Thursday, July 24

Patriot News: Part 3 of 9: Chapter 7, The "Corbett" Cover-Up

The Patriot News deleted information and published known falsehoods to ensure that the public didn't learn about the botched Sandusky investigation and prosecution.

Ray Blehar

After the news of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse charges broke in November 2011, questions quickly surfaced as to why police took so long to arrest Sandusky after sex abuse allegations were made against him in November 2008.

Was the investigation dragged out by then AG Tom Corbett because he didn’t want to upset Penn State alumni voters during his gubernatorial campaign?  Could Corbett have charged Sandusky sooner (based on Aaron Fisher’s charges) and then built the case as other victims came forward?  Were children harmed as a result of the prolonged investigation?

A November 13th column titled “Inside the Jerry Sandusky investigation. Why did it take so long,” provided contradictory information about the AG’s supervision of the case.  At first, Sara Ganim correctly stated the case was transferred to Corbett in March 2009, but later in the column falsely reported that the AG began supervising the case in the fall of 2010.   She also reported that the case took off in January 2011 – after Police Chief Frank Noonan added additional state troopers. 

A check of Noonan’s biography revealed that he was promoted to the Chief of the Criminal Prosecution Division of the Attorney General’s office in July 2009, thus had responsibility for the Sandusky case prior to becoming State Police Commissioner.  Moreover, Noonan was not confirmed as State Police Commissioner until April 2011 (after being nominated on January 18, 2011).  But the recent Moulton investigation concluded that the additional resources were not a critical factor in identifying the victims.

On December 10, 2011, the P-N made a half-hearted attempt to address questions about the drawn-out investigation, but defended the probe by relying on the same falsehoods from the November 13th column.  Then in early January 2012, Sara Ganim (perhaps unwittingly) published potentially damaging information that revealed Sandusky could have been charged earlier. 

She reported that the police[1] had informed the mother of Victim 6 (in January 2011) that they had 400 counts against Sandusky and told her that they “had less evidence in murder cases.”  At that time, the public had been told there were only two victims, Aaron Fisher and the unknown Victim #2.   Ganim, via the mother of Victim 6, had revealed that there may have been other victims found earlier in the investigation.  However, at some point, the editorial board or Ganim scrubbed that information out of the free, on-line column.

Note: Full article can be obtained either by search of or by paying for archived version on PennLive.

Cover Up of Child Abuse During the Sandusky Investigation

The Sandusky trial revealed that one of the Victims was abused while Corbett was leading the investigation.  On June 14th, Matt Miller reported the testimony of Victim 9, who stated he was abused through his 16th birthday (in July 2009).   Columns published by the P-N on June 23rd, 2012 and on November 21, 2013 changed the end date of Victim 9’s abuse to 2008.  Similarly, Sara Ganim at CNN also wrote a column in November 2013 and she too changed the end date of Victim 9’s abuse to 2008.  On May 30, 2014, they again truncated the end date of the crimes to 2008.  Finally, after the Moulton Report was released the P-N wrote a column stating that there was no evidence on the public record that showed Victim 9 was abused during the Sandusky investigation.  It was a bald-faced lie, considering that the P-N had reported that fact in its post-trial coverage.

The Cover Up of Perjury and Questionable Testimony

One of Corbett’s standard defenses of his lengthy investigation has hung on the prosecution’s success -- Sandusky was convicted on 45 of 48 counts.   In other words, the ends justified the means. Apparently the P-N also ascribed to this theory when it obfuscated the fact that two policemen had lied under oath at the trial regarding their contamination of the investigation. 

In addition, right before the Sandusky trial, the P-N had learned that the OAG had obtained the 2001 emails of Schultz.  Obviously, the emails provided the evidence to change the date of the incident witnessed by McQueary from 2002 to 2001.  However, the P-N ignored the obvious and never questioned the testimony of Agent Sassano, who claimed to set the new date using TV Guides.  Even after Louis Freeh claimed his email discovery reset the date of the incident, the P-N never challenged the story of Sassano. 

Similarly, the P-N never questioned Sassano’s testimony about finding leads for Victims 9 and 10 in July 2011 and April 2011, respectively.   Both victims came forward after November 2011.

The instances of the P-N turning a blind eye to inconvenient facts in the Sandusky case were quite numerous – and they appeared to be intentional.

Next: Chapter 6: The Spickler Cover-Up

[1] Pennsylvania State Police did not participate in Geoffrey Moulton’s review of the Sandusky case, thus the information about the 400 counts was not confirmed by Cpl. Joseph Leiter.

1 comment:

  1. Corbett and his cronies want to have it all their way and play the public for mindless fools. They stand by the accounts of the 2 most horrific crimes (the McQuery incident and the janitor incident) because they were LUCKY enough to find 3rd party witnesses, but NEVER FOUND VICTIMS. Yet Corbett continues to assert that their could be no additonal victims during the investigations because they didn't find them? HUH??

    The Jedi mind trick and the P-N fully buys and promotes it.

    Corbett can not say that his and Noonan's tactics put public safety as the paramount concern. In fact thier tactics say they never even considered a strategy to protect the public while conducting the investigation. Every law enforcement agency and prosecution office in the US has standing regulations that public safety outweighs investigation and prosecution. I venture to guess that both the PSP and PA AG regulations have similar wording. The P-N again like bobble head dolls repeats the deception.

    It is mind boggling that they could have been so failing in leadership and the P-N justifys it as Corbett was "distracted."

    I think the P-N needs to have Charlie Thompson do one of his indepth investigative reports on how Law Enforcement gives serial offenders free passes as they spend years building a solid case. He might end up with an article with no examples, that is except for the Sandusky investigation.