Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely



Author's Note: Joe Paterno was fired as Penn State's football coach on Wednesday November 9, 2011.

Joe Paterno died Sunday January 22, 2012. He was eighty five years old and lived, for most of his life, like a king.

My mother received her early death sentence, melanoma in her lymph system, when she was 35. She died when she was 44. I was seventeen. Since then, I've respected the dead and their families, and focus on their contributions and accomplishments when they pass.

Thus, I off lined this blog when I learned Joe Paterno died. It's critical of him and his avoidance response when knowing his former prized assistant, Jerry Sandusky, was seen sodomizing a young boy in the Penn State Football Complex showers.

I worked with Joe Paterno and Jerry Sandusky as a graduate assistant football coach. I am also a survivor of early childhood assault outside of my home.

Multitudes of great football players like Franco Harris, Lydell Mitchell, Jack Ham, Curt Warner, Shane Conlin, Blair Thomas, and John Cappalletti reinforced their very positive identities via their experience with Joe and Penn State.

I have the highest admiration for their skills and for Penn State University and I acknowledge the influence Joe had on his football team's performance and his players' graduation rates.

Joe deserves credit for influencing his players' athletic and academic achievements.

Joe must also be held accountable for having the counter opposite influence on the young boys he did not protect from Jerry's predatory behavior by not reporting Jerry to the state police as soon as Joe was aware.

When great or egregious acts are committed in an organization, they are a reflection on the person in charge.

Joe Paterno was in charge of Penn State Football long enough to accumulate the all times D1 wins record.

He was also in charge while Jerry's devious behavior destroyed young mens' souls spanning, at least, a fifteen year time period. "A fish stinks from its head".

As we praise Joe as a football coach, for funneling young male aggression on the field and in life, we must also accept the truth.

Joe's conduct also allowed appalling acts of sexual aggression against young and innocent children.

I pray for Joe's soul. I also pray for the souls of the young boys Jerry Sandusky traumatized.

Survivors have the choice to be strong and to stop the abuse cycle. They need constructive intervention, our support, and blessings. The following is written to help them overcome. - Matt, January 26, 2012.

As many of you know, I worked as a graduate assistant offensive line coach at PSU.

Many great young men played on our offensive line, including Steve Wisniewski who went on to an incredible NFL career and now coaches the Oakland Raiders' offensive line with my line coach when I played at Brown, Bob Wylie.

As most of you don't know, I also suffered through an abusive early childhood outside of my home. It is very difficult to share, but warranted given this unique opportunity to help survivors and to stop predators and those institutions and people who help perpetuate this evil.

My experience with these issues gives me a unique perspective to comment on the horrific situation unveiling itself in Happy Valley.

Joe was the reigning Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year and national championship coach when I worked for him. He was considered, and acted, like God and was beyond reproach in the locals' minds.

Based on what I know about predators, Jerry's deviance didn't start when it was observed and reported in the 1990's.

If he is a serial pedophile, as long as he's been around kids there's a probable chance he's been assaulting them. I never observed Jerry committing sexual misconduct.

My goal is to bring to light how deceptive, selfish, narcissistic people and organizations can cultivate environments where evil lurks. This is to help you better understand the horrific behavior Jerry Sandusky is accused of perpetrating and the just as egregious apparent cover up perpetrated by Joe Paterno and PSU's administration.

More important, I hope I can offer some comfort and peace to not only Jerry's purported survivors, but to the multitudes of powerless and disadvantaged kids who are abused by evil people and institutions disguising themselves as helpers. I want to offer some direction and hope to survivors.

Life gets better!

I was a low ranking graduate assistant offensive line coach at PSU in 1987 and 1988 on the heels of PSU's second, and last, national championship.

Prior to this, I played and coached at Brown and had a few NFL tryouts. I also had a very unique hs football experience where I co-captained the top ranked team in NJ, and was the sole three year starter for three undefeated state championship teams.

Many of my hs teammates received scholarships to DI programs including to Penn State and Michigan. My mother succumbed to her 8 year battle with melanoma during my senior hs season. I was recruited by all the Ivies, service academies, and I received several DI scholarship offers.

I am also a survivor of early childhood sexual abuse. I was fortunate. I grew young, stopped the predator, and got the help I needed. I have worked hard as an adult to overcome this and to remain whole, to receive peace and joy in life, and by privately helping others overcome their traumas and losses.

Survivors have the choice and free will to not repeat the cycle of sexual abuse.

I pursued coaching out of college to help kids like my high school coach, Ted Monica at Madison High School, and sports helped me overcome a traumatic childhood. I was awarded graduate assistant scholarships to coach at the two more coveted programs at the time; Penn State and at the University of Washington with admired coach Don James.

It's reprehensible if the coaches I worked with at Penn State thrust and or allowed comparable trauma on innocent kids. I believed sports, and good coaches, are intended to help people actualize their potential, to overcome adversity.

These folks demonstrated evil if these accusations are true.

My time in Happy Valley was great regarding my classes, but not as happy regarding the football program. The players were exceptional. I was a sincere graduate student, studying CAD in the engineering and architecture departments.

The coaches, including Paterno, projected a holier than thou academic image, but they demanded their players and coaches prioritize football 24/7.

I experienced Joe Paterno as a racist when he stated Pennsylvania was not ready for an African American quarterback while Randall Cunningham started for the Eagles. He was the consummate bully and control freak who motivated with fear and banished players and their potential careers when they did not buy into Joe's persona.

Joe's infamous "doghouse" was relegated to players, and maybe coaches, who shared the same transgressions as Joe's favorite players, and maybe coaches, but who did not fit Joe's perception as to who and what constituted Penn State football. Joe derailed careers and earnings when a player did not fit his narrow vision. He played God. If the allegations of Jerry's transgressions are true, he and Joe will be in God's doghouse; Matthew 18:5.

He appeared to be more critical and hostile towards African American players than to white players. I remember him attacking black players in front of others more frequently than him yelling at white players. Joe suspected a black defensive back was on drugs and gave the team a mandatory urine test.

This type of team self policing always made it to the press to further reinforce Joe's clean image and reputation. However, the public never knew the only player observed submitting a sample was the African American defensive back. This was discriminatory and racist. Other players were allowed to take their tests in their apartments and return them to the medical staff. We joked the players were drug free, but some were pregnant.

Another time the great Rosey Grier visited the staff meeting room while we were all meeting. He shook hands with everyone hands and shared pleasantries with Joe and the staff. The minute he left the room, Joe called him lazy and an athlete who played like a dog against inferior opponents. The statement seemed out of place and vindictive, but reinforced Joe's perceptions and left hand column, or true feelings.

Overall, I saw Joe as a master spin doctor whose image shed a far greater shadow than his actual character. I was reminded of these when, in the early 90's after a loss to Texas, he said he was going to "go home and beat my wife".

Often when stressed, like Joe after this loss, a person will blurt out the truth, or his true feelings. One's true feelings are termed the "left hand column" by Harvard Professor Chris Argyris. The "right hand column" represents the actual words someone states.

The dysfunction in an organization is directly proportional to the size of its members' left hand columns. When no one feels safe sharing the truth, or knows sharing it is not appropriate, issues will harbor until there is a huge blow up. Again, it appears the "right hand column" brand used to portray Penn State's image, and fostered by Joe Paterno, hid his program's considerable, ugly and truthful, "left hand column".

Perhaps the awkward statement Joe made after the loss to Texas, a statement making everyone who heard it cringe, revealed another ugly truth. Joe backed out of the assertion, but, if true, fits a bully's profile and a leader who would not address and terminate abuses of power, like child molestation, in his own organization.

The parallels between Joe's kingdom; the unquestioned power and control he wielded over his minions, the knowledge he gathered about every piece of his program, and the very lax and deceptive response he made in 2002 after being informed his former prized assistant Jerry Sandusky, who maintained approved access to the football and athletic facilities where internal documents filed years earlier outlined Jerry's similar inappropriate sexual conduct with a young boy, was seen sodomizing a child in the showers, and the Catholic Church's power, control, and deceit in covering up its massive sexual abuse scandal are striking, yet not surprising to me.

Joe and his coaching staff, like a Bishop and his Priests, received unquestioned devotion and loyalty from believers who thought the organization stood for something right. Joe, like a Bishop's miter and crux, wore special clothes (khakis, oxfords, ties, blazers, black football shoes, white sox) to distinguish himself from his staff and followers.

Clothes reflecting status played a significant role at Penn State for coaches and players under Joe Paterno. The bland, striking blue and white uniforms are similar to the plain, black and white priest robes. Only certain shirts, sweatshirts, polyester pants, and sox could be worn by assistant coaches. On my first day on the field, I was asked to switch sweatshirts as the first sweatshirt I wore contained too much cotton. The coloring was not right for Joe. Players had to wear sox, no sweatpants, and only shirts with collars when in class or on campus.

Physical and structural appearances have been very important at PSU football and in the Catholic Church. The stadium is like a cathedral. The devoted worship statues. Those in charge project humble devotion to stated principles. A Bishop's and his Priests' public adulation and admiration mirrored the unchecked adulation the public showered onto Joe Paterno, Jerry Sandusky, and the football staff. This reinforced their power and control as players and fans strove for approval and belonging.

Joe's authority, like a Bishop's, was never questioned. Everyone wanted their approval and acceptance. Joe and Catholic Church leaders were able to use this perceived humility, masking a truer air of superiority, as a free pass to mask ruthless aggression and drive for power.

