Experts say 2012 was a year of unparalleled justice for child sex-abuse victims, but whether the string of high-profile convictions will translate into a turning point for juvenile safety remains to be seen, says Reuters. The year’s headlines heralded the criminal convictions of former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky, Monsignor William Lynn of the Catholic Church’s Philadelphia Archdiocese and ultra-Orthodox Jewish therapist Nechemya Weberman, a prominent figure in New York’s Satmar Hasidic sect. All went to prison, and each conviction hinged on the testimony of victims who took on revered institutions that ignored or hid the crimes, sometimes for years.
“2012 is a landmark in the drive to reduce and deter community-based abuse,” said Marci Hamilton, a law professor at Yeshiva University and an advocate for victims of clergy sex crimes. She cited the courage of victims in stepping forward. The increase in women in law enforcement and criminal justice has encouraged victims to step forward, experts say. Also credited is a growing acceptance of homosexuality, which could help ease the victims’ humiliation. Heightened publicity has also drawn out victims who now know they are not alone.