With Jerry Sandusky's child sexual abuse trial under way, it's hard to imagine anything good ever coming from the whole stomach-churning affair.
Yet that likely will be the case -- in fact, it's already happening.
One positive was seen immediately after news broke almost a year ago that Sandusky was under investigation -- the public was more keenly aware of child abuse and how suspected cases are handled.
As a result, even before Sandusky was arrested in November and iconic Coach Joe Paterno was fired over his response to abuse allegations, the York County Office of Children, Youth and Families saw a sharp uptick in the number of child abuse and neglect cases referred for investigation.
"We strongly believe that public awareness of child abuse and neglect, as well as the reporting mechanisms for suspicion of abuse, is increased by high-profile cases," assistant director CarrieAnn Frolio said.
The Sandusky case also prompted the Legislature to create the state Task Force on Child Protection, a panel charged with analyzing Pennsylvania child-abuse reporting practices and propose changes.
One of its members is Delilah Rumburg, a Manchester Township resident and director of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
She said one of her personal goals is to see required training for professionals -- doctors, teachers and coaches -- who are mandated to report suspected child abuse.
For teachers, at least, that goal is now closer to reality.
State Sen. Pat Vance, who represents part of northern York County, is sponsoring a bill that would require Pennsylvania school districts to train teachers and other school workers on how to recognize the signs of child abuse and how to report it to authorities.
It stems from conversations she's had with teachers who expressed confusion over their responsibility as state-mandated reporters.
"A lot of them said, 'How do we know if it's sexual abuse? How do we know what to look for?'" Vance said. "They were mandated reporters without any way to identify abuse."
Vance said she introduced the bill in February 2011, but lawmakers were hardly enthused. Then came the Sandusky case, which "lit a fire" under the Legislature, she said.
The bill has passed the Senate and an amended version won unanimous approval from the House Children and Youth Committee last week. Vance says she thinks it will become law in a few weeks.
While the outcome of Sandusky's trial, which began Monday, isn't certain, it's clear positive changes are occurring as a result of the case.
But, as child advocates point out, there's still work to be done to protect our children -- such as addressing ambiguities in Pennsylvania's confusing and complicated mandatory reporting law.
Vance's bill is a good first step -- and hopefully more will be taken.