Joe's drive towards the all time D1 wins record was Machiavellian. He stepped over young boys' souls. He motivated his players to maim themselves for the sake of the team, but really for the sake of Joe's record. He recruited and started players with the fourth highest total of criminal offenses in NCAA DI football over the last ten years of Joe's career. These misjudgments hurt the long term well being of the PSU football program. Joe did not care. He put his own goal ahead of the well being of children, players, the program, and the university.

Joe and Jerry are like corrupt Bishops and Priests who covered up the church's massive sexual abuse scandal, who steal from the church, and who wear clothes intended to reflect virtue to mislead and deceive loyal followers.



In addition to the Catholic Church, the PSU scandal is somewhat analogous to NASA's tragic failures. Everyone in NASA's reporting structure trusted their quality assessment system would not allow a Shuttle design failure. They were also expected to comply rather than empowered to think independently. They were afraid to step up and take ownership to report and correct defects.

In both the NASA and PSU cases, this lack of empowerment led to tragedy. At NASA, political and financial pressures to launch the Shuttle on time outweighed the consideration to further test and evaluate the o rings and tiles. This led to astronaut deaths. At Penn State, the death of young souls took a back seat to Joe's pursuing his all time wins record, his and the football team's image, and the university's reputation.

The inability to recognize the truth, or facts and behaviors contradicting one's perception of an organization or culture is deemed by academics as "selective" or "subjective" perception. This concept suggests immature people in a group setting see only what they want to see, or are taught to see. They accept and acknowledge behaviors supporting their definition or the organization's culture; it's values as depicted by beliefs and behaviors.

Mature, rational, objective, and realistic people can distinguish facts from opinions. College campuses are loaded with young people who buy into perceptions. They do not have yet the maturity to distinguish distortions, according to this theory.

Deviant adults can manipulate this immaturity to fulfill their own selfish, twisted desires; to attempt to control and to influence the beliefs of the young people to support their misguided adults' views rather than the truth. It's what bad leaders or professors or coaches do and it appears to be what happened at PSU.

When a despot or highly competitive person rules, his goals supersede relationships. Any conflict is responded to in a competing manner, where the person in charge must get his way. Ultimately, good people leave, or work around the leader. Yes men stay. This is what happens in totalitarian governments, and it's what happened at the PSU football program.

The immediate response to the crisis in the shower was to avoid to buy time to respond and to compete to keep the system rolling towards Joe's record, to reinforce Joe's perceived greatness. It was a passive / aggressive response. There was no immediate consideration for the assaulted child.

Even though he did not respond immediately to protect the child, the graduate assistant did distinguish the truth from the mantra he'd been fed since he was a child growing up in State College and shared his observations. It is not easy to break even misguided cultural values. However, his adult supervisors sat on it. This delay led to more assaults.

Selective or subjective perception might also be a fancy term for lying, or narcissism, or selfishness, or manipulation.

Also, the Johari Window (please find this defined in the following blog entitled "The Black Box")shows what one knows about oneself compared to what others know. The PSU Football program hid much, and had severe blind spots. This reflects a total lack of institutional checks and transparency. At best, the delayed response suggests Joe Paterno did not have the moral capacity (a blind spot) to distinguish and report the inappropriate behaviors perpetrated by Sandusky. At worst, the delay indicates Joe's and Penn States intentional cover up (hidden secrets)of child rape.



An independent, credible, and reputable third party must investigate PSU with a very big mirror and magnifying glass to assess what fostered the hidden secrets and blindspots. In similar cases, these are based in in the leader's need for power, misleading metrics, and poor institutional controls.

I worked on the other side of the ball from Jerry, but found him very talented with kids, albeit a bit more grabby and touchy with the many young kids surrounding him during camps and those visiting from his not for profit program, The Second Mile. It appeared he had boundary issues. Memories of this now make my stomach queasy.

He reminded me of a former celebrated boy scout leader from my home town of Madison, NJ. Warren Wheeler displayed two classic grooming behaviors. He had favorites he took on long, overnight, motorcycle trips. He also picked on certain boys, like me, trying to isolate us to seek approval. He was evil and mean spirited, a true narcissist. The Morris, NJ Boy Scout Council allowed these behaviors, just as Joe allowed Sandusky's behaviors. I never bought into either prick's persona, or subjective perception. I learned later in life Warren preyed on many young men, many who I knew.

Joe was tough on me, but I accepted this as professional hazing. I was the youngest and newest coach on the staff; the lowest man on the totem pole. I left PSU a bit early to pursue my masters in architecture degree. Joe's behaviors and the disparity between PSU's image and reality soured me to major college coaching.

As a man who suffered internal torment thanks to similar evil, I can't accept the torture of young souls Joe failed to stop. Jerry's sick, and his behaviors were perpetuated by Joe's failure to take action; his failure to be a leader. Joe so carefully projected a leader's image in every other aspect of his life.

It's affirming to know I made my first scout leader and Joe uncomfortable. Had I known then, I only wish I'd done more to expose their ruses to protect future victims. The Scout Leader's magnanimous personality, like Jerry's good old boy charm, like Joe's academic dean public persona, apparently masked ruthless deviance for power and control.

Another bizarre tradition at PSU was the coaches showered together after practices and games. We never did this at Brown or at URI and my coaching friends never experienced this on their staffs. It was one of the many things at PSU that made me realize there was something very strange about the program and its staff.

Most pedophiles were abused, but only a small portion of sexual abuse survivors choose to repeat the cycle. The behavior is deviant and not natural. Thus, it must be learned. However, as with psychopaths, some folks may be born with this deviance.

Once a person chooses to repeat or to perpetuate the cycle of sexual abuse, the behavior appears to become a compulsion and there is no way to stop it.

The key is to identify victims and to intervene with constructive counseling and positive role models before their trauma plays out destructively against themselves or others.

Also, my goal is to see laws change so pedophiles are incarcerated for life. They are not diseased and there is no cure. Their actions are premeditated.

Pedophilia is not sex. Sex is an act between two consenting adults, involving people in the same peer group. Pedophilia is an act of power and control perpetrated by a person with more physical, financial, emotional, psychological, or status power and who controls and dominates a victim with sexual acts.

The victim is a person in a subservient role or place in his or her life. The acts may offer some confusing comfort to the victim, but there is no love or concern or compassion involved. The acts are perpetrated to fulfill the deviant needs of the perpetrator.

All guilt / shame / dishonor / disgust / fault belong with the perpetrator, and with those who perpetuated the acts by keeping them in the dark, like in lonely athletic complexes and basement bedrooms.

Often, sexual abuse survivors become frozen, or compartmentalized, by the extreme sexual assaults they experienced as children. If the victim does not receive treatment within thirty days of the initial assault, the trauma can change brain chemistry leading the victim to experience post traumatic stress disorder symptoms.

Some of the PTSD symptoms victims may experience include intrusive thoughts, difficulty in distinguishing truth from fiction, hyper vigilance, increased levels of anxiety, fear, and panic, short and long term memory deficits, sleep disruption, and dissociative symptoms. These symptoms keep victims from moving on and living a fulfilling life. Tragically, without constructive intervention, many victims end their lives early.

The general steps survivors use to integrate their past traumas, to shift from victims to survivors to thrivers, include:

1. Revealing secrets and fragments of one's person with licensed, trained and highly regarded / trusted professionals. Trust is a huge, if not the biggest, issue with survivors. Trust happens when one person knows he or she is safe with someone, or a group. They won't hurt the person when he or she is vulnerable. Predators exploit this trust and use feigned interest and phony gestures to confuse their victims. The goal in recovery is to combine all of one's parts to live as one whole, functional, person with the process to this outcome being assisted by trustworthy and competent counseling professionals.

2. Identify cognitive distortions - fears and criticisms cultivated by the perpetrator and the experience can undermine one's ability to live an autonomous and empowered life. Victims often inaccurately believe they are subservient and dependent on someone more powerful. Healthy survivors separate facts from opinions and live in the current moment, feeling empowered and in control of their destinies.

3. Identify deleterious behavior patterns (submissive or aggressive) fostered by these distortions and choose more positive actions and outcomes with better plans in the present moment. It is important for survivors to recognize the source of their actions, so they can consciously choose better actions. The better outcomes foster better actions and the constructive behavior cycle grows stronger.

4. Integrate one's healthy sense of self with other healthier people to maintain an integrated, whole, functional, mature perspective.

When needed, a combination of talk therapy and prescription medicines can return survivors to stabilized brain chemical levels, rational thoughts, and a sense of well being.

The reactions to childhood sexual abuse are learned as coping tools when the victim is a child. They are often ineffective and may seem hard to break. They may also alter normal brain chemistry and distort the capacity for rational thought. These coping reactions can be relearned and corrected, leading survivors to happy and fulfilling lives.

Next steps for PSU:

It's key to identify the critical obstacles allowing institutional secrets and blindspots. It's also important to create and evaluate success measurements, in addition to graduation rates and wins, where behaviors reflecting shared institutional values, character, and integrity, are recognized and rewarded. What's measured is what gets done.

Misdirected metrics fostered tragedy with Dominoes Pizza a few years ago. Dominoes guaranteed a free pizza if it was not delivered in 30 minutes or less. Part of the late pizza was paid for by the deliverer. People were killed across the country by speeding Dominoes pizza deliverers who did not want to pay for a late pizza. The flawed success metric was creating undesirable outcomes. It was changed.

Winning football games and high player graduation rate metrics appear to be good targets, but they were flawed because they hid or allowed devious behaviors. Perhaps part of the reason the horrific behaviors performed by Jerry at the PSU facilities and at the 2nd mile were not addressed earlier is because the football program's stated critical metrics were being met and piles of money were being dumped into State College and into the University thanks to the team's success and clean image.

