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The Third Scandal

December 6, 2011 Leave a comment

Like I said before, everything happens in groups of three.

The third scandal was brought to light over the weekend, and this time it involves a professional team- the Boston Red Sox. Longtime clubhouse manager Donald Fitzpatrick was accused of molesting young African-American boys in White Haven, Florida, where the Red Sox held spring training until 1991. The abuse took place between 1971 and 1991, and reports of abuse were largely ignored.

In a story that smacks of an organizational coverup, the boys, did not get any kind of justice until twenty years after the abuse, in 1991. One of the victims allegedly came forward in 1971, but, similar to the Penn State scandal, nobody contacted the authorities. According to The HuffingtonPost, players like Sammy Stewart and Jim Rice heard about Fitzpatrick’s indiscretions and actually warned kids to stay away from them.

Yet nobody called the police.

These boys were young and poor, seemingly disadvantaged, just like the victims in the Jerry Sandusky case. They needed a mentor, and Donald Fitzpatrick took advantage of their situations, just like Jerry Sandusky and Bernie Fine.

Another eerie and disturbing similarity lies in the team showers- one Red Sox player allegedly witnessed Fitzpatrick sodomizing a boy in the shower. Like Penn State’s Mike McQueary, he reported what he saw to the team, but not to the police.

Is this Justice?

Like Jerry Sandusky, little to no action was taken to stop Fitzpatrick by the organization. It wasn’t until 1991, when a young aide Fitzpatrick allegedly recruited held up a sign at a game that read “Don Fitzpatrick sexually assaulted me.” The game was nationally televised, and the Red Sox paid a $100,000 settlement. Fitzpatrick resigned the same year.

Fitzpatrick got off easy in the criminal case against him. A summary of the case can be found here. The most outrageous part? He served no jail time, because he was old. He pleaded guilty in 2002, and was on sex offender probation until his death in 2005.

In 2001, a lawsuit was filed by seven of his alleged victims, men who eventually  became known as the “White Haven Seven.” The suit was settled in 2003, totaling $3.15 million. But no amount of money can compensate for the irreparable damage Fitzgerald did to these boys. Some have turned to drugs, some have been in jail.

The newest victim to come forward is Charles Crawford. Along with another Massachusetts man, Crawford is seeking $5 million settlements from the team, even though the statute of limitations has expired for filing a lawsuit. Crawford didn’t tell anyone about the abuse until 2006, and he has struggled in his adult life- most likely a result from the abuse he suffered. He has fathered five children with five women, has had difficulty finding work, and served jail time for a drug conviction. In the Huffington Post article, fellow victim Leeronnie Ogletree admitted that sometimes he struggles to figure out his identity.

COWARDS AND CRIMINALS

In all three cases, there have been tales of cowardice. Penn State failed Sandusky’s victims. Bernie Fine’s WIFE failed his victims. And the Boston Red Sox failed Fitzpatrick’s victims for decades.

How many more children must suffer before these administrators man up and stop hiding behind their mighty organizations? A real man would stop this abuse in its tracks. He would recognize that the well-being of a child far outweighs that of a sports organization.

Here’s hoping these horror stories stop at this third revelation.

SOURCES:

http://www.thepostgame.com/features/201111/another-era-and-another-sport-sex-abuse-scandal-still-inflicting-pain-today

http://www.loblawyers.com/library/red-sox-settle-315-million-sex-abuse-lawsuit.cfm

http://www.chron.com/news/article/Late-Red-Sox-clubhouse-chief-accused-of-90s-abuse-2345441.php

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/15/donald-fitzpatrick-red-sox-sex-scandal_n_1095118.html

 

Categories: Uncategorized

SMAD 210 News Reporting and Writing

October 26, 2011 Leave a comment

We are a group of journalism students from James Madison University in the School of Media Arts and Design.  This is a blog project for our SMAD 210 News Reporting and Writing class in which we will cover a certain aspect of the sports world.  Tom will cover the NFL, most specifically the NFC East and NFC West divisions on a weekly basis.  Kelly will cover the NFL as well, most specifically the NFC North and NFC South divisions on a weekly basis.  Brandon and Eben will cover skateboarding and snowboarding, including products, films, events, magazine articles and athletes.

Categories: Uncategorized