Thursday, January 18

Distant Replay: Nassar Case Veering In Wrong Direction

Unfortunately, the lessons that should have been learned from the Sandusky scandal were lost in favor of the false narrative that PSU officials knew a pedophile was in their midst and covered it up to preserve the reputation of the University and its football program.  It appears we are in for a replay in the Larry Nassar case.

Ray Blehar
January 18, 2018, 12:10 PM EST

They "knew."

Everyone "knew."

As preposterous as it may seem, the media (ESPN, The Detroit News, et al) once again is propagating a false narrative that Michigan State University (MSU) officials, those at USA Gymnastics, and other organizations that Larry Nassar used to perpetrate child sexual victimization all "knew" what Nassar was doing.

Yes, many female athletes, some of them children, complained to MSU athletic officials, USA Gymnastics officials, and, yes, their stories are compelling and heart-breaking.

However, we are hearing those stories with the benefit of hindsight.  Nassar confessed and was convicted of being a serial child molester.

Did all of those people, who are the subjects of the media onslaught, actually "know" Nassar was a child molester at the time of the allegations?   Were they all turning a blind eye to Nassar's abuse?

Of course not.

ESPN called them "enablers."  And that's wrong.

The fact is that nearly all the people who were informed were not medical professionals and were not equipped or qualified to determine if Nassar's manipulation of the girls was a legitimate medical procedure or not.  All they knew was that Nassar had a great reputation as an osteopathic doctor.

Some of the other people who received reports about Nassar were the parents of the victims.  They didn't believe Nassar was doing anything wrong -- even the parent who sat in on one of Nassar's treatment sessions.

Were the parents turning a blind eye too?  Were they enablers?

Of course not.

Allegations and Credibility

There's a big difference receiving an allegation and finding the allegation credible (or "knowing").

The headline reads: "What MSU knew..."

An incorrect assumption that immediately connotes guilt and sensationalizes the story.

A proper headline would say:  "What MSU was told..."

MSU hired attorney Patrick Fitzgerald to conduct an internal review.   I have no reason to doubt him when he wrote:

"We believe the evidence will show that no MSU official believed Nassar committed sexual abuse prior to newspaper reports in late summer 2016."

The Lansing State Journal (LSJ) characterized Fitzgerald's statement as being contradicted by the testimony of the victims.  And the LSJ is dead wrong.

This goes to the heart of Pillar of the Community offender cases.  Allegations against these individuals are dismissed because of their stellar reputation in the community. 

The allegations simply seem too incredible to be believed.

Those who receive the reports are of the mindset that the accuser must have misunderstood what was happening or perhaps they had an ax to grind with the accused.

Distant Replay - This Is Not About Sports

The people at MSU and in other the other gymnastic organizations aren't the only ones who received allegations and didn't find them credible.

The Meridian Township police didn't have enough evidence to press charges when they responded to a complaint against Nassar in 2004.

MSU's police department investigated the 2014 report on Nassar (at the same time of the Title IX investigation) and sent its findings to the Ingham County Prosecuting Attorney's Office for review.  

No charges were filed.

The exact same thing happened in the Jerry Sandusky case.

In 1998, Sandusky was accused of giving a naked bear hug to a child in a Penn State University (PSU) shower.  That child identified another child with whom Sandusky did the same. At the close of the investigation, Sandusky admitted doing the same with other children. 

Agents from Pennsylvania's child protective services, Jerry Lauro and John Miller, determined that even though Sandusky had given naked bear hugs to multiple children while showering, that he was not a danger to them.

Meanwhile, PSU police detective Ronald Schreffler felt there was enough evidence to charge Sandusky with some lesser offenses -- but the local district attorney in Centre County, Ray Gricar, determined there was not sufficient evidence to press charges.

The people on the front lines in Pennsylvania, paid with tax dollars to recognize child abuse and criminal behavior were deceived by Jerry Sandusky -- but their names are almost never mentioned and the public has no idea who they are.

Lauro, Miller, and Gricar could have stopped Sandusky in 1998 and saved 6 of the 10 Sandusky trial victims (1, 2, 3, 5, 8, and 9) from being victimized.   And they have been spared of any accountability by the media whatsoever because their failures wouldn't make the sports pages or national news.

And as I write this, the names of the Ingham County prosecutors and the Meridian police are not in headlines or in the media reports.  There is little doubt that their decisions about Nassar were more erroneous and more damaging than Lou Anna Simon's.

But the Nassar story has become a sports story and a national media story.

The witch hunt is in full swing.

