Roundup of sex-abuse allegations at Penn State, The Citadel, Syracuse
Former Penn State football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky is charged with sexually abusing boys.
November 18th, 2011
09:40 PM ET

Roundup of sex-abuse allegations at Penn State, The Citadel, Syracuse

As Syracuse University became the third U.S. college whose workers have faced high-profile allegations of child sex abuse this month, child welfare advocates say the accounts may be triggering a surge in reports of juvenile sex abuse.

The “Stop it Now!” group, which guides people who are concerned that a child may have been sexually abused, says its contacts have risen 130% since a former Penn State assistant football coach was charged on allegations that he sexually abused eight boys. Anne Bale, spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Department of Welfare, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that after the charges, its child abuse reporting hot line received twice the number of calls it normally does for five days.

That’s not to say child sex abuse has been on an upward trend. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services last year reported that incidences of child sex abuse declined by 38% from 1993 to 2006. But Stop it Now! executive director Deborah Donovan Rice said the college stories may be helping victims come forward.

“One of the things that having this story be so public and high-profile is doing, it’s making it more acceptable to talk about this very difficult issue,” Rice said Friday.

The Syracuse allegations are the latest of three child sex abuse cases at U.S. colleges that have gained national attention this month. Syracuse put longtime associate men’s basketball coach Bernie Fine on leave Thursday after two former ball boys, now in their 30s and 40s, told ESPN that Fine molested them years ago. Fine, who has not been charged, denies the allegations.

In the Penn State case, former football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky is accused of 40 counts of sexually abusing boys over a period of more than 10 years, according to a grand jury's summary of testimony. Two Penn State officials stepped down after being charged with lying to the grand jury and failing to report the allegations of abuse to police. Longtime football coach Joe Paterno, who is not charged, was fired after reports that although he advised supervisors of allegations, he didn’t inform police.

In a third case a former cadet-turned-camp counselor at The Citadel military college in South Carolina was arrested last month on charges of molesting at least five children in alleged incidents in the Charleston area. Those cases weren’t linked to the Citadel, but the college this month revealed that in 2007, a former Citadel Summer Camp participant alleged that the man, his camp counselor, engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct.

The following is a roundup of some of the latest developments in these cases:

NCAA to examine Penn State’s handling of scandal

The NCAA says it will examine how Penn State University has handled its child sex abuse scandal.

"This unprecedented situation demands the NCAA evaluate the university's accountability" and the application of NCAA bylaws, said the group's president, Mark Emmert, in a letter to the university.

The NCAA asked Penn State to provide information to several questions by December 16, including:

- How has Penn State exercised "institutional control" over issues identified and related to the grand jury report on the sex abuse allegations?

- What policies and procedures does the university have in place to "monitor, prevent and detect the issues identified in and related to the ... report or to take disciplinary or corrective action if such behaviors are found?”

- Have "each of the alleged persons to have been involved or have notice of the issues identified in and related to the grand jury report behaved consistent with principles and requirements governing ethical conduct and honesty?"

Judge assigned to Sandusky case resigns

Paterno has lung cancer, son says

Paterno, the 84-year-old coach who was fired last week amid the outcry over the handling of the Sandusky abuse claims, was diagnosed last weekend with lung cancer, his son Scott Paterno said Friday.

"He is currently undergoing treatment, and his doctors are optimistic that he will make a full recovery," Scott Paterno said in a statement. "As everyone can appreciate, this is a deeply personal matter for my parents, and we simply ask that his privacy be respected as he proceeds with treatment."

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Syracuse associate basketball coach calls allegations 'patently false'

Bernie Fine, the Syracuse associate men’s basketball coach, denied allegations that he inappropriately touched two boys starting more than 20 years ago and said they were "patently false in every aspect."

Syracuse put Fine on leave Thursday after Syracuse city police said they were re-opening an investigation of the allegations made six years ago by former Syracuse ball boy Bobby Davis, 39.

That news came after both Davis and his stepbrother, Mike Lang, 45, who also was a Syracuse ball boy, told ESPN on Thursday that Fine had molested them when they were children. Lang's new allegations helped kick-start the new police investigation.

"Simply put, these allegations are patently false in every aspect," Fine said Friday in a statement released by lawyers representing him. "The fact is these allegations have been thoroughly investigated multiple times.

