Friday, July 14

Bagwell Docs Confirm 2nd Mile Deceptions

Documents confirm The Second Mile leaders lied to members and kept them – and the public -- in the dark about Sandusky’s abuse allegations.

Ray Blehar

July 14, 2017, 9:01 AM EDT. Updated 12:42 PM on July 14, 2017.

A limited and heavily redacted trove of documents obtained by PSU alumnus Ryan Bagwell confirmed  that leaders of The Second Mile (TSM) charity kept board members and others in the dark about Jerry Sandusky.

Bagwell’s documents, obtained via FOIA requests of the United States Department of Justice (USDOJ), include interviews with two apparent PSU employees and six other individuals associated with TSM.   Two of the TSM interviews are so heavily redacted that they are unintelligible.   As a result, there are four usable interviews from TSM associated persons

Those interviews confirm that TSM’s leadership:

- Did not disclose the 2008 allegations were sexual in nature;

- Stated that the 2008 allegation did not involve a TSM child;

- Did not disclose the 2001 abuse allegations about Sandusky until after the November presentment was released;

- Deceived members about Sandusky’s post-2009 role at the charity; and

- Endangered the welfare of children – a criminal offense.

Not Sexual In Nature
The charity told three of the four individuals that the 2008 allegations were not sexual in nature and that it involved a complaint from a disgruntled mother and/or disgruntled child.

According to the Sandusky trial transcripts, the 2008 accuser, Aaron Fisher, initially reported on November 20, 2008, that he had been in bed with Sandusky on numerous occasions and had (sexual) contact over clothes for a three year period.  This information was documented in Clinton County CYS’s intake report.  CYS caseworker Jessica Dershem confirmed, at the trial, that Fisher estimated 30 incidents of contact over clothing at various hotels.

According to the Moulton Report, on November 20, 2008, Clinton County Children and Youth Services Director, Gerald Rosamilia contacted TSM to inform it of sexual abuse allegations against a charity member.   Then TSM Vice-President for Development, Katherine Genovese, correctly guessed it was Sandusky.    According to various press reports, Genovese related that the charity had to tell him to “back off certain kids before” and that he had gotten “too close” to children.

Based on the evidence, it is clear that charity leaders were dishonest about the sexual nature of the 2008 allegation against Sandusky.

Not A TSM Child
Universally, the interviewees associated with TSM stated charity officials denied that a TSM child was involved in the 2008 allegations against Sandusky.

Obviously, that was a lie. 

Aaron Fisher, the victim who reported Sandusky in 2008 had been a member of TSM since he was 8.   Around the time of Fisher’s abuse report, Sandusky had been haranguing him about helping with TSM’s golf tournament.

TSM issued a public statement in March and Dr. Jack Raykovitz penned an op-ed in April 2011 that led the public to believe that the Sandusky investigation did not involve the charity or its programs and that there had never been any prior abuse allegations.

 Raykovitz penned an  Op-Ed regarding TSM's non-involvement in Sandusky matter.

2001 Allegations

Three of the four individuals remarked that they were “shocked” and/or “surprised” to learn of the 1998 and 2001 allegations against Sandusky when the various news stories broke.

In April 2011, after the Patriot News broke the story of the Sandusky grand jury,
charity leaders told the other board members that the grand jury investigation would be discussed privately and communicated later.  

When the grand jury presentment was leaked, causing a media firestorm, the interviewees mentioned being shocked to learn about the 2001 incident.   One of the interviewees added that at the November 13, 2011 board meeting, 4 or 5 board members were angry that they weren’t notified contemporaneously.

Another interviewee, who understood the expungement requirements for unfounded child abuse reports, added that “all of this could have been avoided” if the 1998 and 2001 incidents were reported – presumably to the TSM Board of Directors.

Sandusky’s Resignation and Retirement

Three of the four also had conflicting information regarding Sandusky’s role with the charity after 2009. 

One interviewee recalled attending the fall of 2009 meeting when Sandusky announced he was resigning due to “family matters.”  However, two of the others believed that Sandusky was part of the charity until he “retired” in 2010.

IRS records reveal that the charity last paid Sandusky for his “consulting” work for the year ending August 31, 2008 and that he was no longer listed as a director for the year ending August 31, 2009.  He was not paid or listed as a director after the year ending August 31, 2009. 

When Sandusky “retired” in 2010, the publicity surrounding the news was that he wanted to spend more time with his family.

