Thursday, July 31

Patriot News: Part 9 of 9: Chapter 1, Leaks

Sara Ganim: "I just followed the facts, piece by piece, as they came to us."

By
Ray Blehar

When the Patriot News broke the story of the Sandusky grand jury investigation in March 2011, many people believed it was a result of grand jury leaks.

Those people were right.

The 1998 University Park Police Report was leaked to the P-N sometime in January 2011 – right after the police investigating the 2008 Sandusky allegations had obtained it from PSU two years into the probe.  January 2011 coincidentally, is the same month that Sara Ganim took her Patriot News reporting job in Harrisburg.

However, the most famous leak in the Sandusky case was the November 2011 grand jury presentment.   

The presentment was ready on November 4th, approved, and put under seal by the supervising grand jury judge, Rolando Jackson.  The OAG went public with it – despite it being under seal - on Saturday, November 5th.   

However, it is not clear if the P-N possessed it on November 4th as Ganim's reporting did not provide evidence or special knowledge of its contents.

The Sandusky criminal charges (or court docket)  was the “other” leak that wasn’t described a leak.  Allegedly it was accidentally posted online.  

Early in the afternoon of November 4, the Centre County magisterial judge, Leslie Dutchcot, approved the affidavit of probable cause in the Sandusky case and completed the docket sheet for the Sandusky charges.  

At approximately 12:21PM the docket was (allegedly) mistakenly posted to the magisterial court system by her office.  

Sometime later that afternoon, Sara Ganim received a phone call (likely from one of the AG prosecutors) informing her of the pending charges in the Sandusky case.  Ganim assumed she was being leaked the information and promptly wrote her “scoop” at 2:26PM.  

Her statement that the charging paperwork hadn’t made it to Centre County is the “giveaway” that she thought she had received another “leak.”

The charging paperwork has not yet made it to the District Magistrate Judge's office in Centre County. However, felony charges of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse of someone under 16, aggravated indecent assault, indecent assault of someone under 16, indecent assault of someone under 13, and corruption of minors charges have been filed in the state court docket system.

Dockets are approved by the magisterial judge before being posted to Pennsylvania's Unified Judicial system, therefore what Ganim wrote was an impossibility.

That afternoon, Ganim received a phone call from another reporter that the docket had been posted. The reporter noted that Ganim "shrieked" when she found out the charges were in the public domain.  Ganim updated her column at 3:54PM  to report that Centre County posted the charges.




Ganim later linked a copy of the docket in a later column, but the time stamp on the docket in the bottom right corner of the page read 2:21PM – five minutes prior to her original report.  The magisterial district number, 49-201, was on the docket, identifying that it was from Centre County and Judge Dutchcot’s magisterial district.  The date/time stamp therefore disproved her “scoop” that the charges were on a “state website” but that they didn’t make it to Centre County.


How did she make that mistake?  

Most likely, she never visited a “state court” web site to find the docket. Instead, she wrote the column on the charges based on information she got from someone else (likely an AG official).   Even after being told that the docket was posted, her articles over the next three days reveal that she didn't check the unified judicial system to verify any information. 


The next day, Ganim reported that the charges had been accidentally posted and the OAG’s Nils Frederiksen only confirmed that the state police and OAG officials were not at fault.












Continuing with her bungling of crime information,  on Saturday Ganim -- the "crime and courts reporter" -- incorrectly reported that charges had been filed against Tim Curley and Gary Schultz.  While this was in agreement with the OAG’s November 5th press release, a check of the magisterial docket system would have revealed no charges were filed against the two men until November 7th (see Schultz docket search result below).

























The evidence presented reveals that Ganim may not have been the “gumshoe” she was made out to be and simply relied on others to provide her with information.  It was also rather obvious that she had a limited knowledge of the court reporting system.

First, as I noted earlier,  it would have been impossible for the Sandusky court docket to be found on a “state court web-site” without first being processed by the District Magistrate’s office. 

Next, the state court website is organized to perform searches for dockets in four categories: magisterial, common pleas, appellate, and the city of Philadelphia.   To find the Sandusky charges, Ganim would have had to type his name and one other characteristic (e.g., DOB, status of case, county of case, etc) into the query to find the docket.   

