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12 Lessons from Penn State's Abuse Scandal
Church leaders must set and follow policies—and keep watch.

Last fall, a grand jury report surfaced detailing alleged acts of child molestation committed by former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. It stunned the nation. Sandusky was employed by Penn State for 23 years as the defensive coordinator of its Division I collegiate football program. While coaching, he started "The Second Mile" charity that was established to "help children who need additional support and would benefit from positive human interaction." Through The Second Mile, Sandusky had access to hundreds of boys, many of whom were vulnerable due to their social situations. It was within The Second Mile program that he found his victims, although several of them claimed they were molested in Penn State locker rooms where Sandusky retained unrestricted access.

A grand jury was convened to investigate allegations of child molestation by Sandusky involving ten minor boys over a period of years, both while he was a football coach at Penn State and after he retired from coaching. This led to 52 criminal charges brought against Sandusky, including several counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, carrying a penalty of up to 20 years in prison on each count.

Additional criminal charges may be filed against various Penn State officials for failure to report Sandusky's abuse of children. And, within days of the scandal coming to light, the first of what likely will be several civil lawsuits against Penn State and The Second Mile was filed in the court of common pleas for Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania.

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