Wednesday, May 11

Email to Ron Cook: Sportswriters are out of their league

Ron Cook's column put forth the unqualified opinion that we can never corroborate allegations that Paterno was told of things because of his passing.  I set him straight about verifying victim stories and a host of other topics.  Cook did not respond.

By
Ray Blehar



----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Ray Blehar <rayblehar@xxxxx.com>
To: "rcook@post-gazette.com" <rcook@post-gazette.com> 
Sent: Monday, May 9, 2016 1:06 PM
Subject: Sportswriters are out of their league on weighing validity of complaints

Dear Ron,
I've read several columns by sportswriters who seem to uniformly state that we can never know the validity of the recent allegations.

Those conclusions are categorically incorrect.

The claims of victims are routinely evaluated and assessed by investigators and that's how charges are determined.  Victims exaggerate what happened to them and they also down play their victimization.  Seasoned investigators can separate fact from fiction.

In the case of the 1971 case you referenced, it categorically falls into the category of fiction.  The story does not fit Sandusky's modus operandi as a molester who BEFRIENDED pre-teen boys and groomed them over a period of years.

Given the publicity surrounding the Sandusky case, it is unfathomable that ANYONE, let alone news reporters, could believe this allegation had any merit.

As a responsible journalist,  you should have recognized this story as false immediately.

On Sunday, PSU President Barron told the public that there is NO EVIDENCE to support these allegations.  As it turned out, $93M in settlements were paid without conducting the minimum amount of fact checking. 

Similarly, the Board accepted the Freeh Report without review, then accepted $60M in fines.

If you notice, I've yet to mention Joe Paterno's name because NONE of this is even about Joe Paterno.

PSU Alumni are tired of being labeled as Paterno loyalists because WE DEMAND that our Trustees be responsible in decision making.  

Finally, I am offended that at the end of the column, you paid LIP SERVICE to the victims and discuss their pain.  I won't presume to know whether or not you have suffered abuse, however, it seems that like most other sportswriters you have very little knowledge of the LAW and how child protection is supposed to work in Pennsylvania.

Since August 2012, the PSU alumni have made it very clear about the failures of the state government to stop Sandusky in 1998 and in 2009, when there was ample evidence to do so.  

We were told we were shifting blame.

Shifting blame?  The people who shifted the blame happened to be the prosecutors in the Attorney General's office.

The individuals from DPW and CYS, who were paid with our tax dollars to protect children, were informed of dozens of signs of CSA (detailed in the Freeh Report) should have determined that Sandusky was a danger to children.  Instead, they cleared him and informed Penn State that he did nothing wrong.

Sandusky was allowed to adopt six kids and he fostered many others.  These actions were also approved by the same people who cleared Sandusky in 1998.

He abused some of those children too.  

What should have been a case about how the system failed to protect kids from Sandusky became a story about how  PSU officials dealt with a single complaint in 2001 -- that was IN FACT, reported outside the University to, AGAIN, individuals who were supposed to be protecting children.  

Rather than putting the focus where it should be -- on fixing the system that failed these kids -- the focus has been on vilifying a handful of men who, under the law, did everything correctly.

It was not these men's job to determine what Sandusky was or to make sure he didn't access children.  The abuse that continued after 2001 -- all of it off of the PSU campus -- could have been prevented if the individuals at The Second Mile, who were informed about Sandusky by Penn State, had done their job to not allow him to have unsupervised, one on one contact with children.

Don't feel sorry for the victims or pretend to know what pain they suffered.  Not all victims respond in the same manner.  Many move on from the abuse to lead very productive lives.

If you want to do something, then help us make sure that the NEXT kid doesn't get abused.

Write a column about how the system failed and how you (and other writers) were too focused on a coaching icon to bother to read the details of the Freeh Report and see the real failures in this scandal.  Those failures continue as I write this.

Joe Paterno was man enough to admit that "with the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more."

There's still time to do more, Ron.

Please help protect the next child from abuse.

Sincerely,
Ray Blehar

14 comments:

  1. Thanks Ray.

    Over the years, I have found that when you speak with these 'journalists" and others IN PERSON about asking those relevant questions you laid out above - they sheepishly nod and agree that they are all valid points.

    Many have promised me IN PERSON they would "do more" in discussing the failures at Second Mile and CYS and shining a light on all that.

    They haven't.

    Many have also wondered out loud to me IN PERSON why Dr. Jack Raykovitz has skated and promised to "dig into it" or "look at that".