A typical query screen is shown below.


Upon entering the Sandusky information, she would have gotten the docket with a Centre County identifier at the top. The number 49 is the identifier for Centre County and 49201 is Judge Dutchcot’s district. 


Thus, her story that the docket and details had not made their way to Centre County at 2:26 PM was impossible. 



The docket posted to the P-N had a time/date stamp of 11/4/2011 at 2:21PM, which revealed that Ganim could not have seen it on-line before she wrote about it (otherwise, she would have known the charges had "made it to Centre County"). 



On Saturday, November 5th, Ganim’s 12:25PM and 5:59PM columns (captured from a blog) repeated information from the OAG’s 8:00AM press release of the Curley and Schultz charges.  Ganim didn’t verify the information herself.  

If she had, she would have seen that the charges were pending on the 5th and not filed until the 7th (in Dauphin County).  Ganim updated that column one last time on November 7th at 1:22PM, but did not change any of the content (verified by blog entry below).  I presume the update was made because Ganim learned the charges were filed on that day.  As a result, the phrase “and this morning” would now be accurate with regard to when Curley and Schultz were charged.









Expecting Leaks


Ganim believed the Sandusky court docket was released accidentally because she, like others in the media, was told to expect it to be released on November 7th.    As a result, she likely believed that the information she received on the 4th was “leaked” in advance of the charges being filed.   As noted earlier, she "shrieked" when she was told the charges were actually filed in the judicial system.  Her reaction  suggested she was working with the expectation that she would be (exclusively) provided with information and tips about the case before the rest of the public was informed.


After being taken by surprise by the public release of the Sandusky charges,  she contacted Nils Frederiksen, the OAG press official to find out what had happened.  According to another local news reporter, the P-N then called Dutchcot’s office to complain about the posting, which resulted in it being temporarily removed from the internet.  

At that point, Ganim had the “scoop” that she expected to get about the charges and wrote the following column.




As with the news of the grand jury investigation back in March, many assumed the P-N’s possession of the court docket was them benefiting from another leak.   The truth was that it only became a “scoop” for the P-N after they complained to Judge Dutchcot, who ordered its temporary removal from the magisterial docket system.  

The Leak That Broke the Case:  

The 1998 University Park Police Report

According to the investigative report of Geoffrey Moulton of the Sandusky investigation, the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) obtained the 1998 UP police report on January 3, 2011.  However, there is some evidence that the OAG knew about the 1998 report much sooner than it was obtained.  Mike Gillum, the psychologist of Aaron Fisher, revealed the OAG may have had knowledge of the 1998 incident as early as June 2009.  Meanwhile, Ganim and the P-N reported in two columns in November and  December 2011   that the PSP obtained the report in late 2010.   The actual date the OAG learned of the 1998 Sandusky incident remains a matter of dispute.

However, there is little dispute over when the P-N obtained the report.  In a November 2011 column, the PN reported it had obtained the police report in early 2011 and used it to break the story of the Sandusky grand jury investigation in March.  Another source revealed that Ganim had repeated the report verbatim over the phone in a conversation that took place in January 2011.



In an article accompanying the grand jury column on March 31st, 2011, that explained how the P-N investigated the Sandusky grand jury, it made no mention of the 1998 police report.  Instead, then-editor David Newhouse, a Benjamin Bradlee Editor of the Year winner in 2011, wrote that Ganim had knocked on the doors of 26 people and had found five persons who had knowledge of the grand jury.


He noted that they used “other information” to corroborate the information gathered by Ganim.   “Other information” could be a veiled reference to the 1998 police report or it could be other information obtained from government officials.



In retrospect, Newhouse’s article seems a bit on the defensive regarding how the P-N came by its information.  No names were provided for the five persons who had knowledge of the investigation. According to the book, ­Silent No More, Ganim contacted Aaron Fisher, Dawn Daniels, and Mike Gillum in February 2011 – three of the five people with knowledge of the investigation. 



My email exchange with the mother of Victim 6 revealed that Ganim used the 1998 police report to track her (and her son) down in January 2011.  That brings the total of persons with some knowledge of the investigation to five.  







