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The Times-Leader is reporting that the Diocese of Scranton has suspended another priest accused of “sexual misconduct” with a minor.  The priest was identified as Thomas Shoback who was assigned as the Pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary in Jermyn, Pennsylvania.

Shoback is the brother of Edward Shoback, a priest who was accused of similar crimes in 2004.  He admitted guilt was eventually defrocked.

As more information becomes available, I will provide updates.

I wonder if the diocese is trying to fly under the radar as the Penn State investigation is still ruling the front page?

Game day! Today will be the final game at Beaver Stadium for many of the seniors on Penn State’s storied football program. There are a lot of people who are incensed at the thought of the “indignity” of Coach Paterno’s sudden departure without the “well deserved”, Happy Valley send off that should go to the man who, for a career that spanned five decades, espoused victory with honor. Students showed their displeasure at the Board of Trustees firing of Joe Paterno by rioting, overturning vehicles and confronting police. It is to those students that I would like to send this post.

Joe Paterno had a responsibility to take action when he was informed of the actions of his assistant coach. The rape of a 10 year old boy in the football facility was a brutal crime. Coach Paterno reported the incident but he did not follow up to insure that action was taken. In spite of knowing that Jerry Sandusky had raped a child, Coach Paterno continued to served as an honorary trustee for the nonprofit that Mr. Sandusky used to groom victims. JoPa never followed up to insure that other children were not put into harm’s way with this predator.

Had one of the victims been one of Coach Paterno’s grandchildren, I am sure his actions would have been dramatically different. From the moment that the coach had a credible allegation that Sandusky was committing crimes against children, especially rape, Coach Paterno should have done everything in his considerable position of power to protect children from this predator. Coach Paterno’s word reverberated through Happy Valley like thunder. And yet he was silent. Paterno may not be legally responsible for the rapes or assaults on children that came after he had knowledge of allegations. But he is morally complicit, as is every Penn State official that turned a blind eye in the name of Penn State Football. Victory with Honor! Just words, hollow and meaningless, because the man who embodied them was hollow and meaningless in protecting children at risk.

So when you lament the way in which this man was treated and recount his successes on the grid iron and his love for his players and the debt that you believe the University owes him, think for a moment about the ten year old boy in the shower who did not understand why he was being violated in ways that he did not understand. Think about the victims that came after and how their lives were destroyed.

Really, rioting was your way of supporting a football coach? I bet that took a lot of liquid courage! The video I have seen of people with masks and scarves covering their faces as they went on a rampage, confronted police and destroyed property shows just how much cowardice was present in that crowd. Your protests were as hollow and meaningless as the honor of Coach Paterno.

Coach Paterno failed as a coach, and a community leader. He failed as a man. Maybe when the beer and stupidity has left the bloodstreams for those students threatening their own community and those that did take a stand, the enormity of the crimes against these children will come into sharp relief. The pain and the damage that will haunt their lives will far outweigh the meaning of today’s game against Nebraska.

At the risk of alienating two of my siblings who graduated from Penn State, I can only surmise that the faculty, staff, alumni and students who place a higher premium on college football than the protection of children show an incredible lack of moral courage. If this is what Penn State is all about, the rioters on Wednesday night were smart to cover their faces. I would be embarrassed to be associated with that University as well.

“We are Penn State!” Big freakin deal!

A little focus people! Go back to your studies, apparently you have much to learn.

I am not sure if the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is just asleep at the switch or if it is incompetent when it comes to allowing  an institution, in this case, The Pennsylvania State University, to investigate itself.  The Trustees at Penn State are launching an inquiry into the allegations of  sex crimes committed by former Football Defensive Coach,  Jerry Sandusky.

In a statement released yesterday, the Board announced that it would appoint a committee to “undertake a full and complete investigation of the circumstances that gave rise to the grand jury report” at its scheduled meeting on Friday, 11 November.  They also promised swift action.

