Sunday, March 2

What you probably didn't know about the 1998 Sandusky investigation

The 1998 incident provided considerable insights into Sandusky's pedophile behavior and one of the cover-ups in this case.

Ray Blehar

The often repeated version of the 1998 story doesn't begin to tell the full story of what we assumed was the first incident that resulted in a child abuse investigation of Jerry Sandusky.   

During Spanier's grand jury hearing in April 2011, prosecutor Frank Fina mentioned the Commonwealth was told of a previous Sandusky investigation for illegal contact with a minor in 1984.  Fina stated they were unable to find police record of that incident.  Thus, the 1998 incident may not have been Sandusky's first brush with the law about child sexual victimization.

As for the 1998 incident, the popular version of it goes like this...

A boy arrived home with wet hair from showering with Sandusky after a workout on PSU's campus. That upset the mother and she called the University Park police who investigated the case.  The incident involved Sandusky giving the child a hug while they were both naked in the shower. After a lengthy investigation, no charges were filed and the case was closed by then Centre County District Attorney (DA) Ray Gricar.

As the Sandusky scandal unfolded, and police reports and psychology reports were released, the story broadened and the public learned that three other arms of government -- the PA Department of Public Welfare (DPW), Centre County Children and Youth Services (CC CYS), and the State College Borough police were also involved in the investigation, as was psychologist Dr. Alycia Chambers and unlicensed counselor, John Seasock.  

The Freeh report added additional information, when the "secret file" of Gary Schultz revealed notes that he had kept from his discussions about the case (presumably with University Park police Chief Tom Harmon).

A fuller picture of a botched investigation appeared, with conflicting evaluations of the victim, missing reports, and other bureaucratic bungling.   And what appeared to be a concerted effort by the Commonwealth and Louis Freeh to cover up the mistakes.

Ironically, the actions of Sandusky and his interactions with Victim 6 and the second boy, BK, were only examined superficially.  We just got the highlights.

When you examine the complete timeline of Sandusky and his interactions with these boys, what materializes is a story of a pedophile who surreptitiously accessed, abused, and then stalked a vulnerable boy.

The Timeline
April 1998: Sandusky met Victim 6 at a TSM picnic in Spring Creek Park.  

5/3/98 3:36PM - Jerry called V6 to set up work out
5/3/98 5:42PM - Jerry called V6 to provide his arrival time
5/3/98 7:00PM - Jerry picked up V6 to go the workout
5/3/98 7:15-8:45 - Sandusky and V6 toured locker room, worked out, & showered. 
5/3/98 9:00PM - Sandusky dropped V6 off at his family's apartment

5/4/98  Mother & son met with police, CYS, and psychologist Chambers 

5/5/98 1:55 PM DPW's Jerry Lauro informed Schreffler he was following up on the case

5/6/98 9:19PM - Jerry called Victim 6 

5/7/98 11:15AM  Lauro, Schreffler, & Weaver interview mother of V6 at apartment

5/8/98 2:00 PM Seasock evaluated V6

5/9/98 12:10PM Seasock discussed evaluation with Schreffler

5/10/98 4:20PM - Jerry called & left message for V6 to call him.

5/11/98 3:45PM - Jerry called V6 to invite him to go to Altoona. V6 responded that he'd  need his mother's permission.  Jerry also talked to BK and asked him how his baseball practices were going.

5/12/98 Jerry called V6 to ask to pick him up on the 13th.

5/13/98 3:55  Jerry called V6 to confirm pick-up
5/13/98 4:00  Jerry arrived. Confronted by mother about incident (Police eavesdropping)
5/13/98 4:05  Jerry left premises without V6.  Mother reported that the first time Sandusky came to her home, he came to the rear, sliding glass door.
5/13/98 6:00  BK reported Jerry was at his little league field (Gill Field) talking to him.

5/19/98 Jerry arrived at V6 apartment and is questioned by mother and admitted to showering with other boys before.  The mother informed Sandusky he should not attend any more of her son's baseball games.

6/1/98  11:00AM Schreffler and Lauro interviewed Sandusky.

What you likely missed in the official 1998 reports?

There are some lesser known facts from this case that few people know and then there are some things you can glean by reading between the lines.  

1.  Possible DPW/CYS Tip-offs to Sandusky/TSM.  According to member of TSM, they had no idea that Sandusky was investigated in 1998 and blamed Penn State for keeping the information away from them.  As most readers of this blog know, CC CYS was required by the Public Welfare Code to contact TSM at the outset of the 1998 investigation and put a safety plan in place.  Obviously, that didn't happen, but the idea that Sandusky or TSM didn't know about this incident until the end of the investigation is highly debatable.