The P-N disclosed its possession of the 1998 police report in late November 2011.   However, either they forgot to tell Ganim or she forgot about the disclosure.  On December 3, 2011 and March 22, 2012 she wrote columns implying that she did not have knowledge of the report.





December 3, 2011 screen capture:







March 22, 2012 screen capture:






The significance of the latter story is that Ganim, who possessed the police report at the time, had to have known Lauro was lying to her about his knowledge of the evaluations of the boy (victim).  Rather than challenge his assertions, Ganim published a known falsehood by accepting Lauro’s version of events.  The rest of the media then followed Ganim’s lead story when the police report was released to the public on March 23, 2012 – stating that Lauro never saw the reports. 

And what were Newhouse and the P-N legal team doing when Ganim was perpetrating the ruse that she didn’t know what was in the 1998 police report? 

The deceptive practices continued on – and once again, Newhouse would expose the P-N when he made a second attempt to defend the paper’s reporting on the Sandusky scandal.



Newhouse’s Timeline Ruse

Much like his column on March 31, 2011, Newhouse wrote a column on November 10 (revised November 12) about how the P-N broke the story.

 He defended the paper’s reporting on the “Penn State child sex abuse scandal,” stating had they known anything prior to 2009 they would have “investigated with vigor.”   The evidence does not support that a rigorous investigation ever occurred.  Coincidentally, like the police, the P-N staff didn’t think to check the source of Sandusky’s child victims – TSM – for leads.  


I have yet to find evidence that either Sara Ganim or Jan Murphy developed a solid lead prior to 2011, however, that didn’t stop Newhouse from fabricating a story that Ganim had tracked down one of the mothers while she was working for the Centre Daily Times (CDT).  

Apparently, Newhouse wanted to make it appear that Ganim had uncovered information prior to her hire and that she simply didn’t benefit from leaks.  But the truth was that Ganim contacted both mothers after she was hired away from the CDT.




It is unclear who the “other sources” were who could talk about both the 1998 and 2008 investigation, however, the most likely candidates with knowledge of both incidents were Supervisory Grand Jury Judge Barry Feudale, Agent Sassano, Trooper Rossman, Corporal Leiter, Supervisory Agent Randy Feathers, and OAG prosecutors Fina and Eshbach.  One other person of interest is OAG press officer Nils Frederiksen.

Evidence suggests that Sassano or Rossman can be ruled out, as they appeared to be kept in the dark on many aspects of the investigation.   Also, it is doubtful that Fina was leaking information, given that he was one of the primary foot-draggers on the case.  


Feathers is suspected of leaking email information to CNN's Susan Candiotti, as the two were former high school classmates.  However, it is unlikely that Feathers was Ganim's source.


Other evidence found in my investigation revealed that grand jury transcripts had been leaked to at least one other newspaper in Central Pennsylvania, which happened to be in close proximity to Sunbury, PA, where Feudale presides as a judge.  


Given that Jonelle Eshbach was frustrated with the pace of the investigation and the failure to file charges, she would be among the candidates for leaking information to Ganim.  As would Nils Frederiksen, given his role as a press official.


There may be more than one leaker in this case and the top three candidates are Eshbach, Frederiksen, and Fuedale.



The P-N’s Possession of Leaked Information About Seasock

On March 21st, one day before Ganim misled the public about Lauro’s lack of knowledge of the psychology reports, she penned an “exclusive” report that former DA Ray Gricar may have closed the 1998 case due to a report from then unlicensed counselor, John Seasock.  Curiously, Seasock’s last name appears in paragraph four of the March 21st, 2012 article with no previous mention of him in the article.  The use of less that Seasock’s full name the first time it appeared in the article was an obvious giveaway that something had been deleted.


An internet search found the missing text, which revealed information that was NEVER made public – specifically, that Seasock’s report made it to DA Ray Gricar two days before he closed the case.   

A web-archive version provides the deleted text, and again, Ganim conceals that she had possession of the Seasock report at the time the column was published and that she had somewhat exclusive knowledge of the discussions regarding documents under seal. 

Information made public in a searing grand jury presentment showed that Sandusky allegedly admitted to touching the boy known as Victim 6 while they were both naked and saying, “I wish I were dead.” 
    
