Re: Federal Agent: No Sex Scandal At Penn State, Just A "Political Hit Job
How could so many lie ?
The story of the fake accuser
The vetting process at Penn State had so few safeguards that in 2014, XXXXX, a 31-year-old former Second Miler who was loyal to Sandusky and didn’t believe any of the alleged victims were telling the truth, purposely made up a ridiculous story--he’d allegedly been raped by Sandusky behind Joe Paterno’s house--and decided to see how far he could get with it. Here’s what happened next: XXXXX was taken in as a client by Andrew Shubin, the leading plaintiff’s lawyer in the Penn State sex abuse scandal who represented nine other alleged victims. Shubin radically altered XXXXX's original story to make it more compatible with a possible Penn State settlement. Then, Shubin referred XXXXXX to a therapist who sent him to a psychotherapist, who certified XXXXXX as having Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Finally, after more than three years of legal counsel and about 100 paid therapy sessions, XXXXX, in preparation of telling his story to Newsweek, tried to bring his "sting" to a close. At their final meeting, Shubin informed XXXX that he couldn’t pursue his claim because it was past the statute of limitations, which the state legislature repeatedly decided not to change. So the lawyer put XXXXX in touch, in writing, with the state attorney general’s office, where XXXXX could file a possible criminal complaint against Sandusky. Which, if successful, might have cleared the way for XXXXX to get paid in a civil claim. XXXXX was indeed contacted by a member of the Attorney General's office wanting to hear his story. But rather than go any further with the charade, XXXXX decided to out himself in Newsweek. He never intended to get paid, he said, he just wanted to prove a point. As XXXXX put it, “Hopefully, people will start to realize that this whole case stinks.”
Re: Federal Agent: No Sex Scandal At Penn State, Just A "Political Hit Job
One day, that statue will be back up on campus where it belongs, Joe's reputation restored , and the HBO 'documentary " laughed at
And there is a special place in hell for pos like Freeh
According to the executive summary, "Louis Freeh and his team disregarded the preponderance of the evidence" in concluding there was a cover up at Penn State of Jerry Sandusky's crimes
[FONT="]"Louis Freeh and his team knowingly provided a false conclusion in stating that the alleged [FONT="]cover up[/FONT][FONT="] was motivated by a desire to protect the football program and a false culture that overvalued football and athletics," the executive summary states[/FONT].[/FONT] coordination between Freeh and the NCAA during the Penn State investigation was at best inappropriate and at worst "two parties working together to get a predetermined outcome."
A confidential internal review of the Louis Freeh Report on the Penn State sex abuse scandal, conducted behind closed doors for two years by the university's own trustees, found factual mistakes, "deeply flawed" methodology, as well as an alleged conflict of interest on Freeh's part, along with faulty stated opinions that Freeh's own staffers disagreed with, in writing.
It was the Freeh Report that the NCAA relied upon in 2012 to impose draconian sanctions on Penn State, including a $60 million fine, a bowl game ban that lasted two years, the loss of 170 athletic scholarships and the elimination of 111 of Joe Paterno's wins, although the wins were subsequently restored.
On Friday, a group of 11 trustees called on the full 38-member board to release the full 200-page critique of the 267-page Freeh Report, formally renounce Freeh's findings, and try to recoup some of the $8.3 million that the university paid Freeh.
"I want to put the document in your hands so you can read it yourself, but I can't do that today," said Alice Pope, a trustee and St. John's University professor who helped conduct the internal review of the Freeh report. But the materials that Pope and six other trustees had to sue the university to obtain are still under seal according to a 2015 court order. And the university's lawyers have recently advised the 11 minority trustees that the report they worked on for two years remains privileged and confidential.
So yesterday, Pope called on the full board to release the 200-page report as early as their next meeting, on July 20th. But chances are slim and none that the board's chairman, Mark Dambly, and other majority board members will ever willingly open Pandora's box and reveal to the public the facts they've spent at least hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees to bury for the past six years. Facts will present further evidence of just how badly the trustees, Louie Freeh, and the attorney general botched the Penn State investigation.
The full board of trustees, Pope said yesterday, never voted to formally adopt the findings of the Freeh Report, which found that Penn State officials had covered up the sex crimes of Jerry Sandusky.
"Rather, the board adopted a don't act, don't look and don't tell policy" Pope said that amounted to a "tacit acceptance of the Freeh Report." A report that Pope said has resulted in "profound reputational harm to our university along with $300 million in costs so far."
In addition to the $60 million in fines, the university's board of trustees has -- while doing little or no investigating -- paid out a minimum of $118 million to 36 alleged victims of sex abuse, in addition to spending more than $80 million in legal fees, and $50 million to institute new reforms aimed at preventing future abuse.
That internal 200-page report and the materials it draws upon may still be privileged and confidential, But Big Trial has obtained a seven-page "Executive Summary of Findings" of that review dated Jan. 8, 2017, plus an attached 25-page synopsis from that same date that highlights the evidence discovered by the minority trustees in their review of those confidential documents still under court seal.
According to the executive summary, "Louis Freeh and his team disregarded the preponderance of the evidence" in concluding there was a cover up at Penn State of Jerry Sandusky's crimes.
"Louis Freeh and his team knowingly provided a false conclusion in stating that the alleged coverup was motivated by a desire to protect the football program and a false culture that overvalued football and athletics," the executive summary states.
According to the executive summary, the trustees faulted Freeh and his investigators for their "willingness . . . to be led by media narratives," as well as "an over reliance on unreliable sources," such as former Penn State Counsel Cynthia Baldwin. Freeh, the executive summary states, also relied on "deeply flawed" procedures for interviewing witnesses. The interviews conducted by Freeh's investigators weren't done under oath, or subpoenas, and weren't tape-recorded, the executive summary wrote, providing for "biased reporting of interviews data" and "inaccurate summaries" of witness testimony.
