Tuesday, April 22

Part 3: The Media’s Conspiracy of Silence

The media became willing accomplices of Tom Corbett and  the “Old Guard” BOT by not reporting exculpatory facts in the case of the PSU Three

Ray Blehar

The story so far:  In February 2014, I wrote Part 1 of this series, highlighting how the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General (PA OAG) suppressed and manipulated evidence in order to charge former Penn State University (PSU) officials Curley and Schultz with crimes related to the Sandusky scandal.  Two weeks later, in Part 2, I revealed how the PSU Board of Trustees (PSU BOT) engaged with Louis Freeh and various public relations firms to perpetuate a false narrative that former PSU President Graham Spanier and deceased coaching legend, Joe Paterno had concealed Sandusky’s crimes from the public.  

After the release of the Freeh Report, Governor Tom Corbett piled on, condemning the actions of “the prior administration” and “prior people who were in control.”

Corbett stated:  “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 statement was a continuation of a theme of misattribution – or assigning blame or responsibility where it didn’t belong.  It is a fact that Cynthia Baldwin received a letter from the Attorney General in December 2011 that admonished her for failure to comply with grand jury subpoenas.  The letter referenced information that was subpoenaed before Curley, Schultz, and Spanier had any knowledge of the investigation.  Moreover, Schultz was retired at the time of the subpoena, thus had no role in answering that particular request.  Corbett’s July 2012 statement was part of the Commonwealth’s strategy of trying the case in the court of public opinion.  Their allies in the media had the easiest job of all -- do nothing.  Let the public continue to believe that the AG's and Freeh's narratives on the case were not disputed by any of the legal proceedings.  As you will see, they carried out their part magnificently.  


Part 3: Keeping the PSU Three Convicted In the Court of Public Opinion

After the release of the Freeh Report, the PA government,  the “old guard” PSU Board of Trustees, and especially the local media did everything in their power to ensure that the PSU Three (Spanier, Curley, and Schultz) remained convicted in the court of public opinion.    

About three months after the release of the Freeh Report and Corbett’s presser accusing the “prior administration” of wrong-doing, the OAG made the Freeh Report "official" by issuing the Conspiracy of Silence presentment (or the Freeh Report-Lite).  The conspiracy and obstruction charges in the presentment were mostly based on the testimony of former PSU Counsel Cynthia Baldwin, who claimed that the PSU Three were uncooperative in responding to the grand jury subpoenas.

Unfortunately, the three works of fiction in this case – the November 2011 Grand Jury Presentment, the Freeh Report, and the Conspiracy of Silence Presentment – were reported as fact by the media and accepted as such by a predominantly unwitting public.

As a result of the public perception of the scandal, the PSU Three were put at a serious disadvantage in the case.  The media had taken to reporting the PSU Three as guilty men, often eschewing the label “alleged” when discussing the crimes in the case, especially with regard to the failure to report child abuse charge.   

The situation in the earliest days of November 2012 looked quite bleak for Penn State and the PSU Three, however, things would take a turn on election day.

Kane Wins Attorney General’s Race

A year earlier, in November 2011, Governor Corbett stated that the newly elected Attorney General would make the decision about investigating The Second Mile (TSM). 

Corbett likely assumed the new AG would be the GOP’s David Freed, son-in-law of former AG LeRoy S. Zimmerman.    According to KeystonePolitics.com, GOP politicos agreed that the AG’s race was a top priority for the Governor.

Corbett’s plans were foiled when upstart Lackawanna County prosecutor Kathleen Kane beat Freed.  Ms. Kane made her promise to investigate the Sandusky investigation one of the themes of her campaign.  Her other point of attack was to tie Freed to former AG LeRoy Zimmerman and Corbett.   Both strategies proved effective, as her victory margin was greater than Barack Obama’s over Mitt Romney -- winning by nearly 800,000 votes.

During the campaign season and its immediate aftermath, the Governor had continued the drumbeat that the Sandusky investigation was properly conducted, emphasizing that they had successfully prosecuted Sandusky on 45 of 48 counts.  Corbett opined that Kane’s review of the Sandusky investigation would only take 2 or 3 weeks.  

Tellingly, Corbett’s frame of reference appeared to focus on the evidence of his role in slowing down the investigation.  In a November 8, 2012 interview with WITF’s “Ask The Governor,” Corbett stated:

“Since she’s the one who wants speed in investigations, I hope that she does this very quickly, because it’s not going to take too long to sit down and talk to everybody and say, ‘Did you ever receive orders? Are there any e-mails?’ There is nothing out there.’ “From the time she walks into office in the middle of January, there’s no reason for her not to complete it, frankly, in about two, three months. Actually, frankly – in about two, three weeks.  Because there’s nothing there.”

At the time, Corbett was quite confident nothing would be found because he knew that his replacement in the AG’s office, Acting AG William Ryan, had changed the e-mail retention policy and deleted (according to former chief technology officer, Jim Ignalzo) around “a million” e-mails.  

Fifteen months later, Kane announced that her office had found a way to recover the e-mails and that the investigation would be delayed due to that and other efforts.  The next month, a Philadelphia Inquirer article (alleged by some to have been leaked to the press by a desperate Frank Fina) revealed that she had confiscated Fina's hard drive shortly after she took office.   Days later, Kane would reveal one of the recovered e-mails pertaining to a botched sting operation run by the former OAG officials.

I suspect Kane’s revelations caused some sleepless nights at 2035 North Front Street in Harrisburg, in the Philly District Attorney’s office, and in Old Main.

With Kane running the show, all of the decisions that Corbett believed would be in friendly hands were now outside his control.   He was no longer in a position to influence the TSM investigation, which will likely uncover a host of crimes that will shed light on the real cover-up in the Sandusky scandal. 

Kane’s election also ensured that Corbett had little say in decisions in the prosecution of the PSU Three – and that has totally upset the apple cart.  It is clear from the obvious falsehoods written in the Conspiracy of Silence presentment that Corbett and his gang of attorneys didn’t believe the case would ever get to trial.  Instead, they believed the Court of Public Opinion would eventually force the PSU Three to flip on each other.  In fact, leveraging witnesses was the key to the Conspiracy of Silence case all along.

The following evidence reveals why... 

First, documents obtained in my investigation reveal that Frank Fina told the PSU Administration that he expected “Curley and Schultz to flip.”   

