Friday, August 30

Tom Harmon: The Untold Story

Gary Schultz's not so "secret file" continues to unravel the false charges of a cover-up by PSU

Ray Blehar

As I mentioned previously, seasoned analysts sometimes detect missing information -- information that should be found, but is conspicuously missing - that leads to solving a case.

In this propaganda campaign by the Attorney General, omissions and false statements have been the norm from the release of the November 2011 Grand Jury Presentment to the most recent testimony at the preliminary hearing.

The AG's accusation of a PSU cover up to avoid bad publicity or preserve the Penn State brand is held together by a web of lies and omissions, a number of which involve PSU's former police Chief, Tom Harmon.

The questions not asked of Harmon (at the preliminary hearings), his apparent false statements, missing witnesses, altered evidence, and the absence of key evidence are all part and parcel of the propaganda campaign.  When you put the pieces together, circumstantial evidence points to Tom Harmon as the person who likely reported the 2001 incident to Centre County CYS and blows up the false narrative of a cover-up by the indicted PSU officials.

I suspect the most important lie, among the suspected lies told by Harmon, is that Schultz never told him about the 2001 incident.  When you look at the evidence, Harmon's contention that he was never told about the McQueary incident just doesn't hold water.

In short, Harmon - like Cynthia Baldwin - is a very likely a cog in the wheel of the Commonwealth's false narrative that deflects the blame from the state's child protection agencies and instead places it squarely on PSU. 

Harmon's Testimony  

Here's a recap of Harmon's testimony:
-- On February 12, 2001, Schultz inquired about the 1998 case (via an e-mail that has not been released publicly).
-- Harmon responds via e-mail that the police report is in the imaged files  (Freeh Report, Exhibit 5D).
-- Harmon also testifed that he knew the file Schultz was asking about was in reference to the Sandusky 1998 child abuse investigation.
-- Harmon testified that he didn't ask why Schultz was inquiring about the file.
-- Harmon testified that he didn't recall Schultz asking for the file and he didn't recall providing it to him.
-- Harmon later testified that if Schultz would have asked him for it, he would have remembered that fact.
-- Harmon testified that Schultz didn't say there was another Sandusky incident in 2001, otherwise Harmon said he would have opened an investigation.

However, the prosecutor never asked if Harmon, himself, had retrieved the file or bothered to look at it.

Nor did they ask him if he ever discussed the contents of the 1998 police report with Schultz.  To be fair, the defense team didn't ask those questions either.

They are interesting questions because Schultz's handwritten note from his personal file says: "reviewed 1998 history."

How did Schultz do it?

Schultz's Review of the 1998 Incident

Schultz could have gotten the 1998 police report from someone else in the University Park police department.  That's possible, but not likely, considering that if someone else provided the file, they'd have been identified as a witness in the case to lock down the pejury charge.  Schultz was charged with perjury because he claimed he was not aware of the 1998 police report.  The charge was made in March 2012 - before Schultz and Belcher turned over the file formerly known as the "secret file."   Therefore, that charge was likely made based on the e-mail evidence, which was turned over in March 2011 according to OAG forensics expert Braden Cook.  The e-mail Exhibit reveals Harmon informed him of the existence of the police report.  Barring the possibility that the OAG already possessed the "secret file," the e-mail is the only evidence of Schultz's knowledge of the 1998 police report that could have substantiated the perjury charge.

Schultz also could have reviewed the 1998 history from his review of the contents of the "secret file."  The file contained at least five pages of hand written notes on the 1998 case, including  Freeh Report Exhibits 2H (2 pages), 2I (2 pages), and one page that contained five bullet points on the investigation.   In addition, Schultz also could have accessed his e-mails from 1998 rather easily.  If the e-mails and notes were the 1998 history reviewed by Schultz, then it would mean he testified truthfully about his lack of knowledge of the 1998 police report.  This scenario is highly probable, given that the Sandusky file was in a drawer in his office and the e-mails were accessible (the system turnover occurred in 2004).

A third alternative was that Harmon pulled the file and provided the information to Schultz verbally.  I find that this is a highly probable scenario, given the evasiveness of the prosecutions questioning, the evidentiary omissions, and behaviors typical of a police officer.

So, let's play this out for a moment in this hypothetical conversation.....

Schultz:  Tom, do we have a record of the 1998 investigation of Sandusky?
Harmon: "Regarding the incident in 1998 involving the former coach, I checked and the incident is documented in our imaged archives." (Actual Reponse)
Schultz:  Thanks, Tom, I just felt like checking on that today - kind of hit me out of the blue.
Harmon: Anytime, Gary.

