Statement by former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh
March 15, 2013
When we released our review of the Freeh report we were very careful not to question the motives or challenge the integrity of Mr. Freeh, his investigators or members of the Penn State Board of Trustees. Overheated rhetoric and personal attacks do nothing to advance the objective we all share of finding the truth in the Sandusky scandal.
That some members of the Board of Trustees want to reject our report out of hand, without the benefit of a review or discussion is unfortunate. We believe the better course would be for the Board to have a public review of both reports. I personally would welcome a chance to discuss these issues with the Board.
We also believe that all of the files and records related to Mr. Freeh’s investigation should be released to the public. This will make it easier for everyone to judge the accuracy and thoroughness of his work. The flaws of the Freeh report cannot be dismissed or overlooked. They are significant and numerous and must be addressed. This case will not be resolved until the record is set straight.
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.
Excerpt from Clemente Section of Paterno Report:
I have no interest in or connection with Penn State football, I had no personal or professional interaction with Joe Paterno, and I have not followed his career in any way or seen any game that he coached. I do not follow college or professional football. Though I am being paid for my time to research and write this report, I have maintained independence while conducting my review of the Freeh investigation and supplementing it with my own investigation.
After reading the Freeh report in its entirety, I now know that the Freeh investigation made a number of errors, including its failure to properly consider the behavioral dynamics of the offender, the victims, and witnesses within the context of acquaintance child sexual victimization.
Investigating this type of crime is markedly counter-intuitive and investigators and the public need to have a deep understanding of these behavioral dynamics before they can understand and properly interpret the information and behavior presented in this case. It is precisely because this information is not within the general knowledge of the average person/juror, that local, state, and federal courts admit the testimony of expert witnesses, like myself, to explain to jurors the complicated behavioral dynamics of “preferential child sex offenders,” “nice-guy” acquaintance offenders, “grooming,” and “compliant victimization.” In fact, the SIC report does not once mention “preferential child sex offenders,” “nice-guy” acquaintance offenders, or “compliant victimization,” and uses the term “grooming” only once without applying this critical behavioral reality to their analysis. By not factoring in thesedynamics, the Freeh report got it wrong.
While I authored this report at the behest of the representatives of the Paterno family, it is not just about Joe Paterno. This report is about finding the truth and educating the public about acquaintance child sexual victimization in the real world. This report does not take the focus away from the victims; it restores that focus. As an expert in this field, and as a former victim, I can attest that one of the worst things professionals, the media, and the public can do in the aftermath of the discovery of nice-guy offenders, like Sandusky, is to perpetuate the myth that his victims must have been frightened, threatened, or physically forced into sexual behavior with him.This practice, though well-meaning, hurts those children who became compliant intheir victimizationbecause this type of offender actually takes the opposite approach and treatsthem well, is kind to them, pays attention to them, shows them affection, makes them feel special, and/or gives them gifts. Another hurtful practice is talking about how horrendous,horrific, or life-changing these crimes were to the victims. The more we amplify what happened to the victims with emotional rhetoric, the more they and other victims in the general public feel damaged by what they have endured. They feel a sense of futility about ever being whole again. They feel the obstacles to leading happy and healthy lives are insurmountable. And most unfortunately, as a result of both of these practices, they and other victims are less likely to come forward.
The sad truth is that as you read this analysis, there are thousands of acquaintance offenders similar to Sandusky sexually victimizing children in communities across this country. These “nice-guy” offenders are getting away with it because they appear to be good people who genuinely care about children. These “nice-guy” offenders escape detection even by those who are vigilant because they are on the look out for evil predators, not pillars of the community. Unless everyone in the public takes on the responsibility to educate themselves about the dynamics of acquaintance child sexual victimization, “nice-guy” offenders will continue victimizing children undetected and undeterred. For that reason, paying attention to the details of this analysis, sharing its contents with everyone you know, engaging in an age-appropriate open dialogue with children, however difficult, and investigating those who exhibit red flag warning signs, will go a long way towards eliminating this type of offending behavior.
Sandusky is a textbook preferential child sex offender, as well as being a textbook example of a “nice-guy” offender. However, I would put him in the top one percent of effective groomers in this country. This is based on the fact thathe was so bold in his high-profile “altruistic” public persona, he founded a youth serving organization, and he was caught in the act — though cleared at the time — of what turned out to be grooming and sexually assaulting children in the showers in 1998, yet he still did the samething in the same place again in 2001. Sandusky was able to deceive his way out of it. He built his reputation both professionally and interpersonally over many years of hard work and sacrifice. Drive, determination, selflessness, and altruism were his calling cards. He motivated others to give millions to needy children at The Second Mile. Sandusky was lauded and celebrated for his work. He effectively groomed most of the people who came in contact with him, including child care experts, psychologists, professionals, celebrities, athletes, coaches, friends, and family. And most notably, he was approved numerous times over thirty years as both a foster parent and an adoptive parent by child care professionals.
The victims love the offender for the things he has done for them. On the other hand, they hate the offender for the things he has done to them. That’s why the boy in the shower in 2001 kept silent even though McQueary witnessed him being groomed and assaulted by Sandusky. That’s why the nine other victims who testified, or were testified about in Sandusky’s trial, never made an immediate outcry. Even when investigators first came to some of these boys and asked them direct questions, most of them remained silent or denied anything sexual occurred. They claimed that they had not been victimized, when in fact they had. Eventually, most of them made partial or incremental disclosures, and then over time gave a full account of their victimization. It’s called the “conspiracy of silence” that surrounds child sexual victimization. It is the opposite of an “active agreement to conceal.”
The combination of nice-guy acquaintance offending, coupled with the “conspiracy of silence” by victims and “compliant victimization,” is why Paterno did not know that Sandusky was really a child molester. It is why the entire State College community did not know. One astute mother, however, saw a behavioral change in her son and recognized it as a possible sign of victimization and reported Sandusky in 1998. She might have initially bought into Sandusky’s grooming, giving him access to her child hoping the relationship would help her son have a better life. But the behavioral changes her son exhibited after spending an evening with Sandusky triggered her intuition and she fought for her son’s protection. She is a hero. Unfortunately, the system failed her, and her son. We all want to search for the culprit who caused the system to fail. In my professional opinion, the culprit is ignorance of “nice-guy”offending.
One psychologist, trained in the art of deciphering offender behavior, Alycia Chambers,evaluated the boy, saw and recognized all the red flags presented by Sandusky’s behavior, but her report apparently did not receive the attention it deserved. Centre County Children and Youth Services (CYS) referred the case to counselor John Seasock, 20 who, without reading Chamber’s report, evaluated the boy for one hour and then wrote a report concluding nothing improper took place.That is why no one at Penn State did anything to sanction Sandusky. The UniversityPolice Department, the Department of Public Welfare (DPW), and the District Attorney all closed their cases based in large part on Seasock’s report. For those who worked closely with Sandusky and knew about the 1998 incident, the closing of this investigation as unfounded was confirmation of Sandusky’s outstanding reputation and their belief that he was a devoted advocate for children.
