Just a week after it was revealed that Penn State officials were told coach Jerry Sandusky's was abusing boys and chose to do nothing, another school admitted that it failed to report child abuse. Now the Citadel says it regrets not telling police about allegations made against one of its graduates who has now been charged with sexually abusing five boys. Luckily for the military college, the story isn't getting as much play in the national media, possibly because it doesn't involve a beloved football coach.
CNN reports that in 2007, a former camper at the Citadel Summer Camp in South Carolina told school officials that five years earlier, camp counselor Louis Neal "Skip" ReVille had invited him and another boy into his room to watch porn. The boy, who was 14 at the time, says the three masturbated together but didn't touch each other. At the time ReVille was a well-respected cadet, and after an internal investigation failed to turn up any other complaints, the Citadel abandoned the issue without ever telling police about the alleged abuse. ReVille graduated in 2002 and went on to have contact with hundreds of children as a coach, educator, and father of triplets. Last month he was arrested for allegedly assaulting five boys, and based on what he's confessed to the police, it's believed that at least six more charges will be filed.
Over the weekend, the Citadel released a statement that makes it sound like they backed off of the investigation due to the boy's wish for privacy. School officials said in a statement:
"Though the general counsel was unable to corroborate the accusation, the college continued its investigation with the camper's family, who made it clear they were very concerned about maintaining their privacy and not having their names publicized ... Despite the concerns of the family, whose right to privacy was foremost on our minds, we regret that we did not pursue this matter further."
The Citadel is obviously very concerned about privacy — its own, that is, not the victims'. After ReVille's arrest, the Charleston Post and Courier asked if the school had received any complaints during his time there. It revealed that ReVille had been accused by a former camper, but it refused to give any details. The Citadel claimed police had asked them not to share anymore information, though the incident is part of the public record. It wasn't until the paper filed a Freedom of Information request last week that the Citadel finally decided to release the forms.
Aside from the fact that it's illegal (and utterly disgusting) to fail to report the sexual assault of children, this isn't the Citadel's first run in with a child abuse scandal. The school's summer camp was shut down in 2006 after another cadet, Michael Arpaio, was found guily of molesting boys. The Citadel eventually paid five boys $3.8 million after their parents sued the school, yet the threat of losing money and respect, not to mention the potential to save many children from harm, still wasn't enough to convince school officials to report the abuse.
After Penn State Scandal, The Citadel Details Abuse Allegation [CNN]
Citadel Warned, But Did Nothing [Charleston Post and Courier]