Everyone involved bought into this perceived success without taking a closer look at Jerry's inappropriate conduct and connection with young boys, or they ignored and avoided this ugliness intentionally so long as the team had a winning / bowl game season and a majority of the players received their degrees. Again, this is an example of "selective" or "subjective" perception.

The steps organizations use to overcome similar tragedies include:

1. Identifying and removing the people and systems who were obstacles to protecting innocent children and obstacles to the truth. This probably includes the football staff, athletic administration, and many in the school's and state's administration. A reputable and credible outside source must conduct the fact finds and investigation.

2. Establishing metrics driving behaviors assuring transparency and adherence to core values in addition to wins and graduation rates and placing strong people and institutional control in place to assure these metrics, assessing integrity and behaviors reflecting core PSU values, like safety, are being met.

3. Selecting and developing leaders who respond to and seek to address situations with honest and independent thought, and with consideration for truth, collaboration, accommodation, and compromise. Leaders who compete and must only have things their way create silos, yes people, and lock step loyalty, conformity, and compliance. Blind obedience keeps the people in an organization from honest self criticism and selfless behavior. This narcissism can allow evil to propagate.

4. Cultivating many leaders, including low level GA's, who seek the truth and can think independently when addressed with crisis. People must feel encouraged to think and to correct defects and abhorrent behavior on the spot.

After my time at Penn State, I pursued a Masters in Architecture and then got married, coached football and received my MBA at the University of Rhode Island. During an internship I offered team building retreats and this led to my current organizational and leadership development practice.

I help organizations identify strong leaders from technical and scientific worker pools. I work primarily with corporations, yet also help not for profit organizations with my long term programs. I also offer short term talks / seminars / retreats to educate and inspire and to initiate the mentioned long term organizational development programs.

My topics revolve around building healthy and trusting leadership and relationships to improve positive thoughts, actions, and results. I have been married to the same woman, who was with me at Penn State, for over 20 years and we have three great kids. I live in a tiny MA town on Buzzard's Bay.

My goal in sharing this is to:

1. Help survivors gain more control and fulfillment in their lives

2. Stop the abuse cycle.

3. Expose Joe Paterno for his true colors.

4. Foster good (honest, selfless, self critical) behaviors vs. evil (selfish, lying, narcissistic) organizational and leadership behaviors.

Joe Paterno knew and knows everything about what's happening in his program and in State College. He was / is the ultimate control freak. If Jerry committed these crimes it is impossible for me to think Joe was not aware and complicit.

As a Penn State assistant under Rip Engle, Joe's nickname amongst players was Joe the rat. He knew about everything on the team and tattled on players' to the head coach. Joe went to Rip instead of addressing the player face to face. He used power and leverage to exert authority instead of true leadership and influence. Joe was Rip's protected favorite, like a mama's boy. I imagine he felt he could do anything to others and get away with it.

Thus, decades later, when a powerless boy needed a man of real character and integrity to protect him, Joe showed his true colors. He protected himself and let the little boy disappear. Author M. Scott Peck, in his book; "People of the Lie", characterizes evil people as selfish, lying, and narcissistic. It appears Joe's old nickname still holds. Except now, I think it should be Evil Rat.

I am sure Penn State's Trustees would trade all of the violations in the history of the NCAA for the atrocity Joe and Jerry left in their laps. The total number of sanctions placed on football programs in the history of the NCAA do not add up to the destruction of one young boy's soul.

Joe, for all his years of projecting a saintly image while allowing the destruction of young souls, will now be remembered as the head coach who, on his watch and under his nose, did not stop the most vile and destructive scandal in the history of sport. His blind abuse of power made capable Jerry's abuse of children. Joe must be held accountable for this role.

I am tired of perpetrators and their protectors riding off into the sunset with bodies in their wakes.

My efforts are directed at helping survivors.

If you are a survivor, or know a survivor, I hope this article offers some comfort, direction, and hope. Counseling and faith work wonders.

If you know or suspect someone is a predator, please do everything in your power to stop this and to report him or her.

If you know or suspect a child is being abused, please report this to legal authorities, unlike Joe Pa, as soon as you know.

I am not comfortable speaking about my abuse one on one, so I appreciate your recognizing my privacy the next time we meet. However, I am willing to share my story publicly to shed light on the issue and to help other survivors.

Thank you.

In Germany they first came for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.

Then they came for me —
and by that time no one was left to speak up.

- Pastor Martin Niemöller

113 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think that has been one of your most open, honest, and focused blogs, Matt. Excellent writing. Bringing more light and exposure to these issues is what our culture needs right now. Our societal shadows are being exposed. Much love, your brother Judson.

Tim Kress said...

Matt,

Thanks for your courage and honesty. Let's hope that this won't be another case of a "beloved" elite who gets a pass from adoring media and fans for allegedly criminal behavior.

Glad to see someone stepping up and speaking truth to corrupt power.

scharfy said...

"Thus, decades later, when a powerless boy needed a man of real character and integrity to protect him, Joe's true colors shown through. He protected himself and let the little boy disappear. "


That's the money shot right there.

Thanks for this post, and good on you for putting your name on it right where everyone can see it.

They need to disinfect that program... Not take half measures

JOE M said...

Matt,

You demonstrate great courage and caring.....hallmarks that have made you a role model for so many of us over the years.

Joe

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Paknis,

May God bless you.

Your strength to share a bit of your past with us is to a level that is not able to be described, truly.

Also, I believe this blog could be posted by a mainstream company for whole nation to see.

Either way, God bless you for your strength, resolve, conviction, and passion. May He continue to use these qualities of yours.

Anonymous said...

Hi Matt, I read the article about you in the Patriot News today and I want to thank you. You are a corageous person and I believe that your words will help others. Because of the topic and my own experience, this week has been hell for me. I knew it was okay to feel that way but it sure helped to hear you felt that way too. Reading the article was the first time I felt relief because someone else understood how this week made the memories and questions come rushing back. You are much closer to the situation at hand and personally know the people involved so I appreciate your perspective. Since I don't know Joe personally I don't know if he is a good or bad person. Sadly, I do think that for many reasons even good people fail to do the right thing. I hope that people like you speaking out helps to change that.

Scott said...

I came to your blog today from a story at NBC Sports. I hope you can encourage more people to be open about these experiences to prevent the next abuser and the fiefdoms that protect them.

Unfortunately, Sandusky and people like him has damaged the ability of those of us who do not have children but want to coach youth sports. My first wife died of cancer before we were able to have children and I married my second wife too late in life. But I like sports and being around sports. I like teaching and showing kids the proper way to play baseball, to hit, and understand the strategy of the game. Unfortunately, as a childless adult, I'm looked upon with suspicion, which is uncomfortable.

Sandusky and his protectors has polluted the waters for those of us who just want to help kids. I hope they all pay for their crimes and what they did to environment for the rest of us!

Kenner R. McQuaid said...

Excellent and brave blog post.

Jon Lenvik said...

Good luck with your work. The most important thing people in this country should support and contribute to is children.

Sandra Cruz said...

Great article. Your words are powerful and should be voiced to a greater audience. I believe a great majority of adults have experieced abuse but sadly some will never speak up. I too was one for years and when I shared my story, I was not believed. This is a travesty. Now that I have 3 children, I distrust everyone.

Anonymous said...

Bless your heart and your courage for talking about it. Many abused children have not found their voice yet.

I watched parts of the game Saturday and the analysis on ESPN of Paterno not coaching. The whole "poor Ol' Joe...yeah he made a mistake...but it's a shame he couldn't coach this game" attitude among them was offensive.

Thank you again for your honesty and courage.

CillaS.

beakerless said...

Childhood sexual abuse is like and emotional atomic bomb. I wrote for my own healing.


"Ground Zero for a child victim of sexual abuse plays a major role in the adult they become. Personal safety and trust are immediately burned to ash. My memories of the childhood molestations are fragmented and incomplete. However the memory of lying in the darkness after the first incident and feeling a great emptiness stands out starkly in my mind. It was as if the darkness was all there was, inside me and out. It was preferable to remain within the safety of that darkness, a place I could hide myself, a safe place. Was this my rite of passage into the adult world? Was that emptiness and darkness the loss of my innocence? I believe so, but this rite of passage unlike others came with fear, shame and secrecy rather than pride, a sense of accomplishment and positive guidance by an elder. The mind of a sexually abused child finds a way to deal with the betrayal and inability to comprehend the situation by dissociating, from the trauma. Sadly as the child reaches adulthood this dissociation leaves the wounded child self behind, alone in a world filled with fear, rage and grief………."

Anonymous said...

Matt,

I can't imagine the pain and suffering you've gone through or any victim of child abuse. I applaud your courage in calling the Penn State scandal as you see it; you certainly won't win points from the Paterno apologists.

I do feel Sandusky can't be the only pederast in the NCAA and I only hope your words and public support of the true victims allows those people to be exposed and punished. And, of course, the enablers like Joe Paterno.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

In my heart of hearts there was always something that bothered me about Joe Paterno and the throngs that worshiped him in State College and in college football. Thanks for sharing your first hand knowledge of what you saw and what many of us long suspected.

Penn State must now reap the whirlwind of idol worshiping this phoney who believed HE was Penn State and God.

Anonymous said...

My heart goes out to you, Matt! But you're doing great stuff here. Best of luck in the future!!!

Anonymous said...

Great post -- -thanks for your honesty. Thank you, especially, for pointing out what should be obvious...that pedophilia is not sex.
I, too, am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and I have been absolutely enraged by mainstream media's description that McQueary witnessed Sandusky "having anal sex with a 10 year old boy". He did not witness sex. He witnessed rape. To call it sex is so cruel to the poor victim and minimizes what occurred. That innocent child did not have sex.
Thank you for your honesty and courage...I believe , like you do, that the corruption runs deep. It honestly makes me ill.

