The Dubsism Report on the Freeh Report and The Post-Mortem on the Penn State Scandal

Preface:

With the release of the report concerning The Pennsylvania State University’s (Penn State) handling of the Jerry Sandusky case written by former FBI Director Louis Freeh and commissioned by the Penn State Board of Trustees, an emotional firestorm has erupted over it’s  contents.  If you’ve been a reader of this blog, you know this isn’t the first time I’ve addressed this situation, but barring the discovery of new and relevant material germaine to the story, this is going to be the last time.  With Joe Paterno in his grave, Sandusky in his cell, and far too many lives and careers destroyed, the first and foremost of those being Sandusky’s victims, it is now time to look back, learn some hard lessons, then move forward while ensuring those lessons learned get applied.

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again…in fact I will keep saying it because at the outset of this situation, I said there were only two points which mattered, and nothing contained in the Freeh Report changes those:

  • We as a nation must do whatever we can to protect our children, and we must be sure to do whatever we can to help and support the victims.
  • We as a nation must do whatever we can to ensure this does not happen again.

For that matter, the opening paragraphs of my original piece on this matter still hold true:

The whole point of this blog from its inception has been to provide a unique view of the world of sports. More often than not, this has been done with a sense of humor, sometimes a thick sense of satire, and sometimes by being completely absurd. However, there are times where I abandon all pretense and speak in a very blunt and direct manner because of the seriousness of the subject matter.

Obviously, my discussion of what happened at Penn State will be one of those times.  Frankly, this has been a time of great personal angst for me; it doesn’t take long reading through the archives of this blog to discover that I have a connection to the university and that Coach Paterno has been a revered figure in my life.  Most obviously, this will be one of those times because there is nothing funny about the sexual abuse of children…

…Stopping this from happening again is the only facet of this discussion in which I’m interested, and it renders all the other aspects of the discussion utterly pointless, with the sole exception of examining them in order to understand the pathology of such horrible events…

…That’s really why I didn’t write this piece on Monday as the real ugliness of this story was breaking. But today, I feel compelled.  Once I saw the grand jury report come out, I knew my personal feelings about Coach Paterno no longer mattered in this affair. I knew nobody’s personal feelings mattered anymore, but I also knew those feelings were going to drive the debate. This was going to cause a massive outpouring of those emotions, which I knew would need to be avoided because to get to the bottom of why things like this happen, we as a nation have to take a hard look at our methods of organizational management…

Like I said, those points all still hold true.  The Freeh Report has in many ways managed to rip those aforementioned wounds open again, but this time it took the arguments whose facts were previously unknown and gave them a framework for which the time is right for the retrospection and soul-searching need to ensure…this does not happen again.

To that end, I gave the Freeh Report – all 267 stomach-churning pages of it – an exhaustive and detailed read, and for purposes of furthering the learning exercise I firmly believe this whole tragedy needs to be, I’ve broken it down to several points which need to be considered fully in order to further the previously-cited and exclusively important matters.

That leads us to the purpose of the Dubsism Report. This is not intended to be a rehash of the Freeh Report, although it will be heavily quoted.  This is in no way a defense of Paterno, Penn State, or anybody else related to this situation. Instead, the Dubsism Report is going to amplify some findings in the Freeh Report, clarify some others, disagree with some, and offer material not contained in the Freeh Report to support the assertions of the Dubsism Report.

The over-arching goal of this report is to take an exhaustive investigation like the Freeh Report and allow it to become a learning tool. To accomplish that, the Dubsism Reeport will explore three main questions.

  • How this really happened?  Lots of material in the Freeh Report is being ignored by the media, and some people who have huge culpability in this matter are are “getting off easy.”
  • Who is ultimately responsible?  It’s easy to see how this traveled in the Penn State community, but does some blame travel beyond State College?
  • What has to happen to ensure this never happens again? Ultimately, nothing else matters beyond this.  There are some hard lessons in this situation which need to be learned by every single one of us.  If we do not learn from this so we can better protect our children, we become meaningless as a society.

Outline:

Section I: The Major Findings of the Dubsism Report

1) The Freeh Report Did Not Spare Those Who Commissioned It

2) Penn State Had Organizational Knowledge of the Sandusky Situation As Far Back As 1998

3) No One Person Was Dirtier in the Handling of the Sandusky Situation than Graham Spanier

4) The Citing Of The Clery Act Contained a Misguided Attempt To Blame This All On Joe Paterno

5) The “Moral Compass” of Penn State’s Leadership Was Seriously Mis-Calibrated – That Includes Paterno, But Not to the Degree of Spanier, Schultz, and Curley

6) The “Retirement Deal” Was a Death Warrant for Sandusky and Penn State

Section II: Matters Not Fully Detailed By The Freeh Report

1) The University’s Exposure to Civil Liability via the Actions of Sandusky and Spanier

2) The Misperceptions of Joe Paterno, Both in the Arena of Public Relations and Contained in the Freeh Report

  • That For Which Joe Paterno Was Not Guilty
  1. Paterno’s Failure to Act Pales In Comparison to the Actions of Spanier, Curley, and Schultz
  2. Paterno Did Not Fail To Show Contrition
  • That For Which Joe Paterno Was Guilty
  1. Paterno Knew More Than He Told The Grand Jury
  2. Paterno’s  Biggest Mistake: Was It A Result of Misplaced Loyalty,  Horrible Judgement, Missing His One Real Opportunity To Do The Right Thing,  Or All Of The Above?

3) Guilty Parties Not Assigned Their Fair Share of Blame By The Freeh Report

  • Dottie Sandusky
  • The Second Mile Foundation
  • University Police Chief Thomas Harmon
  • Current Penn State President Rodney Erickson

4) How Paterno’s Death Changed How This Matter Was Handled

5) The Hypocrisy of the NCAA

6) The Diseased Culture of Penn State Was Mirrored In The Statue Debate

Section III: The Factual Legacy of Joe Paterno

1) Joe Paterno: The Man

2) Football

3) Philanthropy

4) The Ironic Fall From Grace

Section IV:  Conclusions and Summary

1) How This Really Happened?

2) Who Is Ultimately Responsible?

3) What Has To Happen To Ensure This Never Happens Again?

Section I: The Major Findings of the Dubsism Report

1) The Freeh Report Did Not Spare Those Who Commissioned It

This will be the over-arching fact as to why I believe this report has far more credibility than anything else I’ve heard so far in this case.  Several members of the Penn State Board of Trustees felt “blindsided” by the Sandusky grand jury report…as well they should.

Freeh was commissioned by the board after the allegations became public, and as information leaks began sticking much of the PSU organizational blame on former head football coach Joe Paterno and former university president Graham Spanier, it very much looked like this report was intended to be a university-sponsored white-washing of the situation with a two-fold purpose:

  1. To insure all the blame landed in Paterno’s grave and Sandusky’s cell (and possibly those of anybody else who ends up in jail as a result of this)
  2. To keep the board’s collective interests out of the fire.

That did not happen.

Rather, Freeh was concerned by one glaring fact.  After Sara Ganim’s initial story in the Harrisburg Patriot-News from March 31, 2011, it was public knowledge a grand jury investigation was in progress. The first wisps of smoke from the proverbial “smoking gun” came from at least one board member (who is not named in the report) who sought information from school administrators.  At this time, former president Spanier told the former chairman of the PSU board of trustees Steve Garban that “nothing would come of it.”

Spanier couldn’t not have been more wrong, but more importantly, Freeh queries why nobody else on the board seemed to be even aware of the investigation.  In his report Freeh hits the board with some strong language, citing them with an overall finding of “did not perform its oversight duties.”

When you consider the sole job of a Board of Trustees is oversight, being told you failed at your single job is pretty damning.  From the Freeh Report:

Beyond one Trustee’s request that Spanier brief the Board on the Grand Jury investigation of Sandusky, the March 31, 2011 Patriot-News article went virtually unnoticed by the Board. The article was not disseminated to the full Board, and many Board members did not read the article. The Board members who were aware of the article should have inquired further about Sandusky and the possible risks of litigation or public relations issues, and, most importantly, whether the University has effective policies in place to protect children on its campuses.

So, right there you have Board Members who clearly didn’t pay proper attention to a monstrous situation which was unfolding.  As an administrator, when you start getting questioned about effective safety policies, red flags should be bursting out of your head, if for no other reason than there is no better way to be financially destroyed than by a snowstorm of personal injury suits. I’ll come back to that point later.

Even after the severity of a grand jury investigation was explained to them by university counsel Cynthia Baldwin, you couldn’t get a straight answer out of any given board member.  In an affidavit she submitted to the Freeh Group, Baldwin said she explained to the board that “a grand jury could return a ‘presentment that, even if not alleging a crime, can nonetheless contain negative information about an institution.”

Board members had differing recollections of Baldwin’s May 2011 report.  Several Trustees had the impression that the Sandusky investigation involved issues at the Second Mile and did not involve Penn State.  Several Trustees recalled hearing that this was the third or fourth time a grand jury had investigated Sandusky and took that as sign that criminal charges were not likely.  Some Trustees understood that some senior Penn State administrators had testified, while others did not.  A common perception was that this was not an “important” issue for the University and the investigation was not a cause for concern.

That paragraph contains three basic types of denial:

  1. “It’s no big deal.”
  2. “It’s not our problem.”
  3. “This has happened before. It blew over then and it will blow over now.”

When denial doesn’t work, there’s always retroactive blaming.  In what will become a theme, once the denial tactic was exploded, the finger-pointing started. Basically, the trustees faulted Spanier and Baldwin for not informing them of  the core question of why four senior Penn State officials needed to appear before the grand jury if the investigation did not ‘involve’ Penn State.”  Again, as an administrator, the minute you hear your people are getting hauled in front in front of a grand jury, which just happens to be a body which can a) ask questions and demand answers under oath and under pain of imprisonment and b) hand out criminal indictments based on the answers to those questions, one would assume simple the mention of the words “grand jury” would cause phone lines to literally burst into flame from an explosion of fact-finding.

Trustees generally recalled that members asked Baldwin or Spanier few questions about the investigation. The Trustees did not discuss whether the University should conduct an internal investigation to understand the facts and any potential liability issues, engage experience criminal counsel, or prepare for the possibility that the Grand Jury investigation might result in some criticism of the University or its staff. One trustee recalled that the Board did not ask for any investigation into the Sandusky issues because, from the way it was presented, the issue did not seem like a matter of concern. In their report to the Board, Spanier and Baldwin significantly downplayed the nature of the Sandusky investigation and the potential damage it could cause the University. Given the information that was presented to them, the Board members did not reasonably inquire if the University had taken any measures to limit Sandusky’s access to its facilities.

More of your three basic denial types.  But it gets worse.  Flash the clock forward to October 28th, 2011;  the day when former chairman Garban discovered that the grand jury investigation which was “not a concern” was about to result in felony charges against Jerry Sandusky. Garban would later tell Freeh he was “astounded” that Sandusky was allowed access to the Nittany Lion Club before that week’s Penn State football game.  This would be only one week before the formal filing of charges against Sandusky.

Now flash the clock backward…specifically to the previous incidents regarding Sandusky in 1998 and 2001.  Freeh tags the board for their handling of those as well.

In that time, the Board did not have regular reporting procedures or committee structures in place to ensure disclosure to the Board of major risks. Because the Board did not demand regular reporting of these risks, Spanier and other University officials in this period did not bring up the Sandusky investigations. For example, the Board met in May 1998 and March 2001, but was not advised by Spanier regarding the Sandusky incidents.While Spanier failed to disclose these facts, the Board has a continuing obligation to require information about such an important matter. Similarly, in September 2001, the board approved a favorable land deal to Sandusky’s Second Mile, just six months after Sandusky was investigated for assaulting a young boy in the Lasch Building showers.

Boil it all down and you get this: The Board had at least six opportunities during which they a) knew or had no plausible way of denying knowledge of Sandusky’s activities, and b) did absolutely nothing.

The Lessons Learned:

  • The fear of repercussions leads to bad decisions.
  • The failure of organizational leadership can wreak as much destruction as a structural failure.

Pertinent Facts to Remember:

  • The Board of Trustees suffered a major failure of leadership and a general dereliction of duty. The Penn State Board of Trustees  had the ultimate responsibility to act and they abdicated it. Regardless of any other failure to act, it was the Board’s duty to not fail.  Not only did they make failure an acceptable option, they attempted to deny they had done so.

