Thursday, January 18

Distant Replay: Nassar Case Veering In Wrong Direction

Unfortunately, the lessons that should have been learned from the Sandusky scandal were lost in favor of the false narrative that PSU officials knew a pedophile was in their midst and covered it up to preserve the reputation of the University and its football program.  It appears we are in for a replay in the Larry Nassar case.

Ray Blehar
January 18, 2018, 12:10 PM EST

They "knew."

Everyone "knew."

As preposterous as it may seem, the media (ESPN, The Detroit News, et al) once again is propagating a false narrative that Michigan State University (MSU) officials, those at USA Gymnastics, and other organizations that Larry Nassar used to perpetrate child sexual victimization all "knew" what Nassar was doing.

Yes, many female athletes, some of them children, complained to MSU athletic officials, USA Gymnastics officials, and, yes, their stories are compelling and heart-breaking.

However, we are hearing those stories with the benefit of hindsight.  Nassar confessed and was convicted of being a serial child molester.

Did all of those people, who are the subjects of the media onslaught, actually "know" Nassar was a child molester at the time of the allegations?   Were they all turning a blind eye to Nassar's abuse?

Of course not.

ESPN called them "enablers."  And that's wrong.

The fact is that nearly all the people who were informed were not medical professionals and were not equipped or qualified to determine if Nassar's manipulation of the girls was a legitimate medical procedure or not.  All they knew was that Nassar had a great reputation as an osteopathic doctor.

Some of the other people who received reports about Nassar were the parents of the victims.  They didn't believe Nassar was doing anything wrong -- even the parent who sat in on one of Nassar's treatment sessions.

Were the parents turning a blind eye too?  Were they enablers?

Of course not.

Allegations and Credibility

There's a big difference receiving an allegation and finding the allegation credible (or "knowing").

The headline reads: "What MSU knew..."

An incorrect assumption that immediately connotes guilt and sensationalizes the story.

A proper headline would say:  "What MSU was told..."

MSU hired attorney Patrick Fitzgerald to conduct an internal review.   I have no reason to doubt him when he wrote:

"We believe the evidence will show that no MSU official believed Nassar committed sexual abuse prior to newspaper reports in late summer 2016."

The Lansing State Journal (LSJ) characterized Fitzgerald's statement as being contradicted by the testimony of the victims.  And the LSJ is dead wrong.

This goes to the heart of Pillar of the Community offender cases.  Allegations against these individuals are dismissed because of their stellar reputation in the community. 

The allegations simply seem too incredible to be believed.

Those who receive the reports are of the mindset that the accuser must have misunderstood what was happening or perhaps they had an ax to grind with the accused.

Distant Replay - This Is Not About Sports

The people at MSU and in other the other gymnastic organizations aren't the only ones who received allegations and didn't find them credible.

The Meridian Township police didn't have enough evidence to press charges when they responded to a complaint against Nassar in 2004.

MSU's police department investigated the 2014 report on Nassar (at the same time of the Title IX investigation) and sent its findings to the Ingham County Prosecuting Attorney's Office for review.  

No charges were filed.

The exact same thing happened in the Jerry Sandusky case.

In 1998, Sandusky was accused of giving a naked bear hug to a child in a Penn State University (PSU) shower.  That child identified another child with whom Sandusky did the same. At the close of the investigation, Sandusky admitted doing the same with other children. 

Agents from Pennsylvania's child protective services, Jerry Lauro and John Miller, determined that even though Sandusky had given naked bear hugs to multiple children while showering, that he was not a danger to them.

Meanwhile, PSU police detective Ronald Schreffler felt there was enough evidence to charge Sandusky with some lesser offenses -- but the local district attorney in Centre County, Ray Gricar, determined there was not sufficient evidence to press charges.

The people on the front lines in Pennsylvania, paid with tax dollars to recognize child abuse and criminal behavior were deceived by Jerry Sandusky -- but their names are almost never mentioned and the public has no idea who they are.

Lauro, Miller, and Gricar could have stopped Sandusky in 1998 and saved 6 of the 10 Sandusky trial victims (1, 2, 3, 5, 8, and 9) from being victimized.   And they have been spared of any accountability by the media whatsoever because their failures wouldn't make the sports pages or national news.