From the September 17, 2010, Altoona Mirror:

In a letter addressed to friends of the organization, Sandusky said he is retiring from his day-to-day involvement from the organization he founded in 1977 to help Pennsylvania children develop self-esteem and reach their full potential.
Sandusky said he was doing so "to devote more time to my family and personal matters."

Sandusky’s 2010 retirement came as a surprise to two interviewees.

Endangering Children

While Sandusky was an unpaid volunteer starting in 2009, the charity kept his status under wraps and let the public, donors, employees, and some board members continue to believe that he was fully part of the charity.  One interviewee recalled the first he was informed of Sandusky’s abuse allegations was when he learned that Sandusky lost his ChildLine clearance in late 2009 – after he dropped his appeal.

At that point, Sandusky should have been excluded from all charity activities and not allowed any contact with children.

The interviewee also recalled Sandusky’s fall 2009 resignation and that the argument surrounding Sandusky’s status with the charity was “heated.”  Some argued that all ties should be severed, while others recommended Sandusky be kept on for fundraising purposes.

The “executive committee” of TSM recommended communicating the abuse allegations against Sandusky to the regional offices in order to “protect the kids,” but according to the interviewee, the TSM State Board of Directors quashed the idea

Note that in November 2009, The State Board of Directors included Senator Jake Corman, former PSU Board of Trustees member and fundraising expert, Cliff Benson, Bruce Heim, Robert Poole, and Dr. Jack Raykovitz (who all knew of the 2001 allegations), and several other big corporate donors.

One of the corporate donors, Louie Sheetz, stated:

"I know the people who run the golf outing said, 'He's a big reason why people come -- to see him.' That makes sense, in my opinion. That's not involved in programming,"

As reported by on May 31, 2017, Sandusky continued to contact children after the 2009 decision that he would exclusively be a fundraiser and not be involved in programming. 

In summary, the evidence reveals a course of conduct – a felony -- by charity officials’ decisions in 2001 and 2009 to allow Sandusky’s continued access to children.

Whether or not the USDOJ in Harrisburg passed this information onto the OAG to support charges for Endangering the Welfare of Children remains unknown.  However, if it did then it is clear the OAG did nothing with that evidence.

Friday, July 7

NCAA Statement Ignores Evidence -- Again

The NCAA's statement claiming "total victory" in the Paterno lawsuit is delusional and not supported by the evidence on the public record.

Ray Blehar

July 7, 2017, 8:27 AM EST

On June 30, 2017, the NCAA released a statement that boasted “total victory” based on the Paterno, Et Al decision to withdraw from its civil lawsuit and for not taking the case to trial.

It also alleged that the “powerful record developed through discovery” supported its decision to adopt the key findings of the Freeh Report to sanction Penn State University Athletics and former head coach Joe Paterno.  

“The Paterno family characterized this case as a ‘search for the truth,’” said Donald Remy, NCAA chief legal officer. “Its decision today, after years of investigation and discovery, to abandon its lawsuit rather than subject those facts to courtroom examination is telling.  We believe that the powerful record developed during discovery overwhelmingly confirmed what the NCAA has believed all along: the NCAA acted reasonably in adopting the conclusions of an eight-month investigation by Louis Freeh.”

Remy noted the timing of today’s decision by the Paterno family to voluntarily abandon its lawsuit was only hours before the NCAA was due to file a roughly 100-page summary judgment brief detailing the results of years of exhaustive discovery regarding plaintiffs’ claims. He added the decision “represents a total victory for the NCAA.”

The Paterno’s lawsuit alleged, among other things, that the NCAA Consent Decree was imposed unlawfully and that the language used in it was false and defamatory.

In response to the NCAA’s statement, Sue Paterno called the NCAA’s assertions “absurd” and noted that it is the NCAA who is insistent on keeping the full facts of the case from becoming a matter of public record. She challenged the NCAA to make discovery available for public inspection.

History and all of the evidence remain firmly behind Sue Paterno.

Corman Thwarted NCAA Efforts to Hide the Truth

Prior to the 2015 settlement in the Corman/McCord case, the NCAA attempted to hide behind claims of attorney-client privilege in order to avoid turning over critical documents in discovery.  

Corman and McCord thwarted the NCAA’s efforts by including alleged privileged documents as exhibits in their November and December 2014 court filings.  Those exhibits exposed critical facts about the NCAA’s motivations and questionable actions in sanctioning the University, including its knowledge that there were no rules violations within the statute of limitations for an enforcement action.  

Without a legal leg to stand on, the NCAA decided to circumvent the traditional enforcement process in order to take action against PSU.  