Though a trained child sex crimes investigator should have known to keep a close watch on Sandusky from that point forward, civilians generally revert back to the thousands of positive interactions they have had with him and validate the belief in their own minds that they knew Sandusky couldn’t have been a “monster predator.” If he had been, they tell themselves, they would have known. They would have been able to tell the difference between that kind of evil person and the affable Sandusky they knew, whom they viewed as a dedicated husband and father, who fostered and adopted dozens of children, an altruist, who founded a children’s charity, and a professional, who worked for decades as assistant football coach of one of the most successful college teams in the country.
Because of the private and one-on-one nature of the vast majority of child sex crimes, adult offenders know that in most circumstances, if the child makes an allegation against them, they have a higher likelihood of being believed than a troubled youth. And, as the inaction by McQueary and the janitor exhibit, even if adults witness this behavior, they are reticent to get involved or make a detailed report because it is just too difficult to comprehend or believe or talk about what they witnessed. As I will develop in much greater detail below, these complicated dynamics, which so few people understand (and most find completely counter-intuitive) explain why McQueary behaved as he did. They explain why he did not rescue the boy in 2001, and instead, left the scene as quickly as possible. They explain why McQueary had such difficulty recounting what he saw to his father and Dr. Dranov, and even more difficulty speaking about it to Paterno. McQueary likely was relieved when Curley and Schultz did not ask him detailed questions about what he had witnessed. At the time, he was not certain of what he saw because it was so abjectly counter to what he knew about Sandusky and how he expected a child victim to behave. They also explain why McQueary gave Paterno such a watered down and, ultimately, unhelpful version of events.
These complicated dynamics explain why Paterno did not conclude that Sandusky was a child molester, and why Paterno did what he did and nothing more. Paterno did not witness a child being sexually assaulted. Paterno did not have the opportunity that McQueary had to rescue that child while he was being sexually assaulted. Paterno did not have the opportunity to catch Sandusky in the act and restrain him while calling the police. As I’ll discuss in more detail below, Paterno only heard the sketchiest version of what happened from a confused, embarrassed, and reticent McQueary. Paterno could not read McQueary’s mind. He did not know what McQueary actually witnessed, but sensing that McQueary was having so much trouble talking about it and wanting to minimize his distress, Paterno told McQueary that he did not have to speak the details to Paterno, that he did the right thing coming to Paterno, and that Paterno would find the right people for McQueary to report it. Paterno was not an investigator. Paterno had no authority over Sandusky, who had retired two years earlier. Paterno ran into Sandusky infrequently and did not socialize with him. Paterno did his best to address the situation by informing the people at the university who were in a position to deal with Sandusky, and, in fact, who had dealt with Sandusky’s retirement and continued to deal with Sandusky about administrative details.
As it relates to Paterno, there is very little to be said about the 1998 incident. As far as Paterno knew, if he knew anything, it was fully investigated and Sandusky was fully cleared. Had Paterno or anyone else taken any action against Sandusky, as far as they knew, they would be exposing themselves and the university to a lawsuit from Sandusky. Nonetheless, I will discuss the 1998 incident in some detail for two reasons. First, if Paterno did know about the 1998 incident and the fact that Sandusky was investigated and cleared, this likely would have affected Paterno’s understanding of the 2001 incident. Upon hearing the report from McQueary, Paterno could have reasonably believed that Sandusky was simply horsing around with the boy — just like he was determined to have been doing in 1998 — despite the fact that McQueary perceived it as “over the line.”
The allegations of sexual misconduct were fully investigated by the University Police and Public Safety (“University Police Department” or “UPD”), DPW, CYS, and the District Attorney’s Office. The “victim” and Sandusky were repeatedly interviewed at the time and it was determined that Sandusky had no sexual intent and did not commit any crimes. The investigators had evenidentified another boy who recounted virtually the same story as the first boy and they still did not find sexual or criminal intent.Thus, even if the 1998 accusations had been communicated to Paterno, there would simply have been no way for Paterno to know that Sandusky was actually sexually attracted to boys and that he had been sexually victimizing a number of them in secrecy for years. Following the closing of this investigation, UPD Detective Schreffler instructed Sandusky not to shower again with any child.This explicit advice coming from the law enforcement body responsible for policing Penn State — and not simply the head coach —should have put Sandusky on notice that his actions were being scrutinized and dissuaded him from showering with any more boys at Penn State or anywhere else. UPD apparently did nothing else with respect to Sandusky beyond issuing this “advice the members of this approximately 50-man police department were bettertrained in the area of sex crimes and investigations than Paterno. Certainly UPD had the ultimate responsibility to police and secure all facilities on Penn State’s campus. And certainly, UPD had the ultimate responsibility to protect all persons, including children who were guests on campus. Paterno is blamed by the SIC for not instituting his own prevention program, when the very police agency that was charged with conducting, and actually conducted, the 1998 investigation, did absolutely nothing to investigate Sandusky further, to prevent him from bringing children into the showers, or to inform university staff and students about the allegations against Sandusky. That’s because Sandusky was cleared.
Paterno didn’t know about or have access to the 98-page report that the UPD had compiled on the 1998 incident. Paterno didn’t have a team of detectives who presumably were trained to recognize sex offender behavior. Paterno’s profession had nothing at all to do with children, or sex offenders, or investigations, or recognizing the red flags of child sexual victimization. It is incorrect to assert that Paterno, even as head coach and football icon, was in abetter position to keep an investigative eye on Sandusky and prevent him from offending on campus than was the UPD.
The UPD, DPW, CYS, and the DA’s office also should be accused of “callous and shocking” “total disregard for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s child victims,”or the accusations against Paterno related to the 1998 incident are biased and wrong.
The entire case against Paterno regarding the 2001 Sandusky shower incident hinges on the words of Mike McQueary. Paterno was not an eyewitness. His only basis of knowledge about what Sandusky did in the shower with a boy in February 2001 was the words McQueary chose to tell Paterno at that time. Clearly, those were not the detailed and explicit words McQueary used a decade later when talking to investigators and during his testimony. What is most critical in analyzing Paterno’s subsequent behavior is what McQueary actually communicated to Paterno during that five to ten minute conversation on the morning of Saturday, February 10, 2001. There are no contemporaneous recordings, notes, or confirmatory emails from this meeting, and the documentation that was made closest in time to the actual events was a statement made by McQueary to attorney general investigators, Trooper Rossman and Agent Sassano, almost a decade later on November 22, 2010. Because of the lapse of time between the actual conversation and the documentation thereof, the probability that particular details of this conversation are reliably recalled from memory is very low.