As the investigation progressed, Sandusky appears to have called Victim 6 in close proximity to the times an action was taken on the case.  To wit:

On Monday 5/4, Victim 6 met with police & caseworkers.
On Wednesday, 5/6, Sandusky called Victim 6 at 9:19PM

On Friday, 5/8, Victim 6 was evaluated by Seasock
On Sunday, 5/10, Sandusky called Victim 6 at 4:20 PM

Was Sandusky trying to find out what the young boy had told investigators?  These calls were obtained from caller ID and the purposes are not stated in any report.

According to Sandusky's prison interview, he stated he was surprised when he was approached on June 1st by Schreffler and Lauro and claimed it was the first he had any idea he was under investigation.   

I'd take that statement with a grain of salt.

At least 16 known individuals and other unspecified persons definitely had knowledge of the 1998 incident, some of them who were friends and associates of Sandusky.  Those sixteen were:  

Subjects/Complainants:  Victim 6, his mother, and BK;

Police:  Schreffler; Weaver; Harmon, and Ralston (and other police);

DA's Office:   Arnold, Sloane, and Gricar;

Child Welfare:  Lauro, DPW (and his supervisor) and Miller, CYS (and associates)

PSU Officials:  Schultz and Curley 

Other:  Dr. Alycia Chambers (and associates), John Seascock

Former Police Chief Tom Harmon
Former Police Chief Tom Harmon, who was at one time a neighbor of Sandusky's and went to the same church as Jerry, could have been tipping him off to what was happening every step of the way.  Harmon deserves particular scrutiny in this case because he is the person responsible for mislabeling the police report as "Administrative Information" so that the media would not discover it.

Other State College policemen, aside from Ralston, were aware of the 1998 case.  One recalled Schreffler stopping by to ask someone to go on the first sting with him.  The mother also first called the State College police, who referred her to University Park.

Dr. Chambers reported one of her associates was familiar with Sandusky from interactions with TSM.  One way or another, it is likely word got back to Sandusky and/or TSM during those 37 days that he was under investigation.

2. Access without parental consent.  The fact that Sandusky came to the rear sliding doors of the apartment the first "known" time he came there indicates that he had been to (or at least by) the apartment without the mother's knowledge.  The mother was troubled by Sandusky coming to the back door and brought it up to the police on May 13th.  She asked  how he knew which back door was their's because there was nothing to identify the apartment. Given that her son was in little league, that activity gave Sandusky an opportunity for access without her knowledge.  It is likely that Sandusky  may have followed Victim 6 home from baseball practices (or perhaps gave him a ride home) and observed him enter the apartment through the rear doors

3. The workout and shower incident.  Most of the attention focused on the shower incident itself and the fact that Sandusky hugged the child while naked, however, there is more to the story.  

Det. Ronald Schreffler
First, Detective Ronald Schreffler testified that he believed Victim 6 did not fully disclose what happened to him, stating, and “I felt there was more that <redacted> hadn’t told me."

Schreffler's police report stated that Sandusky was "biting (kissing him on the arm)."  This fact was not brought out in most media reports or at the trial -- the only kiss most heard of was the one Sandusky gave the boy on the forehead during the workout.

Next, Victim 6 has never fully disclosed the details of the incident. He testified that things went "black" from the time he was in the shower with Sandusky until the time he arrived home.  This is consistent with the behavior of many boys who are vitcimized by a man.  Disclosures are often inaccurate and the level of abuse is typically disclosed incrementally. His memory of his arrival at home differs from that of his mother's.  Victim 6 always says his hair was wet, however, the mother told Dr. Chambers the boy's hair was bone dry.

His behavior after coming home indicates that something happened which made him feel "dirty,"   According to Schultz's notes and other reports, he took a shower after arriving home that night and again the next morning.  

Interestingly enough, the fact that he showered two times in the 11 hours after he had showered with Sandusky was not mentioned in the grand jury presentment, in the text of the Freeh Report, or at any time during the trial of Sandusky.  

Those omissions were not by accident.

The context of Sandusky's "playful" behavior with Victim 6 was also never fully explained.  The lowering of sexual inhibitions is usually done so gradually and skillfully the victim does not realize he or she is a victim until it is too late.  The activity can progress to fondling while wrestling, drying the child with a towel, massaging an injury, giving a back rub, tickling, playing a physical game, or cuddling in bed.  In this instance, Sandusky first got the boy on the floor by engaging in a game of "Polish soccer" (where a rolled up sock or tape ball would be kicked into a garbage can/target) then moving from that game into a wrestling match.  As we learned, Sandusky then worked out with the boy and suggested they shower.

Sandusky's coaxing of the boy to shower with him was also a typical pedophile behavior.  Again, he had selected a vulnerable boy who was at an age where he didn't fully understand what behaviors were normal between males.  When Sandusky said "all the guys do," Victim 6 believed him and took a shower with Sandusky, even though it made him uncomfortable.  This statement - "all the guys do" and similar statements are used by pedophiles in the seduction process of their young victims.

