As more details linked to the Penn State sex abuse scandal come to light, the news sounds eerily familiar to one Delaware non-profit organization.
“This just sounds like Earl Bradley all over again, doesn’t it,” asked Valerie Marek, Executive Director of SOAR.
Survivors of Abuse in Recovery (SOAR) is a Delaware non-profit dedicated to providing mental health help to sexual abuse victims. Marek’s organization played a critical role in Sussex County, treating many of Earl Bradley’s victims. The former Lewes pediatrician was found guilty this past summer on charges he sexually abused more than 100 of his young patients.
Former Penn State assistant football coach, Jerry Sandusky, is accused of raping and sexually abusing several young boys, charges Sandusky denies. Consequently, head coach Joe Paterno and a number of administrative higher-ups have been fired for not properly notifying authorities when reports of Sandusky sexually assaulting a boy on campus initially surfaced back in 2002.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if there were people out there that were saying, ‘I always suspected him,’ just like they did with Bradley, but they didn’t go forward,” said Marek. “I’m appalled at how many people really knew that were working within the university and flew under the radar, or thought they were above the law or thought they didn’t have to report this to the police.”
It’s a message Marek hopes is reinforced on college campuses across the country and here in Delaware. Meanwhile, Marek says Bradley’s victims might still be too young to understand the news coming out of Penn State, but adds it has precipitated a “retraumatization” for some of her other patients.