Next, I had a number of discussions related to interviews conducted by OAG Agent Sassano, whose strategy seemed to be digging up dirt on Penn State officials to use as leverage.  When you think about it, the OAG had the leverage on Mike McQueary, John McQueary, Dr.  Dranov, Dr. Jack Raykovitz, and police Chief Tom Harmon, all whom could have been charged with failure to report child abuse.   The OAG also had additional leverage on Tom Harmon, who could have been charged with perjury for his statement at the December 2011 preliminary hearing that he was unaware that psychologists had interviewed Victim 6 – a fact clearly stated in the 1998 police report.

Finally, the obvious falsehoods written on page 23 of the Conspiracy of Silence (CoS) presentment indicated that the Commonwealth never thought John Corro and/or Braden Cook would ever testify about the email evidence in the case.

The CoS grand jury presentment noted that only a handful of documents were turned over to the OAG in January 2011 and that documents responsive to the subpoena were not turned over until after the PSU Three were no longer employed by PSU.  In a related press release, Linda Kelly proclaimed the evidence was not turned over until April 2012.   The presentment also noted that no officials from the PSU IT department or the special SOS unit were asked to search for documents (page 23) until after the arrests of Curley, Schultz, and Sandusky.

The latter two statements were proven clearly to be false when PSU SOS employee John Corro testified that he was told of the subpoena in April 2011 (page 85) and asked to search for emails related to Paterno, Curley, Schultz, Spanier, McQueary, and Sandusky (page 80).   Corro testified and that he turned over 3 USB drives of emails (page 90) responsive to the key word searches.  Corro testified that he only saw a few lines of the subpoena but not the subpoena itself (page 92).  Finally, Corro testified that he had turned over information in April 2011, then November and December of that same year.  He continued providing information into January, February, and March 2012 (page 87).   

OAG computer forensics expert Braden Cook testified he realized the Schultz emails were "missing" in March 2012 (testified to on page 66 as 2011, but later corrected).  This testimony also contradicts Kelly's statement regarding the turnover of documents in April 2012.

For the Commonwealth to make such blatantly false statements about the turnover of this evidence, they had to believe Corro and Cook would never testify in the case.  I suspect they believed their star witness in the case would be either Tim Curley and/or Gary Schultz against Graham Spanier.

Score a point for Kathleen Kane for letting the case play out and for these lies to be revealed.  Court documents also reveal that Kane has delegated all prosecutorial matters in this case to Corbett/Kelly holdover Bruce Beemer.  

As weaknesses in the evidence in the CoS case have been exposed with each legal proceeding, the media in Harrisburg (Patriot News), State College (Centre Daily Times), and University Park (The Collegian and OnwardState often has failed to report the most significant information that challenges the existing narrative.   Instead, the media stayed focused on the “script” preferred by the Governor, the OAG, and the “old guard” PSU BOT. 

Those following the scandal closely know that many significant facts were revealed that, at a minimum, introduce reasonable doubt for some charges.  In some other cases, the testimony from the proceedings, as shown earlier, blew the charges out of the water.

Baldwin and Grand Jury Subpoena Compliance

The Conspiracy of Silence grand jury presentment reported that then PSU Counsel Cynthia Baldwin requested that Curley, Schultz, and Spanier search for the files and records pertinent to Subpoena 1179.  Subpoena 1179 requested “[A]ny and all records pertaining to Jerry Sandusky and incidents reported to have occurred on or about March 2002 and any other information concerning Jerry Sandusky in inappropriate contact with underage males on and off University property.”

Baldwin stated that she held several meetings with Spanier, Curley, and Schultz to discuss the subpoena (page 21) and that each man told her they had no information responsive to the inquiry.  Please remember that Kelly's alleged Baldwin also stated she kept Spanier continuously informed of all aspects of the investigation.

Despite Baldwin’s insistence that she met with the PSU Three to discuss documents related to the 2002 incident, all three men gave different answers for the year of the McQueary incident at their grand jury appearances.  Notably, Schultz stated he took the report of the incident seriously after what had transpired with Maurice Humphrey’s case.  The Humphrey case was in 2003.  Curley testified he believed the incident occurred in 2000. Spanier recalled the incident occurred in 2002.   If Baldwin held these meetings to discuss the subpoeana prior to the grand jury appearances of the PSU Three, why didn't they all know the date of the McQueary incident to be 2001?  

Former PSU President Graham Spanier stated (in The New Yorker) that he never saw a single subpoena in the case.  Not even the one which required him to testify.  

Sources close to former Athletic Director, Timothy Curley, stated he was never provided with a copy of his subpoena to testify.

Schultz signed an affidavit stating he told Baldwin about the possibility that a file existed on Sandusky when she contacted him in early January 2011.  Schultz stated he was instructed by Baldwin not to obtain the file to refresh his memory. 

Scott Paterno also related that he had to make several demands before Baldwin furnished a copy of Joe Paterno’s subpoena to appear.   Scott noted that Baldwin told him she could not give the subpoena to his father directly because he was in Tampa preparing for a bowl game.  Ironically, Baldwin was also in Tampa, staying at the same hotel as Joe Paterno.  

Baldwin’s stories about notifying PSU officials of subpoenas don’t hold water.

According to PSU Policy AD-49, which was revised by Baldwin on July 19, 2010, it is the responsibility of the Office of General Counsel to handle subpoenas.  Specific language follows:

“All legal documents including subpoenas are to be referred to or routed through The Office of General Counsel. The Office has the prerogative to send them to other parties after receipt. The Office of General Counsel shall establish all procedures for handling and addressing legal documents.”

Baldwin oversaw the July 2010 and July 2012 revisions of AD-49, thus she was aware of her responsibilities in that regard.

The Freeh Report and preliminary hearing testimony did not reveal any evidence showing that Baldwin responded promptly to Subpoena 1179 or any other subpoena.  The Freeh Report should have included e-mails or other records of preservation notices which she would have sent to affected employees.  No such evidence was in the Freeh Report or provided at any of the judicial proceedings to date.

The Baldwin and Spanier grand jury transcripts also reflect that Baldwin did not respond promptly to Subpoena 1179.

