Thursday, September 4

Patriot News and PSU settlement atty Rozen trash victim D.F. to protect Corbett

While the Patriot News concludes that Victim D.F. wasn't found credible by PSU's settlement attorneys or Frank Fina, it is more likely the date of his abuse drove the decisions about his "credibility."

Ray Blehar

On Wednesday, I wrote about the new D.F. lawsuit and PSU's best chances for fighting it.  Today (September 4th, 2014), the Patriot News reported that D.F. was interviewed "years ago" by police and concluded he was not found credible by the prosecution and by PSU settlement attorney Michael Rozen.  This shameless trashing of the victim demonstrates that the P-N will stop at nothing to quash any information that shows the foot-dragging by Tom Corbett's AG office put children in danger.

In a familiar maneuver, P-N reporter Charles Thompson cherry picked the statements in the lawsuit to make it appear D.F.s abuse didn't occur during the Sandusky investigation.  To wit:

The civil case hinges on two specific incidents, both allegedly occurring when the boy was about 12 years old.
  • A shopping outing in 2008 or 2009, during which the former coach allegedly pulled his car over to the side of a road and forced the plaintiff into oral sex.
  • A 2008 Penn State home game against Coastal Carolina University. The game was a rout, and the teen said Sandusky left early, took him back to his home, and raped him.

 The lawsuit is very clear that D.F. is alleging abuse occurred during the Sandusky investigation:

11. Plaintiff participated in Several programs provided by Defendant-The Second Mile from the years 2004 through 2012

12. Defendant-Sandusky had recruited, groomed and coerced the Plaintiff throughout the years that Plaintiff attended Defendant-The Second Mile.

Thompson also cited former prosecutor Frank Fina's rebuttal of AG Kathleen Kane's statement that two victims were abused during the Sandusky investigation as likely evidence that new victim, D.F.,  is one of those victims and isn't credible.  

Prosecutor Joseph McGettigan stated (and Fina concurred) that they interviewed someone who they learned of in 2012 who claimed to be abused in 2009, but didn't find him credible.

The more likely reason this victim was not "credible" was because his abuse happened between 2008 and 2012 -- during the Sandusky investigation.  As I reported earlier, the prosecutors likely manipulated dates on the Bills in Particulars in order to get specific outcomes in this case.  One of those outcomes was to conceal that victims were abused while Sandusky was under investigation.

Once again, the "paper of record" in the Sandusky case is carrying water for former AG Tom Corbett and making an evidentiary leap based on the AG prosecutor's words -- instead of examining the "reality" of the Sandusky case's prosecution.  

Not only were dates and locations of crimes manipulated in the Sandusky case, but Frank Fina went to the extreme to prosecute two cases with unknown victims.  In the case of the janitor incident, he didn't have a victim or an eyewitness or any evidence of crime beyond the hearsay testimony of janitor Ronald Petrosky.  Petrosky's testimony was inconsistent on the date, location, and circumstances of the crime.  And Fina himself had to pull a fast one - changing the crime scene location during a sidebar - to rebut defense attorney Karl Rominger's argument that if Petrosky's testimony was he could only see legs, then too only could the eye-witness (James Calhoun).  

It is hard to imagine any incident could be less credible than the account of the janitor -- but that's what Fina and the PN want you to believe.

Patriot News Nothing More Than A Mouthpiece

As has been the case during this scandal, the PN has been little more than a mouthpiece for the former attorney general's office and the PSU Board of Trustees.  My nine-part series on the PN revealed their lies and obfuscations in promoting the false narrative of a PSU cover-up that was put forth by former AG Linda Kelly.  

I also documented how the PN propagandized for Corbett and the BOT (slamming Spanier and the alleged "football culture) after the selection of new President Barron and the appointment of Cliff Benson to the BOT. 

Finally, I documented the lies of the PN Editorial Board pertaining to the Victim 9 incident.  Their claim that there was no information showing that Victim 9 was abused after 2008 was refuted by one of their own columns, which reported Victim 9's testimony that he was abused up through his 16th birthday in July 2009.

Settlement Decision on D.F. Likely Tied to Corbett

The cooperation and collaboration between the PSU BOT, Freeh, and the Governor has been frequently documented in the Sandusky Scandal.  