Lou Anna Simon is about to be burnt at the stake -- just like Graham Spanier and Joe Paterno were.

The public, especially rival fans and rival media members, will all get in on the public shaming of Simon and MSU.

And as the rival fans and the gullible public throw the logs on the fire, their children or their neighbor's children will likely be victimized by another serial predator because this kind of thing could never happen in their community or at their University.

Right, Jemele Hill?

The lessons that should have been learned after the Sandusky scandal will not be learned this time around either because the media would rather burn a "witch" and get clicks than inform the public about how a serial predator can fool an entire community.

Another set of enablers has been identified.

Wednesday, January 10

No Coincidence, Part 2: The Non-Investigation of Sandusky & The Second Mile

The Washington Post story on the Sandusky scandal discounted the influence of The Second Mile on the Sandusky investigation, however Corbett's avoidance of the charity remains "inexplicable" and "doesn't pass the smell test."

Ray Blehar

January 10, 2018. 8:50 PM, EST

In Part 1, laid out the circumstantial evidence supporting the scenario that Corbett used the Sandusky investigation for the purpose of eliminating his nemesis, former PSU President Graham Spanier.

Part 2 will show that Tom Corbett's statement that The "Second Mile had no influence on that investigation" is without merit and that the Washington Post shouldn't have dismissed the charity's influence without a full appraisal of the evidence.

From the Post:

"....McQueary unwittingly became part of a conspiracy engineered by former Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett (R). As Pennsylvania attorney general, Corbett oversaw the early stages of the Sandusky investigation, and as governor, Corbett was a member of the Penn State board that forced out Spanier, the school’s president. Blehar points out Corbett accepted campaign donations from Second Mile board members and had feuded with Spanier over state funding.
While outlandish, such theories gained currency in Pennsylvania. In 2013, newly elected Attorney General Kathleen Kane (D), who suggested on the campaign trail that Corbett slow-walked the Sandusky investigation and donations from Second Mile officials played a role, appointed a special prosecutor to investigate the state’s Sandusky investigation.
“The Second Mile had no influence on that investigation whatsoeverand there’s no evidence that they did,” Corbett said. “But [Penn State alumni] won’t accept that, will they?”

Penn State alumni have good reason not to accept that TSM didn't influence the investigation because they're among the few people who are familiar with the contents of the Moulton Report -- and aren't relying on media sound bites.

The Moulton Report clearly showed that the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) and the Office of Attorney General (OAG) avoided the charity like the plague in the first two years of the investigation.

Former AG Kathleen Kane called it an "inexcusable" delay. Moulton called it an "inexplicable" delay.

Both are correct.

Thursday, January 4

No Coincidence, Part 1 - Corbett's Feud With Spanier

The Washington Post's recent story dismissed the theory that Tom Corbett's feud with Graham Spanier and that The Second Mile charity influenced the Sandusky investigation....but the evidence shows otherwise.

Ray Blehar

January 4, 2018, 8:03 PM, EST, Updated January 5, 2018, 4:08PM

The Washington Post's story on the Sandusky scandal covered a lot of ground and exposed many of the highly questionable decisions of the Penn State University Board of Trustees (PSU BOT) in the aftermath of the criminal trial and the Freeh Report.

One area it did not place much focus on was the unnecessarily protracted 3-year investigation that eventually brought Jerry Sandusky to justice -- and the evidence indicating that Governor Tom Corbett's feud with Spanier revived an investigation that was first sand-bagged by the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) and then was sent to die a slow, secret death in Pennsylvania's grand jury system.

The Post, much like the rest of the media, seemingly relied on a single data point to label that scenario as "outlandish."   To be clear, reporter Will Hobson summarized the Moulton Report as follows:

"The inquiry concluded politics played no role in the Sandusky investigation..." 

However, that statement isn't accurate.  Special Deputy AG Geoffrey Moulton actually said the investigation:

 "revealed no direct evidence that electoral politics influenced any important decision made in the Sandusky investigation."

The Moulton Report is replete with circumstantial evidence that shows the investigation was going nowhere until Corbett's feud with Spanier and that the "release of the hounds" occurred right after his election.

Thursday, December 28

Wash Post Writes Fair Story on Sandusky Scandal

Investigative reporter Will Hobson did a good job covering most of the key questions that still remain open about Penn State University's decisions in response to the Sandusky matter.  That said, there are a few missing pieces of information that add needed context.  

Ray Blehar

December 28, 2017, 9:23 PM EST

The Washington Post released a story today that covers many of the key questions that require answers in the search for the truth about the Sandusky scandal.   It was a refreshing read compared to most other columns that continue to report the now-disproved allegations of a conspiracy and cover-up.