At yesterday's press conference, Pope said the 11 trustees wanted to know the degree of cooperation Freeh's team had with the NCAA and the state attorney general's office during their investigations. According to statecollege.com, State Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman has previously stated that the coordination between Freeh and the NCAA during the Penn State investigation was at best inappropriate and at worst "two parties working together to get a predetermined outcome."
In the executive summary, the trustees cited "interference in Louis Freeh's investigation by the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, wherein information gathered in the criminal investigations of Penn State officials was improperly (and perhaps illegally) shared with Louis Freeh and his team."
This is a subject Big Trial will explore in a subsequent blog post. But earlier this year, I wrote to Louis Freeh, and asked if he and his team had authorization to access grand jury secrets. He declined comment.
Yesterday, Freeh issued a statement that ripped the minority trustees. "Since 2015 . . . these misguided alumni have been fighting a rear-guard action to turn the clock backs and to resist the positive changes which the PSU students and faculty have full embraced," Freeh wrote. He concluded that despite criticism of his report by the minority trustees, to date, they have produced "no report, no facts, news and no credible evidence" against his work.
But in the executive summary, the trustees blasted Freeh for having an alleged conflict of interest with the NCAA, and they cited some credible evidence to prove it.
"Louis Freeh's conflict of interest in pursuing future investigative assignments with the NCAA during his contracted period of working for Penn State," the executive summary states, "provided motivation for forming conclusions consistent with the NCAA's goals to enhance their own reputation by being tough on Penn State."
In a criminal manner, such as the Jerry Sandusky pedophilia investigation, the NCAA had no legal standing. But the NCAA justified its intervention in the case by finding that a lack of institutional control on Penn State's part opened the door to the Jerry Sandusky sex scandal.
In their synopsis of evidence, the trustees relied on internal Freeh Group emails that showed that while Freeh was finishing up his investigation of Penn State, he was angling for his group to become the "go to investigators" for the NCAA.
On July 7, 2012, a week before the release of the Freeh Report on Penn State, Omar McNeill, a senior investigator for Freeh, wrote to Freeh and a partner of Freeh's. "This has opened up an opportunity to have the dialogue with [NCAA President Mark] Emmert about possibly being the go to internal investigator for the NCAA," McNeill wrote. "It appears we have Emmert's attention now."
In response, Freeh wrote back, "Let's try to meet with him and make a deal -- a very good cost contract to be the NCAA's 'go to investigators' -- we can even craft a big discounted rate given the unique importance of such a client. Most likely he will agree to a meeting -- if he does not ask for one first."
A spokesman for Freeh could not immediately be reached for comment.
At yesterday's press conference, Pope also raised the issue of a separate but concurrent federal investigation conducted on the Penn State campus in 2012 by Special Agent John Snedden, made public last year, that reached the opposite conclusion that Freeh and the attorney general did, that there was no official cover up at Penn State.
Pope stated she wanted to know more about the discrepancies between the parallel investigations that reached such opposite conclusions.
Back in 2012, Snedden, a former NCIS special agent working as a special agent for the Federal Investigative Services [FIS], was assigned to determine whether Spanier deserved to have a high-level national security clearance renewed. During his investigation, Snedden placed Spanier under oath and questioned him for eight hours, as well as interviewed many other witnesses on the Penn State campus, including Cynthia Baldwin, who told him that Spanier was a "man of integrity."
About seven months after Baldwin told Spanier this, she flipped, and appeared in a secret grand jury proceeding to not only testify against Spanier, but also former Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley, and former Penn State Vice President Gary Schultz.
Spanier, who previously represented Spanier, Curley and Schultz before the grand jury, testified before last month the disciplinary board of the state Supreme Court, which has accused her of violating the attorney-client privilege.
After his investigation, Special Agent Snedden concluded in a 110-page report that Spanier had done nothing wrong, and that there was no coverup at Penn State.
That's because, according to Snedden, Mike McQueary, the alleged whistleblower in the case, was an unreliable witness who told many different conflicting stories about an alleged incident in the Penn State showers where McQueary saw Jerry Sandusky with a naked 10-year-old boy. "Which story do you believe?" Snedden asked.
In his grand jury testimony, McQueary said his observations of Sandusky were based on one or two "glances" in the shower of an incident at least eight years earlier that each only lasted "one or two seconds." But in the hands of the attorney general's fiction writers, the incident became an anal rape conclusively witnessed by McQueary.
On March 1, 2002, according to the 2011 grand jury presentment, [McQueary] walked into the locker room in the Lasch Building at State College and heard “rhythmic, slapping sounds.” Glancing into a mirror, he “looked into the shower . . . [and] saw a naked boy, Victim No. 2, whose age he estimated to be 10 years old, with his hands up against the wall, being subjected to anal intercourse by a naked Jerry Sandusky.”
"The graduate assistant went to his office and called his father, reporting to him what he had seen. The graduate assistant and his father decided that the graduate assistant had to promptly report what he had seen to Coach Joe Paterno . . . The next morning, a Saturday, the graduate assistant telephoned Paterno and went to Paterno's home, where he reported what he had seen."
But the alleged victim never came forward, and, according to the prosecutors, was known "only to God." Days after the presentment, McQueary wrote in an email to the attorney general's office that they had "slightly twisted his words" and "I cannot say 1000 percent sure that it was sodomy. I did not see insertion."
On top of that, all the witnesses the grand jury presentment claimed that McQueary reported to them "what he had seen," plus another witness cited McQueary, a doctor who's a family friend, have all repeatedly denied McQueary told them that when hey testified in court.
"I've never had a rape case successfully prosecuted based only on sounds, and without credible victims and witnesses," Snedden told Big Trial last year. He also described the Freeh Report as "an embarrassment to law enforcement."
