Psychologist in Penn State Sex Abuse Case Loses County Contract
Michael Gillum was crucial to uncovering Sandusky scandal
The lasting pain the reported victims of Jerry Sandusky, convicted sex offender and former Penn State assistant football coach face will take a long time to end, if it ever does. Sexual assault on children is a crime and sin that never vanishes. Sometimes that's even true for the people who try to stop it.
Michael Gillum, the Clinton County, PA, psychologist who was one of the people crucial in uncovering the story -- and critical of the local high school's response to the crisis -- had been told earlier this year that his official contract with the county wouldn't be renewed, as USA Today reported. But, the paper also reported that Central Mountain High School was coming under new investigation by the Pennsylvania Attorney General's office.
Gillum had worked with Aaron Fisher, a student at the high school where Sandusky was a volunteer football coach, during the four years of the prosecution process. Fisher was known as "Victim 1" because his was the first of the allegations of eventually ten victims that led to prosecution, according to CNN. Fisher said that Sandusky forced him into sex acts more than 20 times between 2006 and 2008. However, the accusations resulted in so much bullying that he had to leave Central Mountain High School, according to the Patriot-News.
Officials at Central Mountain High School in Clinton County weren't providing guidance for fellow students, who were reacting badly about Joe Paterno's firing and blaming the 17-year-old, said Mike Gillum, the psychologist helping his family. Those officials were unavailable for comment this weekend.
Although Gillum had criticized the school for the quality of its response to the situation, he said that he was "shocked" when allegedly told last November by his supervisor to stop collaborating with Fisher and his mother on a book and to cease speaking engagements about the subject or else he would lose his job, according to USA Today. Gillum claimed to have received permission in advance to work on the project.
Some weeks after Gillum said he consulted a lawyer about the demand that he sever ties with the book project, the psychologist said Rosamilia came back with a "surprising'' offer of full-time employment with the county that would allow him to maintain his private practice and activities related to the book.
He learned last February, according to USA Today, that the county had changed its mind and decided not to renew his contract.
According to USA Today, Central Mountain seemed to have gotten away without any consequences or even scrutiny. That was true even as Penn State President Graham Spanier and late football coaching legend Joe Paterno both lost their jobs and Athletic Director Tim Curley and former vice president Gary Schultz face trials for allegedly lying to a grand jury.
However, it appears that the Pennsylvania Attorney General's office will review the school's actions as part of a larger inquiry.
Dawn Hennessy, the mother of the young victim who initiated the criminal inquiry against Sandusky, told USA TODAY that the special counsel heading the state investigation recently requested privacy waivers from the family so investigators could begin questioning school authorities. They want to learn about the school's initial response to the claims of abuse leveled by her son, Aaron Fisher, once known as Sandusky's "Victim 1."
Principal Karen Probst allegedly learned of the investigation and warned local youth authorities to expect questioning. Fisher claims that the school had not reported his allegations of abuse to authorities but was told to go home and "think about repercussions."
Erik Sherman is a widely published writer and editor who also does select ghosting and corporate work. Follow him on Twitter at @ErikSherman