    They haven't.

    Many have agreed with me IN PERSON that Tom Corbett's Office of Attorney General whiffed on Second Mile and was silent on the mess the AG's Office created at Penn State and would write about it exposing those actions.

    They haven't.

    So I have to believe that these "journalists" and others that say one thing to me IN PERSON are then hiding behind their keyboards to irresponsibly hoist a banner of outrage about "the victims" and waving that in efforts for web hits, clicks and mad dollahs.

    Which in a twisted way, is re-victimizing? It certainly doesn't explore the issues and just adding to the problem that continues to fester in our state.

    It's not starting a discussion of education, prevention and holding those in the child welfare and advocacy profession in our state accountable.

    I have spoken to our State AG, our Solicitor General, the Chair of PCCD, some Federal Prosecutors and many other state decision makers about the very issues you laid out above - they too agree that they are valid points and questions that need to be answered. Hell - Louis Freeh even agreed with me that I "raise a good question".

    So if the media across our state won't go there, and these state decision makers won't go there - then what the hell is going on? I am truly baffled. It's like shouting into the void.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Wendy, it's nice to see your post here in this blog. I know you don't frequently post here because you are busy on other larger fronts pursuing the truth. So thank you for giving some of the smaller players in this fight a chance to respond to your comment. Also, thank you for your original courage to question Louis Freeh's omission of Second Mile culpability from his "report".

      I agree with you that there is an obvious duplicity here when officials are contacted and agree with you about the illegal and unethical nature of what's going on. And as you ask Ray here, what the hell is going on? I'd like a chance to surmise and answer your question.

      If you can review some of my earlier posts on Ray's last 4 or 5 blog topics, you may get some background on why I believe what I'm going to say here: Sara Ganim, Brad Bumsted, John Micek, and Sally Jenkins are not making innocent mistakes. Their omissions and hearsay published as fact are not due to a lack of fact-checking ability or sloppy journalism. These "errors" are intentional. And, they are paid handsomely to make them. As Bernie Sanders has alleged, CNN is a highly corrupt billion dollar entity. I believe they are participating in a failing "secret" coup d' etat against standing leadership in PA and also other states. There is some sort of corrupt privacy loophole that prevents those in power like Kathleen Kane from telling us what is happening, possibly rule 1.6. Also, because factions of our federal government are also involved in attempting this illegal coup, they will cite "keeping order" and "preventing civil unrest" as being more important than telling the American people about this illegal coup attempt. So those in an official capacity that divulge the secret will be locked up. It's a multi-billion dollar coup attempt by those that now completely control our mainstream media. It is failing though, and it's failure will reveal just how badly we've all been misled since 9/11.

      Some people's comfort zone will not allow them to think about this or believe it. I realize it's a very painful and frightening thing to deal with. It's the bigger picture however and of course Louis Freeh is deeply involved in the corrupt bigger picture.

      Have you read recently that the "28 pages" mostly contain rhetoric written by Louis Freeh? And our "trusted" mainstream media is presenting this 28 pages as something that's going to give us the truth about 9/11? What a laugh! So as most Americans now know, what Louis Freeh presents as truth is exactly the opposite of the truth.

      So, look at the bigger picture: Louis Freeh, the first WTC bombing, 9/11, mainstream media-CNN, Sara Ganim, The Second Mile, Penn State, Joe Paterno, Sandusky, Kathleen Kane, Risa Ferman, Bill Cosby, Eric Frein, Frank Noonan, it's all connected!

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  2. Ray, I wish your letter would run as an op-ed in many newspapers. (Advertisement? I'll chip in!) And Wendy S., your response has great info that a reporter (note, I don't call them journalists) should be diving into. They are simply scared of the public backlash. Sounds like our BoTs.

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    Replies
    1. Dot,
      Thanks for your comment. Maybe we can merge these last few posts (Cook, Ganim, and Jenkins) into a full page ad in USAToday.

      Delete
  3. As always Ray, you are a true Champion. You're tireless and relentless. Thank you for your objectivity and keeping the rest of us informed.

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    Replies
    1. LionMW,
      Thanks for your comments and for staying the course.

      Ray

      Delete
  4. Ray, that's an excellent letter to Cook. I hope you get a thoughtful response. I agree with Dorothy that you should submit your letter, or a revised version of it, as an op-ed in the P-G.