At the same time Snedden was investigating Penn State, former FBI Director Louis Freeh was writing his report on the scandal, a report commissioned by the university, at a cost of $8.3 million.
Freeh concluded there had been a cover up. His report also found a “striking lack of empathy for child abuse victims by the most senior leaders of the university,” which included Spanier, who had repeatedly been severely beaten by his father as a child. Freeh found that Spanier, Paterno, along with Schultz, the former Penn State vice president and Curley, the school’s ex-athletic director “repeatedly concealed critical facts relating to Sandusky’s child abuse from the authorities....”
But critics such as the minority trustees have noted that the ex-FBI director reached his conclusions without his investigators ever talking to Paterno, Schultz, Curley, McQueary or Sandusky. Freeh only talked to Spanier briefly, at the end of his investigation. And confidential records viewed by the trustees show that Freeh’s own people disagreed with his conclusions.
According to those records, Freeh's own staff reviewed a May 21, 2012 draft of the Freeh Report, which was subsequently turned over to Penn State officials. The lead paragraph of the draft said, “At the time of the alleged sexual assaults by Jerry Sandusky, there was a culture and environment in the Penn State Athletic Department that led staff members to fail to identify or act on observed inappropriate conduct by Sandusky.”
The draft report talked about an environment of fear that affected even a janitor who supposedly saw Sandusky assaulting a boy in the showers in 2000: “There existed an environment within the athletic department that led an employee to determine that the perceived threat of losing his job outweighed the necessity of reporting the violent crime of a child.”
Over that paragraph in the draft report, a handwritten note said, “NO EVIDENCE AT ALL!” Freeh, however, in his final version, included that charge about the janitor who allegedly saw Sandusky assault another boy in the showers but was so fearful he didn’t report it.
But when the state police interviewed that janitor, Jim Calhoun, he stated three times that it wasn’t Sandusky he had seen sexually abusing a boy. (The state police didn’t ask Calhoun who was the alleged assailant.) At Sandusky’s trial, however, the jury convicted the ex-coach of that crime, in part because his defense lawyer never told the jury about the janitor’s interview with the state police.
In a written statement, Freeh confirmed that the person who wrote “NO EVIDENCE AT ALL!” was one of his guys.
"Throughout the review at the Pennsylvania State University, members of the Freeh team were encouraged to speak freely and to challenge any factual assertions that they believed are not supported," Freeh wrote on Jan. 10, 2018.
"Indeed the factual assertions of the report were tested and vetted over a period of many months and, as new evidence was uncovered, some of the factual assertions and conclusions evolved," he wrote. "Our staff debated, refined and reformed our views even in the final hours before the report's release."
In another handwritten note on the draft of the report, somebody wrote that there was "no evidence" to support Freeh's contention that a flawed football culture was to blame for the Sandusky sex scandal.
"Freeh knew the evidence did not support this," the executive summary says. But in his final report, Freeh wrote about "A culture of reverence for the football program that is ingrained at all levels of the campus community."
While Freeh concluded there was a coverup at Penn State, his investigators weren’t so sure, according to records cited by the trustees in their executive summary. On March 7, 2012, in a conference call, Kathleen McChesney, a former FBI agent who was one of Freeh’s senior investigators, noted that they had found “no smoking gun to indicate [a] cover-up.”
In a written statement to this reporter, Freeh claimed that shortly after McChesney made that observation, his investigators found “the critical ‘smoking gun’ evidence” in a 2001 “email trove among Schultz, Curley and Spanier.”
In that email chain, conducted over Penn State’s own computer system, the administrators discussed confronting Sandusky about his habit of showering with children at Penn State facilities, and telling him to stop, rather than report him to officials at The Second Mile, as well as the state Department of Public Welfare.
In the email chain, Curley described the strategy as a “more humane approach” that included an offer to provide Sandusky with counseling. Spanier agreed, but wrote, “The only downside for us if the message isn’t ‘heard’ and acted upon [by Sandusky] and we then become vulnerable for not having reported it.”
Curley subsequently told Sandusky to stop bringing children into Penn State facilities, and informed officials at The Second Mile about the 2001 shower incident. But Penn State didn’t inform the state Department of Public Welfare about Sandusky, which Freeh claimed was the smoking gun.
By definition, however, a cover-up needs a crime to hide. And Penn State’s administrators have repeatedly testified that when McQueary told them about the 2001 shower incident, he described it as horseplay. The Freeh investigation, critics say, never adequately resolved that contradiction. In their executive report, the trustees refer to the allegations of a cover up as "unfounded."
Freeh, however, maintained that in the six years since he issued his report, its findings have been validated in court.
"The Freeh team's investigative interviews and fact-finding were not biased and no outcome was ever predetermined," Freeh wrote. "Their only mandate, to which they adhered, was to follow the evidenced wherever it led. The final report I issued is a reflection of this mandate."
"The accuracy and sustainability of the report is further evidenced by the criminal convictions of Spanier, Schultz, Curley," Freeh wrote. Other developments that verified the conclusions of his report, Freeh wrote, include "voluntary dismissals by the Paterno Family of their suit against the NCAA, Spanier's dismissal of his defamation suit against Freeh, the jury and court findings in the McQueary defamation and whistleblower cases, and the U.S. Department of Education's five-year investigation resulting in a record fine against Penn State."
Re: Federal Agent: No Sex Scandal At Penn State, Just A "Political Hit Job
Spanier, another victim of the hit job . Certainly makes perfect sense that a former victim of abuse himself would be the first person who would coordinate a cover-up of an accused former Penn State coach . Seems sensible to me, how about you????
On Oct. 1, 2014, Brett Swisher-Houtz, "Victim No. 4" in the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse case was called to testify as a witness in a civil case.
In Philadelphia Common Pleas Court, Penn State University was being sued by its own insurance carrier. The Pennsylvania Manufacturer's Association had taken issue with the large multimillion payouts the university was awarding to 36 young men like Victim No. 4, payments to date that have totaled $118 million.
