Custom Search

Monday, July 2, 2012

Paterno Conspired With Penn State To Cover Up Sandusky's Child Sex Abuse Crimes: E-mails Suggest Cover Up Conspiracy

video platform
video management
video solutions
video player

E-Mails Suggest Paterno Role in Silence on Sandusky

Joe Paterno appears to have played a greater role than previously known in Penn State’s handling of a 2001 report that Jerry Sandusky had sexually assaulted a boy in a university shower, according to a person with knowledge of aspects of an independent investigation of the Sandusky scandal.

E-mail correspondence among senior Penn State officials suggests that Paterno influenced the university’s decision not to formally report the accusation against Sandusky to the child welfare authorities, the person said.

The university’s failure to alert the police or child welfare authorities in 2001 has been an issue at the center of the explosive scandal — having led to criminal charges against two senior administrators and the firing of Paterno last fall.

The university’s much maligned handling of the 2001 assault began when Mike McQueary, a graduate assistant in Paterno’s football program, told Paterno that he had seen Sandusky assaulting a boy of about 10 in the football building showers. McQueary has testified several times that he made clear to Paterno, and later to university officials, that what he had seen Sandusky doing to the child was terrible and explicitly sexual in nature.

To date, the public understanding of Paterno’s subsequent actions has been that he relayed McQueary’s account to the university’s athletic director and then had no further involvement in the matter.

But the e-mails uncovered by investigators working for Louis J. Freeh, the former F.B.I. director leading an independent investigation ordered by the university’s board of trustees, suggest that the question of what to do about McQueary’s report was extensively debated by university officials. Those officials, the e-mails show, included the university’s president, Graham B. Spanier; the athletic director, Tim Curley; the official in charge of the campus police, Gary Schultz; and Paterno.

The existence of the e-mail correspondence was first reported by CNN. The person familiar with aspects of the Freeh investigation was not identified because the investigation is continuing and no one is authorized to speak about it.

The Penn State e-mails, according to the person with knowledge of the Freeh investigation, indicate that Spanier, Curley and Schultz seemed at one point to favor reporting the assault to the state child welfare authorities, recognizing that if they did not, they could later be vulnerable to charges that they had failed to act.

But in one e-mail, Curley wrote that after talking to Paterno, he no longer wanted to go forward with that plan.

In the end, the university told no one other than officials with Second Mile, the charity for disadvantaged youngsters founded by Sandusky.

The e-mails suggest that the officials decided that Sandusky could be dealt with by barring him from taking children onto the campus and encouraging him to seek professional help.

Not reporting the accusation to the authorities, the men determined, was the more “humane” way to deal with Sandusky, according to the e-mails.

Curley and Schultz were indicted last fall on charges of failing to report the assault to the police and child welfare authorities, and then lying about their conduct under oath before a grand jury. Curley and Schultz, through their lawyers, have insisted that they were never told of the graphic nature of the assault in the showers, saying they were under the impression that it had amounted to little more than “horsing around.”

Lawyers for Curley and Schultz, contacted about the e-mails, issued a statement saying in part: “For Curley, Schultz, Spanier and Paterno, the responsible and ‘humane’ thing to do” in 2001 “was to carefully and responsibly assess the best way to handle vague but troubling allegations. Faced with tough situations, good people try to do their best to make the right decisions.”

Spanier, who resigned as Penn State’s president in November, declined to comment when reached by phone on Saturday.

Paterno died of lung cancer in January. When reached by phone Saturday, his son Jay Paterno deferred comment to the family’s spokesman, Dan McGinn.

McGinn said there was no evidence that Joe Paterno interfered with any investigation and that the e-mails could be interpreted in various ways. “If Joe Paterno wanted to interfere, why did he report the incident immediately” to university officials? McGinn said, adding that he was disturbed by what he called the “selective leaking” of the e-mails. “You are only seeing a piece of the puzzle,” he said.

