Tuesday, January 21

Review of "Happy Valley" Reveals Film Focused on Debunked Information

Brennan Smith's Review of the Sundance premier of Happy Valley in the Salt Lake Tribune revealed that the film is already obsolete and factually incorrect.

Ray Blehar

According to a review in the Salt Lake Tribune, the film "Happy Valley," Joe Paterno was aware of Sandusky's predation on young boys and the athletic department also failed to expose their knowledge of Sandusky's crimes.  The review also said that the film is the  "framing of American and sports culture, where distraction trumps all and serious issues are swept under the rug."

The reviewer, Brennan Smith, admitted that he was not familiar with the facts of the case, but was simply writing the review based on what he viewed in the film.  However, his closing remark, "Even amid the winningest college coach of all-time, no one really won anything at all," seems to confirm that he believes that filmmaker Amir Bar-Lev got the story right.

And that couldn't be further from the truth.

The first point that Smith makes regarding Joe Paterno's knowledge that Sandusky was preying on young boys has been refuted by Prosecutor Frank Fina and, most recently, by Judge Leete in the Paterno vs. NCAA lawsuit.   Leete ruled that the statement in the Freeh Report regarding Joe Paterno's response to the report of the 2001 incident was libelous.  Additionally, Prosecutor Frank Fina declared that he found no evidence of Paterno being involved in a cover-up.

As for the athletic department officials failing to expose Sandusky, Judge Leete ruled that Freeh's statements regarding their enabling of Sandusky's abuse were malicious and defamatory.  The evidence in the case clearly showed that Tim Curley reported the incident outside PSU to The Second Mile - which negates the films contention that PSU didn't share its knowledge of the incident.  

Obviously, the idea that the scandal resulted from an "apathetic athletic department" is also unsupported by the evidence of the case.   Certainly, the evidence in the case shows that Athletic Director Tim Curley was quite engaged in the follow-up to the incident.  If there was any apathy in the 2001 incident, it was at The Second Mile, who received the report of Sandusky showering with a child and considered it a "non-starter."

Finally, the point made that Penn State or Happy Valley is a "sports culture, where distraction trumps all and serious issues are swept under the rug" appears to be a "lift" from the Freeh Report, which indicted PSU for a culture of reverence toward the football program.  Freeh based that statement mostly on the issue of the janitors not reporting a crime allegedly witnessed in 2000.  

Of course, readers of this blog know that the janitor incident has been completely debunked  and, apparently, Bar-Lev doesn't.

Matt Sandusky Flip-Flop

Smith states that filmmaker Bar-Lev made Matt Sandusky the central character in the film, which is absolutely stunning to those familiar with the Sandusky case.  Matt Sandusky was included to give a voice to the Sandusky victims - and Bar-Lev admitted that Matt was a late addition to the film as it neared is production deadline.

Matt Sandusky's role in the Sandusky case is much like the role of Cynthia Baldwin in the Curley, Schultz, and Spanier case.  In short, a gigantic flip-flop.

According to the book Silent No More, Matt Sandusky testified before the grand jury in April 2011.  It is unclear how his appearance there came about, but it is highly probable that his biological mother, Debra Long encouraged the investigators to question him.  At the grand jury, Matt testified that he was not abused by Jerry.  

In a 1999 Sports Illustrated article, Matt stated:  "My life changed when I came to live here. There were rules, there was discipline, there was caring. Dad (Jerry) put me on a workout program. He gave me someone to talk to, a father figure I never had. I have no idea where I would be without him and Mom (Dottie). And they've helped so many kids besides me."

After the first day of the trial, Matt announced that he could lie just as well as the accuser who took the stand in the case that day. Later that week (and at some point he consulted attorney Andrew Shubin, who represented Victims 2, 3, 7, and 10)  Matt "flipped" and did exactly that.  

Some of the reviews of Happy Valley allude to Matt Sandusky being betrayed by his family.  Obviously, the reviewers don't know who the betrayer is and the motivations behind the real betrayal.

Matt Sandusky was awarded a settlement from Penn State for alleged abuse that occurred four of five years prior to PSU's first knowledge of possible misconduct by Sandusky in 1998.


  1. Ray, there's another possibility for the reason for Matt Sandusky appearing before the grand jury. Recall, that at the trial, V4 placed Matt at the scene of one of the crimes. V4 claimed that Matt walked in on him and Jerry Sandusky doing whatever it was they were doing, that he appeared a bit surprised,and then turned around and left. It could be the GJ put Matt Sandusky on the stand in an effort to corroborate V4's story. Furthermore, Matt Sandusky, having realized that V4 placed him at the scene of one of the crimes after Matt had testified under oath that he never saw anything, might have been looking for more than a payday from PSU, he might have been looking to shelter himself from his own set of charges on perjury and child endangerment. Just a few thoughts there.

