Penn State Sex Abuse Tragedy: Employee Background Check Lesson #2

This is the first time I have published two articles on the same topic back to back.  However, I think there are still so many employee background check and life lessons to learn from the Penn State sex abuse tragedy. And, quite honestly, there may be many, many articles over the coming months. Why?  Because this story will continue to snow ball.

There is new information coming out daily.  At times hourly.

As a matter of fact, my wife and I were discussing Jerry Sandusky at lunch.  We both agreed that the number of victims will probably be in the hundreds.

Luckily for Sandusky and Penn State, we may never know the exact number.  Many of the victims, grown men today, will be too ashamed, or embarrassed to admit what happened to them.

And let’s be frank, how many of them are in a position to report what happened?  Sexual violence leaves a trail of destroyed lives.

How many of these troubled and vulnerable victims turned to alcohol or drugs to numb the pain?  How many of these young boys turned to a life of sexual promiscuity to compensate for the abuse?  Or how many of the victims became a new generation of abusers, turning their anger on other innocent victims to regain a sense of power and control over their lives?

The fallout from decades of abuse from this man will plague generations.  A never ending cycle of violence spreading one victim at a time.

All last week, we watched video of an elderly Jerry Sandusky being escorted to a police car in handcuffs.  But this morning I saw an interview with Sandusky when he was much younger.

I noticed a real twinkle in his eye when talking about kids, building trust and The Second Mile organization he founded to work with (or exploit) troubled youth.  I think it is important to share the interview.  I want you to understand what you are up against.  How cunning, polished and educated child abusers can be.

Why?  Because I have said over and over again that those who harm kids always seek access to them.  I also want you to look at this man who has allegedly done absolutely awful, sadistic things to children.

He doesn’t look scary.   Quite the opposite.   He is very articulate, well dressed and powerful at the time of the interview.

Or listen to this 1 minute interview of Sandusky conducted by Bob Costas.  Listen to his admissions.  Listen as Costas asks him direct questions about his attraction to young boys.  Sandusky’s response?  He repeats the question twice before answering.  Why?  Because he is thinking and repeating the question buys him some time.

So where does that leave us?  First, the employee background check lesson for organizations serving children is those who harm kids will go to the ends of the earth to gain access to them.  Secondly, a limited background screening program will not hold up against the Jerry Sanduskies of the world.

And third, listen closely Penn State, when things are disclosed, act quickly, legally and prudently.  Take a lesson from law enforcement agencies.  When an officer is involved in a use-of-force incident, the first thing that happens is the offer is placed on administrative duty until everything is reviewed.  Removed from official duties and contact with the public.  No harm, no foul.

Let me know your thoughts on the interviews.