PSU's latest court filing attempts to justify denying the alumni-elected trustees access to the Freeh investigation source materials by arguing that if the alumni trustees have unfettered access to the documents, then the confidentiality of individuals will be compromised.
Then, in typical Old Main fashion, the filing goes on to make the absurd assertion (p. 7) that the Freeh Report maintained the confidentiality of those interviewed during the (phony) investigation.
"Consistent with the promise to the interviewees, the Freeh Law firm went to great lengths in the Freeh Report to maintain the confidentiality and anonymity of the interviewees."
Confidentiality Promise Already Broken
The University's confidentiality promise to interviewees didn't last any longer than it took to post the Freeh Report to the internet.
Anyone with a knowledge of the University and the Sandusky case can read the Freeh Report text, end note number, and dates of interviews and easily determine the identities of the following individuals:
Cynthia Baldwin: Interviewed on 1-4-12, 2-28-12, and other dates
Kimberly Belcher: Interviewed on 1-12-12 and 4-12-12
Ronald Schreffler (retired): Interviewed on 1-4-12 and 2-28-12
Steven Shelow: Interviewed on 2-1-12
Steve Garban (trustee): Interviewed on 2-20-12
Rodney Erickson (retired): Interviewed on 4-12-12
Ted Junker (emeritus trustee): Interviewed on 4-23-12
Ronald Petrosky: Interviewed on 7-2-12
Graham Spanier: Interviewed on: 7-6-12
If you read the actual footnotes, it is obvious that former Dean of Student Affairs, Vicky Triponey, and PSU football equipment managers Kirk Diehl, and Brad Caldwell were also interviewed.
There are other non-University employees who can be identified as well, but for the purposes of this blog, I'll stick to just employees and former employees.
Use of the Flawed Freeh ReportThe Freeh Report was advertised as the outcome of "an independent, full and complete investigation" of the alleged failures to report the abuse by Jerry Sandusky and the circumstances that gave rise to the abuse on the PSU campus. The Freeh Report press conference dealt a devastating blow to Penn State -- so much that few even bothered to read the report.
The attorneys for the Sandusky scandal claimants certainly were among those who did, however.
Each of the filings of claimants D.F., Victim 6, and Victim 9 relied heavily on the conclusions of the Freeh Report -- which trustee Ken Frazier said were "not as clear and irrefutable as some people think they are."
Barron's recent statement that the Freeh Report has no bearing on future decisions is complete nonsense. Other pending lawsuits depend on the Freeh Report's findings and conclusions.
Those who carefully reviewed the report concluded that Freeh cherry-picked evidence to arrive at a pre-determined conclusion that was aligned with the PA OAG's prosecution and to support the BOT's removal of Spanier and Paterno.
In the years following the report's release, evidence surfaced that proved Freeh lied about his "independent discovery" of the emails (see Moulton Report, page 158), his team's discovery of the Schultz secret file, and that he purposely withheld evidence from the report indicating state and county child protective services ignored the psychology report of Dr. Alycia Chambers (in 1998).
Despite these facts coming to light, the PSU BOT made no attempt to correct the record nor did they retract their July 12th, 2012 acceptance of the Freeh Report. Even though doing so would have made it possible to avoid paying out millions of dollars in claims and fines.
Instead, former President Erickson, President Barron, and Board Chair Keith Masser have doubled down on the statement that Penn State accepted the report for "the limited purposes of the NCAA Consent Decree" -- which was signed eleven days after the report was accepted.
There are two conclusions that can be drawn from the "accepted for the limited purposes" statement:
1) The Board's inner circle and the NCAA had a draft consent decree in the works on July 12th; or,
2) the statement is a baldfaced lie.
Documents from the Corman v. NCAA lawsuit overwhelmingly support "baldfaced lie."
More False StatementsThe recent filing also makes a variety of statements that are flatly false and/or unsupported by evidence. For example:
1. It states the Board approved the proposal not to "re-examine" the Freeh Report, however there cannot be a re-examination because an examination had never been conducted. Trustee Lord's proposal, had it been successful, would have resulted in the initial examination of the Freeh Report by the Board.
|Freeh Report Acceptance on July 12, 2012|
3. It states (on page 13) that it voted against "re-investigating" the Freeh Report, even though no such proposal was ever made. See #1.
4. It states the alumni trustees are seeking access to the Source Materials and to conduct an evaluation to support their own ends, but the filing provides no evidentiary support citing what those ends were. Ironically, the report cites statements from the alumni trustees that clearly state the benefits to be gained by the University of such a review -- notably, increased transparency.
5. It states there are no pending or future matters that require access and/or review of the Freeh Report Source Materials. This is patently false because PSU's financial statements are clear on the fact that the University is unable to predict the outcome of pending litigation or the ultimate legal and financial liabilities. As noted earlier, nearly every lawsuit against the University relied on the conclusions drawn in the Freeh Report.
The assertion by Barron and others that the Freeh Report doesn't impact the University's business or mission of educating students is defied every time there has been a tuition increase because of shortfalls in the University budget. Undoubtedly, monies being spent related to the Freeh Report would have lessened tuition increases, or in the case of 2013, completely offset them.
I am sure the attorneys for the alumni trustees will have a field day with Old Main's lame filing. But court battles to get to the truth take time and the University continues to construct impediments or throw money at individuals to make them go away.
Barron and his cohorts must know that their plan to get us to move forward failed. They also must know that their plan to wait us out and hope we go away is also futile. Now they are just stringing out the time until the lid is blown off...but that time will be here quicker than they think.
The truth cometh and that right soon.