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In Penn State Scandal, Echoes Of Clergy Abuse in Boston27:59


Jerry Sandusky will have his day in court. The former Penn State defensive coordinator will face a jury. Abuse victims, if they choose to testify, will face him. This is a case that will wind its way through the legal system toward a verdict we cannot presume, but toward some form of justice.

In other words, the process of holding individuals to account is already underway in the Penn State sexual abuse scandal. But what about institutional accountability? What about the culture and hierarchy at Penn State that seemed to do little when the first accusations of abuse were made against Sandusky years ago?

Those are some of the questions that resonate deeply here in Boston, where, of course, more than a decade ago the scandal of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy was brought to light. What at first looked like the criminal actions of individual priests soon expanded into widespread and intense criticism of the Catholic Church itself. To this day, some abuse victims demand the institution of the Church be held to account.

So today on the show, we're going to talk about Penn State and Boston. About powerful men, cultures of silence, and institutions that look the other way.

How do you think the Penn State scandal has expanded the conversation about child sexual abuse here in Boston? Boston Catholics — how did the story hit you? For everyone, individuals go to trial, but what about institutions? What, if anything, can and should be done to change the culture in any organization that has stood by as children were abused?


  • Mitchell Garabedian, attorney
  • Mike Pesca, sports commentator, NPR

This program aired on November 17, 2011.

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