2011 had its share of shocking sex scandals, from the political and international high-powered to the hallowed halls of higher learning and sports. The media frenzy was widespread and some cases are still unfolding as I type.
Representative Anthony Weiner (D) was involved in one such scandal that kept the media thoroughly enthralled for weeks. It all came to a head (no pun intended) on Memorial Day weekend when the six-time Congressman for the 9th District in Brooklyn/Queens, New York, had to step down amid a cloud of shame for lying about a tweeted pic of his underwear-clad crotch to a young college student.
At first the married Weiner denied sending the semi-x-rated photo but his lies caught up with him and snowballed into more women accusing him of "indecent exposure" in online correspondence. Suffice it to say the fiery representative, who was famous for giving "hell" on the House floor, torpedoed his promising career and had to resign in disgrace.
To add insult to injury, his beautiful, smart wife Huma Abedin, who worked for Secretary of State Clinton, was pregnant. I'm sure he wished he could disappear at that point, but things are now looking up, for according to the NY Daily News, the disgraced Ex-Rep Anthony Weiner became a Dad last Wednesday, when his wife gave birth to a healthy 7-pound-plus baby.
Dominique Strauss-Khan, then the head of the International Monetary Fund, was arrested in New York on May 14 for allegedly raping a maid at the Sofitel hotel. He was charged but released after the District Attorney claimed the alleged victim, 32-year-old Nafissatou Diallo, had lost credibility. She has since filed a civil lawsuit against the now ex-moneyman.
Another case in France against Strauss-Khan, where writer Tristane Banon accused him of sexually assaulting her in 2003 when she was 21, was also dropped because of the statute of limitation.
Two claims of sexual assault and Strauss-Khan is still walking around a free man. He has since resigned from the IMF and his promising political career -- where he was the reported favorite to run against France's current President Sarkozy -- derailed, at least temporarily.
Like Law and Order SVU scripted in one of their television dramas which I'm sure was art imitating life, "money and power should never tip the scales of justice." Did this happen here?
Republican candidate Herman Cain sure stirred up the presidential race with his "bold" 9-9-9 plan, his controversial comments on African Americans being brainwashed and his "if you're poor and out of a job, it's your fault," directed at Wall Street protesters. His sex scandals simply added fuel to an already well-lit fire.
Five women accused him of sexual harassment, sexual assault and one spilled the beans on an alleged 13 year affair. Two of his accusers were paid settlements but candidate Cain called it an "agreement." He has denied the accusations and exited the stage, still maintaining his innocence of all the "charges," despite three of the women's public "finger-pointing." One, Ms. Bialek, even held her own press conference with her high-powered lawyer Gloria Allred at her side.
Syracuse basketball coach Bernie Fine was accused of child sexual abuse by two brothers, Bobby Davis and Mike Lang and was fired by the university on November 27. Davis alleged he had a long relationship with Fine which started when he was about 10 years old and was a ball boy for the university. The scandal got even stranger when he admitted to also living with the Fines for a while and having a sexual relationship with Fine's wife when he was 18.
Davis claimed Laurie Fine knew of the sexual abuse by her husband and he produced audio tape to prove it. He reported the abuse to authorities back in 2003 and also spoke to ESPN but nothing was done. Syracuse police have since said there was no evidence to prosecute at the time. As for ESPN, their excuse was they couldn't find anyone to corroborate Davis's story.
Syracuse University also didn't pursue the case vigorously after the now 39-year-old Davis told them of the alleged abuse in 2005, for they claimed there was "insufficient evidence." His step-brother, Mike Lang, also accused Fine of molesting him when he was around 10 years old.
Syracuse police will reportedly not charge Fine with a crime for the statute of limitation prevents them from prosecuting.
Jerry Sandusky, former assistant coach at Penn State, must have been the most shocking sex scandal of 2011. Arrested Saturday November 5 and charged with over 40 counts of child sexual abuse for allegedly molesting 8 boys over 15 years, he is now under house arrest awaiting trial.
The house arrest came after a second arrest for additional charges when two more alleged victims came forward with new accusations of molestation. There was huge fallout from these decades long cover-up of alleged abuse -- dating back to 1994 when he was active at his charity for at-risk kids called Second Mile.
Heads in high places rolled after this scandal broke for Penn State allegedly had knowledge of the abuse and did nothing about it. Veteran Coach Joe Paterno was fired and Penn State's president was also given the axe. President of Second Mile has also resigned. Assistant coach Mike McQueary, who said he saw Sandusky with a boy in the shower doing "something sexual," is on administrative leave and a key witness for the prosecution.
The 67-year-old Sandusky who is awaiting trial out on $250,000 bail, recently waived his rights to a pre-trial and is now under house arrest with unsupervised contact with children prohibited.
Political scandals have become commonplace, but Weiner's changed the landscape for a Republican candidate won his seat--a seat that had remained in the Democrats' camp for almost 100 years.
Strauss-Khan's rape allegations showed power pitted against blue-collar and many saw this as a "David-Goliath" match. Unfortunately, the biblical story had the underdog coming out on top but Diallo lost. Power seemed to win out in this case, making 'he said, she said' even more difficult to prosecute when 'he said' comes from the 'nicer side of the tracks.'
Sandusky and Fine's decades-long alleged sexual abuse of children spoke to our society dropping the ball--ignoring the cries of children over the omnipotence of college sports. Educators failed to act in a shocking display of nonchalance that is reprehensible. Big money, prestige, and power took precedent over finding out the truth and protecting innocent children.
The law needs to be looked at seriously, for there should not be a statute of limitation on child sexual abuse prosecution. Children are already terrified by the violation of trust, the violation of their innocence, so to punish them further because that fear and in many cases, shame, kept them from coming forward is grossly unjust. Coach Fine needs to have his day in court -- the two alleged victim need to have their story heard.
Click below for more info on the scandals: