Jerry Sandusky was recently arrested, as many of you already know, for alleged child sex abuse. To make matters worse, two Penn State school administrators are also charged with covering up a report of child sexual assault that was allegedly witnessed in the showers. Since his arrest, Sandusky has been released from jail on a $100,000 bail bond.
For those who do not follow college football, Jerry Sandusky is the former defensive coach for Penn State. In fact, he was so well regarded that many touted him as the eventual successor of Joe Paterno, Penn State’s head coach.
But Joe Paterno doesn’t have clean hands in this scandal either. News media is reporting that he was made aware of the sexual assault in the showers too. He may have reported it to school officials, but it appears from the news that he failed to report it to police.
Penn State’s athletic director, Tim Curley, 57, and vice president for finance and business Gary Schultz, 62, were charged with perjury.
At the present time, Sandusky is facing seven counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, eight counts of corruption of minors, eight counts of endangering the welfare of a child and seven counts of indecent assault.
From my perspective as a criminal defense lawyer, I believe this case has all the makings of a presumed guilty child sex case. Meaning, most normal people who hear the allegations will immediately presume Sandusky is guilty without ever reviewing a single shred of evidence.
Lets frame the issue by comparing two cases:
On the one hand is Jerry Sandusky… accused of sexually abusing eight boys over the span of approximately 15 years and America is believing it.
On the other hand, we have Kim Kardashian… who at one point claimed to be so deeply in love that she decided to get married and America is not believing it.
In the first case, Americans look at Jerry Sandusky and believe he sexually abused those eight boys.
In the second case, no American with a pulse and an attached head ever believed Kim Kardashian was really in love or her supposed marriage was anything more than a media sham created to make money. (The divorce a couple months later only served to prove what everyone already knew.)
As a criminal defense lawyer, I am compelled to ask:
Why is it that Americans can have such starkly different beliefs in two cases where they only heard the claim, but never saw the evidence?
Some may say it is common sense. And that is certainly a big part. However, from a researcher’s perspective and as a criminal defense lawyer, I want to understand the process involved.
In other words, why does our common sense tell us that Jerry Sandusky child rape is true, but Kim Kardashian’s marriage is false?
The answer can be found on Google, but not in the way you are thinking. I am not talking about a particular website found in a Google search at all. Rather, I am talking about the search function itself.
Much like Google’s computers, the human brain invokes an algorithm when it needs to make a decision.
When a person does a search on Google, he/she provides Google with search terms. For example, if you are looking to buy a new dog, you may type in “labrador puppy breeders in pennsylvania.”
Google will then analyze your query, and spit out pages and pages of websites that you may find useful.
But how does Google do that?
Like a human being, Google spends its life unconsciously studying its environment. Where we humans use our senses and our brains to take in the world around us, even when we are asleep, Google uses computer programs called “spiders” to crawl around all the webpages of the internet to read them and categorize them.
This process is called indexing.
When Google indexes a website, it will consider a number of different factors. First, what are they main key words used to identify the site? Puppies? Pennsylvania? Puppy Breeders? Pennsylvania breeders?
As one can imagine, this process is rather complex and involves the consideration of many factors. After all, when you search for puppy breeders in Pennsylvania, you do not want websites to come up that have one page about puppies and a thousand pages of pornography.
For that reason, Google considers the bigger picture… 1) age of the website tells about its legitimacy, 2) key words, 3) length of content, 4) multi-media, 5) domain registration, 6) geography, and many others.
In other words, Google asks a litany of questions for every website and uses the answers to categorize the site. Is it a site about puppy breeders in Pennsylvania or is it a Eastern European porno site?
We humans use a similar process. Like Google, we employ our own algorithm when determining if an allegation is true or false.
Click the following link to continue reading: Part 2: Why Americans Think Jerry Sandusky is Guilty (Penn State Sex Abuse Scandal)