Bob Costas to Revisit Freeh Report on Wednesday


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By Ben Jones

Bob Costas will give Louis Freeh and his independent investigation of Penn State and the Jerry Sandusky scandal another look Wednesday night Vice President of Communications Adam Freifeld told StateCollege.com, Tuesday.

“(The Freeh Report) will be the focus of Costas Tonight tomorrow at 11pm ET following hockey on NBCSN.” Freifeld said.

The Freeh Report, headed by former FBI Director Louis Freeh, was commissioned by Penn State’s Board of Trustees to investigate former University officials and former head coach Joe Paterno’s role in the handling of allegations of child sexual abuse against former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

“The most saddening finding by the Special Investigative Counsel is the total and consistent disregard by the most senior leaders at Penn State for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s child victims,” the Freeh Commission report reads. “The most powerful men at Penn State failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children who Sandusky victimized.”

While in large part the Freeh Report was accepted as the most accurate picture of the Penn State scandal, growing numbers of people beyond the Penn State community have begun to question some of Freeh’s assumptions and conclusions.

The Paterno family released a response to the Freeh Report this past February.

Currently Freeh is facing criticism following the release of a report in a case involving Universal Entertainment Corporation.

“The Freeh report’s “factual findings and inferences lack objectivity and lack factual support,” Former U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said to the Wall Stree Journal. “Freeh’s law firm “viewed itself as an advocate first and an impartial investigator second” in preparing the Freeh report. Freeh and his colleagues “cherry-picked evidence and stretched to reach conclusions that would be helpful to the Wynn Resorts Board.”

Costas conducted an interview with Sandusky in early November of 2011 on NBC’s Rock Center and has been one of many voices throughout the lengthy unfolding of the Penn State scandal. Freifeld would not comment on the exact nature of the programming slated for Wednesday night.

The program is scheduled to air following Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals between the Detroit Redwings and Chicago Blackhawks. That game is slated for an 8:00 p.m. start.

Bob Costas to Host Show Reexamining Freeh Report


Bob Costas is taking another look at the Freeh Report.

Nittany Nation blogger Frank Bodani is reporting that, to give the report and its assertions a better evaluation, Costas is going to host a TV program on NBC, “a further examination of this issue in a month or two.”

Said Costas, “I said, ‘As the Freeh Report makes clear, Paterno was, in some sense, complicit’” to Sandusky’s abuse of young boys.

“I didn’t say he was part of a cover-up. I wish I would have said, ‘As the Freeh Report asserts,’ rather than, ‘As the Freeh Report makes clear.’”

Costas first reversed direction on the Freeh report a few weeks ago in an interview with radio host Kevin Slaten of KQQZ in St. Louis, but now is the first evidence we’re seeing of a potential TV program to address the issue. When he first commented on the report last July, Costas had only read summaries of the document, and not the entire 267-page report itself. Previously, he had advocated for the so-called “death penalty” for Penn State football for at least a year. He now thinks that the NCAA sanctions in place are undeservedly steep.

In a way similar to the Paterno report’s questioning of Freeh’s investigation, Costas will take aim at Freeh’s conclusions that, according to him, still raise questions of their validity. Costas acknowledged that the report by Thornburgh, Clemente, and Berlin raised legitimate questions about holes in the Freeh Report.

Though Costas says that, nationally, the public may not care enough to reverse its opinion on the issue, having moved on and forgotten, he adds, “I feel I have some responsibility to follow the story.” No other details about the program have yet been released such as an air date, besides that it will air on NBC “in a month or two.”

Penn State’s cost for the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal has exceeded $27 million.


CDT staff reports

According to a university news release, Penn State has spent $27,663,423 for legal fees, consultants and public relations firms associated with the Sandusky case. That total is from Nov. 30, 2012, the most recent figures available.

Sandusky, the former Penn State assistant coach who was convicted June 22 on 45 counts of child sex abuse, is serving 30 to 60 years in state prison.

The university updates its costs each month. The  previous amount was almost $21 million. Some of the fees and costs set forth below are expected to be reimbursed under the Penn State’s insurance policies, the university said.

Among the costs are $13 million for an internal investigation and communications, which included Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan/Pepper Hamilton; Daniel J. Edelman; The Academy Group; KPMG; Ketchum; Reed Smith; Kekst and Co.; Domus Inc.; and TAI.

The university’s legal services and defense spending was $7.4 million.

Those costs included payments to Saul Ewing; Duane Morris; Lanny J. Davis and Associates; Jenner & Block; ML Strategies; Lee, Green & Reiter; McQuaide Blasko; Document Technologies; White and Williams; and Feinberg Rozen.