Rather implausible, wouldn't you say?

Harmon testified that Schultz rarely involved himself in police investigations and could not recall Schultz asking to review other police files.   Schultz also testified that he didn't customarily review police reports.  So, this was not a routine question by Schultz and it was something that Harmon recalled from memory.  Harmon then testified that to his recollection, Schultz did not ask for the file nor did he provide it to Schultz, and that he (Harmon) wasn't curious about why Schultz asked about it.

But what is the reality here? 

Harmon's Inconsistent Behaviors 

The reality is that any policeman worth his or her salt would at least ask the reason for the inquiry -- and suspect something was going on with Sandusky again, given Harmon's knowledge of the 1998 case.   It is also highly likely that Harmon, who checked the imaged archives for the existence of the file and would have retrieved it, considering that his boss was asking about it.

The other curious (or should I say, false) statement by Harmon is his contention that if Schultz told him Sandusky had showered with a child that it would have caused him to immediately open up an investigation.  That statement is incongruent with his behavior in 1998, when a mother came to his police force with an allegation of a sexual assault against Sandusky. Given that Schreffler had opened up an investigation (which Harmon probably would have squelched), Harmon's alternative was to label the file as "administrative information."   It's also notable that Harmon thought it important to notify Schultz about Chambers' psychologist's report generating an incident number with DPW.   However it is unlikely that Harmon chose to label the file as "administrative information" to avoid the media finding out - rather, he did it to likely protect his fellow church goer and former neighbor, Jerry Sandusky, from public scrutiny. 

Harmon's alleged rationale of PSU avoiding bad publicity (not so ironically, the Commonwealth's story of PSU's motive in this case) is also incongruent with his behavior as the Chief of the University Park police, when his police force was arresting PSU football players one after the next from 2000 up until and after the time he retired in 2005.   It's quite an impressive record of arrests - 60 over 8 years (according to a June 11, 2008 blogpost on BlackShoeDiaries) and many of those, including the high profile Maurice Humphrey case, occurred on Harmon's watch.

The evidence indicates that Tom Harmon and the University Park police didn't give a whit about bad publicity for PSU or the football program.

The AG's rationale of a cover-up to avoid bad publicity never made sense.  Now it makes even less sense when you know the history of Tom Harmon's policing activities.

Detailed Timeline Highlights Facts About 1998, Second Mile

A detailed analysis of the 2001 timeline indicates that Schultz did not remember the 1998 report until after talking with Spanier on the afternoon of February 12, 2001 -- and likely after speaking with Harmon about the 1998 and 2001 cases.  Given all of the above, it is likely that Harmon was the person who jogged Schultz's memory about the 1998 case and who was asked by Schultz to report the incident to CYS.

The 2001 Detailed Timeline 

Bold italics indicate suspected activity
 Times in italics are approximate

2/9      McQueary witnessed incident in Lasch. Tells his father & Dr. Dranov - and possibly his girlfriend.
2/10    9:00 AM McQueary told Paterno about the incident. (AM)
2/11    9:00 AM Paterno informs Curley and Schultz of incident (AM)
2/11    Schultz consults with Wendell Courtney.  Courtney later claimed no knowledge of 1998 incident.

2/12    Schultz phones Harmon and instructs him to contact CYS regarding 2001 incident.
2/12    2:30PM Schultz and Curley meet with Spanier.  Spanier was not told about 1998 incident. 
2/12    Schultz e-mails Harmon regarding the 1998 case. (Not admitted as evidence)
2/12    4:57PM Harmon replies that the 1998 police file is in the imaged archive.  
2/12    Schultz discusses 1998 incident with Harmon.  
2/12    Schultz writes note outlining the following:  
           Met with TMC. Reviewed 1998 history. TMC to meet w/JS on Friday. Option to call DPW.
2/16    Postponed TMC meeting with Sandusky.
2/19    Schultz and Curley meet with Mike McQueary
2/22    Schultz e-mail to arrange meeting with Curely and Spanier. (Not admitted as evidence.)
2/23    Spanier sends e-mail to confirm meeting.  (Not admitted as evidence in preliminary hearing.)
2/25    Handwritten note from Schultz outlining next steps.  
2/25    Spanier meets with Curley at his residence to discuss next steps.
2/26    1:57PM Schultz e-mails Curley 
           1. Talk to subject ASAP about not using facilities with TSM.  2. Contact TSM.  3. Contact DPW.
2/27    8:10PM Curley e-mails to pitch revised plan.  10:18PM  Spanier confirms plan. 
2/28    2:13PM Schultz confirms plan.