Steven J. Engelmyer, the lawyer representing Penn State's insurance carrier, had a simple question for Swisher-Houtz, who just a year earlier, on Sept. 12, 2013, had collected a confidential settlement from Penn State of $7.25 million.
“Has anybody from Penn State ever spoken to you?" the lawyer wanted to know.
Instead, here's what happened with Swisher-Houtz. On Dec. 4, 2012, lawyers Benjamin D. Andreozzi and Jeffrey Fritz, who did not respond to requests for comment, filed a three-and-a-half-page civil claim on behalf of the alleged victim. It was reviewed on behalf of Penn State by Barbara Ziv, a consulting forensic psychiatrist from Flourtown, PA, as well as law firm headed by Kenneth Feinberg of Washington, D.C.
When asked to specify the facts of his alleged abuse, "where it happened and the date on which it happened," Swisher-Houtz's lawyers wrote, "The instances of abuse were so frequent that Mr. Swisher-Houtz cannot be expected to list them here. In summary, Mr. Sandusky forced Mr. Swisher to engage in oral sex on countless occasions and attempted to penetrate his anus. See Sandusky trial transcript or grand jury reports related to Victim No. 4." The lawyers also submitted a report on the victim's behalf from a licensed psychologist.
Nearly a year later, Swisher-Houtz hit the lottery when the university paid him $7.25 million.
It could have been a rougher road to settlement. In the case of Swisher-Houtz, there was stone-cold proof on tape that the cops had deliberately lied to him to elicit more details of alleged abuse. A suspect therapist had also used widely discredited memory-recovery therapy on Victim No. 4 to elicit testimony that a prominent memory expert stated in court had no credible scientific basis.
At the very least, a skillful interrogator might have succeeded in driving down the price of a settlement. But according to Swisher-Houtz, nobody from the university ever bothered to ask him anything. Penn State just wrote out another big check in its quest to purchase an atonement from scandal.
The Conductor on the Gravy Train
The university trustee who oversaw victim settlements isn't talking, but we have some insight into his mindset thanks to a brief May 17, 2017 recorded interview between a would-be author and Ira Lubert. The Philadelphia real estate guru is the Penn State trustee who oversaw the board’s legal subcommittee, which approved the first 26 multi-million dollar settlement awarded to the alleged victims of Jerry Sandusky. Those 26 claims were subsequently ratified en masse by the entire board, after Lubert assured his fellow trustees that the claimants had been thoroughly vetted.
In a remarkably candid interview of just three and a half minutes, obtained by reporter John Ziegler, Lubert talked about the alleged victims of Sandusky, none of whom had attended Penn State.Lubert colorfully described the claimants as being lined up "at the trough" waiting on the “gravy train.”
"I believe all four of them were great people; I have a lot of respect for all of them," Lubert said.
In the taped interview, Lubert, who did not respond to several requests for comment, was generous in his praise of Penn State's top officials, before burying them.
"I think they did amazing things for the university," Lubert said. "But all four used poor judgment and poor leadership. And as a result of that, they couldn't continue to lead our university."
Lubert singled out Spanier for not being proactive in his discussions with other administrators about Sandusky's habit of showering with young boys, as evidenced by two separate incidents in 1998 and 2001. According to Lubert, Spanier supposedly decided, "I'm not gonna call human services or research any further whether something happened or didn't happen" when it came to Sandusky and the boys in the shower.
"And then it cost us $200 million to settle this. And he stays on as president," Lubert huffed about Spanier. "That can't happen."
Lubert turned his attention to the question of whether Penn State's top officials committed any crimes.
"I was surprised when they pled guilty," Lubert said, presumably about Schultz and Curley. "I don't think they broke the law. I think they used very poor judgment. And, as I said to you, very poor leadership . . . That doesn't make them bad people. It just means you can't work at Penn State or any other university or any company when you demonstrate that failure in leadership."
"I fired him for that reason," Lubert said, presumably talking about Spanier. "Not because he broke the law but because he used bad judgment."
Lubert talked about "all these theories" and various "snippet of information" out there about the Sandusky case, and then returned to his bottom line.
"But at the end of the day, we have five people," Lubert said, presumably throwing Sandusky into the mix, along with Spanier, Schultz, Curley and Paterno.
"To say you think nothing happened and that Jerry was totally innocent, I just have trouble with all of the other facts surrounding why all that happened to all those five guys," Lubert said, returning to the top Penn State officials caught up in the scandal.
Lubert repeated his mantra: Sandusky and Spanier got convicted, Curley and Schultz pled guilty, and Paterno "said when he was alive, in hindsight I'd wish I'd done more."
About the claimants, Lubert stated categorically, "They're not all victims. There's some that were on the gravy train. There's some [claims] that we settled for $100,000 that would have cost us more to litigate. But there were some real victims. . . [some who] tried to commit suicide. I was in a position to see it."
“There’s some very bad situations,” Lubert concluded. “Did some people exaggerate their situations? Yes, they did. Did some lawyers step in front and say this is far worse than it was and I want more money? Absolutely, that happened. And wherever I could, I settled it. But believe me when I tell you, there was some bad stuff going on."
The Master of Disasters
To initiate their claims of abuse, lawyers for the alleged victims typically filed a "confidential intake questionnaire" that marked the official start of the "Feinberg & Rozen Claims Resolution Process." In a couple of cases, the victims also filed civil lawsuits where university officials and trustees were deposed.
To get paid, an alleged victim had to be a verified member of the Second Mile, Sandusky's charity for at-risk kids. It also helped to have testified against Sandusky at his criminal trial in 2012, as did eight of the 36 alleged victims, a trial where Sandusky was found guilty of 45 counts of abuse.
