Following the alleged shower rape in 2002, Penn State officials banned Sandusky from bringing young boys onto the school's main campus—but then allowed Sandusky to continue to hold his summer youth camps on a satellite campus. Does that sort of weak half-measure sound familiar?
That is an absolute parallel. What you find in so many church cases—thankfully, it doesn't happen nearly as much today as it once did—is
that the pattern was for the cases to not be reported to law enforcement. The parents of the victims would go to the pastor or the Bishop. They would
be told, "We'll move this guy. He won't be around children again." They would remove him. He would reoffend. He would be sent to a treatment facility,
and then be put back in. Sometimes, he would be "monitored." But it's hard to monitor a guy on his day off, follow him to every playground.
The real problem is that the church has this view of once a priest, always a priest. The clerical culture closed its ranks around these men,
put them, in effect, on a de facto probation. That's changing, slowly.
How does child sex abuse affect its victims?
The damage is serious. Kids grow up with a warped sexual identity. It's very hard for them to develop bonds of trust in relationships. Sexual intimacy
is always an issue. Young males have fears of becoming molesters as they get older. Some do. Not all, by any stretch. People often become alcoholics,
drug addicts, chain-smokers, obese. It can cause enormous disruptions within families as they grow up. Only years later do parents really being to
understand why junior was acting that way.
Penn State students were criticized for rallying on Paterno's front lawn and later rioting after his dismissal. Did those scenes surprise
There was a letter to the editor in the New Orleans newspaper today, a woman complaining about the rioting students and how misplaced their values
were. But I think for young people in a situation like that, it's hard to get a full grasp of matters when football so permeates the culture of a
It's 80 miles from where I live to Baton Rouge, and I can tell you that football is practically a civil religion at LSU. So from outside looking in, it
certainly appears as though an entire cultural sensibility [at Penn State] has been dislodged and ended.
How does that dislodging of cultural sensibilities compare to your experiences investigating the Catholic Church?
Let me give you a story. In 1986, I finished the first major investigative series on in a weekly newspaper for this, to be published in the The Times of Acadiana. I had dinner with the editor of the paper. He wanted to write an editorial, telling the bishop he should resign and if he
won't, then the Vatican should remove him.
He says, I've never written an editorial like that.
I say, no one has ever written an editorial like that.