Penn State – Sexual Harassment Case

Allegations and evidence of sexual harassment and statutory rape have rocked this week’s headlines. Familiar faces, like those of Jerry Sandusky and Herman Cain, have seen a spike in media attention, and not just for their on-field success and political candor.

Mr. Sandusky (if he deserves that title of respect) has been indicted on 40 counts of misconduct relating to the sexual abuse of minor males whom he gained exposure to through his Penn State-run program “The Second Mile,” the motto of which is “providing children with help and hope.” Nowhere in that tagline, by the way, does it say anything about providing children with inappropriate, sexual contact with an older, deviant individual. Mr. Sandusky allegedly engaged in various sexually exploitive acts with eight boys as young as eight years old, including but not limited to sexual intercourse. In an effort to increase the longevity of his sexual relations with the boys, Mr. Sandusky gave the children gifts ranging from sports memorabilia to drug paraphernalia. He even offered one of them a spot on the Penn State football team, as if it were even within his capacity to approve such a thing.

Now, Mr. Sandusky is facing criminal charges for his misconduct. But surely he will also be facing civil suits in an effort to compensate his victims who undoubtedly have experienced severe mental and physical anguish as a result of his inexplicably repulsive actions. Those boys endured horrors, the likes of which they will live with for the rest of their lives. “Pain and suffering,” typical words in the civil law world, can only begin to describe the terrors which inhabit the minds of Mr. Sandusky’s prey.

Then there’s Mr. Cain (we’ll treat him with a bit more respect given the more quaint nature of the allegations against him … and the fact that he may be our next president). He is facing accusations of sexual harassment (and now groping) from four women, stemming from his days as the chairman of the NRA (the National Restaurant Association, not to be confused with the National Rifle Association—though I’m sure the confusion only increases his popularity with the GOP base). Apparently, during Mr. Cain’s reign at the NRA, these allegations arose, but the women and the administration reached a financial settlement which ensured that the women would drop their accusations. Mr. Cain thought that the issues were put to rest, but now it seems as though the women are coming back to “bite him,” so to speak, for one reason or another.

As for the allegations against Mr. Cain, notwithstanding the fact that the statute of limitations has passed, if litigation was expected, the charges would arise in a civil court rather than a criminal court (though it’s highly probably that the only court in which they’ll be discussed is the court of public opinion). By definition, sexual harassment relates to employment discrimination based on an employee feeling sexually uncomfortable in a workplace environment. And given that Cain’s accusers were employees of the NRA, the name for the claim is appropriate.

The media swarm relating to sexual misconduct this week only highlights the lack of attention given to sexual misconduct in general. Contrary to what Mr. Sandusky and Mr. Cain might believe, sexual harassment is not all fun and games. It can lead to very serious psychological problems which can be just as damaging as the physical injuries incurred from automobile accidents (if not more so).

For questions or comments, please contact the Law Offices of Aronberg & Aronberg at 561-266-9191 or email us at

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