2) Penn State Had Organizational Knowledge of the Sandusky Situation As Far Back As 1998

Sandusky had allegations of abuse attached to his name as far back as 1994, and the university administrators became aware of them in 1998.  Not only did the PSU brass know, but so did the state child services department and University police department.  On May 3rd, 1998, Sandusky placed a phone call to the home of the then-11-year-old who would later testify that Sandusky told him to call him the “Tickle Monster,” and invited him to exercise at a facility on the Penn State campus.

Sandusky and the boy went to a coaches’ locker room, where the two wrestled and Sandusky tried to “pin” the boy. After wrestling, the boy changed into clothes that Sandusky provided and followed him to work out on exercise machines. When they finished exercising, Sandusky kissed the boy’s head and said, “I love you.” Sandusky and the boy then went to a coaches’ locker room where Sandusky turned on the showers and asked the boy if he wanted to shower. The boy agreed and began to turn on a shower several feet from Sandusky. Sandusky directed him to a shower head closer to Sandusky, saying it took some time for the water to warm up.

While in the shower, Sandusky wrapped his hands around the boy’s chest and said, “Iʹm gonna squeeze your guts out.” The boy then washed his body and hair. Sandusky lifted the boy to “get the soap out of” the boy’s hair, bringing the boy’s feet “up pretty high” near Sandusky’s waist. The boy’s back was touching Sandusky’s chest and his feet touched Sandusky’s thigh. The boy felt “weird” and “uncomfortable” during the time in the shower.

Here’s where it starts to get into that really screwed-up dynamic that exits between abusers and their victims. The following morning, the boy’s mother called the PSU police to report the shower incident. The boy was interviewed by Detective Ron Schreffler, but told the detective that he did not want Sandusky to get in any trouble.

The boy did not want anyone to talk to Sandusky because he might not invite him to any more games.

[Psychologist Alycia] Chambers made a report to the Pennsylvania child abuse line and also consulted with colleagues. Her colleagues agreed that “the incidents meet all of our definitions, based on experience and education, of a likely pedophile’s pattern of building trust and gradual introduction of physical touch, within a context of a ‘loving,’ ‘special’ relationship.”

Now comes yet another exceptionally damning bit of evidence for the Penn State administration.  While the university police were aware of the situation through Detective Schreffler’s contact with the boy, a series of bizarre events hindered the normal handling of such an investigation, not the least of which was some serious interference from university administration.

While Detective Schreffler contacted the office of Centre County Children and Youth Services, for some reason they had several inexplicable conflicts of interest in the case, including multiple links with Sandusky’s  Second Mile Foundation.  Hence, the case was passed on to the state Department of Public Welfare. However, while the investigation was ongoing, a series of emails were exchanged between then-Penn State vice president Gary Schultz, then-athletic director Tim Curley, former president Graham Spanier, and Chief of University Police Thomas Harmon.

Email from Curley to Schultz:

Anything new in this department? Coach is anxious to know where it stands.

Email from Schultz to Curley:

Tim, I understand that a DPW person was here last week; don’t know for sure if they talked with Jerry. They decided to have a child psychologist talk to the boys sometime over the next week. We won’t know anything before then.

The case was evaluated for the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) by psychologist John Seasock, who found no evidence of abuse and “had never heard of a 52‐year‐old man ‘becoming a pedophile.’” The district attorney eventually declined to prosecute, and sources would later say the case against Sandusky was “severely hampered” by Seasock’s report.  In an interesting twist, Seasock would go on to serve as an independent contractor for Penn State from 2000-2006.

Once the heat was off, the following emails were exchanged once the threat of the district attorney filing any criminal charges had passed.

Email from Harmon to Schultz:

The DPW investigator and our officer met discreetly with Jerry this morning. His account of the matter was essentially the same as the child’s. He also indicated that he had done this with other children in the past. He was advised since there was no criminal behavior established that the matter was closed as an investigation. He was a little emotional and expressed concern as to how this might have adversely affected the child.

Email from Schultz to Curley, Spanier, and Harmon:

They met with Jerry on Monday and concluded there was no criminal behavior and the matter was closed as an investigation. He was a little emotional and expressed concern as to how this might have adversely affected the child. I think the matter has been appropriately investigated and I hope it is now behind us.

So, Police Chief Harmon  reports up to his boss Schultz.  Schultz essentially does a “cut and paste” job which omits the key sentence “he (Sandusky) also indicated that he had done this with other children in the past” as he reports up his food chain, and Harmon never corrects this omission. Meanwhile Spanier fails to inform the Board of Trustees of the investigation, therefore the only action taken was athletic director Tim Curley giving Sandusky a toothless warning not to take children into campus showers anymore.

The Lessons Learned:

  • Cover-ups never work, and they often just make things worse.

Pertinent Facts to Remember:

  • The cover-up started with Curley, Schultz, and Spanier.
  • The fact the state psychologist who essentially killed a 1998 prosecution of Sandusky ended up on the Penn State payroll under Spanier’s administration is curious at best.

3) No One Person Was Dirtier in the Handling of the Sandusky Situation than Graham Spanier

Freeh’s report makes it very clear that former Penn State president Graham Spanier is an excellent candidate for a grand jury indictment of his own. Here’s ten reasons why:

  • Potential perjury count #1: Testifying to the 2001 grand jury he was unaware of the 1998 investigation against Sandusky, even though emails from 1998 show him discussing the investigation with athletic director Tim Curley and university vice president Gary Schultz.
  • Potential perjury count #2: Repeating this claim to the Special Investigative Counsel, and stating he “never heard a report from anyone” that Sandusky was abusing children.
  • Ethics Violation #1 and #2: Failing to notify the Board of Trustees that an investigation of a prominent assistant football coach was underway, withholding this information from them even while the board was considering (and approving) a favorable land deal between the university and Sandusky’s Second Mile charity.
  • Ethics Violation #3: Approving and pushing for Sandusky’s emeritus rank—and the facility access privileges that came along with it— despite Sandusky not qualifying for it by the established academic rules.
  • Ethics Violation #4: Declaring Curley’s plan to suggest Sandusky stop hanging around children, without actual sanctions, to be “a humane approach.”
  • Potential perjury count #3: Telling the Special Investigative Counsel his first knowledge of the 1998 incident came at the April 2011 grand jury appearance, when notes from his Attorney General interview a month prior reveal he was questioned about it then.
  • Ethics Violation #5 and Potential Misappropriation count #1: Approving an unprecedented $168,000 lump-sum retirement payment to Sandusky in 1999.
  • Ethics Violation #6: Showing no interest in identifying the child involved in the 2001 incident or ascertaining whether or not a crime had occurred.
  • Ethics Violation #7 and Potential Contributing count #1: Opposing any and all independent investigations into Sandusky’s behavior.
  • Potential falsification of records count #1: Modifying the November 2011 Board of Trustees statement without their knowledge or approval, asserting that Curley and Schultz requested administrative leave rather than that the board had decided to place them on leave.

The Lessons Learned:

  • The “Nixon” Theory still holds true.  Something is still illegal even if the president does it.

Pertinent Facts to Remember:

  • The cover-up may have started started with Curley, Schultz, and Spanier, but Spanier was clearly the ring-leader. The fact Spanier isn’t also under a federal indictment is beyond curious.

4) The Citing Of The Clery Act Contained a Misguided Attempt To Blame This All On Joe Paterno

This one gets complicated because it involves federal law. The purpose of the Clery Act is to keep campus community members informed of all criminal activity that has taken place on university property. The act requires universities to collect statistics relating to certain types of crime, including sexual offenses, and publish those statistics in an annual report.

The argument here is that  Penn State officials’ failure to report the incident concerning Jerry Sandusky sexually assaulting a victim in 2001 to the university police  was a violation of federal law. As a university that participates in federal financial aid programs, Penn State is required to follow the regulations that are laid out in the Clery Act.

According to the Clery Act, each university which meets the federal financial aid stipulations is required by law to collect data from designated Campus Security Authorities (CSAs).  According to the Department of Education, CSAs may include a wide variety of university employees, including, “A director of athletics, a team coach or faculty advisor to a student group.”

By now, it should come as no surprise that Freeh found that Penn State administration had not been in compliance with the Clery Act for over a decade.  The law went into effect in 1991, but nobody on the Penn State campus knew that the Clery Act required that information be gathered from sources outside of the police department until 2007.  During that time, compliance responsibilities were given to a campus crime prevention officer who claimed he didn’t receive any formal training on his new role until 2007.  At that point, the university police department organized training sessions for university police and employees to try and inform people of their responsibilities as CSAs. These training sessions were, however, “sporadic” and “not well attended,” according to the Freeh Report.

In April of 2009 the director of the university police department and the sergeant who was in charge of ensuring that the university was compliant with the Clery Act drafted a new policy that would have required written notification of their status and responsibility be sent to all CSAs on campus. By November of 2011 that policy had yet to be implemented, and former university president Graham Spanier told Freeh’s investigators that he was unaware that the policy had not moved past the draft stage.

People are looking at the definition of a CSAs and claiming Paterno should have been a CSA and therefore should have reported the 2001 incident to the university police department so that it could be included in the school’s Clery Act annual report.  That assumption ignores a series of facts.  First of all, the definition of a CSA does not specify that all coaches are by definition CSAs, only that they may be designated as such.  It is very clear PSU administration did not designate Paterno as such; they barely trained the person they did designate in the role.  Moreover, the Freeh report specifies that Paterno did in fact report the 2001 incident to his superior, athletic director Tim Curley, who in turn reported it to Gary Schultz.  Not to mention, any citing of violation of the Clery Act in this case should fall squarely on Gary Schultz, who not only had knowledge of the incident in question, but whose role as vice president also included being the executive with oversight responsibilities over the University police department.

The Lessons Learned:

  • You can’t blame somebody just because you want to blame them, and blaming them for the wrong thing may mean you miss the “right” thing for which to blame them.

Pertinent Facts to Remember:

  • Compliance with federal law is the responsibility of administration until specifically and properly delegated.

5) The “Moral Compass” of Penn State’s Leadership Was Seriously Mis-Calibrated – That Includes Paterno, But Not to the Degree of Spanier, Schultz, and Curley

This is the part where you can either believe Paterno was as complicit as Spanier, Schultz, and Curley from Day One (which is barely plausible, and to do so you have to ignore some crucial facts), or you can think Paterno lived up to his responsibilities by reporting these incidents to his superiors (an argument which while technically correct also ignores crucial facts and requires a few “leaps of faith”).  Or, you can realize the truth is somewhere in between.

At the end of all this, the central theme of the Freeh Report is the monstrously twisted morality of the former Penn State administrators.  Freeh states clearly these university leaders were far more concerned with protecting the school from bad publicity than they were with protecting the victims of abuse:

…the Special Investigative Counsel finds that it is more reasonable to conclude that, in order to avoid the consequences of bad publicity, the most powerful leaders of the University—Spanier, Schultz, Paterno, and Curley—repeatedly concealed critical facts relating to Sandusky’s child abuse from the authorities, The University Board of Trustees, the Penn State community, and the public at large.

To make this clear about who is to blame for what, follow this sequence. While Freeh lumps Paterno in with the administrators who are either under indictment or likely soon will be, one must separate the actions of Paterno and the administrators.

First of all, even Freeh’s report places the majority of the blame for the handling of the Sandusky situation on Spanier, Schultz, and Curley.  Just in the executive summary of Freeh’s report, Paterno’s name is mentioned only three times, and two of those are in such a way that it is easy to be mislead into believing Paterno’s role was equal to that of the other three.

Example #1:

Four of the most powerful people at The Pennsylvania State University – President Graham B. Spanier, Senior Vice President‐Finance and Business Gary C. Schultz, Athletic Director Timothy M. Curley and Head Football Coach Joseph V. Paterno – failed to protect against a child sexual predator harming children for over a decade. These men concealed Sandusky’s activities from the Board of Trustees, the University community and authorities. 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 the child who Sandusky assaulted in the Lasch Building in 2001. Further, they exposed this child to additional harm by alerting Sandusky, who was the only one who knew the child’s identity, of what McQueary saw in the shower on the night of February 9, 2001.

