Wednesday, March 16

Corbett's Grand Jury Lie

Former AG Tom Corbett's rationale for the inpaneling of the Sandusky grand jury in 2009 doesn't square with the facts in evidence

Ray Blehar

As I was reading Brad Bumsted's "Keystone Corruption, A Pennsylvania Insiders Guide to a State Gone Wrong" last week, I  came across an interesting statement attributed to Tom Corbett on page 196 about his reasoning behind using use of a grand jury in the Sandusky case.

Corbett's grand jury rationale
doesn't square with the facts.
"Corbett said the grand jury was needed to compel testimony and because of the complexity of proving a cover-up."

That statement doesn't square with the facts.

On May 1st 2009, the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General submitted the Sandusky investigation to the Thirtieth Statewide Investigating Grand Jury.  On May 5th, the case was accepted.

According to evidence, Aaron Fisher was the only known victim until the eventual Victim 6 was identified in January 2011.  Moreover, according to the Moulton Report (page 148), in August 2010, Corbett agreed with other prosecutors that the case shouldn't be charged due to the lack of victims.

Early August 2010. Fina, Sheetz, and Ryan meet with Corbett to discuss the status of the Sandusky investigation. Corbett affirms their recommendation that the case should not then be charged and that the search for other victims should continue. 

Corbett's response to the Moulton Report, filed by his attorney Mark Zimmer on June 11, 2014, did not provide a reason for using a grand jury, other than it was a choice made by "career prosecutors."  

More importantly, however,  the response stated that the Commonwealth did not have sufficient evidence to justify a search warrant for Sandusky's home until police interviewed Victim 7 (February 2011) and Victim 4 (April 2011) -- who provided the "fresh evidence" to justify a search warrant.

There are several credibility issues associated with the Corbett response.   Notably, the "fresh evidence" obtained in 2011 pertained incidents that occurred in Sandusky's home from 1996 through 2000, thus were of incidents five to thirteen years earlier than those reported by Fisher.   

Next, if this "fresh evidence" of "use of his residence for pedophilia" provided the basis for an airtight search warrant, then why did it take until June 20, 2011 to request it?

Finally, and most importantly, if there was not sufficient evidence to justify a search warrant of Sandusky's home until the spring of 2011, then Corbett's assertion that the Sandusky grand jury was inpaneled to prove a cover-up was a lie.

But don't expect an "insider" and ace reporter like Brad Bumsted to ever figure that out.


  1. Tom Corbett has, at least, a total of 14 years of intimate knowledge of reported sex crimes against children within PA. Especially with 10 of those years being served as the PA Attorney General. Anyone with a brain can figure out that Corbett was aware of early reports about Sandusky's child abuse and the Diocese child abuse. So by pulling up "fresh" 13-year-old information to justify a search of Sandusky's home, Tom Corbett proves he ignored reports of child sexual abuse in PA. That is, until it could benefit him politically. He would then repackage the old ignored reports as "fresh evidence".

    The pattern is clear within the pre-Kane PA government--if it's a religious institution (Second Mile, Arrow Ministries, Catholic Diocese) reported for serial child sexual abuse, ignore it.

    The National Whistleblower's Center (NWC) sent a letter to PSU President Rodney Erickson warning him about Freeh's apparent intentional mishandling of an FBI North Dakota child sex abuse investigation. The letter is from a highly decorated and respected 25 year veteran of the FBI, Jane Turner. She experienced intense retaliation from Freeh for pointing out evidence he was ignoring during the investigation. It became clear to her that Freeh was actually protecting the perpetrators of the child sex abuse crimes. So Puppet President Rodney Erickson receives this warning letter about Louis Freeh and his misconduct in investigating child sex crimes, and he doesn't fire Freeh? Did Erickson just ignore the letter? Just like Tom Corbett ignored reports to his office of institutional child sex abuse? And finally there's the letter to three law enforcement officials in PA. One of which was Karen Arnold, the assistant DA to Ray Gricar in Centre County. It was a letter from an attorney representing child victims of pedophile priests seeking some sort of redress. At the very least, it was hoped the letter would lead to an investigation. It did not, it was ignored and the attorney never received a reply. Interestingly, Karen Arnold is the same assistant DA that had the Sandusky file removed from her charge after only three days. It was Ray Gricar that took the Sandusky file away from her so quickly. Was it because he found out she ignored child sex abuse reports? Did he, himself, want to make sure a real investigation happened into the abuse reports about Sandusky? Did taking the Sandusky file away from Karen Arnold anger someone? Karen Arnold needs to be deposed and explain why she ignored the Diocese letter and why DA Gricar took the Sandusky file from her so abruptly. There is always an explanation when an assignment is taken away by a supervisor. Even if it's superficial, there's a reason given for taking away such an important assignment. But the best Karen Arnold can come up with when asked why Gricar took the Sandusky file from her is, "I don't know, I'm not a mind reader".

