Thursday, June 27

Final Analysis: Ray Gricar did not close the 1998 Sandusky Investigation

The well worn story that Ray Gricar closed the 1998 investigation on or about June 1, 1998 is a conclusion built on an erroneous assumption.

Ray Blehar

Like many of the criminal charges pending in the Curley, Schultz, and Spanier cases, the conclusions drawn by the PA Office of Attorney General (OAG), and believed by the majority of the media and the public, are based on erroneous assumptions.

It is bad enough to draw "reasonable conclusions" based on scant evidence (see the Freeh Report), but drawing conclusions based on faulty assumptions is far worse.

The conclusion that the allegedly deceased, former Centre County District Attorney, Ray Gricar, closed the 1998 case is drawn on an erroneous assumption.  That erroneous assumption is:

The presiding DA makes the decision whether or not to file charges after a police investigation concludes.

So, what is erroneous about that statement?  I'll get to that later.

First, let's examine the "other" erroneous assumption that looms over the charges against Spanier, Curley, and Schultz.

Erroneous Assumption 1:  A report of child abuse will result in an investigation by PA's child welfare agencies.

The failure to report child abuse charges in the Curley, Schultz, and Spanier's cases are based on that assumption.  The charges are not based on the absence of the evidence of a report, as the Protective Services laws call for unfounded reports of abuse to expunged from the system.  Therefore, the OAG is dependent upon the assumption that all reports of abuse are investigated to press its case.

That assumption is clearly erroneous because the same Protective Services laws provide state and county agencies with the option to not pursue an investigation.  While the law was not crafted for that purpose, one could say the law of unintended consequences has made it so.

Pa. 055 § 3490.69 states "that when the CY-48 form in not filed with ChildLine, the report shall be unfounded."

While this law was intended to incentivize caseworkers to complete their cases within the 60 day limit, the unintended consequence is caseworkers can wait out the calendar and let a report of abuse become unfounded without investigation.

This practice comes in handy for the overburdened caseworker, who does not want to investigate the fifth or sixth complaint by a non-custodial parent regarding the custodial parent's alleged abuse of a child.  It's a rather political decision as well, as CYS typically sides with the custodial parent -- because a local judge has made the decision that said parent is a better caretaker of the child.

Based on interviews I conducted with parents of abused children, as well as abused children who complained to Centre County CYS, this practice was present on each occasion.

The non-custodial parent was ignored (actually, harassed) by CYS for complaining about the custodial parent, with no investigation resulting.  The abused child stated that when he/she complained about his/her sexually abusive (custodial) parent, the CYS caseworker's investigation was little more than a knock on the door and one question to the parent -- who of course denied the abuse.

So, for the OAG to rely on a CYS supervisor's memory of an investigation occurring as a result of an abuse complaint is not reliable -- and particularly not in the case of Centre County CYS.

But that is precisely what the OAG is relying on as evidence of a failure to report the 2001 incident.

OAG Agent Anthony Sassano testified that to acertain that no report of abuse was made in 2001, he did the following three things:

1.  He asked Centre County CYS official Carol Smith if she recalled a 2001 investigation of Sandusky.
2.  He asked DPW official Jerry Lauro if he recalled a 2001 investigation of Sandusky.
3.  He checked the University Park Police Department for a report of investigation, incorrectly stating (at the preliminary hearing) that all child abuse investigations are jointly performed by CYS and police.

As explained above, the failure to recall an investigation is not proof of a failure to report abuse.  However, the third point about seeking a report of investigation is quite relevant to the incorrect assumption about Ray Gricar closing the 1998 case.

Incorrect Assumption 2:  The presiding DA makes the decision whether or not to file charges after a police investigation concludes.

Ironically, the "Ray Gricar closed the 1998 case scenario" is the exact opposite of the Curley, Schultz, and Spanier failure to report scenario in terms of  requiring evidence.  In the latter case, the absence of a record of a report is definitive proof to many that these men failed to report the 2001 incident.  The proponents of this theory argue that if a report was made, then a record should have been made and retained by one of the men.  (Note: The existence of a 2001 report in the Schultz file is a subject of debate involving chain of custody issues.)

However, in the Gricar case, a record documenting his decision not to file charges is NOT required - or rarely considered - by the OAG, the media, or the public as proof that Ray Gricar closed the case.  Former DA Michael Madeira stated that no record of the decision existed and nor did he expect there to be.

And for good reason.

In neither case, is anyone required to retain documentary evidence of their action.  PSU officials are not required by law to retain a copy of their report -- which could have simply been a phone call.  And Ray Gricar was not required to retain a document regarding not filing charges in the 1998 case.

All that said, it is certainly is logical and rational for the public and the media to assume that a district attorney would make the decision whether or not to file charges based on the evidence collected during a police investigation.

As I noted in the previous blogs on this subject, Ray Gricar was notorious for examining the evidence related to the cases that crossed his desk and he would ultimately decide which crimes to charge, which ones not to charge, or charges that could be plead down.

