The verdict from Pennsylvania is finally in. Former Penn State University football coach Jerry Sandusky has been convicted by a Pennsylvania jury of committing 45 acts of sexual abuse/molestation against male children. Many readers of this blog will already have read about this case, and already know that Coach Sandusky had been accused of showering with boys on the Penn State campus, and worse.
As a Florida child sexual abuse attorney, I am certainly happy whenever a perpetrator or child sexual predator is found guilty and headed to jail. However, I think there are a couple of lessons in this case for Florida child sexual abuse victims for use in potential civil cases.
First, I hope this verdict give victims of child sexual abuse hope and belief that if they do come forward, a jury can and will do justice. Many victims feel extremely uncomfortable coming forward and facing their abusers, so I hope this verdict braces those victims.
Second, I hope this verdict makes people believe that even high profile individuals can be brought to justice. Jerry Sandusky was a legendary football coach, who was beloved in the Penn State community. It is very possible that the victims thought they might never see Coach Sandusky be forced to answer for his molestation.
Third, guilty verdicts in criminal cases can make institutions and organizations consider doing the right thing by victims, and helping get the compensation they will need for a potential lifetime of psychological challenges. Soon after the verdict, Penn State University indicated its interest in trying to resolve any civil claims (for money damages) that the victims might have against them. It is likely the Penn State will acknowledge a whole host of institutional breakdowns once the University’s own investigation is completed, and the entire contents of the Freeh Report have been digested.
If you have any questions about a Florida child sexual abuse case, call Winter Park attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at 407-644-4444.