Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Next Penn State In The Making? New Hampshire Colleges Caught With Their Pants Down

It recently came to light in the New Hampshire local news that a close friend of mine was the victim of several sexually explicit overtures during his time at New England College by a trusted member of the community, the former head men's basketball coach (look it up). Arguably worse, when my friend and his teammates (also victims of this individual's sexual abuse) told NEC school officials, they did nothing....sound familiar? As this story unfolds, we could be potentially looking at a large-scale cover-up of sexual abuse on multiple college campuses in one concentrated area. These institutions and their "guidelines to protect the students" they are "sworn to protect" are ironically the SAME "guidelines" that these child sexual predators are using for their own protection. What might soon be uncovered in NH, is a raw look into "how" these predators swarm our college campuses like a plague of locusts only seen or heard of in Biblical times. Make no mistake about it parents, friends and neighbors - this is a problem of epic that affects us all NOW and for the foreseeable future...

In 2014, after the national spectacle of Penn St./Jerry Sandusky, the atrocities that were performed, not only by Sandusky, but everyone that covered it up, are apparently being repeated on an albeit smaller scale. How can this happen again? Didn't we as a society set a scary enough precedent/example by punishing Penn St. and Jerry Sandusky? Didn't we send a message to the perverts that were still on campuses or thinking about making school campuses their "safe havens"? Apparently not! Not as a legal system, or as citizens!!! I thought the children were our future according to Whitney Houston? How can we have the moral authority on anything when we don't even act to protect our own? Now in NH, as in the Penn St. case, this is about to turn into an out of control freight train...we find out that numerous people and organizations that have the power and authority to take action, did quite the appears this individual's work roles on campus via a school website page were deleted while an ongoing investigation is still going on (no indication who performed this 'scrubbing'), and not nearly enough resources were allocated to investigate even though the campus knew the severity of the problem. These kinds of allegations are always a nightmare for an institution, especially in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky scandal here in Pennsylvania. But the collective 'deer in headlights' response by these blowhards to any accusation is comical yet predictable. Nobody wants this stuff to happen, and nobody intends to cover it up. But what inevitably happens every single time is just the opposite of the intended response - the issues get covered up and eventually the poop starts leaking out the top like a clogged toilet. And instead of pie on their face, it's fecal matter. THAT is what the University System of New Hampshire is now dealing with. Let's quickly go back in time and recap the allegations. 

New England College

Before I go any further, this is all part of the public record and corroborated by other parties as determined by the academic institution, culminating in the termination of said employee, so I'm not trying to be a 'super-sleuth' and destroy someone's reputation for no reason. Read the Keene Sentinel newspaper for a great summary of this (what follows below is the detailed CONTENT of what led to this individual's termination). Ok, so a former head coach of New England College's mens basketball team garnered a creepy reputation by constantly asking his players sexual questions about their genitals and what kind of sexual acts they like to perform. He would gain his players' trust and then ask the normal basketball questions like (WARNING: GRAPHIC):
  • "How big is your penis?" 
  • "How, and how much do you masturbate?"
  • "Rate the players penis sizes on the team from biggest to smallest."
  • "How long do you last when you masturbate?"
  • "Would you like me to tell you ways you can last longer?"
  • On a few occasions would also be masturbating on the phone while asking a common player/coach question like, "Would you like to stay over my house? I only have bunk-beds but that's ok, kiddo, you can have the bottom."
This went on from 2000-2002 during the coach's tenure there. It caused anger, emotional anguish, bouts of depression (traumatic events such as rape and sexual assault have, aside from obvious physical traumas, profound long-term psychological effects on all victims including but not limited to children who are assault victims. These include: denial, helplessness, dislike of sex, anger, self-blame, anxiety, shame, nightmares, fear, depression, flashbacks, guilt, rationalization, mood-swings, numbness, promiscuity, loneliness, social anxiety, difficulty trusting oneself or others, difficulty concentrating. Family and friends experience emotional scarring including a strong desire for revenge, a desire to "fix' the problem and/or move on, and a rationalization that "it wasn't that bad"). But no worries - the coach was "allowed to just leave the college" and because he was never reported, eventually joined Keene State College in July 2005. Emails of his misconduct were sent to NEC school officials beginning in 2002...and again in 2005. This was reported in the Keene Sentinel recently, so again, I'm not casting baseless aspersions here. Nothing was done at the time (typical), and one official at NEC asked the anonymous victim to forward the email to Keene State College directly. End transmission out of NEC.

