Mr Blehar - went back to PSU after 23 years in the US Government. His background includes roles as a deputy inspector general, chief of financial management control, deputy director for quality, and volunteer work as an examiner for the U.S. Senate Productivity and Maryland Quality Awards program. He has written and evaluated many reports in his career.
Ray wrote to me and agreed to become a contributor to the Second Mile Sandusky Scandal website so we can all look forward to his contributions as time passes
I'm enclosing an e-mail I wrote to the President of Penn State in hopes they will take on some of these points when they address the Freeh Report. I had success with them when I wrote them in the immediate aftermath of the scandal. You will see some familiar themes in the e-mail. I hope the PSU President grows some balls and takes on Freeh.
Ray has asked me to post his letter to Dr. Erickson here and on BSD. I hope you find his letter as informative and challenging to the President and BOT as I do.
Dear President Erickson,
Your message of July 18th in response to the Freeh Report put forth some of the future realities for Penn State:
1) This is not the end of the process, nor will it be the end of a number of investigations or inquiries into the University;
2) Time to heal. Time to comprehend. Time to trust. Time to transform. Time to regain what has been lost, and time to move forward; and
3) The world is watching and they are anxious for expedient responses.
3) The world is watching and they are anxious for expedient responses.
It is how PSU prepares for these realities that is going to count most. We have now undergone two media feeding frenzies, the first in November of 2011 and the second in response to the Freeh Report. In both cases, PSU was unprepared with a statement of its own that could slow down or stop the media narrative, let alone get control of the narrative. In the first instance, the Penn State Board of Trustees (BOT) did the worst thing possible, and made statements that confirmed the media's narrative that PSU is a football factory that vested its power in one person (Joe Paterno). This admission remains an affront to PSU alumni, who are proud of PSU because of the quality of its academics and the education we received, its #1 ranking for corporate recruiting by the Wall Street Journal, its great fund raising efforts for THON and outreach to Special Olympics, and in the outstanding graduation rates of its student athletes. Under the intense pressure of the media, the BOT completely ignored these facts and did not defend our fine university against a false narrative provided by the media and readily consumed by the public.
I have read that you are preparing a response to the Freeh Report. As you prepare the response, I ask that you think about what you are going to say as the media will report it. Those things will be reported in fifteen second sound bites and in the news crawlers that run across the bottom of our television screens. The message must be clear, it must be strong, and it must help us regain what we have lost.
I have spent over 20 years of my career as an analyst, assistant inspector general, director of quality, and director of financial controls and have much familiarity with writing, analyzing, and responding inspector general inspections and audits, financial audits, and reviews from government oversight. In fact, I had a key role in analyzing the Robb-Silberman Commission Report on Weapons of Mass Destruction and determining my organizations response to the report recommendations on improving the quality of our intelligence reporting.
In responding the the Freeh Report, PSU should show respect for the victims and give credence to the administrative recommendations offered by the Freeh Report, it also must call out the flaws in the report , the inaccuracies of Mr. Freeh's press conference comments, and that the report, while containing some facts, is certainly not a full accounting of the facts. The Freeh report also takes liberties with hearsay evidence provided by witnesses and treats the hearsay as if it were direct quotes. Finally, Mr. Freeh assigns motives and feelings to the officials involved in the 1998 and 2001 incidents without ever interviewing those officials. Without the testimony of Curley, Schultz, Spanier, police chief Harmon, and others, this report is incomplete.
I humbly submit the following talking points for inclusion in your response to the Freeh Report.
1. The Freeh Report provided clear evidence that the Penn State BOT failed to perform its oversight role and vested to much decision making authority with the President. In the critical time between the announcement of the grand jury proceedings of the Sandusky Scandal and the release of the grand jury presentment, the PSU BOT failed to ask the right questions and as a result, PSU was not prepared to address the many allegations in the report, and particularly the false allegation of a rape occurring on our campus. The damage caused to PSU by that single false allegation is immeasurable and, unfortunately, Mr. Freeh joined in doing more damage when he made the misstatement that "the rapes of these boys occurred in the Lasch Building" during his press conference.
2. Mr. Freeh stated that PSU officials failed to take any action to in the Sandusky case to avoid bad publicity. We do not believe the evidence gathered supports this claim, as it is soley based on hearsay from the attorney of Second Mile. In this instance the Second Mile attorney is relaying information from a discussion he had with the Second Mile CEO, who stated that Tim Curley told him to avoid publicity. Quite frankly, this is a case of double hearsay. And it is also incredible that it never dawned on Mr. Freeh that Second Mile failed to report this incident because it was avoiding bad publicity to preserve its own livlihood.
3. Mr. Freeh states that Tim Curley, Graham Spanier, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz had knowledge of a 1998 investigation involving sexual misconduct by Jerry Sandusky is not supported by the evidence. Mr. Freeh produced hand written notes by Gary Schultz that relate to the investigation, but Mr. Freeh states he cannot determine who was present when these notes were taken or if the information was shared. There is no direct evidence of Mr. Curley, Mr. Paterno, or Dr. Spanier ever being informed of the details of the 1998 investigation. There is no evidence to suggest that Mr. Paterno followed this investigation closely or received updates, as Mr. Freeh stated. The report stated that it could not find any evidence to confirm that Mr. Paterno was ever informed of the conclusion of the investigation. The report also could not produce evidence that Mr. Paterno got a single update. Dr. Spanier stated he remembers the incident as a "vague reference with no individual mentioned." What Mr. Freeh has done amounts to throwing unrelated documents and evidence into a box, then stating the evidence is related because it is in the same box.