Why is it that we allow institutions to investigate themselves?  If there is an ongoing criminal investigation, the University needs to cooperate with professional investigators to allow the truth to be discovered.  With all due respect, the Board of Trustees has a vested interest in mitigating the damage to the University’s reputation as well as the reputation of Joe Paterno and the football program in Happy Valley.  It is not in their best interest to allow the full story to come out and negatively impact donations from alumni and patrons of the University. 

There is the additional question of whether the University violated the Clery Act which requires colleges and universities to disclose certain timely and annual information about campus crime and security policies. All public and private institutions of postsecondary education participating in federal student aid programs are subject to it. Under the provisions of the act, Institutions must make timely warnings to the campus community about crimes that pose an ongoing threat to students and employees.  Penn State has obviously failed in this obligation. (More information on the Clery Act is available at the Security on Campus, Inc website.)

 The U.S. Department of Education is charged with responsibility to investigate and enforce the law.  The Department of Education should be investigating this case, not the Penn State Board of Trustees. 

Given the statement of the President of Penn State, Graham Spanier,in which he offered his unequivocal support for his Athletic Director, Tim Curley, and Vice President of Finance and Business, Glenn Schultz,  it is clear that any University run investigation will be designed to avoid further scandal and mitigate damage. It is time for an outside agency with an experienced investigative team to step in and do a complete and unbiased investigation.

The Department of Education and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania  need to step up and run any investigation to determine the full extent of any cover up of crimes committed by Penn State employees.  The University must also clean house of all those you showed bad judgement or aided in the coverup of crimes committed against minors.  If that means that Joe Paterno and University President, Graham Spanier need to go, so be it.

Finally, lets not forget the victims in this case.   A ninth victim came forward yesterday, there are likely to be more.  Mr. Sandusky seems to have been a prolific predator.

This blog fully supports efforts to get Pennsylvania House Bills 832 and 878  brought to the floor of  the General Assembly for a fair vote.  It also supports the organizations that are working hard to see those bills passed and to insure that victims of sexual crimes, children and vulnerable adults, have an avenue to seek justice from the predator that targeted them and the individuals or institutions that protected those predators from being brought to justice.  Jutice4PAKids and FACSA are leading those efforts in Pennsylvania.

UPDATE:  Coach Joe Paterno has announced that he will retire at the end of the season.  He also advised the Board of Trustees not to concern themselves with his status as they investigate.

In the cue for unapproved comments for this blog I have  submissions from June 2011 that at first surprised me, but now they serve as proof that people with mean spirits, baseless opinions and a hatred for those people or organizations that challenge the status quo will wrap themselves in religion to support their narrow points of view and the vitriol they spew. 

My case in point is “Sybil” who first sent in a comment on one of my posts.  She begins:

After discovering that SNAP and several other sexual abuse advocacy groups are connected with unbiblical agenda (abortion, LBGT activists) groups, I was disillusioned. Predatory sinful priests do not in any way change God’s word on holiness, chastity and purity. In a sick way, they actually prove God’s Word is true. Why would sinful sex acts against children cause such damage and disorient them unless sin means trespass, violation, disorientation, harm, trauma in Scripture?”

The first sentence grabs me.  SNAP and other advocacy groups are connected with unbiblical agendas.  OK, let’s establish that any organization that challenges the Catholic way of thinking is operating on an “unbiblical agenda” (note:  adjust your sarcasm meters again folks, it is right next to the “any key” on your key board) Yes, the people who support justice and a full accounting of sexual crimes committed by priests against children and vulnerable adults are, by definition, an abortion advocate or tolerant of alternate lifestyles and should not be taken seriously.  Ignore the message, paint the messenger as evil.  Got it!  Message received! 

Sin is so destructive that it re-wires, de-coordinates parts of the brain. Science has shown that the effects of trauma is visible in a PET scan“.

I will assume that Sybil has a background in nuclear medicine or that she has, at least,  been through the security screening at PetsMart.  She goes on for a while about how rapist priests did not have a father to love them or that they were seduced by the devil or some other reason why Catholic doctrine is not to blame.  We will call this the “Blah, Blah, Blah” portion of comment 1.  Yes Sybil I tuned you out.  But you kept writing, impatient that I was not posting your epistles on my blog.  On to comment #2.