4.  Possible stalking behavior.  The fact that the mother told Sandusky to not attend her son's baseball games reveals that Sandusky, after being rebuffed on the 13th, he attempted to stay in contact with Victim 6 (without the knowledge of the mother) by attending his baseball practices.  

Of course, with Sandusky being a local celebrity of sorts, word filtered back to the mother that Jerry was hanging out at practice.  Even after she told Sandusky to stop going to her son's practices, he continued and the mother was forced to pull her son out of Little League.

Sandusky also exhibited this behavior with Aaron Fisher (Victim 1) and other boys at Central Mountain High School.  According to Vice-Principal, Steve Turchetta, when the boys broke off their relationships with Sandusky he became clingy and needy.   He got into shouting matches with the boys in which Turchetta played referree. Aaron Fisher testified that Sandusky followed his school bus home and chased him from the bus stop to his home, stopping at times to yell at Aaron to get into his car.  Fisher ran away, hiding behind bushes, as he made his way back to his home.

Victim 4 also testified that his "break up" with Sandusky was similar, with Sandusky becoming emotional and writing him "creepy love letters" in an effort to pull him back into the relationship.  


In 1998, a mother came forward purely out of the interest of protecting her son.  There was nothing for her to gain financially.  She protected her son from Sandusky as best as she could during the investigation, often paging the police when Sandusky would make unauthorized contact.   After the investigation concluded and Sandusky was cleared, she took steps to ensure Sandusky never had one-on-one access to her son again.

The victim's story of the incident, which he appears to be downplaying, has stayed consistent throughout and led to convictions on three sex offenses.  Only he and Sandusky may know what happened in that period that went "black."  

Sandusky's behavior far exceeded what is acceptable behavior for anyone who works with children in youth programs and were determined to be consistent with "grooming" according to Dr. Chambers.   His known actions with this victim clearly violated the statutes related to Megan's Law (i.e., sexual offenses).  His "need" to maintain contact with Victim 6 eventually forced the mother to pull the boy out of little league to ensure Sandusky did not have access without her knowledge. 

Numerous people were aware that Sandusky was under investigation and it is very likely that TSM and/or Sandusky was informed about it while in was in progress.

The Commonwealth and Louis Freeh attempted to bury one of the most important pieces of evidence in this case, if not the entire scandal -- that Victim 6 took a shower just hours after showering with Sandusky, then took another shower the next morning.  Police and caseworkers were aware of this fact, as well as over a dozen signs of possible child sexual abuse in this case. Despite the evidence of possible sexual abuse, DPW decided to "resolve the matter quickly" less than 10 days into the investigation.

There is more than one cover-up in this scandal and the evidence indicates that the Commonwealth and Louis Freeh were involved in covering up the failure of DPW in 1998.


  1. I always go back to why would CYS totally ignore the report of a Pa. state licensed psychologist, but yet put credence into a CYS, unlicensed clinician who helped drive the investigation away from the obvious. Too unbelievable because it was Sandusky, most likely. I work in a clinical field and this crap happens all the time,especially when clinicians who are licensed even taint the evaluation with their pre-evaluation biases. These biases drive their decision making and, most times, the diagnosis , or in the Sandusky case, no diagnosis, is only based on very brief subjective information and never on empirical infromation. My goodness, just the thought of an adult who is not even a relative showering alone with a young boy has a high level creepiness factor in my book.

    1. JLish,
      One of the "excuses" made in this case was that DPW and CYS never saw the report of Dr. Chambers. According to my discussion with Chambers in October 2012, she indeed provided that report to DPW (orally via ChildLine) and in written form to CYS.

      It wasn't a case of them picking one over the other, it was a case of the agencies lying about not seeing Chambers' report.

    2. Ray, by the OAG standards - if DPW didn't find a copy of Chambers' report, then she never made it. Just like Schultz didn't make a report to DPW in 2001, because they never found it.

      Because we all know that it had nothing to do with bad paperwork, bad record keeping or an active effort to simply "lose" the casework and everything to do with PSU's attempt to cover this up.

  2. I don't have kids, but I've always wondered about the kids involved with Sandusky being with him so late at night. Now we see he may have even been calling them late.

    Isn't this late evening/ nighttime association of an adult male with someone else's child a red flag???

