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Fallout from Jerry Sandusky scandal still lingers in Pennsylvania

Posted in Sexual Abuse on Friday, January 29, 2016.

It has been nearly five years since the American public first heard about Jerry Sandusky’s horrible crimes against children. As new information was revealed and investigations were conducted, it became clear that Sandusky’s pattern of sexual abuse was allowed to continue for so long because Penn State officials turned a blind eye. There were several people with knowledge of his crimes and the power to intervene, but they chose not to act.

Sandusky was convicted and sentenced, and many of his victims have been able to seek restitution in civil lawsuits. But the effects of this tragedy continue to linger – and not just for victims. Two recent news stories show that there are still legal and practical issues to be resolved.

Earlier this month, the charity that Jerry Sandusky formed in 1977 made final arrangements to close for good. The Second Mile was founded with the stated mission of helping disadvantaged youth, but Sandusky met and groomed at least some of his victims through his work with the charity. Nearly all of The Second Mile’s assets have been distributed, and the group’s board recently filed a court petition seeking to dissolve the charity. The meager assets that remain will be transferred to the state attorney general’s office.

The criminal cases against three former Penn State officials continue to drag on. They include former university president Graham Spanier, former vice president Gary Schultz and former athletic director Tim Curley. All faced charges related to their failure to report Sandusky to authorities, instead trying to handle matters quietly and internally.

The prosecutions of the three men are moving at a glacial pace, largely because attorneys (purposely or otherwise) continue to focus on legal and procedural minutia rather than on the more important issues.

Sandusky’s victims must live with the aftermath of his abuse for the rest of their lives. Perhaps it is fitting, then, that the practical and legal matters related to this case continue to linger.