The timeline for the closure of the investigation did not afford Gricar the time to review the evidence pertaining to the 1998 case, thus that is evidence against Gricar making the decision. (Strike 1)

However, those who knew Ray Gricar stated he would never allow someone to tell him how to charge a case and would be very upset if that were to occur.  (Strike 2)

The lawyer's nephew Tony Gricar stated:  "One thing I can say is that Ray was beholden to no one, was not a politician."  He added that Gricar "had a bitter taste in his mouth" for the Penn State program and Sandusky.

I've often wondered why Gricar had this taste in his mouth and I think I know the reason why.

Tom Harmon's sleight of hand in labeling the police report as "Administrative Information" and not as a "criminal investigation" provided Harmon with the authority he needed to close the case.

The local DA isn't required to rule on an administrative inquiry at PSU.  (Strike 3, Gricar's out)

All Harmon needed to hear was that DPW had decided there was not enough evidence to "indicate" a finding of child abuse and the case could be closed.

Lauro's decision after interviewing Sandusky at around 11:15AM on June 1st, followed by the 90 minute drive to Harrisburg provides the timeline for the Harmon e-mail at 1:10 informing Schultz that the case was closed and no charges would be filed.

Coming soon:  Tom Harmon's possible interference in the 2001 case.

Monday, June 24

More questions about who closed the 1998 Sandusky investigation

More alterations of the police report and e-mail evidence indicates that someone else called the shots in 1998 - not Ray Gricar

Ray Blehar

The widely accepted story that Ray Gricar closed the 1998 investigation is one among the many "myths" of that investigation.  The list of "myths" is long - but that's another story for another time.

Recent examination of the evidence in the 1998 case -- and particularly - the report of the May 13th, 1998 sting and the timeline related to a Tom Harmon e-mail reveal that everyone but Ray Gricar decided the outcome of the case.

In the previous blog about Tom Harmon's role in the case, it was revealed that:

  • Harmon was neighbors with Sandusky and attended the same church.
  • Harmon didn't make an entry in the crime log for the 1998 incident.
  • On June 1, Sandusky was interviewed at 11:00AM by Detective Schreffler and Jerry Lauro (DPW).
  • On June 1, at 1:10 PM, Chief Tom Harmon e-mailed Gary Schultz to inform him there would be no charges.
  • Harmon said he never discussed the case with Ray Gricar.
  • Schreffler said Gricar told Harmon to close the case.
Understanding Ray Gricar's propensity to examine all the evidence before determining to charge a case, the amount of elapsed time was insufficient for not only Gricar, but for Wayne Weaver, to review and sign off on the police report.  However, there is more...

The report of the June 1st, 1998 interview with Sandusky was not typed into the police report until June 3rd -- confirming the fact that Gricar could not have reviewed the report on June 1 and made the decision to close the case.  Hat tip, Jimmy W.  

The timeline the works best for the closure of the 1998 investigation can be found by typing Harrisburg, PA in the "B" location and State College, PA in the "A" location of google directions.  The answer yields one hour and 39 minutes.    

Relooking at the timeline, the interview with Sandusky occurred at 11AM.  Allowing 15 minutes for the interview, Lauro then exited the building, hopped in the car and arrived at his office at around 1PM.  After telling his boss that the interview was over and there was "nothing there," the boss made a few phone calls and Harmon got the word.  By 1:10PM Harmon had typed out the e-mail to Schultz to tell him the investigation was closed.

The Pro-Forma Interview 

The June 1, 1998 interview with Sandusky was purely a pro-forma (check the box) activity for Lauro and DPW.  The decision that Sandusky was not going to be "indicated" as an abuser was made long before the June 1st interview - at some time on or before May 13, 1998.  

On May 13 at 4:48PM, Harmon sent the following e-mail to Schultz (note this is Exhibit 2B, which the time and dates are out of order) stating that DPW wanted "to resolve this quickly."  

Upon further investigation, it is highly likely that DPW's decision to "resolve this quickly" was made before they knew the police had completed the first sting of Sandusky.   DPW wasn't actively involved in the case once Seasock reported on May 8th that Sandusky was not exhibiting behaviors typical of a pedophile.

The First Sting

According to the police report, Schreffler met with State College Police Chief Ralph Ralston at 3:40PM on 13 May 1998 to set up the sting of Sandusky at the residence of Victim 6 and his mother.  As you will see in the report below Sandusky arrived at the residence on 5/13/98 at 4:05 PM (at arrow) and spoke with the mother.

Apparently the police were recording the conversation with a tape recorder.  As the conversation continues, Sandusky become dejected, ends the conversation, and leaves.  I suspect the discussion lasted maybe five minutes or ten at the most (allowing for a pregnant pause or two).  However, the police report indicates that the interview ended at exactly the same time Sandusky arrived (4:05PM).  But upon close inspection, it is clear that the second digit in 4:05 was altered.

It appears the number may have been 4:15PM before it was changed.  Is this just a typographical error by Schreffler or was the number changed after the fact for another reason?  

Once again, we need to get an answer on this from Harmon (or Schreffler).

