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2 posts from October 2012


Learning from Sandusky Case

Sarcc_logoOctober 9, 2012

Dear Editor,

For many, the sentencing of Jerry Sandusky for his sexual abuse of 10 boys over 15 years can't come soon enough. Sandusky's abusive behavior and Penn State's initial response has been a painful reminder of ways in which adults and organizations fail to protect our vulnerable children. The unprecedented NCAA sanctions against Penn State and the more general condemnation of some college’s “over the top, win at any cost" culture of sports has been an eye opener. Our surprise has not been that this culture exists, but with the fact that it can so dramatically compromise the safety of our children.

For all that is disturbing about this case and all those that have been harmed, there is the potential for good to come from what we have learned.

Estimates suggest that each day tens of millions of youth participate in activities that could be made safer by systematic prevention activities. While many organizations already incorporate prevention efforts, ALL organizations working with children or teens would benefit from stronger screening policies, regular self-assessment, and greater efforts to empower staff to keep youth safety in the forefront. The Sandusky case also reminds us that we need to do more to educate parents and the public about the everyday role that they can play in creating safer environments for children. SARCC is committed to ending sexual violence by educating adults and children in how to prevent violence by learning the skills necessary to be a good bystander. We can’t do this work alone. It takes a community to change this norm.

In the long run, the real tragedy of the Sandusky case will be measured by how we respond to this tragedy. Child sexual abuse is preventable and there is a role for all of us. Take time today to find out what you can do in your community to make the world safer for all of our children.


Jenny Murphy-Shifflet

For additional resources, visit SARCC’s website www.sarcclebanon.org or www.sarccschuylkill.org to volunteer.


Voter ID Needed To Combat Voter Fraud

Rep_Charlie_DentBy U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent (PA-15)

In several Pennsylvania newspapers, I've recently read letters to the editor and opinion pieces opposing our Commonwealth's new voter ID law. Many of these essays erroneously claim voter fraud is a rarity in Pennsylvania, making the new law unnecessary. The truth is voter fraud has a long and well-documented history in our state. Want proof?

In 2007, canvassers working for ACORN in Berks County filed fraudulent voter registration forms to qualify for pay bonuses from the organization, resulting in a prison sentence for one perpetrator. In 2008, fraud occurred in nearby Dauphin County when an ACORN employee similarly filed more than 100 bogus registrations over the course of a single week. Within the last few years, numerous well-documented cases like these have been investigated across Pennsylvania.

Regrettably, the Commonwealth's largest city, Philadelphia, has developed a deplorable reputation for incidents of voter fraud. Many of us remember when U.S. District Judge Clarence Newcomer unseated State Senator Bill Stinson (D-Phila) in 1994 after it was discovered widespread voter fraud -- perpetrated through the absentee ballot process -- helped Stinson steal an election from Bruce Marks (R-Phila). Philadelphia's most memorable case of fraudulent activities is well documented in court records, the Philadelphia Inquirer and other regional media outlets.

In the early 1990's, Pennsylvania had a sensible policy of purging individuals' names from the voter rolls if they had not voted within a reasonable time period. Consequently, in a few weeks we are likely to learn that in Philadelphia there will be tens-of-thousands of more registered voters than citizens of voting age. Sadly, this should come as no surprise, as better than 100 percent turnout has been reported in some voting precincts in Philadelphia during recent Presidential elections. While the purging of voter rolls ensured those who died or relocated were no longer registered, even that practice could not guarantee the identity of legitimate voters.

Unfortunately, voter fraud is not isolated to Pennsylvania and has an inglorious history in many states. How can we forget Cook County, Illinois, where in the 1960 presidential race, ballots were miraculously cast by countless deceased voters. Or New York City, where in 1993 the Rudy Guiliani campaign for mayor famously witnessed individuals riding buses from poll to poll to cast multiple votes.

And just like Pennsylvania, voter fraud remains a serious problem across the country today. In 2008, Senator Al Franken (D-MN) defeated incumbent Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN) by a mere 312 votes. Later, it was revealed over 1,000 convicted felons, a population ineligible to cast ballots, voted in the Minnesota election -- enough votes to affect the outcome of the race. And just a few days ago, a Democratic Congressional candidate in Maryland was forced to abandon her campaign when it was revealed she voted in both Maryland and Florida during the 2006 general election and 2008 presidential primaries.

In the United States, the principle of one man one vote is sacrosanct. A fraudulently cast vote negates one cast by an honest American. I believe it is imperative we not only count every vote, but ensure the integrity of every vote. While some will claim voter fraud is not a serious enough problem to warrant the new law and argue it will fail to eliminate all fraudulent activity, it certainly is a reasonable approach to achieving greater integrity in our democratic process.

Other than far left political activists and media antagonists, I have discovered few reasonable people believe the requirement to present photo ID when voting is an electoral barrier. In fact, the proposal has garnered widespread public support throughout our region, where residents are accustomed to presenting photo ID to cash a check, board an airplane, or buy a beer at an Phillies game.