Tuesday, July 29

Patriot News, Part 7 of 9, Chapter 3, The Second Mile Cover-Up

DELETED: "We've had to tell him to back off certain kids before."
                                                                                                    -- Katherine Genovese, Nov. 2008


Ray Blehar

The Patriot News used the same tactics to cover up The Second Mile's failures as it did for covering up the failures of CYS, DPW, and the PA Attorney General's office.  Massive deletions of text, obfuscation of the facts, and failure to provide the proper context of TSM's actions kept the public in the dark about what was happening at the charity over the last decade and a half.

Deleting text - "We've had to tell him to back off certain kids before."

In August 2012, well after the narrative of a PSU cover-up had been firmly entrenched by the media and allegedly confirmed by the Freeh Report and NCAA Consent Decree, the P-N ran a five part special report about TSM's handling of the Sandusky abuse allegations.  While the series revealed that the charity had purposely decided to keep Sandusky's abuse finding from the public, it also revealed other damaging information about the charity's mismanagement and connections to Governor Tom Corbett.  

Katherine Genovese
Other media outlets had reported that information back in November 2011, however the P-N held out until August before it finally published the information.  

Among the key issues discussed was that TSM had prior knowledge of Sandusky's inappropriate behavior with children and that their solution was to simply tell him to back off that child (and  move him onto the next child).  The fact that all of Sandusky's victims were participants in TSM, confirms that this practice of moving Sandusky to the next child was how charity officials responded to reports of abuse.  Eventually, the quote from Genovese about telling Sandusky "to back off certain kids" was deleted from the free, on-line column, along with a lot of other potentially damaging information.

Deleted Text - Mismanagement of the charity & Corbett connections

The original column also discussed the non-transparent manner in which the charity operated with Raykovitz and Genovese as it leaders.  There were some board members of the charity who didn't know the couple was married.  In addition, Raykovitz and Genovese commanded generous salaries that also were not approved by the full board.  One board member resigned from the charity upon learning how much the couple made.

The column also revealed the charities ties to Governor Corbett via campaign donations and that Corbett had approved a $3M grant for the construction of TSM's Center for Excellence.   It also noted that Corbett knew Sandusky continued to raise funds for the charity while he was under investigation for child abuse.

Finally, allegations of a possible pedophile ring operating from the charity was also mentioned as well as allegations from Greg Bucceroni that Sandusky had propositioned him for sex in the 1970s.  

All of this information was scrubbed from the column at some point after November 15, 2012.

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

Failure to Corroborate Charity's Claims about Protecting Children

The P-N published multiple op-eds from TSM’s Executive Director, Dr. Jack Raykovitz in March and April 2011 and then a statement from the charity on November 4, 2011 when the arrest was announced.   All of them had the same theme -- that there had been no reports of abuse and protection systems were in place.  The P-N never sought to verify that statement.  If it had, it would have found (like KDKA and NBC) that Sandusky was allowed continued access to children after his abuse finding.  He attended the Summer Challenge camp in 2010 and had attended at least one banquet in 2009.  However, the proof that Sandusky continued to access was that he was convicted of abusing Victim 9 into the summer or early fall of 2009.

Failure to Provide Context of The Charity's Actions

Dr. Jack Raykovitz
Ganim's and the P-N's reports about TSM's actions in response to child abuse allegations (to borrow a quote from Poynter's Kelly McBride) failed to show "the appropriate morale outrage" and was "tone deaf."  For example, when it discussed Tim Curley's conversation with TSM Executive Director, Jack Raykovitz, the context was that Raykovitz  --  a mandated reporter under the statute and a licensed psychologist who worked in a child development practice -- should not have been alarmed by a report of Sandusky showering with children.  Any legitimate news organization would have recognized the report of the charity's founder and "face" showering with a child was the equivalent of a five-alarm fire. And, when it was reported that Raykovitz's solution was to tell Sandusky to wear swimming trunks when showering with the children, the P-N did not even blink.  Tone deaf?  You bet.

Similarly, the P-N expressed no concerns over the fact that Sandusky continued to have unfettered one-on-one access to children after the incident in 2001.  Sandusky broke practically every rule in the book concerning appropriate conduct with children involved in youth programs, but the P-N never mentioned that such rules even existed.

Hiding the Significant Relationships Between PSU and TSM

Robert Poole
While the P-N made much of Sandusky's role as a former football coach and the fact that former PSU football players and athletes in general helped out with TSM, the most significant relationships between PSU and the charity were never discussed.  The P-N's November 17 Pultizer prize winning report excluded identifying most of the individuals in positions of power and influence who were associated with the charity.   In addition, its five part series in August 2012 never once mentioned the name of the TSM Chairman of the Board, Robert Poole, who was a major TSM and PSU donor and had a significant number of construction contracts with PSU.   Poole was also selected to be the contractor for TSM's Center for Excellence, which was funded in part with grants from the PA and Centre County governments.

Ric Struthers

Similarly, it failed to mention board member, Ric Struthers, who was also a key donor to both organizations and had a major business deal with PSU to provide the official Alumni Association credit card.  According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the deal was worth $30 million to PSU.   Struthers had an additional deal that paid PSU $0.5M annually not to make deals with other credit card companies.  Struthers, his family foundation, and the MBNA/BoA foundations routinely donated to TSM.

Senator Jake Corman, and Corbett's newly appointed PSU BOT member, Cliff Benson, were among other TSM Board members that the P-N made false statements about to shield them from potential liability in the Sandusky scandal.  

The P-N bent over backwards for nearly a year to shield TSM from negative publicity resulting from the Sandusky scandal.  When it finally decided to write about the potential wrong-doing at the charity, it didn't tell the full story -- and ended up deleting some of the most potentially damaging information about the charity.

Read the full report here (29 pages).     http://www.march4truth.com/ray-blehar.html

Next: Chapter 2, Sara Ganim 


  1. what was the name of that "independent" investigator who wrote a scathing report about Paterno and the football program, but failed to disclose his working relationship with Ric Struthers at MBNA??? Louis Freeeh? Keep connecting the dots, Ray. P-N didn't report that, either.

  2. Jeffrey,
    Back in November, when the Freeh hire was announced, the P-N repeated the Inquirer's report about Struthers' association with Louis Freeh. However, as I stated above, the P-N didn't provide all the details of Struthers' relationships between PSU and TSM.