Why Do We Hate Accusers?

Why Do We Hate Accusers?

As anyone who has access to a TV or computer must know, the former defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky, allegedly molested 100’s of underage boys and used the University and his charitable group for troubles youths as covers.  It later came out that the assistant basketball coach at Syracuse, Bernie Fine, apparently abused at least three kids, two of whom were ball boys (insert juvenile joke here).

Before that, Herman Cain’s campaign blew up when a bunch of women came forward and said that he sexually harassed them and another said she had an affair with him while he was giving her money.  Apparently 9-9-9 isn’t a tax policy, but the number of women Cain has tried to get with that aren’t his wife (zing).

Cain predictably said his accusers were lying and alleged that these women were in it for the money.  He went in to attack mode and began investigating these people.  And while his numbers dropped eventually, his supporters stuck by them and railed on these women as leeches or worse.  It wasn’t until Cain stumbled over answers about what happened that he really suffered in the polls.

At Syracuse, the head coach, Jim Boeheim, insisted that Fine was innocent and that this was all about money.  Syracuse hoops fans rallied behind Fine and the school was behind him as well.  “We love you coach Fine” signs were sported at games.  It wasn’t until an audio recording came out that appears to prove the accusers are telling the truth that anyone seemed to believe they could be telling the truth.

Even at Penn St. where there was a pathetic cover up, many at first supported Sandusky and almost everyone at the school supported Joe Paterno who appears to have had the ability to stop the abuse that went on for decades, but failed to do so.  Yes he lost his job, but thousands rallied in his support.

We’ve all heard stories of women being afraid to report a rape or sexual assault.  I don’t get any of this.  Why do we assume that an accuser is lying and in many cases, attack them as whores, opportunists, money grabbers, etc.?

Do you want to go on national TV and tell everyone that your coach anally raped you?  I wouldn’t.   Can you imagine how hard it was for the kids at Penn St. to come forward when the abuse was happening on campus with the apparent knowledge of the head football coach who there is held on the same status as God?  I’m sure there isn’t much glory in it.

Naysayers will say that some accusers are in it just for the money.  I can tell from experience of having helped bring lawsuits against the Catholic Church for sexual misconduct, defendants don’t roll over very quickly or easily on these charges.  Penn St. knows they messed up big time, but to assume that anyone who says they were abused has just won the lottery is a big mistake.

If the Bernie Fine case was at the University of Illinois, the victims would likely get nothing from the school because it does not appear that the school had any knowledge of what was happening and in IL that gives them immunity because it’s a public school.  Maybe that’s why you haven’t seen any of these cases in Illinois.  Or maybe it’s that almost no one would come forward with something so awful without it having actually happened.

It would absolutely suck to be accused of molesting or raping someone or any other crime or bad behavior if it wasn’t true and of course false accusations are made.  But fair or unfair I tend to believe that where there is smoke there’s fire (see: the above cases, plus Tiger Woods, Ben Roethlisberger, Bill Clinton, Jesse Jackson, Michael Jackson, Newt Gingrich, OJ Simpson (both times), Roman Polanski, Phil Spector, Robert Blake, most Illinois Governors) and with the exception of the Duke lacrosse team that for the most part has been proven true.

So the next time someone is accused of something, while we should give them the presumption of innocence, let’s not act like a-holes and make any other victim afraid to come forward because of the hatred they will receive at a moment when they are being very brave. 

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    A few days after news of the tragedy broke, the media reported, “The school considered cancelling the [Nebraska] game but decided it would be unfair to players and fans, board member Linda Strumpf told Reuters.”

    Unfortunately, the bigger point is being missed. Coaches and administrators need to be better deterred from covering for sports programs when the sexual innocence of children is at risk. Firings and jail time are not enough. Shutting down such sports programs adds a lot. No one wants to be responsible for such an outcome. Accordingly, the Penn State football program needs to be shut down for at least the same number of years that the allegations of sexual misconduct were covered up.

    Over the years, a number of collegiate basketball and football programs have been shut down for multiple years for various combinations of academic fraud, point shaving scandals, and recruiting violations. Those situations pale in comparison to what happened with the Penn State football program.

  • A number of programs? I can't think of anyone since SMU in the 1980's.

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    I think people who are upset can't see beyond their football program is all. I know it puts a damper on the school but would it be different if a police officer caught the accused? For instance, in NIU recently (I mean in recent years) several recent graduates have been accused of crimes. Most noteworthy an attorney accused of providing prostitution services. No one is mad at the acusser there because its the States Attorneys Office so it must be correct. I think the public need to let the facts play out in court.
    - I'm interested in what you have to say.

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