Corbett: Stated Ron Tomalis
represented his administration
During the lead up to the firing of Paterno, the New York Times reported that Surma worked the phones with Corbett.  

Shortly thereafter, in the BOT's establishment of the Special Investigations Task Force (SITF), Corbett made it clear that the embattled former Secretary of Education, Ron Tomalis, would be representing his administration on the SITF.

A: Ah, let me talk about the Penn State investigation first.
I'm very pleased with Ken Frazier leading that. Ken – I've only known him a short time – but I'm very impressed with his leadership. I'm very impressed that he has put together some people, including Ron Tomalis, on behalf of the administration and also as [state] secretary of education, on that team, and the selection of Louis Freeh is I think a very good one. I'm sure most of you by now know the former director of the FBI and former federal judge Louis Freeh was appointed.
And I think one of the reasons that someone like Mr. Freeh was appointed is because he understands the role of a grand jury investigation, the role of the prosecutors and will work well with the attorney general's office and Attorney General Linda Kelly so that [obstruction of the attorney general's investigation] does not happen.
More evidence of collaboration between Freeh, the SITF, and Tomalis (on behalf of Corbett) was revealed by the document caches of Ryan Bagwell.  Emails from March through July 2012 reveal the Core Team (Tomalis, Frazier, and Freeh) were apparently doing all the heavy lifting for the SITF, which led to this interesting email by Ken Frazier about holding a meeting "out of respect for the group" (i.e, the sheep on the SITF). 

Based on other emails, it appears that the Freeh Report findings had already been established by March 2012, a draft was likely in hand, and in late June the SITF was waiting for Freeh's team to clean up the draft.  Bagwell's emails also proved that Freeh's team and the OAG investigators were collaborating, thus it is not a stretch to believe that the OAG reviewed the Freeh Report to ensure nothing damaging to the Sandusky investigation, the Curley/Schultz trial, or the DPW made it into the report.
Given all the collaboration between the parties, it is likely that PSU's settlement attorneys also knew the stakes of reaching a settlement with a victim who claimed abuse during the Sandusky investigation.  
Similarly, Thompson didn't check the track record of PSU's settlement attorneys in this mediation, which was equally dubious.  For example, they reached a settlement with Victim 10, whose story of prolonged (over three years) abuse by Sandusky was not supported by his trial testimony, court documents, or prosecutor McGettigan's opening statement characterizing his abuse as "less lengthy."  
In addition, settlement attorney Rozen stated that Victim 5's abuse was more serious than the others because it occurred in August 2001 -- six months after PSU officials received the report from McQueary.  Again, Rozen likely didn't check the court documents to discover that Victim 5 had changed the date of this crime from 1998 to 2001. The narrowing of the date is even more suspicious when examining the Bills of Particulars.  The first Bill stated a date range from 1996 to 2002.  The amended Bill narrowed the abuse to August 2001. Lastly, Rozen apparently didn't check the trial verdicts to learn that Victim 5 was the ONLY victim to make an abuse allegation that resulted in an acquittal.  
Last but not least, Rozen awarded Matt Sandusky with a settlement, even though Matt never claimed to be abused on campus and stated his abuse took place well before 1998, the date in which Freeh (wrongly) alleged that PSU officials learned of Sandusky's sex abuse crimes.  
A source close to Old Main reported that the settlement attorneys essentially settled with any claimant who was willing to accept below the $3 million dollar insurance minimum covered by PSU policy.  Both Victims 6 and 9 requested more than $3 million, thus PSU is going to court over their lawsuits.  
D.F.'s lawsuit is for $550,000, thus it was below the insurance minimum and should have been settled.  Given that some less than fully credible victims received awards, it is more likely that the dates of D.F.'s abuse were the reason why he wasn't awarded a settlement.  This decision would be in line with other decisions and statements made by the PSU BOT that shielded the Commonwealth from any responsibility for enabling Sandusky's abuse.  I am not naive enough to believe that Rozen didn't run his firm's settlement decisions past the PSU Committee on Legal and Compliance for final approval.


