Wednesday, May 20

PSU's Confidentiality Promise Already Broken

PSU's recent filing denying alumni trustees access to Freeh's source materials falsely argues that Freeh went to great lengths to protect employee confidentiality - but analysis proves otherwise.

Ray Blehar

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 Report

The 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 Statements

The 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
2. It states (on page 8) that the Board has never relied on the Freeh Report to make decisions or make judgments about individuals, but that statement is rebutted by the video evidence of BOT member Ken Frazier defaming PSU officials based on the report's conclusions.

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.


  1. This has been a test of endurance for almost four years. Thanks Ray for soldiering on and inspiring all of us to stay the course.

  2. I think you are correct that these are just delaying tactics. I hope a judge will see through them.

    It doesn't seem right that some trustees can see the Freeh source documents, and the alumni-trustees cannot, or that President Barron can and the alumni-trustees cannot.

    I doubt there is any evidence against Paterno and the others in the interviews Freeh did not include, or they would have been in the report. I expect source documents contain things like
    exculpatory evidence Freeh excluded and evidence that Freeh investigators were biased in their questioning.

    AD Sandy Barbour said she has found no culture problem and only positive comments about Paterno. I expect that is what Freeh found in the hundreds of interviews he didn't include in his report.

  3. The dungeons of Henderson echoed with rumors, stories and narratives. You have piqued my curiosity. Who had real contemporaneous knowledge of 98 and/or 01? I'm also very curious as to what the non-employees had to say. I don't care about their identities, but I do wonder why they would agree to speak to Freeh.

    1. I can think of several reasons why non-employees would speak with Freeh.

      1. The fame factor and being part of a big event.
      2. Getting to tell your side of the story so Freeh does not portray you in a negative light.
      3. Opportunity for revenge by disgruntled ex-employees.
      4. Professional courtesy for those in law enforcement.
      5. Not talking to Freeh might be interpreted as you having something to hide.
      6. Duty to Penn State for retirees or ex-employees.

    2. Misder2,
      Given that the Freeh group worked hand in hand with the AG, I'm not at all surprised to hear that there were rumors of others knowing. Frank Fina opined during Spanier's grand jury session that lots of people at PSU knew (or at least saw Sandusky showering with kids).

      The Moulton Report shows a janitor, Brian Huffman, stated he saw something, but no details were given. Another janitor claimed to have seen him in the residence halls with a kid -- and she gave that information to Freeh. That would have been circa 1998.

      I looked a little further into some allegations of others who knew and concluded that the person purporting to have rec'd a report of the 2002 (sic) incident was not credible. That person told a non-employee, who then repeated back the story to investigators. It took me a while to sort it all out, but that's where I landed.

  4. As always, thank you Ray for your tireless efforts. I feel the Old Guard is going to learn a very difficult lesson that the aristocrats, prior to the French Revolution, learned. By ignoring the masses, positive outcomes are sometimes difficult to obtain. I believe Stephen Colbert said it best: Some say, 'Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.' I say, 'Those who ignore history are in for a big surprise.'

  5. Ray, please stop with the 1998 Alycia Chambers report. CYS/DPW were correct to ignore it as its conclusions were based on broad generalizations of what a pedophile would do and was very narrow in scope as she only spoke with Vic 6 and his mother regarding the one shower incident. She never even attempted to contact Sandusky before concluding it was likely he was a pedophile. Also, Chambers had already been providing counseling to Vic 6, so she was far from impartial outside observer.

    If someone accused you of molesting them, how would you feel if some therapist issued a report saying you were likely a pedophile, but never spoke to you and only based their opinion on speaking with the accuser and their family and already had a previous relationship with them? I certainly would never want to be accused of something so heinous based on that.

    Also, Sandusky was found innocent of the 1998 assault relating to victim 6 and the convictions were based on the grooming charges. And since we can actually used the benefit of hindsight here, how do the grooming charges seem reasonable given that Sandusky maintained contact with Victim 6 for 12 more years with no further incidents and knowledge of his mother? He sponsored the individual on a mission trip and continued taking him to football games. If he really had the ill intent to cause harm to this person at some point and used the shower in 1998 as a means to eventually accomplish that, why wouldn't you start to distance yourself from him once someone contacted you to investigate the incident? Nope, Jerry decides to maintain contact with him well into his 20s when if Jerry is a pedophile, Jerry shouldn't even have any type of sexual attraction or desire towards him anymore.

    But of course I don't understand the subtleties of grooming or the "nice guy offender" and using any bit of logic or reason is not an acceptable argument. Just curious, how do differentiate between the "nice guy offender" and just a nice guy?

    1. Thank you for commenting.

      Chambers correctly concluded Sandusky's behaviors were those of a likely pedophile. His own witness at the trial gave testimony that Jerry had a psychological disorder that is related to pedophilia.

      Next, Chambers was neither a caseworker or a policeman. She had no legal authority to interview Jerry. She did exactly as she should have and turned her report over to CYS, DPW, and the police. It was up to them to use it. Instead, DPW and CYS denied ever seeing it and brought in an unlicensed counselor to evaluate the boy. He didn't interview Jerry either. Funny, you don't mention any issues with his evaluation.

      Please read Ken Lanning's manual on child molesters. Everything you wrote in paragraph 3 fits the description of a nice guy offender. As for the mother, she did not permit her son to have one on one contact with Jerry, thus preventing any future incidents.

      Next, you mention ill intent and harm. That wasn't part of Jerry's MO nor is it part of the methods of nice guy offenders. This tells me you haven't done any homework at all on this, nor have you ever been exposed to these types of offenders (as I have).