 At the April 13, 2011 grand jury appearance of Graham Spanier,  Deputy Attorney General Jonelle Eshbach raised the issue that Counsel Baldwin had never responded to Subpoena 1179 (which was issued in December 2010) and had not filed a motion to quash.  In response, Counsel Baldwin requested to make an oral motion to quash while in chambers that day.  The motion was granted, Baldwin was excused while Fina made his in camera argument for e-mails and documents from 1997 and prior, then Baldwin returned and agreed to provide the materials on Friday, April 15. 

On December 18, 2011 - after the removal of Spanier as President of Penn State --  prosecutor Fina sent a letter (see Exhibit O) to Baldwin admonishing her for her noncompliance with a December 2010 subpoena and threatened to hold the University in contempt.  Based on the letter, her grand jury testimony, and the other evidence, it appears that Baldwin (and likely her "handlers" on the PSU BOT) had been stonewalling the investigation ever since she took over as General Counsel in February 2010. 

It comes as no surprise that the media has not “gone out on a limb” and made the obvious connection that the PSU attorney responsible for answering subpoenas, who nearly caused Penn State to be held in contempt, is the most likely person who was obstructing justice in this case.  Instead, in the face of evidence and logic, they are clinging to the Governor’s and the OAG’s allegations that it is Spanier, Curley, and Schultz who have obstructed the investigation.

Media Coverage On Baldwin’s Responsibility As General Counsel
The Centre Daily Times, to its credit, did mention that an e-mail about Grand Jury Subpoena Compliance surfaced among the emails uncovered by Ryan Bagwell, but failed to mention that e-mail revealed that Ken Frazier and Frank Guadagnino agreed there were “issues with the incumbent.”  The CDT didn’t make the connection between the “incumbent” and Baldwin, nor did it connect the sudden retirement of Baldwin in the weeks following that e-mail.  In fact, the CDT reported Baldwin's retirement was unrelated to the scandal.

The Patriot News/PennLive, OnwardState, and The Daily Collegian have not reported on Baldwin’s responsibility to answer the subpoenas or made any reports about Fina’s displeasure with Baldwin’s lack of cooperation in the investigation.

Freeh’s and Kelly’s Lies About E-mail Evidence
The timeline and testimony about the provision of the documents in response to Subpoena 1179 reveals that AG Linda Kelly lied about the e-mail evidence not being turned over until April 2012 and about the PSU IT department not assisting in the search.  The inference to be drawn from Kelly’s false statements  was that Louis Freeh had made all email discoveries.

At his press conference, Louis Freeh bragged that his team made independent discovery of the e-mail evidence:

Ah, no.

The testimony of both OAG forensic expert Braden Cook and PSU SOS employee John Corro revealed that they did the heavy lifting, not Louis Freeh.

A timeline of the e-mail evidence follows:

Dec. 2010 - OAG issued Subpoena 1179 for documents and files related to 2002 incident and any other incidents related to Sandusky.

April 2011 – PSU SOS employee, John Corro, received a request (from Baldwin) to search for e-mails of Curley, Schultz, Paterno, Spanier, Sandusky, and McQueary.  Corro turned over three USB keys of e-mail data to Baldwin that were responsive to the subpoena.

Apr. 13, 2011 – Spanier observed Baldwin provide a thumb drive of his e-mails to Judge Feudale .

Apr. 13, 2011 – Baldwin made oral motion to quash subpoena for e-mails from 1997 and earlier.  Fina made in camera argument for e-mails from 1997 and earlier.  The Judge ruled for the Commonwealth and Baldwin agreed to provide 1997 and earlier e-mails to OAG by April 15, 2011.

Nov. 2011 – OAG forensic expert Braden Cook joined Sandusky investigation.

Nov. 2011 – E-mail search was expanded to include more than 60 PSU individuals and numerous IT devices.  John Corro assisted Braden Cook and Agent Anthony Sassano to recover the additional information and provide it to the OAG and Freeh investigators. 

Dec. 19, 2011 – PSU BOT member Ken Frazier,  Freeh Group member Omar McNeil,  and Reed/Smith lawyer Frank Guadagnino (among others)  discuss “grand jury subpoena compliance” in e-mail messages.  Frazier notes issue with “incumbent” (Baldwin).  A letter from Prosecutor Frank Fina stated that the non-compliant with the grand jury subpoenas to include information about Sandusky's retirement and various electronic communications.

Jan, Feb, Mar. 2012 - Corro continues to provide e-mails to OAG investigators.

Mar. 2012 - Cook discovers that “Schultz” e-mails were missing from the OAG inventory.

Mar. 20, 2012 – Louis Freeh’s alleged “independent discovery” of e-mail evidence.

Mar. 23, 2012 – Cook testified that he received Schultz’s network file share but made no reference to Freeh providing him with e-mail evidence.

Mar. 30, 2012 – OAG filed perjury particulars, based in part, on e-mail evidence.

May 6, 2012 – OAG announced date change of McQueary incident (e-mail is germane)

Jun 14, 2012 – At Sandusky trial, Agent Sassano testified that date of McQueary incident was determined by analyzing TV Guides for date/time of Rudy movie in 2001.   Why didn’t Sassano use the e-mails to set the date?

Late June, 2012 – Existence of e-mails leaked to press.

Jul. 12, 2012 – E-mail exhibits were included in Freeh Report appendices.

Nov. 1, 2012 – AG Linda Kelly press release stated PSU didn’t provide e-mail evidence until April 2012

Not only does the timeline (and supporting testimony and evidence) show that the presentment allegations of the PSU Three obstructing were false, but it appears that Baldwin, Louis Freeh, Frank Fina, and former AG Linda Kelly were colluding in an attempt to frame them.   

But the collusion and underhandedness wasn’t limited to the obstruction of justice charges – it likely went to the central issue of the case:  the failure to report child abuse.

The timeline and evidence (i.e., the April 13, 2011 in-camera argument of Frank Fina) revealed that the OAG possessed the Schultz e-mails on or before April 13, 2011.  As such, they had the email from Harmon to Schultz indicating that Harmon had been looped into the 2001 incident.   This created a problem for the OAG because it was obvious that the police might have been in the know about the 2001 incident.  In order to “fix” this problem, I suspect the OAG convinced Harmon to say he was never told about the incident, despite being asked to look for the 1998 file.

Media Coverage of E-mail Revelations
Despite the revelations of Cook and Corro, which exposed the falsity of Freeh statements regarding his “independent discovery” of the e-mail evidence, the media whiffed on the most significant aspects of their testimony and stayed the course with the already established anti-PSU Three narrative.

