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Sexual Molestation Scandals Associated with Major College Athletic Programs Should Put Parents on Notice

January 30, 2012

The recent revelations regarding sexual abuse of children by prominent assistant coaches for the Penn State football team and Syracuse basketball team serve as a cautionary tale for parents.

These recent allegations were not against shadowy figures of questionable reputation, but long-time trusted coaches that were part of successful college athletic programs. The charges have already resulted in both coaches being fired. Jerry Sandusky, a Penn State defensive coach for many years, has been charged with forty criminal accounts stemming from his abuse of eight boys over a period stretching from 1994 to 2009. Sandusky obtained access to the victims through a youth charity organization called Second Mile, which was founded by Sandusky.

These charges are on top of allegations by yet another accuser who has filed a civil lawsuit indicating that Sandusky sexually abused him on over a hundred occasions beginning at the time he was 10-years-old. The 29 year-old plaintiff, like the other sexual abuse victims, claims that some of the sexual molestation occurred on the Penn State campus. It has been purported that other members of the coaching staff observed or were told of alleged sexual molestation incidents on the campus but did not inform the police, even as Sandusky continued to have access to school facilities. The Sandusky allegations were followed closely by allegations that a well-respected assistant basketball coach at Syracuse University also has been accused of sexual molestation.

A disquieting similarity that these cases share is that the alleged sexual abuse was committed by respected members of coaching staffs of major universities. While both incidents are currently under investigation, there is evidence that, at least in the Penn State case, reports of sexual molestation against children were not pursued and may have even been covered up. If the allegations are true that university officials had knowledge of the abuse but continued to permit Sandusky to have access to school facilities where further abuse occurred, the universities may share substantial liability for the sexual molestation.

Ironically, these high profile incidents have resulted in parents throughout the country discussing the issue of inappropriate sexual conduct by adults with their children in the wake of these disturbing allegations. Some parents are already coming forward because these discussions have led to revelations of other cases of sexual abuse unrelated to the university scandals. It is easy to dismiss concerns about sexual abuse because the conduct is so ugly and offensive that it is not a reality that any parent wants to believe could be happening to his or her child. These recent events serve as a reminder that parents need to be alert for signs of abuse, involving even respected role models who may be perpetrators of sexual molestation.

As disturbing as it is, the other important point to take from these incidents and the sexual molestation scandals involving other coaches, clergy, teachers and others who work closely with children is that the institution cannot necessarily be counted on to disclose such allegations. If allegations of sexual abuse are made against a member of an academic institution, house of worship or community youth organization, it can mean enormous embarrassment and financial liability in the form of personal injury lawsuits against the institution. Sometimes these concerns can motivate those in the administration of such institutions to try to quietly cover up such allegations to prevent serious damage to the institution’s reputation and financial stability.

If your child has been the victim of child molestation or any form of sexual abuse in Atlanta or anywhere throughout Georgia, your child may suffer serious emotional trauma and require extensive psychological counseling to deal with the emotional impact of being a child abuse victim. Our compassionate Georgia child molestation attorneys are committed to seeking justice and compensation for vulnerable child victims. Schools, churches, camps, youth organizations and other institutions that turn a blind eye to such abuse must also be held accountable.

Our Atlanta child abuse lawyers are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Personal Injury

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All information provided by our blogs is general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Consult a Montlick attorney for details about your unique situation.