to do so in public and to accuse a prominent figure.

This awful situation is especially chilling to me. As a girl in high school in California, I was repeatedly sexually violated by my trusted, popular music teacher, Thomas Hodgman. He abused me, impregnated me, and gave me a sexually transmitted disease. I sued, won a $1.6 million settlement and got internal records showing that he admitted his crimes. Yet today, he teaches music at Adrian College in Michigan.

So I know how frustrating and debilitating it is to bravely report abuse, see no change, and worry about your perpetrator assaulting other kids.

We hope that others who may have seen, suspected or suffered this coach’s crimes will now find the courage and strength to speak up. And we hope they approach independent sources of help like therapists, police, prosecutors and support groups, not university officials.

Read more: http://abcnews.go.com/US/bernie-fine-scandal-syracuse-coach-leave-amid-child/story?id=14980135

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  • published this page in Media Statements 2011-11-18 08:16:00 -0600