Friday, April 18

Response to Joel Mathis' "Let Penn State's Punishment Stand"

Joel Mathis is among many in the media who really don't know the facts about the Sandusky case, but feel compelled to opine about the justness of the NCAA's punishment against PSU.  What Mathis also doesn't know is that his support of the false narrative against PSU keeps PA's children in danger.

Ray Blehar

On April 16, 2014, Joel Mathis wrote a blog insisting that the NCAA punishment was just because "something uniquely evil" had developed at Penn State.  Mathis, of course, was rehashing the nonsense that was written in the Freeh Report and then blindly accepted/tweeted the minute it left Freeh's mouth during his grand standing press conference on July 12, 2012.

Mathis then stated that PSU copped a plea and accepted the Consent Decree because:

Why? Because Jerry Sandusky molested young boys. Because important people at Penn State knew about it, eventually. Because they passed the buck out of deference to the football program. And because that allowed Jerry Sandusky to keep molesting young boys. All of which may not violate any particular NCAA rule, but it did undermine the underlying ethos of the NCAA’s enforcement regime: Schools are supposed to have control over their athletics programs, not the other way around. Penn State didn’t. Period.
You could argue that last statement is true to some degree of almost every major college sports program in existence, that the culture of college athletics has grown far beyond its useful boundaries. I wouldn’t dispute that. At Penn State, though, the cancer developed into something uniquely evil. It deserved an equally unique, intense response. Thus the sanctions and the $60 million fine.
After about 75 comments from readers who tended to know a lot more about the case than he did,  Mathis responded with this comment, to which I replied with the hopes of setting the record straight and shifting the focus where it belongs.

Joel Mathis' Comment:
"I'm never sure how much I should engage on this issue. There's a large segment of folks so completely convinced of Penn State's relative innocence in the matter that nothing I can say will persuade anybody of, well, anything.
I will say this: I think it's possible to think that Second Mile also failed in its duties to kids and community without believing that absolves Penn State of anything. I can believe both institutions — and institutions beyond them — failed. Which means that what Jack Raykovitz did or didn't do has no bearing on the topic of NCAA sanctions. Spreading blame is not the same as absolution."
My reply:
I doubt that Joel Mathis has read the Freeh Report cover to cover or has reviewed the evidence that Freeh LEFT OUT of his report. I have done so, and what was left out tells quite a different story.
First, the Commonwealth's child protection agencies failed to protect these kids, starting in 1998 and continuing through 2009. Children were abused at both times WHILE Sandusky was under investigation in 1998 and 2008/2009.
The Public Welfare Code requires the child protective service agencies to work with the charity to put a protection plan in place once a suspect is under investigation. That didn't happen. The trial verdicts and testimony prove that Victim 4 was abused while Sandusky was under investigation in 1998 and that Victim 9 was abused while Sandusky was under investigation in 2008/2009.
Penn State is being punished for being the ONLY institution involved in this case that promptly acted to stop Sandusky's abuse. In 2001, the PSU administration WENT ABOVE the legal requirement when it contacted the Second Mile and informed them of Sandusky's inappropriate conduct. Their ban of Sandusky from PSU's facilities in fact stopped abuse on the campus (according the the evidence in the grand jury presentment). What did Second Mile do with the 2001 report from PSU? NOTHING. Who was mandated to report suspected abuse in 2001? THE SECOND MILE.
In terms of covering up Sandusky's abuse, there is ample evidence on the public record that Second Mile is guilty of this. They learned of the abuse finding against him in late 2008, but despite their claims to the contrary, did not prevent him from contacting children. Victim 9's testimony proves that in the worst way, however, media reports reveal Sandusky had attended the 2010 Second Mile Summer Challenge camp, which served over 500 children and he attended banquets and other activities where children were present. Despite his forced resignation from the charity in Fall 2009, The Second Mile never told the public that Sandusky had lost his clearance to work with children. Even after he publicly retired from the charity in Fall 2010, they kept him involved in fundraising activities.
There is much more to this story than I've written here, but these are the facts that clearly show the state agencies and The Second Mile failed to protect children after they learned of Sandusky's abuse.
The key issue here is that this is NOT an isolated case of the state dropping the ball when it comes to protecting children. Pennsylvania has the lowest rate of investigating child abuse in the U.S. Only 8 in 1,000 cases results in an investigation.
In other words, those who are assuming that the alleged failure of PSU officials to contact DPW in 2001 was the sole factor in enabling Sandusky are sorely mistaken. Given the track record of PA's child protective services, it is more likely the call WAS MADE and ignored.
That is the inconvenient truth that the PA State Government does not want the public to find out.
Sandusky may be in jail, but PA's children are still in danger. They are not being protected by the system.
Unfortunately, failing state agencies don't make headlines or sell newspapers. This is why the media hasn't investigated or publicized the real failures in this case.


  1. I don't believe the Penn state community will argue that Penn state had a problem. But it was not just a Penn state problem it was also a second mile problem. It wasn't a football program problem. It has become a football related problem by those at bot who forged it as a football and a PSU administration problem. The facts do not support a football problem. But a coverup and vendetta by seedy bot members....

  2. If "Spreading the blame is not the same as absolution . . . " I wonder if Mathis would accept that "failure to report is not the same as conspiracy to conceal . . ."

    The argument that Sandusky’s conduct was a huge red flag, clearly marking an obvious and unmistakable pedophile, becomes less justifiable the larger the circle of those aware of his behavior, and failed to react, becomes – especially if when that expanded group contains outside experts with higher levels of training, awareness, and legal responsibility to take action.

    1. Either politically motivated prosecutors have it right and by their convoluted CONSPRIACY THEORY you should believe Joe Paterno, Graham Spanier, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz are the most detestable of men. Men who knew a serial molester and pedophile was using PSU Football as bait to lure young prey, while those men did everything they could to protect him.


      The Governor with John Surma had such contempt for Joe Paterno, and Graham Spanier, they would make the case of a crafty pedophile (who fooled everyone in PA along with a US President and Senator into believing he was a laudable benefactor to children) into a legal attack on notable PSU administrators & an iconic football coach protecting a well known pedophile just to avoid some potentially bad publicity for PSU.

  3. Mr Ripkey has captured the entire argument of those accused of covering up crimes against kids in an elegant, beautiful, concise way. Kudos, Mr Ripkey!!