One question a lot of people are asking in the wake of the Penn State scandal is: Why didn’t anyone who knew about Jerry Sandusky‘s crimes go to the police?
Mark P. McKenna has a theory about it — and it connects to the Catholic Church:
… I have significant doubts about what an associate at a law firm (or a junior person at Goldman Sachs, or an intern in Congress) would do if he witnessed a sexual assault. Because this is not about a problem at some other institution; it’s a reflection of a universal human tendency to look out for oneself, and to preserve hierarchical institutions about which one cares and upon which one is dependent. It’s also a reflection of the nearly boundless capacity to ignore inconvenient facts and to make excuses for those within our own circle. Think about the Catholic Church. Predators flourished in parishes for years, not simply (and probably not even primarily) because higher-ups worried about financial exposure. They flourished because many otherwise good people could not bring themselves to believe or to act upon information that their priest was a rapist.
Part of the education that needs to happen right now is making sure people know that even when people they love commit a crime as awful as child molestation (or other types of physical abuse), there’s no reason to keep that information to yourself. And you’re never to blame for what happens to the rapists and abusers. By turning them in to the authorities, you’re making sure the abuse stops there and no one else gets hurt. No one should keep that information to themselves for any reason.