Published: Tuesday, January 10, 2012, 5:00 AM
By Rep. Thomas P. Murt
“Grand jury investigations into the recent child sex abuse scandals that have rocked Penn State and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia have placed the issue of child sex abuse onto the front burner in Pennsylvania — where it belongs.
I serve on the Child and Youth Committee and have listened to and read many hours of excruciatingly painful testimony from victims and their families describing the most heinous sexual abuse imaginable.
The institutional cover-ups and subsequent ill-treatment of victims have made these terrible situations even worse. It’s a sad day, indeed, when concern for institutional risk management trumps uncovering the truth.
I recently listened to testimony concerning two perpetrators who were Franciscan friars and who taught at Archbishop Ryan High School when I was on the faculty there. As a lifelong Catholic, a former parochial school teacher and a religious education instructor, I am filled with anguish over these incidents.
I also am a proud Penn State alumnus, and I still teach at the PSU Abington campus. I believe that Penn State is a jewel in the crown of our great commonwealth. Thus, everything I’ve learned about the Jerry Sandusky scandal and the devastation it has wrought pains me to the core.
Rather than allow myself to become protective of the alleged and convicted criminals in these institutions that I hold most dear, I am compelled by my conscience and by my office to act on behalf of the victims until the perpetrators have been punished and justice has been served.
It’s not going to be easy. But it is up to me and to all elected state officials, regardless of their affiliations, to act with integrity, strength and righteousness — right now. It’s time to open the window …” Read the full op-ed here.