Wednesday, August 22


The Complete Critique of the Freeh Report available here 

Tim Lewis, a former federal judge and federal prosecutor, and an attorney for Spanier, called the report a "blundering and indefensible indictment" of the ex-president.

"There is nothing ... full or complete about the Freeh report as it applies to Dr. Spanier," Lewis said.

He called the Freeh report "a myth."
• That the report is neither as thorough nor as complete as Mr. Freeh said because at least four of the key people involved in the situation either refused or could not be interviewed.
• That the report took on a prosecutorial bent instead of being the "independent" work that was commissioned.
• That the report leaves out significant pieces of information -- such as the fact that nearly all of the emails exchanged among university administrators before 2004 were wiped out in a technology changeover and that testimony from the Sandusky trial runs counter to the Freeh conclusions.
• That the report ignores the fact that law enforcement concluded there was no sexual abuse by Mr. Sandusky based on allegations raised against him in 1998 and no charges were filed.
• That the report "cherry picked" statements to support investigators' claims instead of presenting a witness' full interview and context.
• And that, even though Mr. Freeh said his team interviewed 430 people and reviewed 3.5 million documents, only a small fraction of that is depicted in the report.
The news conference was led by Timothy K. Lewis, a former federal district and circuit court judge, now in private practice.
Mr. Lewis introduced the rest of Mr. Spanier's defense team, noting that all of the members are also former federal prosecutors, like Mr. Freeh.
"I give you this background so you may be assured we are quite familiar with the difference between an 'independent, full and complete investigation,' which the university commissioned Judge Freeh to perform, and the blundering and indefensible indictment he and his staff produced," Mr. Lewis said.
He went on to call the Freeh report "a flat-out distortion of facts so infused with bias and innuendo that it is, quite simply, unworthy of the confidence that has been placed in it, let alone the reported $6.5 million the university paid for it."
Following the release of the report July 12, the NCAA announced its sanctions against Penn State, including a $60 million fine, a four-year ban on postseason play, the stripping of all wins from 1998 to 2011, and a five-year probationary period.
The night before those sanctions were announced, Mr. Spanier sent a letter to the Penn State Board of Trustees in which he explained to them that he felt misled by the university's general counsel during the Sandusky grand jury investigation.
In addition, Mr. Spanier sent a lengthy list of inaccuracies, misrepresentations and factual errors he believed were in the Freeh report to Penn State's new general counsel.
Today, however, is the first time Mr. Spanier's attorneys have spoken extensively about the report.

The critique of the report by Mr. Spanier's attorneys notes that the Freeh investigators did not interview Penn State's former outside counsel, Wendell Courtney, or the prosecutor who refused to press charges against Mr. Sandusky for an alleged incident of sexual misconduct in 1998.
Both refused to speak with the Freeh group.
In addition, Mr. Lewis notes that Mike McQueary, a then-graduate assistant working for the football program who witnessed an incident in the locker room showers in 2001 between Mr. Sandusky and a young boy, was not interviewed at the request of the state attorney general's office.
Nor was Jonathan Dranov questioned. A family friend and physician, he testified at Mr. Sandusky's trial that Mr. McQueary did not describe what he saw that night in the showers as anything sexual.
Mr. Curley and Mr. Schultz testified before the grand jury last year that Mr. McQueary described something like "horseplay" between the coach and the boy -- nothing of a sexual nature.
Mr. Spanier testified that the incident was described to him as "horsing around in the shower," but that it made a member of Mr. Curley's staff "uncomfortable."
During a five-hour interview with Mr. Freeh, Mr. Spanier repeated that information, and "unequivocally denied that he had ever heard a report about a sexual act involving a child," Mr. Lewis said.


  1. "During a five-hour interview with Mr. Freeh, Mr. Spanier repeated that information, and 'unequivocally denied that he had ever heard a report about a sexual act involving a child,' Mr. Lewis said."

    Spanier's denial of receiving any report of a sexual act involving a child raises an essential question. Count on Sara Ganim to raise it:

    "The most obvious question: What did he mean in 2001 when he wrote in an email that not reporting allegations made against Sandusky could leave the university vulnerable?"

    Spanier's lawyers weaseled out of the question by telling reporters to ask Spanier. Spanier double-weaseled out of the question by telling The New Yorker this embarrassing drivel:

    "I have no memory, and I still don’t today (about email conversations on what to do about Sandusky). I can’t even swear that I saw those e-mails. Because first of all, back in that era, every so often, maybe once a month, our I.T. folks would say, 'All the e-mails today have been lost, if you were expecting any you need to write people and tell them to resend them because the system went down.' Honest to goodness, I had no recollection of 1998, didn’t in 2001, have no recollection now, what I’m telling you I’m only for the sake of not wanting people to think that I’m hiding something."