What wasn’t made public until now was that two days before Gricar closed the case, a psychologist concluded Victim 6 was not sexually abused by Sandusky. 
    
The psychologist — John Seasock — was identified in court documents by Sandusky’s attorney as he asked a judge to force prosecutors to hand over the document, along with juvenile records and current and past addresses and phone numbers of the alleged victims. 
    
The judge ruled that the defense can have them. But he made an exception. Unless prosecutors can convince the judge otherwise within the next week, Amendola can read through the psychological evaluation, but he can “make no use of the information contained in the reports without prior authorization of the court.” 
    
A source who reviewed the documents and has knowledge of the case said he believed Seasock’s report was the reason the investigation was closed. 
    
However, the source said, Seasock was not the only psychologist to make an evaluation.


The P-N’s attempt to cite an alternative source of the information in its March 21st column was actually foiled when the leaked information from NBC on March 23rd failed to reveal any information about the report being released two days prior to Gricar's decision.  

Other information scrubbed from the column included this passage regarding the psychology report of Dr. Alycia Chambers (who in a familiar pattern, is not mentioned by name).


The day after Victim 6 came home from a tour of the football building with then-defensive coordinator and charity founder Jerry Sandusky and told his mom Sandusky had showered with him and a friend, the mother called police. She also called a psychologist
    
“And that psychologist concluded that this incident, what the boy described, and I’m paraphrasing ... the psychologist concluded that what the boy described was a classic example of how a sexual abuser grooms his victim,” the source said. 
    
Amendola confirmed that Seasock’s report and another psychologist’s report have been referenced in several other pieces of evidence turned over by prosecutors, but Amendola said he hasn’t yet seen the reports. 
    
The source reviewed the entire police report from 1998. The investigation, which was done by Penn State University police, took a few weeks. It included a sting in which police set up a meeting between the boy’s mother and Sandusky as officers hid in another room. 


Note: Full article can be obtained either by search of archive.org/web or by paying for archived version on PennLive.


The McQueary Handwritten Statement

When Ganim didn’t have the benefit of lawyers watching her every word, she sometime bragged about digging up information that was likely leaked to her.  Such is the case of the McQueary hand-written statement to the police.


The tweet by Ganim was in conflict with her November 16th story that she had only viewed the handwritten statement of McQueary’s.   Her report also contained an error regarding the content of McQueary’s statement.































In his expose’ about McQueary, titled The Whistleblower’s Last Stand, ESPN’s Don Van Natta obtained McQueary’s hand written statement and reported it verbatim in the story (confirmed by Van Natta).  It contains nothing about Curley and Schultz.

 Full text of the statement follows:

On the Friday before spring break in either the year 2001 or 2002, 2002 I think, at approx 10 pm in the Lasch Football Building on the Penn State campus I witnessed improper behavior by Jerry Sandusky in regards to a male juvenile. As I walked in to the staff locker room I heard rythmic [sic] slapping sounds. The locker room lights were on & I did hear the showers running [a second "running" is crossed out].  Upon my entry I turned immediately to my right to open my locker.  While placing items in my locker I looked into the mirror at a 45 [degree] angle; in the reflection I could see a young boy approx. 10/11 yrs old facing a wall with Jerry Sandusky directly behind him. I did not see actual insertion. I am certain that sexual acts/the young boy being sodomized was occuring [sic].   I looked away. In a hurried/hastened state, I finished at my locker.  I proceeded out of the locker room.  While walking I looked directly into the shower and both the boy and Jerry Sandusky looked directly in my direction. After leaving the locker room I proceeded to my office, made a phone call to my father and then immediately left the building.

I drove to my parents house.  Spoke with my father about the incident and received advise [sic]. On the next Saturday morning at roughly 8 am -- less than 12 hrs after the incident -- I alerted Coach Paterno -- my superior at PSU -- at his house in person as to what I saw!

To be clear: From the time I walked into the locker room to the time I left was maybe 1 minute -- I was hastened & a bit flustered.

I would not be able to recognize the boy. Both individuals were wet and the looks were quick -- I had not seen the boy before nor have I seen him after to my knowledge
<end statement>

Much like the court docket of November 4th, this is another instance of Ganim receiving information from an inside source sight unseen and reporting what she was told.  

