O’Reilly almost gets it right

Last week, I talked about the turmoil that surrounded Penn State, Joe Paterno and Jerry Sandusky. Last night, Bill O’Reilly dedicated his Talking Points segment to the scandal. Bill O’Reilly (see video above) rightly chastises several people in the scandal for not calling the authorities. Then, in typical Bill O’Reilly fashion, he goes over the top. He basically calls for mandatory life sentences for anyone convicted of child molestation. I do believe that child molesters should receive harsh sentences. I do not believe they should be locked up forever. I do believe in redemption. I do believe that some people can change. I do believe that we should give them that opportunity. I am aware of the dismal record of rehabilitation.

Finally, I have to mention that Bill O’Reilly mentions that Penn State has “done the right thing by cleaning house.” Mike McQueary was/is the assistant coach who reportedly saw Jerry Sandusky molest a child in the showers. As far as I know, Mister McQueary is still employed at Penn State. So, Penn State did not “clean house” as thoroughly as Bill O’Reilly suggests. (I almost completely agreed with O’Reilly. I’m not sure if this is a time for celebration or personal introspection.)

This Penn State situation is truly awful. Resolution will not be quick. Every time it appears that things are moving in the right direction something else happens. There are allegations of Sandusky “pimping out” some of the young boys to high-class donors. This is kind of the sensational claim. There is also the District Judge, Leslie Dutchot, who used to volunteer for Sandusky’s charity, the Second Mile. She did not recuse herself from the case. It would seem to me, in this high profile case that a judge should reveal any connection that she had with coach Jerry Sandusky. Not doing so is a lapse of judgment. In this case which features nothing but huge lapses of judgment it would seem that we don’t need any more.


2 Responses

  1. At age 70, whatever sentence Sandusky gets will probably be a life sentence. Anyway, I agree, I’m not a fan of mandatory life sentences for sex offenders.  This is one area where so called science has consistently led our justice system in the wrong direction. In the 1980’s and 90’s experts claimed that molesting kids was not a big deal, then molestation became the cause of all unhappiness, then molesters could be cured. Now they can’t be cured and are under lifetime psychiatric commitment. Eighty-five year olds on oxygen and in wheelchairs are too threatening to release from prison. In fact the recidivism is no worse and even better than many other types of crimes.  I’ve written more about this problem here:

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Errington C. Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson is a surgeon, scholar, full-time sports fan and part-time political activist. He is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats.


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