The (Possible) Schultz/Harmon Discussion

The not so "secret file" states that Schultz "reviewed 1998 history."  I suspect that the review by Schultz included his files on the 1998 report, e-mails, and a discussion of the 1998 case (police report) with Harmon.  

One of the more interesting facts in the e-mail evidence is a passage on the e-mail (Exhibit 2C) of June 8, 1998 from Schultz to Harmon, which states:  "I recall the last time we talked you indicated that there was some aspects of this that you felt you should review with me when we had a chance to talk."

The history of the 1998 case shows that CYS punted the case to DPW after the first day of the investigation, after "realizing" they had a conflict of interest with The Second Mile.  CYS also arranged to bring in John Seasock to perform the evaluation of Victim 6.  The police report demonstrates that Detective Schreffler was critical of Seasock's interview and questioned him about his knowledge of the case.   (Note: The file also appears to have alterations on the page regarding the fateful psych interview conducted by Seasock.) 

At the July 2013 preliminary hearing, Harmon revealed that on May 27, 1998, CYS called the University Park police to request that Schreffler not interview Sandusky without DPW's Lauro being present.  

Given the above, Schultz may have gotten the impression that CYS was not operating on the up-and-up when dealing with Sandusky and that DPW may need to be called in "as an independent  agency concerned w child welfare."  Why would Schultz call out DPW's independence in the matter if it wasn't for the fact he had reservations about CYS? 

Critical Point On Timeline:  Wendell Courtney Consultation

Wendell Courtney's legal review of the incident is the critical point on the timeline that makes the scenario of Harmon as the designated reporter very likely.  While we don't know how he advised Schultz, we do know that the law on child abuse reporting requires a report to be made within 48 hours.

A fair reading of the 2001 law would have provided PSU with two options that would have required them to "make or cause a report to be made" of the incident.  The first option would be directly reporting the incident to child protection authorities and the second would be to inform The Second Mile (Sandusky's charity) with the expectation that they would file the report. 

Schultz's note makes clear that contacting The Second Mile was not the option selected.

If Courtney determined that the "time clock" started upon McQueary's report to Paterno on 9:00 AM Saturday, February 10th, the deadline for making a report would have been Monday, February 12th at 900 AM.  Thus the hypothetical of Schultz directing Harmon to report to CYS on Monday morning would fit the timeline for making the report in the legally required time.  It is also entirely logical that Harmon, as the Chief of Police, would be the individual Schultz would direct to initiate a report.

The option of reporting the incident to The Second Mile didn't arise until February 26th, according to available evidence. It is then logical to conclude, based on the available evidence, that Courtney advised that PSU contact CYS.  The contact of DPW referenced on Schultz note was outside the legal time limitthus was likely a back-up plan (as I alluded to earlier).

Follow up discussions focused on Sandusky's behavior
Note that while there was a legal requirement to report Sandusky (which appears to have been resolved by Monday, February 12th)  PSU officials still had to resolve the issue of Sandusky' inappropriate behavior as an emeritus employee.  It was clear that Schultz and Curley needed to gather facts from McQueary to know what exactly was observed, assess the situation, and determine further actions.

The evidence in the case indicates that Schultz had a greater sense of urgency about resolving the matter than did Curley, considering his actions to consult Courtney about the incident, his contacts with Harmon, and his management of the situation involving his administrative assistant, Joan Coble.

The 25 February e-mail from Schultz to Curley likely originated because of Coble's  "tickler" file.  As Coble testified, she put pending actions in the file and reminded Schultz about them at various intervals.  The March 7, 2001 e-mail from Coble to Curley would be indicative of her use of the "tickler file" to ensure that Curley closed the loop with Schultz on the matter.

Based on this information, Freeh's conclusion that Curley met with The Second Mile on March 19th would be contradicted by not only the March 7th e-mail, but by Spanier's statement (Exhibit 2J) that Curley had met with Sandusky and The Second Mile within days of their February 26th meeting.

Schultz and Courtney Recall PSU Contacted CYS

At the December 16, 2011 Preliminary Perjury Hearing, Gary Schultz made at least six references (starting on page 227) in which he recalled or referenced a report and/or investigation of the 2001 incident by the "the agency" or "the child protection agency" that handled the 1998 investigation.  At one point during the questioning, prosecutor Frank Fina lied to Schultz, telling him that the police handled the investigation in its entirety (page 228).  Here is the transcript from which it is clear that Schultz believed the incident was turned over to the "child protection agency" and that Frank Fina lied.

