14 Nov

The alleged sexual abuse by former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky has rocked the Penn State community and has led to a huge controversy about the duty to report possible sex offenses.

According to news reports, Sandusky was investigated by Penn State in 1998 for allegedly sexually abusing a young boy. While campus police reported the incident to the District Attorney’s Office, they declined to prosecute. A second incident of sexual abuse occurred in 2002 when Sandusky was allegedly caught by a grad student raping a 10-year-old boy in the football locker room showers.

With the serious sex crime allegations looming in the background, the entire football staff has been evaluated and the legendary football head coach Joe Paterno has been fired. The Education Department has also initiated an investigation on Penn State to see whether the university failed to comply with federal sex crime reporting guidelines under the Clery Act.

As the nation has begun grappling with the alleged sexual abuse scandal involving former assistant coach Sandusky, many Americans wonder how such abuse could go unreported. There are laws that require mandatory reporting of sexual abuse. However, colleges and universities throughout the country have their own mini-justice system that is not necessary tied to outside law enforcement agencies.

The following post will explain how university law enforcement officers handle claims of abuse and how the alleged sex abuse at Penn State went unreported for years while numerous people claimed to have known about the abuse.

Source: New York Times, “On Campus, a Law Enforcement System to Itself,” Nina Bernstein, 11/11/11