Thursday, November 10, 2011

child sexual abuse at Penn State

I'm very caught up in the Penn State story, though not to the point of having the stomach to read the indictment.  It seems to me very clear that children could have been saved from harm, and instead the program was protected.

To me, the legal issues are important because I think those of us at colleges and universities should know a lot more about our legal responsibilities.  I have seen contradictory information, but it looks to me like this article is based on actual research into the details.  Pennsylvania law mandates that school personnel report evidence of child abuse, but that reporting can be up the chain of command.  School administrators are mandated to report to the police, and they are the ones who have been indicted for failing to report.  That is not the case in most states, where school personnel are mandated to report directly to the police or child welfare workers.

So Paterno technically did fulfill his legal responsibility to report up the chain of command.  What is left is the ethical responsibility--harm was still being done, and he didn't act to stop it.  There is a really good article here that focuses on the comparison with the Catholic Church.  And an interesting story about the reporter who has been reporting the story for 6 months.

But the best thing I have read addresses the victims: Rick Reilly on the Penn State Scandal.

update 11/12.  A good story about our ability to act.

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