How a small town dealt with a pedophile and a schizophrenic 70 – 80 years ago

“Never get in a car with Bert Sxxxxxx and never take candy from strangers” said mother.  She never said what would happen and at age 5 I had no idea about sex.  Bert Sxxxxxx was a mailman, and some family members lived on our street.  Everyone knew about him.  70 years later I mentioned him to a kid a few years older and he responded “Chester the molester”.

Why wasn’t he stopped?  For the same reason he was a postman —  political connections from what little I could understand about the adult world as a child.

Then there was my attorney father’s client Joe Lxxxxxx, a subject of much hilarity (my father having no psychiatric training).  Joe thought he was married to Queen Elizabeth, through ‘interceptor medium’.  He also said he had a room in his house with no doors or windows.   Joe was clearly crazy and everyone  knew it, but the town took care of him in its way.  People talked to him.  If he got excited, the cops would find him and take him home without a struggle.

Fast forward to Penn Med School maybe 10 – 20 years later and a trip to Norristown State hospital just outside Philly, and a tour of the wards (including the extremely creepy locked ones).  Infinitely worse for Joe Lxxxxx than the ‘social care’ our little town was able to give him.

These thoughts were brought on by the previous post about sexual predation by coaches on young female athletes.  It is reproduced below.

How did it happen? Take 2

Today’s New York Times had another long article about another long term sexual predator coach (Ted Nash) this time on female rowers.  The question always arises, how could he have gotten away with it so long with so many different victims?

So it’s worth republishing a post from January 2018 about another coach, and my own experience witnessing it as an adolescent and saying nothing nearly 70 years ago.

Regular posting should resume soon.  My time has been taken up by reading straight through a recently published book that I was a lay reader for (Quantum Field Theory as Simply as Possible), so I can publish a review on Amazon at the request of the author (Tony Zee).

Here’s the old post from January 2018

How did it happen ?

This is not a scientific post.  How in the world was “Dr” Nassar able to sexually abuse so many and for so long. In high school I saw the same thing and said nothing. But this was 60+ years ago, in a small rural high school.

By small I mean 212 kids in 4 grades.  By rural I mean it was a 16 mile ride on the school bus from my house.  This meant that away basketball games meant rides on that bus as long as 70 miles, and never shorter than 20 for me. Our school was too small  to even support 6 man football, so basketball and baseball it was.

So the sports outlet was basketball, even for a prepubertal 14 year old entering high school at 5 feet tall.  I got pretty good at playing a small man’s game (mostly positioning and being where the ball would go next) and when I’d grown a foot by my senior year, I could outmaneuver most people my size and a few taller ones.

By my senior year I was on the staring five.

On the way back from games, there would be the basketball coach sitting near the driver, necking with one of the cheerleaders.  No one ever said anything about it.  I never discussed it with my parents, or even my friends.  Initially it seemed to be one more incomprehensible thing about the adult world.  The administration of the high school consisted of the principal and his secretary.  The world back then was that teachers were to be obeyed and respected.

So I can see how someone emerging into adolescence would be totally cowed by such events, not know what to do and remain silent.

I hadn’t thought about this for years, until the scandal at Michigan State.  So I wrote the older sister of one of my teammates about it — her initial response was —  “I am inNew Orleans at a funeral so more later.  But yes we all knew about XXXXXX and his sexual predations. More on that when I get home.”

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  • Peter Shenkin  On March 26, 2023 at 11:48 pm

    “Why wasn’t he stopped?” Well, maybe political connections saved him, but did anyone ever tell on him to authorities?

    I went to a sumer camp where the husband of the director was known to be a molester. Girls told their girlfriends, but I don’t think anyone ever told anyone in authority. My family was very close to the families one of the girls and she told me. She had never been a victim, but she had friends who had been. But I don’t think anybody ever told on him.

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