It is rather obvious from the Patriot News' coverage of the Sandusky scandal that their primary concern has been to further their self-serving (read Pulitzer Prize winning) narrative of a PSU cover-up -- at the expense of the victims of sexual abuse.  Not just Sandusky's victims, but every child sexual abuse victim in Pennsylvania since November 2011-- who could have been saved by the honest reporting of the failures of the Commonwealth in the Sandusky case.

Similarly, the former officials of the PA OAG are equally to blame for advancing a false narrative that ultimately kept PA children in danger.  The PSU BOT has also been complicit in ensuring that no blame fell on PA's child protection system and assisted in the scapegoating of honorable men -- while enabling more child abuse.
This is a shameful chapter of Pennsylvania's history and is part an parcel of the corruption the fifth most corrupt state in the U.S.  
Ironically, I am going to agree with a column on PA's being the fifth most corrupt state -- Pennsylvania should demand a recount.


  1. Excellent analysis. Makes me even more angry with the 2011 BoT and Penn State administrators. Will their evil deeds ever be exposed?

    1. There are many forces at work that are going to make sure the truth is exposed. That truth will expose the evil at work by the 11/9/11 BOT.

  2. Ray,
    Thanks for keeping us informed. Your work is outstanding.

    Two thoughts. Corbett was appointed Attorney General by Governor Tom Ridge in 1995 to complete Ernie Preate's second term. In 2004, Corbett was elected Attorney General and was politically motivated to protect the Ridge Administration (1995-2003) child services offices during his prolonged Sandusky investigation.

    Also, The current pornographic email scandal rocking the Corbett/Kelly Office of the Attorney General demonstrates a male dominated culture that mistreated women in OAG. Maybe that explains Senior Deputy Attorney General Jonelle Eshbach's frustration and suppression during the Sandusky investigation..

  3. I agree PN coverage is very biased and often inaccurate. The DF lawsuit does not say rape as PN does. It say sodomy, which could be oral sex.

    One of the big can of worms that the DF case opens is Sandusky's list of boys with checkmarks next to some names. The prosecution represented that as a list of boys Sandusky abused. DF's name had a checkmark next to it.

    If the prosecution had good evidence to believe DF was not abused by Sandusky, then they deliberately misrepresented the meaning of the checkmarks. DF's lawsuit is consistent with Sandusky's explanation that the checkmark indicated that the boy received a pair of Nike shoes. Perhaps that is grounds for appeal for Sandusky.

  4. Tim, I was unaware of Sandusky's explanation that the checkmark indicated that a boy received a pair of sneakers. Victim 9 had a checkmark next to his name and also stated during his testimony that he received a pair of sneakers from Sandusky. I just full read Victim 9's testimony for the first time and I can't believe Sandusky was convicted on any of the charges related to him.

    Victim 9 testified he stayed at Sandusky's house virtually every weekend from 2005 to 2009, Friday to Sunday and never really ate anything at Sandusky's house, but that they would sometimes go out to get something to eat. How is that possible? Sandusky was coaching high school football at Central Mountain high during part of this time, how was the kid always there?

    He also doesn't remember the names of any other kids that were at house at the same time and just gave vague descriptions of the some kids being in the house. Meanwhile, Sandusky was also suppose to be spending a lot of time with Aaron Fisher during the same time frame, but neither mentioned the other.

    Victim 9 also testified that Sandusky was raping him up until the age of 16, which is basically a junior in high school, but never did anything to fight off Sandusky and just kept letting it happen and never told anyone.

    He also confirmed that he spoke with Sandusky in Spring 2011 to tell Sandusky he heard Sandusky was being investigated for abusing kids and did nothing and actually went to a PSU football game with one of his friends and Sandusky in September 2011, just 2 months before he was arrested. Plus he also went to a football game with Sandusky in 2009 and 2010, after the alleged abuse stopped, and each time he brought one of his parents. If Sandusky was really raping him, why would Sandusky want to continue to see him after it stopped and go somewhere with him and a parent?

    He also testified that it was his mother that called the cops after Sandusky was arrested, not an assistant principal. Although a principal may also have done it, but Victim 9 testified he spoke with the cops as a result of his mother calling them.

