Friday, June 26

The Lion Roars: Tutko Part 2: False Narrative Whitewashes CYS Failures


Part 1 of this series covered the summary of how Child Protective Services failed to save Jarrod Tutko Jr. over more than a dozen referrals spanning 20 years. In this second part you will see that just like the Sandusky case, the grand jury report regarding the death of Jarrod Tutko Jr. creates a false narrative and whitewashes the failures of our state child protection agencies.

Sunday, June 14

The Lion Roars: PA Child Protective Services Are A Mess (Part 1)


Regular readers of this blog know that I take a particular interest in the child welfare issues that were exposed by the Jerry Sandusky Scandal which exploded in 2011. That is the fact that Pennsylvania has one of the worst systems around. Two cases of particular note that I have followed are that of Christopher Lee in Boalsburg and also of the late Jarrod Tutko Jr. in Dauphin County.
Jarrod Tutko Jr. was reported dead to police by his mother on 01 August 2014  . It was then discovered that he had been dead since at least 29 July 2014 inside the family home and as the press and others investigated many more issues were discovered. It was found that far from being surprising or caught off guard, the Tutko’s were on Dauphin CYS (and other PA and NJ agencies) radar for decades. These issues led to the convening of a Pennsylvania grand jury to investigate the circumstances surrounding Jarrod Jr.’s case. That report has now been released and the results are truly amazing.

Thursday, June 11

PS4RS Penn Live Op-Ed: Review of Child Protection System Needed

The following Op-Ed was run by PennLive 

By Maribeth Roman Schmidt

The grand jury report on the death of Jarrod Tutko, Jr. of Harrisburg shines a bright light on Pennsylvania's dysfunctional child protection system.

The report reveals that Dauphin County Children and Youth Services received reports about the Tutko children in 2006, 2008, 2010 (two reports), and yet again in 2013. the county agency failed to investigate the 2006 and December 2010 referrals.

It investigated the 2008, February 2010, and October 2013 referrals, but took no action.
On July 29, 2014, less than one year after the last visit from Children & Youth Services, Jarrod Tutko, Jr. died.

He was nine years old but weighed just 16.9 pounds, the average weight of a six-month-old boy.

His feet were caked with blue carpet fibers and feces that had actually become embedded in his skin. Jarrod's sister was also in respiratory distress, malnourished, and filthy.

When the grand jury report was released, Chief Assistant District Attorney Sean McCormack said there was "case after case after case of situations where caseworkers are in homes, and they don't know what they're looking at."

Turning back the clock to November 2011, when then-Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly released the grand jury presentment that led to the conviction of Jerry Sandusky, she didn't talk about the need for better training for Children & Youth Services employees.

But as in the Tutko case, child welfare authorities failed to act. They did not identify Sandusky as a child molester when he was first reported in 1998.

The police report, interview transcripts, and other documents reveal that numerous signs of possible sexual abuse were uncovered during the 1998 investigation.

Despite multiple warnings, the Pennsylvania agencies charged with child welfare inexplicably determined that Sandusky wasn't a danger to children.

Yet, the Attorney General's Office has repeatedly emphasized Penn State's purported reporting failures, causing the public to believe that a simple phone call to ChildLine could have stopped Sandusky.

Unfortunately, the reforms made in the wake of the Sandusky case have focused almost entirely on reporting.

Both the Sandusky and Tutko cases show that Pennsylvania needs to implement paradigm-shifting changes to ensure that reports are properly investigated. Reports that are ignored do no good.

As we have pointed out many times before, the sensationalization of the Sandusky case has obfuscated lessons that should have been learned from this tragic case.
But it is never too late to learn. The time has come to review the operations of all Pennsylvania child welfare agencies, and make meaningful reforms based on those reviews.
The safety of Pennsylvania's children depends on it.

Maribeth Roman Schmidt is the executive director of  Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship, an organization that seeks an overhaul of the Penn State University Board of Trustees.

Read More: Grand Jury report reveals agency in disarray

Read More: The full Tutko grand jury report

Saturday, June 6

New Partner Sites: The Lion Roars, JimmyW, Restore PSU's Good Name

In order to ensure that you can find the latest information on the Sandusky scandal and its aftermath, three new partner sites have been added to this blog.  


Restore Penn State's Good Name - Bill Levinson's blog - bringing you updated news and commentary on PSU Board of Trustee reform (and misdeeds).

The Lion Roars - John Yonchuk's blog.  John covers a variety of topics, with a focus on child protection issues
On Twitter @No1Lion99

 JimmyW's Blog  Jimmy is a top notch researcher who provides meticulously detailed information of the scandal.On Twitter @JmmyW

New Monitor, Same Snow Job (Letter to Editor, CDT)

The CDT changed the title from what is posted above to the title below.

Letter to the editor: Spin from Old Main dizzying
June 6, 2015

Penn State’s new athletics integrity monitor, Charles Scheeler, put his stamp of approval on Old Main’s self-assessment of its progress in improving the university.
The AIA’s report is like the Freeh report in that it draws predetermined conclusions with little supporting evidence.
On Page 10, it concludes that the increased number of secondary violations reported was due to the increase in the number of compliance staff. It also reports increasing questions about rules interpretation. However, it is more likely that the increases are due to the NCAA revising its violation structure from two tiers to four in August 2013.
No statistics were provided about the increase/trend in violations.
On Pages 4 and 5, the report turns to feedback received from employees that revealed that many are concerned about retaliation if they report wrongdoing. Again, no statistics were provided to show the pervasiveness of the problem. Its only example of retaliation was drawn from the (highly dubious) 2000 janitor incident, and it makes no mention of Mike McQueary’s whistleblower lawsuit.
Finally, the university — Scheeler — reported that 35 youth protection reports were received in 2015, but doesn’t specify if they were to ChildLine, PSU’s youth compliance specialist, or to PSU’s ethics hotline.
It states the number has increased over last year, but is this a positive or negative development? Who knows?
This report is more PR spin for Old Main and a waste of university resources.

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