For Immediate Release
The CARE Center Reacts to Sandusky Charges
Oklahoma City, Okla.—On Monday, news broke that one of Jerry Sandusky’s sons has been arrested on child sex assault charges. At the CARE Center, Oklahoma County’s child advocacy center, hearts stopped.
In September 2016, the CARE Center hosted Matthew Sandusky, one of Jerry Sandusky’s six adopted children, to speak at its Stand Up for Kids event. Although CARE Center staff was soon relieved to find that Jeffrey, not Matthew, was the son that has been charged with this heinous crime, the tragedy still hits too close to home, as the cycle of abuse is a tragedy that the CARE Center knows all too well.
In Oklahoma County, one in three girls and one in five boys will experience abuse before their eighteenth birthday. And sadly, most of this abuse will come at the hands of someone they know. In fact, over 90% of the time, the abuser is someone the child knows and trusts.
Founded in 1993, the CARE Center is a nonprofit organization that works to break this cycle of abuse by helping victims learn to be brave, speaking out to get the help they need to heal. With access to a child advocacy center, children who are provided with healing services like counseling and medical evaluations are 85 percent more likely to not offend in their teenage or adult years. The cycle of abuse as seen with Jerry Sandusky, and now with his son Jeffery, is heartbreaking and tragic, but is a solemn reminder of the difference that education and prevention programs can make.
In working with Matthew and learning about his family dynamics, the CARE Center found that the cycle of abuse didn’t start—or stop—with him. But Matthew chose to speak up, to show courage and get help. For him, this broke the cycle. This is what the CARE Center does for kids in Oklahoma County.
Every day, The CARE Center works with incredibly brave children who have suffered abuse. It is their role to give these children a voice, and provide them a safe and trauma-free platform to tell their story for the investigation. Not only is their goal to help affected children, but to make it stop there.
“As adults, we must advocate for our children, provide education to our children and then empower them to use their voice to speak up,” said Stacy McNeiland, CARE Center CEO. “Our support is offered free of charge to children and families, to help them get past the bad stuff—and back to the good.”
The CARE Center has recently launched a new child abuse prevention program to teach children how to keep themselves safe. Called ROAR, the CARE Center provides a simple, free two-part curriculum: Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse training for adults, and ROAR kids.
“We have the honor of walking through and conquering abuse with our children every day,” said McNeiland. “They depend on us to stand up for them.”