District Attorney asks parents to talk to children who had contact with Bernie Fine
Thu, 08 Dec 2011 03:54:52 GMT —
Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick acknowledged that it would be impossible for police to interview the thousands of children Bernie Fine encountered at camps and events over his 36 years as an assistant coach at Syracuse University. Fitzpatrick did urge parents and guardians to speak with children and adults who Fine may have been around over the years.
"We would ask people out there who are parents or guardians - if you have a child that has had contact with Bernie Fine, talk to that child," said Fitzpatrick at a Wednesday morning news conference.
Experts acknowledge that raising the subject isn't always easy and that for many parents talking to children about sexual abuse is difficult. Kerri Raissian from the McMahon Ryan Child Advocacy Center says that even if its tough - parents just need to present themselves as someone their children can feel safe talking to.
"You don't even have to use the words Bernie Fine or put a name to it. Just say I want to know if anyone has done anything inappropriate with you or made you feel inappropriate in any way and if that's happened - you can tell me about it," said Raissian.
Raissian said that the Bernie Fine investigation and abuse charges at Penn State have raised a lot of awareness about abuse. She hopes parents will still be willing to talk with children about sexual abuse in the years ahead when those cases are out of the headlines
"The danger of not knowing and not being able to protect our children is far worse than doing what's comfortable in the short term and not being able to intervene quickly and safely and keep our children safe," said Raissian.