The column points out many important facts that have been glossed over, under-appreciated, and/or unreported in the media:

- Child welfare workers were aware Sandusky was showering with children and didn't consider that to be a warning sign of child abuse (but Penn State University (PSU) officials were condemned for not recognizing those same signs);

- Dr. Jack Raykovitz, the Executive Director of Sandusky's charity, The Second Mile (TSM), advised Sandusky to wear a swim suit as his solution to PSU's report of Sandusky showering kids;

- The conflict of interest between former PSU Board of Trustees Chairman Ira Lubert and TSM and  poor optics and governance negligence of Lubert running the settlement claims process;

- Experts weighing in that PSU's settlements excluding TSM from liability to be highly unusual;

- The testimony of PSU administrators at the trial of former President Graham Spanier continued to contradict that Mike McQueary made a report of a sexual nature in 2001; and,

- The single misdemeanor criminal convictions and extremely light sentences of former PSU administrators Timothy Curley and Gary Schultz were rather hollow victories for the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General (OAG) -- that spent six years and expended tremendous resources on the case.

Saturday, December 23

Setting the Record Straight on Paterno and Penn State

The majority of the public remains in the dark about the facts of the Sandusky (a.k.a., Penn State) Scandal because their knowledge of it is mostly based on inaccurate information provided by law enforcement officials, misleading media reports, the Freeh Report, and opinion pieces that were disguised as news

Ray Blehar

December 23, 2017. 6:10 PM EST, Updated at 10:50 PM

For the last six years, many Penn Staters have found themselves repeatedly correcting the record in discussions with friends, family, football fans, and many others about what really happened at Penn State University(PSU) regarding the Sandusky scandal. 

For the most part, here's what the public believes in a nutshell:

In 2001, Joe Paterno was told about an employee -- Jerry Sandusky -- raping a boy in the football building and did nothing about it.  Paterno, football coaches, and other high ranking PSU officials were aware of prior sex acts by Sandusky and stayed quiet about them to protect the football program.  As a result of the cover up, Sandusky was able to lure boys to campus and molest them up  until the time he was arrested in November 2011.  

The facts contradict the public's beliefs at every turn.

Thursday, November 23

Sally Jenkins Email -- The rest of the story

After only a cursory review of the Freeh Report, I sent an email to Sally Jenkins and Sara Ganim challenging some of the findings/assertions in the report.  Jenkins provided a weak response to just one of the challenges and had no response for the rest.  Ganim, as usual, didn’t respond at all.

Ray Blehar

In Tuesday's blogpost, I shared an email response that Sally Jenkins sent me on July 13, 2012 -- just a day after Louis Freeh released the Freeh Report and held a widely televised press conference.   

What you didn't see is my initial email to Jenkins and Sara Ganim that challenged several of the assertions made by Freeh.  

From: Ray Blehar []
Sent: 07/13/2012 02:25 PM MST
To: "" <>; Sally Jenkins
Subject: Freeh report - evidentiary leaps

In reading through the Freeh report and hearing some of his public statements, I found that some of the conclusions about Spanier, Curley, Schultz, and Paterno are unsupported by the evidence in the report and the report relies on hindsight in a number of occasions to proscribe how PSU officials should have reacted to the incidents.  While many of the conclusions in the report are correct and undeniable, I believe Judge Freeh took evidentiary leaps or used information that occurred outside of the timeframe of the incidents to come to the conclusions and/or suggest actions.  

1.  Freeh states Paterno (among others) was kept informed of the 1998 investigation.

This is unsupported by the evidence, which consist of just two e-mails.  The first e-mail vaguely states the coach was informed and the second that he inquired about the status.  There is no evidence of other updates to Paterno.  Based on the evidence, Freeh cannot even reasonably conclude that Paterno got EVEN one update.  Freeh also admits that his investigation could not find information that Paterno was even informed of the result of the 1998 investigation.

Jenkins attempted to defend this argument, stating that the two emails were "slam dunks" that "Paterno was fully briefed on a police investigation he followed anxiously in 1998."

For the record, here are those "slam dunk" emails.

Tuesday, November 21

Correcting the Record, Part 2: No Anal Rapes in the Lasch Building

Contrary to the statement by Louis Freeh and the beliefs of the NCAA, the media, and the public, there is no evidence (or victim allegations) to support that Jerry Sandusky anally raped children in the Lasch Building or the football facilities

Ray Blehar

November 21, 2017: 9:36 PM EST

Jerry Sandusky was anally raping children in the Lasch Building.

