Friday, February 8

Investigating the Investigation: Tony "TV Guide" Sassano

The date of the McQueary/Victim 2 incident was changed from March 2002 to February 2001 -- eighteen months after the state learned of the incident.  Was it really a review of TV guides that set the date?

Ray Blehar

In May of 2012, the prosecution filed a motion to change the date of the 2002 McQueary episode to 2001. The defense had contended all along that  the incident happened in 2001, yet the state didn't believe Amendola's and Sandusky's claims.

However, all that changed in May, when Sara Ganim reported...

Sara proceeded to write absolutely nothing about the reason for the change -- Pulitzer winning journalism at it's finest.

At trial, the public would finally hear the reason for the date change.  And similar to the story about the "circle search" to find victims, the investigative methods of OAG Detective Tony "TV Guide" Sassano used to determine the date don't pass the logic test.

Trial Testiony of Tony "TV Guide" Sassano

At the trial, Sassano was asked about the date change and responded that he did two things to establish the date.  First, he said he bought twenty copies of TV Guides from February and March of 2001 and 2002 and went through them to find the movie, Rudy -  which McQueary was allegedly watching before getting motivated to return his new sneakers to the locker room.  Sassano stated he went through 2001 first and found that Rudy was aired on Feburary 9th at 8:05PM on TBS  (verified).  He stated he then went through the 2002 guides and didn't find an airing of Rudy for that month (verified).

Next, he stated that the other thing he did was to look at the years when there would have been openings on the staff and that made him focus on 2001.

Neither explanation passes the logic test.

First, Spring Break at Penn State occurs in March.  February 9th would be just a few weeks into the semester and wouldn't make sense to be in the time frame of Spring Break.

To determine the dates for Spring Break, all Sassano needed to do was pull up the PSU baseball or softball press releases to identify the possible dates, which were:  March 2, 2001;  March 1, 2002; and March 7, 2003.   He could have bought three TV Guides instead of twenty.

Also, if he did go to the trouble of buying twenty TV Guides, then he should be able to produce his expense report for the  purchase.  Back issues of TV Guide are not inexpensive.  Most  run about $5 per issue, but some in that time frame he mentioned costs as much as $18.95.  I don't think Sassano would shell out $130 out of his pocket and not get reimbursed.

He could buy a couple nice bottles of scotch with that money.

Second, McQueary was hired as a full time assistant in 2004, making 2003 the first logical year to focus on if there was doubt about the year -- given McQueary's testimony was that Paterno thought he was calling about a job opening.  Then the next logical year would have been 2001.  But Sassano never bothered to check the 2003 TV Guides

Maybe he just got lucky by guessing 2001 first and also guessing that somehow the incident occurred in early February, not early March.

Too bad he wasn't that lucky when it came to quickly identifying victims and getting Sandusky off the streets.

Then again, why were they even checking on the date?  They'd gone eighteen months and through several judicial proceedings with it identified as 2002.

The History

  • November 2010 -- OAG investigators and police interviewed McQueary who set the date as the night before Spring break 2002.
  • December 2010 -- McQueary testified to the March 2002 date at the grand jury.
  • January 2011     -- Gary Schultz informed Cynthia Baldwin of existence of his Sandusky files.                                 Baldwin likely recovered the files.
  • November 2011 -- Grand jury presentment stated the date as the night before Spring Break, 2002.
  • December 2011 -- Sassano and McQueary testifed at the preliminary perjury hearing that the date was March 2002.  
  • December 2011 -- Freeh hired to investigate Sandusky matter at PSU.
  • January 2012     -- Freeh interviews Cynthia Baldwin -- receives Schultz's files
  • May 2012         --  Prosecutors changed date from 2002 to 2001.
  • June 2012         -- PSU announced that Freeh turned over e-mail evidence to the Attorney General.
  • June 2012 -- Sassano testified to setting the date by reviewing TV Guides from 2001 and 2002.
According to the footnotes in the Freeh Report, Cynthia Baldwin was interviewed by Louis Freeh's team in January and  February of 2012.  It's highly probable that she informed Freeh's team of the existence of Schultz's files, which contained a handwritten note containing the date of the incident (Exhibit 5C, at right).

While Freeh stated all the e-mail evidence and files his team discovered were immediately turned over to the Attorney General as evidence for the prosecution of Sandusky and the ongoing investigation of the other PSU officials, it is likely Freeh didn't discover anything.

This pattern is endemic to the case, as exemplified by the procurement of the 1998 police report eighteen months after the AG learned of it, the subpoenas procured months after talking to the janitors and football staff, and the warrant for Sandusky's home, which was not used for finding any of the victims.

None of the dates in the case can be trusted.

The Bottom Line

Given the failure of Sassano and the police to surface a single victim in the three-year investigation of Sandusky, Sassano concocted the TV Guide and the circle search stories in order to convince the public that there were a few successes by the OAG and the police in this failed investigation.

The preponderance of evidence shows that Cynthia Baldwin provided the AG with the evidence to correct the date of the incident from 2002 to 2001.

Stay tuned....the Commonwealth's shenanigans don't end here.

Note:  While I believe Sandusky is guilty of many of the crimes for which he was convicted, I am also convinced he did not get a fair trial -- as our system of justice requires.  


  1. Why didn't Gary inform the investigators about the files ?

  2. Because Gary didn't know the investigators asked for them.

    Check the record on how Cynthia Baldwin communicated subpoenas. The IT department never saw one. Neither did Spanier. She sat on Paterno's for two weeks before she gave it to him at the last minute, then offered to represent him. He smartly turned her down.

  3. He didn't know the investigators wanted them because no one was allowed to talk to the investigators. That decision wreaked havoc.

  4. He told her about them BEFORE he testified at the Grand Jury - BEFORE there were charges filed. Baldwin got a subpoena for those files in February 2011....she didn't tell anyone about the subpoena.

    Spanier is on the record to having no knowledge of the subpoena that made his appear at the grand jury and no knowledge that his e-mail files were also the subject of a subpoena.

    If she's not telling the President of PSU about a subpoena directed at him, do you honestly believe she told anyone else. The IT people are also on record of never seeing a subpoena -- until Freeh showed up.

  5. Of course she didn't tell other people, that's why she had everyone clam up. BEFORE February 2011. Just why do you think people had to go before the grand jury ?

  6. The grand jury was completely unnecessary. The state could have charged Sandusky in June 2009.

  7. A grand jury can become necessary when people refuse/are "ordered NOT" to speak.

  8. And they didn't need a grand jury....they had plenty of victims to back up Fisher's story.

    We'll need a grand jury to get Corbett, Kelly, Ryan, Eschbach, Lear, Cavanaugh, Akers, Rossman, Sassano, McGettigan, and Fina to tell us what really happened.

  9. Sadly you are mistaking me for someone who is disagreeing with you.

  10. Fast forward to March 2017. At Dr. Spanier's trail - Dr. Dranov testifes that Randy Feathers was in his office discussing the "McQueary incident". Dranov recalls he was off to a medical conference that weekend - he then turns to his credenza and finds a binder from that conference. They are thusly able to determine the date.

    I believe Feathers was in Dranov's office interviewing him late January of 2011.

    Now, either Dranov is full of shit, he was not at a conference on that date and he just made that up, or Feathers was able to determine the date as of late January 2011 based on evidence Dranov gave him.

    Which now begs the question of why Sassano, his fellow investigator, is spinning his wheels months later in June by searching through old TV Guides? Feathers has already established when the McQueary incident happened back in January - do these guys NOT compare notes?

    What am I not getting?