Mr. Baumann (points awarded for spelling my name correctly-mbb) I see you deleted my comment. ( Nope I still have your comments!- mbb) I meant to come back and explain why many abuse victims become attracted to people of the same sex. The trauma of abuse is so great, an interpersonal trauma, that it derails their identity or self-concept. The enemy of our souls uses even the most unjust and vile trespasses and violations against us to defile and destroy us. It is tragic to mistake the priesthood for the true redemptive and healing Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Jesus and to reject and rebel against His true pattern and design because we were hurt. We may reject and rebel against God’s Word. Many women turn to other women after the trauma of divorce. This is a fleshly, not a spiritual response. Same with boys who were sexually assaulted…they may become serial adulterers or homosexual or child abusers, all to try to fix their pain themselves – another fleshly response. Our fleshly responses only increase our hurt and potential for harming ourselves and others. There is only one healer and helper and redeemer. If we choose His way, we are set free.

Is everyone still with me?  Sybil is, no doubt an expert on psychology as well as nuclear medicine.  She will diagnose all of us and throw in divorced women, for added measure, on the heap of  pathetic humanity in need of  Sybil’s motherly guidance.  I think “the enemy of our souls’ may be channeling his/her energy through Sybil’s computer. 

Why is it that I attract the Catholic Crazies?  If you cannot accept that your church has protected pedophiles, despite overwhelming recent and historical data, or that your church has attacked victims in their effort to avoid scandal, kindly save your uninformed and slightly wacky comments for the ultra conservative catholic love fest blogs.  I am sure you are reading them on a daily basis.

 

 

 
 

What is it going to take?   Exactly what needs to happen before the people’s representatives in Harrisburg allow a vote on a bill to protect children and vulnerable adults?  The judicial committee sits on its collective hands because of lobbyists for the insurance industry and institutions with a history of protecting sexual predators spend millions to prevent Pennsylvania House Bills 832 and 878 from coming to the floor of the State Assembly for a fair vote.

The latest sexual abuse crisis involving a sexual predator and the powerful organization that sought to coverup his crimes involves the venerated football program at the Pennsylvania State University.  USA Today reported on the former Penn State Defensive Coordinator, Jerry Sandusky, 67, of State College was arrested this past Saturday.  It is alleged that senior officials at Penn State knew of these allegations and failed to report them.  Athletic Director  Timothy Curley and Senior Vice President for Finance and Business Gary Schultz have stepped down in the wake of charges being filed against them.

Mr. Sandusky went on to establish a non-profit organization,  The Second Mile, a charity to help troubled youth, in 1997 and it provided him with “access to hundreds of boys, many of whom were vulnerable due to their social situations,” the grand jury said.

Penn State is going to put its reputation on the line for a bottom feeder like this?  Oh, by the way, legal support will come from the University for Curley and Schultz because the alleged misconduct happened while those two pillars of ethical behavior were performing their official duties as Penn State employees.  The taxpayers and tuition check writers of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania  will be bankrolling the legal teams trying to justify their actions.

Taking a page from the Catholic Church’s Playbook, Penn State’s President, Graham Spanier said that Curley and Schultz have his “unconditional support.”

“I have complete confidence in how they have handled the allegations about a former university employee,” he said, adding that the charges are “groundless.” An amazing statement given that the investigation is still developing.  By giving his unconditional support, President Spanier is diminishing the victims in this case by making such grand pronunciations.  Maybe the shout at the next football game should be “We Are Penn State… And We Are Ashamed!”

President Spanier, I hope that part of the fall out from this case of sexual predation on the campus and the covering up of those crimes by high-ranking university officials will be either your resignation or dismissal from your current position.

My question is, given yet another large and powerful institution and its senior leadership providing cover for a sexual predator in the Commonwealth, why is the legislature continuing to give tacit support to organizations that are putting children and vulnerable adults at risk by not allowing legislation to get to the floor that could help victims and hold predators and their protectors accountable?

