Monday, June 26

CNN Must Also Retract 1971 Paterno Story

Sara Ganim's incredulous report about a 1971 report to Paterno by an alleged Sandusky victim fails to meet journalism standards

Ray Blehar

June 26, 2017:  10:15AM EDT, Revised 1:14 PM

Recently, CNN retracted and removed all links to a political story because the story failed to meet its editorial standards.   It needs to do the same for its May 6, 2016 story about an alleged Sandusky victim who allegedly made a 1971 report to then Penn State University (PSU) football coach, Joe Paterno.

CNN's 1971 story was authored by Sara Ganim, who received a 2012 Pulitzer Prize for local reporting about the Jerry Sandusky scandal.  As such, Ganim knew or should have known that the victim's allegations did not comport with Sandusky's modus operandi as an acquaintance offender.    

Unreliable Corroborating Source
Ganim's history as a PSU student and as a crime and courts reporter at the Centre Daily Times also adds to the lack of journalistic integrity because she knew or should have known the story's corroborating source, Bernie McCue, was known for erratic behavior, despised Joe Paterno, and was otherwise unreliable. 

Unreliable source:  Ganim used a well-known Paterno hater to corroborate the 1971 story.

To make matters worse, Ganim chose McCue's corroborating account over a Pennsylvania State Trooper who was also a friend of the alleged victim -- and did not find his friend’s story to be credible.

Although Ganim won a Pulitzer Prize for her Sandusky coverage, it was for local – not investigative – reporting.   

Evaluations conducted by found  numerous errors, half-truths, and omissions the ten stories that were submitted to the Pulitzer committee.

Her 1971 story was no different.

Wrong from the Start
An honest fact-check of the story would have found almost none of it to be true, starting with Ganim’s assertion that the alleged victim was the oldest known victim.  

“But for many of the victims, it's not ambiguous. Like for Victim A, a 60-year-old State College native and Sandusky's oldest known victim.”

Just as many local news reports on the public record revealed that Ganim consistently erred in stating that The Second Mile separated Jerry from all programs involving children after his 2009 abuse finding, a KDKA Pittsburgh report from October 2012  revealed that a then 57-year-old was abused by Sandusky over 40 years ago.  That man would be at least 60 or 61 at the time Ganim penned her story.

Allegations Do Not Fit Sandusky’s Modus Operandi
More significantly, however, is that the KDKA report confirmed Sandusky was operating as an acquaintance offender dating back to his time at the Brownson House in his hometown of Washington, Pennsylvania. The then 57-year-old man was one of three men Sandusky victimized there.  

Sandusky's acquaintance offending likely began in his teen years at the Brownson House

This story and the facts established at the Sandusky trial refuted a key point of Ganim’s story that Sandusky offended against a hitch-hiker (i.e., stranger).

All of Sandusky’s victims from the trial came as a result of Sandusky’s relationship with them through his charity.   Ganim, who covered the trial, obviously had to recognize that Victim A’s allegations did not fit Sandusky’s pattern of victimizing children he had befriended.

Next, none of Sandusky’s victims from the trial alleged that he provided them with drugs or alcohol.  Ganim's Victim A alleged that Sandusky bought him beer and gave him pot before physically assaulting him.  He was also considered a straight-arrow growing up as a teen and in college.  He wasn't known to attend fraternity parties.  In fact, Sandusky was well known as a church-going, teetotaler.  

Last but not least, no known victim or claimant – other than Victim A – alleged that Sandusky physically assaulted them before forcibly raping them.   Again, this conduct would be far outside the realm for an acquaintance/serial offender whose success relies upon gaining the trust of the victim – who will remain silent about the victimization.

Too Good To Fact Check
CNN’s story goes even further into the realm of the incredible after the alleged rape took place.

In a series of events only the extremely gullible could believe, Victim A’s injuries are noticed by his foster mother at breakfast the next morning.  After some prodding, the alleged victim tells his foster mother what happened.   Next, the foster mother and her husband – against Victim A’s wishes– inform the young man that they are going to report the incident to PSU officials, adding that nothing will happen because PSU won’t call the police.

Any reasonable person would find this story to be highly unlikely and question why the parents didn’t go directly to police to report the assault and rape of a foster child.  Moreover, a reasonable person would question the fitness of these individuals as foster parents and ask questions about them.   

But Ganim isn't a reasonable person.  She needed the story to be singularly focused on Paterno.

Not only do the guardians of the young man then follow through on their call PSU, but they insist that the 15-year old boy tell his story to none other than Joe Paterno.  

Like the questionable account of Mike McQueary, Victim A stated he did not tell Paterno he was raped, but that he made it very clear “it was a sexual attack.”