Example #2:

Spanier, Schultz, Paterno and Curley gave the following reasons for taking no action to identify the February 9, 2001 child victim and for not reporting Sandusky to the authorities:

  • Through counsel, Curley and Schultz stated that the “humane” thing to do in 2001 was to carefully and responsibly assess the best way to handle vague but troubling allegations. According to their counsel, these men were good people trying to do their best to make the right decisions.
  • Paterno told a reporter that “I didn’t know exactly how to handle it and 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. It didn’t work out that way.”
  • Spanier said, in his interview with the Special Investigative Counsel, that he never heard a report from anyone that Sandusky was engaged in any sexual abuse of children. He also said that if he had known or suspected that Sandusky was abusing children, he would have been the first to intervene.
  • Taking into account the available witness statements and evidence, the Special Investigative Counsel finds that it is more reasonable to conclude that, in order to avoid the consequences of bad publicity, the most powerful leaders at the University – Spanier, Schultz, Paterno and Curley – repeatedly concealed critical facts relating to Sandusky’s child abuse from the authorities, the University’s Board of Trustees, the Penn State community, and the public at large.

Those four bullet points really paint the picture in terms of who really needs to be held accountable here.  For Curley and Schultz to use the word “humane” for a decision which allowed the abuse of children to continue unchecked on their very own campus is so morally repugnant it defies words.  Bullet point number three is little more than a bald-faced lie; there are far too many emails to which Spanier had visibility to call that anything else.

The names Spanier, Schultz, and Curley appear a combined total of 24 in that same three-page summary. Schultz and Curley are the only ones currently under indictment, it is very clear to see Spanier should be as well.  Regardless of all the invective which has boiled up around this report, Paterno never even comes close to criminal activity.  However, this isn’t to say Paterno deserves a pass in all of this; far from it.  I’ll come back to that point later as well.

As we all know by know,  Jerry Sandusky was convicted last month of assaulting five different boys at the Penn State football facility after May of 1998.  It is very telling where the PSU administration’s  moral compass  was mis-calibrated by considering how Spanier handled a  sports agent compared to his handling of the Sandusky case.

According to the Freeh report, Spanier took Draconian steps in 1998 to ensure that a sports agent who had bought a football player $400 worth of clothes was banned from the campus for life.  Spanier claimed that the agent had “fooled around with the integrity of the university and I won’t stand for that.” Penn State conducted a thorough investigation of the matter, and on May 13, 1998,  Spanier wrote in an email “The idea is to keep [the sports agent] off campus permanently, to keep him away from current athletes, and to keep him away from current students or graduates whose eligibility has recently expired.”

In contrast, on June 9, 1998 when Spanier received his final update from university police chief Thomas Harmon about the investigation of Sandusky’s showering incident on May 3, 1998, while he was fully updated on the details of the investigation and aware of Sandusky’s actions,  Spanier took no steps to limit Sandusky’s access to Penn State facilities; in fact, the Freeh report found no evidence to suggest that PSU administration ever stopped to consider limiting Sandusky’s access to the campus at that time.

In fact, quite the opposite happened with Sandusky.  In fact, Chapter 7 of the Freeh report spells out in detail how Sandusky was allowed access to university facilities until November 2011.

  • Despite Spanier’s, Schultz’s, Paterno’s and Curley’s knowledge of criminal investigations of Sandusky regarding child abuse as early as 1998, they failed to control Sandusky’s access to the University’s facilities and campuses. In fact, Sandusky was allowed to have a key for, and continued to work out in, the Lasch Building until November 2011, and had keys to other Penn State facilities.
  • Even after the Attorney General’s investigation became public in March 2011, former Penn State General Counsel Baldwin said that because of Sandusky’s emeritus” status [a function of the retirement deal given to Sandusky in 1999]  and because he had yet to be convicted, his access to University facilities could not be terminated.
  • Between 2002 and 2008 the University also allowed Sandusky to use the University facilities at the Altoona and Behrend (Erie) campuses to run “Jerry Sandusky” summer football camps for youth.  Although University policy required a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with all third parties using University facilities, Sandusky, who some admired “like a god” because he was a former football coach, was allowed to operate the camps without any MOA.
  • The University continued to support the Second Mile throughout this time by providing facilities and services for the organization’s day camps and fund‐raisers. Sandusky was a corporate officer, volunteer and public “face” of the Second Mile throughout this time.
  • The University’s visible support of the Second Mile provided Sandusky with numerous opportunities to bring young boys to campus and to interact with them through various camps and activities.
  • After his retirement, Sandusky retained access to the Nittany Lion Club, an exclusive seating area at Beaver Stadium. Sandusky continued to be invited by senior University officials and attend Nittany Lion Club events until his November 2011 arrest.
  • If University leaders had not granted Sandusky full use of Penn State’s football facilities and supported his ways to “work with young people through Penn State,” sexual assaults of several young boys on the Penn State campus might have been prevented.

While Paterno’s name keeps getting tied to this, if you read those bullet points, it becomes clear that the retirement deal Sandusky got from Penn State in 1999 is the key to how this situation became a cancer that took over a decade to devour an entire university. That deal was brokered by university administration, not Paterno.

The Lessons Learned:

  • Not only do cover-ups often make situations worse, there comes a point when they take on a life of their own.  In this case, the cover-up may have started started with Curley, Schultz, and Spanier, and Spanier was clearly the ring-leader, but it was the retirement deal that allowed this situation to continue. The fact Spanier isn’t also under a federal indictment is beyond curious.

Pertinent Facts to Remember:

  • While an agent was being run off the Penn State campus for buying a player some clothes,  Sandusky was allowed to continue walking the campus freely, and maintained his unlimited access to the Penn State facilities.
  • Paterno was not innocent, but he wasn’t guilty of the things this report may lead you to believe – more on that later.

6) The “Retirement Deal” Was a Death Warrant for Sandusky and Penn State

It is easy to assume that the “Retirement Deal” was a result of the 1998 incident, but in fact Sandusky was told three months before May 1998 that he would not be the next head football coach at Penn State. In any event, the provisions accorded to Sandusky in this retirement package are at best highly unusual.  Sandusky was given many perks to which he was not entitled, and several of those benefits were “pushed through the system” by Graham Spanier.

Before the May 3, 1998 incident in the Lasch Building, Curley had already spoken with Sandusky about his future role in the University’s football program. On February 8, 1998, for example, Curley emailed Spanier and Schultz, stating that he had several conversations over the past week with Sandusky about taking an Assistant Athletic Director position. Curley stated in the email that Paterno had also met with Sandusky about his future with Penn State football.

On February 9, 1998, Curley emailed Schultz and Spanier reporting that Sandusky did not want the Assistant Athletic Director position, and would continue  coaching for the next year.  Curley told them Sandusky “will have 30 years in the system next year, which will give him some options after next season.” He added, “Joe tells me he made it clear to Jerry he will not be the next head coach.”

Curley’s reference to the “system” is the Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System (“SERS”) to which Sandusky belonged. From July 1, 1998 to June 30, 1999, SERS provided a “30‐and‐out” retirement window, allowing members like Sandusky who had 30 years of service to retire at any age without the usual early retirement penalty, and receive all retirement benefits earned to that date. Without the window, the SERS code required that members have 35 years of credited service at any age ‐ or reach age 60 ‐ before they could retire with full benefits.

Yet, there are a ton of unusual things that were factored into Sandusky’s retirement.  Taken individually, they don’t seem nefarious, but when you go through them one-by-one, they at the very least give the “appearance of impropriety.”

One of the documents provided from Paterno’s file is a letter signed by Sandusky, dated May 28, 1999. In the letter Sandusky acknowledged that he would not be the next Penn State football head coach, and outlined options for his future.  Sandusky wanted an on‐going relationship between the Second Mile and Penn State, as well as continuing “visibility” at Penn State.  Sandusky also wanted “active involvement in developing an outreach program featuring Penn State Athletes” and sought “ways for [him] to continue to work with young people through Penn State.”

There’s no way on earth there should have been any sanctioning by the university of Sandusky having anything to do that involved contact with with young people. Even if Penn State administrators were cold-hearted bastards who didn’t care about the welfare of children who might be exposed to a pedophile, one might think even such self-preservationists would recognize the liability issues involved here.  Again, I’ll come back to the liability angle later.

Also in the file was a “Retirement Requests” list from Sandusky.  This list included a request for a $20,000 yearly annuity to cover the difference between Sandusky’s retiring with 30 years of service and retiring with 35 years of service, and a title reflecting his relationship with Penn State.  Sandusky also asked to run a middle school youth football camp.  Handwriting on the note states: “Volunteer Position Director – Positive Action for Youth.”  An employee who worked closely with Paterno for 10 years and knew his handwriting identified this note as written by Paterno.

I honestly don’t know what this means; I would love to see an internal PSU document that spells out what “Volunteers” can actually do. The reason why is because when I’m not writing blogs, I have 15 years experience as a manager, business consultant, and small business owner, and I can tell you first-hand that employment/volunteer status makes a huge difference in how you have to handle issues with people.  Beyond that, I’m exceptionally curious as to why the request for a $20,000 annuity even exists, and why it wasn’t rejected out-of-hand by PSU administrators.  As I’ve already stated, giving Sandusky anything that involved contact with children after 1998 was simply a suicide pact on the part of Penn State leadership.  But they did it.

On June 13, 1999, Curley updated Spanier and Schultz by email advising that Sandusky was leaning toward retirement if Penn State would agree to the $20,000 yearly annuity.  Curley noted, “Joe did give him the option to continue to coach as long as [Paterno] was the coach.  Curley suggested another option of Sandusky “coaching three more seasons and we get creative with his base salary or some other scheme that makes him whole and then some, but doesn’t cost us an arm and a leg,” and stated he was not comfortable with the annuity.  Curley noted that “[s]ince Joe is okay with [Sandusky] continuing to coach this might make more sense to all concerned.” The Special Investigative Counsel did not find evidence that Sandusky’s retirement was caused by the May 3, 1998 incident at the Lasch Building.

This is another episode of something to which no corroborating evidence exists, but you can’t tell me that annuity doesn’t smack of some sort of payoff.  Freeh couldn’t prove definitively that Paterno knew about Sandusky in 1998, and he couldn’t prove definitively this annuity wasn’t some sort of under-the-table deal, but it almost had to be.

Sandusky wasn’t entitled to that $20,000 per year, but it certainly seemed to be a condition of his retirement.  If you doubt that, ask yourself this question:  How does a guy who just put his bosses through a grand jury investigation, a guy who had been told he wasn’t part of the future even before that, demand an annuity he isn’t entitled to at all, and essentially get it, albeit in another payment format?

On June 13, 1999, Curley emailed Spanier and Schultz that he “touched base with Joe and we are in agreement that we should not do anything more for Jerry.”  Two days later, Curley emailed Spanier that Sandusky appeared headed for taking retirement. The next day, Schultz and Sandusky met to talk “about the supplemental annuity.” Schultz’s notes say that he told Sandusky “we wanted to help [Sandusky] though [sic] this important decision.”

Undated notes from Paterno indicated: “Jerry Annuity: Take 138 Buy Insurance > amount his retirement fund is worth. Variable Annuity and take full retirement.”

Paterno’s notes here are little more than those of a typical manager being asked what would be a good number for which to put in the retirement package of a contracted employee.  Paterno was also asked for input on some, but not all, of the other details in the retirement package.

  • Sandusky requested an office on Penn State’s main campus.  Paterno approved.
  • Sandusky requested a $20,000-a-year annuity, which was significant because it represented the difference between retiring with 30 years and 35 years of service.  At the time (1999), Sandusky’s had 31 years of service, and therefore was not entitled to this amount.  Paterno wrote an ambiguous note  “1200, plus what [Second] Mile should put together for him.” It is unclear what this really means; it may refer to the $12,000 annual annuity in a Penn State counter offer which was proposed a few weeks later.  In the end, after an issue arose about the taxation of an annuity, the idea of an annuity was tossed out in favor of a $168,000 lump sum.
  • Sandusky requested a title to associate himself with Penn State.  Paterno disapproved, but there was the aforementioned hand-written note “Volunteer Position Director – Positive Action for Youth.”
  • Sandusky asked for access to training and workout facilities.  Paterno couched his answer with a question as to whether this access was for Sandusky’s personal use.  Paterno clearly disapproved of facility access for Second Mile children, citing “liability problems.”

