Letter: Former Kirkwood students brave for coming forward

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

July 16, 2020

By David Clohessy

Regarding “Kirkwood schools to pursue independent investigation of sex abuse allegations” (July 13): Hooray for former students Katie Pappageorge and Jill Wilson for their courage in speaking up about the abuse they suffered at the hands of a teacher. Kids are safer when victims speak up and report child molesters. As a society, we must learn to be grateful to every victim who comes forward, no matter how long it takes.

At the same time, however, the sooner victims act, the sooner kids are protected. So it’s especially gratifying to see these brave women stepping up at such a young age.

They are to be especially commended for using their names publicly. That’s a tough step for a victim of sexual violence to take. But it helps reinforce a crucial message: The shame in child sex cases belongs solely with those who commit and conceal it, not with those who are hurt by it.

We hope the inspiring example set by Pappageorge and Wilson will prod other who may have seen, suspected or suffered abuse or misconduct in high school to call police, report wrongdoers and safeguard youngsters while helping themselves recover in the process.

David G. Clohessy • St. Louis

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