What is truly incredible about this concoction devised by Mr. Freeh is that as a former law enforcement official, he should be aware that crimes involving juvenile victims are conducted in a confidential manner. Given this scenario, it is more likely that the information stopped with Gary Schultz and was not shared with other PSU officials. This is perfectly consistent with the statements of Detective Schreffler, who stated that "Old Main" did not get involved in this investigation. And it would be perfectly consistent with Spanier's lack of recall. And it would be perfectly consistent with the absence of details in the e-mails from Harmon to Schultz that were relayed to Curley. And it would be consistent with the grand jury testimony of Joe Paterno, who stated he was not aware of any allegations of sexual abuse against Jerry Sandusky prior to 2001.
4. Mr. Freeh downplays the significance of Tim Curley informing Second Mile that Jerry Sandusky showered with a boy. Mr. Freeh obviously did not familiarize himself with the qualifications of the former Second Mile CEO, who is a licensed PhD in psychology and an individual who should have had a heightened sense of awareness for child abuse -- not only because of his profession but because he is the director of a children's charity. I also feel it is necessary to remind everyone of this fact -- Jerry Sandusky worked for Second Mile in 2001. He was not a PSU employee. Under the Pennsylvania child abuse reporting statutes, the employer who receives a report of abuse involving children under their care are mandated to report it to the authorities. Let the record state that a Penn State official reported an incident of suspected child abuse of a child in the care of Jerry Sandusky - a Second Mile employee who mentored children - to the CEO of Second Mile, who had a responsibility to report this abuse to authorities.
5. Freeh states: "Many, many witnesses we spoke to described Paterno as one the most powerful leaders on campus," Freeh said. "He could have stopped it."
Repeating what people believe to be true and what is the truth are two different things. Freeh provides no evidence (other than opinion) that demonstrates Joe Paterno was in a position of power - or had a leading role - in the decisions regarding Sandusky's actions in 1998 and 2001 or in Sandusky's retirement. a) Freeh references a number of meetings and discussions between Curley, Schultz, and Spanier, yet it is mind-boggling that the most powerful man on campus is not invited to the meetings nor can Freeh provide any credible evidence that Paterno played a role in the decision-making process. b) The report provided contradictory evidence to Paterno's power on campus when it reports that Detective Schreffler received no interference from the administration in the 1998 investigation of Sandusky. Wouldn't it make sense that Detective Schreffler and the police force would have immediately informed Paterno of the outcome of the investigation, given his importance on campus? Yet, Freeh cannot even uncover a piece of evidence indicated Paterno was informed of the outcome. c) The Freeh Report produces scant evidence - in the form of handwritten margin notes - that Paterno had a role in determining Sandusky's retirement package. In fact, the evidence - in the form of correspondence - clearly shows that "one of the most powerful" men on campus was rarely consulted during the negotiations of the retirement of his top assistant coach. d) The Freeh Report ignores the Washington Post interview (used in another instance to imply Paterno was untruthful about 1998) where Joe Paterno describes himself as "in a dilemma" about Sandusky because he was no longer Jerry's boss. While this interview was conducted long after the 2001 incident, it provides information that provides how Joe viewed his role in decision making outside of the football program.
6. Regarding the aftermath of the 1998 incidence, Freeh states: "Nothing in the record indicates that Curley and Schultz discussed whether Paterno should restrict or terminate Sandusky's uses of the facilities or that Paterno conveyed any such expectations to Sandusky."
This suggested course of action only makes sense if PSU officials have a crystal ball and can see the future. Unfortunately, the future is not known and the decision about Sandusky's access to facilities was based on: a) in 1999, Sandusky was fully employed by PSU as the Defensive Coordinator of the football team and needed access to facilities to perform his job; b) that Sandusky was not charged with a crime and that the Department of Welfare's investigation concluded in that child abuse was unfounded; c) up until that incident, PSU had no reason to believe that Sandusky's interactions with children were anything but altruistic; and d) that providing the Second Mile children with access to the PSU football facilities and football team provided many with a positive influence on their lives.
7. The Freeh report condemns PSU for allowing "Sandusky to retire in 1999, not as a suspected child predator, as a valued member of the Penn State football legacy..."
At the time of Sandusky's retirement, PSU officials were aware of one unfounded allegation of child abuse against Sandusky. The suggestion that they would somehow change his retirement package and access based unfounded allegation of child abuse, weighed against 30 years of service to PSU is unfathomable. Again, Mr. Freeh assumes that PSU officials have the power to look into the future.
It is time to regain what has been lost. It's time to take control of the media narrative.
The world is watching.
Raymond M. Blehar
- Honors Graduate, Smeal MBA Class of 2008
- Sparks Circle Member, Presidents Club
- Lifetime Member, Penn State Alumni Association
- Charter Member, Mount Nittany Club
- Honorary Coach Member, Nittany Lion Club