Experts' opinions on what causes child abuse varies

ERIE, Pa. -- In light of the arrest of Jeffrey Sandusky, we set out to determine what causes someone to commit an act of abuse and we found out that experts have very different opinions.

One side said it is a learned behavior while another says that it is a mental illness

Pennsylvania State Police arrested Jeffrey Sandusky, an adopted son of the former Penn State football assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, and charged him with sexually assaulting a child.

Jerry Sandusky was convicted of sexual abuse of a child in 2012.

The Crime Victim Center says that sexual abuse is not a learned behavior and that is a mental illness. Also saying that it is rare for sexual abuse to cycle through a family.

"I don't really think that it is learned,” Paul Lukach said. “I think, unfortunately, people have a mental health proclivity issue to wanting to harm children in some way or find some bizarre gratification from that. I don't think it comes from victimization and studies will show you that is not the case.”

On the other hand, SafeNet says that is a behavior that is learned and if not properly treated can create an endless abuse cycle.

"It is a learned behavior if they see someone doing it they grow up seeing that they are much more likely to end up doing that," Robyn Young said.

Also mentioning that someone who sexually abuses is not always mentally ill.

We have seen research that backs both arguments so we don't have a clear answer.

Also, the Crime Victim Center will have Jerry Sandusky's adopted son, Matthew, who was also a victim of sexual abuse, at the Blasco Library on Feb. 27 to talk about his experience.    


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