At the March 15, 2013 BOT meeting Ken Frazier pointed to a few notes made by Gary Schultz as evidence PSU officials knew about child abuse in 1998. In most cases, he misinterpreted the evidence. Frazier was adamant: “I believe that we are entitled to look at the words and contemporaneous emails and other documents that draw the conclusions that we need to draw as a university.”
However, a fuller view of evidence shows that PSU officials were concerned about DPW's role in the 1998 investigation.
The EvidenceThe first piece of evidence is on page 49 of the Freeh Report: "Harmon continued to provide Schultz with information about DPW's role in the investigation and their potential conflict of interest with the Second Mile."
The reference for this statement is "Schultz confidential file notes (5-1-12)." This note is not included in the Freeh Report Appendix, thus, it is another piece of evidence that Freeh chose not to include for the public to view. As I noted in my WHVL interview, the 1998 police report, the psychology report of Chambers, the Seascock evaluation, and other key evidence was excluded from the report's Appendix.
The second piece of evidence is at Exhibit 2B, where Harmon writes on 5/13/1998: "The psychologist from DPW spoke with the child. They have not spoken to him. It is still my understanding that they intend to do this. I have also been advised that they want to resolve this quickly."
I found it unusual that a child protection agency would want to resolve an investigation quickly. Under the law, DPW and CYS have sixty days to conduct an investigation and at just 10 days into this investigation - with Schultz's note indicating other children could be victims of Sandusky - DPW intends to resolve it quickly.
The 1998 police report shows that DPW then waited 18 days to interview Sandusky and agreed to close the case right after the June 1st interview. Notably, the record does not show that then-Centre County DA was part of the decision to end the investigation. The DPW program representative, Jerry Lauro, stated in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, that he didn't have enough evidence to indicate a finding of abuse.
"It didn't meet the criteria," Mr. Lauro said. "If I really thought there were any child abuse ... I definitely would have indicated it."
The next piece of evidence is at Exhibit 2C, where Schultz, after returning from vacation, he writes to Harmon on 6/8/1998 at 2:03AM: "Tom, I've been holding some "catch-up time" on my calendar on Monday and I suggest we use a piece of it to meet and discuss the status (I also recall the last time we talked you indicated that there were some aspects of the this that you felt you should review with me when we had a chance to talk). Please get ahold (sic) of Joan and see what time will work. thanks."
As Schultz continues catching up on his e-mail, the finds Harmon's e-mail of June 1, 1998, stating the case was closed. At 2:04 AM, Schultz writes: "Tom, you can ignore my earlier email, unless you feel we should talk more about this." (Freeh Report, Exhibit 2D)
At this point in time, Harmon had already been notified by Ray Gricar that there would be no charges filed in the case and a discussion of concerns would have been moot. However, this goes back to the point of the AG's request to Freeh not to interview Harmon who could have shared valuable insights about his concerns of the 1998 case.
Regardless, this evidence indicates that PSU officials had concerns about DPW's role in the 1998 case and subsequent reporting by this blog and others are in agreement that the 1998 case was poorly investigated. Former FBI-profiler and child sexual abuse investigator, James Clemente, stated (in an e-mail to Wendy Silverwood) that the entire 1998 case should be reviewed. In Clemente's interview on Media Mayhem, he specifically called out the evaluation by John Seasock as a major breakdown in the case.
Calling for ReformsAt the same Board meeting, Frazier continued his defense of the Freeh Report, stating that it wasn't chartered to look at the performance of CYS and DPW and that it was an internal investigation. He went on to say that the reforms made by PSU will ensure that incidents like the 2001 occurrence will now be reported to the proper authorities.
And that is Frazier's and the majority of the BOT's biggest blind spot.
Given the state of Pennsylvania's child protection system, there's no guarantee that reporting abuse incidents the authorities, in 2001 or now, would stop incidents of child abuse.
The evidence on the record, from a 2008 Health and Human Services review of DPW, shows that in 43% of the cases, children continue to be abused after DPW and/or CYS is contacted.
Frazier and the BOT's willingness to ignore the record and not call for improvements in Pennsylvania's child protection system continues to keep children in harm's way.