    So there we have it, three huge warnings to PA law enforcement about institutional sexual abuse of children and the mishandling of its investigation gone completely ignored. How is this a Joe Pa problem?

    1. Truthseeker,
      You have it right.

      On one hand, Corbett was lying about his rationale for the grand jury. As I wrote in my blog on evidence suppression, Corbett had no plans to prosecute Sandusky -- until he realized he could use the Sandusky case to take down Graham Spanier.

      As for Corbett's comments about proving a cover-up, well, as you said, Corbett knew the cops & DPW were covering for certain perpetrators and institutions. Perhaps that was a bit of slip by Tom.

      As I've written, there is evidence to support that the OAG knew about the 1998 incident as early as June 2009 and we also had the mother in that case complaining that the cops told her the OAG wasn't going to press charges in her son's case.

      I also have little doubt, given that the anonymous email tip showed up the day after Corbett's election, that the OAG was sitting on that evidence too.

      As for Karen Arnold, I only have uncorroborated hearsay regarding why the case was taken from her in 1998. As for the latest news, the letter sent to her in 2002 contained one reference to an incident of child molestation taking place in State College and one of an incident in Bellefonte. The incidents were likely outside the statute of limitations for prosecution, however I agree that Arnold should be deposed about those incidents and if she recalls any steps she took to address them. However the other incidents in that letter that were allegedly reported to Cambria County CYS are indeed a problem.

      As to the NWC letter, you are again correct that Erickson ignored the letter once PSU hired Freeh to justify the firing of Paterno.

      In closing, Tom Corbett had plenty of cover-ups to investigate, but instead of doing that, he and the rest of the crooked prosecutors fabricated that one took place at PSU.

  2. Ray - I agree that victim 1's testimony that he was sexually abused repeatedly in Sandusky's home should have been sufficient grounds for a search warrant.

    Even if a judge rejected a request for a search warrant, that would have been on the judge, not the AG's office. It seems like very poor police work not to have requested a search warrant for a crime scene.

    Sandusky knew he was under investigation in late 2008 because he was abruptly terminated from his volunteer coaching job at Central Mountain High School. Since there was no longer an element of surprise, did Corbett's investigators ever just ask Sandusky for permission to search his home?

    Was there any significant evidence recovered from Sandusky's home when the search warrant was served? I can't remember any.

    1. Tim,
      Thanks for your comment. BTW, I answered your comment on the previous blog just the other day, so make sure to check that out (if you haven't already done so).

      Obviously, the idea that the OAG needed fresh evidence of a crime being committed in Sandusky's home to get a warrant is ludicrous. That's like saying that you couldn't get a warrant for a six month old murder and needed allegations of another murder to convince a judge to get a warrant. I can't believe Corbett's attorney actually wrote that crap.

      Zimmer was formerly the head of the PCCD, which Corbett also ran at one time. The PCCD happens to be the agency that gives out grants to Youth Service Organizations for juvenile rehabilitation programs. Interesting, eh?

      The warrant of Sandusky's home resulted in police finding ample evidence. Investigators obtained TSM participant lists (with asterisked names), photo albums, and other materials that COULD have helped identify victims. Unfortunately, the police didn't use most of it and when they did, it was to corroborate testimony of some of he existing victims.

      Victim 10's name was on one of those lists. He came forward on his own after the charges were announced.

      D.F.'s name was also found. The OAG contacted him in April 2012, and he claimed to be abused during the active investigation between 2008 and 2009. I reviewed the his civil lawsuit and found his version of events to be very much the same as the case of Victim 10. As such, Fina selectively decided not to prosecute this case because of it showing D.F. was abused as the investigation languished.

    2. And, of course, we all know that there was a "special relationship" between the PA OAG office and the PA Judiciary...

  3. You guys go round and round on this it's right in front of you but you are in denial. No one in Corbetts office believed AF so the played it safe with GJ and 3rd time around needed more Vics so investigators as on tape told Vics there were others and when slime ball lawyer got involved their stories changed to maybe he was grooming. Wake up you guys. Your are the worst investigators ever. Follow evidence, don't look for evidence to fit your suspect.

    1. James,
      Thank you for reading the blog and your comment.

      Perhaps you're not a frequent reader because it appears you are not aware of the order in which the victims were identified. That's been covered many times on the blog -- and in the Moulton Report.

      Only ONE victim was identified after Victim 4 (the victim caught on tape) was interviewed -- that was Victim #3. All the rest of the Victims were identified prior to that.

