Friday, August 9

Were politics the deciding factor in the Sandusky arrest?

The timeline of the victim's grand jury appearances shows that the investigation didn't take off until after the Corbett-Spanier budget battle of March 2011.

By
Ray Blehar

Up until June 2011, the Commonwealth had very little reliable testimony to charge Sandusky.  The timeline below shows the number of counts obtained through the grand jury process.  The timeline also blows a major hole in the reports that adding additional police and investigators in January 2011 made any difference in bringing charges.



It is evident that the counts didn't start to build until after April 2011, however, the witness testimony up to, and even beyond, that point was not exactly reliable.  Details follow.

Aaron Fisher first testified before the grand jury in June 2009, however Fisher was barely able to answer questions (according to the book, Silent No More) and was not convincing.  According to Mike Gillum, Fisher's psychologist, the OAG informed him around the time of Fisher's testimony that the state had learned of an incident involving Sandusky in 1998.   However, the state would not act on that lead until January 2011.

Fisher testified again in November 2009 and again was unconvincing.  Nevertheless, the state had approximately six counts but no other victims to corroborate Fisher's story --  the case was going nowhere.

2010 Governor's Election Fall Out

In October 2010, then GOP gubernatorial candidate Corbett saw Spanier socializing with his Democrat opponent, Dan Oronato in the President's suite at a home football game.  Corbett was infuriated and vowed that he would fire Spanier if elected governor.  Corbett would later defeat Oronato and become governor.

After his election, it's likely that Corbett set the wheels into motion to remove Spanier.  Although there is "folklore" about an anonymous e-mail tip leading the investigators to MIke McQueary, this e-mail has never been admitted as evidence in a court case nor has its contents ever been revealed.   It is more likely that the OAG had learned about the McQueary incident much earlier and sat on the information -- much like they did with the information about 1998 PSU shower incident.

Police contacted Mike McQueary in November 2010 and he testified before the grand jury in December 2010.  McQueary testified to a rather uncertain account of witnessing Sandusky in the shower with a minor youth around Spring Break 2002.  After McQueary's testimony (in March 2011) police asked Aaron Fisher if he was the youth in the shower and Fisher denied ever showering with Sandusky.  Police had no leads on a possible victim thus could not make a case with the combined testimony of Fisher and McQueary, however, the total counts reached 11.

Around the same time as McQueary was interviewed, the police and investigators met with the mother of Victim 6.  Between she and her daughter, they identified several other potential victims (3, 4, 5, and 7) using the book Touched.   During her interview with Corporal Leiter, the mother was told that the police had 400 counts on Sandusky, but the AG wanted to prosecute only 40.  The police also told the mother that her son's abuse (showering with Sandusky) did not fit the pattern they had for other victims and they may not prosecute his case. The mother remarked, "this whole thing stinks so much more than we all know."

In January, police (finally) obtained the 1998 University Park police report of and  interviewed Victim 6, who was the subject of a previous abuse investigation conducted by the Department of Public Welfare/Centre County Children and Youth Services, the Centre County District Attorney's Office, and the University Park police.  Based on the trial verdicts, Victim 6 did not allege any inappropriate touching by Sandusky, thus his interview did not bolster the case.  A similar result was obtained from the initial interview of Victim 7 in February.

It was now March of 2011 and the police still didn't have enough to charge.  But the case took a major turn that month.

Abraham Lincoln Is Weeping


On March 8, 2011 Governor Corbett released the budget which cut PSU’s budget allotment by
nearly 52%, or $182 million. The next day Spanier held a press conference in which he said
“Abraham Lincoln is weeping,” which was a reference to Lincoln’s signing of the Morrill Act
which established land grant institutions.

The battle played out over the next few weeks with Spanier and other university presidents testifying in Harrisburg. Later that month, Spanier, who  had been told that the Commonwealth would not need his testimony, was called to an interview at the OAG’s office in State College. Two days later, on March 24, he was subpoenaed to testify before the grand jury. He testified on April 13, 2011.


A Theme Emerges

In April 2011, the police knocked on the door of Victim 4.  Victim 4 didn't let them in the house on that first visit and the police left their card.  Victim 4's father then reached out to lawyer Ben Andreozzi for representation.  Victim 4 and Androezzi met with police for several hours.  It was during a break in the questioning that police left a tape recorder on and were caught discussing the ways in which they might encourage testimony from Victim 4.  Next, the police falsely stated that nine other victims had come forward and had admitted that they had engaged in sexual acts with Sandusky.  At the time, the only victim, on the record, to disclose was Fisher.  Victim 4 then disclosed that he had engaged in sexual acts with Sandusky and that the acts took place in the PSU football facilities and hotels.

