After allegations of sexual abuse against former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky and former Syracuse assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine became public, the number of people who came into the McMahon Ryan Child Advocacy Center in Syracuse either for an investigation or for counseling increased dramatically. Executive Director Julie Cecile said the number of interviews completed on current cases and the number of adult survivors reaching out for help both saw notable increases.
"Definitely for the services for McMahon Ryan, it has doubled," said Cecile
On Thursday night McMahon Ryan will host a town hall meeting about preventing sexual abuse in youth sports at Onondaga County Community College. Cecile and presenters said it will be a chance to answer questions, discuss ways to protect children and foster a safe environment for everyone.
"There are children out there that are being abused and they need to find their voice and we as adults need to help them find their voice," said Cecile.
Cecile also said she hopes the town hall event doesn't just raise awareness but also inspires action.
"We can tell the adults all the signs and symptoms of abuse but the next step is to act on that and whether it's just picking up the phone and calling the child abuse hotline - that's the best thing to do," said Cecile.