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.    

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 in some 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 Feudale.



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.










Wednesday, July 30

Patriot News, Part 8 of 9: Chapter 2, Sara Ganim

"This is just like any other crime story that I report."  -- Sara Ganim, November 21, 2011

By
Ray Blehar

Sara Ganim is a self-proclaimed crime and courts reporter who once stated that she treated the Sandusky case “just like every other crime story that I report.”    As the evidence will show, Ganim’s knowledge of criminal and judicial proceedings was lacking, which led to her making significant mistakes in her reporting.

The journalism awards bestowed upon her were not based on the thoroughness or accuracy of her reporting.   Simply put, Ganim won the Pulitzer Prize and other awards because the Sandusky scandal happened in her “backyard,” she benefited from leaked information that continually gave her “scoops,” and that the various awards committees didn’t verify the information in her stories.   

Ganim, however, did not act alone.   As she mentioned in the Foster-Foreman seminar she gave at Penn State, her Pulitzer prize winning story that broke the news of the grand jury investigation was “very well lawyered.”

It had to be.  

Otherwise, the P-N would have exposed that it was benefiting from a leaked 1998 University Park police report.   Even with the lawyers reviewing her work, the story contained a highly unusual statement that, at a minimum revealed a lack of knowledge of investigative procedures, and at its worst revealed evidence of a possible cover-up.

On the whole, the P-N’s and Ganim’s reporting on the Sandusky scandal was worse than the reporting by the British tabloid, The Sun, in its coverage of the Hillsborough soccer tragedy.    The Sun took the words of law enforcement at face value and regurgitated the police’s story that it was drunken Liverpool soccer fans that caused the disaster.   Twenty four years later, an independent panel would be convened and determine that the police had lied to reporters and the public about what had happened.  The tragedy was caused by insufficient policing and crowd control.
    
Similarly, the P-N's reporting followed a similar track, taking the words of the Pennsylvania Attorney General at face value, even though there were obvious flaws in the November 5th, 2011 grand jury report.   The presentment, with the misleading sub-title, “Findings of Facts” was riddled with falsehoods, half-truths, and omissions.  Some of the most important evidence in the case was omitted in order to ensure that the government agencies  and TSM were not held accountable.  Instead, the OAG laid the blame on PSU and deceased DA Ray Gricar.  

Ganim and the P-N simply persevered on those two themes and quashed any information that revealed cover-ups of Sandusky’s abuse at TSM and the failures of Pennsylvania government’s agencies.   As a result, Ganim never informed the public about the real means in which Sandusky was able to access and abuse his victims and how children remained at risk when the state investigators intervened in child abuse cases.  

The greatest tragedy resulting from Ganim's false narrative was that the necessary reforms were never made to Pennsylvania's child protection system, leaving thousands of children in harm's way.


Ganim's Credibility 

To judge the credibility of Sara Ganim, it’s best to look at her own words about her “investigative and crime reporting” on the scandal.

 “Until the night Paterno was fired, it never even crossed my mind that this could be something that would lead to what it led to, I never thought it would lead to the firing of Joe Paterno, ever,” she said. I just followed the facts, piece by piece, as they came to us.”

I’m a crime reporterI’m not a football reporter.  This is what I do.  This is just like every other crime story that I report.”

“I have a police scanner on my nightstand,” she writes on her personal site. “I fall to sleep and wake up to the morning news. I work 60-hour weeks digging and investigating, chatting up sources, and peeling back layers until I find amazing stories.”

Which one was it? 

Did she spend 60-hour weeks digging and investigating?  Did she treat this as any other crime story? Or did she follow the facts (leaks) as they were provided to her? 

Her reporting on the scandal proves it was the latter. 

If she was a crime reporter, and not a football reporter, why would she surf football message boards when she first heard about Sandusky’s abuse in 2009?  If she did any research on Sandusky at all, she had to have known he retired from PSU a decade earlier to work on this passion – TSM – which served at-risk youth.  Her investigation should have started there -- not on football message boards.

If she truly worked 60 hours a week digging and investigating, how did she not dig up the Annual Reports and IRS records of TSM, which were available to the public to find leads? Undoubtedly, she would have been able to knock on hundreds of doors just by following up on the names listed in those reports.  But instead, she was surfing anonymous football message boards?