"When evaluating the veracity of these accusations, please keep in mind that credible media outlets were approached in the past to publicize these false allegations and declined to do so. I fully cooperated with all past inquires."

The university conducted its own investigation in 2005, and found that no one, even people who Davis said would support his accusations, knew of wrongdoing by Fine, Syracuse Senior Vice President Kevin C. Quinn said Thursday. Police in 2005 said they wouldn't pursue the case because the statute of limitations had expired, Quinn said.

Had the school found evidence or corroboration of the allegations, it would have terminated the associate coach and reported the case to the police, Quinn said. Syracuse placed Fine on leave "in light of the new allegations and the Syracuse city police investigation," Quinn said.

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Columnist: How many more college child abuse allegations will come?

A columnist for The Sentinel newspaper in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, told CNN on Friday that the Penn State case may prompt child sex abuse allegations at other colleges in the near future.

The Sentinel’s Rich Lewis had written a column on the subject after the Citadel allegations, but hours before the Syracuse case became public Thursday.

Lewis said he wrote the column because, in part, he rejected arguments that Penn State’s alleged lack of reporting allegations about Sandusky to police came down to a unique culture at the school.

He said the Penn State story will get college officials and reporters looking into past allegations at schools more aggressively.

“I can’t imagine a more uncomfortable group of people than college and university presidents the day after the Penn State story broke, worrying if there perhaps had been something that they overlooked,” Lewis said Friday.

Motivated college officials and journalists, along with victims who may be emboldened by the Penn State allegations, “suggest to me that we may be seeing a lot more cases in the coming weeks,” Lewis said.

“It’s not a prediction, because I hope that it’s false. But it’s a bad feeling about what might lie ahead,” he said.

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Child-protection laws under scrutiny

This month’s well-publicized scandals have some child welfare advocates and lawmakers calling for a look at whether laws requiring the reporting of child sexual abuse should be changed, CNN’s Tom Watkins reports.

Changes should include tightening requirements among the states about who must report suspicions that a child is being sexually abused, said Lisa Fontes, a lecturer at University Without Walls at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and author of "Child Abuse and Culture - Working with Diverse Families."

For example, Pennsylvania has an unusually narrow category of mandated reporters, she said. The law requires teachers to report suspicions, but not school bus drivers or athletic coaches, she said.

But Richard Wexler, executive director of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform, wrote in USA Today that tighter requirements would be harmful.

“Changing laws now will lead to a deluge of even more false allegations from newly minted ‘mandated reporters’ protecting not children but themselves, because they fear being punished for failure to report. The time wasted on these cases will be stolen from children in real danger, so more such children will be missed,” Wexler wrote.

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Filed under: College basketball • College football • Crime • Jerry Sandusky • Joe Paterno • New York • Penn State • Pennsylvania • South Carolina • Sports • Syracuse
soundoff (206 Responses)
  1. Mmmmm

    nothin' but propaganda and electronic graffiti...

    November 19, 2011 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  2. noemi

    On penn state coach ca ITS called KARMA.

    November 19, 2011 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  3. Sylvia

    Convicted child molesters should be castrated, surgically or chemically, and given an identifying tattoo on their foreheads. Society needs to know who these perverts are so they can never be allowed access to children again.

    November 19, 2011 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
    • RLong

      Do you mean something like that there Swastica Brad Pitt would carve into German Officers' forheads to recognize them as muderers of Jews. The movie was, "Inglorious Basards".

      November 19, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Annatala

      1) Castration doesn't stop someone from molesting children. It's not solely about attraction to kids.
      2) Killing them outright would be kinder than marking them for death like that.
      3) The legal system makes mistakes. Given the number of people who have been convicted of molesting children and later exonerated, I don't think it's appropriate to do anything permanent. But lock them up for as long as they need to be there, sure.

      November 19, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • JOH

      Death or castration. Should be the only punishment for these sick sociopaths. If I ever witnessed a child raping like Paterno did, I probably would have beaten the rapist to death. Or throw him in the worst jail possible and pass an information to the other prisoners of his crime. They won't let him have any peace of mind.

      November 19, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  4. mb2010a

    It's all about lawsuits an $$$$$$$$...just like the alleged abuse done by the priests 30 or so years ago.

