Friday, July 13, 2012

letter to the editor

Because I seriously doubt it will be published, I choose to save here a letter to the editor of the local newspaper that I wrote today:

To the editor:

It is instructive to note that it was Penn State University that hired former FBI Director Louis Freeh's law firm to investigate and sort out university complicity in the child sexual abuse case of its one-time assistant football coach Gerald Sandusky, who was convicted last month of 45 counts relating to child molestation over a 15-year period.

Freeh's report was not kind to the university that had decided to hire him. And yet the university seems to have recognized that only an outsider would have some credibility and stand some chance of resurrecting the university's good name. In the wake of Freeh's report, chairwoman of the board of trustees Karen Peetz was quoted as saying the board "accepts full responsibility for the failures that occurred" although none of the trustees has yet resigned.

The format chosen by Penn State in the face of credible and egregious error makes it hard not to wonder if the Vatican, with its own mounting evidence of priestly abuse of children, wouldn't be well-advised to follow a similar course. Confession and repentance, as the church well knows, are not easy, but they are part and parcel of credibly restoring a good name. Is it really enough to deal with such matters 'in-house?' Is it really enough to marginalize or excoriate those who have spoken out on behalf of victims whose stories reach back a lot longer than Sandusky's depredations? Will anything short of an independent investigation restore to the church its good name, its loss of churches and priestly applicants, and its current hemorrhaging of money as it seeks to pay off accusers?

Since Louis Freeh seems to have finished his work for Penn State, perhaps he would be open to a similar request from those similarly afflicted.

adam fisher 

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