When a layman, like Paterno, hears ambiguous information about an incident that might involve male on male child sexual victimization and “considers” but rejects the possibility of it actually being true, it does not mean that it is an act of deliberate or willful denial or an attempt to conceal. This is especially true when the accused “offender” does not act like a heinous criminal and the alleged “victims” don’t act like he did anything wrong to them at all. What is actually going on with the untrained layman is a common and fundamental misunderstanding of offender and victim behavior and honest disbelief.
We know the following: McQueary walked into the coaches’ locker room between 9:30 and 10:00 on a Friday night. After McQueary passed through the first of two privacy doors to the locker room, he heard the showers running. He then heard what he has variously described as “two or three” “slapping noises,”36 “smackingsounds,”and “rhythmic slapping sounds”38 over the course of a second or two. In McQueary’s words, he “immediately became alerted and kind of — I don’t know — embarrassed that I was walking in on something that I didn’t want to see or walk in on.” At that moment McQueary “thought maybe one of the other people had someone with him in the showers.”McQueary got to his locker and glanced over his right shoulder and, using the reflection of a mirror, looked into the shower. His first glance lasted one to two seconds. In McQueary’s words, “I immediately turned back to my locker, trying to digest what I just saw and making sure I saw what I just saw. . . . I thought maybe I wasn’t seeing what I was seeing.” McQueary then stepped to the side and looked directly into the shower.According to his testimony, McQueary saw Sandusky in the shower with a young boy. Taking into account all of McQueary’s testimony, that’s all the detail he has given about what he actually saw as opposed to what he thought was happening or what he thought he heard, or what he told Paterno. McQueary also testified to what he did not see or hear. He did not see the front of Sandusky or the boy until the two of them were standing three to five feet apart and were facing him. He did not see any genitalia, erection, or insertion. He did not see any fondling. He did not see any sex act. He did not hear any “protests or any verbiage.” McQueary says he was “extremely alarmed, extremely flustered, extremely shocked, all of those things.”He went back to his locker and “tried to think . . . I accentuate the word ‘try.’”McQueary explained, “this is a Penn State football building . . . you don’t register that. .. . I’m used to pressure situations, and I can tell you that’s — that’s more than my brain could handle at that time.” McQueary was so overwhelmed that he described what he had seen as “ridiculous” as opposed to criminal.
Some believe that he wanted to save the name of Penn State football and so he decided to forget what he saw and walk away rather than to act to save the boy or restrain Sandusky. However, if this were true, he would not have attempted to tell five other people about what he saw and he would not have been so upset while he was trying to do so. In my experience the reasonable conclusion is that he was so overwhelmed by what he saw that he was paralyzed with confusion and disbelief. He did not understand how a man he knew and respected could possibly be doing something like that to a boy. He could not understand why the boy was not screaming out in pain or protest, or fighting to free himself. He could not understand why, when faced with a potential rescuer (McQueary), the boy did not even ask for help. He could not understand how Sandusky could just stare at him with a blank expression only seconds after he was apparently sexually assaulting a boy. And he did not understand how any of this could have happened in his own football locker room. Quite simply, in McQueary’s mind, it did not compute.
McQueary was forced to reconcile three things in his mind that he did not know how to reconcile: (1) when he heard the slapping sounds, he expected to see “normal” sexual activity, but what he saw was shocking, (2) he had always known Sandusky as a nice guy, professional, altruistic person, but now he was confronted with the sight of Sandusky apparently sexually assaulting a boy, and (3) the young boy was not fighting, screaming, or attempting to get away — all the things he would expect the victim of a sexual assault to do. At the time, and in the subsequent days, McQueary could not reconcile these things. He knew nothing about preferential sex offenders, grooming, “nice-guy” acquaintance offenders,and compliant victimization. Consequently, he did not rescue the boy. He ran away. He did not go to the campus police, he went to his office and called his dad. McQueary lived on his own, but he did not go home. He went straight to his parents’ house. While McQueary’s actions are confusing to many, in my experience they are typical of someone who is completely baffled and confused by what he saw and consequently he did not have the confidence to report it in detail.
McQueary has consistently testified that he did not tell Paterno any graphic details, so it is highly probable that McQueary did not tell Paterno anything that would have led Paterno to believe that Sandusky was sexually assaulting the boy in the shower.
The following day, McQueary went to Paterno’s house. According to McQueary, he told Paterno that he “saw Jerry with a young boy in the shower and that it was way over the line,”“[t]he rough positioning I would have described but not in very much detail,”“I told him what I had seen, again, on the surface.”However, McQueary has been clear that he did not use the terms “anal,” “intercourse,” sodomy,” or “rape.”McQueary explains he did not give these details “out of respect and just not getting into detail with someone like Coach Paterno,”“in my mind I don’t go to Coach Paterno and go into great detail of sexual acts. I would have never done that with him ever.” In fact, the reason McQueary didn’t want to use sexual terms with Paterno was the very reason why he needed to. Paterno was known as a prude who was uncomfortable talking about sex. Implying a sex act was not enough to undermine Paterno’s years of interactions with Sandusky and Sandusky’s image as a pillar of the community. McQueary needed to be direct, explicit, and comprehensive in his description. If McQueary had simply said to Paterno, “I saw Sandusky having sex with a boy,” then at least Paterno would have known what McQueary meant. Paterno may still have had trouble believing McQueary, but he would at least have been aware of what McQueary was saying.
Sexual behavior is typically very private; criminal sexual behavior is extremely private.McQueary was understandably embarrassed by what he witnessed, and he acted like someone who had never had to talk about this difficult topic before in his life. It apparently was particularly difficult for McQueary to talk to an elder and iconic figure whom he looked up to about the details of sexual activity.
In response, Paterno, trying to spare McQueary from any further distress, told McQueary that he didn’t have to tell Paterno anything else, that McQueary did the right thing bringing it to Paterno, and that it was Paterno’s job to get McQueary together with the right people for McQueary to report it.
What we do know from Paterno’s recounting of events and his later shock and surprise when he finally read McQueary’s statements in the presentment the week of November 7, 2011,was that Paterno did not have any idea that McQueary was trying to tell him that Sandusky was sodomizing the boy or even sexually assaulting the boy. When asked by an investigator if McQueary said there was a sexual act, Paterno responded, “He never said that.” When Paterno finally read the presentment, he asked his son what the word “sodomy” meant. After his son explained it to him, Paterno asked, “Can a man even do that to a boy?” Nonetheless, as Paterno explained, if he had been told that Sandusky was raping a boy, or having sex with a boy in the shower, he “would have gone to the police right then and there, no questions asked.”
It is more reasonable to conclude that these five men did notunderstand the true nature of Sandusky’s actions because McQueary did not convey what he thought he had conveyed to them. That’s because McQueary relied on implication, and deliberately did not use explicit or graphic terms in describing what he thought he witnessed in the shower.
