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Article published November 28, 2012
Act against pedophilia
Robert L. Eisler, M.D. Slippery Rock
Presumably, former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky will spend the rest of his life in prison. The $60 million fine levied against the university is appropriate. That amount was the college’s intake per year from the football business. I feel that the punishment of the football team members is less appropriate. But the coverup of Sandusky’s crime was totally wrong. And the almost-sainted late head football coach Joe Paterno was equally to blame. For 15 years, of course they knew. University authorities didn’t do what always is necessary — call the police. Pedophilia is a psychiatric illness. Unfortunately, just the word “pedophilia” turns people away. They seem to be oblivious to the subject and its terrible consequence. It’s as if the majority of citizens are in denial. A vast new awareness will be needed to change people’s opinions and actions. The media, scientists, educators, medical community and parents should lead the change. Almost no research has been done with this widely spread, horrendous problem. A limited study was done with these patients in Canada, at Harvard, and at Johns Hopkins University. Hopefully, with the rapid advances in brain-imaging techniques and the recent discovery of brain filaments, and genuine research dealing with treatment of pedophilia, the future will bring some reprieve from this dreadful scourge. In my long practice of psychiatry, I have interviewed many persons who still suffered from the sexual assaults they experienced as children or youth. The vast majority told no one at the time. They were afraid of the pedophile, who used control to keep victims quiet. If the victims told their mothers, the mothers often didn’t believe them. After all, Uncle Fred, her favorite brother, who was so willing to baby-sit, wouldn’t do anything so despicable. And, reporting such a crime to the police would bring shame on the whole family. That scenario sounds just like the football family at Happy Valley. In the meantime, every caring person who learns of the acts of child sexual abuse or even has strong suspicions should file a report with the police. Children and Youth Services also is involved in protection of children. This must be done, shame or no shame. Otherwise, pedophiles will continue to ruin the lives of our children and youth. This can be stopped. Please act.