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Associate Dean Dan Filler Op-Ed in Inquirer Asks if Sex Offender Laws Backfired in Sandusky Case

July 11, 2012

In an opinion essay published in the Philadelphia Inquirer on July 10, Senior Associate Dean Daniel Filler explores the potential adverse impact of sex offender laws in the case of former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky.

Citing a trove of emails in which Penn State officials grapple with allegations that Sandusky abused children, Filler said the administrators appeared to fear the “overwhelming consequences of reporting the crime.” Their debate, Filler said, reflects a broader set of issues tied to laws that aim to protect the public from sex offenders.

Filler also discussed the ramifications of eliminating the statute of limitations in child sex-abuse cases in The Morning Call, an Allentown newspaper.  Filler commented that eliminating the statute of limitations could increase the possibility of fraudulent claims and might actually lead to more wrongful convictions because the potential for exculpatory evidence diminishes over time. 

Sandusky was convicted of 45 charges of sexual abuse of children in June.  The actions of former Penn State officials, two of whom face charges they covered up the abuse, are under review by former FBI Director Louis Freeh, who was hired by the institution's trustees to investigate the matter.