  2. Excellent points, mhentz. Very possible. But it is also possible that Victim 4 concocted the Matt Sandusky incident after Matt had flipped. As I always say, don't trust the dates in this scandal. The critical date in Matt Sandusky's case is when he talked to Andrew Shubin, because that's the likely date he flipped. I suspect it happened long before the trial.

    1. V4 and Matt do know each other, don't they?

  3. One has to suspect the ambulance chasers worked over this young group. To add to their pleasure they faced no resistance from the PSU BoT's. A swift trial and payday around the corner. The focus would be on JVP and the football program. They were home free or are they.
    They didn't figure on Ray Blehar & Co & John Ziegler showing up looking for the truth. They exposed this false narrative and without subpoenas and tools of the AG's office.
    K Kane is due up at bat. Will it be a homer or strike out.??

  4. According to a story by Jessica Herndon of the Associated Press, the filmmaker is said to have screened "Happy Valley" for the Paterno family (Sue, Scott, and Jay) and their lawyer, Tom Kline, prior to the film's premier at the Sundance Film Festival. In the story, the filmmaker is quoted as saying that the Paterno family "expressed satisfaction with the film".

    Now is this just more of the media spinning the story to continue fitting their false narrative, or did the Paternos actually convey this sentiment. And if they did, why in the world would they knowing this movie is full of inaccuracies and lies?

    Here is a link to the story:

    1. Rums,
      Kline was the attorney for several of the victims.

      Having not seen the film, I obviously can't say if it does what Bar-Lev says it does. I did message Scott Paterno who told me it is more balanced than the reviews indicate. Based on the reviews, I believe it treats Joe Paterno much more positively than Freeh and the media did, but the reviews have been consistent in putting the focus on the enabling of Sandusky's crimes on PSU's non-existent football culture.

      I think this line from Bar-Lev is interesting and may be an accurate indication of Bar-Lev's thoughts:

      ''I suppose that anybody in the film could be shining me on,'' said Bar-Lev, .... ''But I think Matt's believability and candor speak for themselves. Matt is not the only one who has been called untrustworthy, but his story matches many of the other stories. If you think that he is making this up, then you have to believe that the 25 other people also made it up.''

      This all goes back to having a NARCOTICS AGENT investigating a case of serial preferential sex offender and not having the experience to determine what parts of the victim's stories were exaggerated or diminished. As a result, the public and the jury got to hear a lot of exaggeration.

      I'll refer to the FBI manual here: "After the first few victims disclose the others usually
      come forward more readily. Some individuals, however, may come forward and
      falsely claim to be victims in order to get attention, get forgiveness, or be part of
      a financial settlement in a civil law suit. All allegations must be thoroughly and
      objectively evaluated and investigated."

      That didn't happen in this case. All comers were believed.

  5. Ray,

    I don't know where to begin with you.

    You are upset that people rushed to judgment on the PSU case before they have the facts. Then you rush to judgment on a movie review for something you have never seen. One review, and you are falling over yourself "debunking" the review.

    Stop it already.

    Joe Paterno testified under oath that McQuery had a complaint "of a sexual nature". Repeat, Joe Paterno testified under oath that McQuery had a complaint "of a sexual nature."

    He tells Curley and Schultz, and never does anything else. After being told of a complaint "of a sexual nature" he did nothing else. Of a sexual nature involving a 50 something man with a boy in the PSU shower.

    GS ... testified that he was "under the impression that" Sandusky grabbed a boy's genitals.

    If he really thought this .... no report to the authorities. Nothing possible sexual about it.

    But I digress. You make sweeping generalizations about a film you only know about a review from a reporter in Utah. Even the Paterno's are saying it is a fair movie.

    You are as delusional as Sandusky, having convinced yourself PSU did absolutely nothing wrong. Keep telling yourself, Ray. Just don't complain about others rushing to judgment about anything.

    1. Welcome back, JJ.

      Nice to see you haven't changed and remain perpetually confused. Let me clear some things up for you.

      1. This is a review of the review -- not a review of the film.

      2. Joe's grand jury testimony was/is inadmissible because he was not available for cross examination due to his death. However, for those of us who actually followed the case, we know that Joe issued a statement of November 6, 2011 to clarify his grand jury testimony. That statement is below, but the crux of it is that even though he said those words in his testimony, that is not what Mike told him.