The timeline of the sting, allowing 10 minutes for the conversation between Sandusky and the mother, the recaps with the police, and travel time would be:

4:05PM -         Sandusky arrives
4:05-4:15PM - Sandusky and the mother speak
4:15PM -         Sandusky departs
4:15-4:25PM -  Police discuss interview with the mother.  Mother relays concern about rear door.
4:25-4:30PM -  Ralston and Schreffler discuss case.
4:30-4:38PM -  Schreffler drives from Nittany Gardens back to the police department.
4:40-4:45PM -  Schreffler informs Harmon of results of sting.
4:48PM         -  Harmon e-mails Schultz and indicates that DPW wants to resolve the matter quickly.

Unless Schreffler called Harmon on the police radio and Harmon immediately called DPW, there was almost no time for DPW to have learned that the sting came up empty - for which to base the decision to resolve the matter quickly.

So, who made the decision to "resolve the matter" quickly?

The evidence seems to point to Tom Harmon.

Wednesday, June 19

PSU's Disease: A Cancer That Requires Radical Treatment

Excision of the "Cancer" Known as the 11/09/2011 Trustees is the Best Hope For Healing

By Eileen Morgan

Cancer and the Body

Three years ago I came face to face with cancer.  It was a very rare, but aggressive cancer that had spread rapidly, invading several organs in my body.  Everyone knows the “C” word but what exactly is this enemy that attacks and overtakes our bodies?  

I quickly found out.

The cell is the basic unit of life.  It can live for itself or it can help form and sustain a larger organism.  The human body is made up of about 100 trillion cells.  These diverse cells cooperate within their codes to form every structural intricacy of the human body.  These cells form parts, and a collection of parts forms a system.  The cells, parts, and systems of our bodies interact together for a common purpose.  Each part depends on the others to perform a specific job. No single part can do the job alone, and any malfunction or delay is likely to affect the whole system.   In essence, cells need to remain loyal to the bigger body in order to sustain life.

If a body is to exist, it needs to stay healthy.  If alien forces attack the body from without or if there is mutiny from within the cells of the body, the body becomes diseased.  It suffers and will even die if something isn’t done about it. 1   To survive, the cells of the body depend on each other to cooperate and work together.  

Dr. Paul Brand writes, ‘Some cells do choose to live in the body, sharing its benefits while maintaining complete independence—they become parasites or cancer cells.’ 2   These cancer cells leach off the very body they belong to, weakening it, and sometimes killing it.  Dr. Brand further explains:

A tumor is called benign, if its effect is fairly localized and it stays within membrane boundaries.  But the most traumatizing condition in the body occurs when disloyal cells defy inhabitation. They multiply without any checks on growth, spreading rapidly throughout the body, choking out normal cells. White cells, armed against foreign invaders, will not attack the body's own mutinous cells. Physicians fear no other malfunction more deeply: it is called cancer. For still mysterious reasons, these cells grow wild, out of control. Each is a healthy, functioning cell, but disloyal, no longer acting in regard for the rest of the body.  Even the white cells, that dependable palace guard, can destroy the body through rebellion. Sometimes they recklessly reproduce, clogging the bloodstream, overloading the lymph system, strangling the body's normal functions -- such is leukemia. 3

It’s a strange irony that the very cells which have been created by the body for the purpose of cooperation, function, and life, mysteriously continue to be healthy, but grow wildly out of control, wreaking havoc on the loyal cells and eventually killing their host.  The physical body must be kept free of disease to properly function and flourish.

Penn State Trustees and The University

Penn State University is a body made up of many members: Trustees, Administration, Faculty, Staff, Students, Alumni, and Friends.  The Penn State Board of Trustees has been entrusted to be responsible stewards of the University by the other members of the body since 1855.  These trustee positions were created for the purpose of cooperation to perform specific functions and to ensure that the life of the University would be sustained.   However, considering the Trustees’ actions on November 9, 2011 and those that have plagued the school since, it is apparent that this once healthy functioning member of the University has spiraled wildly out of control, inflicting irreparable damage on the University’s loyal members.

Early November, 2011: Grand Jury Presentment is leaked to the public. (It is important to note that a grand jury presentment is NOT a factual document, but a prosecutorial report merely used to establish means for indicting a suspect before a judge.  There is no defense or cross examination of the witnesses in a Grand Jury.  It is NOT a trial.) The PSU Trustees took no time to consider the Grand Jury Presentment, even though there were several attorneys on the Board who knew that presentments mean absolutely nothing and are sometimes not worth the paper they are written on.  In fact, this Presentment was intended to be solely used to indict Jerry Sandusky.  The Board issued NO statement explaining the Presentment or that the statements were not necessarily facts about Sandusky, let alone Joe Paterno, Graham Spanier, Tim Curley, and Gary Schultz.

November 7, 2011: Tim Curley and Gary Schultz are charged with perjury and failure to report.  Graham Spanier was later charged in November 2012.  (The PSU Trustees wasted no time in accepting the unproven Presentment as fact. They issued NO statement of support for their employees, Paterno, Spanier, Curley, & Schultz, despite the fact that these men collectively and honorably served Penn State for over 160 years!)

