Sorry doesn’t cut it

Originally posted on March 10, 2012

Five years ago The Citadel, a South Carolina military college, investigated sex abuse allegations made against Louis Neal “Skip” ReVille. However, the college did not file a report with the police until the Penn State broke news last year.

So for five years the college sat on information about one of their counselors molesting and showing porn to 15 boys, allowing the ironically nicknamed “Skip” to get away with allegedly abusing boys.

Citadel President John Rosa had this to say:

This should have been reported (to police). We’re profoundly sorry, sorry that we didn’t pursue it more. We acted on what we thought was our best information. … We’re all held accountable. I am saddened and sickened that someone so close has betrayed our trust.

It would have been better if he felt that way five years ago when he received the report. South Carolina does have a mandatory reporting policy, but Rosa did not think it applied in this case: 

The way I understand the law, in 2006 and 2007 we were not required to mandatorily report. That’s certainly no excuse. The law has been changed. Today we are. Mr. ReVille is responsible for what happened to other victims. By not doing enough, we play a critical role in the events.

Even if the law did not require Rosa to report the allegations, common sense should have told him to call the police. There was nothing anyone at the college could do about the abuse short of firing ReVille, which would not stop the man from potentially abusing other children. It also appears that their own investigation supported the allegations, making it even worse that Rosa sat on this rather than turn it over to the police.

Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson stated that The Citadel would not face charges for failing to report the abuse. That is a shame. The college has faced a similar scandal before:

In 2006, the school paid a $3.8 million judgment in a civil suit filed by five former campers who said they were sexually assaulted by Marine officer and camp counselor Michael Arpaio. Arpaio was court-martialed for the crimes by the U.S. Marine Corps and served time in Charleston’s Navy Brig.

Perhaps holding the school criminally responsible for failing to protect the children in their care would help prevent them letting it happen.

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