Children’s advocates hope Sandusky case will bring positive changes

    The cries are coming from all corners–for the resignation of Penn State President Graham Spanier over what critics see as failures to report alleged child abuse in the Jerry Sandusky case.

    Children’s advocates say all institutions should use the investigation as a reminder to check their own policies on reporting abuse.

    They say they hope the scandal that has enveloped Penn State University doesn’t overshadow larger lessons about the importance of protecting vulnerable children.

    Sandusky, a Penn State football defensive coordinator,  was arrested Saturday on charges of molesting eight boys over 15 years. A grand jury report says senior Penn State officials failed to report abuse allegations to police.

    Cathleen Palm, who heads the Protect Our Children Committee, said it doesn’t surprise her that the victims of alleged abuse were involved in programs designed to help at-risk children.

    “All children are vulnerable,” Palm said. “But often times, it’s kids who are increasingly vulnerable because they may have an unstable family life or they may live in poverty and so people who are genuine predators … know that.”

    Jennifer Storm, a Penn State alumna and director of the Victim Witness Assistance Program, said the university needs a clear policy on reporting abuse and victimization.

    Earlier this week, Penn State’s board of trustees agreed to create a task force to address their policy related to children’s safety.

    The board will meet again Friday, and Gov. Tom Corbett has said he’ll attend.

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