This is a comment by Eirik Rogers on the post “Etan and Me: A Brotherhood of Pain“.
Thank you for writing such a wonderful and heart-felt piece. It’s rather amazing that while young victims have been ignored so recently in the Penn State scandal—the crimes they endured swept under the rug—this case was not allowed to be forgotten even after over three decades.
Of course, we do not know the nature or motive of the assault—no evidence exists despite putative speculations, and to my knowledge no indication of motive has yet been described by investigators. It has been mentioned that the suspect has a long history of mental illness, including delusions. Regardless, as a fellow survivor of sexual abuse—and you and I are certainly brothers in that sense—my heart breaks for those among us that did not survive as children who trusted adults—regardless of the deception. They are the silent and forgotten ones—and that it appears Etan’s body was thrown out with the trash only underscores a sadder metaphor.
It is worth mentioning one name. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. That man made the bold decision to reopen the case which, after over three decades, seemed hopelessly unsolvable. He made a decision and in so doing assumed great professional and political risk, especially after the failed attempts to find evidence in that Soho basement in April. He dared to take a chance, and in so doing demonstrated courage seen all too infrequently in those holding similar positions of responsibility.
To put it in better perspective, consider those who were in a situation to do something at Penn State and instead did nothing. The late Joe Paterno and the administrative apparatus at Penn State saw so much more than Vance saw in the Patz case, yet decided to forget the victims and leave them alone to pick up the pieces of their lives. That resonates, because as a co-victim of abuse myself (along with many other kids), I wish we had a hero like Cyrus Vance in our neighborhood. No story about closure for the Patz family and this case is complete without mentioning Mr. Vance.
Photo credit: Flickr / slightly everything