Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Halfway there, I guess

My alma mater, Michigan State, has reached a $500 million settlement with the 326 or so victims of Larry Nassar's abuse, but it does not appear that they're agreeing to other things the victims desired, and quite frankly MSU ought to desire.  MSU still needs a top to bottom independent audit of all Title IX activities for the past 30 years, top to bottom independent audit of their HR files for the past 25 years, and top to bottom audit of the athletic department for the same period of time.  They also need annual sampling audits of all three functions--I'd argue for the next ten years--to make sure the bad habits don't come back, as well as a formal, public apology. 

It's a relief, but also a huge opportunity apparently squandered.  As such, MSU--and every other college in the country--is simply counting down the days until the next Larry Nassar scandal breaks.  And lookee here, it's a gynecologist at USC.   And a track coach at Arizona....come on, folks, it's only a matter of time before the complainant brings a gun or two instead of a lawyer.

In related news, it appears that the Michigan State legislature is working hard to squander a golden opportunity to fix statutes of limitations on child sexual assault.  By looking at who benefits--of course trial lawyers will benefit to some degree along with their clients--they're really missing the main question, which is whether the duration of effects of these crimes justify lengthening the statute of limitations. 

And given that rape is indeed a capital crime in the Torah, I think we have a principle we can act on.  Yes, longer civil and criminal statutes of limitations will cost money.  They will hurt organizations and benefit lawyers, yes.  On the flip side, if indeed the damage of sexual abuse is lifelong, isn't this an important part of helping the victims heal?

To be blunt, I've got a little bit of a dog in this fight, as my brother and I helped expose a predator when we were young pups.  Our babysitter was one of the abused, and "acted out" some of his abuse by giving us an impromptu sex ed lesson--no touching, but right in front of a picture window.  After we mentioned the incident to our parents, we got a new babysitter, and the perpetrator was "gently invited" to leave town by our former babysitter's father. 

And statistics are that up to 25% of young women (and 16% of young men) are molested by age 18; it's way more personal for them.  Maybe it's time to take this seriously.

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