In short, Ganim and the P-N  simply avoided any serious investigation or reporting about the charity – much in the same manner as the OAG did during the Sandusky investigation.

I don't think the P-N's lack of interest in TSM was merely a coincidence.  

As Ganim said, they "followed the facts, piece by piece, as they came to us."


Breaking the Story of the Sandusky Grand Jury Investigation

In a series of interviews after she won the Pulitzer prize, Ganim told a variety of stories about how she broke the news of the Sandusky grand jury.  The stories were a mix of truth and fantasy (underlined type indicates falsehoods and footnotes provide explanations). 

STORY #1 (Poynter):  While working as a courts and crime reporter at the Centre Daily Times in State College, Pa., Ganim got a tip that former Penn State Assistant Football Coach Jerry Sandusky had been accused of molesting a local child.

I wrote [Sandusky's] name down on a sticky note and stuck it on my computer,” said Ganim, who spoke at Poynter recently as part of a “Covering Sexual Abuse” seminar sponsored by the McCormick Foundation.

Ganim didn’t know much about Sandusky at the time and couldn’t find any evidence to support the allegation. Six weeks later, the tipster called her back to say he was wrong.

Ganim later attended a fundraiser for Sandusky’s charity for at-risk and underprivileged youth, and realized he wasn’t there. When she started asking why, some people said he had health problems. Others said he had family problems. The two different responses raised red flags.

While reporting on Sandusky at the Centre Daily Times, Ganim was “trying to prove that I could have the whole beat.” She eventually tracked down the boy who had accused Sandusky of molestation[1] after talking with adults in the community where he lived.  It wasn’t until she got a job months later at the Patriot-News in January 2011 that she was really able to pursue the story Her bosses there initially gave her two weeks (and more time later) to focus solely on it.

“I had those two weeks to do nothing else. I was able to do a whole slew of interviews … and I was able to get some other supporting evidence,” Ganim said.

STORY #2 (Glamour): "Anything else going on?" Sara Ganim asked her source late one night in 2009. As the crime reporter for a small newspaper in State College, Pennsylvania, it was a question she always ended with. And this evening, to Ganim's surprise, the source replied, "Well, actually, a boy just came forward to the police and alleged sex crimes against Jerry Sandusky."

Jerry Sandusky. Like everyone in town, Ganim knew his name: He was the retired assistant coach of Penn State University's championship-winning football team. Ganim wrote Sandusky on a sticky note and, though she didn't know it at the time, had her first lead in breaking one of last year's most explosive news stories—the Penn State sexual-abuse scandal.

Let's stop right here to say she was only 22 at the time.

Ganim, a Penn State grad and a football fan herself, knew her way around the university's online message boards. There she quickly found gossip about Sandusky getting too friendly with young boys.[2] So she started asking around. "I'd say, 'Hey, have you heard anything strange about Jerry Sandusky?'" And though people knew about the rumors, Ganim says, "almost no one believed they were true."

For the next two years, Ganim tried to get real facts[3]—"I just started knocking on doors," she says—and pursued the story aggressively after joining the staff of Harrisburg's The Patriot-News in January 2011. But in a community where football is a religion and the game brings Penn State $73 million a year (there was even an ice-cream flavor called Sandusky Blitz), it didn't take long for her to slam up against the full power of the former coach's legacy.

"Some people closed their doors in my face, and others definitely did not tell me the truth," she says. "But many were relieved—they were done keeping the story bottled up inside." What she uncovered[4] was staggering:  She identified two[5] alleged victims and learned that Sandusky was under investigation by a grand jury for sexual abuse. (In Pennsylvania such proceedings are held in secret.) Ganim kept digging and, by this time last year, had enough evidence to write the first story exposing the grand jury hearing, as well as accusations that the former coach had molested at least one boy in the university's locker room.