Dana said...

One thing I love about the Web is that, through links, we can get the actual story, without a filter.

I found this through an MSNBC story, and then read what Matt actually says.

Matt, you said it better than they did. Better than anyone could. God bless you, and keep you well, and keep all those around you safe.

Anonymous said...

Your story shows the reality to what is the core of this whole scandal. The horrible effects of the abuse of children and the inability of those who were not willing to stand up and do moral and caring thing to stop this abuse. I am so happy to hear that you are in a safe place now and are willing to share your story to help put a stop to this abuse. I pray that every secret gets unveiled, and the ones that abused their power will be held accountable for their actions.

You give hope that you can overcome a painfull past and now have the strength to be able to shed light and help others remove shame that many victims feel.

Thank you for sharing your story, this needs to be told.

beakerless said...

What I didn't say in my last comment was that people like Matt are an inspiration. Matt's candid blog and his actions bring those who have been living as silent victims for a lifetime into the light. Thank you Matt.

Anonymous said...

Thank you from the bottom of my heart and soul, Matt. Your courage in speaking out will protect many more souls. Though it is not about sexual abuse, there is another issue in my life that I am now led to speak up about. My gratitude.

Anonymous said...

Have you seen the case with Joe White, world renowned author, speaker and owner of Kanakuk Kamps. He had a director, Pete newman who was sexually molesting campers for 10 years. Pete was busted by Joe White and staff two times being naked with kids but only put on probation. It was not until a lawsuit threatened them that they decided to turn Pete in. since there so much is coming to light just like this Paterno case. Will you look into this deal as well.

This kind of behavior makes me so angry. Why do grown men in authority choose their institutions over the purity and sanctity of kids. This is horrible and something has to be done.
Even though Paterno did not technically break any laws, that is no excuse for his silence.

This should be in the same category as accessory to murder. If you know about it and say nothing then u too can be convicted.

I say we push for that law.

Keep up the good work exposing these sick perverts. Sad to say though, more will be coming from both of these cases.

A concerned Parent

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your brave comments! As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, I especially appreciate your statement that most abused children do not become abusers. Your thoughtful analysis will help many who have suffered at the hands of these monsters.

Anonymous said...

I didn't read your blog post but I read your comments in this article.

http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/45283472/ns/sports-college_football//

As I read your words I kept nodding my head saying to myself, "that's right." You are the only person I have read in the whole sordid affair that gets it. As a person who was subjected to sexual and other type of abuse as a child you are 100% completely authentic to me. You are real in a way most people simply are not.

The part about your mom got to me. When I confronted my own mom about the abuse I suffered you know what my own mother said to me, "well it's not my problem there are no child psychologists around to take care of that."

That's right. It wasn't the abuser who had a problem it was me. I was the one who needed help, not him. My mother knew before I said anything. Just like Paterno knew.

My own opinion is that Paterno is a pedophile himself. He enabled Sandusky's behavior because he liked that behavior. That's why when push came to shove he didn't call the police. He wasn't just protecting his reputation; he was protecting his own guilty conscious. Just like my mother who had her excuse figured out long before I said anything myself.

Anonymous said...

Wow...powerful and compelling article...
I myself have been a "victim" of a narcissistic spouse and parent and see how their selfish behavior impacted my life in sad ways. I, too, have recovered and now counsel others to "get their power back" and move on. Bless you, bless you for shining the light on these horrible people and their deviant behavior. You are to be commended.

Anonymous said...

Just read your article about Jerry Sandusky on the NBC Sports site, and your blog posting, and wanted to say thanks for your courage in speaking up. As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse myself, I know how incredibly painful it can be to even acknowledge what happened, never mind speak out publicly. My best friend and I were both living under similar reigns of terror, and we never even told each other about it until we were well into our 20s and well away from home.

The idea that people like Paterno and McQueary could (in McQueary's case, literally) turn their backs on the rape of a 10-year-old boy would be unbelievable, if that willingness to overlook evil wasn't so, so common. The abuser is clearly a disturbed, damaged person. But what makes abusers like Sandusky so dangerous is the complicit support of other, supposedly non-damaged, people. When the Catholic Church chose to protect its priests over their victims, it chose to preserve its power and abandon the children it should have been protecting. When Paterno, McQueary, and God knows how many others stood by and did nothing while this predator terrorized little boys, they chose to preserve their own power and the status of their associates rather than standing up for those who could not protect themselves.

Sadly, in a culture where one in three girls and one in four boys are victims of sexual abuse, those who look the other way won't be punished. There are too many of their peers who count on everybody else looking the other way for them, also. I don't know what the answer is, but your blog is dead on in describing the damage that this kind of abuse inflicts.

Until we decide as a civilized nation that sexual abuse of children is unacceptable, and that those who know about the abuse and do nothing to protect those children are as criminally liable as the abusers themselves, this isn't going to stop. The boys Sandusky attacked -- and I would bet millions that there are many, many more of them than we currently know about -- will never get over this. With great amounts of help and personal strength, they may be able to move forward, but something was stolen from them that will never be recovered. They have been taught not to trust the people who they are supposed to be able to trust. They have been taught that they can be victimized, and nobody will step forward to protect them. They have been taught that they have are not worth protecting.

Anonymous said...

I came across your blog after reading an article by Ethan J. Skolnick.

I too am outraged by what has transipred. THank you for your courage to express your experiences and beliefs in such an eloquent manner.

Frankly, I believe Paterno and all the rest of them of them should be criminally charged with aiding and abetting. There must be Zero Tolerance for sexual abuse; you see it: you report. Period.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate your bravery and willingness to speak out. It is a shame that others in positions of power chose not to do the same.

Campbell said...

Thank you for this post. It's so important for everyone to watch out for children and report abuse to the authorities. Don't ever assume someone else will do it. When I was a teenager, I babysat for a little girl from our church who was physically abused by her mother. I couldn't understand why none of the adults in the church who knew this was happening never reported it. It still haunts me to this day that I did nothing and I was pretty much a kid myself. I hope these grown men regret what they have done, but you have to wonder if they do.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your story; my heart and prayers are with you and all who have had their innocence robbed in this way. I think you are incredibly brave. And I will wish that the children from 2nd Mile could read your words and know that there is hope for love, work, a happy life and family and future. Someone once said, "Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it." It is you, and all who have healed and went on to lead honest and good lives, that inspire me. Not athletes or their coaches, but honest, hardworking people who suffered but survived. I grew up in rural PA near Pittsburgh but was never a sports fan and never understood the devotion to football. I mistrusted all participation in team sports as a result of some of the child sport hazing I witnessed. So I also Thank you for an honest perspective --- I admire that although team sports benefited you, and you were a talented athlete, you saw some of the strange things clearly, and questioned it and are bravely writing about it. You are the first athlete-commentator that I have read to do so.

Jim said...

You are a fine man Matt. I wasn't sure how I felt about the Penn State scandal or who beside Sandusky should be held responsible. Thanks for clearing some things up for me. I'm with you. Penn State needs to clean house of EVERYONE who even had a clue, and put whatever rules in place to make certain this never happens again. I think part of my misunderstanding has to do with not understanding the ruinous effect sex abuse has on a child. Thanks for your blog. It really shed a bright light in a dark place.

Amy said...

Thank you, Matt, for speaking up for the children and for an appropriate use of power. This is *so* important. I can't even put into words how important.

You make so many valid points. One that sticks out is the choice and ability to heal. I often think that perpetrators have that choice also - most likely they were abused. They can either repress, repeat, or heal. Thank you for choosing to heal and bring that healing to others.

I recently wrote a related piece that you may appreciate as a parent... http://peace4parents.com/story-forgiveness-3/

Take care,
Amy

Danny said...

Matt, i want to thank you for your bravery for speaking out. Your unique insight being both sexually molested when you were young and your experience in working at Penn State under now what appears to be facist regime, with "beloved" JoPa as the self annointed god.

I am so grateful that I was never molested as a child, but my Soulmate and wife of more than 33 years was a victim at the hands of her Step-Father for many years. I saw first hand the devestation of the human spirit. Through love and trust I was able to convince her to walk through her fear and seek professional help. In the beginning it was so, so difficult for her to gain trust with her Psychologist, and brought to surface the agony and guilt she suffered by this man who was supposed to protect her and make ber feel safe. The road was long, winding and scary for her, but i was always there for her, ALWAYS!

She is so better off today for walking through those fears! All the hard work she needed to do she did, and to this day she calls me her "Knight in Shiny Armour", but it is her that is truly MY HERO!

Again, thank you so much for this blog and for shining light to the worst possible crime that could ever be perpetuated on another human being. Child Abuse is so sickening, and I applaud you for standing up to this attrocity! Pleaase let us know what we can do to assist you in this brave endeavor.

God Bless You!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for stepping forward and telling the ugly truth - that those who ignore such crimes and fail to protect a child when witnessing, suspecting or even hearing about such an act are just as criminal as the pedophile! Shame! Shame! Shame! On Paterno and his entire PSU clan of cowards!

I have been so pained by this story ever since it broke. Two of my three brothers were sexually molested for many years during our childhood and I have seen first-hand the undeniable and long-term horror it causes. I can only hope the the victims of Sandusky finally feel empowered and supported by people who recognize just how horrific and tragic this all is. There is no doubt in my mind that there are MANY more than eight victims of this man and I hope he gets put away for life! Even that is not punishment enough for his crimes!

Harold Green said...

Matt,

Thank you for sharing your truth.