    Is that the best a former president of Penn State president can do: "The dog ate my emails"?

  2. So, Unknown, there are a thousand inconsistencies in the Freeh Report, distorted interviews, missing testimony from key players, and connected "dots" that most wouldn't think could be connected, but we should hang on one single statement?

  3. Shame on you, Unknown. Spanier's reply you've quoted is not answering a question about the 2001 incident, but rather about to the 1998 incident. He was answering about emails he RECEIVED, or was cced, in reference to the 1998 investigation, where even the Freeh Report acknowledges he was minimally involved, NOT emails he SENT. He mentions 2001 in passing, but he is answering a question about 1998.

    As for his answer to the question of the 2001 email he wrote, he doesn't clearly state what he meant saying the University would be "vulnerable", but he makes it clear that nothing in the conversation led him to believe that the situation was "sexual". Again, Mike McQueary's testimony is in the center of this problem. Either McQueary is exaggerating or Spanier is lying. Perhaps the Curley, Shultz trials will shed light on this.

    But, as for you, Unknown, it is clear that you either didn't read the full New Yorker article, or were trying to misquote Dr. Spanier to fit your own narrative of his personality. Perhaps Judge Freeh has a position for you in his investigation firm. Easily disproven assertions of opinion backed up by quotations out of context... Maybe you, Unknown, are Judge Freeh?

  4. "Tim: This approach is acceptable to me. It requires you to go a step further and means that your conversation will be all the more difficult, but I admire your willingness to do that and I am supportive. The only downside for us is if the message isn't "heard" and acted upon, and WE THEN BECOME VULNERABLE FOR NOT HAVING REPORTED IT. But that can be assessed down the road. The approach you outline is humane and a reasonable way to proceed."

    Spanier's lawyer said this "vulnerable" reference needed to be read "in context". But neither Spanier nor his lawyer has explained what this "context" is. If Spanier didn't believe that the situation was about something "sexual", where was the vulerability? This statement appears to be a smoking gun not just for Spanier but for Curley as well. If you can't explain what, other than failure to report child sexual abuse, could make Spanier
    "vulnerable", you can't expect anyone to doubt his guilt.

    "He mentions 2001 in passing, but he is answering a question about 1998."

    I'm sorry. I should have said "The dog ate my emails IN 1998."
    Does the fact that Spanier was talking about 1998 make him sound any less of a weasel?

    No, I'm not Judge Freeh. I'm grateful that I'm not because if I were, in light of the viciousness of Joe's supporters, I might feel "vulnerable".

    1. The viciousness of Freeh's Fiction is the cost of incredible damage to Penn State and Joe Paterno. Yet you blame PSU supporters for being vicious? They have not defamed and honorable man and cost the university millions.

      But we know you unknown - you have not had a single moment of learning since you came here to spread your unsupported negativity about our efforts to get a the truth. So comment away but don't be surprised by being totally ignored. It's not that anyone really reads these comments and those who do aren't going to be interested in your ignorance.

    2. Unknown, if you genuinely are concerned for the well-being of the victims, why focus the meaning of one word in one email, of the president of a university, where a crime might have been reported, depending whether or not the witness actually said more than "horseplay"?

      Why not focus your outrage on the charity that supplied the victims repeatedly? Why not focus your outrage on the fact that Louis Freeh was not allowed to interview several key witness at the request of the PA Attorney General? Why was he allowed to insinuate criminal behavior in conclusions when he was specifically told not to interfere with any criminal investigations? How can he have a "complete" report about criminal behavior of this magnitude without including any interviews with the "criminals"?

      Why not focus your outrage on the fact that the charity is trying to funnel its money out of state to make future civil cases more difficult to prosecute?

      If you are genuinely concerned about bringing the people responsible for this to justice, why are you grasping at "weasel" comments rather than fuming at the fact that the media doesn't care about Second Mile and the members who had at least as much information as PSU, if not much more. Why are they allowed to drop their internal investigation?

      How many questions continue to plague your sense of moral justice regarding Second Mile's involvement?

      We "Joe supporters" are not a "vicious" lot. We are angry because people who continue to believe that the Freeh report "answered the questions" and "got the bad guys" are keeping people more directly involved with the magnitude of this tragedy from being exposed on in the news. I'm sure I'm not going to convince you of anything here. I've seen people like you post on blogs enough, but if you do genuinely care about the kids, maybe these are some questions you might want to ask.

      Fortunately, Spanier's legal team has thrown down the gauntlet. If Louis Freeh has more evidence to back his conclusions, then he has no reason to feel "vulnerable". Interesting how the Honorable Judge Freeh has been chastised by the Honorable Judge Lewis. Maybe now the media will need to respect that the doubts aren't just coming from "Paterno apologists". If Spanier is guilty of what you claim, his time will come now that he's exposed himself to public scrutiny. But his legal team has forced the Freeh Report out in the open one more time. Having read it, I can't believe the credibility it's maintained thus far. Dan Brown has written more convincing fiction.

