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?


  1. Ray,
    Here is my only fear regarding 98. Somehow Chambers report got suppressed in favor of Sesock's and now this with Harmon. Could have it been PSU (JVP/Spanier/Shultz, etc.) who influenced these decisions? The way the BOT has laid down without any kind of fight is totally mind boggling, could they have information that 98 really was "manipulated/made to go away" by those JVP/Shultz/Spanier and that's why they have agreed to all the punishments handed down. You do a great job, I just hope there isn't something we all don't know about that will make this even worse for our school.

    1. If Curley, Schultz, and Spanier were in on the cover-up, then they would not have hesitated to report Sandusky to DPW. It's really that simple.

      Did the BOT get involved in the 1998 investigation? I suspect they did, based on the fact that Louis Freeh stated PSU didn't interfere.

      It's a good rule of thumb in this case to always take the opposite position of Louis Freeh. Only 12% of his findings were correct -- and I had to throw him a couple bones to get him to 12%.

      The only thing that could be "worse" about this scandal is the truth not coming out. It's going to come out and that's good news for Penn Staters -- and bad news for some current and former BOT members.

    2. Ray, you rock rock rock.

      This thing is so convoluted, I haven't got a clue how you keep it straight. Don't forget I'm on your list for a signed first edition!

    3. Dolly,
      In order to keep things straight in this case, just remember this:

      Up is down.
      Down is up.


    4. "notpsu: a surreal journey"

      Starring Matt Damon (Ray Blehar); Gerard Butler (John Ziegler); Franco Harris (as himself); and Denzel Washington (Kenneth Frazier).

      Theme song by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals: White Rabbit

      Screenplay by... does the notpsu crowd include a screenwriter?!

  2. Gricar had no control over the State Police. Harrisburg was always in play in this.

  3. So how does Gricar fit in (or not)?

    On one hand, we are told that Gricar closed the case. On the other hand, there's evidence that points to Gricar NOT being involved with closing the case.

    If the case was closed from Harrisburg, and not Bellefonte, then what was Gricar's reaction? (my guess it he would have been livid). Be nice if we could find missing Gricar files, wouldn't it?

    1. Gricar would have done what he was told to do. He wouldn't have liked it, but he would have followed orders. I'm sure it ate at him.

    2. Misder2,
      Nice to hear from you again.

      I suspect you are correct.

      The recurring theme of the Sandusky case is "blame the dead guy" whenever possible...that would include Ray Gricar.

  4. Ray, while you're looking into the 2nd Mile, are you planning to look into any allegations of misappropriation or misuse of federal funds earmarked for fighting child abuse or otherwise for aiding disadvantaged children?

    1. mhentz,
      I've had to back burner the investigation of Second Mile. I'm finishing up with the Sandusky investigation/prosecution report, then moving onto the BOT next. I'll let the Feds handle Second Mile for now. If they haven't broken anything by the fall, then I'll give them some "help" with it. I plan to get something out on the BOT by 11/9/13.

  5. Ray, your investigative and analytical abilities are extraordinary. Your postings always explore angles I hadn't thought about and bring so much new information. Thanks for your passion and persistence.

  6. Indeed, Freeh's pre-existing bias against those Paterno, Schultz, Curley and Spanier is shown most clearly when he failed to accused Harmon.

    If Freeh's evidence showed that anyone failed follow the Cleary Act - it was Harmon.

    And yet, Freeh never even bothered to __interview__ Harmon.

    1. The PA AG told Freeh that Harmon was off limits (of course, Freeh was more than happy to comply with that order)! Should the upcoming trials actually happen, and unless the current AG dismisses the cases, which seems unlikely at this point, all of these people are going to have to testify under oath.

    2. Many of the key players were off limits due to the pending cases, as I understand things. That alone makes me question the decision to begin an independent investigation, much less using a person like Freeh, who has such a flawed history.

    3. The public called for the investigation and the board panicked under the pressure. It was Crisis Mismanagement 101.

    4. I totally understand the reasoning, but the BOT gets a failong grade in that introductory course. Unless, that was their intention all along, which becomes rather criminal, doesn't it?

  7. Ray, really appreciate all the hard work you're doing to try to uncover the truth. Any theories on what level of detail Schultz may have given Harmon on the 2001 incident when he contacted him asking about the 1998 file - i.e. did Schultz tell Harmon about the McQuery incident or was it just a vague request that Harmon never questioned further? I've always had a concern that there was additional information (e-mail, hand-written notes, etc.) showing the Schultz told Harmon about 2001 but that Freeh discarded it because it didn’t fit the story he had been hired to tell. It would be hard to make a case for a cover-up if one of the "conspirators" had told the Chief of Police.

  8. I wrote about the "missing" documents here...

    and here...