Growing Number of Sandusky Accusers Raises Questions

footballI got into a huge argument with my husband last night over the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal. "Fifty charges now?!?" He said. "Ten victims? Fifteen years? How did he find the time? And why is it all coming out now?" It's not that he doesn't believe Sandusky sexually molested anyone -- it's those big numbers he's questioning. He thinks the case is starting to turn into the Salem witch trials.

He's starting to wonder, maybe some of the charges come from false memory syndrome -- when people "remember" something that never actually happened, but they're convinced that it did. "NO WAY!" I said. But I know it's happened before.


In the 1990s, after famous women like Oprah Winfrey came out publicly with their stories of childhood incest, other victims finally found the courage to face their own troubled histories. But then people started undergoing repressed memory therapy -- and then more and more people (mostly women) were remembering being molested as children. Except many of these memories turned out to be false.

The circumstances behind the false memories of the 1990s are very different from the Sandusky case now. And it feels horribly disrespectful and just plain wrong to question the boys and young men who have come forward as victims. And yet, that little seed of doubt has been planted in my mind.

On the other hand, having more victims come forward does make the case against Sandusky stronger. Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman explains why so many victims would wait until now to reveal their experiences. "Victims do often gather courage from the fact that others have come forward and it is not unusual for new victims to surface when multiple sex offense violations have been filed and become public," Stedman said. I agree with Stedman's perspective. But I still can't help remembering what happened in the 1990s.

Do you remember the false memory syndrome cases of the 1990s? Do you think that might be at play with the Sandusky case, or do you think it's wrong to even consider it?


Image via Jayel Aheram/Flickr

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