On June 17, 1999, Wendell Courtney, the University’s then outside legal counsel, provided Curley with a draft “retirement perquisites” agreement for Sandusky that included having the University pay Sandusky a lifetime annuity of $12,000 per year. The draft also provided that Sandusky and Penn State would “work collaboratively in the future in community outreach programs, such as the Second Mile.” A June 21, 1999 revision of the agreement added free use for life of “University weight rooms and fitness facilities available to faculty and staff.”  On June 22, 1999, Sandusky and Curley agreed to revise the permitted use to include “a locker, weight rooms, fitness facilities and training room in the East Area locker room complex.” After an issue arose over the taxation of annual annuity payments, the parties amended the draft agreement to provide Sandusky with a one‐time lump sum payment of $168,000. The parties agreed to these terms on June 29, 1999.

Then come the parts of this deal where former president Spanier’s actions clearly place any organization blame for this situation after 1999 squarely on his shoulders.  Spanier inexplicably promised Sandusky the status of professor emeritus status, a rank to which he was clearly not entitled. Not only that, but Spanier literally walked the request through the process, and the trappings of the status given to Sandusky set the table for the abuse to continue,

On August 31, 1999, Sandusky also was awarded “emeritus” rank, which carries with it a number of special privileges including access to the University’s recreational facilities. According to Penn State policy, this rank is granted to those who leave and hold the title of professor, associate professor, librarian, associate librarian, senior scientist, or senior research associate, or to personnel classified as executive, associate dean, or director of an academic unit in recognition of their meritorious service to the University.  Age and service qualifications also exist.  The President may grant or deny emeritus rank on “an exception basis.”

When he retired, Sandusky held the positions of assistant football coach and assistant professor of physical education, neither of which are among the positions listed as eligible for emeritus rank. On August 13, 1999, the then Assistant Vice President of Human Resources sent a fax to the Dean of the College of Health and Human Development (“Dean”). The fax included a draft memo from Schultz to Spanier that contained handwritten edits that changed the name of the memo’s originator from Schultz to the Dean. The former Dean did not recall the request but advised the Special Investigative Counsel that the request did take an unusual path.

The former Assistant Vice President, after being shown the Sandusky emeritus paperwork by the Special Investigative Counsel, said it was clear the request had come from Schultz or at least Schultz’s office and was forwarded by the former Assistant Vice President to the former Dean for submission.  When the Provost’s office received the emeritus request, the staff conducted research to see if similar situations existed. While not able to find “specific precedent,” the staff found itself in a “bind” as Spanier had promised the emeritus rank to Sandusky.

A contemporaneous email from a staff member to the Provost explained that: [Spanier] told [Sandusky] that we would do this – he was wholly within his rights here since the policy [HR 25] says “The President may grant (or deny) Emeritus Rank on an exception basis” – then informed [Curley], who suggested going through the college and went to [the Dean], who then made the request of us. (I had wrongly assumed all along that the request originated with [the Dean].)

This is a crucial point, and one that clearly was the propagative agent for the university’s complicity in the sexual abuse of children for over a decade.  The idea of granting Sandusky the status of professor emeritus; a status to which Sandusky was not entitled and would give him nearly irrevocable access to the entire Penn State campus, came from Graham Spanier.  At Spanier’s direction, a formal request for such status was prepared by Gary Schultz, who submitted it to the Provost’s office.  The Provost’s office could not find any “specific precedent” for granting Sandusky the status, however then-Provost (and current university president) Rodney Erickson granted the status largely for no other reason than Spanier had promised it to Sandusky.

It only gets more heinous from here.

At the time, even Erickson seemed to know this was a deal was problematic, he is quoted as telling a staff member he hoped “not too many others take that careful notice.”

On August 31, 1999, Rodney Erickson, who had been Provost since July 1, 1999, honored Spanier’s promise to grant Sandusky emeritus rank given the President’s broad discretion under the policy. He told the staff member that he hoped that “not too many others take that careful notice.” In an interview with the Special Investigative Counsel, Erickson described feeling “uneasiness” about the decision on Sandusky because of Sandusky’s low academic title and the prior history of who was granted emeritus rank. While the decision to grant Sandusky emeritus rank was unusual, the Special Investigative Counsel found no evidence to show that the emeritus rank was related to the 1998 events at the Lasch Building.

In an even more bizarre twist, for some reason, one month into the retirement proceedings, Tim Curley applied to have Sandusky reemployed as an “emergency hire,” the reason given being Sandusky had been “integrally involved in the planning and instructional aspects of preparation for this coming football season and is essential to the continuity of the program’s success.”  Curley’s request was granted, and Sandusky was re-hired for a period of 95 days beginning on June 30th, 1999.  This de facto reinstatment, despite its temporary nature, allowed Sandusky to accompany the football team to the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio, where he assaulted one of his victims in the team hotel.

Section II: Matters Not Fully Detailed By The Freeh Report

1) The University’s Exposure to Civil Liability via The Actions of Sandusky and Spanier

The Freeh Report essentially guarantees the university is going to be sued into the stone age. The majority of the exposure is going to come from the university maintaining a collaborative relationship with Sandusky’s Second Mile Foundation.

The Second Mile was a non‐profit organization for underprivileged youth founded by Sandusky in 1977.   Second Mile began as a group foster home for the purpose of helping troubled boys.  Over the years, it evolved into a statewide, three‐region charity dedicated to the welfare of children. Since its founding, Second Mile has been closely intertwined with Penn State.   In 2011, more than three‐quarters of the Second Mile Board of Directors were Penn State alumni. University students served as interns and volunteers at Second Mile events and solicited donations from local businesses for these charitable events.

The Freeh Report explains the relations as such:

  • Despite Spanier’s, Schultz’s, Paterno’s and Curley’s knowledge of criminal investigations of Sandusky regarding child abuse as early as 1998, they failed to control Sandusky’s access to the University’s facilities and campuses. In fact, Sandusky was allowed to have a key for, and continued to work out in, the Lasch Building until November 2011, and had keys to other Penn State facilities.
  • Even after the Attorney General’s investigation became public in March 2011, former Penn State General Counsel Baldwin said that because of Sandusky’s “emeritus” status and because he had yet to be convicted, his access to University facilities could not be terminated.
  •  Between 2002 and 2008 the University also allowed Sandusky to use the University facilities at the Altoona and Behrend (Erie) campuses to run “Jerry Sandusky” summer football camps for youth. Although University policy required a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with all third parties using University facilities, Sandusky, who some admired “like a god” because he was a former football coach, was allowed to operate the camps without any MOA.
  • The University continued to support the Second Mile throughout this time by providing facilities and services for the organization’s day camps and fund‐raisers. Sandusky was a corporate officer, volunteer and public “face” of the Second Mile throughout this time.
  • The University’s visible support of the Second Mile provided Sandusky with numerous opportunities to bring young boys to campus and to interact with them through various camps and activities.
  • After his retirement, Sandusky retained access to the Nittany Lion Club, an exclusive seating area at Beaver Stadium. Sandusky continued to be invited by senior University officials and attend Nittany Lion Club events until his November 2011 arrest.
  • If University leaders had not granted Sandusky full use of Penn State’s football facilities and supported his ways to “work with young people through Penn State,” sexual assaults of several young boys on the Penn State campus might have been prevented.

It doesn’t take a law degree to see how by allowing Sandusky anywhere near children coupled with the cozy relationship between Second Mile and Penn State means the lawsuits are going to be numerous and expensive.

2) The Misperceptions of Joe Paterno, Both in the Arena of Public Relations and Contained in the Freeh Report

• That For Which Joe Paterno Was Not Guilty

Paterno’s Failure to Act Pale In Comparison to the Actions of Spanier, Curley, and Schultz

The Freeh Report leaves a reader with the impression that Paterno was as guilty of a cover-up and/or failing to act as were Spanier, Schultz, and Curley. The Freeh Report cites mountains of damning evidence against the three university administrators, but does not offers such “smoking guns” when it comes to Paterno. Rather, the former Penn State head football coach is on the recieving end of a lot of “guilt by association.” That theme was picked up by the sports media, and led to the oversight of a crucial fact.

A popular theme that Paterno’s role as the iconic face of the Penn State football program had powers outside those of any other football coach; as if he were an unquestioned patriarch who could rule through unquestioned dictate, and therefore he could have denied Sandusky access to the football facilities any time he wished.  According to the Freeh Report, this was not true. Rather, Sandusky’s status as professor emeritus meant his access to the campus could not be legally denied until he was charged with a crime. This means Paterno was powerless after 1999 to bar Sandusky from the football facilities.

After news of the Sandusky investigation appeared in newspapers in March 2011, some members of the Athletic Department staff questioned Sandusky’s continued access to athletic facilities.605 Some members of the Athletics Department staff asked Penn State General Counsel Cynthia Baldwin if Sandusky could be restricted from the athletic facilities.  She told them that the University could not take his keys.  Baldwin advised the Special Investigative Counsel that because of Sandusky’s emeritus status and the fact that he had not been charged with a crime, his access could not be eliminated without the University being sued.

In short, here’s is the situation Paterno found himself in 1999.

  • The previous year, his longtime assistant coach was investigated on charges of sexually abusing children.
  • Subsequently, Sandusky was offered a retirement deal by the university.
  • As part of that retirement deal, Paterno was asked about aspects of it. He specifically stated that Sandusky should not be allowed to bring children onto the Penn State campus, and university administration over-ruled him.

In other words, Paterno had to know that once Sandusky would be allowed to continue to bring children onto the campus, that Sandusky would be allowed to continue participating in university-sponsored youth football camps, and that the university was continuing it’s relationship with the Second Mile Foundation, he didn’t have any organizational power to change it.

Paterno Did Not Fail To Show Contrition

One the details which has been forgotten in all of this was that Joe Paterno actually announced he was retiring at the end of the season about 12 hours before he was fired.  In his resignation letter, Paterno expressed contrition for his actions in words that no one else connected with the scandal has uttered: ” I wish I had done more.”

Paterno expands on the contrition throughout the letter.

“I am absolutely devastated by the developments in this case. I grieve for the children and their families, and I pray for their comfort and relief.

“I have come to work every day for the last 61 years with one clear goal in mind: To serve the best interests of this university and the young men who have been entrusted to my care. I have the same goal today.”

“That’s why I have decided to announce my retirement effective at the end of this season. At this moment the Board of Trustees should not spend a single minute discussing my status. They have far more important matters to address. I want to make this as easy for them as I possibly can. This is a tragedy. It is one of the great sorrows of my life. With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more.”

“My goals now are to keep my commitments to my players and staff and finish the season with dignity and determination. And then I will spend the rest of my life doing everything I can to help this university.”

While he tried to retire with dignity rather than be fired in ignominy, Paterno in the end was among his own critics.  In fact, while other players in the Sandusky tragedy – from Sandusky himself to top school officials to the board of trustees – have all continued to insist they bear no blame, Paterno alone condemned himself in the court of public opinion.

• That For Which Joe Paterno Was Guilty

Paterno Knew More Than He Told The Grand Jury

Paterno’s testimony before the grand jury which was investigating Jerry Sandusky is really just shy of Bill Clinton-esque word-parsing. While he never stoops to “That depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is,”  Paterno denial that he knew anything about the 1998 incident (in which Sandusky was investigated but never charged after police received a report from a woman who claimed Sandusky had showered with her son and touched the boy) is barely plausible, somewhat hard to believe, yet it would hold up in court.

This transcript of Paterno’s grand jury testimony was read into the record during the December preliminary hearing for Curley and Schultz, the two Penn State administrators who still face charges of perjury and failure to report abuse:

Q: Other than the incident that Mike McQueary reported to you, do you know in any way, through rumor, direct knowledge or any other fashion, of any other inappropriate sexual conduct by Jerry Sandusky with young boys?

A: I do not know of anything else that Jerry Sandusky would be involved in, no. I do not know of it. You did mention—I think you said something about a rumor. It may have been discussed in my presence, something else about somebody. I don’t know. I don’t remember, and I could not honestly say I heard a rumor.

Two days after the 1998 incident, Schultz told Curley and Spanier that he had told Paterno of the situation, but there is no corroborating evidence to support this claim.

In an email from Curley to Schultz and Spanier at 5:24 p.m. captioned “Joe Paterno,” Curley reports, “I have touched base with the coach. Keep us posted. Thanks.”

Then we get into the emails previously quoted in Section 2 of the Dubsism Report from Page 49 of the Freeh Report.