No known victim --  in civil or criminal proceedings -- has alleged being anally raped by Jerry Sandusky in the Lasch Building.  The only confirmed case of anal rape occurred between 2004 and 2009 in Sandusky's home.


A:  The Sandusky grand jury presentment of November 4. 2011 anchored the public's opinion that Jerry Sandusky anally raped a child in the Lasch Building in 2001.  

"He saw a naked boy, Victim 2, whose age he estimated to be ten years old, with his hands up against the wall, being subjected to anal intercourse by a naked Sandusky."

B:  At Louis Freeh's press conference on July 12, 2012, the former FBI Director falsely stated:

"The rapes of these boys occurred in the Lasch Building."

Wednesday, November 8

McQueary's Story Doesn't Fit With Jerry's Showering Ritual

The ritualistic nature of Sandusky showering with boys makes it highly unlikely that Mike saw any physical contact in the Lasch Building showers

Ray Blehar

November 8, 2017, 10:33 AM EST

Jerry Sandusky's showering with boys was a ritualistic behavior that followed an identical pattern each time -- down to the shower heads he would select.   And that pattern casts more doubt on what Mike McQueary witnessed in the Lasch Building's Staff Locker Room.

According to internationally recognized sex crimes expert James Clemente, sex offenders like Jerry Sandusky engage in repeated, almost identical patterns of ritualistic behavior.  In his report for the Paterno family, Clemente wrote (my emphasis added):

"Child molesters’ grooming and offending behavior can be broken down into M.O. (method of operation) and ritual. While their M.O. can develop and evolve over time and will typically be tailored and responsive to the vulnerabilities and reactions of each individual child victim, offenders also engage in repeated, almost identical, patterns of ritualistic behaviorExperience tells offenders which patterns of behavior most successfully groom and seduce targeted children and help them get away with their crimes. Their inner fantasies, needs and desires dictate their ritualistic behavior."


"One of Sandusky’s primary grooming and offending techniques was showering with boys as a way to get the boys into a naked and vulnerable position. Once in the shower, Sandusky typically engaged in a pattern of activity that allowed him to have physical contact with the boys."

This drawing from Victim #5's initial interview included this rendering of he and Sandusky's position in the shower.  That positioning would not have afforded McQueary the ability to see much of anything.

Monday, November 6

Barenaked Ladies Heap More Doubt on McQueary...and Freeh

Barenaked Ladies performed at the Bryce Jordan Center on Friday, February 9, 2001 -- heaping even more doubt about McQueary's version of events and the competency of Louis Freeh's investigation

hat tip, Wendy Silverwood
Ray Blehar

November 6, 2017, 2:06 PM EST, Updated 9:16 PM EST

According to Mike McQueary, he believed the infamous shower incident in the Lasch Football Building (LFB) occurred on the Friday night before Spring Break 2001 or 2002 because the campus was empty.   

When the date was later adjusted to February 9, 2001, the idea that campus was empty wouldn't have been so, however, the LFB would have been deserted because the grueling football recruiting period had just ended and the staff would have taken some time off.

Regardless,  Mike's reasons for going to the LFB that Friday still don't add up.   And now, the latest evidence adds even more doubt to Mike's scenario considering that he had no recollection of  a major concert event taking place on campus that night.

This evidence also supports the notion that Louis Freeh's $8.5 million dollar investigation wasn't worth a nickel.

Wednesday, October 25

Eshbach's Trail of Misdeeds

While Eshbach was fingered for leaking the grand jury presentment, that wasn't the only time she operated outside the rules.

Ray Blehar

October 25, 2017, 9:45 PM EDT

During the trial of former Penn State University (PSU) President Graham Spanier, prosecution witness Mike McQueary let it slip that former Senior Deputy Attorney General Jonelle Eshbach told him they were going to arrest some people and the Office of Attorney General (OAG) was going to leak it out.

While that is likely the most famous leak in the Jerry Sandusky case, there were other leaks and it appears that Eshbach was behind at least one of them.  Moreover, when she wasn't leaking, she was apparently engaging in obstructing the investigation (and arrest) of a serial child molester and assisting in the railroading of the PSU 3.

Eshbach was assigned to the Sandusky case on March 19, 2009 by then Chief Deputy Attorney General Frank Fina.   While Eshbach was officially in charge of the investigation, the buck didn't really doesn't stop with her because Fina was supervising the case.   Fina was the head of the OAG's Criminal Law Division.

And of course, at the top of the OAG food chain during the investigation was former governor "One Term Tom" Corbett.