    Here's the latest example of lazy pack journalism from one of Cook's peers, this one from the Irish Times. Like so many others, he just repeats the conventional "wisdom." I see no need for anyone to invoke a vast conspiracy to explain the media's bad behavior; Occam's razor needs to be applied. It's just journalists being journalists -- lazy, incompetent, not all that bright, eager to go along with the herd, eager to be on the perceived right side even if they're wrong, never eager to admit they erred in the past.
    http://www.irishtimes.com/sport/deluded-penn-state-fans-and-alumni-still-defend-joe-paterno-1.2644125

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jack,
      Thanks for the kinds words, however, Ron Cook has not responded so far and probably won't. That's typically what happens when writers who think they know it all see a whole different set of facts that they didn't know existed.

      The repetition of news stories can definitely be explained by laziness, however, Occam's Razor does not apply to this scandal -- as shown by what just happened.

      The people who handed out millions of dollars in settlements were not incompetent or lazy....they were vindictive.

      Delete
    2. Unfortunately, Ray... though it's cool to think that this Cook guy saw your succinct fact summary and thought, "Wow, I really don't know enough about this! I'd better dig more to be better prepared on this subject."... experience informs me that this kind of 'journalist' will look at your words and think, "... this Ray guy's a jerk, do you believe all this stuff he's concocted to stand up for PSU?"
      Like so many people who have joined the righteous march against PSU, Joe and the program... their own pride prevents them from going back and really understanding the issue, because they might be ridiculed by their peers just for taking the time to backtrack - and they'd definitely be heckled and pressured by the other hacks to stay on board, but in fact to re-light the torches and sharpen the pitchforks in this new anti-PSU media campaign.
      How's that for 'culture'?

      Delete
    3. Steve,
      I suspect you are right about Cook. I know your theory applies to Sally Jenkins (as I just wrote about her inability to open her eyes to the facts).

      Believe it or not, Yahoo's Dan Wetzel has always been polite and responsive.

      But for the most part, the media will remain in lock-step until an official in authority declares the PSU case to be a hoax.

      Delete
  5. Don't forget to mention McQuaide & Blasko

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  6. Actually, Occam's Razor applies well. It states that the simplest explanation has the highest probability of being correct. Lubin, Peetz,and Surma reasoned if they paid a "victim", then the "victim's" claim would be perceived as true. Pure simplicity. Just like Frank Fina's janitor Hoax. How better to prejudice the public than an image of a child being pinned against a wall?

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    Replies
    1. Gregory,
      The BOT applied Occam's Razor for sure...the public fell for the simplest explanation. But as we know, the simplest explanation is not the least bit true in this case.

      These captains of industry did not panic and succumb to media pressure when they axed Paterno & Spanier. Not with Kenny"Vioxx" Frazier sitting there, who knew darned well that's NOT how to handle the crisis.

      Similarly, Kenny "Vioxx" Frazier didn't pass out Merck's money like candy or care about bad publicity over fighting each individual claimant.

      And the evidence shows these guys knew Freeh didn't find any athletic violations and the NCAA didn't have a leg to stand on, let alone any evidence to threaten PSU with a death penalty. Frazier, again, had to know that there is a statute of limitations in the NCAA just like there is in the criminal justice system.

      In short, Occam's Razor is for suckers. This case is far more complex than anyone can imagine.

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    2. I think that we are talking about two different things. Occam's Razor is a simplistic offshoot of the second law of thermodynamics which essentially states that processes in nature follow the lowest free energy contour, which implies simplicity rather than high energy complexity.

      Frazier is a criminal and should have been prosecuted for negligent homicide for knowingly submitting a fraudulent data package to FDA. That he was negotiating a settlement with the PA OAG while conspiring with them on the Freeh report is beyond the pale.

      What Frazier, Peetz, Surma,and Lubin did was conspire with the NCAA and Big 10 to commit extortion. I'm sure that they all had their own motives for doing this, just like Corbett and his hatchet man Frank Fina wanted to take down Spanier.

      The point I wanted to make regarding the settlements was that the primary criteria for payment seemed to be how much damage it could do to JP and C/S/S, since making a payment translates into admitting guilt. If so, it constitutes fraud. It also entangles the Rozen law firm in the fraud. It does not even look like they had a vetting process in place, nor did they make an attempt to protect PSU from fraudulent claims, claims outside the statute of limitations for civil claims, or claims that had no nexus to PSU (eg, Matt Sandusky and Aaron Fisher).

      Delete