The Second Child

Below is a reblog of a post titled The Second Child by Rick Lakin posted by permission of the author. There has been a lot in the news lately about the Jerry Sandusky trial and the Freeh Report, which was an attempt by Penn State to understand how this tragedy happened, but The Second Child puts a more human emphasis on the events. After the first child was abused, how and why was the second child endangered?


The Second Child

Published July 13, 2012 | By Rick Lakin


On December 6, 2011, I posted this response to this story by Pat Lalama . It appears that my ideas then were a bit prescient.



I enjoyed your Penn State article. I believe that Jerry Sandusky is toast. At the end of all of this, Sandusky will spend the bulk of his remaining life behind bars. I believe, though, that the real tragedy is the first part of that statement. Jerry Sandusky’s conviction will most probably be the end of this tragedy. After that, on the one hand, you will have a group of men who will live out their lives as wealthy men and on the other, the sons and daughters who will suffer at the hands of those who were hurt by Sandusky as the chain of abuse continues untreated and unbroken.

The real story here is one that will be unreported and yet is an all too common one. This is a case where you find an abuser at the center of a closely knit, financially lucrative, organization that can be characterized as an old-fashioned good old boys club. The question that needs to be answered in order that it will never happen again is not why did Jerry Sandusky abuse 8 or 10 or 20 or hundreds of kids? The real question is how Sandusky was allowed to abuse a second child after it became known that he had abused a first child.
Jerry Sandusky is singularly guilty of abusing every child up to a point but after the first time it was even whispered among the members of the community that some abuse had occurred, the members of the Penn State and Second Mile organizations share the responsibility, liability, and guilt for every instance of abuse that followed.

Natural disasters can seldom be prevented and happen instantaneously. Human tragedies such as Penn State that happen over a long period can and should be prevented. It takes courage, resolve of even the most inconsequential person at the low end of the totem pole and an institutional attitude that everyone is responsible for doing the right thing, that protecting the clients is above protecting the institution and that everyone will listen when anyone steps up and points out the Emperor’s lack of clothing.
The upcoming Jerry Sandusky trial will draw massive ratings, it will cause serious huffing and puffing about the evils of old white men who abuse little children and it will salve the indignant righteousness of the vicious pundits. It will do absolutely nothing to protect a youngster in the future who is put in the hands of another fine, upstanding member of an organization, similar to Second Mile who sacrifices his time and money to provide opportunities to those less fortunate but who is also a serial child abuser.
Unfortunately, then, the 24 hour, scandal-hungry, fact-starved, yellow-tinted media machine will solve the case of the many children in the Penn State scandal but leave unreported and uncorrected the story of the second child.


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