Wick Sollers, a lawyer for the Paterno family, said in a statement: “To be clear, the e-mails in question did not originate with Joe Paterno or go to him, as he never personally utilized e-mail.

“From the beginning, Joe Paterno warned against a rush to judgment in this case. Coach Paterno testified truthfully, to the best of his recollection, in the one brief appearance he made before the grand jury. As he testified, when informed of an incident involving Jerry Sandusky in 2001, Coach Paterno followed university procedures and promptly and fully informed his superiors. He believed the matter would be thoroughly and professionally investigated.”

The e-mails have been turned over to the state attorney general’s office. That office, which began its investigation of Sandusky years ago, successfully prosecuted him. He was convicted June 22 by a jury in Bellefonte, Pa., of 45 counts of sexually abusing boys, including rape and sodomy. Sandusky was convicted of several counts involving the child attacked in the football building showers in 2001.

If accurate, the recently uncovered e-mail correspondence could further damage Paterno’s reputation and legacy. When he was fired, the university’s board of trustees said that his failure to act more aggressively after learning of the attack amounted to a failure of leadership. But if Paterno played a role in the decision not to report the attack to the child welfare authorities, his failure of leadership would seem more grave.

When they testified before the grand jury, none of the four men — Spanier, Curley, Schultz and Paterno — detailed internal discussions about what to do with Sandusky. Certainly, none of the men spoke of any involvement by Paterno beyond his initial report to Curley.

Freeh’s investigation, begun last fall, is expected to be the most thorough examination of the university’s dealings with Sandusky, including the question of whether there was a cover-up involving the 2001 accusations.

To that end, Freeh’s investigation has identified previously undisclosed billing records showing that officials of the university, when deciding what to do in 2001, consulted with the law firm that served as its outside counsel on their legal obligation to report the assault, the person familiar with the inquiry said. It is unclear from the billing records whether the officials disclosed the nature of the accusations against Sandusky or simply made a general inquiry. Several hours were billed, beginning on a Sunday night, the person said. The lawyer who represented the university at the time did not return a phone call requesting comment.

Freeh’s investigators are also exploring the circumstances surrounding Paterno’s decision to eventually hire McQueary as an assistant, the person familiar with the investigation said. McQueary, a former quarterback for Paterno at Penn State, has testified under oath that when he first contacted Paterno to inform him of what he had seen in the showers, Paterno assumed he was calling to ask for a job, and that Paterno brusquely told him he would not be hired.

McQueary was ultimately hired over another, more experienced candidate, and investigators are curious about whether that development came as a consequence of what he told Paterno that morning in 2001.

It is not clear when Freeh’s investigation is expected to be made public.

Emails show Paterno legacy, Penn State officials should face reckoning

Joe Paterno's statue has to come down. That's clear today, now that CNN has released emails that bury Paterno and his Penn State cronies with their own dirty words.

Paterno's statue outside Beaver Stadium has to come down, because otherwise Penn State would be celebrating a man who helped talk school officials into leaving Jerry Sandusky alone in 2001, letting an alleged pedophile escape detection for another decade, giving that alleged pedophile -- and it's not "alleged" anymore -- unfettered access to campus for another decade.

After the statue comes down, then what? Well, then his statue would be disposed of, possibly melted down into prison bars -- maybe the bars that will hold Sandusky. Or maybe someone could just toss Paterno's statue into a landfill, throw it away as easily as Paterno and his underlings threw away the lives of so many boys in their community.

But that's not the only thing on my wish list after reading the poisonous details of the CNN story. After someone disposes of Paterno's statue, and I mean in the next few days, prosecutors need to pursue jail time for former Penn State athletic director Tim Curley and vice president Gary Schultz, who face perjury charges stemming from a 2001 grand jury appearance where they denied knowing about Sandusky's behavior.

That looks to be an outright lie. The CNN story seems to prove that, and not with words from prosecutors or police or unnamed sources. CNN has words it says came from Tim Curley and former Penn State president Graham Spanier.

