Wednesday, February 26

Thanking John Ziegler and Going In a Different Direction

Recent events has caused me to pause and reflect on the search for truth in the Sandusky scandal.

I first got involved with the scandal after writing a letter to PSU President Rodney Erickson suggesting that Penn State rebut the Freeh Report.   When that rebuttal didn't happen and PSU signed the Consent Decree, I realized something was terribly amiss.

At the same time this occurred, Barry Bozeman, the originator of asked me to co-author this site and join him in the search for the truth. The TRUTH is all we sought.  We never sought money or fame.

Right after the Freeh Report was written, John Ziegler stepped up and wrote quite a good rebuttal.  Barry Bozeman got notpsu aligned with John, Marc Rubin, and Walter Uhler to form the Framing.Paterno network.  Eventually, John and I were the sole survivors of the original group and Eileen Morgan and Tom Owens were added to the fold and continuing to pursue the truth.  Obviously, I would be remiss if I did not mention Franco Harris, who became the "front man" for our pursuit.

I think John deserves a lot of credit for being one of the first out of the gate and taking on the challenge of clearing Joe Paterno's name.  He did it with nothing financially to gain and with great courage and personal sacrifice.

However, John has taken a different direction in his pursuit of the truth and I am afraid we have come to a point of irreconcilable differences.

John believes the only way to exonerate Joe Paterno is to clear Jerry Sandusky of his crimes.  If I understand him correctly, his theory is that Sandusky is innocent and/or his acts were not egregious enough for the authorities to intervene.  John believes the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania officials  "railroaded" Jerry in order to enhance their careers.

On the other hand, my analysis of the available evidence in the case indicates that there are multiple layers of cover-ups and deceptions.  I came to this position over time, adding layers as I found the evidence.

For the record, my themes of the case are:
1.  Sandusky is a serial child molester and guilty of many crimes under the relevant statutes.
2.  The Commonwealth had a financial interest in covering up the failures of DPW in 1998.
3.  The Second Mile had a financial interest in covering up Sandusky's crimes.
4.  Louis Freeh, who was recommended by Governor Corbett, collaborated with the OAG to ensure no responsibility fell on The Second Mile, DPW, and other parties at PSU.
5. The PSU BOT is a corrupt body and also used Freeh to deflect attention away from themselves and avoid a legitimate investigation into PSU's financial dealings with Second Mile (and its members).

 John's efforts in fighting the media malpractice in this case were superlative.  Unfortunately, this is not a battle that can be won in the blogosphere or by a single individual trying to "shout down" the system.

The truth of the Sandusky scandal will ultimately be revealed by the outcomes of the judicial processes, the PA Attorney General investigation of the Sandusky investigation, and the Federal investigation of The Second Mile.

I will continue to blog here and reveal facts of the case as I find them, passing the most important of those facts to law enforcement officials.

As always, I will strive for accuracy and when I'm not accurate, I'll let you know and correct the errors.

Please join me in wishing John Ziegler the best in his endeavors.

Ray Blehar

Tuesday, February 25

Do 'missing" witnesses in Sandusky case reveal a "Keystone Cover-Up?"

Were the "missing" witnesses at the Sandusky trial part of an effort to ensure no blame fell on DPW, CMHS, and  Second Mile officials?

Ray Blehar

Most intelligent observers of the Sandusky case believe that even though Sandusky was guilty of many, if not most, of the crimes he was charged with, something was not quite right about the trial.  

While the outcome was correct and Sandusky is where he belongs as a convicted sex offender, the manner in which the prosecutors and the defense teams went about putting on their cases left many people scratching their heads.  I noted many problems with the Victim 8 presentations - especially that an essential witness, Jay Witherite, didn't testify.  However, Witherite was just the tip of the iceberg when it came to "missing witnesses" in the Sandusky trial.

There were a lot of other witnesses who should have been called to make the case for the prosecution (P), but weren't called.  Similarly, some of the absences on the defense (D) side were equally puzzling.

But when you look at the list as a whole, one could conclude that witness selection was done to ensure that the Department of Public welfare (DPW), Centre County Children and Youth Services (CC CYS) Central Mountain High School (CMHS), and The Second Mile (TSM) got passes.  Also, it didn't look like Joe Amendola was playing his best cards if his hope was to get acquittals on at least some of the charges.

Missing Witnesses
Here's a list of the witnesses that were "no brainers;" we should have definitely heard from them at the trial.

Victim 1:  Dawn Daniels (P)*, Mike Gillum (P)**, Gerald Rosamilia (P), Karen Probst, CMHS (D), Steven Turchetta, CMHS (D)*

Victim 2:  Victim 2 (D), Dr. Jack Raykovitz, TSM (D)**,  Bruce Heim, TSM (D)

Victim 6: Dr. Alycia Chambers (P)**, the victim's mother (P)*/**, Jerry Lauro, DPW (D), John Seasock, CC CYS* (D), John Miller, CC CYS (D)

Victim 8: Jay Witherite (P)*, other janitors (P)

*on prosecutor's witness list
**on defense witness list

Mother's Intuition

In a child sexual abuse prosecution, one of the keys is to win the sympathy of the jury toward the victims.  As I documented in Report 3, prosecutor McGettigan excelled at this by painting the grown men who would testify as "little boys" who were helpless to fight back against the will of the molester.  From the comments of some of the jurors after the case, it was a very successful strategy.

Interestingly, McGettigan rarely used another powerful tool at his disposal to win the sympathy of the jurors:  the testimony of the mothers of the victims 1 and 6.

They were two mothers who reported crimes approximately ten years apart.  Both felt that sick feeling in their stomachs when their sons first mentioned the possibility of abuse. Both had to wait years to get justice.  Neither of them were presented as witnesses.

McGettigan called only the foster mother of Victim 10 and the mother of Victim 9 to testify in this case.  With regard to Victim 10, the purpose of the testimony was to establish that Victim 10 had contact with Sandusky and that the defendant had bought him shoes.  There was no mention of abuse nor did she mention anything that would have garnered sympathy from the jury.  Ironically, Joe Amendola ended up eliciting more damaging testimony from this mother than did McGettigan (and the same happened when he cross-examined Victim 10).

The mother of Victim 9 provided very little in the way of testimony that would have influenced the jury's decision.  The only notable things she mentioned under direct testimony were: picking her son up from Sandusky's home late one night when he was not wearing shoes; and that his underwear was missing from the laundry.  Similarly, Victim 9's mother did not mention anything about her son being abused, with the exception that she told a counselor and a teacher that Sandusky was "touchy feely."

Ironically, Joe Amendola elicited more harmful testimony than did prosecutor McGettigan during his cross-examination.  Rather than let sleeping dogs lie, Amendola brought up the point about missing underwear, to which the mother added that his socks were missing too.

Those were the only two mothers who testified at the trial.   Aaron Fisher's mother (Dawn Daniels) and the mother of Victim 6 were not presented as witnesses.

Both were complaining mothers who triggered investigations of Sandusky and both had compelling stories to tell that would have added credibility to the testimony of their sons.

Dawn Daniels
Dawn Daniels
Press reports and television interviews revealed that Dawn Daniels learned of her son Aaron Fisher's abuse when he was doing a search on the computer for "sex weirdos" and was looking to see if Jerry Sandusky was listed.  Daniels recalled getting a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach.  Daniels was worried enough that she called his school the next day about it.  That was the day that Fisher broke down and told CMHS officials about his abuse.  According to Daniels, school principal Karen Probst told her to go home and think about it before deciding to report Sandusky.

Daniels went forward with the complaint to Clinton County Children and Youth Services, where Aaron was interviewed by psychologist Mike Gillum.  Daniels, Fisher, and Gillum then had to face a nearly three year battle with the PA OAG to finally get what they believed would be justice against Sandusky.  It is little wonder that McGettigan didn't want Daniels to testify.  Her testimony would have undoubtedly shone the spotlight on the footdragging by CMHS and the police investigators.

Mother of Victim 6
Contrary to popular belief, the mother of Victim 6 did not approve of her son's relationship with Sandusky.  You can find that evidence in Victim 6's trial transcript (page 23) where he stated:

"She - we differed on it, because I thought she was trying to get him in trouble and I became very defensive and would always talk light of him, you know, "Jerry is getting me tickets again." And she just always kept her mouth shut and I could always tell we just knew that we were on different pages."

In fact, sources close to the family revealed that the mother had cut off all one-on-one contact between her son and Jerry Sandusky.  Her son was only allowed to go to games if Jon or Matt Sandusky drove to pick him up and under the condition that there were other boys attending.

