Ray Blehar has 27 years of experience as an analyst and investigator. His professional activities included serving as a member of the Board of Examiners for the U.S. Senate Productivity and Maryland Quality Awards program, where he examined the business practices of private and public sector organizations. Those examinations covered: the organizations' legal, ethical, and societal responsibilities; strategic management; customer relations; process management; and business performance. He holds certifications as a Quality Improvement Associate with the American Society for Quality and a team facilitator through the Army Management Engineering College.
Ray graduated with Honors from the MBA program at Penn State University but this report has nothing to do with any loyalty to Penn State. This is a review based on relevant Pennsylvania statutes and evidence in the case. (Ray Blehar with Franco Harris pictured above)
The mother of a Second Mile participant approached PSU police and Child Protective Services to file a complaint pertaining to a work out and shower involving her son with Sandusky in May 1998. First Children and Youth Services of Centre County (caseworker John Miller) and the PSU police (Detective Schreffler) began the inquiry. CYS's Miller was relieved by Jerry Lauro of the PA Dept of Public Welfare shortly after the investigation began. This inquiry involved two police departments, Centre County DA , along with CYS and DPW. .
The inquiry was confidential by law. Joe Paterno claimed he had no knowledge of any criminal investigation. This should have been a moot point since the inquiry concluded that Jerry Sandusky exhibited no criminal or sexually inappropriate behavior. The case was closed by the DA and DPW without charges. Despite this the Special Investigations Committee ignored the law and evidence producing findings the NCAA used to impose harsh sanctions against Penn State
The Freeh Report made the unfounded claim that Joe Paterno and PSU administrators were to blame for a failure to stop Sandusky in 1998. This finding is obviously absurd. How can Joe Paterno and PSU be responsible for the outcome of any investigation by State agencies. By what right or law would they have the slightest power to punish Sandusky for an inquiry that was confidential by law and resulted in Sandusky being cleared? How does one punish or fire a person for a conclusion that he did nothing criminal or sexually inappropriate Mr. Freeh?
Here is Ray's Executive Summary of the report on the 1998 incident. Ray will add the many pages of supporting evidence compiled to support his summary and publish the full report later. (Note: This is one of a series of reports that will be published evaluating the entire Freeh Report and actions of the PSU Board of Trustees). This 1998 finding is the object of our DUE PROCESS for JVP and PSU petition drive. SIGN THE PETITION ONLINE AT THIS LINK or even better download and print out copies at the end of this article to gather as many signatures as possible to overturn this obvious injustice by Freeh and the NCAA.
Recommendation: NCAA must drop its sanctions related to the 1998 investigation of Jerry Sandusky on the Pennsylvania State University (PSU) campus on the grounds that the Freeh Report ignored evidence exonerating the PSU athletic department and did not consider relevant Commonwealth of Pennsylvania statutes at 55 Pa. Code § 3490 (Protective Services).
Background: As Special Investigative Counsel (SIC), Freeh, Sporkin, and Sullivan, (FSS) was asked to perform an independent, full and complete investigation of: the alleged failure of Pennsylvania State University (PSU) personnel to respond to, and report to appropriate authorities, the sexual abuse of children by former University football coach Gerald A. Sandusky (“Sandusky”); and, the circumstances under which such abuse could occur in University facilities or under the auspices of University programs for use. This investigation included a review of the 1998 child abuse investigation of Sandusky, which was conducted primarily by University Park police, the Centre County Children and Youth Services caseworker, and the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare.
Summary: The statutes provide legal basis to conclude Joe Paterno, Timothy Curley, and Dr. Graham Spanier were not aware of a 1998 child sexual abuse investigation of Jerry Sandusky. Furthermore, the statutes would have prevented the sharing of this information with the PSU Board of Trustees. Evidence (Freeh Report at 36) indicates that the provision of access to the University facilities to Jerry Sandusky was not provided by the Athletic Department, but rather through PSU’s Outreach and Cooperative Extension office, whose activities included running various youth sports camps up until November 2010. In summary, the Freeh Report, by not referencing the applicable child protection statutes to this case, and by excluding evidence in its own report as well as other relevant evidence to the 1998 case, does not meet its own standard of conducting a full and complete investigation.
DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS
Penn State Appropriately Conducted the 1998 Investigation.