For an alleged victim to get paid, it also helped to have reports from licensed psychologists, and medical records submitted for review. To get paid, a claimant had to have his paperwork reviewed by Dr. Ziv, and receive a favorable recommendation to settle the case from the law firm of Feinberg Rozen LLP of Washington D.C.
Kenneth Feinberg, dubbed "The Master of Disasters," is the lawyer they called in to approve mass billion-dollar payouts to the victims of 9/11, the BP oil spill, the Virginia Tech shootings, and the Boston Marathon bombing. Besides presiding over terrorist attacks and natural disasters, Feinberg has overseen large billon dollar settlements in class action suits for pain and suffering caused by Agent Orange and the Dalkon Shield. In big disaster cases, Feinberg takes a global approach to settlements, rather than duking it out on one claim after another in the civil courts.
"In certain very limited types of mass disasters, there's gotta be a better way than one-by-one courts," Feinberg told The Observer in 2016. "These programs . . . do that. And they're very successful."
It was also successful for Feinberg Rozen, which, as of January 2017, had been paid $1,484,094 by Penn State, after the law firm approved the first 28 settlements in the Sandusky case.
Feinberg, responding to an email requesting comment, said there wasn't much light he could shed on the process of vetting claims at Penn State.
"The mediation process was highly confidential and I am not at liberty to answer any questions you may pose concerning the value of the claims or other related details," Feinberg wrote in an email. He referred questions to Joseph O'Dea, the lawyer who represented Penn State in the claim mediation process. O'Dea declined comment, referring questions to Lawrence Lokman, a university spokesperson.
"We have no comment for you," Lokman wrote in an email. "The university's perspective on the settlements, and Ken Feinberg's Op-ed describing the process are a matter of public record."
In that 2016 Op-ed piece, Feinberg wrote, "The [claim mediation] process was thorough, fair, respectful and characterized by full arms-length debate in each case." He described the resulting settlements as "a remarkable achievement given the high-profile nature of the cases."
"Preventing years of expensive, protracted, and uncertain litigation will save Penn State millions of dollars, while sparing the victims who brought their cases forward the agony of an extended legal battle," Feinberg wrote. "I believe the Penn State mediation is a model of how such a dispute resolution process should work."
An "Absence of Documentation"
Not everyone agreed with Feinberg's rosy assessment of the claim mediation process. In 2013, the payouts prompted the university’s insurance carrier, the Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association Insurance Company (PMA), to sue Penn State and the various “John Doe” claimants. The lawsuit ended three years later in a confidential settlement that lawyers in the case say they are prohibited from discussing.
One of those lawyers is Eric Anderson of Pittsburgh, an expert witness who testified on behalf of the insurance carrier. Although he declined to talk about the case, Anderson wrote a report that was disclosed in court records, a report that ripped the university.
“It appears as though Penn State made little effort, if any, to verify the credibility of the claims of the individuals,” Anderson wrote on October 5, 2015. In his report, Anderson decried “the absence of documentation” in the claims, saying in many cases there was “no signed affidavit, statement or other means of personal verification of the information which I reviewed."
The lawyer suggested that “potential punitive damages . . . factored into Penn State’s evaluations,” along with “a concern about publicity and a desire to resolve the matters very quickly.”
The Catholic Comparison
The average settlement at Penn State was $3.3 million, more than double the highest average settlements paid out to alleged victims of sex abuse in the Catholic clergy scandals, such as in:
-- Boston, where the church in 2003 paid $85 million to 552 alleged victims, an average settlement of $153,985.
-- Los Angeles, where the church in 2006 paid $60 million to 45 alleged victims, an average of $1.3 million.
-- Los Angeles, where the church in 2007 paid $660 million to 508 alleged victims, an average of $1.3 million.
-- San Diego, where the church in 2007 paid $198 million to 144 alleged victims, an average of $1.4 million.
Throwing Gasoline on a Fire
Another factor that may have led to higher settlements at Penn State was the publication of the Freeh Report of 2012, which blamed the university's football culture for the scandal, and accused Penn State's top administrators of engaging in a cover up.
Gary Langsdale, the university’s risk officer, was deposed in the insurance case on May 30, 2014. At the deposition, Engelmyer, the insurance carrier’s lawyer, asked Langsdale if he had any concerns about the impact the Freeh Report would have on claims of abuse.
“The report seemed to throw gasoline on a fire,” Langsdale replied.
Engelmyer turned to the university's efforts to vet the claims.
"Tell me what steps Penn State took to confirm that the claimants that they were paying are, in fact credible and were telling true stories," the lawyer asked.
"I read through the material that was provided by the victim's attorney, considered it in context with what we were told by Dr. [Barbara] Ziv was Mr. Sandusky's pattern of abuse, listened to Feinberg and Rozen on the subject, listened to Dr. Ziv on the subject," Langsdale testified.
The lawyer asked Langsdale if he had any concerns that Dr. Ziv, the psychologist hired by the university as an expert to evaluate claims, “did not interview any of the first 26 or so victims who received payments from Penn State?”
“Not particularly,” Langsdale said.
"Why not," Engelmyer asked.
"Because I thought the process is robust enough to give us a good picture of the claims," Langsdale said.
Dr. Ziv could not be reached for comment. She was a prominent witness at the Bill Cosby rape trial, where she testified about common "rape myths" regarding the behavior of victims of sex abuse. One of those myths, Dr. Ziv told the jury, was that victims lie.
No more than seven percent of sex abuse claims are false, Dr. Ziv told the jury. She added that the actual percentage of false claims could be as low as two percent.
Dr. Ziv was clearly a believer in the overall veracity of alleged victims of sexual abuse, so it makes sense why she wouldn't have to personally interview alleged victims to certify their accounts as true. University officials, however, subsequently decided to change their hands-off approach to claimants, when it came to having a psychiatrist review those claims.