There is little doubt in my mind, that what she had to say about the abuse incident and the aftermath (as well as some other evidence not presented at the trial) would have influenced the jury to convict on the indecent assault charge with regard to her son's incident.

Based on the information in the 1998 police report, Schultz's notes from 1998, Victim 6's testimony, Dr. Chambers report, and my phone conversation with Chambers in October 2012, the initial incident was not at all as it has been reported.

As I noted in Report 1, the boys hair was DRY when he arrived home.  He then described his activities with Sandusky, describing how he got to try on Curtis Enis' shoulder pads and helmets.  He was given a pair of Joe Paterno socks, which he actually hugged in front of his mother.  The socks were a prized possession.
He was very upbeat and animated, but then his mood turned.

Next, he looked down at the floor at told his mother:

"..if you're wondering why my hair is wet, it's because we took a shower."

He then turned and ran to his bedroom, slamming the door behind him. Victim 6 testified that he told his mother what happened, then "I took off."

The mother immediately knew something was wrong.

As Dr. Chambers reported, the mother told her that her son had a habit of adding things that bothered him at the end of a conversation.  Also, a young person leaving "clues" that would provoke a discussion about sexual issues is a warning sign of possible sexual abuse.

When the mother later went to the bedroom to check on her son, she asked him some questions but did not press the issue.  However, her worst fears were confirmed when she heard her son in the shower a little while later. 

The next morning, she heard the shower running and realized her son was showering yet again.  At that point, she called Dr. Chambers to inform her of the situation, stating "I'm calling you so you can tell me I'm crazy."

A prosecutor who desired to succeed on an indecent assault charge would have made sure the jury heard this information, particularly the dramatic way in which Victim 6 told his mother about the shower and that he then took one shower after arriving home with Sandusky and another the next morning.  But those stories weren't ever heard by the jury.

This fact of multiple showers was clearly written down in Schultz's note and it can be derived from combining the police report information with the information in Dr. Chambers report.   There is no doubt it happened.

From the July 29, 2013 preliminary hearing testimony of Kimberly Belcher, we know that the prosecutors possessed Schultz's file notes well in advance of the Sandusky trial.  They knew that the notes contained critical information that signs of child sexual abuse were present that could have resulted in another conviction.  However it appears that they made the choice not to go "balls to the wall" to seek full justice for the victim because revealing all the facts would have exposed DPW's failures in 1998. 

More Missing Witnesses for Victim 6

Dr. Alycia Chambers
The prosecutors not only didn't present Dr. Chambers as a witness at the trial, but didn't even bother to identify her as a potential witness during jury selection.

Dr. Chambers had correctly identified Sandusky's "grooming" activities toward Victim 6.  Her report provided a detailed discussion of typical pedophile overtures, such as making promises to him, to have him sit on his lap while they went on-line, and gradually introducing him to touching.   The description of her interview with the boy was equally damning, particularly her description of him being physically anxious at the start and eager to discuss what had happened.  Chambers stated that in other sessions the boy would wander around to room looking for things to play with, but in this case he was "wide-eyed" and sat right down to begin the session.  

Dr. Chambers reported that Victim 6 was visibly anxious and conflicted, repeating:

"I don't think he meant anything by it" and "he's married, so I don't think he meant anything." 

Victim 6 told Dr. Chambers he was uncomfortable and didn't ever want to go through that situation again.  The mother told Dr. Chambers that her son was not sleeping well and was up often through the nights since the incident.

If the goal is to get convictions for all charges, why wouldn't the Commonwealth want this psychologist to testify?  Most likely because Dr. Chambers posed a great risk in revealing that her report was provided not only to the police, but to the Department of Public Welfare and to Centre County CYS (according to my October 2012 discussion with her). 

Ironically, she was listed as one of the defense's potential witnesses during jury selection.  She obviously believed Sandusky to exhibit the behaviors of a pedophile, so why would Amendola even consider her for a defense witness?

Something's not quite right here.

Lauro, Miller, and Seasock
With the prosecution only having Victim 6 and Detective Schreffler testify to the alleged crimes in that incident, it left the door wide open for Joe Amendola to call in the caseworkers who investigated the incident and concluded no abuse took place.  But Amendola never called DPW program representative, Jerry Lauro, who made that decision.  According to the Patriot News, Lauro stated:

“At that time, the information that we had wasn’t sufficient enough to substantiate a case” 

The Pittsburgh Post Gazette quoted Lauro as follows:

"It didn't meet the criteria.  If I really thought there were any child abuse ... I definitely would have indicated it."

Amendola also failed to call Centre County CYS caseworker, John Miller, who interviewed Victim 6 (and BK) and who arranged the interview by John Seasock, to testify.  Miller has been a missing person throughout the Sandusky proceedings, with no report of him testifying at the grand jury.  

Amendola also could have presented John Seasock as a defense witness because his report concluded Sandusky was not a pedophile and that he had "boundary issues."  Seasock characterized Sandusky's behavior as normal for a male football coach.  The latest information about his professional credentials reveals that he holds two masters degrees, is a PhD candidate, and is the president of Renaissance Psychology and Counseling, Incorporated.  

It is a mystery why Amendola didn't call these individuals to testify.  

In fact, he did not include Lauro and Miller as potential witnesses during jury selection, yet his list included Dr. Alycia Chambers.  That is truly inexplicable.

More Missing Witnesses for Victim 1

Mike Gillum
Mike Gillum
According to his own book, Silent No More, Aaron Fisher was not a strong witness at the grand jury and read from a prepared script for his last grand jury appearance in April 2011.  Fisher also needed considerable moral support from Mike Gillum in order to testify.  So, it was highly unusual that the prosecutors did not present Gillum - who obtained the disclosures from Fisher - as a witness.  In fact, witness Jessica Dershem never mentioned Gillum as one of the people who assisted Aaron on the day he complained to CYS.

Dershem could not have forgotten about Gillum. He was the next person after her to talk with Fisher, and according to the book, came down to her office to retrieve Aaron.

The bottom line here is that Gillum was an outspoken critic of the footdragging over charging Sandusky and there was no way the Commonwealth wanted the psychologist to express his frustrations with the police, OAG, and Governor Tom Corbett at a highly publicized trial.

Gerald Rosamilia
The Director of Clinton County CYS, Rosamilia, testified at the grand jury and his testimony would have been valuable in establishing that Sandusky had issues with getting too close to children at The Second Mile. According to press reports, when Rosamilia called TSM to inform them that Clinton County CYS was severing its ties with the charity, he was told by Katherine Genovese that they had to sometimes tell Jerry "to back off" some kids.  

If the prosecutors are trying to establish that Sandusky was molesting boys at TSM, this would have been a valuable point of reference.  However, it would have also implied that TSM had received complaints about Sandusky and that their solution was to have him "back off" (and move onto the next kid).

Karen Probst and Steve Turchetta
The school officials at CMHS actually could have been used as witnesses for the defense.  As USAToday reported in October 2013, Probst allegedly called Clinton County CYS in advance of Fisher and Daniels' arrival in an attempt to discourage them from taking the report seriously.  However, as Daniels reported at the outset, Probst had attempted to discourage her from reporting Sandusky because of all the "good" that Jerry did for the community.  Probst did not make it onto Amendola's list of potential witnesses.

Ironically, Steven Turchetta was on the prosecutions list of potential witnesses.  Turchetta testified at the grand jury that he had noticed Sandusky get "clingy" when boys broke off their relationship with him and that Sandusky got into shouting matches with boys.  Turchetta also would take some of the boys out of class so that they could meet with Jerry and said that he refereed some of the shouting matches.  Yet, Turchetta never reported Sandusky's unusual behavior.  

One would think that this would be an area worth probing by the defense.  As we would later watch on ABC, Turchetta refused to be interviewed about his actions in the Fisher case.  

That none of the CMHS officials made it into the courtroom (except wrestling coach Joe Miller) supports the theory that the Commonwealth was protecting all the institutional failures in putting a stop to Sandusky -- with the notable exception of Penn State.

The Victim 8 incident
The most notable missing witness in the Victim 8 incident is janitor Jay Witherite.  According to prosecutor McGettigan, Jay Witherite and Ronald "Buck" Petrosky were both to be presented as witnesses to confirm the hearsay of the eye-witness janitor, James Calhoun.   With no explanation given, Witherite never testified at the trial.

However, Witherite was not the only missing witness, aside from Calhoun, in this case.  

Ronald "Buck" Petrosky
According to the grand jury presentment, Calhoun told the story of what he witnessed to several people on the janitorial staff that night.  Petrosky testified to the grand jury (page 22) that all the employees working that night were relatively new employees, except for Witherite.  Petrosky himself had only been in the job as a Maintenance Worker Utility since July 25, 2000,  having transferred from Student Services to the Office of Physical Plant.  Petrosky also said that Calhoun's fellow employees feared the elderly janitor might suffer a heart attack.  And because they feared for their jobs, that they had Calhoun, who was allegedly there as a temporary employee, report what he saw to Jay Witherite.

