PA- Victims blast Harrisburg man
For immediate release: Thursday, April 10, 2014
Victims blast Harrisburg man
He's running for university trustee
And he wants controversial statue restored
That “hurts victims & endangers kids,” group says
A Harrisburg man is being criticized because he wants Penn State University to put back up a statue of Coach Joe Paterno.
William J. Cluck is running for the school's board of trustees. He claims university administrators “dismissed Coach Paterno without due process” and says he supports “honoring” Paterno.
His comments have drawn fire from a self-help group called, SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
SNAP director David Clohessy of St. Louis (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com) has released the following statement:
We are deeply disappointed in Mr. Cluck and are disturbed by his support for honoring Paterno.
Adults can make it easier or harder for victims to report and police to investigate and prosecutors to pursue child molesters. Publicly honoring Paterno will make it harder. It's just that simple. One can side with an accused, deceased wrongdoer. Or one can side with wounded adult victims and vulnerable young people. These trustee candidates are siding with an accused wrongdoer.
Somewhere there's a 19 year old girl who is depressed or anorexic or suicidal because she was molested by her middle school teacher who is still on the job. She worries he's abusing other kids and is trying to find the courage to tell someone about him. And if she sees the Paterno statue being restored, she may very well give up, thinking “What's the use? The bad guys, the powerful guys always win.”
Somewhere there's an owner of a chain of day care centers who is considering reporting or concealing suspected child sex crimes. If he sees the Paterno statue being restored, he may well choose to conceal the suspected crimes, thinking “Even if I'm caught, people have short attention spans and controversies pass quickly. Eventually, it'll all be forgotten and people will remember me for my business achievements above all else.”
These trustees can not “help” Paterno. He's dead. They can however, by praising a wrongdoer, hurt child sex abuse victims who are already suffering. And they can hurt vulnerable kids who may yet be molested. Let's hope Cluck doesn't win and if he does, let's hope he'll be less callous and more sensitive and back off his pledge to restore the Paterno statue.
Paterno was a great coach. But the importance children's safety trumps every athletic feat – on or off the field, once or hundreds of times. It trumps every musical or artistic or journalistic achievement too.
One can debate how much Paterno knew or didn't know. But few claim he was completely innocent. Dozens of innocent children were sexually molested, in part, because he did not call the police or act more responsibly. So it's irresponsible
If there's a gaping hole on campus where Paterno's image once was, let's fill it with a statue of a child, to remind ourselves of what is truly precious and deserves our thoughts and our protection. Or let's fill it with a statue of a professor of social work or law enforcement one of the “helping professionals” whose work enables adults to better safeguard kids from predators.
At the very least, if there is to be a Paterno statue, let it be built off campus with private funds and let each contributor's name be publicly displayed so that everyone will know who believes college football is more important than kids' safety and who believes praising a complicit football coach is better than helping suffering crime victims.
If we want a world that is safe for kids, we cannot let those who are complicit in child sexual abuse crimes or cover ups to be rewarded and honored. We hope Mr. Cluck is not selected as a trustee.
(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)
Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747,SNAPblaine@gmail.com), Peter Isely (414-429-7259, firstname.lastname@example.org), Joelle Casteix (949-322-7434, email@example.com)