In 2015, the university began hiring psychiatrists to examine the claimants, beginning with Skyler Coover, No. 29 on the list, who was paid $7 million. The exams didn't seem to lower the price of settlements. Besides Coover, six more claimants were examined by university psychiatrists, and all seven of those victims collected a total of $27.8 million, or $3.97 million each.
In contrast to Dr. Ziv's faith in the veracity of alleged victims of abuse, a judge recently questioned the credibility of Glenn Neff, an alleged victim of Sandusky's who was attempting to gain immediate access to the confidential settlement of $7 million that he received last year from Penn State.
According to the Chester County Daily Local News, on July 17th, Chester County Judge William P. Mahon "angrily dismissed" a request to transfer assets from Neff's multimillion-dollar settlement that was sought by a Delaware-based financial firm. The newspaper did not name Neff as a victim, because of a typical media policy of self-censorship when it comes to alleged victims of sex abuse, but Neff's name was printed on legal documents in the case.
According to the newspaper, the Delaware firm sought court approval of a plan to convert $2.99 million from Neff's 2017 settlement into $850,000 in cash. In court, Neff testified that he needed the money to bolster his tree-trimming business and his wife wanted to expand a beauty salon.
But Judge Mahon said the proposed settlement, the third in the case, was "riddled with sketchy assertions about [Neff's] financial well-being that were contradicted by statements" Neff made in court.
"I am beginning to wonder what the heck is going on," the judge said, adding "these petitions are completely unreliable."
"This is abysmal," the judge said, before declaring, "Petition dismissed." The judge compared the behavior of the many firms seeking to gain access to Neff's settlement by offering immediate cash to "sharks with blood in the water."
In his claim, Neff alleged that he was sexually abused by Sandusky "on multiple dates between January 2004 and May 2005," including oral and anal rapes, but didn't tell anybody about it until 2016.
As he left the hearing, according to the story filed by reporter Michael Rellahan, Neff refused to answer a reporter's questions, and Neff's wife "shouted before making an obscene gesture while boarding an elevator."
As part of their concerted effort to turn the page on the Sandusky scandal, Penn State's board of trustees decided not to publicly contest any of the findings of the Freeh Report. Even though behind closed doors, some trustees were highly critical of the work done by the former FBI director.
On Jan. 14, 2015, Karen Peetz, former president of the board of trustees during the Sandusky scandal, was deposed by lawyer Engelmyer in the insurance case.
In response to questions from Engelmeyer, Peetz criticized Freeh for an "overreach" when he accused Penn State officials of concealing Sandusky's conduct, and having a "striking lack of apathy" for victims.
"His spin on the situation," was how Peetz characterized Freeh's criticisms. When the university hired Freeh, Peetz testified, she expected "nothing but the facts."
"I expected facts," she repeated, but stated that instead of facts, the university got "editorializing" from Freeh. As well as a "kind of dramatization," Peetz said, when Freeh faulted the university's football culture for the sex abuse scandal.
Peetz also stated that she had no idea until she read the Freeh Report that the NCAA was relying on it to punish the university.
"Were you aware that they [the NCAA] were using the Freeh Report as a factual basis for the imposition . . . of sanctions?" Engelmyer asked.
"No," Peetz said.
"When did you first find out?" the lawyer asked. "Was it when you read it?"
"Yes," she said.
But, according to Peetz, rather than take issue with Freeh, a majority of trustees decided to roll over.
"We made a decision not to pick apart the Freeh Report, thinking that that wasn't going to be that helpful to moving forward," Peetz testified.
She added, "There's a group of trustees who would like to do that."
"It just doesn't make sense."
While Penn State took a hands-off approach to investigating claims of abuse, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia had a practice of hiring private detectives to investigate claims.
Jack Rossiter, a former FBI agent of 30 years, investigated more than 150 cases of alleged sex abuse as a private detective employed by the Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia between 2003 and 2007.
In a situation involving national publicity, like the Jerry Sandusky case, Rossiter said, you'd have to be on guard for criminals and drug addicts coming forward to seek a pay day.
"With national headlines and all these people lining up, you'd have to be more skeptical" of the claims, Rossiter said.
"Obviously, you have to do a detailed interview" with each alleged victim, he said, asking questions such as, "Who did you tell, when did you tell them? And who can corroborate your story?"
"That's what you do, you investigate," Rossiter said. "The key," he said, is to find corroboration for the victim's story, to see if their stories hold up.
"A good interviewer could have broken somebody who was fabricating something," Rossiter said. Especially if you drag them through all the details of what the Penn State locker room looked like, to determine "whether they were really in the shower."
The surest way to spot a fake, Rossiter said, is to come at their story from the opposite point of view.
In investigating cases for the archdiocese, Rossiter said, "I have to go into it believing the victim is telling the truth." If the detective merely tried to help the church cover up abuse, "I'm of no value to anyone," Rossiter said.
So he always gave the victim "a clean slate," the benefit of the doubt, Rossiter said. Then, the former FBI agent set out to try and corroborate the victims' stories. In seeking proof, Rossiter went as far as to polygraph priests accused of abuse.
As far as the Penn State case was concerned, Rossiter was surprised to hear that apparently not one of the 36 alleged victims supposedly told anyone about the attacks when they allegedly occurred -- a period that spanned nearly four decades.
If a pedophile was running loose for that long, "You would think someone would pick it up," Rossiter said. "Either at school or the parents or a close friend."
Rossiter was also troubled by the use of recovered memories by many alleged victims of Sandusky.
"I always have my doubts about that," he said. The radically changing stories of many of the victims was another source of concern for an investigator playing defense on claims. Rossiter said he couldn't understand why the university didn't do more to investigate claims of abuse.
When the father of Brett Swisher-Houtz read the story by Sara Ganim in the Patriot-News about how a grand jury was investigating Jerry Sandusky for sex abuse, he advised his son, a former Second Mile alum, to hire lawyer Benjamin Andreozzi, who specialized in taking sex assault cases on contingency.