    November 19, 2011 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Annatala

      Really? So it has nothing to do with the abuse of children? You live in a very strange fantasy world.

      November 19, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      No – we live in a society built on laws. We cannot assume he is guilty by virtue of the many – i.e. status quo.

      November 19, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • INK


      November 19, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Cheeseburger

    I think this has been going on throughout history. Now, thank God, it's coming to light and maybe we can stop it. I've witnessed how this ruins a person's life at an early age and how difficult the psychological damage is to overcome. The perpetrators need a bullet in the head.

    November 19, 2011 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  6. dt

    I suggest caution while investigating these claims. Kind of reminds me of the shrink of years past who 'helped' children recover repressed memories of abuse with her therapy. Turned out most were planted stories of her therapy. Let the appropriate agencies deal with the investigations and minimize the sensationalism. Once someone's life is ruined by an accusation that is later proven to be false there is no going back.

    November 19, 2011 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Annatala

      This is true, and may be one of the reasons abuse reports have dropped since the early nineties. And it wasn't "the" shrink, it was lots of them. There are still people in prison today based solely on recanted testimony of abuse with no corroborating evidence.

      November 19, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • know your facts

      This is a small percentage of the accusations and the majority of those are divorce driven which are vetted out during the process.

      The larger percentage are the ones that are not reported. I am in two large support groups for CSA survivors and almost no of us ever told. Oh we told family or teachers but it was covered up by them also. False reporting makes the news because it is headline grabbing. Don't be duped into thinking that it is the norm. Far from it.

      November 19, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • know your facts


      November 19, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Dreamer96

    This whole Sandusky scandal means we now have to take another look at all the adults that are around our kids, baby sitters, day care employees, school teachers, boy scout leaders, girl scout leaders, coaches, teachers of sunday school at our churches...even child protection officals, and foster parents..These child molesters are good at wearing masks...just like Sandusky seems to have been....too many kids are coming forward for all of them to be telling lies....

    November 19, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike Searcy

      "too many kids are coming forward for all of them to be telling lies"....That's exactly what was said back in the 80's and 90's when parents and children where appearing all over the place and making abuse claims against day care centers. Most of the claims where found to be false and it costs states millions and millions of dollars to settle lawsuits from the falsely accused.

      November 19, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ex high school teacher

    This type of behavior is extremely common. Dr. Drew keeps mentioning that these people (school administrators) THINK they are above the law. This is because they factually ARE above the law. Almost all public educational systems function above and apart from the real law. This is by far the biggest issue that needs to be addressed here. It may be a broken record but absolute power absolutely DOES corrupt absolutely. AND if the law doesn't apply to you, and you figure that out, anything and everything becomes a possibility.

    November 19, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  9. RLong

    According to some historians, my teachers and professors, and television, this practice of molesting young boys has been going on for thoudands of years. the laws are there, as soon as it is broken, we put aside the important issues we WERE involved in, such as over population (7 billion) Presidential Race, poverty, hunger, social security, retirement, economics, and FOOTBALL (proffesiona that is). What next?

    November 19, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  10. steve

    sure they are up
    everyone wants a huge pay day so they can lay on their fat rumps the rest of their worthless lives!

    November 19, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      Precisely, there is monetary economic incentive to race out and claim abuse. Especially during times of Depression.
      I find it hilarious that everyone believes that he is guilty by virtue of the large number of people who are trying to join in on this witch hunt.

      November 19, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  11. rad666

    Maybe now victims understand more that is not their fault?

    November 19, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dan

    It's a fad... it'll "blow" over soon.

    November 19, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Minx

    JOH: Paterno didn't witness anything. McQueary did. You'd be cutting off the wrong person's nutz.

    November 19, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    Instead of considering whether castration or burning at the stake is the right punishment for child molesters, consider this:
    1) What is the appropriate punishment for my housekeeper's daughter who lied to authorities that her father had se-
    ually molested her?
    2) What is appropriate punishment for the "advocate" who coaxed the little girl into falsely accusing her good, hard-working father of something that he would never do?
    Would it be enough just to fire the "advocate," or should she go to prison for running her racket?

    November 19, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    Know yours.
    Being in a support group of survivors does not introduce you to false accusers: they don't need support.

    November 19, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
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