I have an op/ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer today arguing that one overlooked takeaway from the Jerry Sandusky - Penn State child sexual abuse scandal is that current sex laws actually may deter victims and others from reporting incidents.
From my conclusion:
There is no question that society needs strong laws prohibiting and punishing sexual abuse. But those laws must be well-reasoned and tailored to be both just and effective. Over the past 20 years, society has approached sex crimes with unbridled passion and anger. This emotional search for justice is entirely appropriate in particular cases; that is one purpose of sentencing. But when the same intense feelings become an engine for policy-making, they may undermine the crafting of effective laws. The goal, after all, is to prevent Jerry Sandusky and others like him from victimizing children, and that won't happen if we deter people from reporting their crimes. When laws become so radical that they work against the protection of victims, they are inherently inhumane.