Braden Cook Coverage
The Patriot News (Jeff Frantz) reported that Cook retrieved the email evidence, but instead of reporting the revelation challenging Freeh’s false statement, it regurgitated the old news about “humane” treatment of Sandusky.
Braden Cook, a computer forensic expert for the Attorney General, later testified about retrieving Schultz's emails from an archive. Those emails included one written by Spanier in 2001, saying that a proposal to talk to Sandusky after the coach was caught showering with boys on campus for the second time was a "humane and reasonable way to proceed."

The Centre Daily Times didn’t report anything about Cook’s testimony.

The OnwardState Staff reported that Cook did little more than authenticate the email evidence and also stuck to the Freeh Report theme:
“Following Powers’ testimony, Braden Cook, the director of the Attorney General’s forensics unit, was called to authenticate a series of e-mails in 1998. Cook said his office collected 108 items from 60 individuals. Those items came from computers, cell phones, and other electronic equipment.
The e-mails, brought to light in the Freeh report, outline ambiguous messages between Schultz and Curley, with Spanier carbon copied, discussing the 1998 Sandusky investigation and 2001 Sandusky incident”.

The Collegian (Olga Hajishengallis) also reported that Cook recovered much of the email evidence in the case, but didn’t challenge Freeh’s assertion of independent discovery.

“The second witness of the day, Braden Cook, a senior supervisor special agent for the attorney general’s computer forensic unit, told the courtroom he recovered many of the emails used as evidence in the case so far. He did so, he said, by gathering information from network file shares, computers, cell phones, iPads and more.”

John Corro Coverage
With regard to PSU IT department employee John Corro, the college newspapers led the way while the CDT and the Patriot News/PennLive remained silent, however no one mentioned that Corro provided three USB drives to Baldwin in April 2011.
 Onward State (Jessica Tully) was non-specific about what was turned over, to whom, and when:
“He testified his services were first requested in April 2011 and then again in November 2011. Corro was asked by Penn State’s general counsel Cynthia Baldwin to collect data in the form of emails from Schultz, Spanier, athletic director Tim Curley, assistant football coach Mike McQueary, and head football coach Joe Paterno.
He was told in turn to turn over emails found to the Freeh group, the attorney general’s office, and other investigators.”
The Collegian (Sam Janesch) reported Corro getting involved in April 2011 and that he was asked to collect e-mails for Spanier, Curley, Schultz, Paterno, Sandusky and McQueary, but did not mention that he turned the information over to Baldwin that month.
The last witness to take the stand was John Corro, of Penn State Information Technology Services. He said he became aware that his services were requested in April 2011.
Baldwin asked him to collect emails from individuals such as Paterno, Spanier, Curley, Schultz, McQueary and Sandusky — however, he was instructed not to look at the data.
For what he observed during his data collection, Corro said he noticed Schultz’s inbox to be big, while Spanier’s was relatively empty.
Corro also said he wouldn’t have had the ability to tell whether Schultz had wiped away data, and that he had no communication with Schultz during the data gathering in April 2011.

Allegations Regarding the Schultz “secret file”

Louis Freeh was among the first to accuse Schultz of concealing the “secret file.”  During the question and answer period of Freeh’s press conference, the former FBI Director claimed that his team found the Schultz file – in conjunction with the Attorney General’s office – and that it was a matter of “skill and luck.”   Freeh said this about Schultz and the file:

“He actively sought to conceal those records.  We found them in conjunction with the attorney general. They are very critical notes, very critical records.  They go to the conclusion…it was an active case of trying to conceal evidence.   You don’t do that.  It was a dumb thing to do.  The result is we did get them and it is significant evidence.”

The CoS grand jury presentment (page 24) told a story similar to Freeh’s.  The presentment stated that no “independent efforts” were made to search the paper files of the PSU Three, but that Schultz’s assistant (Kimberly Belcher) removed the files from his office on November 5, 2011 and delivered them to his home.  The presentment never mentioned that Schultz and Belcher turned their respective copies of the files over to the OAG.  Instead, it played up the theme  that Schultz’s former administrative assistant, Joan Coble, was told never to look in the drawer where he kept the Sandusky file.

The Turnover of the Schultz “Secret File”
In a letter written September 12, 2012 regarding the renaming of the Gary Schultz Child Care Center at Hort Woods, attorney Thomas Farrell stated that he and Gary Schultz turned over the file to OAG investigators, but did not specify the exact date it happened.  While it is now known that Schultz turned the “secret file” over sometime in April 2012, what is not clear is if the University officials accessed and reviewed the file prior to November 2011.

According to a sworn affidavit in Schultz’s Omnibus Pretrial Motion of 31 October 2012, the former VP stated he informed then-PSU General Counsel Cynthia Baldwin on January 5, 2011, that he might have had notes pertaining to Sandusky in his old office.   Schultz swore that Baldwin legally advised him not to obtain the notes to refresh his memory in preparation for his grand jury appearance.  Baldwin stated she made no efforts to obtain the file or any information responsive to Subpoena 1179 on her own, however that does not rule out her asking Albert Horvath (who occupied Schultz’s old office) to search for the Sandusky file.

When Baldwin learned the state police obtained the 1998 police report on January 3, 2011, she obtained a copy the next day (Freeh Report, page 83).  It's certainly possible that when Schultz told her about the possible existence of the file, she reacted in a similar manner and had Horvath provide her with a copy of the file.

The July 29, 2013 testimony of Kimberly Belcher explained what eventually happened with the Schultz “secret file” after November 4, 2011.  Belcher testified that she was asked about records by PSU lawyers and Freeh’s investigators in January of 2012, but did not feel comfortable giving them the file.   After being subpoenaed to testify in April 2012, Belcher sent her copies of the file to her attorney and the files were then presented to the OAG when they met with Belcher in April.  At that meeting, Belcher learned that Schultz had turned over his file one day earlier.

Based on the testimony of Belcher and the references to the secret file in the Freeh Report (dating it 5-1-2012), the file was provided to Freeh from the OAG or the PSU lawyers.  Freeh’s claim of finding it “in conjunction” with the Attorney General was another lie.
Sassano later testified at the July 2013 preliminary hearing that he received the Schultz “secret file” from PSU’s lawyers.   Belcher stated she didn’t turn the papers over to PSU or Freeh, thus the Schultz file traveled from Belcher to the OAG, to the PSU lawyers, and then to Sassano (according to Sassano).  