Among the legal services is $1.3 million for external investigations; $3.9 million for indemnified persons’ legal defense; and $1.8 million for “other institutional expenses.”

The university said that it takes 40-45 days before the university receives invoices for a specific month.

PS4RS has identified the following substantial deficiencies in the Freeh Report


• Failure to disclose the fact that FSS’ client was the Board of Trustees, not the university, and, as such, FSS had a duty to act in the best interests of the board of trustees relative to the investigation and preparation of the Report;

• Failure to disclose that FSS sub-contracted a substantial portion of the investigation to the law firm of Pepper Hamilton, LLP, and to disclose the relationship between Pepper Hamilton and individual members of the board of trustees and their employers, including but not limited to Merck & Co., employer of Penn State Trustee Kenneth Frazier, Chairman of the Special Investigations Task Force;

• Failure to report the relationship between FSS and Pepper Hamilton, including August 2012 announcement that FSS had been acquired by Pepper Hamilton;

• Failure to consider inherent conflict of interest involving members of the board of trustees and Special Investigations Task Force in light of the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare’s investigation of the 1998 Incident;

• Failure to report on written threat by the brother of an influential member of university board of trustees to publicly disgrace Joe Paterno as evidence of bias;

• Failure to follow basic investigative and reporting procedures for an internal investigation;

• Failure to interview nearly every critical witness to the 1998 and 2001 incidents before rendering the report;

• Failure to properly address the facts and circumstances associated with the investigation of the 1998 incident by the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, the Centre County Children and Youth Services, the State College Borough Police Department, and the Centre County District Attorney;

• Misstatement of facts and complete lack of evidence in support of conclusion that Dr. Graham Spanier and Messrs. Tim Curley, Paterno, and Gary Schultz concealed 1998 and 2001 Incidents;

• Failure to acknowledge that the university’s investigation of the 1998 incident with multiple child welfare and law enforcement authorities, while Sandusky was still employed by the university, weighed heavily against a conclusion that these individuals intentionally concealed the 2001 incident from authorities, when Sandusky was not employed by the University;

• Improper reliance of unauthenticated, incomplete, and out of context emails from 1998 and 2001;

• Misstatements of facts and unsupported conclusions regarding the knowledge of Paterno relative to the 1998 Incident;

• Failure to acknowledge that, within days of the 2001 incident, at least 13 individuals, many of whom were outside the university, had knowledge, in whole or in part, of the incident that Mike McQueary reported;

• Failure to acknowledge that there was not a single witness interviewed who stated that there was an intent to conceal the 2001 incident by anyone at the university;

• Failure to acknowledge that there was not a single document that indicated an intent to conceal the 2001 Incident by anyone at the University

• Failure to acknowledge that the decision by Curley to report the 2001 incident to The Second Mile was wholly inconsistent with the idea of an intentional concealment, as alleged in the report;

• Failure to consider the role of The Second Mile and failure of The Second Mile to act upon report of 2001 incident;

• Failure to address information, including testimony of Dr. Jonathan Dranov, which casts serious doubt on the credibility of Mike McQueary in connection with the 2001 incident;

• Failure to consider that McQueary’s statements to his father and  Dranov, immediately after the incident, were likely to have greater reliability than statements made over 10 years later;

• Failure to acknowledge the fact that all email records of the university prior to 2004 were unavailable as the result of a computer system change;

• Failure to consult a psychologist or other medical professional for assistance in seeking to interpret the acts of various individuals in response to allegations of improper actions by Sandusky;

• Failure to acknowledge that FSS made personal findings and credibility determinations of witnesses who FSS did not even interview; and

• Failure to identify who waived the attorney-client privilege and authorized Freeh to conduct a nationwide press conference announcing the ‘findings’ of the Report before presenting those findings to the university.

The case against Joe Paterno: Weak to non-existent on the current record


Posted on July 26, 2012 by Paul Mirengoff in Sports

After more than 430 interviews and a review of more than 3.5 million documents and other information, the Freeh Report concludes that three emails from other people – former Penn State President Graham Spanier, Athletic Director Timothy Curley, and Senior Vice President Gary Schultz – prove that Mr. Paterno was a co-conspirator in a cover-up. I do not read the evidence in the Freeh Report that way, and I do not believe the conclusions about Mr. Paterno are either warranted or fair.

The claim seems to be that Mr. Paterno knew about a 1998 allegation and did nothing, and that in 2001, when he learned about Mike McQueary’s information, he waited a day before he reported the information to the athletic director (Curley) and the vice president in charge of the University Police (Schultz) and then did nothing else.