Of those five men, the one who was most prepared for such a situation arguably would be Dr. Dranov. As a medical doctor, he is a mandated reporter, and he acted like one. He asked all the right questions aimed at determining whether McQueary had seen any specific sexual acts. McQueary repeatedly said no and got more upset when Dr. Dranov attempted to get more details out of him. Dr. Dranov then advised McQueary to tell Coach Paterno and did nothing more. Dr.Dranov did not tell McQueary to call the police, he did not call the police himself, and he did not call the Department of Public Welfare. This behavior is consistent with Dr. Dranov deducing at the time that what McQueary had actually witnessed was non-sexual in nature.
by Carolyn Todd
Why did Louis Freeh determine that Penn State had a so-called “football culture”?
In his report, Freeh states the following key finding:
“In the Fall of 2000, a University janitor observed Sandusky sexually assault a young boy in the East Area Locker Building and advised co-workers of what he saw. Also that evening, another janitor saw two pairs of feet in the same shower, and then saw Sandusky and a young boy leaving the locker room holding hands. Fearing that they would be fired for what they saw, neither janitor reported the incidents to university officials, law enforcement, or child protective agencies.”
Later in his report, Freeh describes an interview with one of the janitors involved: “Janitor B explained to the Special Investigative Counsel that reporting the incident ‘would have been like going against the President of the United States in my eyes.’ ‘I know Paterno has so much power, if he wanted to get rid of someone, I would have been gone.’ He explained, ‘football runs this University,’ and said the University would have closed ranks to protect the football program at all costs.”
And so according to Freeh, even though a more senior janitor discussed with these two janitors how to report what they saw, the two janitors involved decided that because they were fearful of losing their jobs, they would not report a tremendously awful crime. Or at least that’s what they told Freeh twelve years after it happened.
They blamed Paterno’s power for their failure to do what was the right thing to do at the time – to call the police.
I don’t necessarily want to judge them. I can understand the fear of losing a job, whether that fear is founded or not. But it’s a true shame that they did not report the crime when it occurred in 2000.
Sandusky might have been behind bars a lot sooner given what appears to be the clearest eye witness account of Sandusky performing a sexual act on a victim. A lot of victims might have been spared over the past decade.
And as the Paterno family report published last week has pointed out, just because a janitor assumed that Joe Paterno MIGHT fire him for reporting a crime doesn’t make it true that he WOULD have or even COULD have.
There is no evidence that Paterno would have dismissed these janitors and not taken them seriously. There is also no evidence that Paterno would have fired these janitors.
AND significantly enough there is no evidence that Paterno had the authority to fire these janitors even if he desired to, which in my opinion is not something he would have done.
Remember, in the year 2000 Sandusky didn’t report to Paterno or have anything to do with his program. And it has been well documented that Paterno wasn’t close to Sandusky or consider him a friend.
In addition there is ample evidence that when Mike McQueary reported something in 2001 that was far more ambiguous than what one of the janitors reportedly saw – he told his dad and a medical doctor that night and the jury during the Sandusky trial that he did NOT see a rape – Mike was neither fired or told by Paterno to keep it quiet.
Paterno made sure that Mike met with Tim Curley and Gary Schultz to report to them what he saw. Mike was kept on as graduate assistant coach and then later on he was promoted to assistant coach.
So why was Freeh so sympathetic to these janitors for not calling the police and so willing to blame the “football culture” for their inaction?
I probably never will understand that part of the history of the Sandusky scandal. It’s hard for me to fathom how anyone can be blamed for somehow ignoring a crime that was never reported. But that is in essence what the Freeh report does. It blames Paterno and the football culture.
Joe Paterno had a lot of influence, for sure, at Penn State. But was he powerful enough to decide EVERYTHING at the university? No, he wasn’t. That is a myth perpetrated by people who have a limited view or don’t understand how academia works.
Dr. Vicki Triponey, the former VP of Student Affairs, was another one of Freeh’s interviewees and it appears that her assertions also had influence on Freeh’s conclusions about a football culture. She is well-known for her complaints that she couldn’t wrest control away from Joe Paterno on whether or not his players could continue to play while facing disciplinary proceedings. Her complaints have been well-publicized in the media. She felt that it should be up to Judicial Affairs, not coaches, to determine player involvement in practice or games. Joe Paterno objected to that.
But what was NOT so well publicized in most media, although reported in a Centre Daily Times article written by Anne Danahy, is that an independent Faculty-Senate committee at the university interviewed 40 people about Triponey’s concerns and about her proposal for Judicial Affairs to determine whether or not an athlete should continue to play on a team if faced with disciplinary proceedings. This Faculty-Senate committee, NOT Joe Paterno, made the final recommendation to the university president as to how student discipline of both athletes and non-athletes should be handled.
Essentially this academic committee confirmed the notion that coaches should be allowed to determine whether or not a player should continue to play, not Judicial Affairs. They determined that for non-athlete extra-curricular activities it was left to the leader of those activities (e.g. advisor) to determine whether or not a non-athlete facing discipline should continue to participate. The committee felt that athletes should not be treated any differently than non-athletes.
The Freeh report’s opinion that there is some sort of a ”football culture” that needs to be rectified at Penn State seems to be one of the reasons that the NCAA has come down especially hard on Penn State in assessing the harsh sanctions that it has.
Never mind that what happened at Penn State was criminal activity by a former coach, that none of the current players ever worked with. Never mind that it had nothing to do with creating competitive advantage on the playing field, which is supposedly what the NCAA is supposed to be investigating.
Mark Emmert, mimicking Freeh, publicly stated that Penn State’s “football culture” needs to change as a justification for his announcement of harsh NCAA sanctions. And what was even worse, he seemed to imply that academic integrity at Penn State had been compromised.
What was it about a 91% graduation rate of football student athletes at Penn State that Emmert didn’t like?
Perhaps the problem was that the people Freeh interviewed at Penn State ADMIRED the academic culture that was built within the football program?
And perhaps Freeh’s teams confused admiration for Joe’s commitment to academics and fundraising for an attitude of “Joe can do no wrong” or “Joe has too much power”?
Let us not forget, Emmert chose to accept the Freeh report and announce the worse NCAA sanctions ever against a university rather than launch his own investigation.
So Emmert doesn’t even know who Freeh interviewed in his investigation.
Trust me when I say, Penn State faculty and staff are smarter than to think Joe Paterno could have done no wrong. We respected Joe Paterno’s abilities as a head coach, his philanthropic efforts on behalf of Penn State, and his determination to make sure his players graduated.
But we also knew that he was quite human. He wasn’t perfect. We also knew that Joe had boundaries he respected. He had a lot of influence, but he didn’t always choose to use it.