But when Andreozzi first came to see him on April 5, 2011, Swisher-Houtz wasn’t cooperative, and didn’t say anything had happened to him. Two days later, when a state police corporal knocked on his door, Swisher-Houtz said he wanted to talk to his lawyer before he talked to police.
On April 21, 2011, Pennsylvania State Troopers Joseph Leiter and Scott Rossman interviewed Swisher-Houtz at the police barracks, with his attorney present, and a tape recorder running. This time, Swisher-Houtz was more cooperative.
During the first 50 minutes of questioning, as recounted in trial transcripts, Swisher-Houtz told the troopers about wrestling matches with Sandusky, and how Sandusky would pin him to the floor with his genitals allegedly stuck in the boy’s face. Then, Sandusky would allegedly kiss and lick the inside of the boy’s legs, Swisher-Houtz claimed. That prompted Trooper Rossman to ask if Sandusky would kiss or lick his testicles.
“Kind of,” he replied, but the state troopers suspected the witness was holding back graphic details of more serious abuse.
Cops Caught Lying
While Swisher-Houtz smoked a cigarette outside, the two state troopers talked with Houtz’s lawyer, unaware that the tape-recorder was still running. On tape, the troopers talked about how it had taken months to coax rape details out of Aaron Fisher, "Victim No. 1" in the Sandusky case.
“First, it was, 'Yeah, he would rub my shoulders;' then it took repetition and repetition and finally, we got to the point where he [Fisher] would tell us what happened,” Leiter said. The troopers talked about how they were sure Swisher-Houtz was another rape victim, and they discussed how to get more details out of him.
Andreozzi had a helpful suggestion: “Can we at some point say to him, ‘Listen, we have interviewed other kids and other kids have told us that there was intercourse and that they have admitted this, you know. Is there anything else you want to tell us?’”
“Yep, we do that with all the other kids,” Leiter said.
When Swisher-Houtz returned, Leiter told him, “I just want to let you know you are not the first victim we have spoken to.” The trooper told him about nine adults the police had already interviewed, and said, “It is amazing. If this was a book, you would have been repeating, word for word, pretty much what a lot of people have already told us.”
At that point, the troopers had only interviewed three alleged victims who claimed they’d been abused, and only one – Aaron Fisher – had alleged prolonged abuse.
“I don’t want you to feel ashamed because you are a victim in this whole thing,” Trooper Leiter told Swisher-Houtz. “[Sandusky] took advantage of you . . . We need you to tell us as graphically as you can what took place... I just want you to understand that you are not alone in this. By no means are you alone in this.”
At their request, Swisher-Houtz became more graphic, asserting that Sandusky used to pin him face down in the shower, then hump the boy’s buttocks until he ejaculated. Sandusky, he claimed, would also push his penis into the boy’s face until he had an orgasm.
By the time Sandusky went on trial on June 11, 2012, Swisher-Houtz was the prosecution’s leadoff witness. He testified that for years Sandusky had inserted his penis into the boy’s mouth two or three times a week while they showered, sometimes with Sandusky ejaculating. It happened “40 times at least,” Swisher-Houtz told the jury.
Sandusky also attempted to anally rape him in the shower, the witness claimed, but that he pushed Sandusky off “with all my might” and got away.
When asked by Sandusky’s attorney why he hadn’t initially said he was abused, the witness testified, “I have spent, you know, so many years burying this in the back of my mind forever.”
Author Mark Pendergrast wrote a book about the Sandusky case. He's skeptical about Swisher-Houtz’s claims of repressed memories of abuse, as well as similar claims from three of the eight other alleged victims who testified against Sandusky at trial.
“All of the recovered memories in the Sandusky case are most certainly false,” said Pendergrast, who wrote The Most Hated Man In America; Jerry Sandusky and the Rush to Judgment, a book that's been excerpted on Big Trial.
“They shouldn’t even be called memories," Pendergrast said about so-called repressed memories of abuse; "they’re confabulations.”
“This entire case started because therapist Mike Gillum saw Aaron Fisher as a patient,” Pendergrast said. Gillum “used incredibly leading methodology and got over-involved” with his patient, Pendergrast said, to the point where “Aaron Fisher became convinced that he remembered traumatic abuse that probably didn’t happen.”
In the Aaron Fisher case, Fisher, then 15, told school officials about his physical contact with Sandusky, but didn’t describe it as overtly sexual. A youth services counselor advised Fisher's mother to bring her son to psychotherapist Gillum.
Starting at the first session, and continuing during weekly and sometimes daily sessions, Gillum asked leading questions, and Fisher began to recall multiple instances of Sandusky fondling him and forcing him to participate in oral sex.
In Silent No More, a 2012 book Gillum co-authored with Fisher and his mother, Gillum wrote that he saw his job as “peeling back the layers of the onion” in Fisher’s mind to uncover hidden memories of abuse.
“Look, I know that something terrible happened to you,” Gillum told Fisher at the first session. And then Gillum would guess how Sandusky had abused Fisher. The patient simply had to say “yes,” or just nod his head to confirm the allegation that Sandusky had committed a sex crime.
After three years of such therapy, Fisher, became convinced that Sandusky had abused him more than 100 times between 2005 and 2008. Those crimes allegedly included oral sex and touching the boy’s genitals. The abuse allegedly took place at various locations, including Sandusky’s home and car, in hotel rooms, at Fisher’s school and on the Penn State campus.
“Mike just kept saying that Jerry was the exact profile of a predator,” Fisher wrote in Silent No More. “When it finally sank in, I felt angry.”
The psychotherapist accompanied Fisher to police interviews, and when he testified before two grand juries. During those two years, Fisher, then the only alleged victim the authorities had in the case, repeatedly broke down crying in front of the first grand jury, and could not elaborate on details of his alleged abuse.
