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Jerry Sandusky

June 25, 2012

It brings tears. The entire story from start to finish makes me cry. Those poor kids. The community. Those people who didn’t connect the dots after learning about what he was doing. I don’t care what motivated them.

I also cry for the larger community, our country. I cry because at risk boys who need good role models will have an even harder time finding them. I spent several years working with Big Brothers/Big Sisters with a match. We did all kinds of things together, at times with my wife but others just he and I. He went into the same field that I did out of college, Graphic Design. I remember taking him up to where I worked and showing him the Ad agency I worked for. I remember letting him work on the computer. I remember us printing out his designs. I still have a framed drawing he created all of those years ago.

I also understand why we would never have our match for overnight stays. It just didn’t make sense to me why that would be necessary. If we had planned a trip together that would make sense but just for a weekend? Never.

Jerry Sandusky went to church. He sang the hymns. He sat on the pews. Probably dropped a check in the collection plate each Sunday. Probably talked to his fellow parishners after services.

What will our interaction be with at risk kids? I get to know a lot of kids through the school and church camp. How many years did Sandusky prey on boys? Clearly his background check would have come up clean before all of this.

In many ways it is a good reminder. Never be alone with young people. Never even make it look like you want to be alone with a young person. I love to fish but I will never go fishing with anyone unless several people go along. To even talk to a young person can have its problems.

Several years ago when we lived in Iowa there was a brother and sister who came by our house. I took time to pray for them today. We took them to church and I purchased them Bibles. We spent time shooting baskets and hanging out. They were allowed to wonder the streets on their own with very little supervision. I warned their mother that I didn’t think this was a good idea. We went to their home and tried to make a difference. Eventually it came to a point where we wouldn’t allow the girl into our home. The fear of how it might look to someone else.

Not that long ago I was up at one of our schools talking to a young man I know is at risk. We met at church camp several years ago. We talked and I told him we should get together and do something some time. A teacher in the area heard our conversation and immediately came over and started questioning me. I am glad the teacher was concerned, more people should have been at Penn State. How does the teacher know if I am telling the truth? He doesn’t. How does he know I have countless years under my belt working with kids without any inappropriate behavior? He doesn’t. No we live in a broken world where every conversation will be scrutinized.

It also reminds me that you can never assume the best. We should all be like the school teacher here. Don’t just assume everyone is okay. Child sexual abuse runs through my immediate and extended family. Don’t be afraid to ask. Children will rarely just come out and say sometihng is wrong. They will hint and imply to see what you will do. They want you to come to their rescue but they are afraid. The story from the trial is filled with countless red flags. Children making statements that they needed someone to take seriously. Don’t igonre what a child says. If nothing is going on no one should be concerned with being checked out.

When love is abused in such a despicable horrendous way we all lose. Those boys lost. How I cry for them. How I lift them up in prayer. Many more children are in the same place today. Keep your eyes open to what is happening around you.

Finally, don’t put yourself in bad situations and don’t stop trying to show the love of Jesus to the least of these because it can be such a hassle. I was talking to a boy just the other day that loves to fish and comes from a single parent home. I suggested our families go fishing together.

“And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.” John 3:19 ESV

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