  5. All I did was pose the same question as Sara Ganim:

    "The most obvious question: What did he mean in 2001 when he wrote in an email that not reporting allegations made against Sandusky could leave the university vulnerable?"

    If I'm ignorant, enlighten me. Tell me the answer to this question.

  6. Dear Unknown,

    I can't speak for Spanier as only he knows the intention behind his words. But I will offer a plausible explanation, since you are so insistent on hearing one: (Again, this is only a possible explanation, not necessarily exactly what Spanier was thinking)

    In that e-mail, Spanier is, in a sense, predicting exactly what ended up happening to the PSU officials: A whole lot of "vulnerability", built up out of a whole lot of mostly nothing.

    By saying 'The only downside for us is if the message isn't "heard" and acted upon, and WE THEN BECOME VULNERABLE FOR NOT HAVING REPORTED IT', he is speaking about a hypothetical. At that moment in 2001, Spanier, Curley, and Schultz knew of no actual crime committed; McQueary spoke of witnessing "horseplay", but no actual crime. If that's all it was, then no need to report. But WHAT IF there could be more to it? WHAT IF Sandusky continued showering with boys -- and worse, actually BECAME a pedophile? Then investigators would look into Sandusky's history, find the 2001 incident, and conclude that Penn State "should have done more" to stop Sandusky, even though PSU officials knew nothing at that time that definitively constituted a crime. Thus, the PSU officials get in trouble (are "vulnerable") with investigators, even though prosecutors would have a very difficult time making anything stick if they could not PROVE that officials knew about a crime in 2001.

    As we see, that's pretty much just how things played out -- Spanier and other officials became "vulnerable" due to the whole Sandusky fallout in 2011. It is practically irrelevant whether these officials did know or did not know about a crime in 2001 -- the investigators (and media) came after them ANYWAY, as we now know. Would charges stick, e.g., "failure to report" (assuming the statute of limitations had not expired)? Maybe, maybe not; depends basically on whether people believe the PSU officials when they say that they did not know of any crime.

    But instead, if the officials' "message" HAD been "acted upon" ... if Sandusky HAD listened, and never again showered with boys, and never descended into pedophilia ... then no scandal would have happened, and people would have ignored an incident of a graduate assistant reporting mere "horseplay" in a shower.

  7. You refer to the possibility that Spanier was worried about Penn State's vulnerability if at a later date, people didn't accept that the Penn State administrators honestly believed that the incident was harmless. This raises a question which has been puzzling me : If Spanier, Curley and Schultz thought that MM's description of the incident was so innocuous as to relieve them of any obligation to report it, why didn't they insist that MM provide them with a written statement for their files, especially if they were worried about it coming back to bite them?

    1. Good question. Who knows. It is reasonable to conclude that Spanier, Curley, and Schultz did not really make the wisest decisions that they could have -- although it's easy to second-guess people in hindsight. Notwithstanding that, I truly believe that they had no malicious intent here -- that they weren't deliberately trying to protect a pedophile, or deliberately trying to cover up a crime. Let us say that this was a case of good intentions, with horrific, unintended, results.

  8. Could Spanier be referring to Dr. Jack Raykovitz, the CEO of The Second Mile and not Sandusky when he writes "The only downside for us is if the message isn't "heard" and acted upon"? Meaning that Penn State would possibly be vulnerable if they report the 2001 shower incident to the CEO of the Second Mile and the Second Mile disregards the information and then Sandusky engages in more inappropriate behavior in the future.

    1. Dear "a",

      In the New Yorker interview of August 22, Spanier indicates that the target of the "message" is Sandusky:


      The e-mail exchange that was a couple of days after that was Tim Curley saying, “I’ve thought about things some more since Sunday, I’m going to touch base with the coach, and here’s my plan now.” And I wrote back that evening basically saying, “Sounds like a reasonable plan, and a humane approach, and I hope he hears the message, because if he doesn’t hear the message we could be vulnerable.”


  9. Spanier has broken his silence on the meaning of his "vulnerable" email:

    "Spanier told ABC that he doesn't remember the memo "but it sounds like me."

    The word "vulnerable," Spanier said, "may not have been the best choice of the term" but was "a reaction to the possibility that we didn't want this to happen and if he didn't accept that and understand it, we would be disturbed by it and perhaps need to take further action. But the message we got back was that he heard the message and was agreeable."

    A "reaction to the possibility that we didn't want this to happen"? Was this man actually the president of a university? This is incoherent drivel.