Sunday, July 27

Patriot News, Part 5 of 9: Chapter 5, The DPW Cover-Up

The Patriot News went as far as to pretend the 1998 investigation of Sandusky didn't exist in order to cover up the failures of the PA Department of Public Welfare.

Ray Blehar

The cover-up of the failures of the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare (DPW) and Centre County Children and Youth Services (CYS) originated in the November 4, 2011 Sandusky grand jury presentment.  The PA Office of Attorney General’s (OAG) version of the incident involving Victim 6’s allegations of abuse in 1998 made little mention of DPW’s (Jerry Lauro’s) role in investigating and deciding the outcome of the case.  

The Public Welfare Code clearly states that investigations by law enforcement and child welfare officials may be joint, however, the welfare agency is solely responsible for determining if abuse took place.  The grand jury presentment obfuscated that fact and gave the public the impression that the 1998 investigation was conducted exclusively by the PSU campus police with the final decision of Sandusky’s fate in the hands of District Attorney, Ray Gricar.

The P-N dutifully reported the OAG’s deceptive story line, blaming Gricar for closing the child abuse investigation.  Later it would go a step further and treat the 1998 DPW investigation as if it never existed.  

It seemed that DPW was in the clear for not identifying Sandusky’s 1998 abuse for over a decade.  However, on March 23, 2012 the 1998 police report and the evaluations of Victim 6 were revealed to the public by NBC.  Remarkably, the P-N just so happened to conduct pre-emptive strikes about those reports in the two days leading up to NBC releasing this critical information to the public.   I hardly think this was a coincidence.

The Pre-emptive Strikes
On March 21, 2012, Ganim penned a column opining that Ray Gricar had closed the 1998 Sandusky investigation because of the evaluation of Victim 6 by unlicensed counselor John Seasock.  Seasock’s ’98 report would be released two days after that article ran.  Again, the timing of Ganim’s column was uncanny – as if she was told the Seasock report would soon be leaked to NBC.

Her assertion that Gricar closed the case based on Seasock’s report had flimsy support by the speculation of an unnamed source.   Conversely, DPW’s Jerry Lauro clearly told Ganim (in that column) that he had decided not to make an abuse finding because of a lack of evidence. 
“At that time, the information that we had wasn’t sufficient enough to substantiate a case,” Lauro said. “I don’t want [the mother] to think we didn’t believe their kid back then. We did, but we didn’t have enough.” 

However, the P-N ran the misleading story under the following headline:

Patriot-News exclusive: Psychologist's report might be reason Ray Gricar declined to bring charges against Jerry Sandusky in 1998

The column broke many rules of journalistic ethics, including: biased reporting, a sensational headline, the use of unnamed sources, reliance on speculative evidence, and reporting of known falsehoods.

At the time he evaluated Victim 6, Seasock was not even a licensed counselor, let alone a psychologist.  And, Lauro made it clear that it was his decision to evaluate the evidence to make the case or not against Sandusky.

However, Ganim and the P-N didn’t stop there.

Her March 22, 2012 column featured an interview with DPW’s Jerry Lauro who denied any knowledge of either evaluation of Victim 6.   But, Ganim had possession of the 1998 police report early in 2011 which revealed Lauro had actually arranged one of the evaluations.  Yet, she never called Lauro out for his patently false statement.  Instead, she knowingly regurgitated Lauro’s lie. 

Again, the P-N ran a further story under another misleading headline – this time blaming the PSU police for not sharing the reports with Lauro.  

Patriot-News Special Report: 1998 Jerry Sandusky investigator would have pursued dropped case if he had seen hidden Penn State police report

In familiar fashion, Ganim was one day ahead of the NBC leak of the police report to the national media.  And, as a result, the other media outlets absolved DPW and CYS of any responsibility for enabling Sandusky’s 14 year crime spree -- based on her (false) story that Jerry Lauro didn’t see any of the evaluations.

Interestingly enough, the evaluation by Dr. Alycia Chambers, which stated that Sandusky's behaviors appeared to be the "grooming" process typical to pedophiles, was never reported in any detail by the P-N.  In fact, the newspaper only mentioned Chambers by name twice during the scandal -- once in May 2012 when she was served a subpoena and in July 2011 when her car struck a deer.

Between the omissions in the grand jury presentment and the P-N’s false reporting, DPW made it through the scandal unscathed.  

The public never learned about DPW’s failures in 1998 and, as a result, believed that it was the lack of a PSU phone call in 2001 that enabled Sandusky to abuse children for 14 years.  The PSU “failure to report” story was strongly promoted by the P-N in op-eds regarding the strengthening of child abuse reporting laws.  These editorials also managed to avoid any mention that DPW had been called in three years earlier to investigate Sandusky and determined he was not a child molester.

As a result of the P-N’s reporting on the scandal, the public and the PA Task Force on Child Protection never learned about the true system failures that enabled Sandusky’s abuse.  None of the solutions offered by the task force attacked the problem of lack of adherence to procedures, which caused children to be harmed both times Sandusky was under investigation and which has led Pennsylvania to have one of the nation’s lowest rates of investigations per reported incidents of child abuse.

Go here for full report (18 pages).

Next: The CYS Cover-Up


  1. I think you and john zeigler need to team back up because for your side of this scandal to be right you also need to admit Sandusky was wrongly tried, rushed to trial. Too many victims knowing each other and with help of GREEDY lawyers helped to co oberate this whole set up. As I I said for each of your story's to be right, the other story has to be righted Ray !!! I agree with EVERYTHING you are saying but wouldn't that then may Sandusky being railroaded ?