Victim 4 testified before the grand jury sometime that April, but given the means by which the testimony was elicited from Victim 4, the Commonwealth could not count on it surviving in court.

Victim 7 also testified on April 11, 2011 (earlier in the month) but did not disclose anything rising to indecent assault, but also mentioned showering.

Fisher was also brought back to testify, but this time he was allowed to read his testimony from a prepared script.  At this point, Fisher became an outlier because, though asked, he denied ever showering with Sandusky.

By the end of April, the counts had reached 22, but the allegations of sexual abuse by Victim 4 were tainted by police investigative procedures, thus the state could not make a case.  However, the pattern of Sandusky using PSU facilities to shower with young men had come to the forefront and became the theme of the investigation.

May 2011 - The janitor testimony

Agent Sassano testified that the police and investigators brainstormed about who else may have seen Sandusky showering with young men and their answer was janitors.

On May 11, 2011, the grand jury subpoenaed the names of all janitors working in the East Area Locker Rooms dating back to 1990.   It was from this list that the Commonwealth found the name of James Calhoun and learned that Calhoun suffered  from Alzheimer's.

According to OAG Agent Anthony Sassano, janitor Ronald Petrosky phoned him in March to report an incident from 2000.  Petrosky testified (at trial) he called Sassano after reading the story about the graduate assistant in a March Centre Daily Times article.  Interestingly, the CDT didn't run the grand jury article in March.  Instead, it linked to the Patriot News article, which went to press on March 31st, 2011.  However, the "grad assistant" information did not surface until the grand jury presentment in November 2011.

Much like the cases with the mother of Victim 6 and Victim 4, it is likely that the police and investigators were informing the janitors about a laundry list of  Sandusky's devious behavior with the hope of eliciting testimony.   Why wouldn't these two upstanding citizens want to step up and put a bad guy like Sandusky away?  Particularly if they had seen him showering with kids....all they needed to say is they saw something more.

However in the janitors' cases, they didn't have to admit to seeing anything.  All they had to do was testify that someone else (Calhoun) saw something and there was no way to disprove the story because Calhoun suffered from dementia and could not testify.

According to the grand jury presentment, Petrosky stated went to clean the showers in the Assistant Coach's Locker Room, where he saw the legs of Sandusky and a boy in the showers.  The upper bodies were not visible.  Petrosky waited for Sandusky and the boy to exit the showers and began cleaning.  Shortly thereafter,  he was approached by elderly janitor James Calhoun.  Calhoun was trembling and shaking because he had just seen a man (Sandusky) performing oral sex on a young boy.   A second janitor, Jay Witherite, also testified  (at the grand jury) the Calhoun was shaken from witnessing the incident.

The counts had now reached 27, but the state still lacked a solid case, since the latest incident was completely based on hearsay that stood the chance of not being admitted.  But the crime fit the pattern.

The Final Victims

In June of 2011, the police brought Victims 5 and 6 to the grand jury.  Both young men stated they had showered one time with Sandusky, with the former stating that Sandusky attempted to molest him and the latter disclosing no indecent touching that he could remember.   The state decided on four counts each and the total reached 35.

Finally, in July 2011, the police contacted Victim 3 and after many interviews, he disclosed that he had showered with Sandusky and that Sandusky had fondled him in the basement bedroom of the residence.  The counts reached the magic number of 40 and the state went forward with the prosecution.

Breaking it down, the investigation went for 17 months stuck on six counts and one victim.  In November 2010 five counts were added bringing the total to 11 and the total stayed there until the middle of April 2011 (or for 4 months).  From mid-April to mid-August (five months) the state added 29 counts -- without any new investigative leads uncovered.  The police and investigators were simply acting on information they had known about since December 2010 (thus adding investigators in January 2011 didn't uncover new information or victims).

Conclusion

Based on the information obtained in the investigation, Sandusky could have been arrested nearly two years earlier than it occurred -- in August 2009.  The timeline shows that politics played a major role in the decision to charge Jerry Sandusky and it appears the ulterior motive was Corbett's vendetta against Spanier.