McQueary's written statement eventually made its way to the P-N.  On December 11, Ganim reported that it was in the paper's possession.



Dr. Dranov’s Testimony

Ganim’s tweet stating the McQueary’s handwritten statement supported the testimony of Dr. Dranov is clearly false.  There is nothing in the handwritten statement confirming Dr. Dranov’s testimony of an arm pulling the boy back from around a corner.  

Ganim’s article on Dr. Dranov again cites an unnamed source with knowledge of his testimony.  Who that source might that be is likely a person from within the previously mentioned, small group.  


























In February 2013, Judge Barry Feudale ordered an investigation into the grand jury leaks associated with the 33rd state-wide investigating grand jury (Sandusky), the 2006 Dauphin County Grand Jury that investigated the slot machine licensing to Louis DeNaples, and the yet to be impanelled 36th state-wide investigating grand jury.  The probe was to end by August 8, 2013, however, nothing to date has been reported on the progress of these investigations by Special Prosecutor, James M. Reeder.   

Why should we be surprised that another Sandusky related investigation is going nowhere?


Conclusion

The evidence in the case reveals that quite a bit of leaking was going on and not just to Ganim and the P-N.  However, the P-N appeared to use the leaked information to persevere on its theme of a "Penn State sex scandal" and to quash competing information before it could gain traction with the other media.

The reporting of leaked information and the back-tracking by the P-N also revealed that Ganim was much too inexperienced to take on the reporting of the scandal by herself and needed a lot of help from the P-N's lawyers and editors David Newhouse and Cate Barron to ensure the paper's reliance on leaked information was not exposed.   

As the evidence shows, their attempt to cover-up the leaked information was far from "adept." 


In the end, they failed.










13 comments:

  1. About those five grand jury leakers; according to Fisher's book, at least two of those five people with knowledge of the grand jury, Fisher and his mom Dawn Daniels, refused to speak to Ganim. I have no idea if Gillum cooperated but I'm willing to bet he sang like a canary. So make that three people with knowledge of the grand jury who cooperated with Ganim, not five. Could be worth an edit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. mhentz,
      The P-N report says that Ganim "found" five people who had knowledge of the grand jury...it didn't say she talked to them. Gillum suspects that Ganim was leaked the 2008 police report and that's how she tracked down Fisher and Daniels.

      I think I have the right five.

      Delete
  2. I am still curious as to what HAPPENED to Gricar ??? Do u have any ideas Ray !!!!! I think we should go into that more . It doesn't sound strange he goes missing ??? Was curious as to why u haven't been researching that more ???? That def I think is a key missing piece to this puzzle

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kirby,
      Let's take this one investigation at a time. Gricar's disappearance is definitely interesting and it's relationship to Sandusky shouldn't be ruled out. But let's finish Sandusky first.

      Ray

      Delete
    2. That question weighs on many people's minds. Gricar was definitely someone who had knowledge of the early complaints about Sandusky. These are all pre-1998 dealings that the state government of PA doesn't want the public to know about. This is why they have tried so desperately to make it appear as though there was no one in the state government handling Sandusky complaints while Corbett was the Attorney General. We all know that's nonsense now. Do you know that Corbett went in as PA Attorney General in 1995? He then served two more terms as the Attorney General. That's a total of over 10 years as the top law enforcement official in PA with intimate knowledge of Second Mile and Sandusky.

      So why has the public been led to focus on only the last year of Corbett's tenure as Attorney General? Kathleen Kane threw out a red herring with her statement, "Corbett probably played politics with the Sandusky issue". She misled us with a false dichotomy trying to make it appear as though our only focus should be on whether Corbett "slow walked" the investigation of a child molester for only 3 years instead of 10 years. How ironic, "only three years"! Her answer after over a year long wait, "no evidence was found that then Attorney General Corbett delayed the Sandusky investigation while he focused on running for Governor". My question is, what the hell was Corbett doing about Sandusky in 1995 when he was NOT running for Governor?

