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Nassar and Mich. State Are Sandusky 2.0

Nassar and Mich. State Are Sandusky 2.0
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By    |   Thursday, 01 February 2018 03:14 PM

In 2005, Michael Jackson stood trial for allegedly molesting children. The charges stemmed from purported incidents in 2003, but rumors of the pop star’s behavior with children had been swirling since the early-1990s.

Yet in the succeeding years, despite numerous red flags, many parents entrusted their children to Jackson anyway. The pop star routinely shared pillow talk with the ultra-young. As he reportedly explained, "I have slept in a bed with many children."

While Jackson was not convicted of any crimes, he reportedly doled out a whopping $200 million in settlements to 20 alleged victims. But that’s not the point.

The real question is why any parents in their right mind would willingly drop their children, literally, into the arms of an individual with a highly-questionable reputation.

Even naïve parents should have had the inkling that something was amiss with an adult who preferred sleeping with children, and, consequently, erred on the side of caution by avoiding that situation entirely.

Despite the warning signs, however, some parents still did the unthinkable, leaving millions across the country shaking their heads in disbelief.

But in the wake of the Michigan State and USA Gymnastics sexual molestation scandal, in which at least 160 girls and women were violated by Dr. Larry Nassar, it appears that some parents learned nothing from the Michael Jackson scandal.

Now the nation is reeling, once again asking how this could have happened, who was responsible, and why no one intervened. And right on cue, vows of "never again" are emanating from all corners.

Unfortunately, if history is any guide, it will happen again.

When it does, we will continue to ask the same old questions, perpetuating a vicious cycle. Only when our society, and, specifically, those faced with difficult circumstances, are willing to take a courageous stand — material things and egos be damned — will things actually change.

Recent events serve as a compelling backdrop to the Michigan State/Dr. Nassar story:

The pedophile scandal of the Catholic Church, one enabled and perpetuated by clergy around the world. It reached all the way to the top in its complicity;

The Penn State/Jerry Sandusky child sex scandal where numerous people looked the other way, including then-Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett, who could have arrested Sandusky much earlier. Instead Corbett chose to act only after being elected governor;

The unchecked sexual harassment in Hollywood, politics, sports and the media, enabled by powerful people, choosing silence and self-interest over action, at the expense of so many who naively entered the wolf’s lair becoming victims.

These horrific scandals continued for years, were well-known to many both in and out of a particular industry. Those scandals were enabled by people either refusing to believe the truth right in front of their eyes — or refusing to intervene so as to not rock the boat.

And yet it is clear that the Michigan State/Larry Nassar situation is no different. Lessons have not been learned.

Stating the obvious, Larry Nassar is a monster and coward who used his authority to prey upon nearly 200 unsuspecting women and girls by molesting them during examinations.

These were people who justifiably ceded control of their bodies to a medical professional, one who was supposed to help, heal, and harness their power as athletes — and females. In return for that trust, he scarred them forever with his unfettered perversions.

However, one does not, indeed cannot, molest hundreds over two decades without someone noticing.

Of course, some did notice: Nassar’s patients. Problem was, when some went to university officials to report inappropriate exams, they were routinely dismissed and told to forget their "misunderstandings" of such a renowned physician.

The list of Nassar enablers is long. It includes doctors, university officials, the U.S. Olympic Committee, USA Gymnastics, and even law enforcement, each failing several times to bring charges against Nassar, when the evidence existed to do so.

But responsibility for most enabling Nassar must reside with many of the gymnasts’ parents. Just as parents allowed their children to sleep with Michael Jackson, so too did parents continue sending their daughters back to training facilities where Nassar was.

One mother asked how she could have missed all the red flags. The answer may lie in parents ignoring the red while fixating on gold — Olympic Gold. Given that millions of parents have become maniacal fanatics about everything-sports as it relates to their kids — since their children will undoubtedly be the next sports prodigies — is it really outside the realm of possibility to think that some parents ignored the concerns of their daughters as a way to keep their Olympic Gold meal ticket on track?

These athletes may have been elite, but they were also just normal girls who experienced the same joys and fears and doubts of girls everywhere. So you can be sure many of them called Mom and Dad when they felt something wasn’t quite right.

No, they weren’t doctors, but when they went in for an earache or pulled shoulder muscle, only to have Nassar invasively examine areas with whole different geographies, that would have been enough for many to call home, confiding in their parents.

Yet how many immediately drove to their daughter’s aid? How many reported such incidents to coaches and Olympic Committee members? How many confronted Nassar himself? How many went to the police?

Not very many. Nassar reportedly even molested some girls while the mothers were present. Sorry, but if you can’t read the distress signs on your daughter’s face, you’re either not cut out for parenthood — or you’re in it for some other reason; willing to lie to yourself, at your daughter’s expense to achieve that goal.

We’ve seen it time and again. Tilence on harassment to get the coveted movie role, remaining mum even after making it big; nonaction on Sandusky to attain a governorship, and, for others, to maintain the reputation of a hallowed football program and its coaches; priests, cardinals, and yes, even popes, committing sins of omission to enable preying in lieu of praying. And yes, parents who chose not to take on the church, looking the other way so as to not become a pariah.

We will never know how many parents chose Olympic glory over the welfare over their daughters, but suffice to say, it most certainly occurred. While Dr. Larry Nassar finally got nailed, we cannot simply blame him and one or two high-profile enablers, call it a day.

If we do — and if we simultaneously fail to look in the mirror at situations in our own lives demanding action — then we are simply part of the complicity machine.

It’s time to reexamine ourselves, reevaluate what and how we prioritize, and re-instill courage and valor.

Above all, we must re-educate ourselves with Sir Edmund Burke’s prescient words, "All that is necessary for evil to succeed is for a few good men (and women) to do nothing."

If we do, then #TimesUp will finally become more than a meaningless hashtag.

Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, Freindly Fire Zone Media. Read more reports from Chris Freind — Click Here Now.

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We will never know how many parents chose Olympic glory over the welfare over their daughters, but suffice to say, it most certainly occurred. It’s time to reexamine ourselves, re-instilling courage and valor.
burke, jackson, gymnastics
1188
2018-14-01
Thursday, 01 February 2018 03:14 PM
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