Tuesday, July 22

Patriot News: Part 2 of 9: Chapter 8, Not Anal Rape

When "anal rape" was an allegation in the Sandusky case it was repeated again and again.  When "anal rape" became an acquittal, it was subject to a media blackout.

Ray Blehar

The November 5th, 2011 grand jury presentment's statement that a young boy was "being subjected to sexual intercourse by a naked Sandusky" resulted in public outrage at Penn State.  Media broadcasts and newspapers repeated the story that McQueary had witnessed Sandusky raping a boy in the PSU locker rooms for days on end.  

That media drumbeat resulted in Paterno and Spanier losing their jobs -- primarily because of  that single (inflammatory) allegation.

On November 11th, Sara Ganim, after meeting with her editors and local DAs,  began reporting the incident as an "anal rape" instead of the legal term Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse. Allegedly, this was to save "copy" in her columns.   However, her report about McQueary's report of an "anal rape" would be proven inaccurate about one month later.

The December 16th, preliminary hearing testimony of Mike McQueary proved the falsity of the Sandusky grand jury presentment’s statement that he had reported seeing Sandusky engaged in sexual intercourse with a young boy.  It also refuted the Patriot News (P-N) story that McQueary had  reported an “anal rape” to Paterno.

McQueary testified[1] that he never used the words “anal or rape in this since day one” in discussing the incident with Paterno.[2]   

The reports by the OAG and the P-N claiming that McQueary provided graphic details of that incident to Paterno caused a media firestorm and caused irreparable harm to PSU.  

The P-N's error was so egregious that it should have resulted in a front page correction and perhaps even an apology.  Those never came.  In addition, the P-N also never criticized the OAG for publishing that known falsehood in the grand jury presentment.  It was clear that the paper of record didn't care about accuracy in its reporting -- it was more concerned with sensationalism.

The McQueary incident, regardless of all the other facts in the case, was the whole “Penn State sex scandal” in the eyes of the public.  

And the P-N was not about to let the public know they got a major fact of the story wrong.

From November 2011 up until the trial, the public perception never changed because corrections were never made.  

The scenario remained: McQueary had seen a rape on PSU’s campus and that PSU had covered it up.   

The media likely expected that the Sandusky trial would prove the first half of that scenario.

Then it didn’t.

When the verdicts were returned, the jury did not believe Mike McQueary had witnessed a rape.  The charge of Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse (IDSI) in the Victim 2 incident resulted in a not guilty verdict.  It was one of only three not guilty verdicts in the case, while 45 counts went the other way.

The incident – and more specifically, the allegation that inflamed the public against PSU resulted in a not guilty verdict barely garnered any “copy” in the first two days of the P-N’s post-trial reporting. 

Of the nine stories (list below banner at bottom) the P-N ran covering the trial verdicts in the two days following the trial, only one sentence in one story specifically addressed that not guilty verdict.  Sara Ganim’s column, titled, “Jerry Sandusky verdict: Guilty verdict met with rousing applause on courthouse lawn” contained this passage:

“His wife, Dottie, showed emotion only when the first not “guilty count” was read. It was for involuntary deviate sexual intercourse in the case of Victim 2 -- the assault assistant coach Mike McQueary says he witnessed in a Penn State shower in 2001.”

A story on the jury's deliberations ran on June 24, 2012 and cited the jury foreman Joshua Harper, who explained why the jury acquitted.   It was the only other story go further than to just list the acquittal. 

Former Penn State assistant football coach Mike McQueary testified about seeing Sandusky with a boy in the Penn State football building showers in 2001.

McQueary said he never actually saw penetration by Sandusky, meaning the rape charge would not stand. But after reviewing testimony, Harper said the close contact McQueary did see was enough to carry the day for indecent contact and three other counts.

Others in the media followed the P-N’s lead and simply repeated that Sandusky was convicted on 45 of 48 counts --  with no mention of the most important charge in the case resulting in an acquittal.   
As a result, many in the media and the public continue to believe the false story that McQueary witnessed and reported a rape to PSU officials.  

For an incident that caused a media firestorm when it was an allegation, it caused a virtual media blackout as an acquittal  

[2] http://www.dauphincounty.org/government/Court-Departments/CurleySchultz/12-16-Preliminary-Trial-Transcript.pdf, page 72 “I never used the term anal or rape in this from day one.”  Page 72, “Would you have ever used the term sodomy with Coach Paterno?” “No, never.”

Later this week: Chapter 7: The Corbett Cover-up

Jerry Sandusky verdict: Complete breakdown of charges | PennLive ...

Jerry Sandusky verdict: Victim 1's mom says 'I cried, I'm very happy ...

Jerry Sandusky verdict: Guilty verdict met with rousing applause on ...

Jerry Sandusky verdict: Sandusky found guilty of 45 of 48 abuse ...

Jerry Sandusky verdict: More on the 10 victims | PennLive.com

Jerry Sandusky verdict: Penn State wants to settle with victims ...

Jerry Sandusky verdict: Investigations continue of Penn State ...

Jerry Sandusky verdict: Gov. Tom Corbett commends the victims ...

Jerry Sandusky verdict: Penn State says, 'We accept responsibility ...


  1. Great investigation, Ray. Love your style here of presenting Chap 9, then 8, next 7... of course this really puts the pressure on you to blow our socks off with some grande finale!!

    Thanks again for your incredible time and efforts here. I agree with a previous commenter: too bad you weren't hired to do the "Freeh" report (and got filthy rich doing it! If Matt Sandusky earned $2 million for his efforts, you certainly deserve $10+ millions!).

    1. Thanks for the kind words.

      I think Chapter 3 will probably be the best.