How long will the citizens of Pennsylvania allow their lawmakers to be the patsies of the Insurance lobby and the institutions that have supported the predators in their organization as part of their risk management programs?  How long will they allow the chair of the Judicial committee, Representative Ron Marsico to keep legislation from getting a vote? Contact him and  ask him! His email address is  rmarsico@pahousegop.com .  He can also be reached at:

Hon. Ron Marsico
4401 Linglestown Road, Suite B
Harrisburg, PA 17112
(717) 652-3721
Fax: (717) 652-6276

Hon. Ron Marsico
218 Ryan Office Building
PO Box 202105
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2105
(717) 783-2014
Fax: (717) 705-2010

Justice4PAKids and the Foundation to Abolish Child Sex Abuse (FACSA) passed along their latest press release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 7, 2011

Contact:         Maureen Martinez at 610-296-3264 info@justice4pakids.com

                                Tammy Lerner at 610-209-9568 lerner@abolishsexabuse.org

                        John Salveson at 215-8700680 salveson@abolishsexabuse.org

Justice4PAkids and Foundation to Abolish Child Sex Abuse (FACSA) Demand Legislative Action in Wake of Penn State Sex Abuse Scandal!

 

How Many Children Will Be Raped

Before Pennsylvania’s Legislature Acts to Prevent Future Abuses?

 MALVERN, PA- Justice4PAkids and FACSA is demanding that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania enact better laws to protect children from sex abuse predators.  Maureen Martinez, Co-Founder of Justice4PAkids, Tammy Lerner and John Salveson, both of FACSA, want to send a clear message to Ronald Marico, (R-Dauphin County) Chairman of the Judiciary Committee that the committee needs to immediately list HB 832 and 878 on its agenda for discussion and hearings – especially in the wake of the current Penn State sex abuse scandal.

Martinez stated, “When are the legislators going to realize sex abuse is an epidemic in our state and enact the important bills that are n front of them for better protection against predators? The Penn State cover-up of Sandusky is just another example of how this state protects predators, not kids.”

HB 832 and 878 were introduced on March 9, 2011 by Louise Bishop and Mike McGeehan (both D-Philadelphia).  HB 832 would repeal the statute of limitations in civil suits relating to child sexual abuse cases moving forward. HB 878 would provide a one-time, two-year window in which victims could bring a civil action in cases previously barred by current statute.

“Above and beyond justice for victims, these bills are about prevention.  The state has an obligation to implement and enact all possible safeguards, in an effort to ensure that future generations of children are spared the horrors of childhood sexual abuse and its impact, which lasts a lifetime,” stated John Salveson. 

“These bills are about letting victims at least have the CHOICE to have their day in court and being able to publically name their offender without having to worry about defamation. So many victims are over the statute of limitations and not even given the choice to seek justice. Even more alarming, a victim cannot publically name their offender, while perpetrators are still out there in society and seeking new children to harm,” says Martinez.

            Lerner added, “Additionally, our leaders ought to take note that childhood sexual abuse is the second most costly victim crime in the United States and Pennsylvania, second only to homicide.  By taking steps to prevent the crimes from happening in the first place, we will be saving PA tax payers billions of dollars in the long term:  The long term economic impact of CSA to PA is over $1.4 billion, with the immediate impact estimated to be over $138 million per year.  Prevention costs significantly less than treatment.  The fact remains, at the end of the day, you’re either for the protection, health and welfare of children, or you’re not.  So far, Rep. Marsico has demonstrated that he’s not.”

            Justice4PAkids and FACSA is a coalition of child and victim advocates, lawyers, mental health professionals and concerned citizens dedicated to eliminating the statutes of limitations for childhood sexual abuse. This would expose perpetrators and those who harbor them; protect children; give victims an opportunity for justice; save taxpayers money.  

            On Oct 17, the coalition addressed the State Representatives in a press conference and personally hand delivered a petition of more than 1500 signatures supporting bills 832 and 878.

Despite numerous calls, emails, faxes and written letters, no one from Rep. Ron Marsico’s staff has ever stated when or if Marsico will place the bills on his Judiciary Committee Agenda.

Copyright

This site is copyrighted by my statement.
Michael Baumann


Credit: Michael Baumann at "Off My Knees"

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