As for Spanier, well, prison doesn't look possible for him. He hasn't been charged with perjury, and I'm not sure the immoral negligence and the despicable cowardice he showed a decade ago are crimes. So if Spanier can't spend time in prison, fine.

He can pay another way.

The civil suits are coming, and they probably will name Spanier along with Curley, Schultz, Paterno's estate and of course Penn State itself. Everyone should pay, but the first check must be written by Graham Spanier. It needs to have a one, followed by a lot of zeroes before he even thinks about writing the decimal. A million dollars? That's a start, but how much does he have? Sell his house. Raid his 401(k). Take the damn dentures out of his mouth and hawk them on eBay.

If that affects the next generation of Spaniers, denying them of the inheritance that would have been theirs, so be it.

Think of what Graham Spanier helped to deny the next generation of State College young men, 10 or more who were abused by Sandusky. Officially the count is 10, but few believe that's where the actual number lies. When it comes to serial offenders like Sandusky, the actual number is never as small as the one that comes out in court. For starters, that poor little boy in the shower in 2001? The kid that former Penn State assistant Mike McQueary said he saw being raped by Sandusky? That kid wasn't one of the 10 reported victims in the case that ended last week with Sandusky's conviction. Prosecutors never found that kid.

Penn State officials never even looked for him, even though they knew he existed in 2001.

They were too busy protecting themselves.

That CNN story is bad, people. It's so bad, I'm writing about this scandal again, for the third time in a week, and I didn't want to do it. I don't want to write it, you don't want to read it, most of us just want to do what those 10 victims and their families will never be able to do -- move on.

But how can we move on? Did you see what Paterno and his cronies did? Did you see what some of them wrote?

CNN found emails between Curley, Spanier and Schultz -- weeks after McQueary reported seeing that rape in 2001 -- that showed the Penn State officials deciding to do the right thing: They would confront Sandusky, they would speak with the folks at his Second Mile grooming grounds, and most importantly they would report the incident to the Department of Welfare.

If there was anything to stop in March 2001, by God, that would have stopped it.

But then they changed their mind. Why?

Because Joe Paterno got involved.

CNN found an email from Curley that said: "After giving it more thought and talking it over with Joe [Paterno] yesterday, I am uncomfortable with what we agreed were the next steps. I am having trouble with going to everyone, but the person involved."

In other words, Curley still wanted to confront Sandusky, Paterno's longtime defensive coordinator. But call Second Mile to warn them Sandusky was using the charity to groom potential victims? Call child welfare officials to tell them of the predator in their midst?

Curley didn't want to do that. Not after "talking it over with Joe."

And Spanier, gutless cretin that he is, signed off on the new plan.

"I am supportive," Spanier wrote in an email obtained by CNN. "The only downside for us if the message isn't heard and acted upon, and then we become vulnerable for not having reported it."

Read that again.

The only downside for us if the message isn't heard and acted upon is that we become vulnerable for not having reported it.

Never mind the downside of another boy -- or 10 more boys -- being molested by a pedophile. That wasn't the downside that scared Spanier. What scared Spanier? That Penn State, and Penn State officials, would be "vulnerable."

This isn't Penn State now, but that was Penn State then. And that was so bad, it hurts. Do you have bile in the back of your throat as you read this? I do, as I write it. Men should go to jail for what happened in 2001, and not only Sandusky. Curley and Schultz do not deserve their freedom. Spanier does not deserve whatever happiness his money can buy.

Joe Paterno does not deserve a statue. Or his reputation as a good man.

The mask has been almost fully lifted, and I say "almost" because who knows? Maybe it gets worse.

Maybe it's bad enough. Maybe enough's enough. Time for the gloves to come all the way off. Time for the men in charge of Penn State -- living and dead -- to face their day of reckoning for the monster they let roam free in 2001.

View Larger Map

Sources: ABC News, CBS Sport, NY Times, Youtube, Google Maps

No comments: