My Turn: Grooming at Second Mile, swim trunks and failures

This past March former Second Mile CEO Dr. John (Jack) Raykovitz testified at former Penn State President Graham Spanier’s trial in Harrisburg. He explained to the court that Jerry Sandusky’s role with Second Mile was solely that of chairman, emcee at Second Mile events, and fundraiser. He told the jury that Sandusky did not provide any individual mentoring, counseling or therapy to Second Mile youth.

Jack Raykovitz is a state-licensed professional that not only counseled many Second Mile youth, most notably Matt Sandusky, but his program targeted this population using sports and coaching and attached itself to a high profile athletic program.

Sports is a high-risk environment for child sexual abuse, as it involves: An age disparity between adults and kids; an imbalance of power between a coach and a player; differing intellectual capabilities between adult coaches and youth.

Grooming behavior by an offender goes as follows:

n Targeting a victim — the offender is looking for a vulnerability in that minor.

n Gaining trust — a coach is often perceived as a hero and a mentor.

n Recognizing and fulfilling needs – attention and positive reinforcement is given.

n Isolate the victim — the offender is the only one who understands them.

n Sexualize the relationship — “accidental nudity” in a shower or locker room.

n Maintaining control — separate the minor from their parents or friends.

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