      That said, Victims 1, 5, 6, and 7 couldn't have changed their accusations based on what Victim 4 (or his lawyer) said.

      I believe that Sandusky's appeal uses the same erroneous argument. Even worse, the appeal claims that it was Sara Ganim's March 2011 newspaper article on the grand jury that led to victims coming forward. That's not true either.

      If Sandusky believed he had an incompetent lawyer at the first trial, then he'll be very unhappy to find out that the guy who is representing him now (AL Lindsay) is worse than Amendola.

      When a lawyer puts exhibits in an appeal that contradicts the key points of the appeal, that is the height of incompetency. It's as if Lindsay and his legal team wrote his appeal based on media reports.

      In closing, I'll make the same recommendation you did -- follow (or n your case, LEARN) the evidence of the case.

    2. James,
      One other thing you may not be aware of here is that F.P. and F.A., who both attended high school with A.F., had similar accounts as Victims 6 and 7. F.P. admitted to wrestling and showering with Sandusky -- like Victim 6. F.A. had a similar account of Victim 7 regarding Sandusky's touching him on the leg. One other CMHS student was interviewed and gave a similar account as F.A.

      These three individuals were interviewed early in the investigation by the state police -- before the case went to the AG. All mentioned they had met Sandusky through The Second Mile. Plus Turchetta and Miller -- interviewed early on -- also confirmed Sandusky met the kids through the charity.

      The million dollar question is why the PA state police, then the AG, didn't make a more concerted effort to find children associated with The Second Mile (through interviewing volunteers, parents, etc) -- rather than relying on A.F. to identify other victims.

      The AG avoided getting a subpoena for the charity until January 2011. Care to explain that? Do you really think this was about A.F.'s credibility as a witness? If so, then you've been suckered by the media.

    3. So one has to wonder, as you point out to James Rattigan here in your last sentence. So many Pennsylvanians have been intentionally misled by the so-called legitimate media here. If we can't trust our newspapers to give us an accurate account of what is actually going on in our government, how can we trust our government? This PACN(PA Corruption Network) includes the media with specific reporters. These reporters should stand trial under federal RICO laws for knowingly publishing falsehoods to protect corrupt government officials. As you point out in your January 24th blog, "The PACN's Grand Jury Abuses and More", two reporters with the Philadelphia Inquirer, Angela Couloumbus, and Craig McCoy should stand trial for their published deception. And of course reporters, Brad Bumstead, John Micek, and Sara Ganim, are huge players in protecting the PACN. And they are fools because their lies and omissions are published there in print for all eternity. And as the truth slowly unfolds, the citizenry can compare those lies to that truth. So it becomes clear that these reporters are willfully covering up organized corruption within the PA government. These reporters I have named think they are safe because they invoke the Shield Law to hide behind. But if we can prosecute these faux journalists under the RICO laws and prove they were/are protecting serial institutional child abuse, they will see prison. To Brad Bumstead, Sara Ganim, John Micek, Angela Couloumbus, and Craig McCoy, you need to get on the right side and start writing the truth. It would be the smart way of showing you have a conscience and won't continue to protect the weakening criminal government.

    4. Truthseeker,
      I'm not a lawyer, but if it could be proven that there was quid pro quo between the reporters and Tom Corbett, et al, then there might be a chance to prosecute. Leaks in the Bonusgate and Sandusky cases seemingly went to the Patriot News (beneficiaries were Charlie Thompson & Jan Murphy on the former, Ganim on the latter). Similarly, it was proven by Kane's investigation that Feudale leaked to Coloumbus and McCoy.

      The newspaper can't be faulted for publishing leaked information, however, reporters have done jail time for contempt for not revealing sources (happened in the Valerie Plame case).

      The reality is that since these reporters are in PA, they'll never be prosecuted. The best we can hope for is that they become "stars" in a documentary about how they protected the PA Corruption Network.

      Perhaps when I retire, I can get to work writing the script.

  4. I believe a key point was made many months ago. People associated with The Second Mile made significant political contributions to Republican candidates for the Office of Attorney General. It was Kathleen Kane who broke the 32-year Republican control of OAG.

    The truth must see the light of day.

    1. Elroy,
      The Moulton investigation didn't find a DIRECT link between Second Mile donations and the lag in the Sandusky investigation.

      Interestingly, I saw a video of Tom Corbett stating that he never did anything by email (didn't leave a paper trail). Also, when Kane's investigation started, Corbett said she won't find that he committed any crimes. Wow. Who would even say something like that -- except perhaps someone who was covering up crimes!!

      It is very possible Corbett was part of the obstruction of justice in the PSU 3 case -- I will write about that soon. But the real "tell" was the anonymous email tip the day after he won the gubernatorial election in 2010.