First, with respect to the 1998 incident, the Freeh Report says that several authorities promptly investigated and reviewed the matter, including the Department of Public Welfare, the University Police Department, the State College police, and the local district attorney’s office. Freeh Report at 42-47. A “counselor” named John Seasock issued a report that found “no indication of child abuse.” Freeh Report at 42-46. Mr. Seasock interviewed the alleged victim and determined that “there seems to be no incident which could be termed as sexual abuse, nor did there appear to be any sequential pattern of logic and behavior which is usually consistent with adults who have difficulty with sexual abuse of children.” Freeh Report at 44 (quoting Mr. Seasock’s 1998 evaluation of the alleged victim). The Freeh Report adds that Mr. Seasock “couldn’t find any indication of child abuse.” Freeh Report at 45.

The police investigated and “did not question Sandusky at this time,” and the Freeh Report says that “the local District Attorney declined to prosecute Sandusky for his actions.” Freeh Report at 45-46. A “senior administrator” explained that “the case against Sandusky was ‘severely hampered’ by Seasock’s report.” Freeh Report at 46. The University Police also investigatedthe matter and unlike the local police, they interviewed Sandusky. Sandusky claimed “nothing happened” (Freeh Report at 46) and the University Police concluded that “no sexual assault occurred.” Freeh Report at 47.

The only evidence of Mr. Paterno’s involvement is a passing reference in an email from Curley to Spanier and Schultz that says that Curley “touched base with the coach. Keep us posted.” Freeh Report at 20, 48. A second email from Curley to Schultz that says “Coach is anxious to know where it stands.” Freeh Report at 20, 48. There is no other information about Mr. Paterno’s involvement in the incident. In fact, the Freeh Report does not even establish that the references to “Coach” refer to Joe Paterno. The most it can and does say is that “[t]he reference to Coach is believed to be Paterno.” Freeh Report at 49. The Freeh Report cites no evidence to support this assertion, but even if “Coach” refers to Coach Paterno, what do these emails prove? The answer is: nothing. At most, these emails suggest that Mr. Paterno was concerned and wanted to know whether Sandusky was guilty of any wrongdoing.

The Freeh Report concludes that the “record” is “not clear as to how the conclusion of the Sandusky investigation was conveyed to Paterno.” Freeh Report at 51. The Report includes many statements that assert things like “nothing in
the record indicates that Joe Paterno spoke with Sandusky.” See, e.g., Freeh Report at 51. The absence of evidence or information proves only that Mr. Freeh did not find evidence. It does not affirmatively prove anything about Mr. Paterno.

Mr. Paterno explained his actions before he died by saying that “I was afraid to do something that might jeopardize what the University procedure was. So I backed away and turned it over to some other people, people I thought would have
a little more expertise than I did.” Freeh Report at 77-78. This statement makes perfect sense, and the notion of a football coach supervising a criminal investigation is ridiculous. It is very possible that Curley or Schultz or both
told Mr. Paterno to stay out of the matter; in fact, Schultz should have told him as much. But we don’t know because Schultz and Curley are under indictment and not talking, Paterno is dead, and the Freeh Report did not find any information about this issue.

Much of the case against Mr. Paterno seems to rely on (1) the theory that the Athletic Director, Curley, was JoePa’s “errand boy”; and (2) an email dated February 27, 2001 from Curley to Schultz and Spanier which says that Curley gave the matter “more thought” after “talking it over with Joe” and was “uncomfortable with what we agreed were the next steps.” Freeh Report at 74-75. But the “errand boy” evidence amounts to a reference by an unidentified “senior Penn State official” (page 75), and what does it prove anyway? That one person viewed Curley as Paterno’s “errand boy”?

There is no evidence that Curley-as-errand-boy covered up because Joe Paterno told him to do so. And the February 27 email at most suggests that Mr. Paterno spoke with Curley. It does not say what Curley and Paterno discussed, and without any explanation from either Curley or Paterno, it is absurd to read into this that Mr. Paterno was the puppet master behind a coverup orchestrated by Curley, Spanier, and Schultz.

Mr. Paterno was a football coach, not an expert in criminal law or investigations, and this notion of him as some kind of omnipotent and omniscient God who callously turned his back on a serial child molester is unsupported by any evidence.