Sandusky had no history of good works in 1971
The credibility of the story completely failed when Victim A recalled Paterno’s handling of his report (emphasis added).

"I made it clear there were things done to me that I just can't believe could have been done to me and I couldn't escape. I said, 'I'm very upset and scared and I couldn't believe I let my guard down.' They listened to me. And then all hell broke loose.

"They were asking me my motive, why I would say this about someone who has done so many good things."

Jerry Sandusky did not establish The Second Mile until 1977.   He had no track record of good deeds that would have prompted such a response from Paterno.

In 1971, Jerry Sandusky had been on the PSU coaching staff for just two years and had just begun coaching linebackers, having switched from defensive line coach. At that point in his tenure, he was not an indispensable part of the staff.   Sandusky was, in fact, replacing somewhat of a coaching legend – Dan “Bad Rad” Radakovich, who left PSU for the Steelers.

There was nothing in 1971 that would have stopped Paterno from doing exactly what he did in 2001 – which was to take the report seriously and forward it to his superiors.

CNN Must Retract Story
Much like Sabrina Erdley's now infamous Rolling Stone story of an alleged a gang rape of "Jackie" by members of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity at the University of Virginia (UVa), the evidence shows that CNN's desire to write a sensational story led them to a fatal flaw of journalism in writing a story that was "too good to check."

The Rolling Stone story was criticized by UVa's President because it damaged serious efforts to combat sexual violence on campus.  Similarly, CNN's story did nothing to combat sexual violence against children and, as history shows neither CNN nor Ganim pursued investigating Victim A's claim of molestation by a priest.   

This story was nothing but a smear and a desperate attempt by Sara Ganim to become relevant again.

As such, the 1971 story about Paterno must also be retracted.

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Tuesday, June 6

Boccabella is Part of the Corruption

Judge John Boccabella joined Laura Ditka, Patrick Schulte, and the rest PACORN to continue the false narratives of the case against PSU officials

Ray Blehar

For the last five and a half years, the Pennsylvania State University (PSU) has been publicly smeared by corrupt officials of the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General (OAG), their local media lap dogs, the courts, Louis Freeh, and others for enabling the crimes of Jerry Sandusky.  

Readers of this blog have come to recognize this group of smear merchants as the Pennsylvania Corruption Network (PACORN).   The truth, laws, evidence, and the welfare of the citizenry -- including PA's helpless children -- are of little concern to this group, who only is out to protect themselves.

At Friday’s sentencing, Judge John Boccabella revealed his PACORN credentials when he began spouting many of the nonsensical false narratives of the case that scapegoated PSU for the failures of The Second Mile (TSM) and of Pennsylvania’s child protection to stop Sandusky from accessing children.  

“Why Mr. Sandusky was allowed to continue to the Penn State facilities is beyond me.”

The facilities as an enabler ruse first appeared in the November 5, 2011 press release by the PA OAG, became part of the Freeh Report, and continued through the trial of Spanier.  From the AG’s press release:

“Kelly said that rather than reporting the matter to law enforcement, Curley and Schultz agreed that Sandusky would be told he could not bring any Second Mile children into the football building. That message was also reportedly related to Dr. John Raykovitz at the Second Mile (Past Executive Director and Executive Vice-President and currently the President and CEO of the Second Mile).
"Despite this so-called 'ban,' which was reviewed and approved by University President Graham Spanier without any further inquiry on his part, there was no effective change in Sandusky's status with the school and no limits on his access to the campus," Kelly said. "Sandusky's 'emeritus' position, alleged negotiated as part of his 1999 retirement, provided him with an office in the Lasch Football Building; unlimited access to all football facilities, including the locker room; access to all recreational facilities; a parking pass; a university Internet account; listing in the faculty directory and numerous other privileges – he had remained a regular presence on campus."
Of course, what Linda Kelly failed to mention – and that OAG prosecutors apparently overlooked – was that the presentment failed to establish any evidence or allegations of crimes on campus after February 2001 .  

The so-called “ban” of Sandusky actually worked -- as far as stopping his crimes on campus.

At some point, OAG officials realized they had a big hole in their story of PSU officials causing immense suffering of victims by letting Sandusky roam the campus.    

Needing a crime on campus after February 2001, Fina and others, like Victim 5's attorney, Tom Kline, apparently collaborated to narrow the six year window (1996 -2002)  of possible dates of Victim 5’s down to August 2001.

But there’s more to the story.

On May 8, 2012, Frank Fina and Joseph McGettigan filed a motion to amend the first Bill of Particulars because that “authenticated findings” of the Sandusky investigation revealed the date of the McQueary incident to be February 9, 2001. 