We will have to wait until Louis Freeh is deposed to find out exactly from whom he received the Schultz file, but if he received it from the OAG, then the NCAA may have a “Miami problem.”  In other words, using information obtained from law enforcement in an allegedly “independent” investigation.

The revelations about the e-mails and the Schultz file by Corro, Cook, and Belcher clearly show that some of the obstruction charges in the Conspiracy of Silence presentment are false.  If there was obstruction of justice in this case, the guilty parties are not anyone of the PSU Three, but rather officials in PA government, The Second Mile, and Cynthia Baldwin.

Media Coverage of New Revelations About The Schultz file
The local media outlets (The Patriot News, Centre Daily Times, The Collegian, and Onward State) that covered the July preliminary hearing appeared to “spin” the evidence in a way that did not challenge the current (false) narrative of Freeh finding the Schultz file.

The Patriot News stuck with the story line of Belcher’s removing the so-called "confidential" file but never mentioned to whom she provided it (i.e., not to Louis Freeh).

Gary Schultz's former secretary -- testifying Monday under a grant of immunity -- said she removed a confidential file on Jerry Sandusky from Schultz's office because "I wanted to be helpful."

The article made mention of Freeh’s attempt to get the file from Belcher, but the Patriot News (Jeff Frantz) avoided reporting that Belcher never provided the file to Freeh’s team and had indeed provided it to the OAG:

“In January 2012, she met with investigators from the Freeh team. She went into that meeting intending to tell them about the file, but said she didn't once she was told the attorney present was there to represent the university, not her.
Instead, she waited to turn the documents over until after she was called to testify before the grand jury investigating Sandusky and Penn State's handling of his crimes. By that point, Schultz had already given the Attorney General his original file.”

The hometown Centre Daily Times (Mike Dawson and Matt Carroll) downplayed Belcher’s testimony as follows:

“..Belcher’s testimony during a preliminary hearing may not completely doom Schultz…”

Onward State (Jess Tully) obfuscated the highly exculpatory testimony of Belcher, implying that Belcher informed the Freeh team about the documents in question.  Tully then made a confusing statement that omitted the fact that Belcher had actually turned over her copies of the file to the Attorney General. 

Once I realized I had the photocopy, I kept them. I was concerned at that point — the fact that the originals were gone,” Belcher said, adding that she did not tell anyone about delivering Schultz the documents until she met with the Freeh group in January 2012.
Belcher testified she was subpoenaed in April 2012 by the attorney general’s office.  The morning of her meeting, Schultz’s attorney Tom Farrell notified her he had turned over the original copies of the documents she provided his client to the attorney general’s office.

The Collegian (Sam Janesch) reported that Belcher turned the files over to the OAG, but included the fact that Belcher’s actions were improper and that she testified under a grant of immunity.

“Belcher said she was later interviewed by the Freeh Group during the investigation and was also issued a subpoena by the Attorney General’s Office, which prompted her to reveal that she had copies of Schultz’s Sandusky notes.

Prosecutor Bruce Beemer also said that Belcher was granted an order that allowed her not to be persecuted for being in possession of the notes.”

Conspiracy to Obstruct the 2001 Report of Child Abuse

Another of the new counts arising in the Conspiracy of Silence presentment was that the PSU Three were involved in a conspiracy to obstruct reporting the 2001 incident.  Prosecutor Bruce Beemer was waving the single e-mail from 2001 above his head as he bellowed out to the court gallery that the e-mail was the sole piece of evidence needed to confirm the conspiracy. 

I suppose if that one e-mail was the only evidence allowed to be introduced, Bruce might be able to make his case.  Unfortunately, there is much more evidence that doesn’t support a Conspiracy of Silence in the 2001 incident than there is supporting it.

First, the e-mail that preceded Beemer’s alleged “smoking gun” e-mail places serious doubt on the prosecution's theory that the email discussion between Spanier, Curley, and Schultz was about child abuse reporting.  Based on the text of the February 25, 2001 Schultz e-mail, the foremost concern was Sandusky’s use of facilities.

Next, the alleged “smoking gun” e-mail has been deemed to be of suspicious origin/dubious provenance by several computer forensics experts.  Three different experts stated that the original file from the server needs to be examined and compared with the version submitted as evidence.  The preliminary hearing transcripts revealed that the OAG computer forensic expert testified that the Schultz email files were missing from the inventory and replacement versions were obtained (from a DVD) in March 2012.

Third, the lawsuit filed by Mike McQueary makes no claim that he was ever told to stay silent about what he observed in 2001 and we know from the proceedings that Mike didn’t stay silent about what he saw that night.  The list of people who he told about the incident include his family members, Dr. Dranov, Curley, Schultz, Joe Paterno, anonymous individuals in a chat room, and at least one football equipment manager.  McQueary testified he may have also told his girlfriend (at the time) about the incident.  Those are the people who have been confirmed to have knowledge from Mike – there may be others.

The PSU Three also didn’t keep the incident a secret.  At least one administrative assistant was copied on an e-mail; the incident was discussed with the PSU legal counsel; and the incident was reported to The Second Mile (Dr. Jack Raykovitz) by athletic director Tim Curley. The Second Mile discussed the incident among members of its executive committee.  

In addition, then-PSU General Counsel Wendell Courtney wrote an email to Baldwin (pages 26 and 84, Freeh Report) stating he believed the incident was reported to Centre County CYS. At the January 2011 grand jury, Schultz also testified that he believed the incident was reported to the local child welfare authorities.   

So to recap: 
1. The emails that are the "smoking gun" evidence may not have been about child abuse reporting;
2.  The "smoking gun" email may be of questionable authenticity;  
3.  The incident was not a tightly held secret within Penn State and many people outside PSU knew or learned about it; 
4.  McQueary was not told to keep quiet; 
5.  Discussions about the incident were written on University e-mail; 
6.  The "smoking gun" e-mail was not only not destroyed or deleted, but it was preserved by Schultz through a network transition; and,
7.  The incident was reported outside of PSU to Second Mile;
8.  Two PSU employees recalled the incident was reported to local child welfare authorities.  
That doesn’t sound like PSU was trying to hide anything from anyone.

And then there is police Chief Tom Harmon's improbable testimony about the 2001 incident.

Harmon and the 2001 incident
Harmon’s July 2013 preliminary hearing testimony had a considerable number of inconsistencies and questionable statements.  

He testified that although he sent Schultz an e-mail about the existence of the 1998 police report on February 12, 2001, Schultz never mentioned that Sandusky had been involved in a similar showering incident.  The police chief stated that had Schultz told him Sandusky had showered with a child, he would have immediately contacted the police and the District Attorney to conduct an investigation. 

Interestingly enough, Harmon did not do that in 1998.
It was Detective Schreffler who contacted the DA’s office in 1998.  According to one of his contemporaries at the State College Police Department (SCPD), as well as the text of the Freeh Report, Detective Schreffler notified the DA to keep Harmon and "Old Main" from meddling in the investigation.  The SCPD source also told me that Schreffler was not all that fond of Harmon and considered him a puppet of the PSU administration. 

Detective Scheffler’s allegation that Harmon was a company man certainly gains traction when you consider he was the individual who decided to label the 1998 police file as administrative information.  However, one should not rule out Harmon’s personal connections to Sandusky as a neighbor and fellow church member as other reasons for his mislabeling of the 1998 case file.

But putting all that baggage aside, Harmon's testimony about the 2001 incident and related matters was rather astonishing.

First, Harmon testified (p. 142) that he had no recollection of sending the February 12, 2001 e-mail to Schultz.  That email stated that the 1998 University Park Police Report was in the police archives.

Next, he testified - in conflict with his grand jury testimony and the CoS presentment (page 22) - that he had no specific recollection of speaking with Schultz about the e-mail and that his prior testimony at the July 2013 preliminary hearing was an inference drawn from looking at the e-mail.  

Again, the failure to report charge against PSU officials is based, in part, because Schultz didn’t tell the police (Harmon) about the 2001 incident.   Harmon’s testimony – and memory – is critical to the validity of this charge.  Harmon insists he would have remembered if he was told about the 2001 incident, yet he has very little recall of anything about the 1998 or 2001 incidents.

Harmon incorrectly testified (page 136) that Detective Schreffler and the DPW representative interviewed Sandusky at his home as part of the investigation of the 1998 incident.  The last page 1998 police report clearly shows that interview took place in the Lasch Building.

On page 138, Harmon testified that he did not recall informing Schultz that Sandusky had admitted to showering with other boys at the close of the 1998 investigation.  That testimony is contradicted by an e-mail (Freeh Report, Exhibit 2D, dated 1 June 1998) Harmon sent to Schultz.

On page 143, Harmon was asked if he gave the 1998 police file to Schultz.  Harmon responded: “No, not to my knowledge.  I have no recollection that he asked for it. 
Harmon then went on to state, “I just don’t have any recollection of our discussion or conversation.”  He then further testified (page 145), “I would think I would remember if he asked, had asked for it.  I have no recollection that he ever asked for it.”

In short, this testimony revealed that Harmon's memory is not reliable.
But using the same standards used for Curley and Schultz, Harmon should now be facing perjury charges for testifying (in December 2011) that he was unaware of any psychologists evaluating Victim 6 and for making a false statement under oath about what he wrote in a June 1, 1998 email. 
If there is any lingering doubt about Harmon’s memory being faulty, that doubt should be erased after you learn about Harmon's recall of incidents on campus in 2001. 

Harmon’s Faulty Memory Even More Exposed
Attorney Tom Farrell asked Harmon a number of questions to test Harmon’s recollection of events around the year 2001.   Obviously, if Harmon was absolutely certain he would have remembered Schultz telling him about Sandusky in 2001 because of its “significance”, then he also would have remembered other “significant” crimes on campus that year. 

As it turns out, Harmon doesn’t remember those things either.

Harmon was asked if he could remember the student takeover of the HUB ("The Village" protest).  Harmon recalled the takeover, but not the dates, which were from the final week of April and into May 2001.
Harmon was asked if he remembered a planned march on hate and the race riots that occurred in April 2001.  Harmon answered negatively to both – stating he would need to see something to refresh his memory about those incidentsFor the record, 26 students were arrested after having to be forcibly removed from a sit-in on the 50 yard line prior to the 2001 Blue-White game.  I was there.  I remember it quite well.

Harmon then admitted they were “significant events” at the time, but he didn’t remember them.

Harmon was then asked if he remembered discussions about installing surveillance cameras in the Lasch Building.

Harmon stated he had no specific recollection of discussions about the Lasch Building or of any emails related to improving security at the Lasch Building.

Farrell then asked Harmon if he recalled his testimony at the December 2011 preliminary hearing and that he could not recall what he had told Schultz about the 1998 incident.  Again, Harmon answered that he had no specific recollection of what he told Schultz and would need documents or e-mails to refresh his memory.

Serious criminal charges hinge on the testimony of Tom Harmon and it’s rather clear that Tom Farrell exposed that Harmon’s testimony, based on his recollection of events, is not reliable.

The Media’s Reporting on Harmon’s testimony
PennLive attempted to give some credit to defense attorney Farrell for challenging Harmon’s recollection of events, however severely downplayed just how poorly Harmon performed.  In the end, PennLive’s reporting eventually reverted to promoting the prosecution's false argument (that Schultz possessed the "secret file" during the time he was retired from PSU).

“Shultz’s attorney Tom Farrell, likely trying to give his client some cover on the perjury charges he faces for his grand jury testimony, also won an admission from Harmon that the former chief’s recollections of the 1998 events are much clearer now than they were before Schultz and Curley's December 2011 preliminary hearing on an earlier set of charges because he’s had a chance to review the emails and notes.

Prosecutors, however, have alleged that Schultz had kept those same documents in his possession through the course of the probe.”

OnwardState simply reported the fact that Harmon had testified and nothing else:

Former Penn State police chief Tom Harmon testified about the 1998 investigation and the line of communication between administrators, mainly Schultz.

The Collegian (Sam Janesch) gave Harmon’s faulty memory a pass too:

When asked whether Schultz told Harmon in 2001 that Sandusky was being investigated again, Harmon said that he did not. Harmon said that if Schultz would have told him that they were looking into Sandusky again, it would have been “no doubt” enough to initiate another investigation by the district attorney.