November 9, 2011: In a rush to judgment, based on an unproven report to indict Sandusky, the PSU Trustees TERMINATE Joe Paterno and Graham Spanier.

November 18, 2011: Within days, the Trustees rush to hire Louis Freeh to ‘investigate’ Penn State’s culpability of Sandusky’s alleged crimes.  (Looking at the Engagement Letter between Freeh and PSU it seems likely he was hired to write a report with a predetermined outcome.) It is important to note that PSU did not need to hire an ‘investigator’ because the Pennsylvania court system would be investigating the culpability of PSU through the trials of Curley, Schultz, & now Spanier.  

July 12, 2012: The Freeh Report is publicly released.  Without hesitation, the Trustees allow Freeh, in a televised press conference, to convict Penn State of Sandusky’s crimes before a worldwide audience.  In fact, the Trustees held a press conference later that day and repeated the findings of the Freeh Report, proclaiming that PSU was guilty, despite the fact that they didn't even review the report.  They have never discussed the Freeh Report as a body and have never evaluated the report for truth or accuracy.  Several analyses have since been published that expose this error laden report.  (This uncontested admittance of guilt by Penn State opened up a plethora of million dollar lawsuits for non-vetted, uninvestigated criminal acts by Sandusky.  In other words, Penn State opened up its checkbook and said, ‘Next.’)

July 23, 2012: NCAA uses the Freeh Report to impose Sanctions on Penn State.

(Again, the sanctions and the NCAA’s authority were uncontested by Penn State, and President Rodney Erickson rushed to sign the consent decree without ever evaluating the very report used to determine the sanctions and without any thoughtful debate among all the members of the Board of Trustees.)

September 2012: The Trustees begin to maneuver into position to rush into out-of-court settlements, potentially costing the University hundreds of millions of dollars, with alleged victims of Sandusky without thorough investigation into each case.  (Penn State should not settle until after the trials.)

The Invasion

The above timeline clearly depicts the Trustees’ impetuous and reckless decisions that have been spiraling out of control without regard for the University as a whole.  Just as cancer does not hesitate to spread affliction rapidly, the Trustees have not hesitated to make rash, impulsive decisions that have damaged the University and disgraced its former employees.  

In essence, Penn State University has become diseased.   “For still mysterious reasons, these [Trustees continue to make detrimental decisions that] grow wild, out of control. Each [Trustee] is a healthy, functioning [person], but disloyal, no longer acting in regard for the rest of the body.”  Unfortunately, the November 2011 Trustees, who should have been Penn State’s ‘dependable palace guard’, are destroying the University through rebellion.

Just like cancer, these Trustees choose to remain part of the Penn State body, enjoying the perks and prestigious benefits of being a Trustee, while maintaining complete independence from the other University members—they have, in fact, become parasites to the University.

Earlier this year, in a public outburst regarding former Penn State officials Tim Curley, Graham Spanier, and Gary Schultz, Trustee Ken Frazier declared, “I don’t care if they are acquitted!”  That is the exact ‘mindset’ of cancer cells.  They do not care that they overtake and eventually destroy innocent, healthy members. 


I am alive today because 1) God’s grace and 2) the cancer was removed from my body.  Like cancer, the Penn State Board of Trustees is no longer cooperating and functioning properly within the University body.  There is mutiny from within.  And after 1.5 years they still refuse to acknowledge the damage they have done.  This is quite evident in recent statements and articles by some November 2011 Trustees.  

They simply don’t get it.  

They have not remained loyal to their mission and duties, and thus, cannot sustain a healthy, flourishing University. They are living for themselves and not for the larger body they were created to serve.  Penn State University will never be able to heal until the Trustees who continue to make these toxic decisions are removed, eliminating the further spread of disease. 

It has already metastasized into the Freeh Group and the NCAA.  

It is time for the Trustees to face the real diagnosis and be excised.  

It is time to cure Penn State.  

Eileen Morgan
June 15, 2013
Contact Information

Chuck Swindoll, Insight for Living.  June 14, 2013 broadcast.
2 Dr. Paul Brand & Philip Yancey. Fearfully & Wonderfully Made: A Surgeon Looks at the Human & Spiritual Body (Zondervan, Reissue edition October 1987), Chapter 1.
3 Dr. Paul Brand & Philip Yancey. Fearfully & Wonderfully Made, Chapter 7.

Thursday, June 13

Tom Harmon: Person of Interest

Evidence shows that Harmon may have been in on DPW's cover-up for Sandusky crimes and that could be why former AG Linda Kelly successfully spared him from being interviewed by Freeh's investigators.  

Ray Blehar

One of the flaws in the Freeh Report, pointed out by many evaluations, is that the key persons in the case were not interviewed by Freeh.  And while the names most often repeated as being omitted are Joe Paterno, Gary Schultz, and Tim Curley, a lesser, but no less important omission was police Chief Tom Harmon.

