Wednesday, February 5

Gladwell Gets Backlash Over Paterno Statue Statement

Critics of Gladwell prove that the lies of the November 2011 grand jury presentment and Freeh Report need to be corrected

Ray Blehar
February 5, 2020, 12:10 PM EST

When Malcolm Gladwell announced his support for returning the Paterno statue to its rightful place outside Beaver Stadium, he received a hearty round of applause.   The audience in the State Theater agreed with Gladwell's assessment that Joe Paterno was not trained to detect a serial pedophile and that the legendary coach followed the rules of his University and was punished unfairly.

Gladwell also received some criticism for his position on Paterno and, as it turns out, the criticism is rooted in the lies of the November 2011 grand jury presentment and the Freeh Report.

Image result for paterno statue"

Actually, the criticism predated the event at the State Theater. 

Back in September 2019, Tom Ley, a reporter for Deadspin, called Gladwell's argument the "oldest, dumbest defense of Paterno."  Then Ley used this nonsense to support his position (emphasis is mine):

"Gladwell isn’t doing anything here that Joe Posnanski and Sally Jenkins didn’t already do years ago, which is to excuse Paterno’s failure to call the cops...who couldn’t possibly be expected to understand or properly respond to being told that his longtime assistant coach was seen raping a boy in the Penn State showers."

Ley's knowledge of the case seems to be based exclusively on the November 2011 grand jury presentment because he has no idea that the record was corrected at December 2011 preliminary hearing.  At that hearing, McQueary testified he never told Joe Paterno about a rape and went even further to stated never used the words rape or sodomy to describe the incident in the showers.

McQueary's early clarification about what he told Paterno didn't make headlines and the AP  placed it near the end of its report.  That said,  there is no excuse for Ley to be ignorant of the fact that Jerry Sandusky was acquitted of the rape in that episode and/or that McQueary gave multiple versions of the event in question.

Newsweek jumped on the bashing bandwagon also.  The story, titled "Malcolm Gladwell Faces Backlash For Saying Joe Paterno Statue Should Be Resurrected Despite Pedophilia Scandal,"cited anonymous tweeters who disagreed with Gladwell's position on Paterno and other positions Gladwell had taken in the past.

Given the second rate publication that it is, Newsweek apparently couldn't be bothered to find a copy of the Freeh Report (or spellcheck its work), so it quoted this passage from USAToday to take issue with Gladwell's position.

"A 2012 report by former FBI director Louis Freeh found that Paterno, along with university president Grahm (sic) Spanier, vice president Gary Schultz, and athletic director Tim Curley 'repeatedly concealed critical facts relating to Sandusky's child abuse from the authorities, the Board of Trustees, the Penn State community, and the public at large'..."

The aforementioned statement from Freeh was/is a lie based on hindsight bias.  To be clear, incidents that were ruled (by the authorities) to be benign in 1998 were later charged as child abuse crimes in 2011.  There were no critical facts relating to Sandusky's child abuse in 1998 that could be concealed.   New evidence from Freeh's own Source Materials seemingly confirms that Penn State made a report to the authorities in 2001 and that the exculpatory evidence was suppressed.

Then there is this piece from a website called, titled: "Did Malcolm Gladwell Say Penn State Should Restore a Statue of Joe Paterno?"

Its author, Arturo Garcia, attempted to dismiss Gladwell's argument by citing the aformentioned passage from the Freeh Report and then added anther hindsight gem from Freeh that classified the 1998 child as a victim, even though the authorities determined he was not at the time.

"They exhibited a striking lack of empathy for Sandusky’s victims by failing to inquire as to their safety and well-being, especially by not attempting to determine the identity of [a] child who Sandusky assaulted in the Lasch Building in 2001."

There was absolutely no legal basis and it was otherwise inappropriate for Freeh to contend that PSU officials had any responsibility whatsoever for identifying the child involved in the 2001 incident or to inquire as to the well-being of victims.   Freeh's team knew, or should have known, that information regarding the identity and status of children under investigation is kept confidential. 

Something more nefarious was going on.

The Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General (OAG) had been concerned all along that the exculpatory evidence about the 2001 incident might surface.

In the event that happened, the OAG likely planned to argue that Centre County Children and Youth Services (CC CYS) couldn't investigate the 2001 incident because PSU officials hadn't identified the child. 

CC CYS' job is to protect the child and without knowing the child's name it cannot take protective action.

The evidence shows that CC CYS was reluctant to investigate Sandusky in 1998.  In 2001, when presented with another report about Sandusky, it did what PA CYS offices do with up to 50 percent of child abuse reports  -- it "screened out" the report [1].

In the end, Joe Paterno's statue was removed because the Pennsylvania government chose to cover up its own failures in taking a pedophile off the streets.

Gladwell is right.

The statue should be resurrected.

Coming soon

Even Freeh's Team Thought 1998 Stunk to The High Heavens

The Incredible Shrinking Schultz File

Fina Never Established Chain of Custody for PSU Emails 

[1] See Pennsylvania Auditor General "State of the Child" Report, page 12.


  1. What really upsets me about everyone's criticism including Corbutt's shill Noonan's assessment, is that Joe followed actual PA statute 42.42. Noonan should have known that, and the moment that he commented about Joe and his morality, I knew that the fix was in to lay all of this on Joe Paterno. As for Ley don't worry about him, he is an A$$ and I have told him plenty of times

    1. catalacjack,
      Thanks for your comments. You are correct!

      Frank Noonan's moral responsibility comment was clearly a hit job on JVP and a CYA move on his part. His cops could have taken Sandusky off the streets a lot sooner had they followed the leads they received on Day 1.

  2. Gladwell also got pushback from a fact checker site, which only cited the discredited Freeh Report:

    Their fact checker needs a fact checker.

    Then there was lawyer, Joe Patrick, who claimed "Malcolm Gladwell Uses His Non-Law Degree To Explain How Prosecutors Acted Improperly In Pedophile Case."

    I think it's the height of arrogance to argue that only a lawyer can recognize prosecutor misconduct. Joe Patrick also failed to mention key facts that undermined his position, such as a federal judge throwing out Spanier's child endangerment conviction because prosecutors denied Spanier his constitutional rights. He also failed to discuss how prosecutor Frank Fina is awaiting the ruling of the PA Supreme Court on his misconduct in violating attorney-client privilege of the three Penn State administrators.

    1. Tim,
      Thanks for your comments. I cited in the blogpost.

      I will take a look at Joe Patrick's column.


  3. My dad often told me not to get into a pissing battle with skunks. Why is the opinion of internet trolls and incoherent tabloid ranters even considered here?
    I'm sure that Gladwell is perfectly capable of exposing these talking heads for the fools they are!
    As I have said many times, I am skeptical of Sandusky's guilt. I base this skepticism on lack of physical evidence, ever changing stories, evidence tampering, fabrication of evidence, witness tampering, suborned perjury, and stories that make absolutely no logical sense.
    If Jerry were the pedophile you think he is, he could have had a dream job as a phys-ed teacher at any school and any age group he desired. He did one of his student teaching gigs at my High School in what is now the West Shore District. We had a lot of teachers who did things that would not be tolerated today. One of our gym teachers liked to drape naked boys over a pommel horse and paddle them. Not that they didn't deserve it, but that teacher would be hauled off to jail today. Judging some of the things that JS did by today's standards is just not correct.

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