Times of Israel
By Dr. Michael Salamon
January 31, 2018
Can an entire town come together to protect a childhood sexual abuser – actually protect the abuser – not the child?
This question may seem foolish or rhetorical at best but one look at some recent events tends to highlight the extent to which some communities go to protect the abusers in their midst.
Rachael Denhollander, the first to come forward and accuse Dr. Larry Nassar of abuse while he allegedly cared for gymnasts, swimmers and Olympic athletes over many years had to, in her words, build an army to take on this abuser and his supporters.
Ultimately, over 150 women athletes, many of them Olympians, confronted Nassar in court. Denhollander was not believed initially. It took some time, Olympic effort and commitment to bring him to justice but the persistence paid off.
The bravery that Denhollander and her “army” displayed caused the United States Olympic Committee to force the entire U.S. Gymnastics Committee to resign, and the President of Michigan State University to step down. A special prosecutor has been appointed to look into the possibility that the sports departments at University of Michigan had been covering for Nassar and also for several accusations against their football and basketball teams.
This is not an unheard of situation. There have been other cases where communities protect abusers at the expense of children who are victims. Recall the Jerry Sandusky Penn State scandal. Sandusky, the assistant Football coach, was known to have been abusing young boys for years. He was even reported to his Head coach, Joe Paterno and University administration but for years the entire community at Penn State looked away or worse, rationalized that he was a charitable fellow; after all, he organized and ran The Second Mile charity organization. Still for at least 15 years he was sexually abusing young boys using his football connections and his charity to groom and abuse. He has some protectors still even though he is in jail.
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