For those of us who watched the Penn State/Jerry Sandusky scandal from afar, the new HBO movie Paterno brings back some horrible memories. But I cannot imagine how brutal it all must be for the survivors of his abuse. Yet to make matters worse, these brave individuals also have had to endure unrelenting news reports of schools that still cover-up sexual assault by athletes, coaches and other authorities.
Coming on the heels of the scandal involving serial sexual abuser, Dr. Larry Nassar, on Monday a young woman filed a 14-page complaint in a Michigan federal court about allegedly being gang-raped by members of the Michigan State University basketball team. Writes the Daily Beast:
The [MSU] staffers “made it clear to [Doe] that if she chose to notify the police, she faced an uphill battle that would create anxiety and unwanted media attention and publicity, as had happened with many other female students who were sexually assaulted by well-known athletes,” according to the lawsuit.
She was allegedly told that they had seen a lot of these cases with “guys with big names” and that the best thing to do is to “just get yourself better.”
“If you pursue this, you are going to be swimming with some really big fish,” they allegedly said.…
Afterward, Doe “was so discouraged” by the interaction that “she became frightened” and decided not to report the assault to law enforcement. After several sightings of her attackers and months of panic and flashbacks, she “had become so traumatized, depressed, and withdrawn to the point that she was admitted to the Sparrow Hospital outpatient psychiatric day-program for intensive psychiatric treatment,” according to the complaint.
She withdrew from school for a semester and, upon returning, changed her major. She no longer wanted to be a sports journalist.
Speaking of Nassar, it’s now being reported that that scandal may be a “costlier problem” for MSU than Sandusky was for Penn State, according to a new report from Wells Fargo Securities.
And now comes word of another lawsuit just filed by a former wrestler at Bergen Catholic High School and his parents who say:
Bergen Catholic High School officials conspired to cover up sexual and verbal abuse in its nationally recognized wrestling program that included the sharing of pornographic images, coaches watching wrestlers strip naked and inappropriate text messages sent to athletes [and that] Newark Archdiocese officials worked to shield the wrestling coaches from "criminal detection" in a "conspiracy to endanger children."…
The civil complaint was filed on March 26 … [and] mentions up to 100 other victims, whose identifies are not known, in anticipation of more plaintiffs joining the case.
Oh but not to fear, there’s some great news out of Pennsylvania! On Monday, "Mercyhurst University in Erie said … it is taking down the late William Garvey's presidential photograph from the library, removing plaques in his honor and eliminating the name 'Garvey Park.'" Garvey was a 25-year president (1980 until 2005), teacher and youth coach. Seems like on Friday, his name showed up “on an Erie Diocese list of 51 clergy and lay people who had been credibly accused of sexually abusing children or other misconduct.”
I hate to be cynical here, but chances are that Mercyhurst University, who had nothing but praise for Garvey’s “visionary leadership” when he passed away last year, knew or should have known about this abuse before Friday. Trying to erase his legacy by taking down his picture and plaques doesn’t do a whole lot, especially for Garvey’s victims. I'm just sorry they even have to read about it.