    1. Kirby,
      Thanks for your comments, but Sandusky's guilt has been proven. With one notable exception, the problems with the trial were not about wrongly convicting Sandusky -- but were more about the prosecution putting Penn State on trial (and shielding others from blame).

      If anything, the prosecution really held back on going after Sandusky and limited the witnesses to mostly those who were abused on PSU's campus. Had the state brought forth other victims, who claimed the same types of abuse as Victims 5, 6, and 7, there would have been dozens more victims. More victims were found in the Spring of 2013 from evidence uncovered in Sandusky's basement in July 2011.

      The people being railroaded are Tim, Gary, and Graham.

    2. Ray,

      By claiming that there "would have been dozens more victims", without documented proof, aren't you engaging in the same type of journalism that you are accusing the Patriot News and other media sources? Wouldn't it be fairer to say that there would have been dozens more "accusers"?

      Isn’t this type of spin what ESPN and the PA OAG did?

      Please stick to documented facts and indicated opinion when it is just opinion.

    3. Ck,
      As of today, we know that there were accusers 11-17. We also know that the police admitted that several children made similar claims to Vs 5, 6, and 7, but they didn't present those witnesses at the trial.

      We also know the police interviewed at least 50 children from The Second Mile, but did so only one time. In CSA cases, most children deny they are abused the first time they are asked, however, they disclose their abuse incrementally.

      Based on my sources in law enforcement, the total count of victims/accusers stands at 52.

    4. "Accusers" is the key word. We also know that based on your excellent research that there are taped recordings of investigators coercing "accusers" to embellish their testimony.

      Given the data that you provide, couldn't the Sandusky supporters say that there are up to 52 instances of potential witness tampering? A lot can be claimed when no proof is required (See Freeh report and the Grand Jury Presentment)..

      All I'm saying is a lot of this is opinion and assumptions. All we really know is that 1) no forensic evidence exists. 2) no credible corroborating witness exist 3) evidence does exist that some witnesses were coerced 4) some accusers/victims were paid large sums of cash and 5) Sandusky has been convicted on this evidence.

      I'm not saying he is not guilty, But there is much to create skepticism. I say let the other website address Sandusky's guilt or innocence and keep this one to supporting the PSU administrators.

    5. Agree. Any conclusions should be based on facts in evidence. We know that victims 5,9, and 10 were caught in BAD lies. Aaron Fisher, Mike McQueary, and Louis Freeh are pathological liars. McQueary's Gambling and Sexting makes the all knowing Joe Paterno the clueless Joe Paterno. Freeh lied to cover up his illegally obtaining leaked information from OAG.

      That Kathleen Kane has done nothing to set the record straight regarding the Presentment, Janitor Hoax, and perjured testimony is baffling. I think that she is in way over her head. She is also impaled on the tines of a fork.

    6. I agree. Let Ziegler work the Sandusky questions while he continues to focus on the media wrong-doings. Ray, I hope you remain focused on figuring out how (and why) the Sandusky case was transformed into a PSU sex scandal.

      We all have opinions, some more substantiated than others. The value of notpsu, I believe, is that we followers can expect strong cases to be laid out for whatever direction things are taking.

      I, for one, hope that your energy remains strong enough to figure this whole damn thing out! Of course, learning enough to know the extent of JS's sexual actions with boys would be a real bonus. Maybe, when all else is figured out, you could share details of things you're privy to so that we could weigh these against all the non-credible things that came out at JS's trial.


    7. Gregory,
      Based on new evidence, the jury likely erred in the not guilty verdict for indecent assault on Victim 5. I think you are rushing to judgment on Kane.


    8. Becky,
      I'm in the midst of a nine-part series on the Patriot News' meda malpractice (if you haven't noticed). As the lead reporter on the scandal, they had much to do with this being painted as a Penn State sex scandal.

      Certainly, Sandusky being innocent changes everything and it was an alternative I considered, however, the evidence overwhelmingly rules out that alternative. The bottom line is that the first people to fail to identify Sandusky as a molester were the DPW/CYS officials in 1998. It was not because of a lack of evidence.


    9. Ray, I agree with Mr. Vernon on his take of Kathleen Kane's inability to set the record straight. Her chance was with the Moulton report. It took over a year and none of your findings were addressed, and the scope of the "investigation" was intentionally narrow. So the question still remains, why?

      All we need to do is look back to Kane's original statement of "Corbett probably played politics with the Sandusky issue". Her statement was a red herring presented in the form of a false dichotomy. She knew she could construe an answer of "no evidence was found to indicate Corbett ignored Sandusky for political reasons." She offered up a false dilemma, or a black and white choice to the public.

      So all of the money to pay Moulton was a severe waste because it was based on a false premise. Again, we have to ask, why? Why would she try to divert the public from what appears to be the more serious issue of enabling sexual exploitation of children by her employer, the PA state government? The real answer is, as you say, the safety of children was trumped by money. So Kane has children and she claims to care, but she appears to be complicit in furthering the state government deception. I believe this is cowardly and immoral, and she needs to do the right thing.

      I believe Kane wants to do the right thing, but she's frightened. And I certainly believe she has more of a conscience than Tom Corbett ever had. So I look forward to her finding her courage so she may act upon her conscience.

  2. In 1998, Republicans controlled the Office of Attorney General while Tom Ridge was Governor.

  3. I agree that Jerry Lauro's cursory investigation is mainly responsible for the failure to stop Sandusky in 1998. I hope he is forced to testify at some of the upcoming trials, and the defense questions him about his previous denials of known facts.