Keene State College

This individual resurfaced as the Director of Basketball Operations, program coordinator at the Youth Student Center, and ran the Nite Owl Cafe at the student center. He was also the 'voice' of Keene State's athletic broadcasts, culminating in a tenure as Director of Basketball Operations for the school in 2010. Unfortunately, they were employing a sexual deviant all along and no action was taken to rid the community of him. The claims from NEC victims started in 2005, to the then athletic director, and then began pouring in May of 2011 by multiple past NEC players. What did the senior leadership including athletic directors and mens basketball coaching staff of Keene State College do about these serious allegations? NOTHING! Sound familiar? How could a guy so involved in the school community be a perv? This just can't be! As a devout Catholic, I'm overly sensitive to pedophiles and others of their ilk being allowed to simply 'move jobs' and sweep stuff under the carpet. Nobody has any patience for it, and it seems like we as a society always instantaneously blame the whistleblowers whenever our rosy view of reality is tampered with. This looming 'scandal' is no different.

University of New Hampshire

Last week, news broke of a UNH athletics employee who was terminated and subsequently arrested for locker room voyeurism, which was alleged to have included secretly photographing players changing after a game. Yet another member of the community who volunteers his time with lots of athletic and community programs. How could he ever do such a thing? Anyway, when confronted by police via a search warrant, he hastily tried to hide/destroy evidence on his cell phone and generally engaged in resisting arrest. Preeeeeetttty sure that constitutes tampering or falsifying evidence, brosef. But I'm sure you weren't hiding anything related to your spelunking. No confirmation of whether or not he asked the police officers if they needed to take a quick shower or not before their search. 

So now we have three New Hampshire schools embroiled in less-than-savory happenings, and the question begs to be asked - are these events linked? What is being done to keep creepers like this off of university campuses? Is there a 'coaching tree' that arranges for these sleazeballs to land work at basketball institutions across New Hampshire? Rumors at Penn State is that Sandusky was part of a larger child prostitution/rape ring with wealthy community members - is this a Division III version of that in NH? How did the NEC coach become a coach so quickly and rise to a prominent rank in the athletic community despite a three year stint at Bank of America in the years preceding his head coaching gig? Why weren't emails responded to at NEC when complaints were filed? Why weren't they responded to at KSC? How did UNH let this video camera creeper into their inner circle? Is there someone connected to these two perverts? Have investigators looked in to WHO brought these men to campus? Is mens basketball such a sacred cow at these schools that sexual deviants must have their acts swept under the carpet? WHO HIRES THESE PEOPLE?!?!?

Luckily, things are moving. To her credit, New Hampshire Governor Margaret Hassan has reached out to Todd Leach, chancellor of the University System of New Hampshire (USNH) to make any findings from these investigations available to the general public. Contrast this response to the response of current Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett (then State Attorney General) - an insistence on more victims before fast-tracking the case and applying the full-court press on the investigation. Feet Dragging 101. He was also interested in running for governor at the time, so naturally didn't give this the time of day. Finally, it was Penn State and Joe Paterno's football program. We can't let anything disturb that. Hassan at least appears to get it (conveniently in an election year). Here's a recent letter that she sent out - so kudos to her acting as quickly as she could:

But it needs to go beyond that. Listening to school personnel spew platitudes about how they have a specific process and protocol for these types of cases and then constantly breaking that protocol and panicking when trouble lurks does not instill faith in the student community. Ignoring emails, hoping they'll go away, and allowing staff to move on to different gigs is no different than what's going on in the Vatican and various archdioceses (sp?) across the globe. Let's hope this spate of scandals is the last for quite some time. More to follow as things heat up!

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