STORY #3 (OnwardState):  “She also detailed how she first heard about the Sandusky investigation when a student asked her to tell the story. Ganim stressed that asking sources if they have any more noteworthy information can always help. During a late night conversation with a source about news unrelated to Jerry Sandusky, he mentioned that Sandusky “has been accused of molesting boys during sleepovers at his house.”  Ganim had to Google his name to figure out who he was, but she realized that gravity of the accusation once she did.
Her source called her a week later to explain that the accusations were false, most likely trying to cover himself after releasing information that he shouldn’t have. It wasn’t until Ganim attended a Second Mile fundraiser five or six months later that she realized that the investigation was still taking place. Sandusky wasn’t present and when Ganim asked two different Second Mile board members why that was, she received two different answers. “The charity knew he was under investigation but didn’t tell people what to say if people asked,” she explained.

Story #4 (The Observer/Notre Dame)  ”Ganim’s research into the scandal dates back to 2009[6], when she first received a tip while working at State College, Penn.’s Centre Daily Times. A source told her that a child had accused Sandusky of molesting him.

She said she approached the story just as she would “any other crime story.”

“I looked into [Sandusky,] and I found out who he was, and I thought, ‘wow if this guy really molested a child, that’s a big deal,’” she said.

But without hard facts to go on, Ganim said the story could not move forward[7]. She said victims had spoken up and made allegations, but those allegations did not lead to charges.

Eventually, Ganim moved to the Patriot-News, where she was given time to do “nothing but knock on doors.”[8]

When she had information from five independent sources who had testified before the Grand Jury, the Patriot-News ran the story.

We learned after the story ran that it led to more victims coming forward[9], and Jerry Sandusky admitted that all of the facts that we had alleged — yes, they were alleged,” she said. “He just said he didn’t do it.”

Ganim’s stories about working on the Sandusky case prior to her joining the P-N appear to be just that – stories.   While Ganim may have been tipped about Sandusky in 2009, there is no evidence to support that she made progress on the story until after she moved to her job in Harrisburg.

Based on the evidence, all of the important information in the March 31, 2011 grand jury column was gathered after January 2011.  At the time the March story went to press, the P-N  did not admit that it had the 1998 police report in its possession and how the police report was critical for finding Victim 6. 

Based on those four stories and the evidence from judicial proceedings, this is the most likely scenario of how the P-N  “broke” the story on the Sandusky grand jury.  Note that they were working on the story prior to Ganim’s arrival.

1.     Ganim was told by a local State College news reporter that Sandusky was under investigation for child abuse.

2.     At the Thursday night kickoff banquet at the 2009 Second Mile Golf Tournament, Sandusky was absent and the same reporter suggested to her “we need to get working on this story.”

3.     In September 2010, Jan Murphy, of the P-N, emailed then PSU President Graham Spanier to ask if he was aware of an investigation of Sandusky.  Spanier responded negatively.

4.     Ganim took a job with the P-N in January 2011.

5.     Ganim obtained (or was given) the 1998 police report and began to work on the story.

6.     In January 2011, Ganim called Victim 6, his mother, and the mother and wife of BK.   Ganim was told that BK was in Afghanistan and not available to speak with her.   Victim 6 and his mother confirmed information about the 1998 investigation.

7.     Ganim gave contact information of an investigator to the mother of Victim 6.[10] 

8.     On or about February 4, 2011, an unspecified female reporter (likely Ganim) had “camped” outside former police chief Tom Harmon’s house and was inquiring about the 1998 investigation.

9.      Ganim tracked down Aaron Fisher (Victim 1) in February 2011.

10.   Ganim emailed Penn State’s Athletic Director Tim Curley and PSU President Graham Spanier on March 28, 2011, and asked them about their knowledge of the grand jury investigation.

11. The P-N ran the grand jury story on March 31, 2011, noting that Paterno, Curley, and Schultz had testified and the case involved a 15 year old Clinton County youth (Fisher) and Victim 6.

12.  By the time the March 31st story ran, the police knew the identities of Victims 5, 6, and 7.  The mother and sister of Victim 6 identified those individuals to the police.  

Ganim’s and Newhouse’s stories about the breaking of the Sandusky case contained  falsehoods about her work on the case while she was at the Centre Daily Times and also avoided admitting that the 1998 police report was instrumental in the paper breaking the story.


Scandal Reporting Defies Journalistic Ethics

As chapters 2 through 9 revealed, Ganim's reporting on the case often obfuscated the facts, was erroneous, and contained known falsehoods.  Rather than regurgitate a long list of all her violations of journalistic ethics, the following three incidents likely make the case for revoking her Pulitzer prize.

