BELLEFONTE - What normally is a routine proclamation became anything but during Tuesday's Centre County commissioners' meeting.
The commissioners proclaimed this month as Sexual Assault Awareness Month in the county. While nearly every county in the nation is making similar proclamations this month, it takes on added significance in Centre County, with the allegations of sexual abuse over more than a decade against former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.
Centre County Women's Resource Center Director of Outreach Jody Althouse told the commissioners the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape will meet conduct training with all faculty and staff at Penn State this summer.
"Every staff and faculty member needs to be trained, it's a major undertaking," she said. "All the training will be done at Penn State, probably in groups of 100 at a time in an auditorium setting. We may have to reach out to other sexual abuse facilitators across the state and the county."
While the training for those at Penn State should take around three hours, the training to become a facilitator is a three-day process," Althouse said.
While that training is already planned for Penn State, Commissioner Michael Pipe said the county hopes to also provide the training for all county employees in the near future.
Althouse said the center served about 200 victims of sexual assault last year. However, she added, only about one in 10 victims ever comes forward. She said the Sandusky case has not had much affect on juvenile victims, but her agency has seen a marked increase in adult survivors of sexual abuse.
"More of the adult survivors are coming forward. They fell it is a safe time now for them to come forward," she said.
In a related note, County Administrator Tim Boyde said the county has receive permission from the State Supreme Court to move all routine county criminal cases to a different location during the planned trial of Sandusky.
"That has yet to be determined," he said of the location change, if the trial moves forward. "The Dickinson Law School said it will allow the county to use its facilities."
Further, the commissioners reported Tuesday the plans for upgrades at the county communications center are moving forward, and those plans will mean the removal of the Office of Mental Health-Intellectual Disability-Early Intervention from the Willowbank Building.
Commissioner Chris Exarchos said the county is "looking at all options" for relocating the department, noting it will need between 8,000 and 9,000 square feet of space to operate.
He said the county and Motorola are still in discussions about how best to upgrade the county's emergency communications system.
Commissioner Michael Pipe said the most important aspect will be to make sure the upgrades will get rid of all dead spots, especially in the rural areas in Miles Township, Sandy Ridge and Mountaintop.