And as I write this, the names of the Ingham County prosecutors and the Meridian police are not in headlines or in the media reports.  There is little doubt that their decisions about Nassar were more erroneous and more damaging than Lou Anna Simon's.

But the Nassar story has become a sports story and a national media story.

The witch hunt is in full swing.

Lou Anna Simon is about to be burnt at the stake -- just like Graham Spanier and Joe Paterno were.

The public, especially rival fans and rival media members, will all get in on the public shaming of Simon and MSU.

And as the rival fans and the gullible public throw the logs on the fire, their children or their neighbor's children will likely be victimized by another serial predator because this kind of thing could never happen in their community or at their University.

Right, Jemele Hill?

The lessons that should have been learned after the Sandusky scandal will not be learned this time around either because the media would rather burn a "witch" and get clicks than inform the public about how a serial predator can fool an entire community.

Another set of enablers has been identified.

Wednesday, January 10

No Coincidence, Part 2: The Non-Investigation of Sandusky & The Second Mile

The Washington Post story on the Sandusky scandal discounted the influence of The Second Mile on the Sandusky investigation, however Corbett's avoidance of the charity remains "inexplicable" and "doesn't pass the smell test."

Ray Blehar

January 10, 2018. 8:50 PM, EST

In Part 1, laid out the circumstantial evidence supporting the scenario that Corbett used the Sandusky investigation for the purpose of eliminating his nemesis, former PSU President Graham Spanier.

Part 2 will show that Tom Corbett's statement that The "Second Mile had no influence on that investigation" is without merit and that the Washington Post shouldn't have dismissed the charity's influence without a full appraisal of the evidence.

From the Post:

"....McQueary unwittingly became part of a conspiracy engineered by former Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett (R). As Pennsylvania attorney general, Corbett oversaw the early stages of the Sandusky investigation, and as governor, Corbett was a member of the Penn State board that forced out Spanier, the school’s president. Blehar points out Corbett accepted campaign donations from Second Mile board members and had feuded with Spanier over state funding.
While outlandish, such theories gained currency in Pennsylvania. In 2013, newly elected Attorney General Kathleen Kane (D), who suggested on the campaign trail that Corbett slow-walked the Sandusky investigation and donations from Second Mile officials played a role, appointed a special prosecutor to investigate the state’s Sandusky investigation.
“The Second Mile had no influence on that investigation whatsoeverand there’s no evidence that they did,” Corbett said. “But [Penn State alumni] won’t accept that, will they?”

Penn State alumni have good reason not to accept that TSM didn't influence the investigation because they're among the few people who are familiar with the contents of the Moulton Report -- and aren't relying on media sound bites.

The Moulton Report clearly showed that the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) and the Office of Attorney General (OAG) avoided the charity like the plague in the first two years of the investigation.

Former AG Kathleen Kane called it an "inexcusable" delay. Moulton called it an "inexplicable" delay.

Both are correct.

Thursday, January 4

No Coincidence, Part 1 - Corbett's Feud With Spanier

The Washington Post's recent story dismissed the theory that Tom Corbett's feud with Graham Spanier and that The Second Mile charity influenced the Sandusky investigation....but the evidence shows otherwise.

Ray Blehar

January 4, 2018, 8:03 PM, EST, Updated January 5, 2018, 4:08PM

The Washington Post's story on the Sandusky scandal covered a lot of ground and exposed many of the highly questionable decisions of the Penn State University Board of Trustees (PSU BOT) in the aftermath of the criminal trial and the Freeh Report.

One area it did not place much focus on was the unnecessarily protracted 3-year investigation that eventually brought Jerry Sandusky to justice -- and the evidence indicating that Governor Tom Corbett's feud with Spanier revived an investigation that was first sand-bagged by the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) and then was sent to die a slow, secret death in Pennsylvania's grand jury system.

The Post, much like the rest of the media, seemingly relied on a single data point to label that scenario as "outlandish."   To be clear, reporter Will Hobson summarized the Moulton Report as follows:

"The inquiry concluded politics played no role in the Sandusky investigation..." 

However, that statement isn't accurate.  Special Deputy AG Geoffrey Moulton actually said the investigation:

 "revealed no direct evidence that electoral politics influenced any important decision made in the Sandusky investigation."

The Moulton Report is replete with circumstantial evidence that shows the investigation was going nowhere until Corbett's feud with Spanier and that the "release of the hounds" occurred right after his election.