      My belief is that Corbett had his DA, Ray Gricar, "handling" it. I further believe that Gricar most likely began to show some sense of morality and good judgement and wanted to arrest Sandusky. Sandusky and his cash cow, Second Mile, were being protected by Corbett because of the wealthy government and corporate donors that were "involved" with Second Mile. I put quotation marks around the word involved because Second Mile was basically like Micheal Jackson's Neverland. It was a playground for the sick minds that hide behind their money while sexually abusing children.

      And the latest news is the State Police are now "handling" the investigation of Ray Gricar. I'm sure they are doing a fine job protecting their fellow state employee and former boss Tom Corbett. I guess you could say with Kane's latest ruse investigation, and the State Police "taking over" Gricar's investigation: What ever happens in Pennsylvania stays in Pennsylvania.

      Delete
    3. Truthseeker,
      There was no love lost between Corbett and Gricar. In 1998, Gricar wrote an angry letter to Corbett when Corbett was the head of the PCCD and at the same time, representing criminal defendant Jordan Wolfson in a hate crime prosecution.

      A source in the media told me that Corbett began referring to Gricar as "that weird bird" after he received the letter.

      Questions remain regarding an October 1998 on campus meeting between Gricar, Sloane, Ganter, Schreffler and Ralston. No one is talking right now due to pending investigations, death (Gricar), or incapacitation (Sloane).

      Delete
    4. Gricar's demise looks like a classic hit by the Jersey Mob. Gricar was probably set up by someone he knew in law enforcement. No physical evidence to back up anything, but it sure has that look.

      I'm wondering about the Federal investigation of TSM. The only violation of Federal law would be fraudulently inflating participation in order to get Federal grant money. That would be very difficult to prove. TSM was one of G.Bush's Thousand Points of Light and listed on US News and World Report's 50 best run charities list. It appears that outside of the top two and JS, it was a highly professional organization.

      The Fed's won't touch the Freeh Fraud (a civil tort) or the prosecution and judicial misconduct, which is a State issue. If Kane doesn't go after Fina and the other crooked cops, it won't get done.

      Delete
    5. Gregory,
      I think grant fraud is possible, however, if you recall the "financial" series I did on TSM, they were short in their revenue accounts....that money went somewhere....likely into a few people's pockets and/or to pay off victims.

      So, if the money was skimmed - unreported income - that's tax evasion.

      If used to pay off victims - that's extortion.

      As far as Freeh goes, he may have crossed the line into criminal territory if evidence tampering is proven. A few of the emails are quite suspicious. His FBI had a history of evidence tampering, as well. As noted in my San Diego presentation, the chain of custody of the emails was broken.

      Let's see what Kane does on Fina -- no love lost there.

      Delete
    6. What of Sandusky taking minors across state lines for immoral purposes? I believe at least one PSU-compensated accuser claims abuse happened when traveling for out-of-state games.

      I always expected that we'd eventually hear from a Fed investigation into these claims. Particularly since abuse was claimed to have occurred in Texas... and since TSM rapidly transferred a bulk of its funds AND records to Texas after Sandusky was publically brought down.

      Delete
    7. Thruthseeker, in 1998, Corbett was in private practice and a defense attorney. He had been the interim AG from when Preate resigned in 1995 until Fisher was sworn in in January 1997.

      The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency basically gives out grant money and collects statistics on crime. It does not have an enforcement role. It meets quarterly for about two hours each meeting.

      The minutes are here: http://www.pccd.pa.gov/AboutUs/Pages/Commission-Members.aspx#.VjMZnCs_-fg

      Delete
  3. I agree, I think you found the correct five. The point I was hamfistedly trying to make was that the HPN was trying to make it look like they were more people with grand jury knowledge helping them out than they actually had. Smoke and mirrors. They actually had no more than three helping them out, not five, and even more likely two. And when you consider those two had essentially the exact same info as each other, then you can consider that the HPN actually had only one source (excluding Eshbach of course) actually cooperating with them. Yet they sure went out of their way to make it look like they had five different sources.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. mhentz,
      Agree. Lots of smoke and mirrors by the HPN.

      Ray

      Delete
  4. Ray, it is clear that Ganiim did NOT have the police report in March of 2011 or before.

    She listed the additional victim, designated in the presentment as B. K., as a witness, not a vioctim. The police report makes it clear he was not a witness. but was a victim.

    That point may become very important in the future.

    ReplyDelete