Penn State students put feet down to stamp out child sexual abuse

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By Centre Daily Times reporter, Mike Dawson — mdawson@centredaily.com

UNIVERSITY PARK — A Penn State student-organized walk raised more than $8,300 that will be used to educate local people about preventing and recognizing child [sexual] abuse.

Donning dark blue T-shirts, about 100 students looped around campus Wednesday for the walk sponsored by Penn State’s chapter of Darkness to Light, a national organization dedicated to stopping child [sexual] abuse. Joining them was Jay Paterno, the honorary chairman of the walk.

Student organizer Lance Chappelle said his group hopes to make a “positive difference” in the fight against child [sexual] abuse in central Pennsylvania since the Jerry Sandusky scandal spotlighted the horrors of the issue. Walk participants donated $10 to register, and the group had been collecting donations — even an anonymous one for $1,000, Chappelle said.

This year’s event netted $8,326 that will provide funding to train 832 people on the Darkness to Light program called Stewards of Children. Last year, the same event raised $5,000, and all the money went toward the training.

Paterno said the students’ efforts to prevent child abuse were “impressive.”

“One of the most impressive things that’s happened at this university has been the response by students to the events of the past two years,” Paterno said, referring to awareness-raising walks such as the one Wednesday and other events, such as last weekend’s “blue out” at Beaver Stadium. “This thing thrives in the darkness of our ignorance of the issue.”

Students at the walk said they were proud to take part in a noble cause.

“We want to come out to show support and get in front of the movement,” said walker Adam Bruskin, a student from the Philadelphia suburb of Elverson, who participated with 15 of his fraternity brothers.

Students Lena Fekkak, of Rockville, Md., and Andrew Tamaccio, of Reading, were glad to show their support, too, and they said they think the student body in general has become more aware of child abuse given the Sandusky crimes.

Advocates here so far have provided the Stewards of Children training to 3,000 people. The goal is 5,800, which would be 5 percent of the county’s population and a level considered as the tipping point to spark change in a community.

The walk’s participants included Penn State professor Susan McHale and the executive director of the National Children’s Alliance, Teresa Huizar. McHale had helped to organize a conference on campus earlier Wednesday that focused on the development of children’s advocacy centers and multi-agency investigative teams to protect child victims, and Huizar was the keynote speaker.

Like Paterno, Huizar was impressed with the walk and she said she hopes the students continue with their momentum for the cause.

One response to “Penn State students put feet down to stamp out child sexual abuse

  1. This whole topic makes me sick and pissed off. i have read the incmntdeit and I am not going to defend JoPa or any of the administration at Penn State that heard what was happening with Sandusky and the boy in the shower. With that being said I believe that everyone’s anger is directed at the wrong person. We should be extremely disappointed with the way the situation was handled by the administration at Penn State but the real focus should be on the grad student. He is the one that after being an eye witness to a rape did nothing to stop it but run home to tell his father. Upon disusing the scene with him he decided to wait a full day to report the incident not to the police but to JoPa. Who in turn relayed what he had been told to his supervisors. At this point everything is one mans word against another. This is where the administration is at fault for not reporting something of this nature to the police. However, as a male in my 20s I do not understand how someone who is a former football player and physically fit did not beat the piss out of a man they see raping a young boy. Instead of running away and hiding for 10 years this grad student should have taken immediate action by putting on his big boy pants and calling the police himself. This man (at this point in time) is still on the coaching staff at Penn State. Now people are calling for a self imposed death penalty at Penn State because football is too important to the school. Lets get one thing straight here. Football should be about the guys playing the sport. None of which have done anything wrong. Why punish them? With the incident that has taken place Penn State will see enough damage to their school and legacy. It has been a sad week for college football

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