Too Close To Home

by Diana Durrill

As I heard the news today and read through the Freeh Report and the Louis Freeh Press Release, I couldn’t help but find the following statements to be eerily similar to the ABWE story.  I’ve copied a few of the similarities here:

1.  “The most saddening finding by the Special Investigative Counsel is the total and consistent disregard by the most senior leaders at Penn State for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s child victims.” page 14

2.  “Four of the most powerful people at The Pennsylvania State University…failed to protect against a child sexual predator…These men concealed Sandusky’s activities from the Board of Trustees, the University community and authorities. They exhibited a striking lack of empathy for Sandusky’s victims by failing to inquire as to their safety and well‐being…” page 14

3.  “Some coaches, administrators and football program staff members ignored the red flags of Sandusky’s behaviors and no one warned the public about him.” page 15  

4.  “Through counsel, Curley and Schultz stated that the “humane” thing to do in 2001 was to carefully and responsibly assess the best way to handle vague but troubling allegations. According to their counsel, these men were good people trying to do their best to make the right decisions.” pages 15-16

5. “…in order to avoid the consequences of bad publicity, the most powerful leaders at the University – Spanier, Schultz, Paterno and Curley – repeatedly concealed critical facts relating to Sandusky’s child abuse from the authorities, the University’s Board of Trustees, the Penn State community, and the public at large.” page 16

6. “The avoidance of the consequences of bad publicity is the most significant, but not the only, cause for this failure to protect child victims and report to authorities. The investigation also revealed:

  • A striking lack of empathy for child abuse victims by the most senior leaders of the University.
  • A failure by the Board to exercise its oversight functions in 1998 and 2001 by not having regular reporting procedures or committee structures in place to ensure disclosure to the Board of major risks to the University.
  • A failure by the Board to make reasonable inquiry in 2011 by not demanding details from Spanier and the General Counsel about the nature and direction of the grand jury investigation and the University’s response to the investigation.
  • A President who discouraged discussion and dissent.
  • A lack of awareness of child abuse issues, the Clery Act, and whistleblower policies and protections.
  • A decision by Spanier, Schultz, Paterno and Curley to allow Sandusky to retire in 1999, not as a suspected child predator, but as a valued member of the Penn State football legacy, with future “visibility” at Penn State and ways “to continue to work with young people through Penn State,” essentially granting him license to bring boys to campus facilities for “grooming” as targets for his assaults. Sandusky retained unlimited access to University facilities until November 2011.
  • A football program that did not fully participate in, or opted out, of some University programs, including Clery Act compliance. Like the rest of the University, the football program staff had not been trained in their Clery Act responsibilities and most had never heard of the Clery Act.
  • A culture of reverence for the football program that is ingrained at all levels of the campus community.” page 17
I don’t know about you, but I found the things stated in this report to be way too close to home.  I find it sad that ABWE didn’t get it right in the 70’s, or in 1987, 1989, nor again in 2002.  It was heartbreaking and shameful when they put out false statements at the beginning of this in March of 2011, again choosing to not make it right until their hand was forced.  I imagine that as the news of the Freeh Report hit the airwaves today, a tremendous silence fell over “The Hill” and surrounding communities. Oh, to think that it could’ve been so different…

About Bangladesh MKs Speak

We are a group of American former missionary kids (MKs) who lived in Bangladesh while Donn Ketcham worked as a missionary doctor there with the mission agency Association of Baptists for World Evangelism (ABWE) out of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
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4 Responses to Too Close To Home

  1. Jo says:

    Thank you, Diana, for this chilling comparison.

  2. D.S. says:

    I see this correlation – Penn State/ABWE, Sandusky/Ketchum, Paterno/Ebersole(and others)

    Is there any way to know if ABWE is doing the right thing now? (e.g. an above and beyond cooperation with GRACE, attitude of repentance,etc.)

  3. Bill-Patti Lee says:

    Thank God for the AG in the state that is willing to charge ALL those involved with the hiding of information and the cover up, thus giving this despicable man access to more children.

    As I listened to the report on Bill O’Reily/Fox News last night I thought of how easily ABWE could be the subject matter. I also wondered how any past or current administrative staff or board members could lay their head on a pillow and sleep.

    Also encouraging, the fact that these horrible abuses happened years ago, will NOT keep justice from the people involved.

    You would think in light of these events, ABWE would be BEGGING the “ladies of the blog” for forgiveness for their lack of “due diligence” and finally want to take the RIGHT action, and stop repeating/ responding EXACTLY with the same actions as those being charged with felonies at Penn State.

    Obviously, standing righteous before God is not an issue with ABWE, maybe the law of the land, and the SEVERE penalty for those that choose NOT to follow the law, will encourage them to take the right action.

    We shall see!

    • ashamed says:

      I hope the very public condemnation of the pedophile and those who tolerated, enabled, or covered for him at Penn State will force more people to see the obvious parallels with the situation at ABWE. Even down to the detail that those now deceased who were complicit are still held accountable in a roundabout way as evidenced this past week with the destruction of the Paterno shrine at Penn State. Now is not the time to name hospitals or athletic centers after Wendell Kempton. As for those still living, at Penn State there are at least 3 people facing jail time while ABWE still seems unwilling to even mention anyone (Ebersole, Davis, etc.) by name.

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