More on the Penn State Scandal

Since Sunday's initial post on The Pennsylvania State University child sex scandal,  I have lots more to say--finding the time to research a post properly has been the issue on this fluid story.

Note: For more background on the case, you can go here.

As such, I am using Saturday, my usual blogging-day-off, for a follow-up.

First, I wanted to recognize JJ from Phila as he was the first person (that I am aware of including local and national media) to post the connection between former Penn State football assistant coach Jerry Sandusky's arrest and the unsolved missing persons case of former District Attorney Ray Gricar.

Despite blogging being his unpaid side-job, JJ continues to provide fresh insights to Gricar's strange disappearance.

Second and in general with Penn State, when the allegations initally surfaced that involved football coaches, the athletic director (Tim Curley), a vice president (Gary Schultz), and the university's president (Graham Spanier), all of these folks should have immediately been placed on administrative leave (the VP retired and the athletic director were).

With these persons on leave, university executives could have then started to manage the crisis.  Instead, the institution's leadership, through the board of directors, was not seen as doing anything until voting to dismiss President Graham Spanier and legendary Head Coach Joe Paterno on Wednesday night.

Rather than speculating as to what Joe Paterno knew or did not know, I selected several quotes/summaries of testimony by the folks involved in this situation to examine:

1) The President (now former)

"...With regard to the other presentments, I wish to say that Tim Curley and Gary Schultz have my unconditional support. I have known and worked daily with Tim and Gary for more than 16 years. I have complete confidence in how they have handled the allegations about a former University employee.

Tim Curley and Gary Schultz operate at the highest levels of honesty, integrity and compassion. I am confident the record will show that these charges are groundless and that they conducted themselves professionally and appropriately."


--An excerpt from Graham Spanier's initial statement

I think this statement will be used by journalism classes in the future as an example of "What Not to Say."

Dr. Spanier failed to grasp that by saying the charges are "groundless," he implies that those who testified to the grand jury are lying; including the young victims of the alleged abuse.

This is not the type of message the leader of a nationally respected institution should be providing on a case that centers around child sexual assaults.

Since these two administrators were charged criminally, the statement should have been limited to "this is a serious matter" and "cooperating fully with authorities" and "this university is initiating it's own inquiry."

2) The Head Coach (now former)

"If this is true we were all fooled, along with scores of professionals trained in such things, and we grieve for the victims and their families. They are in our prayers."

-- Coach Joe Paterno

Coach Paterno could be referring to "scores of professionals" involved with Sandusky at The Second Mile foundation.

But, what if he is saying that Sandusky had received professional counseling previously for what was characterized by others as multiple inappropriate behaviors around children?

3) The Graduate Assistant

No direct quote, but in sum from the Grand Jury's Report--then 28-year old graduate assistant Michael McQueary (now a full-time coach on the team) testified that he saw Jerry Sandusky molesting what appeared to be a ten-year old boy in the shower at a Penn State football facility. He fled the shower area, called his father, and then reported the incident to the head coach the following day.

Much has been said regarding what McQueary should have done rather than leaving. Instead of belittling his reaction, I'd encourage others to try to make a positive from his story in that they could prepare themselves mentally for that one moment in their lives when they need to take immediate action to save a life/stop violence--so that they shine.

Anyway, I would rather ask a question of Coach McQueary that I have not heard discussed:

After witnessing a graphic sexual attack in a facility shower, telling the person in charge, repeating the story to his bosses, and then watching nothing happen to the perpetrator, why would you want to continue to work for that employer?

This incident was allegedly observed in 2002, yet Coach McQueary is still employed by Penn State almost a decade later.

You evidently accepted that it was ok for the perpetrator, again a man that you saw victimizing a child, to continue using the team's facilities, have an office in the athletic buildings, and according to the Altoona Mirror's Cory Giger, bring young boys to Penn State football events as late as 2007.

When he is permitted to discuss the incident, I hope that someone asks Coach McQueary why on earth he would remain at a university that, based on his own awful encounter, failed so miserably at protecting the innocent.

4) The Athletic Director

Again summarizing a part of the grand jury report, resulting from the 2002 incident, athletic director Tim Curley stated that Sandusky had been prohibited from bringing children onto campus--but later admitted that the ban was unenforceable.