As the investigation progressed, Curley made several requests to Schultz for updates.  On May 13, 1998 at 2:21 p.m., Curley emailed Schultz a message captioned “Jerry,” and asked, “Anything new in this department? Coach is anxious to know where it stands.” Schultz forwarded Curley’s note to [university police chief Thomas] Harmon, who provided an email update that Schultz then forward to Curley. The reference to Coach is believed to be Paterno.

“Believed to be Paterno,” is the “won’t cut it in court” part. It is unclear that “coach” refers to Paterno; it probably does, but since Sandusky was still a PSU coach at the time, and it was clear the PSU administrators were in communication with him, that possibly could be a reference to Sandusky.

On May 18, 1998, Curley requested another update by email. Schultz responded that there was no news and that he did not expect to hear anything before the end of the week.

On May 30, 1998, Curley asked for another update by email. Schultz was on vacation at the time, but responded on June 8, 1998, saying that he understood before he left for vacation that “DPW and Univ Police services were planning to meet with him. I’ll see if this happens and get back to you.”

When it became clear that no criminal charges were going to be filed against Sandusky on June 1, the investigation was closed and Sandusky while was not charged with a crime, though he was advised not to shower again with children. And here’s Page 51 of the report:

After Curley’s initial updates to Paterno [which the Freeh Report never offers corroborating evidence to prove they actually happened], the available record is not clear as to how the conclusion of the Sandusky investigation was conveyed to Paterno. Witnesses consistently told the Special Investigative Counsel that Paterno was in control of the football facilities and knew “everything that was going on.” As Head Coach, he had the authority to establish permissible uses of football facilities.  Nothing in the record indicates that Curley or Schultz discussed whether Paterno should restrict or terminate Sandusky’s uses of the facilities of that Paterno conveyed any such expectations to Sandusky.

I’m inclined to believe the line “As Head Coach, he had the authority to establish permissible uses of football facilities,” but I also think his authority stopped at the doors of those facilities. Beyond that, the Penn State campus was a world run by Spanier, Schultz, and Curley.

That is important to remember because of what Paterno said in his final interview given shortly before his death to Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post. In the original interview, she gave Paterno a lot of leeway, but after the release of the Freeh Report, she qualified several things.

Joe Paterno was a liar, there’s no doubt about that now.  He was also a cover-up artist. If the Freeh Report is correct in its summary of the Penn State child molestation scandal, the public Paterno of the last few years was a work of fiction. In his place is a hubristic, indictable hypocrite.

[...]

If Paterno knew about ’98, then he wasn’t some aging granddad who was deceived, but a canny and unfeeling power broker who put protecting his reputation ahead of protecting children.

If he knew about ’98, then he understood the import of graduate assistant Mike McQueary’s distraught account in 2001 that he witnessed Sandusky assaulting a boy in the Penn State showers.

If he knew about ’98, then he also perjured himself before a grand jury.

These are qualifications on her part because she misspeaks on one crucial point. In her article of July 12th 2012, Jenkins states “Paterno was not only aware of the ’98 investigation but followed it ‘closely’ according to Freeh.” As I’ve pointed out, that is not corroborated by supporting evidence in the Freeh Report.  However, if Paterno did know, then everything I’ve quoted from her is absolutely correct.

Regardless of what you believe, there is no way Paterno can deny knowledge of this situation after February 9, 2001 when then-graduate assistant Mike McQueary discovered Sandusky alone with a boy in a shower on the Penn State campus and Paterno himself testified that McQueary told him he had witnessed something of “a sexual nature.”

In fact, as you will see in the next section, Paterno had to know something was wrong in 1999.

Paterno’s  Biggest Mistake: Was It A Result of Misplaced Loyalty,  Horrible Judgement, Missing His One Real Opportunity To Do The Right Thing, Or All Of The Above?

In 1999, the year after the incident with Victim 6, Sandusky was told he would never be the Penn State head coach, largely because Paterno, Schultz, Curley and Spanier were all aware of the incident the year before, but in all fairness, the Freeh Report stated Paterno honestly believed there had been no crminal conduct on the part of Sandusky based on the failure of the distrcit attorney’s office to file charges.

Paterno was given the opportunity to offer input on some aspects of the Sandusky retirement deal. That’s largely why at which time , Jerry Sandusky was given the choice of retiring, or staying on indefinitely. While Paterno did state Sandusky’s Second Mile children should not be allowed on the campus, he also offered  Sandusky the choice to remain on the Penn State coaching staff.

In an email from Tim Curley to Spanier and Schultz, Curley wrote that “Joe did give him the option to continue to coach as long as he was the coach.”

To truly understand this, you must remember the nature of the relationship between Sandusky and Paterno.  When Paterno became the head coach at Penn State in 1966, Sandusky was a graduate assistant on his staff.  In 1969, Sandusky became Penn State’s defensive line coach, became linebacker coach in 1970, and was promoted to defensive coordinator in 1977, a position he held his retirement.  It was during his years as linebacker coach and defensive coordinator that Penn State gained a reputation for producing outstanding linebackers, including  play, including 10 first-team All-Americans. This lead to Penn State being dubbed “Linebacker U.”

Regardless of what you think of Paterno and Sandusky in the wake of this scandal, there are some undeniable facts that help explain the relationship between the two.

  • Sandusky was a gifted football coach.
  • Sandusky played a crucial role in building Penn State football under Paterno.
  • Paterno was a fiercely loyal guy.

I’m convinced it was that loyalty that clouded Paterno’s judgement more than anything else.  In light of everything else, if Paterno doesn’t make that offer, it becomes very difficult to assign a significant share of the blame for how this situation was handled to him.  The “court of public opinion” has an expectation that one is supposed to immediately turn his back on somebody who gets into trouble, but true loyalty is measured in the bad times. Ask yourself a question: what would you think of somebody you considered a close friend who bailed on you at the first sign of trouble?

3) Guilty Parties Not Assigned Their Fair Share of Blame By The Freeh Report

• Dottie Sandusky

The Freeh Report doesn’t mention Jerry Sandusky’s wife as she was not a university employee.  But she was the person most connected to this situation, and had the most power to stop it. Consider the following points concerning Dottie Sandusky’s conduct throughout this matter.

She Testified (And Likely Lied) On Her Husband’s Behalf:

While one can certainly appreciate loyalty, there is a point where it becomes misplaced. Earlier in this report, I said that was one of Joe Paterno’s major mistakes inthis situation, but what Dottie Sandusky did makes Paterno’s mistake nearly insignificant.

Dottie Sandusky came to her husband’s defense on the witness stand, testifying that she can recall most of the men who have come forward to lodge accusations against her husband during his trial in Pennsylvania, but she maintains that he never sexually abused any of them when they were children.  She also took issue with the assertion by one of Jerry Sandusky’s accusers that his basement was soundproof, and that was why no one could hear him screaming during an alleged sexual assault. Dottie Sandusky also told the courtroom that she did not walk in on her husband and a young boy engaged in oral sex. All three of those denials are contradictory to testimony offered by her husband’s victims.

She Called The Victims Liars:

This is a continuance of the misplaced loyalty theme. Dottie Sandusky has been far from a passive observer in this case.  Up to the time of his conviction, she never once backed down from his down from his side.  She went with him to court, posted bail on his behalf, and released a statement late last year saying he was innocent, but the worst thing she did was to call her husband’s accusers liars.

Since the conviction, it appears that she will continue to stand by her man, as evidenced by her willingness to face the scrutiny that comes with testifying on behalf of a nationally-reviled alleged child molester who allegedly took advantage of his position of power within a major college football program to sexually abuse young boys.

She Claimed To Have Personal Relationships With Some Of the Accusers, Then Tried to Assassinate Their Character:

Dottie Sandusky maintains that her husband was framed by the men who claim that he sexually abused them as children. She said during her testimony that she knew some of those men when they were younger.  While Dottie Sandusky called her husband’s accusers liars,  she has also admitted she can not come up with a reason for why the men would lie about being allegedly abused by her husband years after the fact.  Dottie Sandusky told the courtroom that alleged Jerry Sandusky Victim #1 was “demanding and conniving,” and she said that another of his alleged victims was “very clingy.”

However, she also confirmed that a majority of the accusers  stayed overnight in the Sandusky home.

She Was Likely Present At Times When Some Accusers Say They Were Attacked

Dottie Sandusky said under oath that she was in the home numerous times when young boys would spend the night at the Sandusky’s home.   Several accusers state they were asaulted in the basement of the Sandusky home, but she maintains  her husband never entered the basement while boys were sleeping there,  and that she did not fall asleep before him on such occasions. Those statements were also contradicted my more than one accuser.

She said that some of the boys were “clingy” with her husband, while she declared another one to be “charming.” She also said one or more of his victims was “demanding.”

• The Second Mile Foundation

This story is best told by a direct quote from the Freeh Report:

An article posted on the University’s website on July 1, 1999 announced Sandusky’s retirement. In this article, Curley stated that Sandusky is “the founder of Second Mile … [and] will continue to offer his services on a volunteer basis to the athletic department’s Lifeskills and Outreach programs.” In the same announcement, Paterno praised Sandusky for his contributions to the University’s football program and stated that Sandusky was “… a person of great character and integrity.”  In a memorandum dated August 23, 1999 from Second Mile Chairman Robert Poole to the Second Mile Board, Poole wrote that beginning in January 2000, Sandusky would become a paid consultant for the organization and earn $57,000 per year plus travel expenses.

In Sandusky’s retirement agreement with the University, both parties agreed to “work collaboratively” in community outreach programs such as the Second Mile. The collaboration took several forms. Penn State football staff and players helped Sandusky with annual Second Mile Golf Tournaments held at the Penn State golf course(s) from 2003 to 2011.  Each year the Second Mile distributed playing cards that displayed both Penn State and Second Mile logos and contained images of Penn State football players, coaches and other student‐athletes. A number of the University’s football players and other student‐athletes routinely volunteered for Second Mile youth programs.

In addition, in February 2009, Schultz contacted a bank on behalf of Sandusky and the Second Mile. Schultz advised the bank “the Second Mile is raising funds to support an expansion of their facilities here in State College…. Would you be agreeable to meet with Jerry Sandusky … and me? They are really good people and this is a great cause related to kids.” Bank officials agreed to meet with Sandusky. The University’s visible support of the Second Mile provided Sandusky with numerous opportunities to bring young boys to campus and to interact with them through various camps and activities.

[...]

Between 1999 and 2008, the Second Mile operated six one‐week long summer youth camps at the University Park campus as well as at other non‐University locations.  Sandusky operated numerous summer youth camps at various Commonwealth campuses through Second Mile and his own corporation, Sandusky and Associates.  At the University Park campus, camp activities were held at various locations including classrooms, an outdoor swimming pool, athletic fields and football facilities. Sandusky frequently visited the boys’ camps during the swimming pool activity in the afternoon, and the night sessions, which were usually held in one of the football meeting rooms.

Second Mile also offered a “Friend Program,” a mentorship program that matched a college volunteer with an at‐risk elementary student. The Friend Program events took place in Blair, Centre, Clinton and Lancaster counties as well as in the Lehigh Valley and other locations in Pennsylvania. The Friend Program events included picnics, holiday parties, swimming and bowling. Sandusky sometimes participated in the Friend Program at the Altoona campus. When he did, Sandusky often arrived accompanied by a boy from Second Mile who was not part of the invited group. According to a Director of Programs for Second Mile, the last time he saw Sandusky participate in any Second Mile activities was in 2008.

That coupled with the fact most of the Board of Directors of the Second Mile were connected to the university and the aforementioned retirement deal essentially made the Second Mile a university sponsored victim-finding service for Sandusky.

• University Police Chief Thomas Harmon

It is important to note the defintion and delination of powers of the university police department.

The University Police Department is part of the Finance and Business unit. It has jurisdiction over all crimes that occur on University grounds. Its officers have the same authority as municipal police officers and enforce both the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and University regulations. As part of its responsibilities, the University Police Department collects campus crime statistics that the University must publish annually to comply with The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, 20 U.S.C. § 1092(f) (“Clery Act”).

The University Police Department is currently staffed with 46 full‐time sworn officers. They are assisted by approximately 200 auxiliary officers and escorts who assist with crowd and traffic control at special events and security at residence halls.  The police officers provide 24‐hour patrol services to the campus and University‐owned properties. In addition to the police officers at University Park, approximately 73 fulltime and 30 part‐time sworn officers work at the various Commonwealth campuses. University Police work regularly with the Pennsylvania State Police, State College, Borough Police and surrounding police agencies.

