Sunday, April 12

The Silent 18's Settlement Decision Is Driven By Secrecy

The recent 18-6 vote to settle with Sandusky victims is further confirmation that the controlling majority of the PSU Board of Trustees will spend large sums of money to keep the truth hidden.

Ray Blehar

The vote in favor of the settlement resolution was 18-6.  

The 18 who voted for the resolution didn't provide any reason for their support.  The six who opposed all did and it was trustee Anthony Lubrano's statement that struck at the most likely reason PSU has decided to settle the pending lawsuits.

“Unfortunately, Penn State continues to pay almost three years later, and today we look to pay again.  But I say no more.  No more resolutions to approve settlements while denying trustees access to the materials used to prepare the Freeh Report; no more feeding at the trough of Penn State."

According to two independent sourcesPenn State (in 2013) provided settlements to all claimants who would accept below the $2 million per instance or $3 million aggregate limits, as provided by the University's liability insurance.   26 of 32 claimants were awarded settlements. Of the six claimants that were denied, three had requested more compensation than the the limit.  The University stated that the three other claims that were denied lacked merit.  However, it is more likely those claims were denied because the abuse fell in the period during which Sandusky was under investigation by the Attorney General (e.g., D.F. lawsuit).

Victims 6 and 9 were among the three claimants whose attorneys were not satisfied with accepting the "chump change" the University was offering.  Their attorneys pressed on with civil litigation and, as a result, were granted access to the documents used as source material by Freeh, as well as other information which could prove harmful the trustees who control the power base.  

Victim 9's lawsuit resulted in access to all 3.5 million documents used as source materials in the Freeh Report.  While PSU appealed the ruling to the Superior Court, the schedule called for the turnover of all documents by May 4, 2015, which was eventually extended to 29 May.  The pressure was on "silent majority" to make something happen to keep that information under wraps.

What Records Are Being Withheld and Why?

Some might recall that in the early stages of the investigation, Freeh vowed to investigate activities dating back to the mid-seventies.  However, according to documents obtained from Old Main, Freeh requested every "record ever created back to '69."  1969 was the year Sandusky was hired as a full-time assistant football coach.  Information from 1998 forward was used in the report, thus simple math reveals 29 years worth of information was excluded.  

Note that Freeh's charter was to investigate and report on the causes for all of the allegations that were published in the Sandusky grand jury presentment.  He failed to do so by excluding the incidents involving Victims 7 and 10, which predated 1998.  The reason for the omissions was obvious -- there was no evidence linking those crimes to Paterno or other PSU officials. 

In addition, the criminal proceedings in the Curley, Schultz, and Spanier case established that Freeh excluded a number of emails and documents from his report that would have shed light on the failures of the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare (DPW) and Centre County Children and Youth Services (CYS) during the 1998 investigation.  Among omitted documents were a handwritten note by Schultz that reported DPW had received the report from Dr. Alycia Chambers (denied by DPW's Jerry Lauro) and an email revealing CYS remained involved in the case until late May.  The Freeh Report stated CYS recused itself from the case in early May, citing a conflict of interest with The Second Mile.  

A full document dump could also result in exposure of the full, unadulterated, "critical" emails that were used by Freeh and the Attorney General as evidence against the PSU Three. Questions have been raised regarding the provenance on those documents because at least six different dates were provided for when they were turned over to the state police and/or Attorney Generals office.  The testimony of the Attorney General's forensics expert regarding anomalies in the emails was less than convincing.  If it is shown the "critical" emails were subjected to tampering, the narrative of a PSU cover-up scandal would be over (and replaced by the big question of who was behind the tampering).   

FYI: the top candidates would be Cynthia Baldwin and Louis Freeh.  Former officials from the PA Attorney General's office would be co-conspirators.

Other Information

While Victim 6's lawsuit did not yield access to all the Freeh documents, however it has resulted in obtaining a lot of other important evidence.   The court ordered Penn State to provide, among other things, the names of people who talked to Freeh investigators about any Sandusky shower incidents with boys from 1990 to 1998, complaints of sexual misconduct against any employee at the University Park campus from 1990 to 1998, and documents between Penn State and the NCAA from the time Sandusky was indicted to the issuing of the sanctions.

The documents between Penn State and the NCAA are likely among the information Penn State wants most to hide.  While the Corman v. NCAA lawsuit provided many emails between the two entities, Senator Corman stopped short of releasing all the documents obtained through discovery.  Those documents would likely provide more evidence confirming that Ken Frazier and Ron Tomalis had instrumental roles in authoring the Freeh Report and additional  evidence confirming that the University and the NCAA had an agreement from the outset to use the Sandusky scandal to penalize PSU football and Paterno.  No doubt, those revelations would send a shock wave across the country and lead to the end of the professional careers of Freeh, Emmert, and others who were involved in the deception.

As shown above, the information that might be revealed through discovery would be ruinous to Rod Erickson, Cynthia Baldwin, members of the PSU BOT inner circle, Mark Emmert, Louis Freeh, and Frank Fina.   All of those people took part in scapegoating PSU officials and/or Paterno for Sandusky's crimes.


In the cases of Victim 6 and Victim 9, the information being sought would most likely blow up the credibility of the Freeh Report.  Ironically, both of their lawsuits borrow heavily from the Freeh Report to make their claims that PSU was culpable for the crimes committed by Sandusky.  

Penn State could easily defend against the lawsuits by publicly rejecting the Freeh Report and then going into litigation with the evidence that undermines Freeh's findings.  Meanwhile, the plaintiffs would be in receipt of the evidence that disproves their cases -- and be left with nothing.  

When you get down to it, the Silent 18 voted to pay a large sum of money to settle cases the University would win.