      "As my grand jury testimony stated, I was informed in 2002 by an assistant coach that he had witnessed an incident in the shower of our locker room facility. It was obvious that the witness was distraught over what he saw, but he at NO TIME RELATED THE VERY SPECIFIC ACTIONS contained in the Grand Jury report. Regardless, it was clear that the witness saw something inappropriate involving Mr. Sandusky. As Coach Sandusky was retired from our coaching staff at that time, I referred the matter to university administrators."

      3. In his grand jury testimony, Schultz made at least six, if not eight statements, that he believed the 2001 incident was reported to local child welfare.

      I have heard that the movie is more balanced than the review states, however, my review of the review stands. What this guy wrote may not be an accurate portrayal of the movie. However, IF one of the movie's central themes is that a football culture enabled Sandusky's crimes, then the movie is obviously obsolete based on new evidence in the case and the rulings of Judge Leete.

    2. JJ, Ray doesn't need to see the film to make a critique of a review of the film. Ray is in the foremost position amongst those that are involved in gathering the complete and actual facts of the scandal. The complete and actual facts are ones that have been suppressed by the PA state government. If Ray sees in the review, a description of, or a focus that pertains mostly to the debunked "facts", then I would say it's fair that Ray knows what he's talking about, because he is the one, along with Ziegler, that is exposing this suppressed evidence that will clear PSU and Paterno.

      Here's a question for you JJ: Why was there a pedophile known to PA law enforcement in the PSU shower with the boy? I'll tell you why. Because the Attorney General of PA beginning in 1995 let it go, that's why! Yeah that's right, the very official we hold responsible for enforcing laws in PA just let it go throughout his three terms as Attorney General, 11 long years!

      Beginning in 1995, over and over again, Attorney General Corbett swept Sandusky complaints under the rug. That's why there was a shower incident in 2001, and that's why the boys and everyone at PSU were put in harm's way!

      What kind of twisted corrupt politician would put children, a fine university, and the entire reputation of the state at risk the way Tom Corbett has? And then to frame the victims of his own law enforcement neglect? It's pure insanity!

  6. Ray, Schultz wrote an email, contemporaneous, specifically agreeing Not to contact the state. Please reread this.

    As for his testimony 10 years later, he didn't know what state agency was called, who contacted this agency, who was interviewed, he was not interviewed, what was said to the agency, who said it, or the outcome.

    Hmmm, close call.

    And ask those questions about 1998. He somehow knew most of the information.

    Repeating, Schultz wrote, in 2001, that he agreed with curley to not contact the state.

    Give this argument up, Ray. While I disagree with most of what you say, this theory crosses the line into delusional paranoia. You are better than this.

    1. JJ,
      I don't need to reread the e-mail. I know what it says.

      The e-mail that you refer to stated that calling DPW after talking with Sandusky and TSM ws an option for PSU -- if Sandusky/TSM don't agree about Sandusky's non-use of the facilities. This Feb 25-27 e-mail is about use of facilities - not about reporting possible child abuse. That was done weeks prior to these e-mails being written.

      So, this e-mail is NOT RELEVANT to the decision to contact OCYS because that decision was made on February 11th, by Courtney. Under the law, PSU had until Monday morning, February 12th to call in the report (within the legal 48 hour timeframe).

      The legal timeline for reporting abuse refutes the notion that the 25-27 February 2001 e-mails were about reporting child abuse.

  7. Ray. You are misrepresenting the contents of the email. PSU decided that they would not report it to the state if ndusky admitted he had. A PROBLEM.

    They also decided they would not report it if he


    Now-- what did they mean by Sandusky needing professional help??z

    Please identify professional help for him not engaging in sexual conduct. If it was merely inappropriate ...... why do I even bother with you. You know this is true.

    Btw. Schultz testified that he was under the impression Sanxuzky grabbed a boys genitals.

    Nothing possibly sexual here. Screw the kids. We are Penn State

    1. No such language of NOT REPORTING is in the e-mail,JJ. Curley writes he will inform the organziation and "maybe other one" if he is cooperative. Otherwise, he'll "inform the two groups."

      The prior e-mail from Schultz on 2/26/2001 refers only to use of facilities as does his handwritten note of 2/25/2001.

      As I wrote above, the report to OCYS was already made on the 12th. This was not a discussion about reporting sex abuse. While they discussed Sandusky's personal issues, this likely occurred because OCYS had already informed PSU that they had no grounds for an abuse finding -- just as they did in 1998.

      We've been over the Schultz testimony and you admitted I was right. Schultz's recollection of what his impression of the situation was 10 years after the fact is irrelevant.

    2. JJ,
      Before you get any more wound up over the e-mail evidence, please watch this.