Wendell Courtney also recalled that Penn State had contacted CYS in 2001.  Page 84 of the Freeh Report states:  "..However, I recall that someone (I don't think it was me, since if it was I would have written documentation of the contact) contacted Children and Youth Services to advise of the situation so that they could do whatever they thought was appropriate under the circumstances, while being apprised what PSU's actions were, i.e., advising JS to no longer bring kids to PSU's football locker rooms."

The AG's press release of the Sandusky indictment and grand jury presentment, incorrectly stated that Courtney represented both The Second Mile and Penn State in 1998 and was apprised of the details of that case.  Courtney corrected the record, stating he had no knowledge of the 1998 incident, a report of a rape in 2002, and did not represent TSM as it's counsel until 2009.

The AG's (Nils Frederikson) response to Courtney's corrections (incredibly) was: "If he wants to engage in semantics, so be it."

TSM confirmed that Courtney was not hired as their legal counsel until 2009.  

In summary, two PSU officials recall a report was made to CYS in 2001.  It would be fantastic if PSU could produce a record of this contact and end this entire mess.

Unfortunately, it appears that Chief Harmon, who didn't want to have a crime log report on Sandusky in 1998, would have been the guy to make such documentation of a report to CYS.

It's likely we now know why PSU doesn't have a record of the 2001 report anywhere in its files. 

What Would Other Missing "Evidence" and Testimony Prove?

Missing E-Mail Evidence
Why has the Schultz e-mail "request" for the 1998 case information never been released or viewed as evidence?  What language does it contain that is so damaging to the state's case that neither the prosecution will introduce it as evidence at proceedings or that Louis Freeh would exclude it from his report?

Did it contain instructions for Harmon to open an investigation or contact child welfare?  Did it mention the 2001 incident?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Another piece of evidence that should be bolstering the Commonwealth's case (of a failure to report by PSU) is the testimony of a case worker or similar individual from CYS.  

But we haven't heard from those people either.

Carol Smith/CYS
The Commonwealth has relied on Agent Anthony Sassano to testify on CYS's behalf in this matter.  Sassano stated he contacted Carol Smith, the Director at Centre County CYS, who informed him that she did not recall any report nor have knowledge of a report in 2002 (sic).   Sassano stated that Smith recalled the 1998 case, but none after that.   

Of course, Carol Smith has quite an incentive to lie, as does anyone else working at CYS who may have decided not to investigate the case.  I suspect that's why she nor anyone else at CYS has been called to testify in this matter.  

There is little doubt that someone at CYS knows about PSU's 2001 report, but hasn't the courage to step forward and tell the truth.

Jerry Lauro/DPW
Similarly, the Commonwealth has not asked DPW program representative, Jerry Lauro, or anyone else to take the stand to testify to the lack of receipt of a report.  I can understand the Commonwealth's reluctance to call Lauro, considering he made statements to the press about never seeing either psychology report in 1998, yet was responsible for arranging one of the interviews.  He's not a credible witness.

Agent Anthony Sassano
 Interestingly enough, Sassano actually let slip (on page 170) that DPW had records of the report (see below)

At the July 30, 2013, Preliminary Perjury Hearing, Sassano was cross-examined about whether he rechecked for the existence of records regarding the 2001 incident.  Originally, Sassano and everyone else (except Sandusky) believed the crime occurred in 2002.   Sassano answered that he checked with CYS, but not DPW. Then he incorrectly stated that he did call DPW and they had no report (page 26).  Therefore, Sassano has yet to close the door on the issue of the 2001 report still floating around at DPW.

Sassano then made the case that the absence of a police report at the time of the 2001 incident was proof of a failure to report because investigations are always conducted jointly between police and child care caseworkers.  Sassano then stated he checked with the University Park police department and they had no report of an investigation in 2001.

And why would they?  

The person who would have opened up that investigation (and report) was none other than Tom Harmon.


  1. Don't forget AG Kelly wouldn't let Freeh interview Harmon. p12

    Hat tip, JimmyW!

  2. Excellent work.

    What you are proving beyond all doubt is that recollections in general are self- serving and recollections are unreliable after 10 years. I ask for somebody from Penn state psychology department put together a post on confabulation. That explains Joe Paterno's "something sexual" comment that people hang their hats on.

    I just found out that one kid in the Freidman's case claimed to have been anally raped in Mr. friedman's computer class, several times a session. Wow! But he signed up for the next class given by Mr. Friedman. That should have settled the matter, just as victim #6 long association with Mr. Sandusky after his shower incident should have settle the Sandusky matter..