      To make an analogy, it was like the First National Bank of Harrisburg got robbed on Tuesday and on Wednesday Corbett was seen driving a Lamborghini.

    2. Elroy,
      Much was made of the 200K or so Second Mile's former and current directors made to Corbett's election campaign, however the majority of that was a $155K donation from FORMER board member Lance Shaner. Shaner is the current Chairman of Rex Energy (natural gas), owns a hotel chain, sits on the Board of Hilton and Marriott, etc. His family donated so much money to the GOP that the GOP Headquarters in Harrisburg is named after him.

      Ironically, Shaner has been involved with two charities (TSM and The Hole in The Wall Gang) that were rocked by child sex abuse scandals.

      The diligent PA media, of course, didn't uncover that connection.

  5. "That said, Victims 1, 5, 6, and 7 couldn't have changed their accusations based on what Victim 4 (or his lawyer) said."

    Is that what Sandusky's appeal is claiming?

    The recording of a state trooper leading victim 4 and colluding with victim 4's lawyer suggests a pattern of police misconduct that may have been repeated with other victims and witnesses, even Mike McQueary. The same two troopers who interviewed victim 4 also interviewed McQueary.

    A police officer turning off the tape recording and then telling one victim what other victims alleged is not what police are supposed to do. It could have tainted the victims' statements.

    The tape recorder is to record everything the police and victim say to each other and not omit the parts where police coached the victim on what to say.

    1. Tim,
      I took a second look at both appeals and they weren't the source of Mr. Rattigan's erroneous information. There is a lot of erroneous information in the appeals, but Lindsay didn't argue what Mr. Rattigan contended.

      I spoke with James Clemente about the taped interview and his opinion was that the police were within the lines of acceptable interviewing techniques for a sex abuse interview. I've read the transcript and I agree with Clemente in that it didn't cross the line into coaching the witness about what to say.

      At the time the tape recorder was supposed to be turned off, Victim 4 had left the room, thus they were on a break from the interview. When Victim 4 returned, the tape recorder was restarted (or so the police thought).

      Sandusky's second appeal alleges 14 reasons why he should get a new trial. Based on the evidence, perhaps five are legitimate, however the standard to grant a new trial based on ineffective assistance of counsel is extremely high. In short, there would have to be very little evidence presented of Sandusky's guilt that it could only be by incompetency that he was convicted.

      That wasn't the case at all, as many victims gave credible, corroborative testimony of Sandusky's abuse.

    2. Ray - Troopers Joseph Leiter and Scott Rossman shouldn't have been talking to victim 4's lawyer about getting his client to say he was abused. That's a conflict of interest for a lawyer interested in making money suing for child abuse to be aiding a police investigation.

      Too, the troopers talked to victim 4 when he returned while they believed the tape recorder was off. They told him that 9 other boys claimed Sandusky sexually abused them. That may have been a lie that they had 9 at that point. They also talked about the kinds of sexual abuse claimed by the victims.

      Under oath they denied telling victim 4 the number of victims or what they said in their statements.

      After Leiter testified, he talked to Rossman about his testimony apparently so Rossman would tell the same story.

      When each was asked, under oath, if they talked to each other in the hall, Leiter said yes and Rossman said no. More perjury by one of them, seemingly Rossman.

      They both should have been charged with perjury and misconduct. Prosecutors have a stronger perjury case against the state troopers than against Curley, Schultz and Spanier because they have the tape recording.

    3. Tim,
      In this instance, the police interview didn't cross the line. However, it was lawyer Ben Androezzi who was asking the police if they could tell his client, Victim 4, about other victims. Corporal Leiter replied that they could and that they do it all the time. Again, Clemente reviewed this evidence and stated it is common for police to inform a reluctant victim of other instances of abuse in order to get a the victim to disclose.

      It is possible the police were not lying about 9 other boys at that point, considering the amount of suppressed evidence in this case. Part II of Corbett's Grand Jury Lie will explain in more detail.

      Finally, to be charged with perjury, their lies must be about a material fact of the case that would have impacted Sandusky's guilt or innocence. Their false statements didn't rise to the level of perjury -- perhaps, false swearing. While Spanier, et al, didn't lie, what prosecutors allege they lied about would qualify as a material fact.

    4. If I was a juror, it would have been a material fact to me to know that the police investigators lied under oath more than once. It would have given me reasonable doubts as to the accuracy of all their testimony.

      If Clemente is correct that "it is common for police to inform a reluctant victim of other instances of abuse" then why did Leiter do so when he thought the tape recorder was off and lie about it under oath?

      I think it is unethical and suspicious for police to turn off the tape recorder for any parts of an interview with a victim, witness or suspect.