While Penn State alumni and fans were still reeling from the shock of the dismissal of legendary football coach Joe Paterno, the BOT broke "radio silence" on November 11, 2011 to announce that it had named Kenneth Frazier and Ronald Tomalis as the leaders of the Special Investigations Task Force to review issues related to the Sandusky, Curley, and Schultz charges.
Just one week later, on November 18th, the Task Force had engaged with Freeh, Sporkin, and Sullivan (FSS) to conduct the investigation. When the alumni group, PS4RS, pressed Frazier and the BOT about the details of the selection process, Frazier would not disclose how many other firms were considered or how the selection was determined. FSS was a new venture for Freeh and the firm had no track record, however, Louis Freeh certainly did.
Freeh's history as the former Director of the FBI was highly controversial if not disastrous. The discovery of spy Robert Hanssen, the Wen Ho Lee case, the Olympic Park bombing investigation, the wasteful procurement of Virtual Case File, and the failure to act on reports of suspected terrorists doing flight training all happened on Freeh's watch. He was urged to resign by the editorial board of Business Week for the Waco cover-up and for insubordination of then U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno.
Despite Freeh's history, he was selected for the job with much fanfare about his independence, integrity, and the wide scope of his investigation from Frazier and Tomalis. Little did Frazier and Tomalis know, at the time, that PSU would eventually release the engagement letter that defined the "small box" Freeh was kept inside to conduct the investigation. In other words, focus only on PSU and exclude anyone else who may have had a role in enabling Sandusky's crimes.
OJ" Frazier, remarked:
“The entire Board of Trustees is intent on taking all steps necessary to ensure that our institution never again has to ask whether it did the right thing, or whether or not it could have done more. We are committed to leaving no stone unturned to get to the bottom of what happened, who knew what when, and what changes we must make to ensure this doesn’t happen again. Therefore, we are pleased that Judge Freeh has agreed to lead a thorough and independent investigative review of this matter,”
Task Force Co-Chair, Ronald Tomalis, stated:
“Judge Freeh is a man of complete integrity, independence and objectivity. The scope of his work will be expansive, and he is free to take his work to whatever conclusions he deems appropriate. No one at Penn State will be exempt from this review, including the Board of Trustees itself.”
Blogger Marc Rubin (Tom In Paine) raised serious questions about the independence of Louis Freeh. In an rather extensive blogpost, Rubin reported on Freeh's former working relationship with former MBNA V.P. of Consumer Finance, Ric Struthers, who also sat on the Board of The Second Mile (TSM). As most know and Rubin reported, MBNA/BofA would provide the credit card services to PSU and pay over $30M for access to its lists of alumni.
Struthers was not only on the Board of Directors at TSM, but donated at least $540,000 to TSM from 2005 to 2010 (including corporate donations from MBNA/BofA). In addition, Struthers was an at-large member of PSU's Campaign for the Future fund raising effort.
Not so ironically, the "thorough and independent" Freeh Report didn't report the relationship between TSM Board Member Ric Struthers, Freeh, and PSU.
Rubber Stamp Investigation
However, it was the statement of Governor Tom Corbett that really foretold how the investigation would unfold or, in other words, be nothing more than a rubber stamp on the PA Attorney General's investigation. As the Freeh Report would eventually demonstrate, it would deviate very little from the facts presented in the grand jury presentment.
Freeh Report Short On Facts, High On Supposition
Freeh didn't find any e-mails - they were handed to himAt his press conference, Louis Freeh stated his team made "independent discovery" of the e-mails, that were the most important evidence in the Penn State case, in March of 2012. Based on the testimony of John Corro, we now know that statement to be false.
John Corro testified on July 29, 2013 (pages 80, 89, and 90) that he searched PSU's distributed network for the e-mails of Sandusky, McQueary, Paterno, Curley, Schultz, and Spanier in March/April of 2011. Corro stated he may have had his dates confused (page 85).
Corro provided the results of his search to then-PSU counsel Cynthia Baldwin. Baldwin was provided with three USB keys - one containing all the data and two others that were from key word searches.
On 30 July 2013, Braden Cook, OAG computer forensics supervisor, testified that in March 2012 the computer security unit of the OAG provided him with a DVD of Schultz's .pst archive from Outlook which contained all of the e-mails used as evidence in this case (pages 66-68). Cook stated those files were somehow missing from the inventory that originally came over from PSU. It should be noted that Cook did not testify to anything other than being a recipient of information from PSU and performing key word searches. In other words, other avenues of computer forensics investigations, such as checking of server logs, keystroke forensics, or recovery of deleted files were not utilized in the analysis.
Based on reports from observers at the preliminary hearing, Cook's testimony was well rehearsed and he stated that Spanier had deleted all the e-mails in his in-box and out-box upon his departure from PSU. The implication being that Spanier was trying to hide or conceal information. However, this point was contradicted by Corro's testimony a day earlier, who stated Spanier's out-box contained a large volume of data (page 95).
Corro also testified that in November 2011, he worked with OAG office officials to expand the search to include other individuals and devices, including cell phone, PDAs, laptops, and other devices. According to Corro this information was turned over to the Freeh group and the OAG. While this search may have uncovered 3.5 million files - as Freeh claimed - none of the files related to the key evidence used in the case.
Freeh's claims of his team discovering the e-mails is a bald-faced lie and Freeh was nothing more than a grandstanding liar at his July 12, 2012 press conference.
Discovery of The Schultz File - Another Lie By FreehAt Freeh's July 12, 2012 press conference, he stated that the discover of the Schultz file was a combination of "skill and luck" and that Schultz actively "sought to conceal those records."