There’s two crucial points to note here. The first is that when Joe Paterno reported the 2001 incident to his superiors, he followed the law as one of his superiors was vice president Gary Schultz, who was the executive responsible for the administration of the University Police Department. In, other words, Schultz was the “top cop” on the Penn State campus.

Having said that, it was up to Chief Harmon not only to ensure the Clery Act was being followed, but it was Harmon’s duty to involve another law enforcement agency to investigate wrong-doing on the university campus if he believed member of his own police force, up to and including Schultz were involved.  Neither of those things happened, and they both played a major role in the continuation of the Sandusky situation.

• Current Penn State President Rodney Erickson

In short, when Erickson was the University Provost, he is the one who approved the status of professor emeritus for Jerry Sandusky, which gave him unlimited access to the campus where several of the victims were assaulted. By his own words, Erickson knew granting such a status to Sandusky was “highly unusual,” and it was that granting of emeritus status that hand-cuffed the university in dealing with Sandusky’s conduct.

4) How Paterno’s Death Changed How This Matter Was Handled 

If you consider the timelines involved here, it is easy to see how the Freeh Report would have never been commissioned if Joe Paterno were still alive.  First of all, remember that it was likely the goal of the board of trustees that the Freeh Report was going to place the blame for the Sandusky situation squarely on Jerry Sandusky (who was at the time was not yet convicted, but that seemed to be a certainty) and on Joe Paterno (who had just died).

As you have seen, that did not happen. But this was also not the first time the board tried to manipulate the information which was making its way to the public arena.  Flash the clock back to the first days after the Sandusky situation broke. Three days after Sandusky was arrested and Schultz and Curley were indicted, ther was the usual Tuesday Paterno press conference. The fiasco on that Tuesday morning which resulted from the handling of that conference has yet to be explained.

At first, it was going to be held as normal. Then, the university announced that Paterno would not be allowed to answer any questions about anything other than that week’s upcoming football game.  When a media firestorm erupted over that, the press conference was cancelled.

The key to the university’s handling of that press conference was very simple. They were afraid that Paterno, once asked about Jerry Sandusky was going “to spill the beans.” Imagine how differently this plays out if Paterno was not gagged, and he dropped the bomb about the “retirement deal” between Sandusky and the university? Graham Spanier would likely be under indictment as well, Rodney Erickson would at the very least be out of a job, as well as University Police Chief Thomas Harmon.

For that matter, imagine how differently this would be playing out if the Freeh Report had been released if Paterno were still alive.  If you want to believe that Paterno was more concerned about his legacy (which was probably true before he wrote his resignation letter), then you must also believe Paterno would have used anything he had at his disposal to impeach the crediblity of the Freeh Report.  The thought of Paterno attacking the university-sponsored report would have an even bigger public relations disaster that the report itself, especially in light of the fact the board never dreamed the report would be such a damning indictment of their conduct.

5) The Hypocrisy of the NCAA

Before NCAA president Mark Emmert announced the sanctions meted out to Penn State, the NCAA executive who introduced Emmert made a statement to the effect that what happened at Penn State was so egregious that this sort of unprecedented action was necessary. That may be true, but the NCAA dressed this up in the virtue of concern for the victims, but two facts make that ring hollow.

First of all, if the NCAA was so concerned about children, where were they after the first grand jury investigation in 1998? It wasn’t a secret the investigation was going on, and while grand jury testimony can be kept off the public record, the NCAA could have easily launched their own investigation and took action then.  Had they done so, perhaps the history of this situation would have been very different.

That’s is important to note, because there’s far too much “let’s pretend this didn’t happen” going on in all of this. There’s no other explanation for vacating wins; waving a “magic wand” over a record book changes nothing. This point will be explored further in the next sub-section in The Statue Debate.

As far as the NCAA is concerned, while they cloaked themselves in the virtue of caring about the victims, you would have to dig deep in the sanctions to find a reflection of that sentiment.  An examination of the main points of the sanctions bears that out.

  • $60 million fine – Roughly equal to one year’s revenue
  • Loss of 20 scholarships for 4 years
  • Ban on post-season appearances for 4 years
  • Vacating of all football wins from 1998-2011
  • 5 years probation for the football program
  • The NCAA reserves the right to initiate further investigations and/or sanctions against individuals involved after all criminal investigations are completed

I hope I’m not the only one who see both the irony and the hypocrisy in all of this.  I understand the NCAA is saying that money from the sanctions is ear-marked for various support groups and victim’s charities, but the NCAA is such a corrupted bureaucracy that I will believe that the minute I see an independent forensic accounting which bears that fact out.

Now, for the most laughable thing that came out of Emmert’s mouth.

‘The sanctions needed to reflect our goals of providing cultural change,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said as he announced the penalties at a news conference in Indianapolis.

The NCAA pretending to be the arbiter of moral values would be laughable if it weren’t so tragic.  All the NCAA did in its sanctions was make itself look like it is actually in control of the world of college sports, when in fact the exact opposite is true.  The NCAA handed down enough meaty punishment so they appear being tough, yet they made sure they didn’t cross the line and risk a backlash by destroying the program outright.

Realistically, the only reason the NCAA exists is to hand out sanctions in a futile attempt to pretend college sports isn’t a giant, corrupt enterprise.  It was hugely important for the NCAA that everyone was impressed by the punishments they laid down.

The problem is they won’t change anything because the NCAA is as diseased as any organization it punishes.

Frankly, the NCAA doesn’t care whether it solves anything, rather it just scored itself a $60 million dollar payday in the most cynical of manners.  The sight of Emmert parading around some phony values while acting scornful months after the scandal broke and years after the NCAA itself whiffed on a chance to handle this situation is an exercise in abject hypocrisy.

The dirty little secret in all of this is that right now, something horrible is happening in a college football program; we just haven’t heard about it yet.  By being so heavy-handed with Penn State, the idea is by creating the illusion that all is well in college sports again, other schools will see how Penn State was punished and understand the NCAA means business now.

Neither of those things will happen. Five years from now, Penn State football will still make money, the NCAA will be as impotent as ever, and the odds are some other school will have been discovered to be doing something horrible. There will be another scandal, probably at a place where the head coach has too much power and the football program is a cash cow.

People really want to believe was happened at Penn State is an anomaly. The severity of Sanducky’s crime is unusual, but Sandusky’s acts only served as a catalyst to expose a story we’ve seen time and time again…concentrated power gone corrupt and institutional disregard for any regulation. It’s happened before, and despite what the NCAA might believe, it’s going to happen again.

6) The Diseased Culture of Penn State Was Mirrored In The Statue Debate

Anybody who got wrapped up in the debate as to whether a statue of Joe Paterno should remain in front of the Penn State football stadium is  absolutely clueless.

First of all, the reason given by Penn State president Rodney Erickson for the removal of the statue was a complete obfuscation and yet another attempt by those who never cared about the victims to now pretend they do.

“I now believe that, contrary to its original intention, Coach Paterno’s statue has become a source of division and an obstacle to healing in our university and beyond,” Erickson said. “For that reason, I have decided that it is in the best interest of our university and public safety to remove the statue and store it in a secure location. I believe that, were it to remain, the statue will be a recurring wound to the multitude of individuals across the nation and beyond who have been the victims of child abuse.”

There’s two reasons why that is a complete load of crap. First, the real reason the statue came down is because Penn State officials knew they were going to get more public relations nightmares like this photo.

Secondly, if the statue had to come down because it was a “recurring wound,” then what about the library which bears Paterno’s name? The reason the library is staying is yet another attempt on Erickson’s part to deflect the truth.

On the other hand, the Paterno Library symbolizes the substantial and lasting contributions to the academic life and educational excellence that the Paterno family has made to Penn State University. The library remains a tribute to Joe and Sue Paterno’s commitment to Penn State’s student body and academic success, and it highlights the positive impacts Coach Paterno had on the University. Thus I feel strongly that the library’s name should remain unchanged.

Coach Paterno’s positive impact over the years and everything he did for this University predate his statue. At the same time it is true that our institution’s excellence cannot be attributed to any one person or to athletics. Rather, Penn State is defined by our actions and accomplishments as a learning community. Penn State has long been an outstanding academic institution and we will continue to be.

That’s a pretty big bouquet of flowers for a guy who supposedly represented a “recurring wound” two paragraphs ago. The real reason the statue goes and the library stays are as follows.

  • The statue became a focal point for bad publicity
  • Erickson panicked in the wake of the Freeh Report and felt the need to “do something”
  • Libraries don’t draw wall-to-wall coverage on ESPN

The other reason you can’t touch the library is that once you do, then you have to have a real debate as to what else you have to tear down, because whether you like it or not, Joe Paterno is a major reason Penn State is one the world’s leading universities. When Paterno arrived on the State College campus in 1950, Penn State was an out-of-the-way cow college with dirt streets.

Today, the annual enrollment at the State College campus is approximately 45,000 graduate and undergraduate students,  which makes it one of the largest universities in the United States.  Penn State has the world’s largest dues-paying alumni association.  The university offers more than 160 majors among all its campuses and administers nearly $2 billion in endowment and similar funds. When you stop to consider that as previously mentioned, Paterno may be responsible for close to a billion dollars of that endowment, arguably you would have to bull-doze half the Penn State campus to be completely rid 0f the Paterno legacy.

As far as the people who wanted the statue removed were concerned, the reason you wanted it taken down had nothing to do with victims, it had everything to do with the way you felt about it.  Look at the guy who flew the plane over Beaver Staduim trailing a banner which read “Take Down the Statue or We Will.” The time and effort spent to do that would have been better spent going toward a victim’s advocacy group, but that wasn’t the point. The point was, like with every other “take it down” type, was because it was an easy way to get on the “Let’s bash Penn State”  bandwagon. That means you are as guilty as those named in this report; you put your own interests in front of those of the victims.

This is as good a time as any to state this blog’s handling of the various Paterno stories and images you can see on Dubsism.  Not one of them will be removed, and not one of them will be changed as a result of the Freeh Report.  Much like the statue, they were placed there for a reason at the time, and changing them now will have absolutely no meaningful impact.

Section III: The Factual Legacy of Joe Paterno

1) Joe Paterno: The Man

There are two kinds of people in this world: those whose skeletons stay in their proverbial closets, and those whose bones get exposed.  While I’m am not a religious man, even I know this is exactly why the Bible contains that line about “let he without sin cast the first stone.”

When Joe Paterno died, his released a statement that really captured in a factual sense what defined Joe Paterno, the man.

“He died as he lived,” the statement said. “He fought hard until the end, stayed positive, thought only of others and constantly reminded everyone of how blessed his life had been. His ambitions were far reaching, but he never believed he had to leave this Happy Valley to achieve them.  He was a man devoted to his family, his university, his players and his community.”

Those words are undeniably true; the events of the past 8 months do not erase those of the previous 61 years.  Do the events of the past 8 months cast some perspectives in a different light? Of course they do; it would be idiotic to suggest otherwise.

But if we are going to rewrite the end of the epic Paterno saga, we must not lose the fact his life was overwhelming good nicked with some rather unfortunate mistakes.  I’ve made no secret of my reverence for Joe Paterno on this blog, but I refused to be un-objective about this.  Joe Paterno did a great deal of good in this world, but that does not except him from deserved criticism.

At the end of the day, the story that was the life of Joe Paterno will be one of a historic journey that had an ending none of us saw coming a year ago.  Frankly, I thought the Paterno story was going to be one of the ascent via six decades of building one of the most storied college football programs in history,  with the descent in the final years of Paterno’s life being marked by a series of painful reversals. There was the genesis of the “Joe must go” movement after teh 4-7 seasons in the early 2000s, there were the injuries, and finally the lung cancer that took his life.  A year ago, nobody saw the horrific allegations made against his former defensive coordinator, let alone seeing those allegations become a conviction and  become the catalyst for Paterno losing his job and the tarnishing of his then-sterling reputation as a mentor, leader, and humanitarian.

Now, given what has happened, the question becomes this: Will all the good that came of Paterno’s 46-year run on the Penn State sideline’s leader – the 409 wins, the academic achievements of his players, the hundreds of millions of dollars raised to transform an out-of-the-way cow college into one of the world’s pre-eminent research universities, and the rise of the Nittany Lions’ football program to the heights of the pantheon of college football – will all that be erased by Jerry Sandusky?