The Centre Daily Times (Mike Dawson) was the worst of the bunch.  Not only didn’t the CDT make any mention of Harmon’s faulty memory but it fabricated testimony that Harmon never gave about Schultz sending an email requesting the 1998 file.  One has to wonder if Mr. Dawson was using the Freeh Report to write his article about the preliminary hearing:

“But Harmon testified he never heard anything about a now-infamous 2001 incident involving Sandusky.  Harmon said he got an email from Schultz in February 2001 asking if the police report the 1998 Sandusky incident was available.  Harmon said it was.”

The Fourth Estate Has Become the Fourth Branch of the PA Government

While there is no legal requirement for the media to report the news honestly, at one time it actually lived up to its billing as the Fourth Estate.  Many years ago, the media focused on reporting issues in a neutral manner, and let the people judge the facts for themselves.  It served its purpose as the Fourth Estate, counterbalancing the influence of government information over the people.   

In this case (and others), the media has gone from the Fourth Estate to the “Fourth Branch” of government.  The media, in almost every case in recent memory, has sided with the prosecution's versions of events when the story broke  -- Duke lacrosse, Jameis Winston/FSU, and Richard Jewell.   In this case, they are nothing more than a propaganda arm for the Corbett administration and by extension, the “Old Guard” Board of Trustees.

Interestingly, the Patriot News (and others) have made a recent turn against the government.  Of course, that is because outspoken Corbett critic, Kathleen Kane decided to shut down an un-prosecutable bribery case.  The media feigned righteous indignation that Kane had gone easy on four legislators who had accepted around $20,000 in bribes and filed court orders to unseal the files.  Not so surprising was the media's lack of interest in the dismissal of 2,033 charges against the informant for defrauding a children's charity to the tune of over $400,000 dollars.  When it comes to children's charities and organizations, the media is less than inquisitive, as we saw in the Sandusky case.  

In fact, PennLive's coverage of the Sandusky case was severely skewed to absolve The Second Mile of any responsibility for endangering children.  Ironically, PennLive wrote an article, utilizing potentially incriminating TSM financial documents, to make ridiculous assertions that PSU built its "brand" through the charity and that Paterno was very involved with it.  Neither assertion is true. 

In fact, it was TSM and Sandusky who used Penn State to build its "brand."  If the opposite were true, wouldn't Penn State now be in ruins alongside TSM?  Also, I interviewed counselors and board members of TSM, who uniformly agreed that Paterno was not supportive of the charity.  One counselor noted that Joe would walk by TSM events being held in Holuba Hall and never bother to even wave to the kids or bother to acknowledge that they were even there.

PennLive submitted that piece of rubbish as part of their Pulitzer nomination for coverage of the scandal.  The article implied that PSU had given TSM free use of facilities, when it was plainly reported that TSM had paid over $100,000 per year for room and board for its camps.  While the article tried to put a sinister spin on honest to goodness works of PSU student and alumni volunteers - with considerable focus on current and former football players -- PennLive omitted the role of development officials with addresses in Old Main.  PSU fundraisers Peter Weiler and Patricia Roenigk once sat on the charity's board.  Similarly, key board members of TSM, like Bob Poole and Ric Struthers, were also key fundraisers for Penn State's "For the Future" fundraising campaign.  The money going back and forth between the charity and PSU is much more telling than Nittany Lion Tips cards featuring pictures of PSU student-athletes.  The financial connections likely explain why the PSU BOT never made mention of TSM's child abuse reporting responsibilities in the Sandusky scandal.  

PennLive's coverage was equally poor in taking a hard look at the state agencies that let Sandusky roam the streets for decades. Nor did it look at the financial relationships between TSM and the child protective services, which were quite substantial for foster care over the last decade. Unfortunately, the media is not the only party who was complicit in the cover up of the failures of The Second Mile and DPW.  The judiciary had a role in that, too. 

The Judiciary Compromised?

Just seconds after lawyers closed their arguments at the July 2013 preliminary hearing, Judge Wenner slammed down his gavel and stated the case was bound over to court.  Apparently, he wasn’t listening to the testimony of the Commonwealth’s witnesses any closer than the media was.  But then Judge Wenner made an inappropriate, extra-judicial statement that had no place coming from an officer of the court:

“It’s a tragic day for Penn State University, to say the least.”

How is it even possible for an officer of the court to state a case being bound over for trial is tragic?  Is the judge operating under the assumption that the men are guilty?
Similarly, the rulings of Judges Feudale and Cleland also appeared to be very much aligned with the prosecution in the Sandusky and PSU Three cases.   

Based on the grand jury transcripts of the Spanier proceedings, it certainly appears that Judge Fuedale denied Spanier his right to be represented by counsel when he let the former President testify under the belief that CynthiaBaldwin was representing him.  Just moments before Spanier took the oath, Baldwin had told Feudale, "Yes, I represent the University, solely. It appears that Judge Feudale was in on the scheme to let PSU officials take the fall for the government's failures to protect kids.    

Judge Cleland seemed more concerned with making sure nothing rolled up on The Second Mile during the Sandusky trial.  Although he was brought in from McKean County due to the recusals of the Centre County judges, most of whom who had donated or had some connection to TSM, it appeared Cleland was in lock step with the prosecutors when it came to keeping the heat off the "victim factory." 

While the prosecutors said the trial had nothing to do with determining any responsibility on the part of Penn State or The Second Mile, Cleland appeared to make sure at least the latter would be true.  As the testimony was taking a turn that might have implicated TSM in the cover-up of Sandusky’s crimes, Cleland stopped the testimony of Agent Sassano cold.   Judge Cleland then asked Fina to approach the bench for a conference.  He then told Fina, “Let’s not blow this case at the end,” and advised Fina to speak to his witness (while the microphone was off).

The scales of justice have not been at all balanced in this case and the media is willfully ignoring it.  Two police officers were caught perjuring themselves at the Sandusky trial and the judge simply brushed it off as a matter for the jury to decide.   Judge Cleland allowed the prosecutors to change the location of the crime scene and the auspices of the Victim 8 incident right before the hearsay witnessed testified, essentially destroying the defense's arguments to the validity of that testimony. 

There has been very little fairness in the coverage of this scandal since Day One.  Guilt had been assumed from the moment the grand jury presentment was leaked.

At the press conference after the July 2013 preliminary hearing, one media member yelled at Caroline Roberto, “We’re going to report whatever we want to report.”  Roberto’s reply was that it was obvious based on the case by the coverage of the scandal up to that date.