Schultz employment history alone contradicts that he could have concealed them from Freeh's team, given that he had re-retired from PSU before Freeh was hired to conduct the investigation. Moreover, Schultz had originally retired from PSU in June of 2009 - well before PSU received a subpoena for records pertaining to Sandusky's employment and any correspondence related to investigations of Sandusky.
However, Kimberly Belcher's 30 July 2013 testimony truly exposed Freeh's lies about discovery of the Schultz file. Belcher testified that after Schultz did not return to work after the November 2011 indictment, he called her to ask her to obtain his transitory file and deliver it to him. Belcher stated that she recalled that confidential files were kept in the bottom drawer of a file and found the Sandusky file there. She made a copy of the file and delivered the original to Schultz -- in order to "be helpful." Eventually, Belcher received a subpoena for the file and turned it over to the OAG in April 2012. Upon turning it over, she learned that Schultz and his attorney had turned over the original to the OAG one day earlier (page 66).
Later in the press conference, Freeh would say they found them "in conjunction with the attorney general." However that statement is contradicted by the Freeh Report itself, which references all of the "Schultz Confidential Notes" with a date of 5-1-2012 -- meaning they were provided to Freeh's group after they were turned over to the OAG in April 2012.
If you're beginning to wonder if Freeh actually investigated anything, you're on the right track.
Outside of brow-beating older women and taking dictation from Cynthia Baldwin, Freeh didn't do much in terms of an investigation.
No Investigation of the Janitor IncidentWhile the evidence surrounding the (now debunked) janitor incident shows a number of inconsistencies about the date it took place, the physical location of the incident, and the circumstances preceding its alleged occurrence, the most damning piece of evidence that proved Petrosky's story was false was the lack of a shower curtain or obstruction in the Assistant Coaches Locker Room.
The November 2011 grand jury presentment (page 22) stated that Petrosky looked into the shower and could only see the legs of Sandusky and the child because the upper bodies were blocked.
Had Freeh's team taken the most obvious investigative step and inspected the Assistant Coaches Locker Room, they would have learned there were no obstructions blocking the view into the shower. While they should have also checked the employment records of Calhoun (the eye-witness) to find he wasn't even working at PSU in November 2000, the physical evidence about the Assistant Coaches Locker Room, alone, disproved the testimony of Petrosky.
It is truly amazing that Freeh's team was on campus for eight months and never checked the alleged crime scene. It appears very clear that Freeh was toeing the line that Corbett had drawn -- and would do nothing to obstruct Linda Kelly's investigation of Curley, Schultz, and Spanier, as well as the prosecution of Sandusky.
Freeh accepted the grand jury testimony of Petrosky at face value and never bothered to update his report (Freeh Report page 65) to reflect the new testimony that Petrosky would present at the trial. Freeh simply piled on and called the incident the "most horrific rape" that occurred on PSU's campus.
Sensationalizing Emeritus StatusAfter the first few months of the investigation at Penn State, Freeh's team had turned up little to no information that revealed Paterno, Spanier, Curley, and Schultz were anything other than honest men who didn't understand what they were dealing with in Jerry Sandusky.
Interviews with Penn State employees and retirees was yielding nothing. In fact, the Freeh team interviewed - and reports are they brow beat - a septuagenarian woman who formerly worked for Paterno to try to get her to admit some type of wrong-doing by Joe. She held her ground.
With the case going nowhere, it appears that Task Force officials (Frazier, et al) and the Freeh Group decided that they would sensationalize the awarding of emeritus status to Sandusky.
While the Freeh Report "found" that Sandusky was not eligible for this "honor" and it was given to him only because Spanier had promised it to Sandusky (Freeh Report, page 55), former PSU spokesperson Lisa Powers contradicted the findings in an article regarding the emeritus status former faculty member, Professor John Neisworth (who had been accused of child sexual abuse).
We asked Penn State why Professor Neisworth is still listed as a professor emeritus on the school’s website. She responded:The emeritus title was granted after the charges were declared unfounded by police and the courts. It is common in academe to grant emeritus status — so he remains listed in our database as do our other emeriti faculty. He is not on campus and has not had an office since he retired. He no longer teaches here in any capacity.
Exhibit 3I of the Freeh Report indicated somewhat of a debate over the title of the emeritus position more than the granting of emeritus status, however, Rod Erickson, who eventually approved the request, stated that not too many assistant professors would be granted this honor. A quick check of emeriti faculty in the Department of Kinesiology indicated an "associate professor emeritus" and a "senior research associate emeritus" on the rolls. Finally, the HR representative, Janine Andrews, stated the historically they had granted exceptions in the rewarding of emeritus status.
In conclusion, this issue was blown out of proportion by Freeh.
Not a Comprehensive and Thorough Report
Finally, if you really want to understand just how much respect BOT members like Kenneth Frazier have for the PSU alumni and our collective intelligence, all you need to do is read his remarks after the release of the Freeh Report.
Frazier 7/12/2012: “We'd like to thank Judge Freeh for his diligence in uncovering the facts over the past eight months and for issuing such a comprehensive and thorough report today...The process we just underwent with Judge Freeh leading it was critical for all of us if we are to move forward. We needed to understand what happened, to hold the appropriate individuals responsible for their actions and their failures to act, and identify the changes that need to be made in our University community."
Move forward. Don't ask questions. We know what's best for Penn State.
Kenneth Frazier and the rest of the trustees underestimated not only the intelligence of the alumni but our persistence. We recognized a fraud when we saw it (and him) and we we're not going to go away until the fraud (Freeh) is exposed.
Karen Peetz stated (hoped) that the whole Sandusky affair would be a distant memory by 2014.
And perhaps I agree with Ms. Peetz in one way - by 2014, the Freeh Report will be tossed on ash heap of history.