Evidence of that fact is that neither Joe Paterno nor anyone else from the football office has ever interfered with a faculty decision related to the academics of a football player.
There has been no pressure to pass any athlete. None. Ever. By any coach of any athletic program at Penn State.
As an instructor at Penn State I’ve had my share of student athletes in the classroom – football and otherwise – and all I can say is that every scholarship athlete I have had in my classes is very closely monitored, three times per semester! To make sure they attend classes, to make sure they are participating, to make sure they are passing. It works, and Penn State has been admired over the decades for it working so well.
And speaking of football culture, what about the fact that football student athletes are involved in all sorts of other initiatives, such as “Lift for Life”, where this year alone they raised over $100,000 to combat kidney cancer?
And where this year Offensive Lineman Eric Shrive was named “Rare Disease Champion of the Year” by Uplifting Athletes and the Maxwell Club for his personal efforts in raising over $69,000 of that amount to fight this disease. Congratulations, Eric, on that honor!
No, Freeh and Emmert got it wrong. If you want to know what Penn State’s culture is truly about, consider this past weekend’s efforts in the dead cold of February.
710 student dancers on their feet for 46 hours. More than 15,000 students on their feet in the stands supporting those dancers. Countless Penn State student clubs and organizations spending weeks and months on end canning on street corners to raise money to combat pediatric cancer.
Countless folks – students, families, community members – standing in line for hours outside of the Bryce Jordan Center trying to get into the arena to lend their support to the dancers, and turned away because the largest inside venue on campus isn’t big enough to accommodate all who want to participate.
Numerous committees are organized throughout the year to support this event and make sure the dancers are well taken care for, and that the Thon children themselves – children who suffer tremendously from treatments related to their cancers – are having a great time.
That’s right. The children themselves who benefit from Thon interact directly with the students at Penn State, through the Four Diamonds Fund, which is the major beneficiary of the Thon fundraising effort.
Just about every student club participating in Thon has one or two of these children assigned to them. That makes the fundraising to cure cancer personal. Very personal. And given that these children sometimes don’t survive, it is agonizingly emotional in the final hours when during the Thon family hour the triumphs over cancer are celebrated, but then also the names and photos of the Thon children who passed away are flashed on the screen.
I teach at Penn State. I’m a huge football fan, as you know. But, when I think of culture at Penn State, I don’t think of football first.
I think of Thon. Thon is what pervades the atmosphere among students at Penn State, and it is what differentiates Penn State from any other major university in the world. Thon pervades all year round.
Football at Penn State is exciting, fun, a major passion each fall for seven home weekends each year. But isn’t that true at every FBS school? Isn’t it true at Alabama? Wisconsin? Michigan? Ohio State? You name it. Football is big in the fall at all of my top five favorite college football venues. I beg you to contend that Penn State football is more important than football at any other of these schools.
But while football is primarily a fall activity, the Penn State Dance Marathon drives Penn State students 52 weeks per year. The student clubs, fraternities, and sororities all organize into teams to can on weekends on street corners in communities throughout the northeast and even across the country.
Thon itself has what seem to be a zillion different committees, whether they be rules and regulations, morale, security, entertainment, communications, and of course there is a huge competitive thrust among the numerous student clubs to raise enough money to be eligible to sponsor one or more dancers to represent them, and to be recognized as a top 5 contributing student club among various designated categories of clubs when the grand amount is announced.
And so on a weekend in February, a miraculous event occurs, the culmination of a year’s worth of effort. A bunch of students hold a 46 hour dance party at the Bryce Jordan Center. No alcohol, by the way, is allowed within the BJC, and anyone who is visibly drunk is turned away.
The Thon kids have a ball. The dancers learn what it is like to suffer…and to survive.
Football culture? Football players are involved as well in supporting Thon. In fact, all the athletes at Penn State put on a show for the dancers on Saturday night. The athletic teams spend hours developing, practicing, and then competing for the best dance routine, and it’s a highlight of the weekend…you can view it here. It’s a great laugh, especially the men’s hockey team and this year’s winner, the men’s swim team.
In the end, in my opinion, the Penn State student culture is defined by Penn State students striving to make an impact on the world. The students contribute tremendously to the families whose kids are suffering from cancer, and to researching a cure for pediatric cancer. This year, they raised over $12 million. Since the beginning, over $101 million. For the kids.
And you know what? On Monday morning, the Thon mission will start all over again. New leadership for Thon will be named, a transition plan to impart all the lessons from this year’s successes and failures will occur, and committees will be formed to start the effort all over again for next year.
The janitors were wrong. Louis Freeh was wrong. So was Mark Emmert. Football doesn’t run everything at Penn State.
If you want to know what the culture at Penn State is about, especially in terms of student life, look no further than Thon.
Congratulations, Penn State students! For The Kids!!! $12.3 million plus. Every year I look at what Penn State students accomplish, and I’m absolutely amazed. As we all should be.
The world’s largest student-run philanthropy. That’s what defines Penn State culture, much more than football does. And I suspect it always will.
But it’s also what’s incredibly disturbing about the Sandusky crimes. Penn State’s culture is defined by the acronymn ”FTK”. For The Kids.
Sandusky violated first of all his victims, but also the entire Penn State University, through his heinous criminal actions. He struck at the core of Penn State’s cultural beliefs which have always been about supporting children through Thon. He also struck at the core of the community’s support of The Second Mile, the charity he founded, which has also been all about supporting children.
That is what is so hard to accept. That this monster in our midst could go after the very kids that the culture of this school and this community could work so hard to support.
As for a football culture? For any Penn Stater, they know better.
Written and Researched by Eileen Morgan, PSU ’90
A. AG had to use the 1998 investigation to fit their narrative that the Penn State (PSU) officials had covered up for Jerry Sandusky’s child molestation for over a decade and this narrative allowed the AG to cover up the failures of PA state agencies in the 1998 investigation.
Here’s my theory.
Joe Paterno, iconic head football coach of Penn State, known worldwide for his no-nonsense approach to life and football, beloved by players, students, and fans alike, enabled his assistant coach to have freedom to molest innocent children in the PSU football facilities in order to protect his precious Penn State football program.
This sensationalized story focused on Joe Paterno and his alleged failure. It doesn’t focus on the true criminal. This was what the media took and ran with. Sure, they mentioned Sandusky’s name, but that was not their focus. This is exactly what the AG/Freeh wanted. And here we are today.
The real story should have read: Second Mile founder, Jerry Sandusky, manipulated and deceived thousands of parents, players, coaches, fans, police detectives, child welfare employees, and even his wife for at least 14 years while he systematically used his Second Mile Foundation to prey on innocent boys and sexually molest them.
The true story would have been shocking and heartbreaking enough. But the true story has a problem for the AG.