    1. Rums,
      Even though I am not Tim, I'll respond.

      Even the Patriot News recognized the problems with Victim 9's testimony and the following day wrote that his mother "filled in the gaps" in his testimony. For example, she testified he stayed there 2-3 weekends a month but only during football season. It is also in her testimony that she DIDN'T call the police and that the assistant principal did.

      Actually, Amendola made things worse under cross when he started asking about Victim 9's underwear, rather than keeping the focus on inconsistencies in his testimony. Amendola did that with Victim 10 as well.

      Some of the misconceptions in this case is the arguments made about the victims being "big enough" to fight back and that it is "illogical" for the victims to maintain contact with Sandusky after being abused. The misconceptions rise from a lack of understanding of compliant victimization and the psychology of child sexual abuse victims. Through the grooming process, the victim becomes compliant with the abuse (note, that compliance is not consent). Some victims have stated that they would trade the 20 minutes of abuse for all the other benefits that were provided by their abuser. This was much the case with Sandusky. Also, in over 50% of the cases, victims maintain relationships with their abusers after the abuse stops.

      I agree there are many problems in Victim 9's story. Chief among them is that his testimony does not fit the profile of a compliant victim. However, I believe that was a result of coaching by the prosecution because it is much easier to prosecute the stereotypical child molester who forces himself on children that it is to prosecute a compliant victimization case. As I pointed out in Report 3, the prosecutors "downsized" the victims to promote a scenario of forced sexual abuse.

      I have little doubt that Victim 9 is an abuse victim, however, his testimony is exaggerated in many respects to provide the Sandusky as an "ogre" scenario. A great example is that he was kept in the basement and not fed meals. It is almost fairy tale like or fantasy like in description.

      This is relatively common in abuse cases and it bolsters the case that experienced child sex abuse investigators were needed on the Sandusky case to interview the victims and determine what really happened based on corroborating information among the victims. It appears the police and investigators in this case just took everything at face value.

    2. Ray, if someone is making false allegation of sexual abuse, how exactly is someone accused of it able to refute the allegations if the accuser is allowed to lie, or as you call it, "exaggerate" and is not required to show any type of physical evidence or contemporaneous signs of abuse? There is almost no burden of proof being required outside of just saying you were abused. I'm just wondering how it is possible for anyone to fight charges of this? People lie, even about sex abuse, it's terrible, but they do.

      And of those 50% of abuse cases where the victim maintained a relationship with the abuser, how many were actually people related to each other where breaking off contact is much more difficult?

    3. Rums,
      1. If Sandusky had gotten a better defense attorney, he probably would not have been convicted on many of the charges against him, particularly in the cases of Victims 8, 9, and 10. I discussed the matter with some attorney's familiar with Amendola and their opinion was he didn't do as well as we was capable of doing.

      I have wanted to write more about this, but PSU keeps giving me fresh material.

      2. I don't have statistic for the latter, however, here is a reference that speaks to it and does mention sometimes it is the family situation.

      Many victims continue to have a relationship with their abuser.

      Though it may be difficult for the public to understand, it is common for survivors of sexual abuse to continue relationships with their abusers after the abuse has stopped. Individuals react to trauma in different ways. For example, it is common for victims to maintain contact with their abusers because they may still feel affection for them even though they hate the abuse. This is especially normal when the abuser is a member of the family or a close family friend. It is also common for some victims to maintain contact in an attempt to regain control over their assault. Others may maintain contact in an attempt to regain a feeling of normalcy.

      Additionally, offenders often intentionally build a connection or a bond that isn't broken as a result of sexual abuse. The abuse is often one element of an otherwise loving or fun relationship. Offenders may intentionally maintain the non-abusive parts of the relationship to keep victims feeling close to them and thus less likely to report the prior abuse.

  5. With my experience, admittedly limited, I believe some adult women may behave the same as "compliant" youth when confronted with sexual abuse.

    One perspective is that I'll never find a perfect mate, so I will put up with some degree of abuse as long as the benefits outweigh the costs.

    Another (similar) perspective is that this may be as good, or even better, than it gets.

    As far as maintaining a relationship (i.e., continuing to receive benefits) after the abuse stops... well, why not?! I've paid my dues. Now I can accrue benefits with no further cost.

    Women justify staying with abusive partners for various reasons. Perhaps kids do as well.