Significant Points: The Freeh Report failed to recognize the confidentiality statute (Pa. 055 § 3490.91) when it concluded that Joe Paterno, Timothy Curley, and Dr. Graham Spanier knew of a 1998 child sexual abuse investigation of Sandusky.
The Investigation Was Kept Confidential. Child abuse reports are confidential and may only be released to a select group of individuals in accordance with Pa. 055 § 3490.91. Persons to whom child abuse information shall be made available.
Significant Points: The conclusions reached by the Freeh Report, stating that Penn State officials knew of child sexual abuse allegations against Sandusky in 1998 and did not share the information with the BOT is in contravention of the statutes regarding sharing of child abuse reports (under the law, PSU officials could not inform the BOT). Furthermore, e-mail evidence contained in the Freeh Report at 2B through 2E supports that the details of this investigation were not shared with University officials. First, information between police chief Harmon and Schultz was filtered before being sent on to Timothy Curley. It is also notable that the subject of the e-mail at Exhibit 2D, composed by Schultz and responded to by Harmon, is “Re: Confidential.” This is corroborating evidence that communications between the University Park Police (law enforcement) and Senior VP for Finance Gary Schultz (the administrator) were kept confidential as required by law. Finally, Freeh’s SIC turned over its e-mail evidence to the attorney general for the purpose of filing additional charges. Had the evidence revealed that Schulz violated the confidentiality statute, he would have been charged with a third degree misdemeanor.
The Athletic Department Did Not Control Sandusky’s Access to Facilities. The Freeh Report (page 36) states that the “Penn State Outreach program conducts numerous activities, including running various youth camps on campus” and “oversaw sports campus until November 2010, when the responsibility transferred to the Athletic Department.”
Significant Points: The Freeh Report ignored its own evidence (on page 36) by stating that “these individuals…empowered Sandusky to attract potential victims to the campus and football events by allowing him to have continued, unrestricted and unsupervised access to the University’s facilities.” The PSU Outreach program would have been responsible for approving use of facilities for the Second Mile’s Friend Fitness program, which relied on local schools to provide workout facilities for Second Mile volunteers and children. In addition, Sandusky’s status as an Assistant Professor Emeritus of Physical Education would assign him organizationally to the PSU College of Health And Human Development.
The Department of Public Welfare (DPW) Did Not Conduct a Thorough Investigation in 1998. The DPW was brought in to investigate the case because Jerry Sandusky was considered an “agent” of the county child welfare system according to Pa. 055 § 3490.53, which states (a) [t]he county agency is the sole civil agency responsible for receiving and investigating reports of child abuse except reports of abuse allegedly perpetrated by an agent. The county agency shall investigate allegations of abuse of children residing in facilities operated directly by the Department.
Significant Points: The statements by the Freeh Report (page 43) that the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare assumed jurisdiction over the investigation due to a conflict of interest by the Centre County Children’s Youth Services and Second Mile is not supported by the statute and is in error. The Freeh Report’s omission of the 1998 police report, Alycia Chambers psychology report, and relevant statutes in this case from the Appendices of the SIC’s report are an attempt to inhibit readers from checking if the evidence supports the conclusions/findings in the case. Once gathered and reviewed by independent investigators, this evidence provides a reasonable basis to conclude that DPW's Jerry Lauro failed to conduct a thorough investigation of the 1998 incident of alleged child abuse.
The Freeh Report findings that state wrong-doing by Penn State officials in response to the 1998 incident are not supported by the law or the evidence. In reaching its conclusions/findings, the SIC did not reference relevant Pennsylvania protective services statutes, and did not fairly evaluate other key evidence, such as, e-mail evidence, PSU’s organizational structure, and the 1998 University Park (UP) police report. As a result, its findings are of little evidentiary value provide no substantive basis for the NCAA to levy sanctions against the Athletic Department.
The Freeh Report’s failure to cite the failures of the Pennsylvania DPW in the 1998 investigation demonstrate the inherent bias in the report. The SIC’s conclusions regarding the Pennsylvania DPW's role, conduct of the investigation, and the rationales for concluding in an unfounded incident of child abuse in the 1998 case are not supported by the statutes or the evidence. The SIC's failure to recognize that critical evidence of child sexual abuse was provided to the DPW investigator and/or in the possession of DPW during the investigation, biased the report. The outcome of DPW’s failure to correctly evaluate the evidence in its possession in 1998 resulted in the abuse of eight or more children in that time frame.