Attorney and sports guy Jay Bilas nailed this one.

He said that the university's so-called punitive action, in general, translates into we are not interested in what you are doing Mr. Sandusky, just don't do it in our facilities.

He also said (as the Penn State officials acknowledge) that, at the least, administrators knew an older man was showering in the football facility with what looked to be a ten-year old boy. How much more information do you need to take action?

So, Sandusky moved his football camps to another satellite PSU campus (where officials were unaware of the allegations), and he allegedly continued targeting children. For several years.

--------------------

This is a sad story that touches the lives of so many.

I don't see how the non-profit involved in the scandal, The Second Mile, can survive--despite many years of good work.  I'd expect the agency to dissolve and try to reorganize under a new name.

Meanwhile, authorities are still searching for the identity of the alleged ten-year old victim from the 2002 shower scene; since Penn State officials failed to investigate or have others investigate as to who that young man was.

Dark days in Happy Valley indeed.

22 comments:

Expat From Hell said...

Pleased to see that you are attacking this one, SD. I, for one, am really perplexed as to how this could go on for as long as it did. Feeling better now that you're on the case. Looking forward to following your good nose here. EFH

Sorta Southern Single Mom said...

This whole thing makes me physically ill. I especially appreciate your points about MCQueary. As a mandated reporter, I'm trained to go up the proper command. My legal requirement is to report it to my boss and let them handle it, but what would happen if I didn't think they handled it correctly? Could I live with myself? I also understand the quandary of being new to a job and being afraid you might lose it if you go above the heads of those you report to...it's a really hard thing, but knowing what he saw, I'd like to think in his shoes I would have done more and fast started looking for a new job!

Pat Hatt said...

I guess as long as you win football games your can get away with pretty much anything, disgusting.

I can see McQueary not doing anything because if he kicked up a fuss and they made it seem like he was just a nut or something, he'd never get hired anywhere. But yeah definitely should have at least quit. Really should have tried to do more, but I guess he did not want to screw up the status quo.

Bob G. said...

SLamdunk:
Good to see you "on the case" here, as it were.
You always provide good insight as stories like this develop.
And you make us ALL think...nothing wrong with that.
THAT is how we LEARN...AND get answers.

Keep us updated.
(and a thanks to JJ for his doggedness here, too)

Stay safe out there.

Anonymous said...

Curious that Gricar cell phone was turned OFF when his car was found.

Did he turn it off so the cell phone towers would be unable to ping his exact location ?

why would he want to hide his location ?

was he possibly meeting someone ` important` ( in light of the unfolding Penn State scandal ) and didn`t want any evidence of this location to show up on cell phone record ?

Interesting that he also googled map quest to a place he already knew how to get to...Lewisburg, prior to his disappearance.

Was he looking for a small, out-of-he way place where he was supposed to meet someone near Lewisberg ?

Michael Offutt said...

As an out gay man, I feel very protective of boys and this kind of thing really angers me. Boys need to be nurtured in a caring environment so that they can become decent men. This animal that Penn State allowed to destroy innocent boys who wanted nothing more than athletic excellence deserves to be beaten to death.

Little Ms. Fun said...

As a college student, I received an e-mail from school last week. The e-mail was encouraging any student or faculty member to step forward and report any unethical behavior that they are aware of. The e-mail reminded us that to withhold the information is a crime. I guess everyone is taking preventative measures.

Anonymous said...

DESPICABLE

Coaches as predators has long been a problem. They are like mini rock stars. I have seen it personally happen to girls on a soccer team and am not surprised, but very saddened to hear it also effects young boys.

It's a terrible thing. I have seen victims years later when the damage is fully realized come forward and sued schools and their insurance companies because the school knew about it and did nothing.

Be aware and alert at all times what and who is with your child. Be diligent and pray for discernment and always protect the children.

I once had a man tell me he had never me a criminal. I told him they are everywhere, in our neighborhoods, churches, schools and sometimes in our own homes.

I hope it is fully prosecuted to the fullest both criminally and civilly.

Coaches who Prey

ooglebloops said...

