With the Jerry Sandusky trial under way in Bellefonte, Pa., this week, it’s been impossible to avoid (even if you wanted to) news reports about testimony and other court proceedings — including yesterday’s airing for jurors of the videotape of Sandusky’s interview with Bob Costas in November.
Most pundits agree that the most horrific and damaging moment of that interview was Sandusky’s hesitant, repetitive response to Costas’ question, “Are you sexually attracted to young boys?”
Weighing in on that very issue today is the SingleSource Services Corp., in this release about an online assessment tool called the Diana Screen, a tool it claims can scientifically evaluate “those individuals at high risk to violate sexual boundaries with children and teens.”
As Donald J. Dymer, president and chief operating officer of the Jacksonville, Fla.-based background-screening company, puts it:
Child sexual abuse by those individuals entrusted with their care has once again taken center stage as the Sandusky trial unfolds. And yes, we are taking that opportunity to remind the public that a powerful prevention tool is available that would most likely have prevented Sandusky from being hired. An assessment that identifies those adults who do not recognize the appropriate sexual boundaries that should exist between adults and children.”
He cites studies from the Child Molestation Research and Prevention Institute showing 6 percent of adults are sexually attracted to children. “You won’t be able to recognize them without the Diana Screen,” says Dymer, “but they will recognize your children … .”
The release says the screen — consisting of 120 questions — is already being used by departments of juvenile justice, church diocese, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, mentoring agencies and residential homes for youths. Companies and organizations that put any adults into positions of trust with children and youths are encouraged to consider its use.
Dymer, a background-screening professional and longtime law enforcer, says it fills the void left by criminal background checks because it measures behavioral likelihood (such as a lack of sufficient social boundaries), as opposed to relying on past events.
We’ve been reporting for some time now on the changing face of the screening and assessment industry, whereby companies can now measure — through behavioral and psychological assessments — likelihoods that certain job candidates will succeed, learn quickly, be committed, be ethical and honest, present threats to a workforce, etc. etc.
Should a screen such as Diana join those ranks and become as widespread as Dymer hopes, my only concern would be that its accuracy is as failsafe as he says it is and that none of those 120 questions leaves room for doubt or interpretation.