PENN STATE ISSUES STATEMENT ON FREEH REPORT


PENN STATE ISSUES STATEMENT ON FREEH REPORT

July 12, 2012, SCRANTON, PA - Today’s comprehensive report is sad and sobering in that it concludes that at the moment of truth, people in positions of authority and responsibility did not put the welfare of children first. The Board of Trustees, as the group that has paramount accountability for overseeing and ensuring the proper functioning and governance of the University, accepts full responsibility for the failures that occurred. The Board, in cooperation with the Administration, will take every action to ensure that events like these never happen again in our university community.

The focus of all of our actions going forward will be on driving a culture of honesty, integrity, responsible leadership and accountability at all levels and within all units of our institution.

Judge Freeh’s report concludes that certain people at the University who were in a position to protect children or confront the predator failed to do so. There can be no ambiguity about that. The defenseless victims and their families are at the forefront of our thoughts and prayers. We are deeply sorry for the failure to protect these vulnerable young boys from the pain and anguish they suffered. At the same time, we are filled with admiration for the bravery shown by the young men and their families who came forward to ensure that justice will be done.

While today’s issuance of the Freeh Report provides some level of clarity for our community, it does not undo the pain that the victims of Jerry Sandusky have experienced, and continue to experience. We will continue to offer counseling to Mr. Sandusky’s victims, listen to them and take affirmative steps to address the harm they have suffered.

Beyond our campuses, the University is undertaking a number of actions to help build greater awareness of the societal issue of child sexual abuse. We are partnering with the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR) and have also created the Center for the Protection of Children at the Hershey Medical Center. Penn State University intends to be a constructive leader in preventing, reporting and responding to such abuse. This is a problem that plagues our nation, and we have a special duty to increase awareness, prevention and treatment of child sexual abuse.

Judge Freeh’s investigation was intended to identify where failures occurred and what changes should be made for the future. As the Freeh report noted, the University has already taken steps to begin addressing some of the shortcomings.

The Board of Trustees acknowledges that it failed to create an environment of accountability and transparency and did not have optimal reporting procedures or committee structures. Beginning in March 2011 and continuing until the publication of the Grand Jury presentment in November 2011, the Board failed to make proper inquiry of President Spanier and others regarding the Sandusky matter. As a result, the Board was unprepared to deal with the events that occurred in November 2011.

The Board has begun taking a more active oversight role and has implemented specific oversight committees, focused on Risk, Audit, Legal, Compliance, Academic Excellence, Governance and Human Resources. Furthermore, the Board is committed to greater transparency and communications with the entire University community.

Additionally, the University Administration has strengthened policies and programs involving minors, child abuse and mandated reporter training; ensuring a process for prompt reporting of abuse and sexual misconduct; hiring a new, full-time Clery Compliance Coordinator and providing Clery Act training for employees; and establishing a position of, and commencing a national search for, a director of University Compliance. Further information can be found here: www.progress.psu.edu.

In the weeks ahead, the University will carefully review and consider each of the report’s recommendations. Tomorrow at its regularly scheduled meeting, the Board of Trustees will consider a series of immediate next steps. President Rodney Erickson has appointed three members of his senior leadership team to coordinate and implement operational changes suggested by the Freeh Report.

As the Freeh Report notes Penn State “is an outstanding institution, nationally renowned for its excellence in academics and research.” Nothing in this report detracts from the many significant accomplishments of our faculty, staff, students and alumni. We also remain proud of the accomplishments of Penn State’s student athletes over many years, and we reaffirm the fundamental premise that academic excellence and athletic achievement are wholly consistent and complementary goals.

With the release of the Freeh Report we are beginning to correct our failures, promote healing and build a stronger tomorrow for Penn State. We are continuing the process of addressing the most painful chapter in the University’s history so that we can heal and move forward.

Paterno’s Words Resonate to ALL Alumni of Penn State


Forget my career in terms of my accomplishments and look at the last 40 years as I do:  as the aggregate achievements of hundreds of young men working to become better people as they got an education and became better football players.  Look at those men and what they have done in the world since they left Penn State and assess their contributions as an aggregate – is this a collection of jocks who did nothing but skate by at a football factory, or are these men who earned an education and built a reputation second to none as a place where academic integrity and gridiron success could thrive together?

Whatever failings that may have happened at Penn State, whatever conclusions about my or others’ conduct you may wish to draw from a fair view of the allegations, it is inarguable that these actions had nothing to do with this last team or any of the hundreds of prior graduates of the “Grand Experiment.”

Penn Staters across the globe should feel no shame in saying “We are…Penn State.”  This is a great University with one of the best academic performing football programs in major college athletics.  Those are facts – and nothing that has been alleged changes them