No one will ever know how many children have suffered needlessly because adults decided it was less important to protect them than to avoid the taint of scandal at a school, church or other institution. But last week two juries in Pennsylvania issued stern reminders that the children always take priority.
By coincidence, separate trials in Philadelphia and State College ended last Friday. In one, a jury in Philadelphia convicted a Roman Catholic church official of child endangerment for covering up situations in which priests had abused children. Monsignor William Lynn was the first U.S. church official convicted of a felony in such a coverup.
In State College, another jury convicted former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky of sexually abusing children during a period of about 15 years.
Sandusky had been under suspicion for years but despite this, until he was indicted in 2011, no one at the university - the university's former president and athletic director included - seemed willing to take decisive action against him.
What happened to children victimized by Sandusky and priests aided by Lynn was both evil and wrong. And, sadly, most of it could have been prevented. Sandusky had been reported for molesting children in the locker room shower in both 2000 and 2001. In spite of both of these incidents being reported, nothing was done.
Guilty verdicts handed down by the two juries should be remembered by anyone who, in the future, tries to forget that.