Good point in #3
Sports and sports "heroes" are put on such a high pedestal and should not be. Sadly, this is why these things happen. I almost feel like Paterno is the scapegoat in this - when there are way more people who dropped the ball (no pun intended)after Paterno reported this. Altho, he and #3 should have pursued it further, when they saw nothing was done.

A Doc 2 Be said...

Articulating the meanderings in my mind related to this debacle at Penn State has left my mind blurry, my stomach churning, and my heart very sad.

So many people will not do the right thing because generally speaking, doing the right thing means more harm to oneself in the initial period, and only some modicum of relief some time later.

In a society of instant gratification, that waiting for the right thing to show itself properly, does not play well.

I know, as you know, when I reported to my then boss, the CFO, that he was committing financial fraud with the financial statements by continuing to file them as is with the SEC, my life turned to crap. Serious crap.

Now, no children were involved, no one was physically hurt, but emotionally, mentally, I was very hurt. As was my son, my parents.

I knew going into that meeting what the likelihood was. I knew going in that my life could turn to sewage.

The CFO is still employed, was employed to the day the company was sold; was picked up by a new company with similar financial issues.

Not many people want to walk in the shoes of the damned (the one who does the right thing, for that is what we turn into - damned). Not many people want to risk their own lives...

That said, for a child; for a purposeful crime; for a sickening, offensive, disgusting act - more should have been done. I loved Paterno, I'm saddened that he did not follow up. I'm sickened the athletic director pooh-poohed it aside.

It is scary to do the right thing but in a society that craves instant gratification in every other aspect of their lives, I'm not surprised.

Just very, very sad... for all the kids.

AB HOME Interiors said...

I'm not sure how to react to this one. On one hand I am am disgusted. On the other well there is remorse. So hard to make a discussion when the media wants me to sway one way.... So glad to see YOU talking about it!

JJ.in.Phila said...

[Disclosure:

I went to Penn State, though I am not a football fan. I don't hate the program or anything, but I don't follow football, and didn't even if I was there.]

Over the last week, I have been the most depressed that I have been since I probated my father's will.

The charges tell me of horrible acts. I am outraged.

The idea that the institution, or the leaders of it, effectively became an incitement sicken me.

The idea that the case I write about is suddenly at the center of this has left me stunned and confused.

I had heard about some involvement but I NEVER expected that RFG would not prosecute a case as strong as this. There are reasons, perhaps some semi good reasons, but it is still shocking.

Anonymous said...

Statement Analysis blog - Thoughts On Penn State by Peter Hyatt

Audrey Allure said...

Great insight. I always enjoy reading your thoughts about various points.

Anonymous said...

Where you aware that Gricar also refused to prosecute another high profile sex abuse case involving Penn State in Dec. 2004 ?

A member of the Penn State football team was accused of sexual assault occurring on Campus.
Gricar refused to press charges.

Charges were later brought against the player in 2006 by Gricar`s successor, DA Madeira, but the player plea-bargained to a lesser charge.

This player in now playing for the Cleveland Browns.

Seems to set a pattern that Gricar would not ( or was pressured not to )press charges involving Penn State.

Wonder why ?

secret agent woman said...

It's a horrifying story. Did you see Jon Stewart's take on it?
http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-november-10-2011/penn-state-riots

carma said...

the Gricar connection is very odd. do you think someone did him in due to his knowledge about Sandusky? this case has more twists and turns..

JJ.in.Phila said...

Anonymous, in that case, the judge dismissed the charge because the woman initially said it was consensual. She possibly had given a written statement to that effect.

WomanHonorThyself said...

what a horror Slam..our society is so so decadent this is not shocking though it should be~!..Bless u for exposing the truth ...Hope u had a nice weekend~!:)

Maxi said...

To keep working at an institute that did nothing to protect the young and innocent…

I dunno.

Lisa said...

When I first heard this, I was shocked that anyone could witness something like this and not intervene immediately...grad assistant or not. There is a deeper morality issue here. Report it...yes. Follow up...yes. But for the love of everything decent, step in and immediately stop what was going on!

Anonymous said...

Interesting over 700 comments DA who didn't charge Sandusky missing since 2005
Searchers found car, laptop (without hard drive) but never his body