1.  In her March 22, 2012 column, she published a known falsehood that DPW's Jerry Lauro was not aware of either evaluation of Victim 6.  Ganim had possession of the 1998 police report at the time she interviewed Lauro, who told her he was unaware of either evaluation.  The police report clearly revealed that Lauro had asked Centre County CYS to arrange the second evaluation of Victim 6.  In addition, Dr. Chambers' psychology report was attached to the police report -- and it stated that Chambers had made an oral report of the incident to DPW.  In other words, it was extremely likely that Lauro had knowledge of both evaluations and it was indisputable that he was aware of the second evaluation.

To make matters worse, Ganim published a misleading headline that intimated that Penn State University had hid the reports from Lauro. 


Patriot-News Special Report: 1998 Jerry Sandusky investigator would have pursued dropped case if he had seen hidden Penn State police report


As a result of Ganim's reporting, the public was misled into believing that DPW didn't see these reports and was excused for its failures to indicate Sandusky for child abuse in 1998.  

2.  In her Pulitzer prize winning, November 11, 2012 column about missed opportunities to bring Sandusky to justice, Ganim fabricated a story about an imaginary chain of reporting that supposedly occurred among Penn State officials and Dr. Jack Raykovitz of The Second Mile.  The chain started of with the publication of a known falsehood, that Mike McQueary had reported an "anal rape" to Joe Paterno and ended with her watering down the information that was provided to Dr. Raykovitz.   

The fact of the matter was that Mike McQueary made direct reports to three people at PSU (and two others outside PSU) and that there was no chain of reporting where the incident was "watered down" at each stage.  Ganim had also omitted that John McQueary was the first person to receive a report from Mike and that the PSU General Counsel was involved in the deliberations about the incident.

The Patriot News editorial board then cited this fabricated chain of reporting in an op-ed calling for reforms to Pennsylvania's child abuse reporting laws.

3.  Of all of the things that were shoddily reported by Ganim and the Patriot News during the Sandusky scandal, its reporting about Pennsylvania's child abuse reporting statute was highly inaccurate.  None of its coverage addressed the plain language of the law, which revealed that PSU officials had no reporting responsibility under the 2001 statute.  Nor did it mention that officials at The Second Mile were legally responsible for reporting Sandusky's misconduct when they received the report from Tim Curley.  

As a result of this reporting, the public was not informed about where the real breakdown in the reporting of the 2001 incident occurred.  In addition, the reputations of four men and an entire University community was unnecessarily dragged through the mud.

The bottom line was that Ganim  -- the self-proclaimed "crime and courts" reporter -- failed miserably when it came to actually reporting on her specialty.  

The Pulitzer prize citation lauded Ganim and the Patriot News for "adeptly covering" the scandal. 

The hollowness of that praise will be truly exposed in the final chapter of this report.


Next:  Chapter 1, Leaks 




[1] According to Ganim’s story on October 23, 2012 and the book, Silent No More, she tracked down Victim 1 in February 2011, after joining the P-N.
[2] There were no message board rumors in 2009.  They didn’t start until after Sandusky announced his “retirement” from TSM in the fall of 2010
[3] “Real facts” were no further away than a google search on “The Second Mile” and Sandusky’s book, Touched.”  Available evidence revealed that she first used Sandusky’s book for a story in March 2011.
[4] She did not uncover the information from knocking on doors. The information came from the 1998 police report, which was leaked to the P-N in early 2011. 
[5] Actually, it was three victims, but the P-N and OAG typically avoid mentioning the 3rd victim, BK.
[6] Aside from Ganim’s admission of googling Sandusky’s name, there is little evidence that any serious research was conducted.
[7] There were plenty of facts to move the story forward, particularly public records related to The Second Mile.
[8] She obtained the 1998 police report in January 2011 and used it to find Victim 6 and his mother. She telephoned them both, as well as the wife and mother of BK. 
[9] Based on court documents, only one victim came forward in the timeframe from 31 March 2011 until November 9, 2011.
[10] Commonwealth v. Sandusky, stipulation, 6-18-2012