Monday, February 27

Is Josh Shapiro Part of the Problem?

Josh Shapiro's words and actions reveal that he is part of the problem -- not part of the solution

Ray Blehar

Shortly after newly elected Attorney General (AG) Josh Shapiro was sworn in he made the following statements in an attempt to show he was not corrupt and dishonest like some of the other elected AG’s that came before him. 

AG Shapiro stated:

"Let me be very clear, anyone who tries to roll back your rights will have to come through me. 

"And, I won't be afraid to stand up to anyone--whether it's the President of the United States, a multi-national corporation, or someone on the street corner." 

The statement was a smokescreen.

Monday, February 20

David J. Paterno: Power vs. Popular

Debunking the First of Freeh’s Overarching Faulty Premises

David J. Paterno

More than four years have passed since Penn State’s Board of Trustees’ (BOT’s) Special Investigative Counsel (SIC) purchased a report from Louis Freeh. While that report contained some good recommendations – especially regarding the size and makeup of the BOT - many scholars have pointed out its shortcomings and its unsubstantiated claim that four employees, including Joe Paterno (JVP), behaved with malicious intent.

My family continues to petition and ask PSU leaders to read and evaluate for themselves how little Freeh’s conclusions about JVP are supported with any facts. More confounding than the lack of facts are several overarching premises contained in the Freeh report that set the tone for his unsubstantiated claims. By allowing such false premises, the reader is set up for accepting unsupported conclusions.

The first faulty premise is that JVP “controlled everything / knew everything that happened at PSU.”  This premise conflates Power with Popularity.

 There is a huge difference between Power and Popularity and if we are not careful, we can forget how very different these things are – especially with respect to running a large institution like PSU. Freeh chose to ignore this clear difference - and in fact, equated them as being the same to vilify JVP.

This matters because it is one of several incorrect overarching premises of the Freeh Report, which gives Freeh’s conspiracy theory illegitimate credibility in falsely damaging our alma mater’s reputation.

Yes, “conspiracy theory” because it is – at best  – a stretching hypothesis that four men were involved in a conspiracy to conceal and cover up criminal activity.

Until PSU comes to terms with the damage they have done by accepting the incorrect opinion of Louis Freeh, they will not be able to recover some of the greatest qualities of PSU’s history that could be, and ought to be, leveraged into its future. 

Joe Paterno was popular.  He was well known, widely respected, and influential. 

Was he an all-powerful man controlling everything at PSU as Freeh suggests?

Not even close.

Wednesday, February 15

Evidence in 2001 Twisted, Tainted, and Incomplete

The case against PSU officials was built on an incomplete record that was twisted and manipulated by prosecutors to frame PSU officials.  The prosecutor's work was good enough to create a massive conspiracy theory that fooled nearly everyone.

Ray Blehar

The evidence in the so-called Conspiracy of Silence case strongly indicates that the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General (OAG), Cynthia Baldwin, and the Freeh Group engaged in a series of intentional misrepresentations in order to make the case of a criminal conspiracy surrounding an alleged failure to report Jerry Sandusky in 2001.

Information is power and in this case information was selectively used, withheld, and reorganized to convince an all too willing public that PSU officials were evil people who put the football program above the welfare of children. 

Among these misrepresentations were: all reports of child abuse are investigated; the contents of Gary Schultz’s so-called secret file all belonged to Schultz; that Schultz reviewed the 1998 police report before deciding to act; that the suggestions to get Sandusky help were based solely on the 1998 and 2001 incidents; and several others. 

Again, this was good enough to fool almost everyone who didn’t critically look at the information and evidence in the case.

But here’s what happens when those misrepresentations get a dose of reality.

Sunday, February 12

PSU’s appeal of the McQueary verdict alleges judicial bias

PSU’s legal team says what should have been said all along – its employees were not legally required to report Sandusky in 2001.

Ray Blehar

Penn State University’s (PSU) legal counsel, after over six years of avoidance and obfuscation, finally stood up for itself and called out the court for its (continuing) bias against the University.  For many of PSU’s loyal alumni, the big news was that PSU finally argued that former officials Graham Spanier, Timothy Curley, and Gary Schultz were not mandated reporters under the child abuse reporting statute in 2001.

That is one among many of the appeal issues – although it one of the most important for setting the record straight -- and outing Pennsylvania's corrupt legal system.

The recent filings cite a number of instances in which Judge Thomas Gavin was unfair in his rulings and was biased in favor of former PSU assistant football coach, Michael McQueary. 

Sunday, February 5

What the jury must decide for EWOC charge.

While there were many irregularities in the Sandusky trial, Judge Cleland's instructions on the EWOC charge wasn't one of them.

Ray Blehar

The case of the PSU 3 has come down to the charges of Endangering the Welfare of a Child (EWOC) and related conspiracy. 

If Judge Boccabella instructs the jury in the same manner as Judge Cleland, the outcome should bode well for the defendants -- if the jurors follow the letter of the law.

In the Sandusky case, Cleland instructed the jurors on the four elements that had to be met for EWOC.  In my previous, blog I called it a three-prong test -- failing to include the fourth requirement that a child must be involved.

Here were Cleland's instructions.

Wednesday, February 1

FTR Charges Against PSU 3 Dropped, But Sham Case Rolls On

Judge Boccabella’s ruling is part of the Commonwealth’s continued effort to deflect attention away from problems in PA’s child protection system

Ray Blehar

In a two page ruling that was lacking much in the way of rationales, Senior Judge John Boccabella dismissed the Failure To Report (FTR) charges against former Penn State University (PSU) officials Graham Spanier, Timothy Curley, and Gary Schultz while (literally) inexplicably carrying over the charges of Endangering the Welfare of Children (EWOC) and Conspiracy over for court.

This case dragged on for five years under a number of false arguments that PSU officials had failed to report Jerry Sandusky to the authorities after a report of inappropriate behavior in 2001.