I do not believe that power in itself corrupts, but rather that in the hands of someone who has been "damaged" as a child, power can lead to adult abusive behavior IF the opportunity presents itself. This most often manifests itself in self-abuse, but as we have seen too often, corrupt power is used against others who are vulnerable or in a subordinate position.

How do we as a society deal with this phenomenon?

For the long-term health of our society I believe that we have to begin paying much more attention to the family, specifically to the adults who are entrusted with the care and protection of the most vulnerable and sensitive all of us, our child(ren). If both parents (or single parent) aren't emotionally healthy from the child's birth, how can the child's emotional health as they grow and mature not be compromised?

Yes, stuff can happen to kids outside of the immediate family, but if kids have been parented well, they will share this stuff with their mother or father, who then must take action to support the child. When kids don't share such abuse with one of their parents, is it because they didn't feel safe to do so?

Again, thank you for sharing your truth and thank you for being brave enough to do it in the open.

Harold Green

Anonymous said...

Matt:

Thanks so much for your insights. I first read your interview on nbcsports.com and then your blog. I too was haunted all weekend reading about the reactions by "adults" to a child being raped. Recently, as part of my job in government policy development, I have had to attend many child and adult rape trials. Still, it has been a long time since I have had those feelings of hypervigilance and disassociation related to my own rape as a teen. Yet I experienced those familiar symptoms this weekend when I pictured the image of that boy seeing McQueery turn and leave and never come back. I am a 47 year old female who was a teen when I was raped by a male predator. I felt like I had no voice and that no one would believe me. I did not speak of the rape until I was 24--to explain the bruises and injuries to my parents that night, I told them I was in a car accident. Somehow, I came out on the other side--luck, therapy, the grace of God...I don't know. I grew up, got my masters degree, married a great guy (also an architect), have two great kids, and write government policy papers. Most recently, I wrote policy for anonymous reporting of sexual assault. Mostly, I just wanted to say thanks for letting me know that this has effected other rape victims this week as much as it effected me. The symptoms never really go away, do they?

Anonymous said...

Matt,

Thank you for speaking up on the issue of sexual abuse among boys. It is a far too common experience for boys and young men.

The more we speak of it, the less power it has and the better off our would becomes.

John H.

Anonymous said...

Matt
I was impressed with you in the brief period you spent with us after your PSU experience. I'm even more impressed with your courage to illuminate the culture that existed at PSU and enabled these events to occur and remain hidden at the expense of many young children. The reputation of the program and Joe Paterno were more important then the safety of these innocent children. The man at the top was in control and he failed these children. Winning football games does not mean anything when compared to the lives damaged by the failure of the leader of the program to attack this issue.
I also sympathize with Mike McQueary as he was not in a position of power yet he did something to bring this terrible act to the attention of the person in control of the program. He went to his mentor and his mentor failed him. Also he grew up around Jerry Sandusky and Jerry's children. All of this is not to excuse his inaction upon witnessing this event, but it does color the situation. His life is now turned upside down due to his mentor and coach failing to act to bring this pedophile to the police. Tough in his situation to go over Joe's head. Matt,you have been there and you know how difficult a position he was in and how that evil culture may have exerted a strong force to let him know that he should let his coach take care of it.
His coach failed him just as his coach failed the victims of these repugnant acts.

Anonymous said...

KUDOS!!!

I am not anywhere near as eloquent as you but those KUDOS cover so many things about you that I admire.

I have been very unsettled about this whole situation and have been praying. . . for the victims. . . for the perpetrator and enablers. . . and for everyone in Pennsylvania touched by this awful situation including students, residents, etc. However, I've still had this concern that nothing tangible was being done to help the victims. A very deep thank you for reaching out to them and offering your help. God bless you!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your courageous post. I can attest to the truth of what you say.
I am particularly thankful that you would share your own perspective give your time at Penn State. That is such a tight and protective community as most cultures are - thank you for sharing. It is the secrets that continues to make one sick. And, as of tonight, Sandusky continues his sickness by not being honest.

Lisa M. said...

Thank you for sharing your story and your opinion of Joe Paterno. Everyone seems so afraid of knocking him off of his pedestal, but the reality is that he did next to nothing with the information he was given about Jerry Sandusky. Each and every person who turned a blind eye to the horror these children suffered should be held accountable. Thank you and best of luck to you.

medit8r said...

I came to your blog through the nbc article also. Your personal experiences have given you the ability to truly shed light on this issue.
The work to "spin" this has already begun by the good old boy power structure with access to the mainstream media and big money lawyers. The only way the real truth can come out is if victims have the courage and support to speak their truth and if others with a clear understanding of the issue keep putting the truth out there, too. It is difficult to try to confront power with truth. There are people in this country struggling to pay their bills and the rapist of PSU football is collecting a pension and free to repeat his favored crime! If the rapist was not among the privileged, there would already be talk of death penalty. Instead, he's out on "bail" (sort of) and can arrange interviews and start damage control to continue the smoke screen of self-protection in the PSU program. The whole thing makes me sick. Thanks for your post and your insight.

Pam Pearce said...

Matt-
Such honest and helpful thoughts... you have touched many people and I know your intent and it's real. Bless you for your courage. Count me in on your crusade, as I am sickened by this deviant behavior that silently continues.
I have often shaken my head at the "kool-aid" drinking philosphy that abounds at institutions like Penn State and Notre Dame - there's something creepy about the whole thing.

Lou said...

Matt,

Thank you for writing this and for sharing your story. God Bless you and all other survivors. This story has rocked my world, it is so disusting and I struggle to make sense of it ... moreso the cover-up and spinelessness of the enablers. I tried to put it into word here.

http://youcancallmelou.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

"I have often shaken my head at the "kool-aid" drinking philosphy that abounds at institutions like Penn State and Notre Dame - there's something creepy about the whole thing."


Notre Dame culture is nothing at all like PSU culture. We hate our coaches and administration. Last year, there were twin tragedies in-season, neither of which were really crimes/ really the responsibility of the head coach. But because he was struggling at the time, many of us said we hoped the administration would use the incidents as an excuse to fire him. We're the exact opposite of PSU. We also don't cover up incidents involving our football players. Every single underage drinking arrest makes national news, while PSU players under Paterno did all sorts of horrible things and nobody heard a word about it, because the entire community helped cover it all up.

Also, to the "Corporate america" comment guy - did you ever stop and think that the "top men" in corporate America being sociopaths might indicate that corporate America, and capitalism in general, are evil? Cause it does indicate that, and they are those things. And so are you.

To the author - great post. Love the insight on Paterno. Some successful coaches - some few - are legitimately decent guys. Ara Parseghian, one of ours, is a great man. But most, IMO, are not. Lou Holtz, another of ours, has a Paterno-like image, is supposed to be a silly, funny, harmless, lovable old man, but in reality he's a horrible, mean-spirited bully and a cheater besides.

strykerbill said...

Excellent interview with Mike this evening on WFAN. Thank you for bringing these details to light. It blows my mind that people are still so naive about this situation. I hope the kids, or young adults now, can get or have gotten the help they so desperately need.

Anonymous said...

Really, the male coaches all showered together behind a clear wall? I don't know what it means, but it sure sounds creepy and wrong to me. Similar to when high schools would make the males take swim class nude. Just creepy and weird and highly suspect.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for such an honest assessment of the tragic situation at Penn State. As a victim of childhood sexual abuse, I am following the story, and it appears to get more sickening by the day. I expect many of your statements in this article will be borne out.

Paper Crane said...

Thankyou Matt, for what is one of the most well articulated pieces I've ever read on the complex levels of betrayal survivors of abuse within institutions have gone through. When there is a complicity of silence and a culture of denial within an institution, the victim is abused twice

While I'm not familiar with the culture of college footy over there (I'm Australian) what you describe is a parallel process to what I've seen unfold over here with the continued poor response of the Catholic church to institutional abuse and the recent scandal involving massive coverups of sexual abuse at ADFA, (basically the equivalent of West Point Military Academy)

It doesn't really matter whether it's a church run institution, a sporting team with big bucks attached or an elite defense force school, what's important to note here is there is a certain power dynamic that creeps into an institution's culture which allows this sort of thing to fester and continue.

As a survivor somewhat down the road to healing like yourself I've made a similar observation to you in that institutional culture is a big part of it and possibly just as damaging as the abuse itself. Betrayal is betrayal is betrayal to a kid.

Sarah said...

Matt,

Your courage is amazing. You will save and change lives because of this blog - I promise you. You may be one of the only people who can speak these words of truth from real wisdom. Thank you for being you and all that was part of your becoming who you are.

Blessings.

The Writing Goddess said...

Matt, Kudos and congratulations to you - for having the courage and determination to survive, thrive, and speak out.

I find it interesting the different parts of your post commenters focused on. For me, the important part is the idea that children who are abused CAN go on, don't have to become abusers themselves, or have terrible lives. Yes, what happened was awful, and never should have happened, but one doesn't HAVE to let it ruin one's life. Good for you for refusing to let it.

Anonymous said...

Matt,
Thank you for bravely sharing your story and your insider perspective on the culture of the Penn State football program.

Over the past few weeks, many have asked "how could this happen at Penn State?" and you have eloquently described how a pattern of seemingly small, daily decisions can slowly shape a secretive culture of power, control and abuse. People in those cultures lose their individual identities and they slowly lose their capacity to view things from an outside perspective. It's very similar to a cult. And the cult of Penn State football allowed a pedophile to operate within its confines for years.

Thank you for shedding light on elements of the Penn State culture that allowed this abuse to occur. There will always be sociopaths in our midst but I am hopeful that with greater awareness, we can limit their opportunities to prey upon children.

charmcitymom said...

I hope your story of surviving and thriving, and your perspective on the Penn State program and Paterno gains broad circulation.
Sandusky's victims need to hear from you. People who idolize the Penn State football program need to hear from you.
Thank you for your willingness to bear your soul in this way.

charmcitymom said...

Yours is an important and unique statement -- as someone who has survived abuse to become an adult who is thriving, and as an adult man who "knows football" and recognized how "off" the Penn State/Paterno program was.
I hope this blog receives wide circulation -- I am sending it to my friends.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post! Kudos to you for the strength to talk about what you went through in order to help others! I am in awe of you!

Anonymous said...

This is the first time I have read your blog and I found it very interesting. I was a high school teacher and made the acquaintance of a former high school football coach. After he retired from coaching, he did some scouting of local players for a few D1 programs. He told me many years ago not to believe what you read about Joe Paterno. Now I know what he told me was true because he said the outside world knows Paterno one way but on the inside they call him Joe the Rat. Your blog confirmed his words.

Anonymous said...

Penn State started a black quarterback in 1970. Why would Joe Paterno state 20 years later that the state is not ready for one?

Anonymous said...

thank you, matt. i hope i have a son just like you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your courage. I hope your post reaches victims who will then seek the help they need. I know your post reminds the rest of us to never be silent.

not a gator said...

What's sad, Scott, is that Sandusky was married. As long as people think a marriage and kids is some sort of imprimatur or that they can somehow smoke out a predator just by looking at them, innocent people will come under suspicion and predators will have cover.

What needs to happen is a change in organization, procedures, and maybe even architecture in some cases (such as the glass doors that public schools have) so that the perverted and the weak will not have the opportunity to offend.

Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) is a domination that is heavily LGBT. Because of the fear of being accused of being child molesters, MCC made rules as early as the 70's that no adult would EVER be alone with a child or youth. Well, 30 years later, the overly-trusting RCC (Roman Catholic Church) has been rocked by horrific child-rape scandals whereas the MCC hasn't had a single one. Do not "just trust" that "I know this guy, he's okay." ALWAYS have the procedure, the structure, the format, the organization, that protects kids and protects adults from even the appearance of impropriety.

thom from buffalo said...

matt,

thank you.

DarkEmpress said...

I am extremely impressed by your insight and grateful to you for sharing your knowledge.

Nomi said...

Matt,

I heard you on Mike Francesa's program and was moved by your specific experiences and insights.

There are so many sad and ironic elements to this "story", but I believe every time a survivor shares a testimony honestly and publicly, windows and doors are opened for many living with secrets and shame and deep hurt.

Professionally, I have been able to hear many people share fragments of their histories and of abuses by leaders who were respected in communities, in religious and secular and family settings.

I remember one woman whose father raped her (and every female cousin of her generation). One of her children had a genetic condition thanks to him. When one of the cousins spoke up, he followed through on his promise and murdered her. He had been a successful businessman and respected by every police officer in the small town.

We are given a false image of predators (and other violent ones) that they have a specific villainous appearance and malevolent ambiance. Many are charming and attractive in their outward demeanor, charismatic and seemingly trustworthy.

Of course, there are many many trustworthy adults and leaders whose charm is genuine and who would give their lives for any child and NEVER betray our faith.

Thank you, for your witness, your ongoing work and simply for being part of the beloved community (Rev., Dr. MLK, Jr.).

Anonymous said...

Matt, I came to your blog post through a mention of it in NYT college football blog. Our lives have odd parallels. I am 49 and grew up in Chatham NJ. I was abused by a boy scout master who was also an administrator at the Short Hills Country Day School and the Pingry Schools where I was student. There was a cover-up and this man, Thad P. Alton was never brought to justice for his NJ assaults although he was convicted of assaulting children in upstate NY.

I too am happily married over 20 years with 3 children and I have made peace with this unfortunate part of my childhood although here and there it rears its head in unexpected ways. When needed I have sought out assistance in sorting out my feelings and have always been better for it.

You have a great message in your blog; as a 49 year old man I felt comforted by it. Thank you for sharing in such a significant way.

Anonymous said...

Came here from Deadspin link. One of the most well-written and powerful pieces I have ever read. Kudos for your courage, it will help others.

tracy said...

I am from Saint Louis, have just listened to your interview with Mike Francesca (thru cbs podcast)and then read your blog-As a previous teacher and research specialist I would like to say- You are the most clearly spoken, caring,honest communicator of these truths, that continue to be hidden by too many,I have heard-- What you explained about pedophiles being born but also learning to repeat the compulsion OR NOT-is right on. Thank you so much for your conviction and clarity-GREATLY APPRECIATED. Tracy

josephcrusso@me.com said...

Hi Matt. I shot Coach Monica's game film during "the streak" and recently saw you on CNN. You did yourself and your alma mater proud.

Anonymous said...

About a month ago, I had to go see a new doctor. During the course of the exam he made several sexual comments to me. I stood up for myself and told him he was being inappropriate and to knock it off. I've since filed a complaint against him with my insurance company. However, as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, it's triggered a horrible downward spiral for me and this whole case has made it so much worse. Even though I've had years of therapy I feel like I can be triggered and be right back there again. I'm fighting out of it and will be ok, but I just wanted to thank you for posting your experience and what we can do to help ourselves. I really needed it at this time.

Gary said...

Matt, I share our tiny town, beaches, values,and church, with my family as well as your family (including dogs).The courage you show in your comments is testament to your dedication to prevent this from happening ever again to any young person.Joe Paterno will have to answer someday to the ultimate judge. His legacy has been destroyed.Any story about him in the future will include this despicable lapse in judgement.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Mr Paknis, for a most important testimony into the mechanism of how such abuse perpetuates and is abetted by the power structure.

Too much stigma and unwillingness to understand and empathize with this complex machinery, and the virulent legacy it leaves on the victims, is what keeps supporters and funds on Paterno/Sandusky's sides to this day.

The destruction of false idols, is never more profoundly devastating than destruction of innocents who never had a fair chance.

I applaud you for spreading knowledge and the possibility of true, benign leadership.

Anonymous said...

Hello Matt,

Thanks for sharing your story and shedding light on the great Joe Paterno. I liked your list of things to think about and focus on if your a victim. All I know is there is no amount of therapy, books or self improvement tapes that will stop the feelings from creeping back in. I am 45 years old I have no more secrets. My mind says you've got a grip it's not your fault it was the person that did this to you who was sick etc. I totally get that but the feelings still creep in. I am productive person I work, I'm married and have kids go to college. I've been so angry since this story came out with all these kids crying for the coach and not the boys. Their innocence was stolen and no matter how much they pay, apologize or spend in jail people need to know IT NEVER GOES AWAY. Do I have a good life and enjoy myself yes of course but I know certain things are a part of me. It does get better but IT NEVER GOES AWAY.

I guess I cried for the boys and myself this week on what has been truly lost forever our innocence.

betasheep said...

I've always put pedophiles in the same class as wife-beaters-- men who have to show their dominance by picking on some one smaller and weaker than they are. Something that you suggest, I think.

This PSU situation is awful. I personally think McQueary did all he could possibly do, but the corruption ran so deep and JoePa's authority and control were so pervasive that in the end he could do nothing at all. McQueary's demeanor seems to be that of a giant, gentle pussycat. It's sad that he's being set up as scapegoat when I think he tried to do the right thing.

Anonymous said...

As a therapist that works with disadvantaged children, often from abusive/neglectful families, I commend you for speaking out. The truth needs to be heard and it needs to be put in accurate terms. Therapy can and does help, with the right professional. Those who suffered abuse such as this need help processing in order to move on and you put that beautifully.

It makes me sad that even a few comments continue to litter your comments section suggesting that:

1. Paterno isn't guilty and we don't have all the facts and
2. You should have done more when you felt Sandusky was a bit overly touchy.

1. Paterno is just a man and no man is without sin. Now, it's exposed that his sins are very great and have hurt many lives. Some people just refuse to accept that and I find it to be tragic, for them. Power and narcissism very often go hand in hand, especially after decades of being compared to God. When you are in that, somewhat sociopathic, state of mind, very little stands in the way of getting what you want; even child safety. Schools, including PSU, routinely cover up rape when perpetrated by football players. The NFL holds murderers, rapists, wife-beaters, animal abusers, and so much more. Is it that much of a stretch to think that a football program would cover up and try to hide the ultimate allegation? It is a fact that Paterno knew in 2002. In 2006, another child was victimized. He could have stopped it and chose not to in the name of preserving a GAME. There were most likely more victims in that time that haven't come forward.

If Joe had stood up and done the right thing at the time, he would have been called a hero. One press conference on the front lawn of his house, and all of America would be defending him to coach for the rest of his life. But he didn't and he deserves all the shame/guilt/loss/ultimate punishment that he gets as a result.

2. Just because a person makes you feel uncomfortable and is touchy is not a reason to report. I am a mandated reporter and as such, I report crimes and violations against children. It is a disgusting stretch for any commenter to even suggest that you would have needed to report at the time and you are just as guilty as those who knew and didn't report. Obviously now it would make more sense, but at the time it was just an uncomfortable feeling that you picked up on, most likely because of your own personal experiences. However, you could not have known the monster that truly existed. Unless you heard directly or witnessed of a crime, you shouldn't carry any guilt around with you.

