Ordeal at Penn State sparks call for vigilance

The Oklahoman Editorial Published: July 31, 2012

It's easy to wonder how Penn State officials could allow something so horrible to go on for so long. Red flags surrounded Jerry Sandusky as far back as 1998 when he was first accused of exploiting a child. Investigators concluded they didn't have enough evidence to press charges at that time.

Image concerns apparently led Penn State officials to allow Sandusky to continue bringing boys to football games even after the allegation, which may have facilitated the victimization of many children.

We'd like to think it couldn't happen here. Yet a former University of Oklahoma social work professor now awaits trial for sexually abusing children. Dwain Pellebon, who has pleaded not guilty, actually trained Department of Human Services' child welfare supervisors.

Some DHS officials knew Pellebon was accused of inappropriate conduct with a child as far back as 2001. The complaint was lodged by the alleged victim's father, who was a police officer at the time. As in Pennsylvania in 1998, prosecutors felt there was insufficient evidence to pursue charges.

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