The investigation into Aaron Fisher’s (Victim 1) allegations began in 2008. At some point in late ’09 to early ’10, the investigator (and the AG, who was Tom Corbett at the time) became aware of the 2001 incident involving Mike McQueary walking in on Sandusky and a boy showering in a PSU football locker room. The investigator/AG also became aware of the 1998 investigation that involved the university Park Police Dept, the State College Borough Police, the Dept. of Public Welfare (DPW), Centre County Child and Youth Services (CYS), and the District Attorney (DA).
Upon reviewing the police file of the 1998 investigation, the AG/investigator became aware that the PA state agencies, namely, DPW and CYS, had botched the 1998 case against Sandusky. These agencies had concrete evidence, including a report from licensed psychologist Dr. Chambers, who determined Sandusky exhibited ‘grooming behaviors’ and was a ‘likely pedophile.’ However, rather than use Chambers’ report, the DPW enlisted CYS to obtain a report from John Seasock, an unlicensed counselor. Seasock determined Sandusky did not exhibit the behavior of a pedophile but that of a ‘football coach.’ And with that report, the investigation was successfully derailed. Was it incompetence on the part of the DPW and CYS or a cover up to protect Sandusky and The Second Mile? (For details, please see my Critical Analysis of The Freeh Report and Ray Blehar’s Detailed Analysis of 1998, coming soon.)
The problem is this: The 1998 investigation undoubtedly shows that the DPW and CYS were clearly negligent in their investigation and had enough evidence to charge Sandusky or at least further investigate by talking to more children from the Second Mile which likely would have led to charging Sandusky and taking him off the streets.
What is AG Corbett to do? It is now 2010 and he is trying to put a case together to charge Sandusky with child sexual abuse but does he want to implicate his own state agencies and expose their careless and reckless work that would have put Sandusky away over a decade ago? Does he want to jeopardize his state and make them liable for their failures?
Enter Penn State officials. The 2001 case was a perfect cover for the botched 1998 investigation. If AG Corbett could manipulate the facts of the 2001 incident and entangle them with the 1998 investigation, he would be able to kill two birds with one stone. He would be able to camouflage the mistakes of 1998 while at the same time direct the blame for Sandusky’s crimes onto Joe Paterno, Tim Curley, Gary Schultz, and Graham Spanier. In addition, Sandusky was still coaching in 1998. In 2001, he had retired. Therefore, tying the 1998 investigation to Penn State would provide a stronger case that PSU officials were involved in a cover up since Sandusky was a coach at that time.
That is why the 1998 investigation was the crucial starting point of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. If the AG only went back to 2001 to pin Sandusky’s crimes on the PSU officials, Corbett/Linda Kelly (new Attorney General 2011) would encounter several problems.
First, the AG’s office would have had to disclose the 1998 investigation. (They couldn’t pretend it didn’t exist because then they would look incompetent. It would have eventually been discovered.) If they disclosed the 1998 investigation and left it at that, anyone briefly reviewing it would have seen their incompetency or cover-up and the AG would have had to admit the PA state agencies failed and thus, would have been castigated by the media and citizens around the state and across the nation for allowing Sandusky to be free to molest children for an additional 14 years.
Second, to use
only the 2001 incident to shift the blame for Sandusky’s crimes onto the PSU officials, would not have been convincing. (Keep in mind, the heat would have been on DPW and CYS anyway.) Reviewing the 2001 incident testimonies, it is clear that Mike McQueary did not see a crime. He did not see Sandusky molesting a child in the shower in 2001. He was shocked to see Sandusky with a boy alone in the shower at 9 o’clock at night. It didn’t seem right. (It wasn’t.) It made him uncomfortable. (It should have.) But it was not criminal.
How do we know?
In 2010, McQueary testified what he witnessed was extremely sexual and over the line. That is a description of a crime, therefore why did McQueary hesitate to call the police? And if he did see that type of act, shouldn’t he have stepped in, stopped the abuse, and protected the child. Mike McQueary is 6’4″ and over 200 pounds. He would have no problem “handling” the 56 year old Sandusky. So, what stopped him?
It was the fact that he didn’t see anything that required his intervention.
That is the only reasonable explanation for his hesitancy to call the police. I’m sure he considered calling the police, but what would he have told them? There was no crime, so would he be falsely accusing someone of child molesting? Falsely accusing a beloved coach? He’s in a jam. So he tells his father and Dr. Dranov, who tell him to tell Paterno, who tells Curley and Schultz, who tells Spanier. They collectively tell Sandusky’s employer, CEO of The Second Mile, Jack Raykovitz, who is responsible for the child. That doesn’t appear to be a cover-up. None of the men that McQueary told tried to conceal any part of his story. They relayed it on to the person(s) they felt would best be able to handle the non-criminal activity that McQueary witnessed.
Third, taking the 2001 incident alone to direct blame for Sandusky’s crimes onto PSU officials, (already weak, as proven above,) would not have established a pattern. One very vague incident, that seemed to have been handled properly at the time, given the facts, could possibly have been forgiven by the citizens of the world. In addition, Sandusky was no longer a PSU employee in 2001, so this would have made it a Second Mile problem. The focus would have been on Sandusky’s foundation, not PSU.
No, without pinning 1998 on PSU officials, the state of Pennsylvania was in for a beating. So, to establish a pattern of covering up Sandusky’s crimes was a necessity. The AG establishing a pattern by PSU officials, starting back in 1998, would undoubtedly start a media firestorm and turn the attention to Joe Paterno and the other school officials while diverting attention away from the botched 1998 investigation. By 2010, the AG’s office needed a plan to cover up for the failed 1998 investigation and shift the blame onto PSU officials.
Enter the Grand Jury Presentment. Mike McQueary’s account appeared to have been embellished (to assure conviction of Sandusky) and perhaps to manipulate the 2001 incident as handled by Paterno, Curley, Schultz and Spanier. The presentment claimed that McQueary saw Sandusky anal raping a child and that he told Paterno, Curley and Schultz what he saw. But they did not go to the police. The media firestorm ensued. The blame for another man’s crimes rested squarely on Paterno, Curley, Schultz and Spanier. But how could the AG get around the 1998 investigation that was clearly improperly handled by the state and allowed Sandusky to be free for another 14 years? How could they pin 1998 on PSU?
Enter Louis Freeh. In November, 2011, Freeh was hired by the Penn State Board of Trustees ‘to conduct a full, fair and completely independent investigation….’ Well, by this time Corbett, who was the Attorney General when the investigation into Sandusky began, is now PA Governor and sits on the PSU Board of Trustees. At his press conference
1 in reaction to the Freeh Report, the Governor stated he identified Freeh and encouraged the BOT to hire Freeh to do this ‘independent’ investigation. It is not hard to believe that Corbett/Kelly could have made Freeh aware of their desires and that Corbett/Kelly’s narrative should be reflected in the final version of the Freeh Report. After all, the Board is paying him $6.5 million. He should give them what they ask for.