      The evidence in the case shows that Jerry moved on other children after being rebuffed by V6. That is also typical behavior, especially after a close call with the police.

      The differentiation between a nice guy and a nice guy offender is that a "nice guy" doesn't repeatedly shower with children and give them naked bear hugs AFTER he is told by police not to do so.

      But if you really need to know why Jerry is where he is, he confessed to child abuse in January 2009, when he confirmed -- with his lawyer present -- the allegations made by Aaron Fisher.

      End of story.

    2. I think CYS/DPW ignoring the Chambers' report is a small part of how they badly botched the 1998 Sandusky investigation. If Chambers could see all these textbook signs of grooming, why couldn't CYS and DPW experts?

      Jerry Lauro of DPW talked to Sandusky, and Sandusky admitted to bear hugging boys in the showers. That alone should have disqualified Sandusky from being alone with any Second Mile boys ever again.

      The most outrageous thing is that Freeh ignored almost all the numerous failures of CYS, DPW, DA and police in 1998 and put all the blame for everything after 1998 on Paterno, Spanier, Curley and Schultz.

    3. Thanks, Tim. I agree.

      UES Spurs please take note of something I forgot -- and to also correct your understanding of the 1998 case.

      First, as I mentioned earlier --- and I'm FOOTSTOMPING this -- CYS and DPW have both denied seeing the report. Thus, your assertion that "they were right to ignore it" in no way reflects reality.

      Next, when DPW's Jerry Lauro was interviewed in March 2012, and shown the Chambers report, he said HE WOULD HAVE MADE A DIFFERENT DECISION had he seen it back then.

      Tim makes a great point, especially in light of the latest release of the Victim 6 transcripts, DPW and CYS had no grounds to give Sandusky a pass. Victim 6 told investigators that Sandusky turned the showers on BEFORE he set up the Polish soccer game. It is very clear that Sandusky's workouts were nothing more than a ruse to get boys naked and wet for his own gratification.

    4. I see Ray, Sandusky fits a profile, therefore he is guilty, any other facts, evidence, alternative explanations, reason, logic, do not matter. Got it. I wonder how that type of explanation would work in the investigation of inner city street crime. Plus your comment about previously being exposed to “nice guy” offenders gives me pause that you may not be looking at this situation in the most objective light.

      You cannot deny the financial incentives of these accusers, especially when a number of them hired civil attorneys working on a contingency when they gave their first statement of abuse to the police. This means the lawyers don’t get paid unless their client receives a settlement. I know a fair number of lawyers, I don’t any that like not being paid for their work. Why does someone need a civil attorney with a financial incentive for settlement to make a statement of abuse to the police? And given your contact with victim 6, you should be well aware of the financial situation of his mother over the last 15 years.

      And of course Lauro is going to say that in March 2012, it's presented to him at a time now when just about everybody now believes Sandusky is a pedophile, he would seem like an idiot if he said in March 2012 that report wouldn't have mattered to him. Would he have said the same thing in 1998? We’ll never know. And it’s also plausible that CYS and DPW denied seeing the Chambers report in 1998 because they would also be perceived as being stupid by most people because if they did, then most people would think they dropped the ball. But again, it’s also possible they didn’t see it, we don’t really know.

      And stop with the BS that Jerry admitted to child abuse in January 2009. Jerry directly denied any type of sexual abuse with regards to Aaron Fisher. We all know that Jerry isn’t most likely going to die in a maximum security prison because he may have inappropriately rubbed someone’s leg or pants and blew raspberries on their stomach. And isn’t it odd that Aaron’s eventual description of sex abuse by Jerry is very similar to the abuse describe by his ex-step sister to police about what Aaron’s ex-step father did to her? Except in that case there was actual photographic evidence. I guess Jessica Dersham, who was 26 and had all of 2 years’ experience on the job, did ask to look any further into Aaron’s background before coming to her conclusions.

      And one of my main points about the Chambers report was that she had a previous counseling relationship with victim 6, therefore she already has an emotional investment in Victim 6, which can create a biased point of view. Whatever you want to say about Seasock’s credentials, at least he had no prior ties to Victim 6 before making his assessment. And whether or not the regulations call for it, I think both of them should have had a conversation with Sandusky before concluding on their opinions.

      Ray, I had enjoyed your website for a while and found it helpful for somethings, but you’ve made your mind up and further discussion is just pointless. By the way, how is that secret federal investigation into this going?

    5. Thanks for your opinions.

      Please feel free to drop by for a real discussion when you actually know the facts of the case. Start by reading the trial transcripts where Jerry, in fact, admitted to CHILD ABUSE. Don't confuse child abuse with sexual abuse, which seems to be quite a difficult concept for a small fringe of people to get their heads around.

      He was later convicted of child sexual abuse, not on a profile, but on a course of conduct that was repeated among 8 witnesses. That is the typical way it works in serial offender cases.

      Victim 4 is the only one of the victims to get a lawyer before making a statement to the police.

      I have never spoken to Victim 6, nor have I ever written any statement to that effect,

      I suggest you take a look at the rap sheets of Eric Daniels and April's apparent you have no idea what that case was about and Aaron's testimony in no way matches his step sister's story. To my knowledge, Aaron has not accused Jerry AND Dottie of taking pornographic images of him.

      As for the Federal investigation: ongoing as of August 29. 2014. That information is in the public domain as well.

      I am open to further discussion on the condition that you use actual facts the next time you post here.

      Good luck freeing Jerry.