PA- Victims blast new Paterno statue
For immediate release: Thursday, April 24, 2014
It breaks our hearts to see Penn State alums acting so irresponsibly by erecting a privately-funded new statue to Joe Paterno.
Penn State officials should denounce this callous move.
Paterno was not the most egregious wrongdoer in the Jerry Sandusky horror. But it's clear that, at best, he should have done more and at worst, he was a part of a school bureaucracy that turned a blind eye to suspicions about Sandusky's crimes.
This hurtful decision will deter victims, witnesses and whistleblowers in child sex cases from protecting kids by reporting abuse, by reinforcing their often-justified pessimism that adult wrongdoers matter more than wounded kids and their fear that even if they speak up, powerful and popular grownups will usually escape being exposed or punished for ignoring or concealing child sex crimes.
It will further victimize those already victimized - at Penn State and elsewhere - by child molesters, by showing them that many adults are willing to ignore or minimize their pain and honor a wrongdoer so they can feel good about a football team.
A doctor's first job is to "do no harm." In child sex cases, that's the job of every caring adult. These alums are, in fact, doing harm. They should know better.
Those who donated are putting the reputation of a deceased wrongdoer ahead of the healing of child rape victims. They are doing precisely what hundreds of Catholic officials and other complicit church staff have done for decades: putting more value on the reputation of an institution than on the safety of kids and the healing of victims.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have more than 15,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)