Like most of the nation, my heart has been aching for the victims of Jerry Sandusky's alleged pedophilic crimes. It rocks the world as we know it, especially that of a parent, when well-known and highly trusted members of our community turn out to be child predators of the most horrific kind. When it comes to our kids, in fact, there is nothing scarier than a complete monster in sheep's clothing. This guy seems to have had everyone fooled.
While our hearts continue to go out to the victims and we question why these crimes were allowed to go on for as long as they did when Sandusky was "caught in the act" of his alleged assaults on children on more than one occasion by more than one adult, it also brings up another very scary notion. What happens when the monster in sheep's clothing turns out to be a member of our own family? This is when the real terror begins.
Amid the Sandusky scandal, there are not only the alleged victims who were kids Sandusky knew at the time through his charitable sports organization, but Sandusky and his wife also have six adopted children and six grandchildren. Doesn't that make your heart weep with worry? Well, it is being reported that a court order is now in place that bars Sandusky from seeing at least three of his grandchildren. And thank god!
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This means that at least one of the parents of the Sandusky grandchildren has taken serious and strong action in the name of her children's safety in light of these nightmarish allegations (some reports say the legal order was obtained by Jill Jones, ex-wife to Matt Sandusky; the couple has a shared custody agreement). This parent is doing the absolute right thing to this alleged monster, possibly something her ex-husband or son couldn't bring himself to do. I don't know this, of course, but I can see how it happens.
When sex abuse charges come out, the psychology gets very twisted within the family unit. There have been bajillions of cases of spouse and child loyalties to alleged molesters and even convicted molesters. It's as if the years of looking up to a well-respected man and believing you knew his trickster heart of gold turned people into soggy, powerless, and completely blinded members of society. So thank god, at least one parent in the Sandusky family has her head on straight. I can't even imagine finding out that your children's Grandpa is a total threat to your children years into parenthood, as surely some of Sandusky's family has. Talk about stomach turning!
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I don't know how this thing is going to play out from here, but I'm heartsick with the feeling that many more adult men are going to come forth with accusations about Sandusky's decades-long crime spree against children. It's a horror we cannot fathom. Especially, I imagine, for the people in his inner circle and possibly within his own family. Life does have the tendency to turn on a dime from time to time, but even so, as parents caught up in a life-changing nightmare like this one, we must always keep our children safe while our hearts catch up to what our heads have just figured out.
Does this story make you worry more about what's lurking in your community?
Image via chris.vandyck/Flickr