Thank you for sharing your story. It's very powerful and inspirational. I hope that I can help the kids I counsel find as much peace as you seem to have. Best wishes.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous who is spiraling out of control because of your doctor and now this story, you are not alone. I've been through years of therapy and usually feel pretty good about things until a story like this breaks and it sends me back to the sadness and feelings of betrayal and abandonment. I liken it to a sore that won't heal. It scabs over once in a while and then something comes along to tear off the scab and make it sore. I do know that these feelings will pass again and so I put one foot in front of the other and stay with my daily routine and am kind to myself. Be kind to yourself, anonymous.

glaugh said...

Dear Matt-
Thank you for your bravery and candor on this issue. "joe-pa" has always made the hair on the back of my neck stand on end and now, as I re-live my own childhood rape and the emotional trauma over a cover-up, as this horrible tragedy unfolds, I begin to see again that I should ALWAYS trust that feeling. As should we all. I believe it keeps all children safer from the pedophiles who find their way into our lives. It's not the people who grab children off the streets-it is those who wheedle their way into a child's life where they have no business being. Those with the "heart of gold" who just love kids a bit too much. Those creeps who make your skin crawl because they are just drooling over pur kids...

JC said...

Well written article. However, I take issue with your comment and referring yourself as a "survivor". Survivor is better used for people who have SURVIVED something, such as cancer. They are true survivors. Now, what you and those kids went through is incredibly traumatic, but you didn't survive anything. You deal with it every day in your life, and trust me, I bet it is something that is incredibly difficult to deal with. However, survivor just isn't the right word. Take it from me, a survivor.

Anonymous said...

Matt, just heard your interview on the ny podcast. You are a brave guy. Thanks for speaking up for the kids, the victims in all of this. Counselling is good advice. I didn't get it until my life fell apart in my 40s. I honestly don't know how I survived it all before then. My counselor didn't either.

Rox said...

Beautifully and accurately written Matt. As a survivor also, I love how you chose to go public and added that you are not available to discuss one to one. That was brilliant! It supports the cause yet keeps your spirit focused on the positive. So many of us are so grateful to you for sharing your uniquely relevant perspective.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your honesty and candor in this blog, Matt. So many of the things you wrote resonated with me, but one particular thing stood out and it validated something I have felt for almost 20 years:

"He was the consummate bully and control freak who banished players and their potential careers when they did not buy into Joe's persona".

The Joe Paterno I know did this exact thing to a man I know personally to be of the highest caliber as a husband, father, friend, athlete and human being. When it happened to my friend I thought "gee, that doesn't quite measure up to the St. Joe image we see in the media" and I wondered why someone who professed "Success with Honor" would be so hateful and dismissive to the successes of someone I knew to be an exemplary man. So much that is coming out now makes me realize that my gut feeling about Joe Paterno really was right. He is just as his nickname suggests: Joe the Rat.

Thank you for being one of the few voices to actually validate the true person that Joe Paterno is.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this courageous and thought-provoking post.

Clarence Gaines II said...

Matt,

Appreciate your insight and authentic voice on the subject. Would appreciate you reading my blog on the Penn State debacle:

"Joseph Vincent Paterno: Educator, Coach, Humanitarian." - My thoughts on Joe Pa, Pedophilia, Penn State & Jerry Sandusky:
http://cgscoutperspective.blogspot.com/2011/11/joseph-vincent-paterno-educator-coach.html

Clarence Gaines II said...

Mike Cooper was the first Black QB to start for Joe Paterno. Happened in 1970. Started the opening game against Navy,but didn't hold the job for very long.

http://www.blackshoediaries.com/2011/7/25/2290157/penn-state-1970-quarterback-controversy-joe-paterno-hufnagel-cooper-parsons

Found this quote from a book:
"Penn St. started Mike Cooper in 1970 as the first black QB in Penn St. history. When he {Joe Paterno} received complaints and threats from some of the alumni, he decided to 'make a statement' by starting Charlie Pittman, Franco Harris, Lydell Mitchell, and Mike Cooper, All African-Americans, in the backfield at the same time." http://bit.ly/sSZRGR

JohnTabor said...

Matt, thank your for yoiur extremely candid and honest post. as a son and brother of sexual abuse victims (i have premenitions about myself as well), i know firsthand how devestating this horrific activity can be. being from the deep south, all i've even known about penn st. football and JoePa is what the mainstream media has reported over the years. but now that i'm a journalism major at Louisiana Tech, i've learned to dig for the truth. that is how i came upon your blog. i pray to God Almighty that our great nation will finally take proper notice and exact strong measures to begin ridding our society of these monsters. by speaking publicly, you have definitely made a difference. i do have one question to ask you...and if you don't want to answer this i completely understand...what is your gut feeling as to the "rumors" that the second mile foundation was pimping out boys to rich donors?

again, thank you for sharing your experience and good fortune with your family and life's work.

Mo said...

One of the most honorable men I know, and I've known him since kindergarten.

You'll be hard pressed to find a man with more integrity, in sports, in business, or in life in general.

Best always Paknye.

Ginny A said...

What a powerful, honest and moving blog entry. I appreciate your clear-headed thinking and courage.

Anonymous said...

I too am a victim of childhood sexual abuse. I have great empathy for your experience.

I also believe in due process under the law and a clear examination of facts. While I have long admired the Penn State football program, if it is true that Coach Paterno or others on staff knew certain things for a fact and did not follow the law concerning that knowledge, then he, along with any others, was clearly in the wrong and should pay the price. Your personal feelings about the man and repeating stories you've heard about when he was an assistant (obviously you weren't there) unfortunately are not fact and don't have much bearing on the current situation.

It is understandable that you have a gut response to the apparent abuse of Jerry Sandusky, as I do. You had a gut response to his behavior when you were around him. As a victim, you recognized inappropriate actions first hand and said he reminded you of an abuser. You said it was obvious. I am wondering if you ever voiced your concerns to anyone at the time and what their response was? Someone who has not been abused themselves may not recognize that as well as you did. Someone who has not been abused themselves may very possibly never even consider that type of abuse is possible, especially by someone they have known personally for a great many years.

As a victim myself, looking at the fallout from the PSU charges makes me fear that a backlash is coming, that more people will remain silent when they do have actual facts. Paterno has lost his job and it isn't even known at this point what he knew, when he knew it or what he was told by Curley and Schultz after he reported the incident to them. These men are charged with perjury for lying to the grand jury, is it a far stretch to consider they lied to a 75 year old Paterno? McQueary's career is basically over and his life threatened. Both those men assisted in the investigation and were witnesses for the prosecution. The grand jury found no reason to prosecute them, yet they are paying the price. The wrong message is being sent about what happens when you report witnessing a crime or even passing on indirect knowledge of a possible crime.

I am afraid the people convicting Paterno, McQueary, the Penn State football team, the students and the University as a whole in their outrage without waiting for all the facts are doing more harm to the cause than good. There are children in this very same situation right now. There are real people with real suspicions about real abusers at this very moment. Looking at the way the world is condemning everyone ever associated with Jerry Sandusky in the past would make me think twice about voicing any concern. The very real repurcussions affecting even people who continue to support Coach Paterno or who are calling for cooler heads to prevail and due process would almost make me hesitant to speak up...and that is coming from a victim. The thought police are out in force and people who are saying let's wait and see are accused or supporting pedophilia. If someone thinks it wasn't right to fire Coach Paterno so quickly, they are then accused of condoning child abuse. We cannot punish the people who appear to have tried to do the right thing, even if it was late in coming.

Again, I am very sorry you experienced abuse. I am sorry I experienced abuse. But convicting anyone in the court of public opinion is not the way to stop abuse.

Anonymous said...

Matt,
Thank you for your honest and sincere blog post.
Peace and blessings to you.
Love,
Stacy
Los Angeles, CA

Anonymous said...

I was drawn to this entry because I wanted to gain a sense of the level of control Paterno exerted over the program and the administration. There is a bit of that, but I wish that portion of the discussion was longer and more objective. The remarks about rumors of spousal abuse and coaches' showers have nothing to do with that theme ... and nothing to do with the Sandusky crimes. Both statements seem to betray a grudge. There's probably enough objective support for your topic that those facts are unnecessary.

Also, Sandusky should be described as Paterno's "prized former assistant," or "former prized assistant," because he most certainly was not a Paterno assistant at the time of the 2002 crime.

Beyond that, this is an interesting piece and you obviously have overcome much pain and sadness.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you. Open discussions will go a long way in preventing future abuse. Parents will know what to say to their children.

Anonymous said...

Hi Matt - I arrived on your blog from The New York Times, and I'm glad I was able to read your whole post, because it just confirms what I thought was going on at PSU - it's a veritable mini-church that was willing to sacrifice young kids on the altar to Joe Paterno and Penn State football to protect its name and reputation. Now at least we know what was truly going on there. Or at least it's a start.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your honesty and courage, Matt. I have some idea (from my sister) about how gut-wrenching it is for victims to speak out in these situations. I applaud you for standing up and for sharing your strength and perspective with others.
There is nothing that can excuse what happened at Penn State.

Anonymous said...

Matt,

Thank you for the honest and insightful blog post. I only wish others with knowledge of the disfunction at Penn would come out as well. Maybe then we could piece together how and when everything fell apart and who knew what.

I hope your honesty will help others who read this to perhaps come out with their own secrets of horrors. I say this especially with boys who have been victimized. I find the longer they hang on to it, the less likely they will ever speak of what happened to them. My brother is one of them. We (our family) know that he was molested by a priest (long story). He is now in his 50's and will most likely never be free of it. What does it look like, when one holds such a secret, particularly when it happened in a childs formative years---It's unexplained explosive anger, eating disorder (particularly overeating), failed marriages, attempted suicide, unable to hold jobs, inability to have initimate relationships, deliberate attempts to isolate themselves from loved ones. I could go on.

