Earlier this month, Jerry Sandusky, former football coach for Pennsylvania State University, was indicted for alleged child sexual abuse. There are also claims that several members of the Penn State University football staff - from the university president down to a graduate assistant coach - covered up the alleged child sexual abuse by Sandusky, in the interest of protecting its brand. Head Coach Joe Paterno was fired and school president Graham B. Spanier was forced to resign by the Board of Trustees, while two administrators were indicted for perjury.
If the allegations are true, in addition to severe reputational damage, Penn State faces the prospect of huge financial exposure from lawsuits by sexual-abuse victims who can credibly charge the university had ample warning that Sandusky preyed on children but did little or nothing to stop it.
The recent Penn State sexual abuse tragedy brought to the forefront the horrific reality of child sexual abuse. Powerful, trusted institutions can be greatly intimidating to child victims and their families, and give deference to the offenders, making the horrific situations even more perilous to the victims. In order to shield themselves from harm, the reputations and respected history of the institutions have been continually put before the welfare of child victims of sexual abuse.
West LegalEdcenter will broadcast: "Penn State Sex Abuse Scandal & Beyond: Current Issues in Child Sex Abuse Litigation" on November 22, 2011 at 1PM EST. This program will discuss the recent Penn State sexual abuse allegations, the advantage that trusted institutions have over victims, as well as legal consequences for anyone who participates in or enables child molestation and abuse, including religious organizations. It also looks at the positive impact that occurs when a courageous survivor of sexual abuse takes a stand and files a lawsuit. Speaker Jeff Anderson will discuss how out of pain can come growth, understanding, and awareness for institutions who can prevent situations such as those at Penn State.
Jeff Anderson is a nationally known trial lawyer and is widely recognized as a pioneer in sexual abuse litigation. He has tried over two hundred and fifty jury trials to verdict and represented thousands of survivors of sexual abuse by authority figures and clergy. Noted for his optimism, energy and compassion for his clients and their causes, he is credited with being instrumental in exposing a large scale cover-up of pedophile priests in the early 1980's. He was one of the first trial lawyers in America to publicly and aggressively initiate suit against religious organizations and hold them responsible by utilizing the American civil justice system. His uncompromising advocacy for change and justice has resulted in several punitive damage verdicts to both punish and deter the corporate officers and church hierarchy from concealing and protecting child molesters.