Back in August 2012, during my first appearance on Kevin Slaten's show, he asked me about Harmon and I really didn't have an answer at that time.   He was on the periphery then, but as I recently started to look at the evidence surrounding the Schultz "secret file," Harmon became a key "person of interest" in the DPW's cover-up of Sandusky's crimes.

Most of the documents that have been confirmed as missing from the Freeh Report involve correspondence and/or communications between Schultz and Harmon.

First the only thing missing from the 2001 case is a communication about the 1998 case.  

End Note 304:  Schultz confidential file note (5-1-12).  Schultz contacts Harmon to inquire about the 1998 file on 2/12/2001.

Tom Harmon and the 1998 Sandusky Case

However, there is much more to the story of Tom Harmon than the Freeh investigation and report revealed - especially when it's viewed in the following context.

1.  He lived on the same street as Jerry Sandusky back in the late 70s (Norle Street).

2.  He attended the same church as Sandusky (St. Paul's United Methodist Church).

3.  He made the decision to file the 1998 police investigation as administrative information to avoid discovery of the investigation by the press.

4.  On May 8, Harmon informed Schultz that DPW was bringing in a psychologist.  

And this is the first clue about something off track about 1998.  

The police file, below, shows  the date that Schreffler requested the evaluation be delayed was changed from May 8 to May 5.  However, it was not possible for Schreffler to make this call at 11:20AM on May 5, 1998 because Lauro didn't become a party to the investigation until 1:55PM on May 5, 1998 (see page 8 of the police report).   This is a definite alteration.

Two other times regarding the interview are changed (note the canting of the numbers), making absolutely no sense from a chronological standpoint.  Finally, the last date on the page is out of order, however, the latter aligns properly and was likely just an oversight by Schreffler in not adding it chronologically.   Regardless, more investigation is needed to determine who made the alterations and why.

5.  At Exhibit 2B, Harmon informed Schultz that a psychologist had interviewed the child.  Note: Exhibit 2B also shows signs of alterations - the time date stamps are out of order.

6.  Harmon, at the preliminary perjury hearing in December 2011, denied knowledge of any psychologists interviewing the children (page 127).

7.  Within two hours of Schreffler's June 1, 1998 interview with Sandusky, Harmon e-mailed Schultz to inform him there would be no charges (Freeh Report, Exhibit 2B).

8.  Harmon, at the preliminary perjury hearing (page 120), stated he never personally discussed the 1998 case with District Attorney, Ray Gricar or Assistant District Attorney J. Karen Arnold.
9.  Harmon, at the preliminary perjury hearing, stated he was informed by Schreffler that DA Gricar closed the case (page 120).  

Who Really Closed the 1998 Case?

The closure of this case is interesting for a number of reasons.  First, the Freeh Report equivocates on when Harmon was informed of Gricar closing the case, stating it happened between May 27 and June 1, 1998.  Freeh's reference for the date is the Preliminary Perjury Hearing, at which Harmon made no reference to the May 27th date.  

Why is that date included?  Well, let's keep peeling back the onion....

Clearly, Schreffler was still investigating the case on June 1st and the police file indicates he closed the case AFTER he interviewed Sandusky.  Thus, if there is debate about when the case was closed, it should be about was it closed June 1 or was it closed later?

Exhibit 2D is proof (as much as we can trust Freeh's evidence) that Harmon e-mailed Schultz on June 1st to say the case was closed -- but did he really get that message from Schreffler, who was relaying it from Gricar?

I ask that question because DA Ray Gricar was notorious at reviewing all of the evidence before deciding to charge or not charge a case.  

Based on the police report, Schreffler interviewed Sandusky at 11AM on June 1st.  Allowing a half hour for the interview, that leaves 1.5 hours for Schreffler to immediately go to his desk, type out his report, get it approved by Wayne Weaver, fax it or drive it over to the DA's office, have Gricar review it, and then call or tell Harmon that Gricar wasn't going to press charges.

Uh, yeah.  That didn't happen.  The police report was 94 pages long and had to be completed, then reviewed by two people.

Of course, Gricar also would have also wanted to review the DPW report as well, given his penchant for wanting to know the details of the cases (even summary offenses).

So, this timeline of events, involving the closure of the 1998 investigation - and particularly the timing of the phone call from Harmon to Schultz closing the 1998 case - doesn't add up.

However, in an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Schreffler stated the order to close the case came from the DA and that Gricar gave no explanation.  But the story continues...

At the time, Mr. Gricar spoke to Mr. Schreffler's police chief, Tom Harmon, and that was it.


Harmon testified under oath that Schreffler informed him that Gricar closed the case.  

Schreffler told the Post-Gazette that Harmon talked to Gricar.

Harmon testified under oath that he never personally discussed the case with Gricar.  And he also testified that he didn't know of psychologists being consulted during the investigation.

Based on everything written above -as well as the altered police report - we need some straight answers from Tom Harmon.

And the answer I want to know the most is....

....did the call to close the 1998 case come from Bellefonte or did it come from Harrisburg?