19 comments:

  1. Ray,

    Do you have any thoughts on Spanier's latest against Freeh: http://www.collegian.psu.edu/news/crime_courts/article_877c70f6-016d-11e3-81e1-001a4bcf6878.html We can say what we want about Graham, but stupid is not one of them.


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    1. This civil action should have been filed by Spanier, Schultz, and Curley immediately after the Freeh Report was issued and they should have called a joint press conference to do it. That would have been the best way to combat the negative publicity emanating from the Freeh Report.

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  2. Also, it seems Ryan Bagwell is getting stonewalled. I think the biggest mistake the OAG made was indicting Spanier. This should be the unraveling of Corbett, etc. They should have left him alone.

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    1. Actually, the biggest mistake was firing Joe Paterno, then bringing in Louis Freeh to scapegoat Paterno. That really crossed the line and that's why the alumni won't let this go.

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    2. Yes agreed, that started it. I think Spanier has the ability to end it. He should have the goods on Corbett, and Freeh. I find it hard to believe that Spanier didn't have at least one conversation about the investigation before all hell broke loose.

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    3. ...and yes, they should have joined forces on that suit. But maybe PSU is not obligated to pay for their legal bills in that particular suite. And maybe Graham can take care of ot for all three?

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  3. Ray:
    Great use of a time line to demonstrate your point. Thanks again,

    Al

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    1. Thanks, Al. Politics were what swung the investigation -- otherwise, Sandusky would be a free man today. The state and Second Mile would have continued covering for his crimes if Corbett didn't have a vendetta against Spanier.

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  4. Ray,

    Let's not let Surma off the vendetta list too soon. Surma could have had a hand in both Spanier and Paterno's vendetta's.
    Of course along with Corbett. Thoughts?

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    1. Surma was part of the deal. No doubt.

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  5. Don't forget Joiner, he also was a mouthpiece for the BoT..

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  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  7. Great work Ray. What documentation is there that the sleaze-ball Corbett was infuriated and vowed to fire Spanier?

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    1. I sourced it in report 3, but here you go...
      http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/state/spaniers-lawyers-claim-political-vendetta-660293/

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  8. Community madness cases are loaded with distressing events. The Little rascals case started with a mother being upset that her child was struck by Mr. Bob. Mr. bob was eventually tried and convicted on 99 counts. The appealate court threw out the conviction and the matter was dropped. In this case Aaron Fisher was having some kind of mental problems and he may have just been looking for an excuse. Jerry Sandusky was eventually convicted of 45 counts.

    We now know with cetritude that the charge of anal rape of victim #2 was concocted by perverts in the OAG office. Recall that sport radios guys said that Sandusky was using PSU showers as rape rooms, Joe Paterno knew about it, and Joe Paterno didn't call 911. The resulting mania was based on a lie.

    There was another charge of anal rape involving the stomachache kid. The kid soild himself and threw away his underwerar. What probably happened was "Was there blood in your pants?" " I don't remember, maybe". "You were raped by Jerry, weren't you."

    Anyway, Kevin Pho published a poignant blog on encopresis
    http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2013/06/child-feel-poops.html

    The OAG, Penslyvania judges and the American public are depraved.

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    1. WBill,
      There are certainly many questions that require answers in the Sandusky case.

      While not intended, this blog really shows how weak the case against Jerry was and that the state was fortunate to get a conviction. It was not a slam dunk at all.

      I have particular interest in accusers 11-17. Who were they? When were they found? Why weren't they brought to trial? Were these some of the kids JS was taking out of classes at Central Mountain? Were they found early in the investigation and stuffed away because they couldn't help "convict" PSU?

      We need answers to those questions.

      Little Rascals and McMartin may be appropriate analogies or they may not be. But we need to find out.

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    2. Ray, are you confident that your work on all this is being read by Moulton and others working with Kane's office to investigate Corbett's investigation??

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    3. I'm quite confident. This particular issue was discussed in Report 3 on page 24 or 25.

      In addition, I noted that information from my blogs surfaced during the preliminary hearing in some of the questions by Ms. Roberto. The legal teams definitely follow my work.

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    4. So, Ray, as per your comment above (Aug 10,1:16pm) Moulton may find that Corbett participated in NOT pursuing questions about Sandusky's behavior with boys then later DID pursue a case against him that would also bring down certain people at PSU against whom Corbett and others had personal grievances... correct?

      So are either of these things illegal, and if so, then others played an illegal role of accomplice? Such as Raykovitz and McQueary, respectively?

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