On Thursday, June 14th, jurors in the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse trial heard testimony from the eighth and final victim in this case. Just as the others before him had also testified to, Victim 8 recounted for the jury the disturbing and heart-wrenching details of how Sandusky had raped and molested him for years, oftentimes in the Penn State locker rooms or during ‘sleepovers’ at Sandusky’s home. In the course of his testimony, the victim stated that during one such ‘sleepover,’ Sandusky’s wife had been home, prompting the young boy to scream out for help, a desperate plea that would go unanswered.

The accused pedophile is facing 52 counts of sexual abuse against ten different boys over a fifteen-year period. If convicted, he could be sentenced to a maximum of 500 years behind bars, which would be a life sentence for the 68-year old. Sandusky denies the charges, despite the overwhelming evidence against him, and, lest we forget, that unsettling interview he did with Bob Costas. Sandusky’s defense attorney is arguing that the victims in this case are lying in order to make money off of future civil suits, an unfounded accusation that all eight of the victims have denied.

Although the American legal system is based upon the notion of ‘innocent until proven guilty,’ there is no doubt in my mind that this scumbag used his position of power to sexually abuse young boys. Anyone who argues otherwise is either apathetic or ignorant. Our children deserve better than this. We as a society must work harder and become more vigilant when it comes to protecting our children from monsters like Jerry Sandusky.

Our system did not protect these eight innocent boys. Our system failed them, and we as a society are as much at fault as the perpetrator himself.  According to a report by Prevent Child Abuse America,

“Sexual abuse of boys is common, underreported, under-recognized, and under-treated [emphasis added]. Sexual abuse of girls has been widely studied, leading to awareness of the risk factors and prevalence. Unfortunately, there have been relatively fewer studies done on sexual abuse of boys, leading to inadequate knowledge about the facts related to this topic.” This is absolutely unacceptable, especially in the United States of America.

The report by Prevent Child Abuse America goes on to say that,

“The outcomes of sexual abuse of boys can fall into three main categories: psychological distress (posttraumatic stress disorder, major depression, anxiety disorders, borderline personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, paranoia, dissociation, somatization, bulimia, anger, aggressive behavior, poor self-image), substance abuse, and sexually related problems (sexual dysfunction, hypersexuality, sexually aggressive behavior, and confused sexual identity). These outcomes may lead to poor school performance, running away from home, and legal trouble. Studies have indicated that sexually abused boys and girls have significantly more emotional problems, behavioral problems, and suicidal thoughts and attempts than their non-abused counterparts. In addition, it seems that the experience of sexual abuse has more severe and complex consequences for boys than for girls in respect to emotional and behavioral problems (extreme use of alcohol and drugs, aggressive/criminal behavior, poor school performance, truancy, and sexual risk taking).”

There are those who argue that sex offenders, like Jerry Sandusky, can and should be rehabilitated. Some advocacy groups have gone as far as claiming that pedophilia is a mental disease. It certainly is a disease, but there is no therapy or medical cure for it. The only cure for pedophilia is prison or death. Victims deserve to know that their abusers will never again be able to harm anyone. Our focus should be on helping the victims, not on rehabilitating the monsters that prey on them.

This case will soon become part of the past. Society will move on – at least until the next scandal rocks the headlines – and the victims will just become part of the statistics, forced to deal with the abuse they suffered for the rest of their lives. We witness these sorts of atrocities time and time again. Another criminal slips through the cracks. Another innocent life is destroyed because others failed to intervene.

The first priority of any society should be the protection of its citizens, specifically its children. And yet, in this country, we see fit to ensure that criminals are taken care of and that their every need is met. What about the victims? Are we to just forget about them? If we continue to allow apathy to thrive within our midst, if we continue to turn a blind eye to the unmistakable flaws in our criminal justice system, if we continue to excuse away personal responsibility, if we continue to coddle criminals and ignore the victims, then may God have mercy on our souls.

Children are crying for our help. Don’t you think it’s time that we finally answered them?