Jerry Sandusky has not been convicted of anything yet, but the child sex abuse scandal at Penn State prompts Frank Bruni to note that the stereotypical image of a trench-coated molester hiding in the bushes is almost always wrong. Instead, a predator is more likely to be the compassionate-seeming gent down the street—or on the sidelines, or at the altar—who wins over kids gradually with patience, kindness, gifts, and trust, Bruni writes at the New York Times.
In fact, these molesters often don't think of themselves as evil. In their minds, they are "people whose affinity for children just happens to have a sexual element, the satisfaction of which they’ve convinced themselves isn’t such a big, harmful deal." And they seem like great guys. This could explain why, say, Joe Paterno didn't more aggressively follow up on a report of Sandusky's alleged abuse. "Maybe he just couldn’t envision someone like Sandusky—a distinguished professional, a seeming do-gooder—as a molester," writes Bruni. "But it’s important that we all do." (Read more Penn State stories.)