Cross Posted at Legal Schnauzer
America has a history of sweeping stories about child sexual abuse out of the spotlight. But we already are seeing signs that the evolving Penn State scandal might be changing that.
Officials at The Citadel, another institution of "higher learning," revealed over the weekend that they had not adequately pursued allegations against a counselor at the school. Meanwhile, multiple news outlets are reporting that the Penn State scandal might expand to include charges that former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky helped line up boys for sexual activity with wealthy university donors.
How ugly could this get? Are Americans finally prepared to face an issue that more or less disappeared when reports about the Franklin Scandal surfaced in the late 1980s?
The Franklin Scandal involved a child prostitution ring that had origins at orphanages in Nebraska and reportedly made its way to the Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations. Investigative work by The Washington Times brought the story into the open. Craig J. Spence, a Republican lobbyist who reportedly arranged nocturnal tours for male prostitutes at the Reagan White House, was found dead in a room at the Boston Ritz Carlton in November 1989.
Former Nebraska State Senator John W. DeCamp, a Republican, wrote a book called The Franklin Cover-Up The BBC produced a documentary called Conspiracy of Silence, and it was to air on The Discovery Channel in May 1994. The program was pulled at the last minute, and the Franklin Scandal largely fell from view in the United states. (See video at the end of this post.)
Will America come to grips in 2011 with a horrifying subject that it chose to ignore in the 1980s and '90s? Some early signals indicate the answer might be yes. Consider this report from Saturday about troubling activities at The Citadel:
The Citadel released details on one of its alumni, Louis Neal "Skip" ReVille, who faces charges including criminal sexual conduct with a child.
In 2007, the college received an allegation that five years earlier, ReVille invited two campers at The Citadel Summer Camp into his room to watch pornography. They did not touch each other, but engaged in sexual activity, the college said. . . .
The Citadel, in Charleston, South Carolina, said a review of ReVille's records at the time revealed no other complaints, and his file included a clean background check. He was a highly respected cadet and denied the accusation, the college said.
Four years later, Reville faces various charges, including criminal sexual conduct and committing or attempting lewd acts on a minor. He was arrested late last month.
The Penn State scandal already has brought down iconic head football coach Joe Paterno. But Mark Madden, a Pennsylvania sports columnist and radio talk-show host, says the situation at PSU might get worse before it gets better. Madden broke a story in April 2011 that a grand jury was investigating allegations of sexual misconduct involving Jerry Sandusky and Penn State. Madden now says the story might grow to include charges that Sandusky "pimped out boys" for the pleasure of wealthy PSU donors. Madden says at least two journalists are looking into that angle. From a radio interview with Madden last week:
"I can give you a rumor and I can give you something I think might happen," Madden told John Dennis and Gerry Callahan. "I hear there's a rumor that there will be a more shocking development from the Second Mile Foundation--and hold on to your stomachs, boys, this is gross, I will use the only language I can--that Jerry Sandusky and Second Mile were pimping out young boys to rich donors. That was being investigated by two prominent columnists even as I speak."
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