In a series of interviews last night, accused Penn State child molester Jerry Sandusky was asked if he is “sexually attracted to underage boys?” He responded, “No. I enjoy young people.” When asked to explain Sandusky's alleged rape of a ten year old boy in the Penn State locker room on a Friday night in 2002, his lawyer Joe Amendola replied that “the kid was messing around and having a good time” in the shower with Sandusky:
“Jerry Sandusky is a big, overgrown kid. He's a jock,” Amendola told CNN's Jason Carroll. “The bottom line is jocks do that—they kid around, they horse around.”
Amendola told NBC's Today show the apparent person in question claims the alleged rape never happened.
“We believe we've found him and if we have found him, he's telling a very different story than Mike McQueary and that's big news,” Amendola said.
Clearly, the effort to whitewash the overwhelming evidence against Sandusky is in full swing. Unfortunately the willingness of otherwise honest and decent people to ignore and justify the actions of pedophiles and child molesters is nothing new and all too common.
Just last week in the New York Times, respected Ohio State law professor Douglas Berman referred to child pornography as nothing more than “dirty pictures.” This kind of flippant belittling effectively desensitizes and normalizes the collection and broad dissemination of pictures and videos of pre-pubescent children being raped and sexually exploited.
What Berman fails to recognize is that “in the context of children … there can be no question of consent, and use of the word pornography [let alone “dirty pictures”] may effectively allow us to distance ourselves from the material’s true nature. A preferred term is abuse images and this term is increasingly gaining acceptance among professionals working in this area. Using the term abuse images accurately describes the process and product of taking indecent and sexualized pictures of children, and its use is, on the whole, to be supported.” Sharon W. Cooper, et. al., Medical, Legal, & Social Science Aspects of Child Sexual Exploitation p. 258 (2005).
Not surprisingly, Professor Berman is a defense expert witness in child pornography cases and a critic of mandatory minimum sentences for inter alia producing, collecting and sharing child pornography.
In an interview with Cincinnati.com, Professor Berman claimed that “because the Internet has made this kind of material more readily available, it's not as obvious that someone who looks at these images will be a serious threat to do harm to a child.” Rationalizing the wide and ubiquitous availability of child pornography, Berman intoned “we're to a point now where it's just one click. There may be a lot of serendipity as to whether that one click gets you one picture or a thousand pictures.”
Berman is not alone in providing intellectual cover for child molesters. None other than the Administrative Office of the United States Courts has taken the position that “the only appropriate judicial role” is to deny restitution requests for victims of child molesters who are convicted of collecting child pornography.
That's right. In an illegal advocacy brief written by the federal court system itself, Assistant General Counsel Joe Gergits suggested that “even though federal law prohibits him from lawfully “engag[ing] directly or indirectly in the practice of law in any court of the United States,” his “legal advice” is something which might “coincidentally” be beneficial to judges around the country.
After its release in August 2009, Mr. Gergits' brief quickly became exhibit number one for child molesters across the country who were seeking to avoid paying criminal restitution to child pornography victims. The brief was reportedly distributed to the chief probation officer in every federal judicial district in the country.
By actively taking such a position, the United States federal court system itself injected bias and prejudice against child crime victims into the "independent, national judiciary providing fair and impartial justice."
New York University law Professor Amy Adler explained that since the legal war against child sex abuse images has already been lost, there is “the possibility that certain sexual prohibitions invite their own violation by increasing the sexual allure of what they forbid.” Adler argues that “the dramatic expansion of child pornography law may have unwittingly heightened pedophilic desire.”
In the Berman-Gergits-Adler justice system, the very existence of laws against child sex abuse images and the wide availability of those images creates unwitting offenders who are then prosecuted in a justice system which is biased against the “alleged victims” depicted in the images and who are ultimately given little or no criminal sentence.
Add to this mix yellow journalists like the New York Times' Erica Goode—whose recent article on an absurdly rare “life sentence” for child pornography gave carte blance acceptance to a defense attorney's proclamation that “a growing body of scientific research shows that that someone who looks at child pornography is not a child molester or will become a child molester”—and Debbie Nathan—whose so-called National Center for Reason and Justice is a wholly owned subsidiary of the pedophile defense bar and whose work for the movie Capturing the Friedmans vigorously advocated for the absolution of convicted child molesters Jesse and Arnold Friedman—and it's not a stretch to believe that Sandusky was just behaving like one of the boys.
Everything can be explained away. Things are not what they seem. A little fun in the shower never hurt anyone.
Sadly, the effort to silence, marginalize and de-legitimize victims of child sex crimes is alive and well in 2011.
To quote the Pope, again, approvingly:
In the 1970s, paedophilia was theorized as something fully in conformity with man and even with children. This, however, was part of a fundamental perversion of the concept of ethos. It was maintained—even within the realm of Catholic theology—that there is no such thing as evil in itself or good in itself. There is only a “better than” and a “worse than.” Nothing is good or bad in itself. Everything depends on the circumstances and on the end in view. Anything can be good or also bad, depending upon purposes and circumstances. Morality is replaced by a calculus of consequences, and in the process it ceases to exist. The effects of such theories are evident today.
The rationalization and justification of child sex abuse in all its forms not only discredits the victims, it corrupts justice and society. Morality ceases to exist. Evil becomes a construct. Punishment disappears.
Understanding the sexual exploitation of children means accepting that evildoers actively exploit the naivete of youth by grooming victims, establishing trust, normalizing deviant behavior and enforcing loyalty. When caught perpetrators sow doubt and confusion.
No wonder Sandusky's victims feel sadness, shame and even complicity. As one of the Penn State victim's attorney, Ben Andreozzi, revealed yesterday on the Today show:
The eight victims currently involved in charges against Sandusky all became part of the Penn State football team’s inner circle and developed deep attachment to the program.
“I think it’s fair to say the victims could be thinking to themselves right now that as a result of (my) coming forward, look what’s happened to this football program,” Andreozzi said.
“These folks were involved in the Penn State football community—they were on the sidelines at football games, they were spending significant amounts of time travelling with the team and/or in the locker room with the team and getting to know members of that football team.”
Andreozzi added that his client, who is now in his 20s, is grieving. “To say that he’s torn apart, I think would be an emotion that would really explain where he’s at right now.”
As I wrote on this blog in July, “The Secret" is the key to understanding child sex abuse.
In my post Pedophiles Lobby for Acceptance I explain how politically motivated child molesters and pedophiles actively discredit social science research which indicates a substantial rate of recidivism by convicted child sex offenders.
Sandusky and his defenders fit into a well-established dialectic which minimalizes the crime and co-opts the victims. Let's hope that this time around, voices of reason and justice prevail.