It is notable that Louis Freeh mentioned that Witherite met with the staff to discuss the incident, but Freeh did not interview anyone except the "witnesses in Gerald. A. Sandusky's (Sandusky) trial" (Freeh Report, page 65).

So where are all these other janitors who could have served as hearsay witnesses?  Why didn't the prosecution bring in the whole gang to verify the hearsay of Calhoun?  Why did it not call Witherite?

And why haven't any of these nameless individuals come forward to confirm this incident took place in November 2000?

The answer to all the questions is the same.  This incident didn't happen.

The Victim 2 Situation
The most unusual thing about the Sandusky trial was the apparent agreement between prosecutors and the defense attorneys that Victim 2 would remain "unknown." 

According to the Commonwealth, they contacted a person who they believed was Victim 2 in September 2011, however, his version of events in the 2002 (sic) shower incident were not consistent with Mike McQueary's.  Also, according to Tom Farrell, the attorney for Gary Schultz, this individual was interviewed four times and gave inconsistent versions of events four times.  With the exception of Farrell citing an inconsistent diagram of the Lasch locker room, little detail about the level of inconsistencies in this individual's testimony has not been disclosed.

The Victim 2 who won a settlement from Penn State for his abuse gave an interview to a former FBI investigator in November 2011 that conflicted with the account of Mike McQueary.  One of the more significant pieces of information to come out of the interview was that the individual heard a locker slam while he was showering with Sandusky but had no recollection of seeing McQueary (contradicting McQueary's testimony).  The locker slam information was not on the public record until one month later, when McQueary testified to it at the December 2011 preliminary hearing.  This testimony would be quite valuable if the defense would have chosen to present this individual as Victim 2.

However, where this apparently went off the rails is when the legal team of Ross Feller Casey got involved when the alleged Victim 2 sought the representation of Andrew Shubin in an unrelated legal matter.  Shubin apparently directed Victim 2 to Ross Feller Casey, and, at some point, he changed his story from not being abused to being abused.  His legal team would release voice mail messages  from Sandusky in September 2011.  The contents of the voice mails were non-specific, but were painted as Sandusky exerting pressure on the alleged victim.  

Later, defense counselor Joe Amendola stated it was a mistake not to present this individual to rebut McQueary's version of events.

Dr. Jack Raykovitz
Amendola, however, could have called at least two other individuals to rebut McQueary's testimony at the trial -- Dr. Jack Raykovitz and Bruce Heim. 

According to the grand jury presentment, Dr. Raykovitz testified that he was informed by PSU's Tim Curley that nothing happened in the shower that night.  Raykovitz also stated in numerous press reports that he had never gotten a complaint about Sandusky and that he was unaware of any abuse taking place within TSM programs.  

Bruce Heim
The Patriot News interviewed Bruce Heim for a five-part series they ran in August 2012.  In Part 3 of the series, Heim was quoted:

"For five years, I worked out at the football facility, several times a week, and saw Jerry showering with children.  I said I don't think it's relevant.  It happens every day at the YMCA.  I remember the conversation specifically because it seemed like a nonstarter because of what Penn State said went on."

Heim advised Raykovitz not to inform the TSM Board.  

Again, why wouldn't Amendola put these two men, who knew and associated with Sandusky at TSM for over two decades, on the stand as defense witnesses?  Amendola listed Dr. Raykovitz as a potential witness, but did not include Heim or any of the other key members of TSM's Board on his list.  

The only TSM official who testified at the trial was VP for Development, Henry Lesch, who attempted to show that McQueary had participated in TSM golf tournaments after the incident (his testimony was inconclusive).

It is truly remarkable - and highly unusual - that Amendola did not present a single character witness from TSM to testify on Sandusky's behalf.   Again, these were people who worked with Jerry for over two decades and not one was presented to testify.  

It is also highly suspicious that - according to press reports of the ongoing Sandusky investigation - TSM and its programs were never the investigation's target.  That is amazing, if it is true, considering all the victims were plucked from the charity.  

From the Friday, November 11, 2011 article:
Kelly will only say that the investigation is ongoing.  However, Gov. Tom Corbett — who as attorney general began the Sandusky investigation — said Thursday night that the new attorney general will look into what The Second Mile knew.

Apparently, Governor Corbett (on November 10, 2011) assumed that the GOP would retain control of the OAG and whoever worked there would carry out his wishes.

Things didn't work out that way.

New AG Kathleen Kane has agreed to let the Feds handle the TSM investigation and, for the good of Pennsylvanians, they will hopefully blow the lid off the "Keystone Cover-Up."

Saturday, February 22

PennLive Propagandizing For Governor Corbett Reaches New Heights

Penn Live continued to carry water for Governor Corbett in their recent articles about President Barron and Cliff Benson

Ray Blehar

If there was ever any doubt that PennLive  was carrying water for Govenor Corbett, it was erased this week.  First, they used the selection of President Barron to get in some swipes against Graham Spanier and the football program -- and also worked overtime in the comment section to censor any comments that put them in the cross-hairs over the Sandusky grand jury leaks.  

On Friday, PennLive wrote a factually challenged puff piece on why Corbett's new nominee to the PSU BOT, Cliff Benson, shouldn't be held to account for anything that happened at Sandusky's charity, The Second Mile.

Barron Selection Used to Deride Spanier, PSU Football

In a February 17th article penned by the PennLive Editorial Board, it repeated, as facts, the yet to be proven allegations of a football culture problem and that Spanier and others had mishandled the Sandusky matter.

President Barron (Flanked by Keith Masser)
From the article:
So Barron has a very good idea of the challenges that face the president of Penn State: keep football in proper perspective and continue to build on the school’s well-deserved reputation as a first-class institution of higher learning.

The Sandusky affair shattered Penn State’s reputation as a football program that kept football in proper perspective. Barron’s many challenges include restoring that reputation.

As most people know, football was kept in proper perspective by none other than Joe Paterno, who demanded his players go to class, graduate, and get the full college experience.  Prior to the scandal, NCAA President Mark Emmert called Paterno the definitive role model of what it means to be a college coach."  However, PL has been pushing the football culture narrative since the days right after the Sandusky grand jury presentment was leaked and they seem hell bent on not stopping any time soon.

In this passage, the Editorial Board must have forgotten all about journalistic standards when they made a declarative statement on Spanier's handling of the scandal.

Barron’s leadership style appears to be a good fit for Penn State. He portrays himself as the kind of leader who is not afraid to hear people out, seek advice of others and then make decisions. That would be a welcome change from the arrogant, high-control attitude that  Penn State displayed under President Graham Spanier's leadership, when it grossly mishandled reports about Jerry Sandusky’s sexual abuse.

This appears to be chapter and verse taken from the now thoroughly discredited Freeh Report, which alleged that Spanier was not inclusive in decision making, kept the BOT in the dark about Sandusky, and that Spanier made a fully informed decision not to report an incident of sexual abuse.   Most of us who have followed the case know that Freeh's assertions were not supported by the evidence, yet PennLive continues to turn a blind eye to the facts of the case as they are revealed with each judicial proceeding.

One might argue that PennLive just left out the words alleged or somehow forgot about the criminal, beyond-a-reasonable doubt standard with regard to the PSU administrators' role in the Sandusky scandal, however those arguments are null and void based on this passage:

Earlier this winter, Barron had to deal with an explosive accusation of sexual assault in Florida State’s football’s program. A woman said she was raped a year earlier by the star quarterback who eventually led Florida State to this year’s national championship, Jameis Winston.
Prosecutors declined to press charges against Winston. The accuser’s recollection was compromised by heavy consumption of alcohol, making it hard to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it was in fact rape, not consensual sex.

As much as I hate to replow the ground about the 2001 incident, one of the few things that is certain about that incident is that it didn't meet a beyond a reasonable doubt standard for a rape conviction.  The other certainty is that Mike McQueary changed his recollection of the incident each time he was questioned about it.  To say that PSU mishandled a report of "sexual abuse" assumes facts not in evidence.

Censorship at PennLive

PennLive's actions in response to reader comments on this article also said a lot for the ethics of the Editorial Board. When people began commenting on the unfairness of this article and pointed out to PennLive that they had a few skeletons in their closet regarding being the recipient of grand jury leaks (and that one of their former employees was almost held in contempt of court), those comments were deleted almost as fast as they were posted in the comment section.  Several posters were banned from commenting on the story.  It was an astonishing display of censorship.

