Skip to main content thoughts were "in 30 years of helping kids a false complaint was bound to happen eventually." I assumed the mother and child filing the complaint had ulterior motives" ~Ryan McCombie

I am reposting Ryan McCombie's Facebook post in its entirety because I think it supports the concepts Dr. Judith Herman writes about in her book Trauma and Recovery - an excerpt: (emphasis mine)

It is very tempting to take the side of the perpetrator. All the perpetrator asks is that the bystander do nothing. He appeals to the universal desire to see, hear, and speak no evil. The victim, on the contrary, asks the bystander to share the burden of the pain. The victim demands action, engagement, and remembering. . . .

In order to escape accountability for his crimes, the perpetrator does everything in his power to promote forgetting. Secrecy and silence are the perpetrator's first line of defense. If secrecy fails, the perpetrator attacks the credibility of his victim. If he cannot silence her absolutely, he tries to make sure that no one listens. To this end, he marshals an impressive array of arguments, from the most blatant denial to the most sophisticated and elegant rationalization. After every atrocity one can expect to hear the same predictable apologies: it never happened; the victim lies; the victim exaggerates; the victim brought it on herself; and in any case it is time to forget the past and move on. The more powerful the perpetrator, the greater is his prerogative to name and define reality, and the more completely his arguments prevail.

Ryan McCombie is one of the newest members of the Penn State Board of Trustees.  In an article following the release of the Paterno report he stated, "Mr. Clemente exposes our many prejudicial and inaccurate ideas of pedophilia and where blame/discovery should lie. He convinced me that we must understand this crime to prevent it and we don’t!"


Prior to moving to State College, Pa., in 1997, I spent much of my adult life in Third World,poverty stricken nations during my service as a U.S. Navy SEAL. There, when we had free time, we would often visit orphanages (yes, SEALs do have hearts). I learned to admire thenoble souls that cared for these destitute and hopeless children.

After leaving the military and moving to State College, I did as many others had done and became involved with The Second Mile, then a highly respected statewide, nonprofit organization for children who need additional support founded by former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. I was on the development committee for The Second Mile campus, participated in the Friends for Fitness program and went to the golf tournaments sponsored by the foundation. We believed this was a great charity, and we were doing great things for children.

Having spent some time with Sandusky, I was aware of the good he was credited with supposedly unselfishly doing for children through The Second Mile. So when the rumors began in the summer of 2011 regarding one complaint from one child, my thoughts were "in 30 years of helping kids a false complaint was bound to happen eventually." I assumed the mother and child filing the complaint had ulterior motives.

To show Jerry our support, a friend of mine and I invited him to play golf. Another time we took him to lunch to show our support for a man we had thought was wrongfully accused. When the Grand Jury presentment was later released and Sandusky arrested for sexually abusing children, I was dumbfounded, confused and full of disbelief. Once Sandusky was convicted, however, I realized that he had received his due process and was rightly convicted of these heinous crimes.

It was still difficult to internalize and understand how anyone I thought I knew could be guilty of such crimes until I read the report written by former FBI profiler James Clemente. Mr. Clemente, one of the nation's leading experts on child sexual victimization, released a 78-page report in February as part of the response to the Freeh report commissioned by the family of the late Penn State Football Coach Joe Paterno.

Mr. Clemente concluded that Jerry Sandusky was a "cunning and deliberate child sexoffender" and a "fraud of the highest order." Sandusky is a "textbook example of a preferential child sex offender" and a "nice-guy acquaintance offender," he wrote. Sandusky effectively groomed most of the people who came in contact with him, including child care experts, psychologists, professionals, celebrities, athletes, coaches, friends and family.

Only after reading Mr. Clemente's report was the opaque veil lifted shedding light on the methodologies of an insidious predator. Finally here was an explanation of how I, my friends, hundreds of co-volunteers, a region and parts of an entire state could be so wrong.This report opened my eyes to how a man could groom an entire population of caring people.

To me, Mr. Clemente's report is not about defending Joe Paterno. It's about recognizing the wolf among us, defending our children and avoiding these preconceptions and mistakes in the future. If we don't learn and understand the category of preferential sex offenders called "nice guy acquaintance offenders" and "compliant victimization," as described by Mr.Clemente, we all risk being the pedophile enablers we so despise.

While we find this type of crime abhorrent and are disgusted by the perpetrators, we must not allow our natural revulsion to push the problem to the periphery of our consciousness. Only by facing it head on, in an open and factual manner can we hope to avoid this kind of tragedy in the future. We can all start by reading and internalizing Mr. Clemente's excellent report.

While I struggle with some of the things Mr. Clemente writes in his report, I do support his bringing awareness to the issue of child sexual abuse.  

Child sexual abuse happens.  And it happens in all walks of life.  Knowing the signs and symptoms, understanding what grooming looks like, opening ourselves up to the possibility that it could happen in our family, our community, our school, our church may just save the life of a child.  It may save them from years of pain and heartache.  I implore you, today, to take 5 minutes and review the warning signs:
Age Appropriate Sexual Behavior
Warning Signs of Sexual Abuse
Behaviors to Watch For When Adults Are With Children
Signs that a Child or Teen may be at risk for harming another child
Signs that an adult may be at risk to harm a child
If you know or suspect a child is being sexually abused

Originally posted to TreeClimbers on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 05:32 AM PST.

Also republished by House of LIGHTS.

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