Despite all the media bluster surrounding this situation, that’s not going to happen.  The following three sub-sections prove why Paterno’s positive marks left on this world will far outweigh the negatives.

2) Football

When it comes to Paterno’s accomplishments as a football coach…well…where do you start?

There were two national championships.  There were five undefeated seasons; 1968 (11-0), 1969 (11-0), 1973 (12-0), 1986 (12-0), and 1994 (12-0).  No coach has won more bowl games; the Nittany Lions had a 24-12-1 record in post-season games.  No coach won more regular season games as a Division I coach; Joe Paterno finished with an astounding career record of 409-136-3 (forget the make-believe that is the NCAA’s vacating the record books) .  Paterno-led teams finished the season ranked in the Top 10 23 times.

Joe Paterno was named as the American Football Coaches Association Coach of the Year five times.  Paterno was one of only three active coaches to be inducted into The College Football Hall of Fame.

Forget about the win and losses.  Look at the impact Paterno had in the lives of the young men who played for him.

Ninety-six of Paterno’s players, the last one  being defensive tackle Devon Still in 2011, were first-team All-Americans.

Thirty-three of Paterno’s players became first-round picks in the NFL.

Joe Paterno’s teams had a phenomenal graduation rate.  Paterno’s 2011 team ranked first in the Academic Bowl Championship Series rankings, which measures academic progress and graduation rates among all of the teams in the BCS rankings.  In the rankings among teams in the Associated Press Top 25, which were announced in December of 2011, Penn State was tied with Stanford with a Graduation Success Rate of 87 percent.

Then there is the last thing Penn State may have left after this is all over…the famous Penn State blue and white look with no names on the backs of the players’ jerseys and the black shoes.

3) Philanthropy

As Joe Paterno racked up victory after victory on the field, he also became a tireless fundraiser for the university he loved.

The Paterno family has contributed more than $4 million to the university. Paterno’s gifts endow faculty positions and scholarships in the College of the Liberal Arts, the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture and the school libraries. In 1997, the university broke ground for the $34.4 million Paterno Library addition to the Pattee Library on campus.

But his own giving pales in comparison to the mountain of dollars he generated as a fund-raising machine.  Paterno was a major force in the $352 million Campaign for Penn State and the $1.37 billion Grand Destiny campaign that concluded in 2003.  Some estimate that he was personally responsible for up to $1 billion in donations from deep-pocketed alumni over the years.

How deep did Paterno’s loyalty to Penn State run? Consider this: In December 2011, several weeks after Penn State fired him, PAterno made a pair of $100,000 contributions to the school – one gift split between the Paterno Library and the Paterno Fellows program, and another  given to the Suzanne Pohland Paterno Catholic Student Faith Center on campus.

4) The Ironic Fall From Grace

The undeniable and stinging  irony of Joe Paterno’s life is that as previously mentioned, it is difficult to imagine a college coach anywhere at anytime  who did more for a university that Paterno did for Penn State.

Take the story all the back to the beginning  when Joe Paterno arrived in State College in 1950 at the request of then Penn State head coach Rip Engle, for whom he had played at Brown.  Paterno served under Engle until 1966 when he became the head football coach.  From that day on, much of what Paterno did  over the next 46 years was the stuff of legend.  Penn State’s players quickly learned “The Paterno Way.”

In a world where many college athletes were students in name only, Paterno insisted on a devout marriage of academic and athletic excellence…without exception.  This is how Paterno’s players maintained such a high graduation rate.

This is exactly why the controversy has raged:  Did Paterno fulfill the law or did he let down young children and his university?

The problem is that he did both.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly made clear in her public statements on this case that Paterno had done all that the law required when he passed McQueary’s report concerning the 2001 incident along to his own superior then-Athletic Director Tim Curley.

However, legal responsibilities and moral responsibilities are two different things.  The man who did so much to further the lives of thousand of young men failed a handful of boys so miserably.  Until his resignation letter, Paterno never seemed  to have demonstrated any concern for the victims.  Nobody in the Penn State leadership chain ever tried to reach out to the victims. They never tried to get them the help they needed.

Section IV:  Conclusions and Summary

I think that’s the most remarkable thing about Joe Paterno. He kept mattering. He spanned three generations and remained significant and forceful in a culture where everything and everyone is disposable.

At the beginning of this report, I stated this report would answer explore main questions.

  • How this really happened?  Lots of material in the Freeh Report is being ignored by the media, and some people who have huge culpability in this matter are are “getting off easy.”
  • Who is ultimately responsible?  It’s easy to see how this traveled in the Penn State community, but does some blame travel beyond State College?
  • What has to happen to ensure this never happens again? Ultimately, nothing else matters beyond this.  There are some hard lessons in this situation which need to be learned by every single one of us.  If we do not learn from this so we can better protect our children, we become meaningless as a society.

Let’s go through those the questions point-by-point to show some answers.

1) How This Really Happened?

First and foremost, this is all about one sick individual with a sexual attraction to young boys who used his position to be a sexual predator. Subsequent to that, there was a catastrophic dereliction of duty at nearly every step along the way.

2) Who Is Ultimately Responsible?

This starts with Jerry Sandusky. He committed the crimes. There’s no denying that.

There’s almost no plausible way Dottie Sandusky can legitimately say she knew nothing of the abuse and couldn’t have stopped it. Young boys were being raped in her very own house.

Then comes former president Graham Spanier, who not only pushed through the ‘retirement deal” and fostered the relationship with The Second Mile, which essentially created both the infrastructure for the systemized sexual abuse of children on the part of Sandusky and allowed the Second Mile essentially act to act as a victim-recruitment service.

Then comes the Penn State Board of Trustees, who had the ultimate responsiblity to act and failed. Subsequent to that is the board of The Second Mile, most of whose members had university connections.

The NCAA completely failed in it’s role of oversight, then acted hastily and clumsily in the aftermath.  All the NCAA did in its sanctions was make itself look like it is actually in control of the world of college sports, when in fact the exact opposite is true.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania could have stopped this all in 1998, if they had ever questioned why their state psychologist essentially let Sandusky of the hook in 1998, then ended up on the Penn State payroll in 2000.

University administrators Tim Curley, Gary Schultz, and Rodney Erickson all played the role of “knowing accomplice” in varying to degrees to the nefarious activity of Spanier.

University Police Chief Thomas Harmon never called for outside help once it became clear their was an organized cover-up occurring which included his boss.

Lastly, there was head coach Joe Paterno, who was less than straight-forward with the grand jury, but this was also after the aforementioned cover-up perpetrated by Spanier, Curley, and Schultz had been exposed.  Paterno’s major culpability was trusting in his superiors who in retrospect were clearly untrustworthy.  Paterno was hand-cuffed by the stipulations of the “retirement deal” which did not permit him to ban Sandusky from the football facilities, he was over-ruled on his objection to allowing Second Mile children on the Penn State campus, he had a systemic cover-up happening in his up-chain, and the Chief of the University Police was not taking any action. Based on his belief that the lack of criminal charges meant there was no criminal activity (pursuant to his statements after the first grand jury investigation in 1998), Paterno’s statement that he “honestly didn’t know what to do” may be on of the most accurate statement in this entire situation.

3) What has to happen to ensure this never happens again?

Frankly, I don’t have an iron-clad answer for that question; nor do I think any of us do.  If we’ve learned anything from this situation, it is that when matters of money or self-interest cloud moral compasses is when bad things happen.

Like any major catastrophe, they are not the result of one or two events; rather they are the result of a string of events each of which contributes to the next. If any one of the links had been removed from this chain, perhaps the Sandusky situation is stopped much sooner than it was.

The fact this systematic abuse of children occurred at a major university and in a football program overseen by arguably the most famous coach in all of college sports has obfuscated the fact that the end of this matter must be beyond finger-pointing, media hype, and pointless debates over legacies.

The Freeh Report offers a solution involving more bureaucracy.  I believe that approach is misguided; it was the current layers of bureaucracy that contributed to this situation. Somehow, we have to get to the point where people not only are not fearful of standing up, they know what to do when they stand up. The Penn State matter is a textbook example of bureaucracy that clouding that.

There is an old saying about a man is never taller than when he stoops to help a child.  We have to make that statement mean something again.

23 responses

  1. Dubism,
    What is your take on Shultz removing records from his office in Nov 2011 (Page 69 of the report)?
    Also, Spanier came out w/ a statement of his innocence – http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2012/07/former_psu_president_graham_sp_1.html. I would love it, if you would do a post about his claims.
    Thank you, for the outstanding write-up, Dj

    1. You raise two very good points.

      First of all, I deliberately avoided the incident you cite about the document removal because there are several details which are not fully detailed by the Freeh Report which likely will figure prominently in the criminal proceedings against Schultz and possibly Curley. The fact that those documents were removed from Penn State and wound up in Curley’s possession means there is no real way to determine when the hand-written notes on those documents were actually written. That will be an interesting topic when Curley’s trial begins.

      As far as Spanier is concerned, I maintain that there is no legitimate reason for Spanier to not be under indictment like Curley and Schultz. They acted as little more than Spanier’s henchmen in the perpetuation of the cover-up; Spanier was clearly the ring-leader.

      There is one phrase in Spanier’s letter to the board of Trustees which has some truth: “The Freeh Report is egregious ion its incomplete and inaccurate reporting…:” That has some truth to it, but Spanier quickly departs from the truth when he completes that sentence with “…reporting of my 2011 discussion with certain trustees…”

      Spanier’s is attempting to deny he knew the severity of the allegations against Sandusky, but there is such an overwhelming amount of evidence to the contrary that Spanier’s parsing of words sounds like little more than a guy who know there are going to be some subpoenas, if not an arrest warrant headed his way.

      From the article you linked in your comment:

      “Unlike Curley and Schultz, who face perjury charges for allegedly lying to the grand jury about what they knew of and did about allegations againt Sandusky, Spanier has not been charged.”

      “But the investigation is continuing and it is widely believed Attorney General Linda Kelly’s investigators have been taking a harder look at Spanier’s role since receiving e-mails indicating he was involved in the decision to keep the 2001 incident from police.”

      If Spanier is not criminally charged, there should be an investigation as to why.

  2. J-Dub, thanks for answering all my questions. We will see if Spanier is charged; if he is not, then someone up the chain is looking out for him.

    1. That is very likely true.

      If I may, I’d like to ask you a question. What are your thoughts on Department of Public Welfare psychologist John Seasock, the man who wrote the report which essentially killed the 1998 prosecution of Sandusky (see page 44 of the Freeh Report)?

  3. The psychologist should be sued for malpractice. “Never heard of 52-year-old man becoming a pedophile.” How about, has 52-year-old ever been caught being pedophile? And he (psychologist Seasock) said Sandusky was not grooming kids – really bad mistake.
    I work as a computer forensic examiner for law enforcement and I have to recover child pornography off suspects’ computers and smart phones. We have have charged senior citizens for child pornography – maybe it is OK, as soon as you over 52-years-old, you get claim you are not guilty because of the Seasock Rule.

    1. I suspect there might be more than just malpractice. I find it more than curious that he ends up on the Penn State payroll in an undefined role as a consultant in 2000. I don’t have anything solid to base that suspicion on…which is why it stays a suspicion rather than an allegation at this point.

      From my background in systems engineering, I too have played the role of digging some disgusting thing out of various electronic devices, albeit in a corporate security role, not law enforcement. Regardless, I can certainly corroborate your statement..this stuff crosses all lines.

  4. Thanks for the detailed critique – a few questions (from an admitted Joe supporter who like you has revered him) or confrimations since I only read the Freeh report once (some of these points may be yous and some may have come from the report):

    On page 7 you state that Sandusky had allegations back to ’94 and the university became aware of them in ’98 – are you saying that people knew in ’94 or that the admin found out about the ’94 allegations in 98? I don’t recall seeing that anywhere.

    Also on page 7 you say that there was some serious interference fron university administration in the ’98 investigation – please confirm I do not remenber hearing that before.

    On page 8 you say that the cover up of the ’98 incident stated with Curley, Schultz and Spanier – what cover up? This incident was investigated independently, correct?

    Also page 8 (I think you mention this a few times so maybe I missed it) you state that Curley gave Sandusky a toothless warning about not taking kids into the shower after the ’98 investigation – I’m not sure that is true – didn’t he only talk to him after the ’01 incident?