Tuesday, June 11

CDT LTE: Keith Eckel - Hypocrite

Letter to the editor | Not so positive

Published: June 11, 2013 

I found Penn State trustee Keith Eckel’s June 4 column (“Critics overlooking positive steps taken by PSU”) to be quite hypocritical.
Eckel touted all of the reforms to enhance openness and transparency made in the aftermath of the Sandusky scandal. Interestingly, if you read Eckel’s biography on the board’s website, you are led to believe he is a farmer elected to the board of trustees by agricultural constituents.
However, his bio from Bloomberg Business Week tells a different story.
Eckel is the chairman and director of Nationwide Mutual Insurance. He is also the former chairman of the Gartmore Global Asset Management Trust and Allied Group Inc. He’s not some simple farmer.
It also should come as no surprise that one of the Freeh report recommendations that has yet to be implemented by the trustees is to make statements of financial disclosures.
To borrow a phrase or two from Louis Freeh, “it is reasonable to conclude” the board and Eckel have delayed making financial disclosures to “avoid the consequences of bad publicity” for their companies.
Eckel, as the chairman of the Legal and Compliance Committee, makes this situation truly a case of the fox guarding the henhouse.
Eckel and his cohorts have refused to do the one thing that puts teeth in the ethical management of any organization: disclosing their financial interests and divesting themselves of any and all concerns that could result in even the perception of a conflict of interest.

Read more here:

Read more here:

Sunday, June 9

What Will Tom Corbett Do Next?

With the dismissal of Tom Corbett's NCAA lawsuit, some believe he should join with the alumni and others who are fighting the Freeh Report's validity and its use as a basis for the NCAA sanctions.  Don't hold your breath -- that's not going to happen.

Ray Blehar

On June 6, 2013, Judge Yvette Kane dismissed the Commonwealth (Corbett's) lawsuit against the NCAA, stating, "Each of the [the NCAA's] arguments is strong enough to render the governor's action under anti-trust law a Hail Mary pass."

I used the same "Hail Mary" description when I wrote about the governor's meeting with the former players back in January.  My reference was a bit different, however, as it was about the Governor's attempt to win back favor with the PSU fan base and PA's voters.

Anyone who believed Corbett's motivation was anything but political was fooling themselves.

The lawsuit was not about doing the right thing or about finding the truth.  The lawsuit was clear in continuing to place the blame for enabling Sandusky's crimes on former PSU officials Graham Spanier, Gary Schultz, and Tim Curley.  And the lawsuit made a hollow attempt - by keeping fines in the Commonwealth - at improving the state's failing child protection system.

The lawsuit did, however, give those whose primary concern is PSU football some hope about fighting the NCAA and voiding the sanctions.  It was a fight the PSU BOT was unwilling to take on and for the matter of months the lawsuit was active, one could say Corbett was doing more for PSU than it's own BOT (of which, ironically, he is a member).

What will Corbett do next?

Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship (PS4RS) urged the governor and his appointees to the BOT to join the small group of trustees who have taken up the fight against the Freeh Report.  PS4RS noted that with the addition of Corbett, his appointees, and the three newly elected alumni trustees, there would be a majority of trustees who stood in opposition to the Freeh Report.

There is little chance of that happening.

Corbett identified and recommended Louis Freeh to perform the sham investigation of the Sandusky scandal.  He praised Kenneth "OJ" Frazier for his leadership of the Special Investigations Task Force (SITF) and stated that Frazier had put together a team "on behalf of the administration" that was good.  For the record, the SITF included such stalwarts as Mark Dambly (who has a criminal record),  Keith Eckel (who didn't graduate from college), Ronald J. Tomalis (who denied a contract existed for the Freeh investigation), and Karen Peetz (whose made contradictory statements about the purpose of the Freeh Report).  Corbett considers these people as a  "good team," thus it's pretty clear whose side he is on.

However, always looming in the back of Corbett's head is the fact that the purpose for bringing in Freeh was to cover-up for the Commonwealth's (DPW and CYS) failure to bring Sandusky to justice in 1998.  There is no way Corbett wants to repudiate the Freeh Report to a level that would place the blame for enabling Sandusky's crimes where it belongs.  He has to stay aligned with the BOT members who are the defenders of the Freeh Report.

Checkers, Not Chess

I've said all along that Corbett is better suited for checkers, not chess.

He certainly didn't expect for his own Middle District judge to side against him on the Commonwealth's lawsuit.  And looking at Judge Kane's history, Corbett had every reason to think she would grant the Commonwealth standing in the case.

Judge Kane served as a Deputy Attorney General in the PA AG's Office under LeRoy Zimmerman and  Ernie Preate.  Both of these AGs have checkered pasts, as Zimmerman resigned in aftermath of the Hershey Trust Scandal, while Preate resigned after being charged with federal racketeering and corruption charges.  He eventually plead guilty to mail fraud and spent a year in Federal prison.  So, given her past associations, Corbett must have thought he had this one locked up.

However, Kane was appointed to the bench in by President Bill Clinton in 1998 and was made chief judge of the district in 2006.  And in this case, she correctly ruled that the argument that the threat of the death penalty as a threat to commerce "failed to advance the ball" in the antitrust world.