Please seek help. It is never too late. It could bring you peace and happiness.

From a sister who lost her brother at the age of 12.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for being so brave. Your honesty and courage will help us all.

Vicki C said...

I just remember the old tag line:
A man never stands so tall as when he stoops to help a child...
Unfortunately Jerry Sandusky and Joe Paterno and others associated with protecting that serial pedophile have left a legacy of abuse, callousness, degredation of the human spirit.

Anonymous said...

I read this post and the first think I said to myself was - Thank God. I say that for me. I was abused when I was a boy. My abuse started out as physical by my father. When he moved out I was so happy. However, my brother who was almost 20 years older than me, picked up right where my father started. His abuse would be physical, sexual and of course mental.

You are ashamed of it. Even now only my wife and a couple family members know the real truth. My wife who has known me for 29 years only found out about this recently.

Since the whole scandal broke, it has set something off inside of me. When I read Matt's post, it gave me the courage to write everything that happened down on paper. I have been writing non-stop. You can't believe how what happened over 30 years ago effects you in everything you do.

I too was an accomplished athlete. Physically very strong. I would go through so many different emotions, rage, depression, etc. I never wanted to admit to why I was going through this. I knew I had problems. I knew it was holding me back, but I have been paralyzed by it all.

I have made the mental decision to stop the insanity and move on. My own kids and my own family are too important to me. I can not continue to be abused anymore. I am going to stand up and I am going to move forward, even if it is just one small step at a time.

Thank you Matt.

Eve W. said...

Matt, my friend, you are not only a wonderful husband, father, friend and businessman...you are an inspiration. After reading the comments of the unfortunate many who have also experienced abuse at the hands of someone who should have been a trusted elder, I am absolutely convinced that you did the right thing by airing your "dirty laundry".

I'm sure it was a painful and difficult decision to come clean about your past but your words will (and already have) helped others...and that was your ultimate goal. You have succeeded. And your writings will continue to help many overcome the worst experience of their lives just knowing that it IS possible for them to overcome this type of atrosity AND to actually go on to be a productive, successful, trusting and loving person.

You are truly an inspiration and I am proud to know you, personally. Much love and respect, always,
Eve

Nomi said...

Matt,

I want to belatedly thank you for including the matter of Paterno and African-American quarterbacks, etc.
I respect Mr. Gaines' comments & research, but this doesn't negate what you witnessed.

We have so much work to do. Daunting, but the only way forward is with awareness & openness.

Christopher said...

Matt,

I was very touched by your blog entry is that I read today. Having experienced molestation as a young boy, having experienced the fear and loss of control that that brings, I am grateful that you have spoken out so eloquently about this. I agree with you that there is a huge rats nest of people who allowed this to occur.

I personally don't care how great the football program is at Penn State or Tuscaloosa or or or wherever the hell Texas A&M is. What I care about just people doing the right thing. Joe Paterno had to know. Many people had to know. And those people were willing to except the brutal rape of the young boy, of many young boys, in exchange for the glory of Penn State football.

This rat's next must be disinfected. People must never forget what happened there, what was allowed to happen there. And if necessary I see nothing wrong with deleting the football program at Penn State University. There are few things in life worse than having an adult male who is supposed to be protecting and sheltering and teaching and training and caring for you to reach into your pants and steal your childhood and hope and ability to trust This has got to stop. Thank you very much for your courage to write these things.

Christopher

Matt Paknis said...

Thank you for your heartfelt and, it's hoped, cathartic comments. I am thankful this is a forum where you feel safe to take another step to being whole. I encourage you continue your journey with a licensed professional. Happy Thanksgiving! You deserve it!

Matt Paknis said...

Also, I'm sorry I am unable to respond to each of you on an individual basis. Best wishes - Matt

Bob Irving said...

Matt, I read your interview on SI.com. I thought that piece was great but this one is outstanding. No wonder your clients like working with you.
Best,
Bob

Stephanie said...

Outstanding! God bless you!

Anonymous said...

Dear Matt,

This was a great article. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings. I am a victim of child sexual abuse and I have lived in a personal hell for the last 25 yrs. I did what you said. I turned him in. He was arrested. I wasn't believed by that side of the family; at least by one. The one that abused me was arrested, his hand was slapped and he was sent to counseling. He got out of counseling and continued to molest and to this day would still if he had the chance. My voice was heard for a day and then fell silent and I have lived in that silent world for the last 25 yrs. I'm now in counseling and working on finding my self-worth. It's a hard road to find let alone follow.
I hope your article saves many children. Merry Christmas.

Matt Paknis said...

Thank you for your continued thoughtful comments! They are very much appreciated!

I am in the process of developing additional support structures to inform about, expose, respond to, heal from, and prevent childhood sexual abuse. Will keep you posted.

Also, if the 49 years old male poster and from Chatham, NJ is reading, another person with Thad Alton experience contacted me and, if you are willing, would like to contact you. Please contact me via a google search if you are willing to speak with this person.

Thank you all for your comments and best wishes for a very good New Year!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this. Very clear and honest, and a healing message for others who have experienced the atrocities of child abuse.

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU. At times I felt sick to my stomach or tears in my eyes as I read this blog. Thinking of your ordeal, Sandusky's victims and my own.

THANK YOU for giving victims a voice and at the same time HOPE.

Anonymous said...

I just read this blog after following the Horace Mann and now the Delbarton cases. I noticed the below Anonymous post regarding The Pingry School (or Short Hills Country Day School) in Short Hills, NJ as I can also confirm this soccer/lacrosse coach and boy scout master abused me and other students at both the school, his residence adjacent to the school campus and on Boy Scout camping trips. This all occurred in the mid 1970's, all of my friends had run ins with this predator.

Anonymous said...
Matt, I came to your blog post through a mention of it in NYT college football blog. Our lives have odd parallels. I am 49 and grew up in Chatham NJ. I was abused by a boy scout master who was also an administrator at the Short Hills Country Day School and the Pingry Schools where I was student. There was a cover-up and this man, Thad P. Alton was never brought to justice for his NJ assaults although he was convicted of assaulting children in upstate NY.

I too am happily married over 20 years with 3 children and I have made peace with this unfortunate part of my childhood although here and there it rears its head in unexpected ways. When needed I have sought out assistance in sorting out my feelings and have always been better for it.

You have a great message in your blog; as a 49 year old man I felt comforted by it. Thank you for sharing in such a significant way.
November 16, 2011 3:41 PM

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the brutally honest post, more of what we need in this corrupt world. The sickness of the society we live in today celebrates winning football games and shuns the suffering of our children. Shame on Joe Paterno and may he rot in hell next to his friend Sandusky.

Anonymous said...

Alton is also a graduate of Horace Mann School.

Robert Mandelbaum said...

Excellent. Should be required reading for all kids entering the world of college athletics.

HonorTheTruth said...

3+ years later, I am reading this for the first time, sent here by my dearest cousin who has known Matt for years. While I am once again feeling incredibly anxious and physically sickened reading about these horrific crimes of repeated sexual assault and abuse of children, and the "blind eyes" turned from it all that allowed it to perpetuate... knowing the harm, the sequella, and the long road back all too well, I want to thank Matt for his strength, and the courage to honor the truth. I stand with you.

I read every comment here, and have to respond to this one which is so misguided that it needs correction:
"November 16, 2011 at 7:58 PM
JC said...
Well written article. However, I take issue with your comment and referring yourself as a "survivor". Survivor is better used for people who have SURVIVED something, such as cancer. They are true survivors. Now, what you and those kids went through is incredibly traumatic, but you didn't survive anything. You deal with it every day in your life, and trust me, I bet it is something that is incredibly difficult to deal with. However, survivor just isn't the right word. Take it from me, a survivor."

To JC, wherever you are, you are way off and it just goes to show what a tolerant person Matt is to not have deleted your egocentric comment. Who are you to deny someone else's reality or identity? Take it from me, a "double survivor" then. Being sexually assaulted can kill you just as easily as cancer. It can be so devastating that death either becomes an intrusive thought or seems like an option just to get away from the constant emotional and physical torment and cognitive/chemical brain changes. I've lived through both, and having cancer was way easier. Open your eyes to other people's devastating experiences, instead of shoving your concrete interpretation of what a survivor is in people's faces. And if you're still around to read this, do everyone a favor and delete your comment because, in your arrogance or naiveté , you're denying the reality of people who have been denied before and I'm calling bullsh*t on you and anyone else who thinks they can tell us we haven't SURVIVED. (I'm being polite right now because Matt is keeping it classy here, otherwise I'd have more accurate nouns and adjectives for you.)

James Pitkin, PI said...

Several commenters on this blog appear to have knowledge of Thad “Ted” Alton. Alton was a teacher and administrator at the Pingry School (aka Short Hills Country Day), a Boy Scout leader and a youth leader at Camp Waganaki in Maine. Alton may have gone on to teach elsewhere after leaving Pingry.

I’m a licensed private investigator who was hired to look into Alton’s time as a teacher and a youth leader. I would greatly appreciate hearing from anyone who has knowledge of Alton and his work among youth.

Sincerely,

James N. Pitkin

Oregon PI License #55062
Cell: (503) 381-5819
Email: james@fulcruminvestigation.com

Fulcrum Investigation, LLC
1631 NE Broadway #430
Portland OR 97232

Matt Paknis said...

Light beats darkness.

Positive beats negative.

Good beats evil.

There's hope, healing, and support.

You're not alone.

It's not your fault.

Healing is possible.

It's never too late.

Matt Paknis said...

http://www.pennlive.com/news/2017/06/judge_slams_paterno_mcqueary_a.html