The judge granted the motion and Fina went on to change not only the particulars of the Victim 2 incident, but also the details relating to Victim 5 (above), Victim 3 (putting his crimes into 2001) and Victim 9 (putting his crimes before 2009).  
Those changes added another victim after the February 2001 incident on the PSU campus and stopped the crimes against Victim 9 before Sandusky was “indicated” for child abuse.    The latter change took TSM,  PA Child Protective Services, former AG Corbett, and the PA state police off the hook for endangering the welfare of children.  
Chief Deputy Attorney General Laura Ditka’s sentencing memorandum, like the other documents, continued to pile-on with the facilities ruse.

Ditka's statement about parents is emblematic of the OAG's complete disregard of Sandusky's modus operandi.

None of the parents of Sandusky’s victims were sending them to PSU for a campus visit where Sandusky laid in wait to launch an attack. The parents and/or caretakers of the victims were releasing the children to Jerry Sandusky, who was representing TSM -- not PSU. 

Even though former AG Kelly's press November 2011 release, the testimony from the Sandusky trial, and McGettigan's post trial comments calling TSM a "victim factory," Ditka ignored all that when it came to unknown Victim 2 from the February 2001 incident.

Ditka bailed out TSM by suggesting that Victim 2 could have been from a PSU football camp (not held in February -- ever) or from some other community activity of Sandusky's.

When the time came time for Ditka to actually produce a victim/witness who would testify to being molested on campus after 2001, she had just one to offer  -- John Doe.

In yet another pushing of the ethical envelope, the OAG witness list included a "John Doe" witness who allegedly required extreme measures of security and protection.   It is more likely that the OAG wanted to keep "Doe's" identity a secret so the the defense would be unable prepare for the "mystery" witness.

The reality was that "John Doe" was Victim 5 and anyone who desired to know his name could look it up in the Sandusky trial transcripts.   

But why just one victim --  and why was it Victim 5?

Victims 1 and 9, who were victimized between 2004 and 2009, were not victimized on the PSU campus.  

Victim 3, despite Fina’s change to the dates of the crimes, testified that he was being victimized by Sandusky at the time he was an active coach and shortly afterwards (i.e., 1999 and 2000).  Victim 3 was not victimized after February 2001.

That left Victim 5, who apparently was willing to change his story to fit the OAG's narrative.

Victim 5 told the grand jury his encounter with Sandusky occurred in 1998 and that he did not understand the significance of Sandusky's erection when he observed it.  That was a credible scenario for a 10 year-old boy.  

At the Sandusky trial in June 2012, he testified the incident occurred in August 2001 when he was 13 years old.  It is possible, but highly unlikely, that a 13 year-old wouldn't know what an erection was.  Also, at the trial, Victim 5 added he was certain about the date because the incident happened before 9-11.

In his abbreviated testimony at the Spanier trial, he was sure it was 2002 because he recalled it happened after 9-11.  The erection issue simply doesn't hold water for a 14 year-old boy, especially in the age of the internet.

The date was/is a very material issue for this case and it appears his testimony was perjurious.

In addition, prosecutor Patrick Schulte would seemingly have suborned perjury based on his questioning of Victim 5.

Undoubtedly, Schulte (and Ditka) knew the Victim 5’s allegations of being sexually assaulted by Sandusky resulted in a not guilty verdict.  

The trial verdicts for Victim 5 (Counts 24-27) and 6 (Counts 28-31) from the Sandusky trial are shown below. 

Both Victim 5 and 6 testified it was the first time they were alone with Sandusky in the PSU shower room.   Victim 6 testified he and Sandusky worked out and that afterward there was playful activity in the shower— but no indecent touching occurred.  The jury correctly determined not guilty on Count 28: Indecent Assault.   

Conversely, Victim 5 testified that Sandusky took him to work out at the Lasch building and they worked out, and then took a sauna.  In the sauna, Sandusky indecently exposed himself.  Next, they went to the showers where Sandusky forcefully took his hand and forced him to touch his (Sandusky’s) penis. 

His testimony was unlike any of the other victims at the trial. 

Victim 4 testified Sandusky didn’t indecently touch him until they had showered together approximately 15 times.  Victim 4 also testified that nothing indecent ever happened in the sauna.   Victims 3 and 7 also showered with Sandusky and did not testify to any indecent touching/fondling or even attempted fondling in the shower facilities. 

Given what the jury heard from ALL the other victims who showered with Sandusky, the jury found Victim 5 to be NOT CREDIBLE of being indecently touched and it found Sandusky not guilty for Count 24: Indecent Assault.

In summary,  prosecutors ignored the Sandusky trial testimony and verdicts of victims and suborned perjury from Victim 5 to make their case of endangerment against Spanier.

The Sandusky trial was one of the most publicized sex abuse cases in American history.  While the public may not have been familiar with all of the details, it strains credulity that Judge Boccabella wasn’t familiar with the verdicts.   Especially since he was presiding over a trial concerning the Sandusky victims.