Enter The Freeh Report. If you read it, you know Freeh’s scathing conclusions were baseless. But those conclusions did the job. The media firestorm ensued (again). All the attention was yet again on the perceived ‘failings’ of Paterno, Curley, Schultz and Spanier, and not on the actual failings of DPW and CYS. Thus, the PSU officials are accused of knowing Sandusky was a pedophile since 1998 (which has never been proven) and did nothing to stop him. This ‘failure’, along with the ‘unreported’ 2001 incident, establishes a pattern of covering up for Sandusky.
That is why the AG/Freeh had to begin with the 1998 investigation: to cover up the state’s egregious errors.
Here’s another way to look at it. Imagine this: there was never a 2001 incident. Do you think the AG and Freeh would have had any grounds to accuse Paterno, Curley, Schultz and Spanier of a cover up in 1998? Absolutely not. And the truth about the 1998 investigation would have emerged and those the DPW and CYS would have come under fire. (Which is what should be happening now.)
Now imagine this: the 1998 investigation never happened. Do you think the AG and Freeh could have successfully pulled off accusing Paterno, Curley, Schultz and Spanier of covering up Sandusky’s abuse in 2001? As mentioned before, this incident, taken alone, does not show any intent to cover up McQueary’s account. Sure, in hindsight, it seems obvious what should have been done, but that’s not reality. This account, standing on its own, provides no proof of a cover up and shows no pattern. Sandusky was no longer with Penn State so the Second Mile would have been the focus. The reason the media and general public bought into the false narrative from the start was because the AG and Freeh were able to tie in the 1998 account and pin that on PSU, which gave much more credence that the PSU officials must have covered up 2001 too.
*As a side note, there are several analyses of the Freeh Report (as listed above and others), that patently refute Freeh’s conclusions. As time goes on, more evidence surfaces. I would like to add another tidbit of information that clearly demonstrates Freeh’s disingenuous tactics.
If you recall, Graham Spanier denies knowing or remembering any investigation regarding Sandusky showering with a boy in 1998. The evidence that Freeh uses to ‘prove’ that Spanier knew of 1998 were two vague emails that Spanier was cc’d on. The first was Exhibit 2A of the Freeh Report, which states: “Will do. Since we talked tonight I’ve learned that the Public Welfare people will interview the individual Thursday.” There was no mention of an investigation or that a university employee was in trouble. In fact it doesn’t even mention a name. The second email sent June 9, 1998, again only copied (cc’d) to Spanier, is shown in Exhibit 2E of the Freeh report. This email mentions Jerry’s name and that the investigation was over. Even so, Spanier claims he had no knowledge of these emails. What’s interesting to know is that Spanier was on an international trip to the UK from June 8, 1998 to June 19, 1998. This was before the days of blackberrys and internet cafes. Spanier had no access to email while away. When he returned he would have had over one thousand emails waiting for him in his inbox. It is very likely that an email with no urgency and one that he was only copied on would have not caught his attention or made a lasting impression. HOWEVER, what’s even more interesting, and this has been confirmed, is that Spanier had a calendar book and was meticulous about keeping dates and times of meetings, lunches, business trips, etc. The AG and Freeh had copies of Spanier’s calendar and knew that Spanier was away when that email was sent to him. They knew it was likely he would not have seen it or remembered it among the hundreds of emails awaiting his return. That’s one little piece of evidence Freeh failed to disclose. What other pieces of evidence have they failed to disclose because it doesn’t fit their narrative that the PSU officials are guilty of a cover up?
By Mike Dawson
Pennsylvania’s State Employees’ Retirement System is revoking his pension, effective Tuesday, the day he was sentenced to 30 to 60 years behind bars in a state prison. Sandusky’s attorney was notified Wednesday of the decision.
The pension system determined that Sandusky was a public employee when he committed sex crimes against two boys who were high school students in Clinton and Mifflin counties, Victims 1 and 9.
The crimes, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and indecent assault, fall under the state’s pension forfeiture statute that was a revision in 2004 that included sex crimes against students.
Sandusky’s wife, Dottie, was designated to receive half his pension in the event of his death, but the pension board revoked that, too.
Sandusky attorney Joe Amendola said he received the notification from SERS on Wednesday afternoon.
“We’re reviewing the SERS’ paperwork and anticipate we will oppose the state’s action to revoke Jerry’s pension,” he said.
SERS said Sandusky had “a prominent and regular relationship” with Penn State between his retiring in 1999 and 2011. That made him a “de facto” employee, SERS said, even though he was not on the payroll.
The letters notifying the Sanduskys of the pension forfeiture listed 47 facts that contributed to SERS decision. Included were the former coach’s numerous appearances on behalf of Penn State, an agreement university officials signed to further the collaboration between university athletics and The Second Mile charity he founded, and his volunteering with Central Mountain High School’s football team.
The letters were obtained by the Centre Daily Times by a Right-to-Know Law request.
Sandusky received a lump sum of $148,271.71 upon retiring in 1999 and received $4,615.11 each month.
In July 2004, SERS made a cost-of-living adjustment that bumped his pension up to $4,908.17 a month.
He was an active SERS member from March 1969 to the end of June 1999.
Sandusky was earning an average of $101,787 when he retired.
“Paterno,” Joe Posnanski‘s biography of former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, will be released on Tuesday.
The book, which was started well before charges were filed against Jerry Sandusky in November, talks at length about a relationship between the two men that was contentious from the very beginning.
Posnanski calls Paterno and Sandusky “polar opposites.” As Sandusky’s Penn State career neared its end, members of Paterno’s family described what they called the coach’s “Why I Hate Jerry Sandusky Memo.”
Sandusky’s retirement after the 1999 season was also discussed in great length, and the book draws the same conclusion as former FBI director Louis Freeh‘s investigation: It appeared to have nothing to do with a 1998 incident involving Sandusky and a young boy in a Penn State shower.
Regarding a 2002 incident in which then-graduate assistant Mike McQueary witnessed Sandusky in a Penn State shower with a boy, Paterno told Posnanski a similar story to what he told a grand jury.
“Did you consider calling the police?” Posnanski asked.
“To be honest with you, I didn’t,” Paterno responded. “This isn’t my field. I didn’t know what to do. I had not seen anything. Jerry didn’t work for me anymore. I didn’t have anything to do with him. I tried to look through the Penn State guidelines to see what I was supposed to do. It said that I was supposed to call Tim [Curley]. So I did.”
Among some of the other excerpts of note:
On people saying he protected Sandusky over children
“How could they think that?” he asked, and no one had the heart to answer. “They really think that if I knew someone was hurting kids, I wouldn’t stop it?”
They looked at him.
“Don’t they know me? Don’t they know what my life has been about?”