Read more here:


  1. Ray, did you notice that Victim 6 is alleging that John Miller from CYS conducted an abusive interview with him? And that he continued to be involved in the case after that interview?

    Also, Miller, Terry Watson, Tom Harmon and Wayne Weaver were put under protective orders not to disclose anything about their GJ testimony? Schreffler and Lauro were free to speak but the aforementioned are not.

    1. EJ,
      I was not aware of those facts. Could you please post links?


    2. Victim 6's allegations are outlined in his 1/22/13 filing, which is the original complaint. Specifically pages 12-14. It is also mentioned in an answer to discovery requests from PSU, filed 2/12/15 on pages 69-71.

    3. Thanks, EJ.

      I believe the nondisclosure order arose from one of Feudale's decisons (mentioned in the Moulton Report). There was a Feb 2010 non-disclosure order to PSU as well.

      I'll go back and reread the original filing. I didn't recall statements about Miller.


    4. I checked out the filing and it is my opinion that Victim 6's lawyers is deflecting the concerns voiced by his client (when he was interviewed by Dr. Chambers). Chambers interview occurred after the first interview of Victim 6.

      I highly doubt Schreffler was concerned about getting Sandusky in trouble, since he told the press that he thought Sandusky should have been arrested and charged with lesser crimes.

      It wouldn't suprise me, however, if Miller was concerned about getting Jerry in trouble because he and CYS seemed reluctant to investigate the case.

      The lawsuit only specifies that "PSU investigators" intimidated him. As we know, there was only one detective from PSU.

      Bottom line is that this allegation of intimidation is a fabrication. As a matter of fact, most of the lawsuit against PSU is nonsense, considering Sandusky was acting without PSU's knowledge in 1998 and when the University found out, the police participated in the investigation with CYS, DPW, and the DA.

      The only thing keeping this lawsuit afloat is the fact that PSU (Frazier, Peetz, and Erickson) publicly accepted the Freeh Report. A public rejection -- after review -- would go a long way to defeating this lawsuit.

  2. Perhaps Barron can't be held to a rejection of the Freeh Report, but he certainly indicated that his assessment pointed to shoddy or inadequate work. Such that the Freeh Report was not a reliable witness as to PSU's responsibility for JSandusky's ability to commit crimes.

    At the least, Pres Barron should have to explain his support now of further payouts. Was the Freeh Report part of the argument in favor of the payouts?

    1. President Barron is no longer a voting member of the Board of Trustees so he may not have been involved in this decision. He may have privately opposed it but was ordered by the Board Chairman to keep his objections to himself. Secrecy is the norm at Penn State, not the transparency recommended by the Freeh Report.

      I think Ray is correct that the impetus for these larger settlements was to stop discovery and the trials to protect the Trustees and even outside entities, such as Second Mile, CYS, DPW and the Attorney General's office.

      Unless there is new evidence, I don't see victim 6 having a case worth anything close to the $2 to 3 million he was offered earlier.

      Victim 9 has a much stronger claim because the abuse was after 1998, and I think he could show Penn State police were negligent in 1998. Detective Scheffler wanted an arrest but chief Harmon closed the case and misfiled the investigation to cover up for Sandusky. The police took no precautions on Sandusky after 1998 either when they could have easily done so.

    2. Hiding the Freeh Report materials and other discovery requests are behind the latest settlement decision. The Freeh Report itself was used as arguments in the lawsuits of V9, V6, and D.F.

    3. Thanks, Tim. So the only check on BoT must come from Gov Wolf? Has he commented at all on the JSandusky-PSUBoT mess?

      If anyone demonstrates publicly that PSU Police Chief Harmon had no defensible reason to handle the 1998 case the way he did, then PSU goes down. Negligent and responsible for JS's continued criminal behavior.

      But what of DA Gricar's decision to not proceed against JS? If his decision preceded Harmon's, then PSU is off the hook, right??

    4. Gricar was probably right that he couldn't win the case without better evidence. It fell to DPW and Penn State police to get him better evidence. Police are free to keep a case open even if the DA declines to prosecute at that time.

      Harmon could have easily beefed up security in the athletics buildings in 1998, kept Sandusky under surveillance when he was on campus in the evenings and notified the staff to immediately report any men showering with boys. Harmon could have also notified Paterno, Spanier and the Trustees of a potential security problem without mentioning Sandusky's name.

    5. THANK YOU, Tim!

      OK. So the blame for JS's crimes post 1998 could have been laid, justifiably, on PSU police. Then legal pressure could have been put on Harmon to reveal who above him influenced his decision to do nothing, other than obscure the case file.

      Harmon could have made a deal for immunity in exchange for this info.

      SO... why wasn't Harmon a high-profile player in this mess? Why isn't Harmon part of the "PSU administrators + Paterno" group publically lynched? And why isn't Harmon awaiting trial with the PSU Three?

  3. I expect the 26 victims who accepted the "chump change" settlements will now feel gypped. Do they have any legal recourse to argue that Penn State negotiated in bad faith when they said settlements were based on the severity, timing and place of abuse?

    Clearly, the new, much higher settlements are to stop discovery and the trials, not based on the severity, timing and place of abuse.

    1. They signed agreements for no further lawsuits against PSU and The Second Mile. I wouldn't say the Board negotiated in bad faith with the claimants -- the bad faith was how the Board represented the University.

  4. This will all be forgotten in two years....hmm, who said that?

  5. So how did the BoT get Pres Barron to go along with the recent settlements?

    1. President Barron works at the pleasure of the BOT. He doesn't have a vote either. And, in my opinion, is little more than a useful idiot.

    2. Then he must have caused them serious displeasure with his initial public remarks on the shoddy work of Freeh.

      I really hate top-down power structures.