There is a wealth of data concerning the mid and long term impact of adult sexual assaults on children. In summary, victims of childhood sexual abuse have a much higher incidence of depression (major depression, dysthymia), anxiety disorders, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and substance related disorders. Bipolar youth are more likely to have their first mood episode earlier as a result of sexual assault as are youth with schizophrenia.
Long term problems trusting any authority (Judith Herman, MD) are common if the assailant is a trusted individual, as Sandusky was at the start of his alleged abusive relationships.
Sexual assaults victims are also more likely to be victimized again (revictimization) than are those without this history.
The full impact of adult sexual assault of children is inherently limited by the reluctance of victims to report the crimes.
At the very least, the reported Sandusky victims deserve immediate assistance with medical and psychotherapeutic care, without any strings attached by the organizations that so thoroughly neglected to identify, report, and stop the abuse. Victims should not be asked to wave future compensation to receive this care.
Any victims associated with programs of Second Mile Foundation, Sandusky, or PSU should have free court guardians appointed to assure that they're not victimized again by the wealthy and powerful through coercive legal tactics. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania should establish a fund immediately and a master of the fund who from out of state. Trials and settlements must be handled by competent courts outside of Pennsylvania.
The focus needs to shift to immediate identification and help for all victims and prompt investigation and prosecution of perpetrators.
This article may be reproduced with attribution of authorship and a link to this article.
Special thanks to Lauren Hallahan for her guidance on this issue.