Penn Live Continues Corbett Cover Up

On Friday, February 21st, Charles Thompson wrote a puff piece about Governor Corbett's nominee to the PSU BOT, Cliff Benson.  While he treated Benson with kid gloves  -- by relying on information he got in an e-mail from embattled Second Mile President, David Woodle -- Thompson's obfuscation of the facts in the Sandusky case appears clearly to be protecting Governor Corbett and his botched, three-year investigation.

Sandusky was arrested in November 2011, about two-and-a-half years after allegations against him were first transferred to the state Attorney General's office - then headed by Corbett. (There are no signs that any additional children were molested by Sandusky after 2009, however.)

PennLive has continually made this statement, in fact, going further to say that Second Mile banned Sandusky from all activities involving children when they learned of his investigation in 2008.  

Those statements are absolutely false.

It is a FACT that Victim 9 (born July 29, 1993) testified to being molested up through his sixteenth birthday.  This would place crimes well after the investigation had hit Corbett's desk in the AG's office.  That fact provides evidence that Corbett's slow walked investigation resulted in the endangerment and abuse of at least one child.

Additionally, Sandusky's continued interaction with children after 2008 is well documented.  In a KDKA Pittsburgh article, a mother complained that Sandusky was interacting with children at the 2010 Summer Challenge camp.  Sandusky attended other Second Mile banquets and events involving children as participants, after he lost his clearance to work with children.  He was still very active in fundraising and promoting the charity well into 2011.  

All of this while Cliff Benson was a TSM Board Member.

Benson: Part of Sandusky Cover-up?
Thompson makes the inference that Benson would not have known much about the Sandusky investigation because he joined the Board in 2009.

Sandusky, according to case evidence, used his ongoing ties to the youth program he started to scout for boys that he would later assault. When Benson came onto the board, apparently in 2009, that was a nightmare that few knew about and no one was broadcasting.

According the the Second Mile 2009 Annual Report (for year ending August 31, 2009), Benson was listed as a director on the "State Board of Directors."  According to at least two members of the charity's board, Sandusky announced his resignation in the fall of 2009.  PennLive reported that at about the same meeting Sandusky resigned, TSM hired the PR firm Burson-Marsteller to assist in communication with the impending crisis.

The board's decision was to stay silent and continue to use Sandusky for fund raising and in a public relations role.  David Woodle recalled the Board sent out a letter to its donors that made no mention of the child abuse controversy.  This cover-up continued even after Sandusky formally announced his retirement in 2010.  

Benson was a board member the entire time this charade about Sandusky was going on.

Benson: Financial Oversight Questionable?

Cliff Benson
Thompson may have unwittingly damaged Benson when he accepted this statement from Woodle about the new nominee's role at the charity.

"Mr. Benson was a volunteer member of the State Board of Directors in the same role as all other directors," Woodle wrote in an email.
As a member of the finance committee, Woodle wrote, Benson "had general oversight review of the organizational finances... That would include tasks such as finance statement review and coordination with outside audit firms."

SMSS's review of the charity's IRS 990 forms, Annual Reports, and donor lists revealed material differences in the recording and computations of revenues.  While we did not have access to their general ledger or receipts, the analysis of expenses (based on Annual Reports and IRS forms) also raised several red flags.

The internal control environment at the charity was extremely poor.  Executive Director, Dr. Jack Raykovitz held the books and the bank accounts for the charity, while his wife, Katherine Genovese was the Vice President of Development (i.e., fund raising).  Their salaries also began increasing year to year after the first Sandusky investigation in 1998.

Additionally, information on the public record reveals that The Second Mile did not have independent audits of its financial statements performed from 2004 to 2010. A review of their IRS 990 forms (and attachments) revealed that from the period from 2000 to 2012, only three independent audits were performed.  Deloitte and Touche performed an audit on November 28, 2000, Parente Randolph performed on October 19, 2004, and Parente Beard perform the last audit on January 6, 2012.

The evidence reveals that Benson was apparently asleep at the wheel as a member of the finance committee when he served on it in 2009 and 2010 and it also appears he has much more knowledge of the Sandusky investigation than PennLive would lead you to believe.

More obfuscation 
While it appears that Thompson is simply spouting the company line, as requested by the governor's office, the unwillingness to honestly put Benson under scrutiny is troubling.  Thompson's statement about Benson's past employment (although he did mention ties to the natural gas industry) doesn't tell the full story of his relationships.

According to Benson's biography on the Buffalo Sabres web-site, he served as the lead client service partner for the worldwide services provided to the United States Steel Corporation and H.J. Heinz. Other clients served over his long career at Deloitte include Armco, Bayer Corporation, Marathon Oil, PPG Industries, Rockwell International, the Pittsburgh Penguins and East Resources.

Benson: Previous ties to Surma
As many Penn Staters know, former PSU BOT chairman John Surma was the CEO of US Steel.  Prior to that role, he was he head of finance and accounting at Marathon Oil starting in 1997.  Surma would later be named President of Marathon Ashland Petroleum, before eventually moving to U.S. Steel.

Who knows what other relationships we might find by digging into Benson's past?  

One thing that is certain: PennLive won't be doing any digging.

Thursday, February 20

Ryan's e-mail storage policy saved Commonwealth less than 30 cents

Former Acting AG Bill Ryan's decision to delete e-mails older than six months old to save on storage costs is ludicrous

Ray Blehar

When the story broke that former Acting Attorney General Bill Ryan had changed the AG e-mail storage policy from five years to six months, he cited cost savings as one of the reasons for the change.  Ryan added he was not protecting anybody and that the change had nothing to do with the Sandusky investigation.

According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the office's former chief technology officer confirmed Ryan's statement.  Jim Ignalzo, 66, who is retired, stated "it was a cost and a management issue" and that managers kept up to 10,000 e-mails on their computers. Ignalzo said "it could have been a million," in reference to the number of e-mails deleted.

That said, it's clear that neither Mr. Ignalzo nor Mr. Ryan has shopped at a Best Buy lately.  

If they had, they would know that they could have stored those million or so deleted e-mails on an 32 gigabyte (Gb) flash drive for about $20.  However, that's being far too extravagant when hard drive storage is so cheap.

Numerous studies have been done on the declining cost of data storage, and not surprisingly, they confirm storage costs follow a trend similar to Moore's Law (which applies to integrated circuit costs).  A similar law, referred to as Kryder's Law is used for hard disk storage cost per unit of information.  See chart below:

While the chart above ends in 2009 and stops at .07/Gb, a later study revealed that the average cost per Gb was about .01/Gb in 2010.

The average e-mail uses about 30 kilobytes (kb) of storage.  A normal text e-mail of a few paragraphs takes up about 16kb.  A longer e-mail of 37 pages might use about 75kb.  Given that mix 30kb per e-mail sounds about right for an average e-mail.  Note: There are 1,048,576 kb in a Gb.  

Let's do the math:

1,048,576 kb / 30kb in an email = 34,862 e-mails in a Gb

1 million deleted emails/34,862 emails per Gb  = 28.64 Gb storage

Cost savings of deleting 1 million e-mails = $0.29

Much like Governor Corbett, when pressed about the policy, Ryan resorted to the argument that convicting Sandusky on 45 of 48 counts was really what was important and "he doesn't like it at all" that Kane is investigating the prior administration's investigation,

Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster County, said Ryan's action "raises more questions than it answers."

It just gets better and better.


Sunday, February 16

The PSU Board of Trustees Role in the Public Lynching of Penn State (Part 2)

The PSU BOT used a combination of lies, half-truths, and deceptions to assist in the public lynching of Penn State.

Ray Blehar

The story so far:  The Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General (OAG), the Penn State Board of Trustees (PSU BOT), and Louis Freeh utilized a combination of deception, evidence suppression, and evidence tampering to accuse Penn State officials of enabling Sandusky’s crimes.  

Louis Freeh, who was identified and recommended by Governor Corbett to conduct the “independent” investigation at PSU, held a press conference where he announced to the world it was “reasonable to conclude” that PSU officials concealed Sandusky’s crimes from the public and implied that the men had obstructed justice. 

The NCAA used the Freeh Report to levy unprecedented sanctions on the PSU football program and to indict the University and everyone associated with it as a culture that put more value on football than on the welfare of children.   

PSU statements and actions at every step of the scandal reinforced the OAG’s narrative of a cover-up that was used by Louis Freeh and the NCAA.  The media not only went along, but took steps to ensure the narrative went unchallenged.

