Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Jerry Sandusky trial: Former coach allegedly wrote intimate letters to victims, Child sex-abuse cases under-reported, often ignored

Jerry Sandusky trial: Former coach allegedly wrote intimate letters to victims
Tuesday, Jun 5, 2012 Associated Press and Sporting News staff Sporting News

Former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky allegedly sent love letters and gifts to his victims, ABC News reported on the first day of jury selection in Sandusky's child molestation case.

Known only as Victim 4, one of Sandusky's eight accusers said he received intimate letters from the former coach. The letters will be read into testimony during the trial, which begins on Monday. Victim 4, who is expected to be the first person to testify, will also show gifts Sandusky gave him during the course of their relationship.

The letters, said to be in Sandusky's handwriting, are expected to corroborate the accusations of Victim 4, who met Sandusky through the former coach's Second Mile charity. Victim 4, now 28 years old, is one of seven alleged victims who will testify against Sandusky in the three-week trial.

Ben Andreozzi, Victim 4's attorney, says the letters will play a key part in the case against Sandusky. "They have evidence to support his allegations, and there's other evidence that has not been released to the public yet that I think will really resonate with the jury," Andreozzi told ABC News....

Sandusky, 68, faces 52 criminal counts and potential penalties that could result in an effective life prison sentence for alleged abuse involving 10 boys. He has denied the allegations.

Child sex-abuse cases under-reported, often ignored Saturday, June 2, 2012 Sat Jun 2, 2012   By Bill Heltzel and Halle Stockton

....David Scott Zimmerman's case is a cautionary tale about what happens when certain patterns of behavior are not recognized and reported. Another boy described abusive sexual conduct by Zimmerman to school officials — three years after the 1995 incident involving the first boy. Vincentian officials immediately suspended Zimmerman, notified police and the county prosecutor, and started their own investigation. Ultimately, 13 boys told police of sexual behavior by Zimmerman. This time, a public scandal engulfed the Catholic high school. Court proceedings show that the school made a deal with Zimmerman to keep quiet about his dismissal if he absolved the school of liability. He also kept his teaching license.

A proposed Pennsylvania law would make confidential deals like the one between Zimmerman and Vincentian impossible. Other states have already acted. Oregon recently passed a law that could make it easier to recognize sexual misconduct. The law, cited as a model, could stop abuse in its early stages. Recent changes in Oregon law were made because of the Sandusky case, officials said. As policymakers consider a response, teachers, parents and students can be alert to recognize classic "grooming" patterns that are precursors to the sexual abuse of children. Another effective step, experts say, is to ban the practice of "passing the trash," a phrase that describes when a suspected school employee is allowed to resign quietly and without consequences.

"You can stop a lot of this behavior," said Charol Shakeshaft, an education professor at Virginia Commonwealth University who studies sexual abuse. One of every 10 students becomes a target of sexual misconduct that includes such behavior as unwanted sexual comments, inappropriate touching, and even rape, Shakeshaft said. Yet only about 6 percent of child sexual-abuse cases are reported to authorities, and teachers....

Coaches or teachers suspected of abuse tend to single out students for special treatment, lavishing them with attention and rewards. They become unusually close to children, finding ways to spend time with them privately in school and on trips outside of school.

Recognizing these techniques and reporting them are the keys to stopping predators from abusing children, experts say.

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