Caroline Roberto’s press conference comments were on the money.  She stated that she was ready to argue the case that was presented in the Conspiracy of Silence presentment, but the Commonwealth didn’t present that case – a fact lost on the media (and Judge Wenner) completely.  To wit:

·       Cynthia Baldwin didn’t testify.  She is the ONLY person who could provide evidence that the PSU Three didn’t answer her requests for information.  The remaining witness (Corro, Belcher, and Cook) testified that they had turned information over to the OAG without interference from the PSU Three. How was the burden for obstruction of justice met at this hearing?  

·       No one corroborated McQuery's testimony How can the perjury charges against Curley and Schultz stand if no one else can verify what McQueary said to them about the 2001 incident. Those perjury charges should have been tossed.

·       No one from the Department of Public Welfare or the Centre County Children and Youth Services testified about the failure to report the incident in 2001.  These are the ONLY people who can conclusively say one way or the other that a report was not received.  The Commonwealth attempted to use Agent Sassano for this purpose, but his testimony revealed he never talked to anyone employed by DPW in 2001 and that his contact at CYS was a high level official, not the individual who would have worked “intake.”  How was the burden for failure to report and conspiracy met at this hearing?

·      Lisa Powers testified that Spanier kept the University officials in the dark about the case.  Apparently, this was to prove the Conspiracy of Silence among the PSU leaders, however, as Roberto pointed out (page 58 of July 30, 2013 Part 1 hearing), Feudale issued the non-disclosure order in February 2010.   This was at the exact time Baldwin had taken over as General Counsel and explains why Spanier was kept in the dark.   How was the burden of proof for a conspiracy of silence by the PSU Three, when it was the court that ordered PSU to be silent?


The real Conspiracy of Silence in this case is the media’s silence in reporting the facts that undermine the narrative of the guilt of the PSU Three.  If the media had an ounce of courage and decency, they’d report the facts that prove that Louis Freeh lied about what he found during his investigation at Penn State.  They’d report that there was misconduct by the prosecutors and the judges in this case.  And, most importantly, they’d report that three innocent men are being scapegoated for the past failures of Pennsylvania’s child protection system and notify Pennsylvania's parents their children are still at risk because of the Commonwealth’s failing system.

by Barry Bozeman

How top administrators with decades of exemplary service to Penn State unfairly maligned by pernicious lies, deserve your respect and support.


  1. Replies
    1. What bothers me most is that so few people have any clue as to what really happened. I live outside of Houston TX (a PSU alum) and a neighbor (Texas A&M grad) asked me about Dottie Sandusky abusing kids (among other things). I challenged him to learn more and sent him some info but like anyone else not close to the story or PSU, he won't and doesn't care. . . .

  2. Blehar,

    What are all these people protecting individually or collectively. Because this is bordering on sinister and evil!!

    1. There are lots of closets and lots of skeletons.

      You have the PA Govt, who doesn't want the public to know how badly it failed when it could have nabbed Sandusky in 1998.

      You have the PSU BOT, who railroaded Paterno & the PSU Three, in order to keep the heat off some distinguished alumni who are major donors.

      You have The Second Mile, who was covering up Sandusky's improprieties with children in order to keep the cash rolling in from donors.

      You have the DPW and CYS benefitting from the successes of Sandusky's charity.....they didn't want to do anything to undermine.

      You have victim's advocate groups staying silent because they don't want to speak out about PA's failing Child Protection System and risk getting their grants cut off.

      And you have the Patriot News, who sold PA's kids down the river, in order to get the best info on the Sandusky investigation and slant the story against PSU -- all for the almighty dollar.

      A lot of people acting in their own self-interest -- and in the end, PA's children get hurt.

      I don't know how those people sleep at night.

    2. Good summation! I was always worried about the judges and still am. The media is a given, and the rest are just slime. Hoover is still out there with some major interpretations of the law (or not).

  3. 4 good men were destroyed (there is no 'undo' button no matter when the truth comes out) as well as the reputation of a very reputable institution of higher learning. I couldn't be more frustrated with the media (especially local), the gov't, the BOT, and the sheep who bought into all of this. Anyone who knows anything about PSU, Paterno, Spanier, or Curley (the most public of the 4) know that their integrity was never in dispute and that they would never hide a crime to protect football. The whole notion is ludicrous.

    1. Look up the definition of INTEGRITY in the dictionary and you will see a picture of Joe Paterno.
      When you think of greedy politicians like Corbett, crooked lawyers like Baldwin, slimy media types> everyone of them afraid the truth will cost them their job and the self serving BOT members who cant steal enough taxpayer money, INTEGRITY is the last thing that comes into mind.

  4. Thank you, Ray!

    Some thoughts:
    1. Corbett actually stated Nov 2011 that any investigation of TSM would depend on new AG... i.e. not for ANOTHER year, at least??? Unbelievable.

    2. Could Baldwin seek justification for how she handled subpoenas in the language of her new office's policy... namely that SHE had the prerogative to decide how to respond and, in particular, in the absence of the to-be-developed procedures (which, conveniently, she was responsible for developing)??

    3. Could the OAG's harsh letter to Baldwin regarding noncompliance be a setting up of Spanier for yet another charge of behavior harmful to PSU? I.e., could Baldwin's stonewalling be an intentional exposure of PSU to legal liability (contempt), with the overall intent of further painting Spanier as negligent? "Cindy" was almost cute in the way she described her well-worn path to Spanier's office. HE was certainly the boss, calling all her shots.

    4. I always questioned why the initial call for emails targeted the PSU Three, Paterno, and McQueary. Why not key others such as Harmon, all football coaches, Wendall Courtney, and... gasp... outgoing BoT-Chair Baldwin??? How does the OAG justify this initial targeting of Paterno, Spanier, Curley, and Schultz???

    5. How does the PA media justify NOT calling out Baldwin for her direct role in exposing PSU to legal charges and financial liability? She moved from BoT member to BoT vice-chair to BoT chair to PSU counsel. How could she NOT be the focus of some reporter's investigation?? Maybe the Harrisburg reporters have bigger stories; maybe the regional reporters have bigger stories; but NO WAY do the local reporters have a bigger story than the takedown of PSU. If I were a Penn Stater, I'd have to insist that the local news editors/ publishers explain why Baldwin has not been investigated.