The media’s behavior in the Sandusky case and several other cases followed a rather disturbing pattern of rarely questioning the decisions of prosecutors in high profile cases.  This happened in the Duke Lacrosse case and in the Olympic Park bombing case, where innocent people had their reputations destroyed when the media assumed guilt before all the facts were known.  In the Sandusky scandal, the media assumed that Curley, Schultz, and Spanier (a.k.a., the PSU Three) were/are guilty based upon two one-sided prosecutorial documents -- known as presentments.

Additionally, the media simply went along with prosecutors in the cases of Bernie Fine (Syracuse), Jameis Winston (Florida State) and Brendan Gibbons (Michigan).  In each of those cases, there was far more damning evidence (e.g., audio tapes, semen/DNA evidence, and rape kits)  than was presented against the PSU Three, but there was no story or media firestorm.   

Another common practice of today’s media is to tamp down or attempt to discredit anything that challenges the narrative that they believe.  For example, when the Paterno report was released in February 2013, it was called self-serving because the family paid consultants for their reports and was criticized because it didn’t contain a “smoking gun.” 

Freeh Report: No smoking guns.
Well, if that is the standard, then why is the Freeh Report given so much credence?  It too was purchased – Freeh was the BOT’s client – and it certainly contained no “smoking guns.”  At best, the Freeh Report contained a few empty shell casings in the form of some non-specific e-mails.  But Freeh’s report supported the current narrative and also fed the media a story during a lull in the news cycle.

The Conspiracy of Silence presentment, which charged Graham Spanier with perjury, conspiracy and obstruction, and failure to report (and added similar charges for Curley and Schultz) didn’t get nearly the play in the media as the original November 2011 Sandusky presentment for a number of reasons.  First, it was overshadowed by news of the impending Presidential election and, in Pennsylvania, the race for the Attorney General.  Next, it didn’t contain explosive/inflammatory language about children being raped.   Third, it was a somewhat bland document that really didn’t contain any “new” information – some people referred to it as “The Freeh Report: Lite.”  

As a result, I suspect few in the media actually read the Conspiracy of Silence presentment – or, if they did, they took no time to analyze the allegations.   Almost nothing in the Conspiracy of Silence presentment comes close to meeting the bar of the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard.  

If the Conspiracy of Silence case ever goes to trial, and there are dismissals or acquittals down the road, Corbett and his cohorts could claim they were merely acquittals on “technicalities.”  Or they would claim that “not guilty” verdicts did not prove the men were innocent, only that the PSU Three got rid of enough evidence that they couldn’t prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  In short, an acquittal would be painted to mean nothing and the media would undoubtedly report it exactly that way.   

When the Conspiracy of Silence was released in November 2012, the media had already concluded the guilt of Penn State officials and that conclusion was largely aided by the communications that emanated from Old Main itself. 

The public lynching had been underway for an entire year.

FRAZIER: “I don’t care if they are acquitted”

No one stated the public lynching strategy more clearly that PSU BOT member, Kenneth Frazier, who (in March 2013) remarked:

We are not subject to the criminal beyond-a-reasonable-doubt standard …we can take corrective actions without any need to resort to the so-called due process, reasonable doubt standard.  I don’t care if they are acquitted.”

Of course, Frazier didn’t care.  He and his cohorts on the BOT worked hard for over a year to
promote the false narrative of PSU officials enabling Sandusky’s crimes.  And the way they went about it was - more often than not - under the false pretense of PSU’s concern for the child victims.

While the majority of the public believed that PSU’s officials were guilty from the outset, the PSU BOT did everything to confirm and nothing to dispel those beliefs. 

If you polled the public today, most would probably say that PSU’s culpability for Sandusky has been reinforced by PSU’s numerous public statements about its willingness to assist the victims with counseling, its willingness to accept the NCAA sanctions and fines, its efforts to train 10,000 employees on child abuse reporting, and its willingness to settle the victims' claims. 

Certainly, on the surface, PSU's actions look like those of an organization who was trying to make amends for a transgression. 

Why would an organization pay over $100 million if it wasn’t guilty? 

What the public doesn’t realize is that this scandal -- and all that PSU was doing “for the children” -- wasn’t costing them a penny.

The Financial Smokescreens of Guilt

As I noted in this post, PSU’s acceptance of $60 million in fines appears to be an admission of guilt to the public, however, its method of financing through internal loans to the Athletic Department (AD) actually turns the fines into a revenue source for the University over the next 35 years.  At current market interest rates, the University will collect nearly $45.3 million in interest off the internal loans to the AD.  While the AD will undoubtedly feel the brunt of the NCAA sanctions for a long time to come, the University - at large - feels no pain.   And let’s face it; a $15 million fine per year is not a hardship for an organization with an annual budget of $4 billion.

Additionally, the scandal is a wash for PSU if it is able to win its insurance lawsuit against the Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association (PMA).  However, there are quite a few people who collected or will collect a lot of money from the Sandusky scandal.

Mitchell: Cashed in on another scandal.
The list of people who received financial benefits/direct payments from PSU as a result of the scandal includes, but is not limited to, eight (at the moment) of Sandusky’s victims from the trial, approximately 19 claimants who alleged to be victims of Sandusky, the attorneys for those 27 individuals, Andrew Shubin who was not an attorney for the victims but funneled many to Ross Feller Casey, former FBI-Director Louis Freeh, Pepper-Hamilton, Lanny Davis, PR firms (Kekst, Ketchum, Edelman, and LaTorre), the Pennsylvania Coalition on Rape (PCAR), the Penn State/Milton Hershey Medical Center, former Senator George Mitchell/DLA Piper, and attorneys for defendants Curley, Schultz, and Spanier.

Joyner: $396K per year
as Athletic Director
There are also individuals who profited or will profit indirectly from the scandal.  Obviously, the media made its fair share from the news coverage, Sara Ganim got a Pulitzer Prize (local reporting) and a better gig at CNN, Dave Joyner got a $396,000 per year job as PSU Athletic Director, and then there are the people that will profit from the financing of the loans to the AD.  While the first payment of the NCAA fines was taken from PSU’s Institutional Support budget, future payments and AD program expenses of $30 million are part of a $750M loan that was approved by the PSU BOT in September 2013.   It is unclear at the moment how this loan has been secured, however I suspect that a number of PSU “financial insiders” will end up profiting from this loan.

The only financial loser in the scandal appears to be the PSU football team, which ended up $5 million in the hole last year and whose bowl proceeds from 2011 were used to fund the child abuse research center at Hershey Medical Center and a grant to the Pennsylvania Coalition on Rape (PCAR).

Victim Settlements
There is no great mystery behind PSU setting a price tag of $60 million for the settlements for the nearly 30 claimants.   All you need to do is examine PSU’s complaint (law suit) against PMA.  From the complaint:

The complaint says the policies, in most cases, contain a $2 million “per occurrence” limit and a $3 million aggregate limit. The lawsuit argues that each of the underlying claims trigger, at the very least, each PMA policy in effect on the date that each “injury,” as that term is defined in the PMA policies, alleged first was suffered by each individual claimant. Penn State demands a jury trial on all issues triable to a jury.

Penn State also has insurance coverage from a captive insurer, Nittany Insurance, which is under the umbrella of the non-profit foundation known as the Corporation for Penn State. In addition to Nittany Insurance, PSU also has “excess coverage” from United Educators insurance. Finally, press reports indicated that PSU intended to recover some of the funds through the insurer of The Second Mile (TSM).  Therefore, the PSU BOT expected that insurance would cover all of the settlement costs and most of the legal fees associated with the scandal.

Erickson: "That's obviously 
why we buy insurance.."
During an interview at Bloomberg headquarters, Erickson said the “bulk of the funding” for settlements will come from insurance.

“That’s obviously why we buy insurance…to cover the defense of the university’s executives, employees, trustees and so forth.”

And about those training programs to increase awareness of child abuse reporting procedures – those programs help limit their liability premiums (according to insurance scholars).  

Let’s face it, child abuse incidents are rare on college campuses.  This training is overkill and was mostly done to limit liability premiums  -- although the training did provide the appearance that the University actually cared about protecting children. 

The Child Protection Ruse

Ample evidence – and truthful statements from Kenneth Frazier – proved that the PSU BOT was really enabling the future abuse Pennsylvania’s children. 

Clemens: "...smoke this out."
At the March 15, 2013, meeting of the PSU BOT, trustee Al Clemens raised the issue of the 1998 incident being fully investigated and there being no reason to penalize PSU. 

“The problem here is there’s a bit of divide between the alumni and the board. We all won’t be on board until we somehow smoke this out.” 

Clemens remarked that the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) and Centre County Children and Youth Services (CYS) had some responsibility and should have been monitoring Sandusky more closely and that he would like to pose some of those questions to Louis Freeh.

