(WASHINGTON POST)–Today, more details about the Penn State sex scandal will be revealed when former FBI director and federal judge Louis Freeh issues his report. Some of us might be tempted to look away from some of the sad and sordid details. But Kathy Johnson Clarke thinks it’s about time we pay even more attention.
Clarke, an Olympic medalist who was the U.S. women’s gymnastics team captain during the 1984 games, has been witnessing the unfolding scandal with knowing disgust. She learned, years after the fact, that two different coaches of hers had pressured teammates into sexual relationships.
One of them, Don Peters, her former Olympic coach, was banned last year from coaching by the USA Gymnastics league after an investigation into allegations by former gymnasts.
Clarke has heard echoes of those experiences in the Penn State episode: Too many people did not follow through on their suspicions, and officials charged with oversight chose to look the other way.
“The most frustrating and infuriating part,” she said of the abuse by her coaches, “was learning that there had been rumors flying at the time, even mention of the sexual contact in a published book, and yet no one with the authority to do so took the responsibility to investigate or even approach the victim to see if it was true and what could be done to help her, much less try to prosecute the predator and prevent it from happening again. Where were the responsible adults?
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