    1. while it's easy to agree that Sandusky's conviction for unlawful conduct with a minor is justified and easy to condemn with what we know now - in 1998 it would have been much more difficult to assume. Sandusky was a master manipulator who had decades to cultivate the saintly grandfather foster parent and selfless charity founder image. His history of "benefitting" fatherless children by taking his time to let them enjoy the "jock" experience of workouts and showers at PSU for instance.
      With 6 foster children and 100's of Second MIle kids to cement his image as "The Great Coach/Benefactor of At Risk Fatherless Kids" it wouldn't be anywhere near as easy as you seem to assume to think "RED FLAG".
      One of my 3 younger brothers became a favorite of his swimming coach and a number of 10 to 14 year old boys spent overnights at away meets and even some overnights here at home with the coach who was later run out of town on suspicion of molestation. I never really cared for the guy but my brother thought he hung the moon since he gave him a cool nickname and singled him out for high praise as he became a state champion 14 year old breast stroker. It's not that easy to say "late night" plus "older man" equals "red flag". The Boy Scouts of America would be in worse trouble if that were the accepted norm. All those scoutmasters and their friends on camping trips with boys!!!! I imagine there are 100's of well intentioned "big brothers" and surrogate fathers out there who do not deserve to be "red flagged" for being with boys at night. Vic 6's mother was probably ecstatic that "saint" Jerry showed an interest in her son who needed a father figure. That only changed because of the change in behavior. It would be a shame to red flag every adult male who tries to give fatherless boys a worthwhile experience even if involves night. Lots of sports events come at night. Anything past 10 on a weeknight not involving a camping trip or overtime at a basketball game would be questionable.
      We've already reached a point where the Sandusky and Michael Jackson situations have cast suspicion on all men who might have only the best intentions. Are we going to live in a world where it's impossible for any boy to have the help of an older male father substitute to go to a game or any event that might end at 9pm?

    2. I thought that victim 6's mother had an event she went to the night Sandusky was bear hugging her son in the shower. Adult events in the evening often go after 9 pm.

      Sandusky was acting as a free babysitter for the single mothers.

    3. That is correct, Tim. The mother went to a banquet that evening, however she arrived home before her son and Sandusky got there.

      Sandusky was breaking a lot of "rules" in terms of his interactions with these children. For example, no one-on-one contact is a pretty basic rule most employ. Also, many have rules regarding the length of time a child has to be associated with a program before they are allowed to go on field trips or other activities.

      In this instance, Victim 6 was in TSM less than a month and Sandusky was taking him on an individualized outing.


    4. While many in the public were fooled by Jerry Sandusky, the mother was correct in identifying the red flags she saw. Dr. Chambers also recognized Sandusky for what he was.

      I disagree with those who believe this was a close call in 1998. It wasn't.
      The evidence was very clear that Sandusky was abusing children -- however, the DPW representative, Jerry Lauro, threw the case.

      By Lauro's own (later) admission this was a case of abuse. Lauro stated that had he seen Dr. Chambers report, he definitely would have indicated abuse.

      The falsehood that caseworkers didn't see Chambers report is one of the big lies in this case. They saw it, but were told to ignore it. Instead, they brought in Seasock and used his sham evaluation.

  3. I just gave John Zeigler a piece of my mind for his latest posts on He told me I was insane, and to go kiss your conspiracy asses! I think that varmint did find a moonshine still. Every time I think I have something figured out, something happens to show that I know nothing at all.

    This is starting to look like a real life version of the movie "Inception". A dream inside a dream. Plant things in peoples minds so that they will "discover" them later. No evidence? No problemo! Fabricate some. It's so easy to get people to lie when the cops says that it is ok and the lawyers say you will get rich.

  4. Gregory,
    John Ziegler often states he's not a conspiracy guy, however, he too is challenging the prevailing narrative, thus he too is a "conspiracy guy" by the common definition.

    As I often say, an alternative to the current narrative is not a conspiracy theory. It is just as I said --- an alternative scenario. For this scandal, there are many possible alternative explanations other than PSU covered up Sandusky's crimes to avoid bad publicity.

    In fact, that would rank low on the list of probable scenarios, but because it was the first and only theory put out there by the AG, the lazy media went along with it.

    As the evidence in the case suggests, The Second Mile had much more to lose by people finding out about Jerry's crimes, thus they had more incentive than PSU to cover them up. Second Mile folded once it was learned that Sandusky was a child molester.

    PSU didn't fold up. It survived and is doing rather well.

    Of course there are other scenarios to this scandal that CAN'T be ruled out that could involve Second Mile, the PSU BOT, child protective services, and high ranking PA Govt officials in a number of different ways.

    All the scenarios need to be explored.

  5. What a journey this is! Thank you Barry for such a thorough and clear description of another way of seeing these things. Thank you Gregory for bringing the light of night to our thinking... moonshine!! Thank you John Z for shining your relentless light and critical analyses on the shameful behavior of mainstream media. Thank you Ray for your relentless quest to reveal the truths in all this. And especially for providing this fascinating space where we can gather, wonder, shake our heads, offer ideas, and travel with you on this journey.

    Perhaps we can share a celebratory feast at some point. And perhaps Barry can bring bearmeat stew simmered with Tennessee moonshine!