  3. It seems there's evidence here that supports the idea that McQueary was NOT convinced he saw a crime bring committed. If he believed he had witnessed something that he thought could be illegal, he would have made this clear at least to Schultz, "the police". And considering that MM's meeting with Curley and Schultz was brief, and that they asked few if any questions, MM would have expected to be questioned later, as part of the police's investigation. Apparently police never questioned MM in 2001, and apparently he was OK with this. This suggests then that MM was NOT sure a crime had occurred. And this in turn would explain him AND his father AND Dr Dranov being OK with his actions that night, namely to quietly leave with no confrontation at all of Sandusky OR the boy.

    Likewise, meticulous note-taker Schultz didn't posit, even to himself, that maybe his police force should investigate MM's allegations further. Did Schultz ever document ANY curiosity about getting actual details from MM?? He and Curley had several ideas about what to do. However NONE of these ideas included actually getting more info from McQueary. Therefore they must have had no reason, based on what MM did tell them, to think further details from him were needed.

    Even if their plan was to cover up wrongdoing, it seems that Schultz was a compulsive kind of guy... one who would have wanted to clarify some things with MM as he, Curley, and Spanier decided on a plan of action.

    Just as the allegations against Sandusky in 1998 were eventually deemed of no consequence, the allegations in 2001 did not even merit further questioning of the "witness". Much less a full-blown investigation.

    So why all the firings, hand-wringing, and expensive guilt of PSU?? Something other than these two incidents is definitely going on!!

    1. I suspect the following happened.
      1. Schultz met with Courtney who advised contacting CYS.
      2. Schultz told Harmon to report the incident to CYS. Schultz believed that CYS handled the investigation not the police.
      3. Harmon circled back with Schultz and told him that Curley should not interview Jerry until CYS/DPW gets done with their investigation.
      4. Schultz and Curley still have to find out what's up with Jerry and the kid showering, so they talk to McQueary. McQueary told them he couldn't see anything, but could hear Sandusky and the kid horsing around.
      5. Harmon informs Schultz that CYS looked into the matter and determined no abuse occurred. Similar to the call he made in 1998, before Gricar had decided anything.
      6. With that information, Schultz decides on a course of action to stop Sandusky's use of the facilities with Second Mile kids. If they can't get cooperation from JS or Second Mile, they'll raise the issue to DPW (the independent agency, not the one (CYS) in Sandusky's back pocket).

    2. Right. It all comes down to two, and only two, suspicious incidents of Coach Sandusky playing around with his Second Mile kids in the PSU football facilities. Both occurred at night; involved only JS, a boy, and a concerned adult "witness"; and triggered the concerned adult to tell others and to try to have some sort of investigation into JS's behavior. In both instances, the "authorities" looked into things; discussed things with each other; made and followed a plan; and then eventually agreed that things were resolved. The 1998 incident was officially ruled of no consequence; and the boy went on to have a long and happy relationship with JS. Similarly, the 2001 incident was deemed not criminal; and the boy (who strenuously and publicly defended his and JS's innocent behavior) went on to have a long and happy relationship with JS.

      The plan developed and implemented by PSU authorities in 2001 ended JS's practice of bringing kids to PSU football facilities, for whatever reason.

      No other concern about JS's behavior with kids was brought to "authorities" until 2005, when Aaron Fisher talked with his mother. They each held JS and AF's school responsible for AF's abuse. So they triggered an investigation.

      Somehow this accusation against JS and AF's school became a condemnation of PSU in general, and its football program in specifics. And along with JS going to prison, PSU was somehow labeled the other culprit. And, it seems, at the exclusion of all other entities. EVEN AF's school!!

      So this is what the media, the PSU BoT, and the NCAA expect an academic community of critical thinkers to accept? And then to move on??


      If it weren't so UNfunny, I'd be ROTFLMAO.

  4. In reading the transcripts of Sassano's direct and cross examination, it's really unbelievable how the judge allowed the prosecutors to dive into the different victims from the trial, but then almost immediately squashed any attempt by defense attorneys to do the same. I really would have loved to seen the look on Sassano's face when they asked him if they knew the identity of victim 2. Even the defense attorney stated "this is the heart of the case" when the prosecutor's objection was sustained.

    And this is most likely why the case will never see a trial. At some point Sassano would have to admit under oath to knowing the identity of Victim 2.

    1. Courtroom observers said that Sassano looked hopeless, dumbfounded, and like a deer in the headlights.

    2. What is the penalty if it is proven at trial that the Sandusky prosecutors knew the identity of victim 2 but lied to the court that they did not?

  5. Ray - So the possibilities seem to be:

    1. Harmon forgot that he reported to CYS in 2001, and CYS never bothered to investigate or investigated and found the complaint unfounded.

    2. Harmon never did report to CYS so lied to Schultz in 2001 that he did and is lying now to protect himself.