Frazier’s response to Clemens spoke volumes about his and PSU’s sincerity regarding the protection of children:

Frazier:  Defended the Freeh Report
instead of defending PA's children
“Once again, we did not investigate the Department of Public Welfare or anyone outside Penn State.  Irrespective of whether you think they have a responsibility, that was not within the parameters of the Freeh Report.”  

This was quite a change from his statement to the New York Times regarding PSU’s concern for children:

“To me, it wasn’t about guilt or innocence in a legal sense.  It was about these norms of society that I’m talking about: that every adult has a responsibility for every other child in our community. And that we have a responsibility not to do the minimum, the legal requirement. We have a responsibility for ensuring that we can take every effort that’s within our power not only to prevent further harm to that child, but to every other child.”

I don't believe for a second that Frazier was being sincere when he talked about making every effort that’s within his power to protect children.  As the state’s flagship University, PSU could be the leader in calling for reforms to Pennsylvania’s child protection system.  But instead of doing that, it paid Louis Freeh $6.5 million to whitewash over the child protection system's failures in the Sandusky case.

Report 1 extensively covered Freeh’s whitewash of the DPW failures in 1998.  The text of the Freeh Report excluded  the most obvious signs of possible sexual abuse that were known, but overlooked, by the Department of Public Welfare investigators.  Freeh also failed to include the 1998 University Park police report, the psychology report of Dr. Chambers, and the report of counselor John Seasock in the Appendices of his report.  Those reports clearly indicated that DPW had scuttled the 1998 investigation prematurely and essentially stopped investigating after just a few days.  

The University's and Frazier's unwillingness to subject the Freeh Report to scrutiny -- and to discount all of the reviews that pointed out the reports flaws -- speaks volumes about the BOT's lack of transparency and discouragement of dissenting views.   Particularly when the dissenting views make a certain Ex-Officio member of the Board look bad and when those views reveal that Pennsylvania's child protection system didn't work in 1998, 2008, or today.


Now that we’ve dispensed with the nonsense that the PSU Administration and the Board was sincere about the University’s concern for the victims – in contrast to the students and alumni, who actually paid money from their own pockets to donate to victim advocacy organizations – let’s take a look at how the PSU BOT deceived the public and the PSU community regarding its desire for a full, fair and objective investigation to find out what happened in the scandal.  The evidence in this case demonstrates that the PSU BOT was making statements of guilt and culpability by PSU officials from the outset and have not stopped since.    

November 2011 – Response to Grand Jury Presentment

None of the “C” level executives sitting on the PSU Board would have ever let their own companies make a statement regarding a pending legal matter like the one the PSU Board made on November 8th. 

Unlike Spanier’s statement that assumed Sandusky was innocent until proven guilty, the Board used emotionally charged language that did nothing but help stoke the fire of public opinion against PSU.   Their statement was as follows:

PSU BOT:  Condemned Penn State by its actions in
response to the Sandusky scandal.
“The Board of Trustees of the Pennsylvania State University is outraged by the horrifying details contained in the Grand Jury Report.  As parents, alumni and members of the Penn State Community, our hearts go out to all those impacted by these terrible events, especially the tragedies involving children and their families...   We hear those of you who feel betrayed and we want to assure all of you that the Board will take swift decisive action....We promise you that we are committed to restoring public trust in the University.”

The very next day, the Board made the fateful decision to remove Spanier and Paterno – actions which were viewed as an admission of culpability for the Sandusky scandal.  If there was any public trust of PSU on November 8th, it was destroyed by the PSU BOT by 10PM on November 9th.

Surma couldn't provide specifics
During the question and answer period after the November 9th press conference, Board Co-Chair John Surma blundered his way through the session, often stating that the Board didn’t know the facts of the case but was making the decision in the best long term interest of PSU. You can read Surma’s remarks here and not only had the public lost trust in PSU, but most assuredly, its alumni did.

Eckel: Disappointed in public
support of Curley and Schultz

Surma could not provide reasons for the removal of Spanier – those “official statements” wouldn’t come until March 2012.  However, in a November 18th news article, trustee Keith Eckel stated:

“..  I was very disappointed the president came out with public support for Tim Curley and Gary Schultz. I know them both, I like them both, I respect them well, but we didn't know enough to be able to say that we were standing behind them. ... I was very uncomfortable. ... We didn't have all those facts and the presentment, although it is only one side of the argument, is extremely damaging, troubling, upsetting."

Origin of the “Moving Forward” Ruse/Campaign

While many point to the comments about “moving forward” in the immediate aftermath of the Freeh Report, my research has uncovered that it was PSU President Rodney Erickson who actually coined this term early in the scandal.  On November 22nd, Erickson opened his statement with this:

“In the last two painful weeks, Penn State has been shaken to our foundation. But we are moving forward, and with every decision we’re committed to doing the right thing for the victims, their families, and the Penn State community.” 

At first, most believed Erickson to be an honest and sincere person, who was thrust into a terrible situation and was in over his head.  However, as the scandal continued on and more evidence was uncovered, it became clear that Erickson had much more financial savvy than he let on and knew fully well that any fines from the NCAA or payments to the victims would have almost no effect on PSU’s bottom line.

While the University and the administration attempted to promote it as being forward looking and not dwelling on the past, many alumni saw right through it.  The Board was accepting blame and spend money too easily.  It became clear that “Moving forward” was really about making sure that nothing (i.e., criminal charges) from the scandal ended up on the shoes of the PSU BOT.

The “moving forward” campaign would later co-opt the PSU Athletic Department to promote a “ONE TEAM – MOVING FORWARD” publicity campaign during the 2012 football season.

December 2011 – The Bystander Approach, Origins of “Football Culture” Ruse, and Questions about Baldwin 

PCAR took $1.5 million to
help indict PSU football
On the first day of December, PSU announced it was providing $1.5 million (from the football team's bowl revenue) to the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR) for partnership programs to raise awareness about child sexual abuse. However, when one looks at what PSU really bought and paid for, it was for PCAR to blame the Sandusky scandal on University employees under the guise of education about the "bystander approach."  PCAR and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) produced a series of articles calling the Sandusky scandal the mother of all teachable moments in the bystander approach.  

The bystander articles were written  in the immediate aftermath of the scandal and were based on what we now know to be false information that was contained in the Sandusky grand jury presentment, as well as yet to be proven allegations of a failure to report child abuse.  

PCAR's initial press conference about the Sandusky scandal could only be described as "over the top."  Delilah Rumburg, PCAR's Director, delivered a scathing indictment aimed at not Jerry Sandusky, but at Joe Paterno.  Rumsburg blasted Paterno, even though he actually had reported the incident (and was not a bystander).

Those little boys needed help and support back then. They are the victims of a incredibly devastating crime.  They kept silent all these years over whether they would be believed over a famous coach and the powerful institution."

"All of the adults who knew, who suspected, who whispered in private, that failed to make those phone calls, also failed those little boys.  And now here is this frenzy, the national outrage, and the focus on the career of a football coach.  A pillar of this community, who held immense power and influence, and he chose to look away.  These things are disrespectful, insulting and shameful. 

The PSU BOT was getting everything it paid for from PCAR and the NSVRC.  Ironically, the football program, in this instance, was funding its own destruction.

The Football Culture Ruse

 In one of the earliest extensive interviews with Erickson, USA Today reported that the new President was seeking to transform the university's public image from a football school to a "world class research institution."  Erickson remarked:

"We want that to be the front face of the university” and that the scandal provided an "urgency for discussions about the role of big-time athletics and where they interact with higher education."

Other University officials and some alumni, who were oblivious to the school’s reputation for successfully combining top flight athletics with academic success, joined Erickson’s unwarranted call for a re-balancing at PSU.  One alumnus remarked:

"Penn State is still going to fill that stadium every Saturday in the fall, I'm quite certain of that. But they're going to (re-establish a commitment to academics). That's what a university is about. That got out of balance. This will help center it a little bit."

This was a truly unbelievable turn of events for a school that prided itself on not being a football factory and for winning on the field with true student athletes – the PSU administration was trashing Paterno’s grand experiment months before Louis Freeh and the NCAA would do the same. 

The evidence in this case indicates that Erickson and others at PSU, with help from PSU's hired PR flack Lanny Davis, were filling in the details of the narrative for Freeh and the NCAA to utilize down the road.  Those details would include shifting the blame for PSU’s lack of responsiveness to subpoenas on the PSU Three.

