The trial took less than two weeks. Jury deliberation took less than two days. In the legal world – this is justice on warp speed. The jury came back with 25 felony counts of child sexual abuse, including 14 first-degree felony counts. NBC News reports Sandusky’s minimum time in jail will be 60 years with a potential maximum of 442 years. Translation: life in prison for the 68-year old defendant Jerry Guilty convicted on 45 counts of child sexual abuse.
Sandusky is guilty, now what? The short answer: nothing.
Granted, Sandusky will go to jail. Some of Sandusky’s victims will receive monetary compensation. Penn State will no doubt pay out enormous damage awards. Our national and personal psyches are offended. We all bow our heads in prayer for a solution.
For every Sandusky that goes to jail, how many predators move among us? For every Mary Kay Letourneau giving birth to the child of her 13-year old student, how many are left to groom their victims? Jerry Sandusky feels he was helping children. Mary Kay Letourneau feels she loves another human. Active pedophiles are incapable of: a) recognizing their illness and b) the ramifications of their illness.
Now what? The short answer: wake up.
· In South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia a practice known as “virgin cleansing”, the ritual of a man infected with HIV having intercourse with a virgin, often between the ages of 8 and 13, is supposed to cure the man of the virus.
· In Uzbekistan, child rape is used to force confessions from prisoners as noted by UK Ambassador Craig Murray.
· In the United States, the John Jay Report was based on a study of 10,667 allegations against 4,392 priests accused of engaging in sexual abuse of a minor between 1950 and 2002. Ongoing prosecutions of more than double the amount of priests named in this report are, or have, occurred since this report was commissioned in 2004.
Child sexual abuse is a silent epidemic. If thousands of children were exposed to an infectious disease, the Center for Disease Control would be engaged in an all out war. No such analogous organization exists to address the ramifications of pedophilia. Law enforcement is restricted to action only once a victim has been established. Vectors are innocent, until proven infectious.
Jerry Sandusky has been found guilty. The macho man from Penn State, steeped in honor and authority, has been proven infectious. Treatment is not an option for Sandusky. He will be jailed, and jail time for a convicted sex offender can be lethal. Some may cheer for this. One perpetrator must face the consequences of his actions.
Sadly, headlines from the Jerry Sandusky trial will fade. Maybe unnamed victims of Sandusky have watched the trial. In their minds, they must be thinking: Sandusky is guilty.
No other paradigm exists such as the illness of pedophilia. Laws exist to deal with perpetrators. In the US, no laws exist to deal with potential perpetrators that adhere to our Constitutional rights? How can we?
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is available for pedophiles, along with more severe therapies. Aversion therapy uses negative mental imagery such as going to jail for pedophilia when the pedophile becomes aroused at sexual imagery of children. Electro-shock therapy ratchets this concept up using electronic shock in association with arousal. Finally, the ultimate therapy for pedophilia is chemical or physical castration, and this would be for male offenders only.
Nothing can be done without the consent of the pedophile. Substitute any other illness, and all of us would concur. By definition, pedophilia resists intervention.
Public opinion will need to change about pedophilia, and that may never happen. Most mental illnesses do not have a secondary victim. Pedophilia does. As is appropriate we focus on assisting the victim and punishing the perpetrator. When the perpetrator is a victim of disordered thinking, and nothing prescribed by law can restrain the pedophile psyche from becoming a perpetrator, we are caught in a gruesome Catch-22.
Our civil liberties and our societal responsibilities are at an impasse. Which begs the question, once again, Sandusky is guilty, now what?