Boccabella let the charade about John Doe/Victim 5 play out dramatically in his courtroom and in his chambers.

At the sentencing, he also pushed the false narrative that Mike McQueary provided sufficient details that would have caused everyone to immediately realize Sandusky was a threat to children and that a call to the authorities was a no brainer.

Paterno “could have made that phone call without so much as getting his hands dirty. Why he didn’t is beyond me.”

Boccabella was “appalled that the common sense to make a phone call or make a report didn’t occur.”

First, McQueary testified on numerous occasions that he didn’t provide specific details to Joe Paterno.  For Boccabella to make an extrajudicial statement about Paterno is, in a word, disgraceful.

Even Curley and Schultz, who pleaded to EWOC, continued to hold to their original grand jury testimony that McQueary did not describe the incident as sexual or criminal. 

Four witnesses (i.e., Courtney, Curley, Schultz, and Dranov) testified that they were not told of anything explicit.   Mike McQueary testified that he believed he got the message across (or at least tried to) of a sexual incident.  Mike's father seemingly was the only person who could translate Mike's message into the proper context -- but it wasn't enough for him to call the police or child wefare -- or even advise his son to do so.

Judge Boccabella's statement that a call to the authorities was common sense was not  supported by the evidence in this case -- especially because a similar incident in 1998 involving two boys showering with Sandusky was fully investigated and found to be benign.

It’s hard to believe Curley “didn’t remember every detail of the most serious mistake you ever made.” 

In keeping with the practice of having a biased view of the case, Judge Boccabella referred to Tim Curley’s decision to inform The Second Mile (over child welfare agents) as “the most serious mistake you ever made.” 

The first instance of bias in that passage was that Curley should have a memory of details of a fleeting event from some sixteen years ago.   According to research on memory, details of traumatic or life changing events are remembered in detail.

But for Tim Curley, the 2001 incident was not a traumatic event for him or, as the evidence shows, NO ONE else involved.

Obviously, if the child in the shower had suffered the trauma alleged by Ditka, he would have certainly remembered being in the shower and seeing McQueary that night (as McQueary testified).   However, NO ONE has come forward with a version of being a child in the shower who was subject to being molested, heard the by-product “slapping sounds” of molestation, and then saw McQueary.

That kind of discrepancy would be hard for any reasonable person to get past, but we're not dealing with reasonable people in this case (i.e. Fina, McGettigan, Beemer, Ditka, Schulte, Schulte, Freeh, etc.).

Next, Curley could have hardly considered his decision to be the “biggest mistake of his life” at the time because his plan included telling the Executive Director of the charity -- who had far more knowledge and training on the issue at hand than he did. 

In other words, Curley believed TSM would take appropriate action.

And that brings us to the key evidence of Boccabella’s membership in PACORN.

Where's Jack?

According to numerous press reports, Boccabella admonished Paterno, Dranov, and Mike McQueary – along with the three PSU administrators –for not reporting Sandusky in 2001.

Dr. Jack Raykovitz wasn't criticized at all.

Given all the bluster blown about regarding the duty to protect children by every citizen and the laws being passed to increase penalties for the failure to report suspected child abuse, it is beyond the pale for Judge Boccabella to not mention Raykovitz’s lack of concern and inaction when told the founder and face of his charity showered alone with children on multiple occasions.

Of course, Ditka went even further to excuse the charity's inaction.

Curley testified (pages 392 and 393) that he informed Raykovitz not only about 2001 but of the 1998 incident as well.

Ditka’s sentencing memorandum claimed that Curley did not tell Raykovitz about 1998.  However -- unlike the allegations in her memorandum -- there is corroboration for Curley’s testimony of informing TSM. 

From Sandusky’s prison interview with John Ziegler in 2013:

John: But the Second Mile was informed in 2001 of ’98, as well?
Jerry: Right. I believe. Yeah, I’m sure, yeah, I’m sure. Yeah. 

John: So you’re sure that Tim told The Second Mile in 2001 about both the 2001
McQueary episode and the {Victim 6} episode?
Jerry: Right. And I talked to The Second Mile about ’98 and 2001 (in 2001).

Judge Boccabella conveniently sided with Ditka and believed that Curley’s testimony about telling Raykovitz about the 1998 incident was a lie (or a false memory) – even though Curley was supposed to remember every detail of the “biggest mistake he made in his life.”

The comments from Boccabella during the sentencing reveals that he is part of PACORN and has joined in to give TSM a complete pass.

The question that remains is what was going on at TSM that causes so many "public servants" to propagate falsehoods, twist the laws, monkey with evidence, and apparently suborn perjury to keep charity officials from seeing their day in court?