 “Issues with the incumbent”

Based on e-mail evidence obtained by Ryan Bagwell, it is highly probable that the former OAG officials were considering charges against Baldwin for obstruction of justice as early as December 2011.  On December 19th to 22nd, e-mails regarding an “Urgent call” and “Grand Jury Subpoena Compliance” were exchanged by Freeh and members of the PSU Board of Trustees, lawyer Frank Guadagnino, Secretary Tomalis, and Freeh team member, Omar McNeil.   The contents of those e-mails follow:

     Guadagnino was party to
the "urgent" discussions
         Frazier:  "I just finished speaking with Frank. I explained why I think there are issues with the incumbent. He agrees. I believe he will be providing that advice to Surma when they meet tomorrow."

         McNeill replied to Frazier and copied Guadagnino: "any further need for Louie to follow up? I trust that Frank G got a clear message from you."

         Frazier: "I think I was very direct. After hearing my position he said he was already thinking in a similar direction. No need for Louie to call." Frazier then FYI’d Tomalis. Tomalis to Frazier: "Thanks, things moving along“

The “incumbent” referred to in the e-mail was very likely Cynthia Baldwin.

January 2012 – The Baldwin “Retirement” and Blaming Spanier

On January 16th, 2012 an e-mail announcement for the PSU BOT to hold a conference call to address “strategic issues moving forward” was sent to the BOT members, Lanny Davis, and Frank Guadagnino.  While the contents of the e-mail were not revealed due to attorney-client privilege issues, the call preceded the BOT’s eventual meetings with the New York Times and the Harrisburg Patriot News

The day after the conference call, Baldwin announced her retirement from PSU.  The media reported that her retirement had nothing to do with the scandal.  The December 2011 e-mails - uncovered by Ryan Bagwell - challenge the media’s conclusion.

On January 18th, the BOT met with the media to explain how it had been caught off guard by the Sandusky grand jury report, while many BOT members, including Erickson, said they had no idea of the Sandusky investigation before November 2011.

Rodney Erickson (Jan 7, 2012):  “There were, I would think nearly all individuals at the university, including me, were not aware of any this until we read it in the grand jury presentment, so how would we have known?”
Mark Dambly (Jan 18, 2012): "There was a lack of information being provided to us. We found out about it when the rest of the world found out about it.

Unfortunately for the Board, on the day before Baldwin “retired,” she swore in an affidavit that she and Spanier had briefed the Board on the 2002 (actually 2001) and 1998 incidents in May of 2011.  This affidavit was not made public until the Freeh Report released it in July 2012. 

In the meetings with the media, Board members heaped the majority of the blame for being kept in the dark on Spanier.

Karen Peetz (Jan. 18, 2012): “Part of being a leader at that level is to be a risk manager and to think through what might happen.”

Ira Lubert (Jan. 18, 2012): “He should have told us a lot more. He should have let us know much more of the background.”

While Lanny Davis was busy spinning the story of how Spanier – not Baldwin - was to blame for the Board’s alleged lack of knowledge, the PA OAG appeared to be coming after Baldwin for stonewalling their investigation

On January 31, 2012, PSU President Erickson was informed that the OAG was disappointed in PSU’s slow responses to the subpoenas.  Erickson was told specifically that “behavior like that should not go unpunished.”

February 2012 – The Federal Subpoena and Baldwin’s Dual Representation

On February 2, 2012, the Patriot News resurrected an article it had written on November 19, 2011, regarding Cynthia Baldwin’s possible conflicts of interest in representing Penn State, Curley, and Schultz. So, why was the story resurfacing?

Baldwin: "Retirement" not tied
to Sandusky scandal?
It appears that Baldwin’s retirement announcement in January may have caused the Patriot News to rerun the story and consider the dual representation issue as a possible reason for her “retirement.”  At the time of Baldwin’s “retirement” announcement, Jan Murphy based her report on the Centre Daily Times reporting, who said the move was unrelated to the Sandusky scandal.   However, Ganim’s February 2nd article mentioned Baldwin’s retirement and that PSU disputed the idea that Baldwin had a dual representation issue.

According to Ganim, when the story originally ran, the University raised no public concerns about the story.  At that time, PSU had just hired Freeh and that story was dominating the news – therefore the Baldwin story was overshadowed by articles about the former FBI-Director, which were overwhelmingly positive.  PSU was being equally praised for establishing the task force to hire Freeh.  

Davis: Incredulous statements in
defense of Cynthia Baldwin
Lanny Davis, the crisis-manager/spin doctor of the stars and whose resume’ included navigating the Monica Lewinsky affair for (impeached) Bill Clinton, the (jailed) Martha Stewart ImClone stock scandal, and (resigned) Trent Lott’s racial statements, had been hired in December to help right the ship.   Davis spun the Baldwin dual representation issue as a simple case of Baldwin not hearing Curley and Schultz say she was representing them.  Davis also made the dubious statement that Baldwin never discussed the case or her representation with Curley and Schultz, even though she drove them back and forth from State College to Harrisburg – a 90 minute drive each way. 

After February 2012 – and his incredulous comments about Baldwin -  Davis was rarely heard from, however he advised PSU on providing the March statements on the removals of Spanier and Paterno.

The Federal Subpoena – PSU BOT Included In Fed's Investigation
On the day Ganim resurrected the story on Baldwin’s dual representation, the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District issued a subpoena for a variety of documents and records pertaining to the Sandusky investigation, however this subpoena asked for information on the PSU BOT.   

The first item (#1) requested in the subpoena was the names and addresses of all PSU Board members and records of payments between the Board members and PSU or payments to a third-party on behalf of PSU.  Items 2 through 5 all pertained to information concerning interactions to include out of court settlements between Sandusky, TSM, and PSU and any records pertaining to misconduct.  Items 6 and 7 requested computer data regarding 1-5, plus the hard drives of Spanier, Curley, Schultz, and Sandusky.  Item 8 asked for all documents related to TSM and Sandusky.

On February 24th, 2012, PSU published a story about the subpoena on its news site, but the article reported the information in inverse order of which it was requested.  It led with the Feds wanting information about Spanier, Curley, Schultz, and TSM, followed by the information about the BOT. The article stated that PSU was cooperating with the investigation and that the original deadline for providing the information was moved from 29 February to an undisclosed date in the future.  The article closed by stating the BOT was determined to find the truth and had hired Louis Freeh to conduct an investigation.

While most of the media covering the story began reporting on the day of the PSU news article, Sara Ganim and the Patriot News published a report one day earlier – on February 23rd.   How did Ganim make this report one day prior to PSU’s release?   I suspect it was because the Federal officials were sharing information with the OAG, who apparently leaked it to Ganim.

It also appears that Ganim and the Patriot News forced the news article by PSU.  Otherwise, it is highly unlikely that PSU would have disclosed that its Board members were part of an ongoing investigation.

Ganim’s article opined that the Federal investigation was likely regarding Sandusky’s transport of victim’s over state lines – a violation of the Mann Act, which would require federal intervention.   Many in the national media followed Ganim’s lead – only casually mentioning the request of information about the PSU BOT members.

The story of the Federal investigation never gained much traction in the media and the apparent assumption was that the Feds were involved in the Sandusky investigation.  However, a well-placed source in the Department of Justice confirmed the investigation’s focus was TSM, not Sandusky.  

When I broached this topic in September 2013 with Patriot News reporter, Charles Thompson, he appeared to have no idea that a federal investigation of TSM was on-going. 

March 2012 – Board Announced Reasons for Removing Spanier and Paterno
After months of deliberations under the guidance of Lanny Davis, the PSU BOT finally announced the reasoning behind the removals (not firings) of Paterno and Spanier. 

The rationales in both cases were for a failure of leadership.  The BOT specified that Spanier failed to inform them about the 2002 (2001) incident as one of the primary reasons for his removal.  The other reason was for making “unauthorized” statements without the approval of the Board.

Paterno, who the Board said was “removed for the last three games of the season,” had fulfilled his legal obligations, but the board inferred he didn’t call the police.  That constituted a “failure of leadership” according to the Board.  They also added he was removed for “not doing more.”

The Board’s statement also apologized for the manner in which Paterno was fired and that it also considered honoring the coach’s legacy in the future – but that would be contingent upon the outcome of the investigation by Louis Freeh.    

As we would later learn, the BOT’s contract with Freeh essentially required him to find failures of PSU officials and to identify the causes of those failures.  The BOT knew that honoring Paterno in the future wasn’t going to happen.

Finally, the statement closed with the BOT repeating Corbett’s statement about “remembering the children” and that it had committed to supporting the victims of sexual assault and abuse that took place on PSU’s campus, stating their “lives would be scarred for years to come.”

April 2012 – ESPN’s Van Natta Outs PSU BOT for “Termination” of Paterno

Suhey:  "three weeks early."
One of the deceptions perpetrated by the PSU BOT was their contention that they didn’t terminate Paterno on November 9th and that he was still under the terms of his contract at PSU.  

