June 25, 2013
Senator Jacob Corman
Centre County District Office
236 Match Factory Place
Bellefonte, PA 16823
RE: Jake Corman v. The National Collegiate Athletic Association, Case Number 1 MD 2013
Dear Senator Corman:
Child sexual abuse is not an issue with geographical boundaries or state borders. The case referenced above reminds all of us that child sexual abuse can and does happen anywhere, even within the hallowed halls of great institutions of American learning and athletics. It reminds us that the root causes are not based on any specific or unique local circumstances, but is an issue that affects us all. We probably all agree that it is our collective obligation to address it together.
The case before the Court presents an opportunity to make a powerful statement, not only in Pennsylvania, where more than 3,400 Pennsylvania children were victims of child sexual abuse in 2011, but across the United States, where an estimated 135,300 children across the United States were victims of child sexual abuse in that same year. That statement is that every child deserves an equal opportunity for healthy and safe development.
In making a decision as to how and where the Penn State fine funds will be directed, please consider the following:
1.) While the Penn State scandal seriously undermined the credibility and reputation of valued institutions, a decision that would favor directing the fine funds both to Pennsylvania and other states would help the state claim a national leadership role in combatting a problem that knows no state boundaries.
2.) To date, federal and state agencies have not consistently provided any significant funds to support child sexual abuse prevention initiatives. National and local foundations are far behind in even considering funding to address the problem. Directing the fine funds to support prevention efforts across the country would serve to heighten awareness of the problem among these funders, highlight the critical role and responsibility funders must play in supporting solutions, and leverage new dollars to increase the impact of the Endowment Fund; all of which helps the people and children of the Commonwealth.
3.) Funds directed across the nation to vetted programs would help Pennsylvania identify and implement comprehensive strategies to prevent child sexual abuse based on the tested approaches and “next generation of strategies” of other states over the past decade. Such strategies would include the fostering of public/private and multidisciplinary collaborations, the education of parents and other individuals, the training of professionals, the development of policies for schools and youth-serving organizations, and legislative advocacy all focused on the mission of preventing child sexual abuse in the first place.
These funds could deliver exceptional value to new and expanded efforts both in Pennsylvania and throughout the country, given the scarcity of child sexual abuse prevention funding. For the past decade, exciting progress has been made in the development of research-informed prevention programs to prevent child sexual abuse from ever occurring. This is an unprecedented opportunity for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to both augment current local efforts and learn from the innovative work already occurring in other states; work that can be enhanced and accelerated by distributing the funds nationally.
Pennsylvania has the chance to be a national leader in the effort to eradicate child sexual abuse across the country and by that action, benefit from it as well within the state. The Commonwealth has the nation’s attention and it is in this moment that Pennsylvania can transform a horrific tragedy into a new national movement to confront and address a silent epidemic affecting children nationwide. It is a rare and powerful moment.
Please feel free to contact me personally if our organization can be of any assistance to you, now or in the future.
James M. Hmurovich
President & CEO
Cc: National Board of Directors
Prevent Child Abuse America
Donald Remy, Chief Legal Officer, NCAA