PITTSBURGH, PA: On Saturday, in a small dowtown theatre in the Arts District, a different narrative of the Sandusky Scandal emerged. Last November's grand jury presentment created the false narrative that a Penn State cover-up allowed a 14 year spree of molestation.
That narrative was laid to rest for all in attendance.
A chronology of Sandusky's alleged crimes (at the time of the presentment) shows not only that the majority of the crimes occurred before Penn State officials learned of the 2001 incident, but that Sandusky's abuse apparently stopped for a period of four years after PSU (and the Second Mile) confronted Sandusky.
Obviously, it would be a question the AG would want to avoid, considering the AG and Governor are already under fire for a slow-roll investigation. Had the information been presented chronologically, some investigative reporter (if any still exist today) would have eventually stumbled on the fact that the police and AG investigators did not find ANY of the victims during this three year investigation.
Instead, the inflammatory version of events in the grand jury presentment brought with it an emotional response and debate over what transpired at Penn State.
The AG's diversion almost worked.
Police Did Not Find Any of the Victims
While many in the press, including Pulitzer prize winning reporter, Sara Ganim, questioned the slow pace of the Sandusky investigation, most believed the investigation picked up steam when police commissioner Frank Noonan increased the number of state police investigators from one to eight in early 2011.
However, all that really meant was seven more investigators weren't finding any victims.
The victims in this case were found as follows:
- Aaron Fisher (V1) - self-reported in 2008
- Victim 2 - found through anonymous e-mail tip to Centre County DA
- Victim 6 - found by news reporter, Sara Ganim
- Victims 3, 4, 5, and 7 - identified by mother of Victim 6 using book Touched
- Victim 8 - found through call from janitor to police
- Victims 9 - mother contacted the police in 2008, son denied abuse. Then self-reported in 2011 (after November grand jury presentment).
- Victim 10 - self-reported in 2011 (after November grand jury presentment).
Read it as many times as you like, you won't find an instance where the police found any of the victims. Had it not been for the lucky breaks in the case, including the e-mail tip on McQueary and Sara Ganim's provision of police contact information to the mother of Victim 6 (see page 35 of the transcripts), it is unlikely that this case would have ever made it to trial.
This information calls into question not only the investigative skills of the Pennsylvania State Police and the Detectives assigned to the OAG, but the competency of Police Commissioner Frank Noonan and then-AG Tom Corbett, who failed to properly oversee the investigation.
Information in the press and in the recently released book, Silent No More, show an investigation that could be described as disjointed at best and incompetent at the worst.
The police investigation began in December 2008 with state troopers Cavanaugh and Akers interviewing Aaron Fisher. In February 2009, trooper Lear was called in to replace Cavanaugh and Akers, and Lear believed that he was permanently assigned to the case. Lear interviewed Fisher on March 19, 2009.
On March 12th, the case made it to the desk of senior deputy attorney general, Jonelle Eschbach, who would be handling the case at the state level. Eschbach made it clear that even though she was handling the case, she had superiors that she had to answer to, namely AG Tom Corbett.
While few have questioned the assignment of the case to the AG's office, it truly was an unusual turn of events. There was no apparent reason why the case could not have been referred back to Clinton County after Centre County DA Madiera identified a conflict of interest.
In June 2009, Lear was taken off the case and was replaced by trooper Scott Rossman, who was assigned to the barracks at Rockview, near State College. Rossman would not say why he was assigned to the case, only that he was assigned by the AG's office and that he would be permanently assigned to the case. On June 22nd, Rossman was joined by Detective Tony Sassano from the AG's office.
By November 2009, the state police had yet to identify any other victims.
This result should not have been unexpected.
The police were relying on Fisher to identify other potential victims, rather than using their authority to search Sandusky's home and the Second Mile, or to access the records of Second Mile participants or to access the 1998 police report from Penn State.
According to Mike Gillum, the psychologist for Clinton County CYS, the AG's office informed them in June 2009 that they had learned of another incident that involved Sandusky in 1998. The AG's office did not retrieve the police report, regarding the 1998 incident, from Penn State until January 3, 2011.
Also in January 2011 Detective Sassano finally got around to getting a warrant for the records of Second Mile. Previously, the grand jury subpoenaed the employee records of Seond Mile for the employees last names beginning with the letter "S." Unfortunately, that box of records was missing.
However, to hear Detective Sassano tell it (as he did at the Sandusky trial), it was lists from Second Mile and their geographic radius search that resulted in the identification of victims. We now know this to be untrue.
Finally, according to public records, the police did not obtain a search warrant for Sandusky's home until June 21, 2011. This search undoubtedly did not find any victims.
To say that this was an unsuccessful investigation would be an understatement.
Corbett Not Concerned About Upcoming Probe
According to the Wall Street Journal, "Kathleen Kane, the newly elected attorney general of Pennsylvania, said she will follow through on a campaign vow to investigate why it took the office of the attorney general nearly three years to build a criminal case against convicted pedophile Jerry Sandusky."
According to many, including astute political observers, her promise to investigate the pace of the AG's investigation was a key to her landslide win, with a margin of nearly 800,000 votes.
Corbett continues to accuse his critics of Monday morning quarterbacking, but seems to be veering away from his original story of the difficulty in developing leads in favor a more legally oriented strategy. Corbett stated, "there is no communication from me to anybody to slow down an investigation. there is no communication from anyone to me that they were going to slow down for any political reason, and I wouldn't want them to."
Corbett also stated, "But for a true investigation there has to be some sort of criminal act. I know I didn't commit any criminal act. None. Zero."
It's clear to me that Governor Corbett is missing the point of the probe. The citizens of Pennsylvania aren't primarily concerned about his guilt or innocence.
The citizens want to know why children were unnecessarily endangered for three years.