As late as March 2013, trustee Paul Suhey refused to acknowledge Paterno was fired, instead saying “we retired him three weeks early.”

ESPN’s Don Van Natta in an issue of ESPN The Magazine, reported on the politics of the Sandusky scandal and how Governor Tom Corbett took credit for having Paterno fired.  The article, titled "Fight on State," included an image of Paterno’s termination letter, dated November 16, 2011 and signed by then-PSU Counsel Cynthia Baldwin.  The letter asked for Paterno to make arrangements for the return of University property and his leased vehicle.   This was the “smoking gun” that exposed the PSU BOT for lying about the actions taken against Paterno on November 9th.

An e-mail sent to the trustees on April 9th contained a reference to “Media Contacts/Communications Protocols” and stated the “ESPN article not helpful.” The e-mail also included an agenda item for discussing "dissident groups running for [BOT] election."

On April 16th, Sara Ganim and the Patriot News were awarded a Pulitzer prize for local reporting for their coverage of the Sandusky scandal.   On that day, it was also learned that PSU President Rodney Erickson was subpoenaed to testify before the grand jury.

June 2012 – Sandusky Verdict and E-mail Leaks

The Commonwealth succeeded in convicting Sandusky on 45 of 48 charges in a case that was brought to trial without the judge granting a single continuance.  While prosecutor Joseph McGettigan stated that neither Penn State nor TSM was on trial, it was very clear from the presentation of witnesses that part of the prosecution’s strategy was to put the onus on PSU for enabling Sandusky’s crimes and obstructing the investigation.   McGettigan spent considerable time having the victims testify about incidents occurring on PSU’s campus and produced numerous evidence exhibits related to PSU football.  Agent Anthony Sassano testified that PSU was slow to answer subpoenas and delayed the investigation.  

Penn State released the following statement after the announcement of the Sandusky verdicts, that reinforced the culpability of the University for Sandusky’s crimes:

Now that the jury has spoken, the University wants to continue that dialogue and do its part to help victims continue their path forward. To that end, the University plans to invite victims of Mr. Sandusky’s abuse to participate in a program to facilitate the resolution of claims against the University arising out of Mr. Sandusky's conduct. The purpose of the program is simple – the University wants to provide a forum where the University can privately, expeditiously and fairly address the victims' concerns and compensate them for claims relating to the University. Counsel to the University plan to reach out to counsel to the victims of Mr. Sandusky’s abuse in the near future with additional details.

E-mail leaks
Candiotti: Attended Bishop Guilfoyle High School
with Sandusky investigator Feathers. 

Sassano is an Altoona native as well.
In late June, ABC broke the story of alleged incriminating e-mails being uncovered during Freeh’s investigation, however it was CNN’s Susan Candiotti who reported almost the full contents of the February 25-27 e-mails between Spanier, Curley, and Schultz.  Candiotti, who is originally  from Altoona, attended the same high school (Bishop Guilfoyle) as Sandusky case investigator Randy Feathers.  The article stated that CNN did not possess the e-mails; however their contents were read to CNN. The e-mails were treated as “smoking gun” evidence of a failure to report and a cover-up by PSU officials, leading CNN to opine that Spanier would face charges.

PSU spokesman David LaTorre did not comment on the leaks.

July 2012 – The Freeh Report and Aftermath
One of the biggest debacles in the Sandusky scandal was the grand-standing press conference held by Louis Freeh in which he stated the evidence he found didn’t meet the legal, beyond-a-reasonable doubt standard of guilt, but went on to state his conclusions as if they did. The greatest evidentiary leaps made by Louis Freeh were aimed squarely at Joe Paterno.  First, with absolutely no evidence to support his claim, Freeh stated that Paterno had followed the 1998 investigation closely.  Next, he stated that Paterno was the sole intervening factor in the decision not to report the 2001 incident.  Never mind the fact that the latter was based on just five words in an e-mail (“talking it over with Joe"), in which neither Freeh nor anyone else who participated in the investigation knew what the “talking” was about.

Certainly, the media didn’t question Freeh's conclusions and neither did the PSU Administration, even though members of the latter group certainly knew that some of his assertions were completely false.  For example:

-- President Erickson knew that the Schultz file was already in PSU's possession in January 2012;

-- The PSU General Counsel’s Office knew that PSU’s IT Department had turned over the e-mail evidence in the case and it was not “independently” discovered by Freeh; and;

-- PSU officials also knew that the janitor incident could not have occurred as it was alleged, given the conflicting information given by the two janitors.

Peetz and Frazier: Emphasized Freeh's findings against
Spanier, Paterno, Curley, and Schultz
Despite this knowledge, some PSU BOT members were allowed to make statements affirming that they had complete trust and faith in the Freeh Report.  Karen Peetz and Kenneth Frazier initially praised the report for being “comprehensive and thorough.”  Judge Freeh was said to have “followed the facts” in the investigation. Frazier amplified the reports findings against PSU officials, stating: 

"people who were in position to protect children and confront a predator" and "did not put the protection of children first." 

The Board’s official response to the Freeh Report follows:
Today’s comprehensive report is sad and sobering in that it concludes that at the moment of truth, people in positions of authority and responsibility did not put the welfare of children first.  The Board of Trustees, as the group that has paramount accountability for overseeing and ensuring the proper functioning and governance of the University, accepts full responsibility for the failures that occurred. The Board, in cooperation with the Administration, will take every action to ensure that events like these never happen again in our university community.

The focus of all of our actions going forward will be on driving a culture of honesty, integrity, responsible leadership and accountability at all levels and within all units of our institution.

Judge Freeh's report concludes that certain people at the University who were in a position to protect children or confront the predator failed to do so. There can be no ambiguity about that. The defenseless victims and their families are at the forefront of our thoughts and prayers.  We are deeply sorry for the failure to protect these vulnerable young boys from the pain and anguish they suffered.  At the same time, we are filled with admiration for the bravery shown by the young men and their families who came forward to ensure that justice will be done.
While today’s issuance of the Freeh Report provides some level of clarity for our community, it does not undo the pain that the victims of Jerry Sandusky have experienced, and continue to experience.  We will continue to offer counseling to Mr. Sandusky’s victims, listen to them and take affirmative steps to address the harm they have suffered.
If that wasn’t enough of an admission of culpability for the scandal, the Board’s and President Erickson’s actions in the ensuing weeks would seal the deal. 
Did Erickson buckle because of this?
Or was it just another part of the ruse?
First, in response to a terrorist threat by unknown individuals piloting a banner plane with the message, “TAKE THE STATUE DOWN OR WE WILL,” Erickson ordered the statue of Joe Paterno to be removed from outside Beaver Stadium.  Erickson called the statue “a source of division and an obstacle to healing.”  

Workers remove the Paterno statue.
There was no stronger symbol of PSU officials admitting Penn State’s and Paterno's (yet to be proven) role in the Sandusky scandal than removing the statue. The PSU BOT had to know that.  They also had to know that the removal of the would cause not just division, but a revolt, among PSU alumni, fans, and friends.  However, the Board was on a mission to emasculate the football program so that it would never be part of the PSU power structure again.  They now had all the power and they were willing to wield it, no matter how much damage they caused.
A day later, Erickson (in consultation with key members of the PSU BOT Executive Committee) signed the NCAA Consent Decree.  The group agreed to accept draconian sanctions on the PSU football program, which included a transfer policy that was intended to wipe out the current roster and to vacate of Paterno's wins from 1998 to 2011, which was intended to destroy PSU's football tradition.  The Consent Decree also quoted the Freeh Report’s unsupported statements that PSU football culture enabled Sandusky to abuse young boys on campus.  Most importantly for the Board, the Consent Decree kept the NCAA from doing its own investigation of PSU Athletics.

Given all the evidence, it is likely that Erickson and key members of the PSU BOT conducted a campaign to  place blame on the football program (and the PSU Three),  paid victim's advocates to link the Sandusky scandal to the "bystander approach," accepted penalties, and planned to made payoffs to victims in order to keep anyone from legitimately investigating not just their own activities, but those of Pennsylvania's child welfare system.  

Governor Corbett, whose state agencies avoided considerable blame and embarrassment over the Sandusky case due to Freeh's whitewashing of the details of the case, had his share of comments after the release of the Freeh Report.

Corbett condemned the actions of what he called the “prior administration” and “prior people who were in control.” His statement also portended things to come:

 “I’m very disappointed in the lack of forthcoming evidence to the subpoena that was given to them by the Attorney General’s office.” 

The public lynching was far from over.

To be continued…