Evidence revealed that these questionable acts came as a result of the NCAA’s desire to take advantage of the publicity surrounding the Freeh Report in an attempt to change its reputation as a weak enforcer. 

NCAA Director of Committee on Infractions Shep Cooper wrote in a July 4, 2012 email:

“…However, the new NCAA leadership is very image conscience and if they conclude that pursuing allegations against PSU would enhance the Association’s standing with the public, then an infractions case could follow. I know that Mark Emmert has made statements to the press indicating that he thinks it could fall into some sort of LOIC case. ‘Shooting road kill’ is an apt analogy.’
Documents Proved Freeh Report Did Not Establish LOIC

Many of the 4,900 documents released by Corman proved that the NCAA knew that the Freeh Report, which did not make any references to NCAA rules violations, was insufficient for its purposes of taking enforcement action against PSU.

Emails between Remy and Freeh Group revealed that NCAA President Mark Emmert wanted the Freeh group to make an additional statement to include the language of “lack of institutional control” in discussing the findings.   The Freeh Group refused, stating it was not part of their contractual arrangement (with PSU) to do so.

As a result, the NCAA charged PSU with a “lack of institutional integrity” – a term not defined anywhere in the NCAA Charter and By-Laws.  

The NCAA moved to dismiss the Corman case in October 2014, but Commonwealth Court Judge Anne Covey ruled the case would go to trial and that the legality of the consent decree – and by extension, use of the Freeh Report -- would be part of the case.

With the evidence on the public record heavily against them and knowing that a court case on the legality of the consent decree would be disastrous, the NCAA settled the case.

Corman:  “The NCAA has surrendered”

As a result of the settlement, the NCAA repealed and replaced the NCAA Consent Decree, restructured $60 million in fines, and restored 112 wins to the PSU football program, including 111 belonging to legendary coach Joe Paterno.  The restoration of wins put Paterno back at the top in terms of Division I (FBS) winning coaches.

Corman stated:

“Today is a victory for due process. Today is a victory for the people of Pennsylvania. Today is a victory for Penn State Nation.  The NCAA has surrendered. This is a total repeal of the consent decree, not a settlement. This is akin to the mercy rule. Clearly [the NCAA] was way behind in the case and they gave up.”

Legal System Proved NCAA Was Wrong to Use The Freeh Report

Even before the Freeh Report (and NCAA Consent Decree) had seen the light of day, the conclusions being drawn were not supported by the evidence.

A Freeh Report finding, quoted in the consent decree, falsely stated “the environment at Penn State, shaped by actions and the inactions of the leadership and board of Penn State allowed Sandusky’s serial sexual abuse of children.”   

The facts established during the Sandusky investigation and trial clearly proved that Sandusky’s serial victimization of children began before anyone at PSU was notified about allegations of inappropriate behavior in 1998.  

Prior to 1998, and unbeknownst to PSU officials, Sandusky was victimizing children on the PSU campus and elsewhere by virtue to his role as a mentor at The Second Mile.  His continued access to children after 1998 was also outside the control of PSU officials because child welfare agents (in 1998) concluded that he was not a danger to children and did not revoke his ChildLine clearance.  

The Sandusky trial did not confirm or provide evidence that PSU leaders had any knowledge of sexual abuse by Sandusky in 2001 or thereafter (until the news of the Sandusky grand jury investigation was broken).  As such, Freeh’s conclusion that PSU officials somehow “allowed” serial sexual abuse was false and defamatory and the legal folks at the NCAA knew or should have known that.

The March 2017 trial of Graham Spanier also refuted the Freeh Report’s conclusion that Spanier “did not advise the Board of Trustees about the 1998 and 2001 child sexual abuse allegations against Sandusky.”   

Although PSU officials Gary Schultz and Tim Curley pleaded to misdemeanor counts of endangering children, neither Schultz nor Curley testified to being informed of sexual abuse allegations in 1998 and 2001.  Moreover, they testified that they told Spanier that the 2001 incident involved only horseplay.   Because there was no evidence that Spanier was ever told about sexual abuse allegations in 1998 and 2001, he could not have advised the Board about them.

Finally, no testimony or evidence was ever brought forward in any proceeding to support the Freeh Report’s and NCAA Consent Decree’s assertion that PSU official’s actions were influenced or motivated by the fear of the “consequences of bad publicity.”

In conclusion, the evidence is overwhelming that the Freeh Report’s key conclusions used to penalize PSU Athletics were premature, based on scant evidence, and wrong.

But when did evidence ever matter to the NCAA?