On Jerry Sandusky
In 1993, Paterno wrote what the family would sometimes call the “Why I Hate Jerry Sandusky Memo.” In it Paterno complained that Sandusky had stopped recruiting, seemed constantly distracted, had lost his energy for coaching, and was more interested in his charity, The Second Mile. “He would gripe about Jerry all the time,” one family member said.
On son Jay Paterno
Did he hope that someday Jay would replace him as coach? It’s hard to imagine a father not thinking along those lines, but Joe insisted that wasn’t in his mind. “Are you kidding me?” he scoffed. “You think I would want Jay to have to deal with that?”… “Jay’s a good coach, a darned good coach. And I think a lot of people refuse to see that because his name is Paterno.”
On the Paterno statue
Paterno disliked the statue. Not because of the craftsmanship or the dimensions or anything like that. The statue and the stone wall behind it and the words carved into the stone, it all felt like a celebration of self, a mausoleum. But even these were not the reasons for Paterno’s distaste. The reason was a single finger, the index finger, the statue of Joe Paterno raised to the heavens. We’re No. 1.
On The Second Mile
Paterno would say again and again that he did not see anything perverse in Sandusky’s dealings with children. His problem with The Second Mile was much simpler: the kids annoyed the hell out of him. … He did not want kids around when there was work to do.
On a 1998 investigation
There is reason to believe that, whatever Paterno was told, it did not make much of an impact on him. The coaches’ meeting that leads this section was held on May 26, 1998 — precisely at the time Sandusky was being investigated – and his detailed and pointed notes make no mention of the investigation. Also, by the late 1990s, he had explored numerous options for removing Sandusky from his coaching staff. … If Paterno did know the details of the 1998 investigation, he might have used it as a way to get rid of Sandusky. He did not.
On Sandusky’s retirement in 1999
[Paterno] told Sandusky he would not be the next head coach at Penn State. Sandusky mentioned the early retirement package, and Paterno suggested it might be a good time for him to take it. Both men later said that the 1998 incident was never discussed.
On Sandusky’s retirement package, which included access to Penn State facilities
When I told Paterno that people would find it hard to believe the could not have influenced Sandusky’s retirement package, he said, “People like to give me too much power. That’s Tim’s department. I told Tim how I felt. He worked out the deal as he saw fit.”
On conclusions of the Freeh report
The general media takeaway from this email chain [discussing how Penn State officials should handle McQueary's testimony] was that Paterno had convinced Curley to back off reporting Sandusky and to handle this in-house. Others familiar with the emails believed instead that Paterno had demanded they confront Sandusky.
excerpted from Harrisburg Patriot News
A professor of sports history, Ron Smith, taught at Penn State from 1968 to 1996. He worked alongside former President Graham Spanier, Paterno, Sandusky, Curley and Schultz. Smith said the university has its work cut out for it in transitioning out of its top-down administrative ways. “It dictates from the top, and you better go along with it. It’s been that way ever since I was there,” he said.
A change agent for a university like Penn State and others like Tennessee, Alabama and Michigan, where football is pre-eminent, is more likely to be a streak of losing seasons and the loss of football luster, as opposed to dictates from independent authorities.
“It’s an ingrained culture. It doesn’t change just by its own nature,” said Smith, who is researching the presidential papers of about 80 universities.
“Revolutions change. But there isn’t going to be a revolution in intercollegiate sports unless something more drastic than what happened in Penn State happens, and it’s drastic enough here,” Smith said. “But you don’t change culture quickly and the culture of students and the dominance of football and having stadiums the size of 100,000.”
A former athletic director at three NCAA Division I schools doesn’t think the hearts and minds of fans need to change. “Why shouldn’t people who are Penn State graduates be proud of their institution, be supporters of that institution in many different ways?” asked Dave O’Brien, director of the sports management program at Drexel University. “The failure isn’t that 100,000 people come to the stadium. That can be a good thing.
“The question has to be asked, why did the leadership of the university fail to act in a moral and legal manner with regard to suspicions and evidence in front of them regarding Sandusky conduct?”
The challenge before Penn State is doable, O’Brien said, pointing to scores of universities that have football programs as big and as laudable as Penn State’s that are not mired in NCAA violations or criminal scandals.
“I understand athletics can sometimes play a more prominent role than it should at a university, but I also know that with proper leadership, athletics can play a suitable role and not an expanded one within a university culture.”
Academic oversight of sports
One sure way to foster change is to return athletics to the purview of academics, said Smith, who in the 1980s served on the committee that moved Penn State athletics to the finance department. He said the then-vice president for finance and operations, Steve Garban, who recently resigned from the board of trustees, argued vehemently to have athletics moved from academics and placed under his office. Smith argued it should remain under academic oversight, something Vanderbilt University has done successfully. “It was a good model. It was a model other institutions had followed,” he said. Paterno backed Garban’s proposal to move the athletic program away from academics, and the move was sealed. A new football culture was ushered in, Smith said. “A lot of people don’t think that makes a lot of difference, but I do,” Smith said. “That can be changed and that would have changed the culture because the culture was changed when it was put under a money person that had no academic credentials. I think it changed it a lot.” The football program became isolated and insular.
“Once you get isolated from other people, the tendency is to hide anything that might be bad,” Smith said. “Instead of fixing it, you hide it. I think that’s what happened.” For more than three decades, the Penn State community basked in the prestige and money-earning engine of its football program.
A lawyer and previous athletic director at Temple, Northeastern and Long Beach State universities, O’Brien said all parties involved with those offices must be held accountable in the Sandusky scandal.
To date, he said, little discussion has taken place with regards to the failure of the board of trustees. The fact that Garban resigned should serve as a bellwether for other board members. “They need to do soul-searching about what level of complicity they have with regard to the scandal,” O’Brien said.
Change will fail, Sestak said, if the university relies on a new president to set a new tone. Key positions and department heads must also all buy in and be granted leadership.
“It’s emphasizing that you not just follow rules, people need to feel a valued part of the membership.”
Erickson promises change
Penn State President Rodney Erickson has vowed that his university, while it cannot undo history, can become an agent for change and reaffirm its “core values of honesty, integrity and justice.”
“I promise you, we will learn from our past and take the steps that will allow us to emerge and grow into a stronger, better university.”
Those who have walked the classroom hallways — as well as sat on the Nittany Lions sidelines — say it will be a difficult task for the university to find a new tone for the role football plays on campus.
Change is inevitable for Penn State. Penn State must rededicate itself to its true mission — that of nurturing and protecting young lives. And for the university to fulfill the directives from the Freeh Report, it must put in place new leadership and a new board, and both must abide by the new mission.
“This is a large effort, and it doesn’t change overnight,” he said. “There are those that argue, ‘You’re going too far. This is going to harm the ethos, the warrior ethos that we need.’ That’s the issue at Penn State.”