I agree with Betsy Schindler's contention that we need more open dialogue about child sexual abuse and the need to advocate for help and support for the victims ("Put the victims first," Oct. 19). We all have to be more vigilant of this societal evil and the need to keep pedophiles out of situations where they can do harm to children.

Penn State was a good example of how these people can create havoc in the lives of children that can last a lifetime. Evil in any form tends to infect everything around it. Even an outstanding organization like the Boy Scouts of America, which for years has been making a positive contribution in the lives of millions of young people, has had to face the consequences of this same evil surfacing in its midst and is currently dealing with it in a constructive way. There is no doubt in my mind that by facing up to the situation and by taking positive steps to deal with it, the Boy Scouts will continue to attract outstanding leaders who will continue to contribute positively in their communities.

Penn State has also had to face up to the evil in its midst, identify those involved, accept responsibility, and begin refurbishing its tarnished reputation. Individuals and institutions impacted by evil must always make amends for the harm done but this does not mean that these individuals and institutions are themselves evil and must pay the price for all eternity.

I am not sure what Ms. Schindler heard when she was in the company of those talking about Penn State football, but I am quite sure that it was not a conversation belittling the boys scarred by the evil of those involved. What she probably heard was that those "poor student athletes" were not so poor at all. There is no need for them to hang their heads in shame. They are part of the healing process and the rebuilding process going on at Penn State. Caring people "put the victims first" but then help the innocent people involved get on with the rebuilding process.

Robert Jervis, Pasadena