Corbett response to the ruling indicates he's unsure about what to do next.
"I am disappointed with the court’s decision and believe that the sanctions have harmed the citizens, students, athletes, alumni and taxpayers of Pennsylvania. Countless individuals and small businesses throughout the state will continue to suffer because of the NCAA’s actions.
“I feel strongly that the claims we raised in this lawsuit were compelling and these issues deserved a complete and thorough review by the court.
“I will continue to analyze the ruling with my legal team and review our options.’

Given Corbett's political bent, I suspect he will throw another "Hail Mary" and appeal the court's decision.  In fact, it is about the only option he has -- the other would be to stand down, admit defeat, and brace for a loss if he decides to run for re-election.

A recent poll indicated that with the lawsuit failing to gain traction, Corbett's approval rating is at an all-time low.  Those approving of Corbett's job are at 35% while those believing he deserves re-election is even worse at 32%.

If Corbett looks on the bright side, the 32% is 20 points higher than the amount of findings that Freeh got right (12%) in the his fatally flawed report that was used as the basis for the NCAA Sanctions.

But Corbett's next step is to appeal.  He needs it -- and for the process to be prolonged -- to keep alive his political lifeline.

Impact of Judge Kane's Decision on the Paterno Lawsuit

Boston attorney, Paul Kelly, correctly stated that the dismissal of the Corbett lawsuit has no impact on the lawsuit filed the the estate of the Paterno family, select trustees, faculty, alumni, and former players.  The Paterno lawsuit charges the NCAA and Mark Emmert with various contractual violations and defamation/public disparagement.  It is not related to anti-trust laws, thus Judge Kane's ruling will have almost no bearing on the case.  Kelly stated with regard to the Corbett dismissal, "This doesn't impact our decision to go forward with our lawsuit in any manner."


Corbett has little choice, from a political standpoint, other than to appeal the lawsuit and hope that the higher courts overrule Judge Kane's ruling.  While Corbett might stand a better chance with the higher court, I have a feeling this isn't the last time someone named Kane won't take Corbett's side on a legal issue.

Wednesday, June 5

Catching Up With Costas and the Paterno Lawsuit

After nearly 19 months of the media swallowing a false narrative - hook, line, and sinker - Bob Costas finally decides to give truth a chance.

Ray Blehar

Better late than never.

On May 29th, Bob Costas mediated representatives of the Paterno family on his show, Costas Tonight.  I was in the upper reaches of Pennsylvania and well "off the grid," so I missed the live showing.   And my first recap of the show was when I read John Ziegler's account on Friday afternoon.

While I won't go as far a John did to label it "vindication," it was a very well done show and definitely the most positive step from the media that the "truth" (not "truther") movement has seen to date.

Personally, I had long lost any hope that the media would change its view of the Sandusky scandal and am still quite convinced that the media will only come around when the Kane and other investigations conclude.  That said, the Costas Tonight show at least made an argument that there is another side of the story that needs to be heard.  At least, that's how Bob summarized his feelings on Morning Joe the following morning.

Highlighting Costas Tonight

Where's Mark and Louis?  One of the highlights of the first segment included Bob's announcement that NCAA President Mark Emmert and Louis Freeh were invited to participate in the discussion but declined.

Applying Today's Knowledge to 2001.  Bob Costas remains "guilty" of applying what we know about Sandusky today to the 2001 incident and implying that people should have reacted differently.   I believe Dan McGinn made the very strong case that former-FBI profiler Jim Clemente revealed that Sandusky was a sophisticated criminal who was able to fool not only Paterno, but the police and child protection caseworkers.  McGinn's statement that Sue Paterno stated she let their children and grand children play in the pool with Sandusky reinforced the idea that they had no idea about Sandusky's criminal behavior.

No Cover-Up.  Paterno family lawyer Wick Sollers made the case that a cover-up didn't make sense because Sandusky was not only retired from PSU in 2001, but was not even liked by Paterno.  Former Governor and Attorney General Dick Thornburg and Paterno family spokesperson Dan McGinn laid to rest any idea that Paterno and/or Penn State covered up Sandusky's crimes and the 2001 incident specifically.   Costas, McGinn, and Thornburg all stated that numerous individuals were told about the incident and no one even attempted to keep the incident from being spread.  Thornburg added that there was little evidence proving crimes were concealed.

The John Ziegler Moment:  At the beginning of the third segment, Bob Costas repeated one of John Ziegler's key points -- that McQueary did not say he was coerced or told to be quiet about the 2001 incident in his lawsuit against PSU.   One would think that being silenced about 2001 would be a key point in a "whistleblower" lawsuit. The fact is that Paterno and PSU did not ask or request that McQueary stay silent about the 2001 incident.

Doing the Minimum:  Costas  pushed the argument that Paterno and Penn State did the minimum possible in reacting to the 2001 incident and suggested that PSU should have cut all ties with Sandusky after that incident.  His point was not very well rebutted by the panel, who should have stated that it is a matter before the courts regarding whether PSU did enough and that the PSU intervention did stop assaults from occurring on campus after 2001.

