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What can be learned from the Sandusky trial

Lisa Dupree. Photo courtesy of Our Kids.

Social worker Lisa Dupree was one of several experts interviewed by USA Today and the Tennessean in this article and video about the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse trial.

Dupree, LCSW, works for Our Kids, a Nashville-based organization that among other things provides expert medical evaluations and crisis counseling services in response to child sex abuse reports.

What can be learned from the Sandusky scandal at Penn State?

Dupree says parents should make kids comfortable enough to talk about anything, including sex. Children also rarely lie about sexual abuse so if they say it occurred parents or other responsible adults should believe them, she said.

And the Sandusky case also proved that sexual offenders can be respected members of the community, Dupree said. In fact, Sandusky’s position as an assistant coach of a successful college football team likely caused parents and Penn State University officials to be in denial.

“I don’t think Penn State covered this up,” Dupree said. “I think these men told themselves that he wasn’t a monster and they believed it. The power of denial keeps children vulnerable and at risk.”

To learn more about pedophilia and how social workers help sexual abuse victims recover click here to read an interview with expert Michael Ian Rothenberg, PhD, LCSW, on the National Association of Social Workers’ “Help Starts Here” consumer website.

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