    Small point on page nine – I don’t remember any of the emails to Spanier saying what the investigation was for but you state that Spanier is potentially in trouble for perjury because he stated that he never heard a reprot from anyone that Sandusky was abusing children – do we know for sure through the emails that this is what Spanier was told?

    On page 15 you think that the 20k annuity seems like a payoff-shouldn’t the “payoff” go the other way? Sandusky in the one who should be paying PSU yet he is bargaining likes he has the power. This was still ’99 – why would PSU need to keep him quiet? The only reported incident at this point was investigated.

    Also page 15 (and again on page 27)- you mention that Sandusky put his bosses through a grand jury when discussing his retirement package – was there a grand jury in ’98?

    Page 17 – the Alomo bowl should have been played sometime in Decmeber shouldn’t the 95 day contract signed on June 30 expired?

    Page 22 you say that in ’99 the year after the incident with victm 6 Sandusky was told he would never be head coach largely because they were all aware of the incident the year before – the fact is that he was told he wouldn’t be head coach before the incident occured. It certainly seems that the decision to not make him head coach had nothing to do with the ’98 incident.

    On page 32 you say that Paterno failed a handful of men so miserably – this is true and I wish I knew why he didn’t do more – but this is assuming he knew Sandusky was a pedo – I’m sticking up for Joe here but I think everyone forgets how people thought of Sandusky as a great guy who did so much for kids – it seems easy to see now but I don’t think he actually believed Sandusky was a child molestor. In hindsight he should have known/done more.

    Sorry for the rambling but there is so much misinformation out there i just wanted to get all the facts so I can draw my own conclusions and not the ones the media are trying to feed.

    1. Let me see if I can clear up your questions. Please understand that when published as a blog, I did not have page numbers, so if I am responding to the wrong thing, please let me know.

      The incident in 1998 which occurred on the Penn State campus resulted in the first grand jury investigation. It was at this time that other “rumors” of abuse connected to Sandusky were discovered, and those dated back to 1994.

      As far as interference from Penn State administration, refer to the section of the Freeh Report which addresses Detective Schreffler’s investigation of the 1998 incident. There is clear communication between Schreffler and his superiors about “interference from ‘Old Main’ (a reference to the PSU administration building).

      The cover-up was an on-going event. As I said, once they knew no criminal charges were going to be filed, the idea was to keep everybody quite. Spanier, Schultz, and Curley had to have known what a bullet they had just dodged.

      This leads to your question about what I called “potential hush money.” Please understand two things here 1) it is common in the retirement deals of contracted employees to include annuities or other financial perks and 2) giving Sandusky above and beyond what he deserved certainly seems fishy, don’t you think. Think of it this way…once PSU administration interfered with the 1998 investigation, and Spanier neglected to ensure the Board knew exactly what was happening, Spanier was dirty in this situation and now had a vested interest in keeping it quiet. Theoretically, once they trotted Sandusky in front of a psychologist, and no criminal charges were filed, Sandusky could have ratted on Spanier by claiming “they knew I was a sick man and they denied me the help I needed with their interference” (or some similar rot). Hence, Spanier and Sandusky needed a sort of a “you don’t tell and I won’t” deal.

      Spanier’s denial of knowledge of sexual abuse is contradicted by the emails quoted in the Freeh Report. Even as recently as Spanier’s July 23rd letter to the Penn State Board of Trustees, he acknowledges the existence of those emails but tries to deny that he knew of the content.

      There was not a grand jury investigation in 1998, but there was an official police investigation which began with teh University Police Department and ended up in the hands of the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare.

      Regardless of employment status, Sandusky was allowed to travel with the team to Texas for the 1999 Alamo Bowl.

      In the section about the retirement, I do state that the genesis of the retirement deal occurred before the 1998 incident, but the agreement complete with the emeritus status and the $168,000 payout weren’t finalized until 1999.

      1. Sorry about the page numbers had to print it out so I could take notes. A few more items for clarification. In your reply you state in paragraph 2 that there was a GJ in ’98 and in paragraph 7 you say no GJ – just to be clear there was NO GJ in 98, correct? If no GJ I’m not sure when the ’94 rumors started. This would decrease your point about having put them through the ringer with a ’98 GJ.

        Also regarding the hush money to keep it quiet, while I do feel that they certainly weren’t announcing it to everyone, how could the 3 of them keep it quiet when the university police knew, state poilce knew, DPW knew and the family of the kid knew. Any hush money would have to be paid to these people along with Sandusky.

        I didn’t get a chance to read the report last night but I think I recall Freeh saying that he could find no evidence that Old Man tampered with the ’98 investigation – will have to go back and check.

        Thanks for your help.

      2. The 1998 investigation was not a grand jury investigation; any reference to it being such is a mis-statement. However, this is a matter of semantics, since the police investigation as it grew into involving other state and county agencies meant PSU administrators were placed in a position of having to give information on a non-voluntary basis to law enforcement officials. The point is regardless of the source of the investigation, it was the investigation itself which essentially serves as the “kick-off” of this whole mess.

        I will admit the “hush money” angle is a bit of speculation, but it is one of the only explanations that ties all the pieces together. But as to your question about the other parties involved…once the decision was made not to file criminal charges, knowledge of this matter by the agencies involved became irrelevant. The family of the victim also became irrelevant in terms of “keeping things quiet” since they had contacted police, an investigation was conducted, and again, no charges were filed.

        As far as “interference from Old Main,” according to the Freeh Report, this was expressed as a concern by the investigating University Police detective (Schreffler), but it appears no such interference actually occurred.

  5. Here is a detailed analysis of some of the lies and distortions in the Freeh Report – more are on the way

    http://notpsu.blogspot.com/2012/07/joe-paterno-in-1998-freeh-farce.html

    This one tells you what’s important about the 1998 section of the Report

    http://notpsu.blogspot.com/2012/07/the-second-mile-involvement-suspicion.html

    This will show you how Freeh is the Liar – not Joe Paterno

    http://notpsu.blogspot.com/2012/07/who-is-liar-joe-paterno-or-louis-freeh.html

    The Freeh report is already being changed in important ways.

    http://www.thefreehreportonpsu.com/Louis-Freeh-Report-on-Penn-State-ERRATA-SHEET.pdf

    Perhaps you can tell us why this is wrong?

    http://notpsu.blogspot.com/2012/07/the-freeh-report-and-joe-paterno.html

    Louis Freeh will have lots of explaining to do about his hearsay, incredibly thin “evidence”, and his absurd conclusions and summary bearing almost no relation to the “facts” in evidence. The Freeh report is a complete farce

    1. To be fair, the Freeh Report is not a “complete farce.” As I stated in my report, I believe the Freeh Report makes a very damning case against PSU adminstration, particularly Spanier, Schultz, and Curley. It also completely omits or glazes over some crucial facts and/ roles of people not named (i.e. Dottie Sandusky and the NCAA). However, when it comes to Joe Paterno, the Freeh Report is amazingly light on evidence as compared to those it lumps Paterno in with.

  6. Here’s something else to consider. This list of points about Graham Spanier is a very nice rundown of the points laid out in both my report and the Freeh Report. It was complied by Keith Platt on SB Nation:

    a) Spanier has very, very lax attitudes toward sexual deviance, as chronicled by me [Keith Platt], on this site [Black Shoe Diaries, A Penn State blog on SB Nation]

    b) Spanier was on faculty at PSU during the late 1970s

    c) During the late 1970s, PSU employed three people (including JS) who would later be accused and/or convicted of child molestation against young boys

    d) Spanier returns to PSU in the 1990s

    e) The 1998 investigation happens, JS is inexplicably cleared

    f) After JS is cleared, Spanier goes way outside the bounds of precedent and (1) awards JS emeritus status, (2) gives him a $20,000 annuity and (3) allows him full access to the PSU campus

    g) In 2001, Spanier is notified that JS was touching kids in the shower again

    h) Spanier never reports this thing to the authorities

    i) Spanier never bans JS from campus

    j) Spanier never seeks to revoke JS’ emeritus status

    h) Between 2001-2011, Spanier continues to attend 2nd Mile functions with JS and allows JS to attend games IN THE PRESIDENT’S BOX at Beaver Stadium.

    This begs the question: Despite knowledge of at least 2 incidents where, at absolute best (we know now its not the case) JS was behaving inappropriately with children, Spanier not only tolerated JS’ presence on campus, with children, but openly encouraged it. My question is, simply, why?

    What exactly did JS have over Spanier that he got him emeritus status?

    Consider this as an answer to Platt’s question:

    Despite all the good things The Second Mile accomplished, it also was essentially a victim-finding service for Sandusky. Perhaps Sandusky wasn’t the only one who likes little boys?

  7. J-Dub,

    Thanks for the extensive review. Something that keeps nagging at me, but which I have no way of knowing, nor probably does anyone else, are the impact on the administrators of the potential for damage from false claims of abuse. Based on the Sandusky conviction (and barring an unlikely over turn on appeal) these are real but I can understand a certain amount of caution prior to the convictions.

    Some of these occurred after 1998 but the impact from these types of things could make folks cautious. I’m thinking the McMartin pre-school cases where it appears rogue prosecutors sent people to jail based on phony accusations of abuse; a case in Wenatchee, WA that was similar. Another was a case against a cop named Snowden in Florida. Dorothy Rabinowitz of the Wall Street Journal bird dogged these cases and got the truth out in the media. Then there’s the recent case of Bernie Fine from Syracuse where he was accused, crucified in the media and by the sports talk morons. It ended when the accusers said, “never mind, we made it up”. There’s also Duke Lacrosse, Tanya Brawley and who knows how many else.

    Knowing that false accusations can ruin someone, and the fact that the initial 1998 investigations went nowhere, I can understand some hesitancy to “go viral”. Now we all have the benefit of 20/20 hindsight making it fairly easy to say they should have done this or that.

    1. These are excellent points, and thank you for raising them. To be honest, there was a portion of the first draft of this report which made mention of the McMartin case as an explanation as to why there could have been reluctance to act. As you mention, that angle could have been a valid defense after the 1998 investigation which resulted in no charges.

      However (with the benefit of the hindsight you mentioned) it became clear after multiple and unrelated events that Sandusky was different than the noted hoaxes you’ve mentioned.

      Another difference comes from looking at this in “real time.” It is very plausible Sandusky would have been arrested in 1998 if it weren’t for the report from the state psychologist which essentially discredited any criminal case. There was far less evidence needed for arrests in the McMartin, Duke Lacrosse, and Brawley cases. Having said that, I would like to know why that report was never questioned and/or corroborated.

  8. If a lawyer is reading, would you answer this question?
    Could PSU Outside Counsel Courtney openly talk to the Freeh Group if his client, which is PSU, stated that they waive the client-attorney privilege?
    And could PSU make Courtney turn over work product he has on the subject – he billed PSU 2.9hrs for “re reporting of possible child sexual abuse” – Freeh Report, page 23

    1. I posted this question in the Dubsism Facebook page as I know there are some attorneys who are subscribers.

      http://www.facebook.com/Dubsism

  9. Thanks. I will look over there @ facebook. Dj

  10. Excellent review and analysis. There are three things which have bothered me from November on. First, when McQuery called Joe for a Sunday meeting Joe’s initial response was that “there was no job available”. A year later McQuery is on payroll. Was this hush money? If so then Joe was a major player in the cover-up. Secondly, how when Sandusky continued to show up at football events, could McQuery not confront someone about what was going on here. Additionally McQuery golfed in the 2nd Mile Golf Outing more than once after 2001. Makes no sense to me. Finally, and this alarmed me after reading your review. Joe “was a major force in the $352 million Campaign for Penn State and the $1.37 billion Grand Destiny campaign that concluded in 2003″. Was Joe more concerned about this than exposing JS. Sadly, I now think so. He knew about 1998 and 2001 yet allowed JS access to the Lasch Bldg. Don’t tell me he was handcuffed here. He should have pulled JS aside and read the riot act to him–i.e. disappear or I’ll blow the whistle.

    Thanks again for this fine coverage.

  11. [...] Jerry Sandusky case in detail. Back in July, after the release of the Freeh Report, we released an exhaustive review of that report. While there was much blame to go around, one of the key questions we asked at the time was why was [...]

  12. […] particular, I was especially critical of the Freeh Report for several reasons, but most notably that it attempted to place Joe Paterno in a similar position […]

  13. […] three years ago, my position on this story has been both clear and consistent. You can research the Dubsism archives to see it for yourself, but for purposes of this discussion, it can be summed up in a single […]

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