According to a review in the Salt Lake Tribune, the film "Happy Valley," Joe Paterno was aware of Sandusky's predation on young boys and the athletic department also failed to expose their knowledge of Sandusky's crimes. The review also said that the film is the "framing of American and sports culture, where distraction trumps all and serious issues are swept under the rug."
The reviewer, Brennan Smith, admitted that he was not familiar with the facts of the case, but was simply writing the review based on what he viewed in the film. However, his closing remark, "Even amid the winningest college coach of all-time, no one really won anything at all," seems to confirm that he believes that filmmaker Amir Bar-Lev got the story right.
And that couldn't be further from the truth.
The first point that Smith makes regarding Joe Paterno's knowledge that Sandusky was preying on young boys has been refuted by Prosecutor Frank Fina and, most recently, by Judge Leete in the Paterno vs. NCAA lawsuit. Leete ruled that the statement in the Freeh Report regarding Joe Paterno's response to the report of the 2001 incident was libelous. Additionally, Prosecutor Frank Fina declared that he found no evidence of Paterno being involved in a cover-up.
As for the athletic department officials failing to expose Sandusky, Judge Leete ruled that Freeh's statements regarding their enabling of Sandusky's abuse were malicious and defamatory. The evidence in the case clearly showed that Tim Curley reported the incident outside PSU to The Second Mile - which negates the films contention that PSU didn't share its knowledge of the incident.
Obviously, the idea that the scandal resulted from an "apathetic athletic department" is also unsupported by the evidence of the case. Certainly, the evidence in the case shows that Athletic Director Tim Curley was quite engaged in the follow-up to the incident. If there was any apathy in the 2001 incident, it was at The Second Mile, who received the report of Sandusky showering with a child and considered it a "non-starter."
Finally, the point made that Penn State or Happy Valley is a "sports culture, where distraction trumps all and serious issues are swept under the rug" appears to be a "lift" from the Freeh Report, which indicted PSU for a culture of reverence toward the football program. Freeh based that statement mostly on the issue of the janitors not reporting a crime allegedly witnessed in 2000.
Of course, readers of this blog know that the janitor incident has been completely debunked and, apparently, Bar-Lev doesn't.
Matt Sandusky Flip-FlopSmith states that filmmaker Bar-Lev made Matt Sandusky the central character in the film, which is absolutely stunning to those familiar with the Sandusky case. Matt Sandusky was included to give a voice to the Sandusky victims - and Bar-Lev admitted that Matt was a late addition to the film as it neared is production deadline.
Matt Sandusky's role in the Sandusky case is much like the role of Cynthia Baldwin in the Curley, Schultz, and Spanier case. In short, a gigantic flip-flop.
According to the book Silent No More, Matt Sandusky testified before the grand jury in April 2011. It is unclear how his appearance there came about, but it is highly probable that his biological mother, Debra Long encouraged the investigators to question him. At the grand jury, Matt testified that he was not abused by Jerry.
In a 1999 Sports Illustrated article, Matt stated: "My life changed when I came to live here. There were rules, there was discipline, there was caring. Dad (Jerry) put me on a workout program. He gave me someone to talk to, a father figure I never had. I have no idea where I would be without him and Mom (Dottie). And they've helped so many kids besides me."
After the first day of the trial, Matt announced that he could lie just as well as the accuser who took the stand in the case that day. Later that week (and at some point he consulted attorney Andrew Shubin, who represented Victims 2, 3, 7, and 10) Matt "flipped" and did exactly that.
Some of the reviews of Happy Valley allude to Matt Sandusky being betrayed by his family. Obviously, the reviewers don't know who the betrayer is and the motivations behind the real betrayal.
Matt Sandusky was awarded a settlement from Penn State for alleged abuse that occurred four of five years prior to PSU's first knowledge of possible misconduct by Sandusky in 1998.