The Paterno Legacy.   While Dan McGinn said that the legacy is important to the University, the former players, and its alumni, all that the Paterno wishes is that the truth and the facts will come out.   McGinn believes that in the end, a more "balanced view" of Paterno will be revealed.

The Paterno Lawsuit - Hits and Misses

Hit:  The lawsuit addresses the most obvious damages wrought by the NCAA, namely, defamation of Joe Paterno, pecuniary and emotional damages brought on by the false accusations in the report, and violations of due process rights of individuals damaged by the NCAA, including current and former PSU employees and football players.

Hit:  The lawsuit names Mark Emmert individually and as President of the NCAA as a defendant.  In addition, it names Edward Ray, Chairman of the NCAA Executive Committee as a defendant.  These two men ignored the NCAA's own procedures, then forced a member institution to not only violate its own rules of governance, but to forfeit its rights of due process.

Hit:  The lawsuit seeks a permanent injunction of the Consent Decree, as well as declaring the decree unlawful and void ab initio (from the beginning).  It also seeks compensatory and punitive damages.

Miss:  The lawsuit should have named PSU Trustee Kenneth Frazier as a defendant and co-conspirator.  Frazier should have been named as a co-conspirator in the civil conspiracy for his role as the co-leader of the Board of Trustees Special Investigations Task Force (SITF), who selected Louis Freeh and signed the contract.   Also, Frazier should be sued for his statements at the July 12, 2012 press conference that repeated the false allegations of the Freeh Report and placed guilt on Paterno and other PSU officials for concealing Sandusky's crimes.

Miss: The lawsuit should have named PSU President Rodney Erickson as a defendant.  In the time between the release of the Freeh Report and the NCAA's action, President Erickson could have and should have had the PSU legal counsel conduct a review of the Freeh Report and offer a rebuttal.   Erickson's failure to do so was deemed as tacit acceptance of the Freeh Report and "invited" the NCAA to levy sanctions.  While the Paterno team called the consent decree a "cram down," President Erickson was negligent in not referring the matter to the full Board of Trustees for a vote and violated PSU's own rules of governance.

That said, the lawsuit is a strong effort, although the Paterno team should have spared key members of PSU no quarter after their incomprehensible and irresponsible conduct in responding to the Sandusky scandal.  Had the Paterno team named Erickson and the Frazier in the suit, then it would have enabled discovery of evidence of negotiations and other communications between PSU, Freeh, and the NCAA.

However, I am also eager to see if the Paterno lawsuit plaintiffs will gain standing and then what transpires in the discovery process.

And perhaps we got a hint of what's coming in the discovery process from the current lawsuit.

The "Inside" Story of the Lawsuit

Point 54 of the lawsuit (page 15) indicates that the Paterno team was helped by a member of Freeh's investigation team or the NCAA because the facts presented in that passage reveal facts that only persons in those parties would know.   While you could make a case that the information came from a PSU person, such as a trustee, none of the trustee plaintiffs named in the lawsuit were part of the SITF, thus would not have been privy to those details.  Of course, there could be a "leaker" from within the SITF or someone closely associated with an SITF member.

Point 54 follows:

"54. Instead of demanding that Penn State provide answers to its questions, the NCAA 
waited for the Freeh firm to complete its investigation. Attorneys and investigators working for 
the Freeh firm collaborated with the NCAA and frequently provided information and briefings to the NCAA. During the course of the seven-and-a-half-month investigation, the Freeh firm 
periodically contacted representatives of the NCAA to discuss areas of inquiry and other 
strategies. The final report released by the Freeh firm states that as part of its investigative plan, 
the firm cooperated with “athletic program governing bodies,” i.e., the NCAA." 

In successful investigations and prosecutions of conspiracies and fraud, typically an "insider"provides the key evidence to break the case.  I suspect this passage of the lawsuit is particularly chilling to Mark Emmert, Kenneth Frazier, PSU BOT members, and, particularly Louis Freeh.

Freeh made his reputation at the FBI on the "pizza connection" case, which was broken open by getting FBI agent Joseph Pistone (alias Donnie Brasco) on the inside of the mafia.  Pistone was able to learn the command and control structure of the mafia and also was able to leverage Sicilian mafioso member Tommaso Buscetta into testifying against the mob.

I suspect that Louis Freeh understands that it is now just a matter of time before this whole charade is turned inside out.

The PSU-Miami Connection

Regardless of the success or failure of the lawsuit, it appears that key evidence showing collusion between Freeh and the NCAA has been found.  We also know, by virtue of the "Bagwell e-mails" that there was collusion between Freeh and the former officials in the PA Office of Attorney General.

Given that information, it is easy to connect the dots that indicate the NCAA may have used information obtained in the criminal investigation of Sandusky for its investigation of PSU.

In other words, the NCAA's use of the Freeh Report for the PSU investigation provides similar problems that surfaced in the NCAA's investigation of the University of Miami for using information from the criminal investigation of booster Nevin Shapiro.