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: