Veronica Roberts

11.27.11]----As the Sandusky child sex abuse scandal reveals a new twist to the sickening allegations every week, he is legally innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. However, public opinion is an entirely different matter and one cannot help but look at the 'sum total' of allegations and draw some conclusions.

Men and women who prey on children sexually do not look scary. They are not the big, bad wolf or ugly stranger slinking or lurking through your neighborhood. They do not stand out for they have mastered the ability to blend in perfectly.

Most times, they are friendly, sweet, endearing, kind. How else could they gain your children's trust? Your trust? They love being around children and the very smart ones know how to have access to children without drawing suspicion. What better place to hide in 'broad daylight' while satisfying their deviant, debased appetites than work where there is an abundant supply of children?

It is no accident that the Catholic Church has an epidemic of pedophiles. It is no accident that a popular Atlanta pastor was accused of sex abuse by 4 young men who were subsequently paid millions to go away quietly and never speak of those allegations again.

Professions such as teaching, school sports coaches, priests, pastors, volunteers or mentoring at charitable organisations that work with under-privilege or at risk kids are havens for these child sexual predators. The places to 'hide' are endless.

They then 'groom' their prey. Like cunning animals, they look for the vulnerable. The shy ones. The children who may be having problems at home--need or crave attention or love or guidance. Then move in for the 'kill.'

Family members are not off-limits. Friends children are not off-limits. The perversion knows no boundaries. How do I know these things? I have come face to face with this predatory, monstrous animal. I was about 3 or 4 when I first saw the two-headed monster. Thought everyone else could see him but sadly, it was only me.

I have experienced the frightening, systematic destruction of innocence, self esteem, self worth, confidence. I have stared into the eyes of the beast, smelled it's stank, dank breathe; quivered in fear and shame at the devilish fury in the eyes of the beast. Wretched uncontrollably after the storm had passed. Clawed my way back to the surface from the dark depths below. Learned to triumph above the terror. It wasn't easy and I still have a flicker of grey memory from time to time.

But when others looked at that terrifying beast, they couldn't see what I saw for he was brilliant at camouflaging. Like a chameleon, he changed to suit his environment and all the rest of the world saw was a smiling, jovial, friendly, sweet gentleman in its place. The beast only showed himself to his victims and I'm sure they were a long devastating line of them.

I know first hand what a sexual predator looks like. Acts like. Sounds like and Sandusky is making all those sounds and then some.

If we all shatter the silence surrounding child sexual abuse, the predators will not be able to hide so easily in the light. They will begin to cast their ugly shadow so the world will know who they are. Penn State and I suspect, other institutions of learning have looked the other way willingly and sometimes, unwittingly, because big money generated by college sports and the notoriety of popular personalities took president over innocent children.