When asked if Sandusky had forced him to engage in oral sex, Fisher denied it. Gillum then volunteered to testify on his client’s behalf, on the grounds that the teenager was too emotionally fragile to continue. But that didn't happen. When a second grand jury convened to investigate Sandusky, Fisher testified by reading a written statement about his alleged abuse.
In 2013, the university paid Fisher, whose lawyer, Andrew Shubin, did not respond to requests for comment, a confidential settlement of $7.5 million.
In 2016, Gillum also began counseling Glenn Neff, another alleged victim, who, according to Neff's claim of abuse, "will be seen in psychotherapy with Michael Gillum, M.A., for the foreseeable future."
“Everything we know about the science of memory shows that the things that we remember the best are the most traumatic events that happen to us." The problem people have with traumatic memories, Pendergrast said, is they can’t forget them.
“That’s what PTSD is,” Pendergrast said, referring to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. “There’s no convincing evidence whatsoever that people can forget years of traumatic events.”
But at the Sandusky trial, the prosecution presented repressed memory theory as fact. Before calling his witnesses, the prosecutor, Joseph McGettigan, told the jury that he would have to “press these young men for the details of their victimization,” because “they don’t want to remember.” That’s why the investigation was slow,” McGettigan said, because “the doors of people’s minds” were closed.
After a jury found Sandusky guilty, then Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly held a press conference outside the courthouse.
About the alleged victims, Kelly said, “It was incredibly difficult for some of them to unearth long-buried memories of the shocking abuse they suffered at the hands of this defendant.”
No Credible Scientific Support
Another critic of recovered memory therapy is Dr. Elizabeth Loftus, one of the world’s foremost experts on the malleability of human memory. Loftus, who testified at a hearing on behalf of Sandusky’s unsuccessful bid for a new trial, has given lectures to the Secret Service and FBI; she also has a contract to work for the CIA
On May 11, 2017, testifying by phone, Loftus told Judge John Foradora, “There is no credible scientific support for this idea of massive repression." Nor is there any credible support, she added, for the idea that “you need psychotherapy to dig it out, and you can reliably recover these memories . . . in order to heal yourself.” In many jurisdictions, she told the judge, cases involving repressed memories have been thrown out of court.
She wasn’t alone in her critique; another expert witness cited in Sandusky’s appeal, Harvard psychologist Richard McNally, described repressed memory theory as “psychiatric folklore devoid of convincing empirical support.”
“You can plant entirely false memories in the minds of people for events that never happened,” she explained. And once those false memories are planted, she told the judge, people will relate those memories as if they were true, “complete with high levels of detail and emotion.”
In her experiments, Loftus said, “We have successfully convinced ordinary, otherwise healthy people, that they were lost in the shopping mall” when they were five- or six-years-old, “that they were frightened, cried and had to be rescued by an elderly person and reunited with the family.” Other researchers have planted false memories about being “nearly drowned” as a child, and “rescued by a lifeguard,” she testified. People have been convinced that they were “attacked by a vicious animal,” Loftus added, or that they committed a serious crime as a teenager.
During the appeal hearing, Loftus said, “It seems pretty evident that there were drastic changes in the testimony of some of the [Sandusky] accusers.” One reason for those changes, she testified, was the “highly suggestive” way police and psychotherapists interviewed them.
While Penn State was paying out claims, the university didn't run background checks on the alleged victims. If they had, university officials would have discovered that 12 of the 36 claimants had criminal records, which experts such as former FBI Agent Rossiter say should have only increased suspicions about credibility.
At Penn State, the alleged victim with the most extensive criminal record is Ryan Rittmeyer, represented by Joel J. Feller, who did not respond to a request for comment.
On November 29, 2011, Rittmeyer called the Pennsylvania state attorney general’s sex abuse hotline; he subsequently became Victim “No. 10” in the Sandusky case.
Rittmeyer’s rap sheet features 17 arrests from 2005 to 2016. They include arrests for reckless endangerment [he pled guilty and was sent to prison for 60 days], theft by deception and false impression [he pled guilty and got six months in jail and two years probation], receiving stolen property, a second count of theft by deception and false impression [he pled guilty and was put on probation for a year], criminal solicitation and robbery to inflict or threaten immediate bodily harm [he pled guilty and went to jail for 21 months] simple assault, and possession of a firearm [he pled guilty, went to jail for six months, and was put on probation for one year].
After he called the sex abuse hotline, Rittmeyer told the cops that Sandusky had groped him at a swimming pool and then attempted to have oral sex while driving him around in a silver convertible. Sandusky supposedly told Rittmeyer that if he didn’t submit, he would never see his family again.
The problems with Rittmeyer’s story start with the car.
“Jerry Sandusky never owned a silver convertible,” said Dick Anderson, a retired coach who was a colleague of Sandusky’s for decades on the Penn State coaching staff, and has known Sandusky since 1962, when they were Nittany Lions teammates. “He drove Fords or Hondas.”
Another retired assistant coach who was a colleague of Sandusky’s, Booker Brooks, said that when he first heard about the convertible, “I laughed out loud.” Because nobody on the coaching staff drove a convertible, Brooks says.
Assistant coaches drove cars donated by local dealers, Brooks said. That’s because they had to pick up star high school recruits at airports, as well as their families. The cars the assistant coaches drove, Brooks said, needed to have four doors and a big trunk for luggage.
In spite of his lengthy criminal record and his questionable claim, Penn State didn’t subject Rittmeyer to a deposition with a lawyer, or an evaluation from a psychiatrist. Instead, after reviewing the paperwork for his claim, the university in 2013 paid Rittmeyer, 26, of Ellicott City, MD, $5.5 million.
The Grooming Process
According to records of the claims, Zachary Konstas, the 11 year-old boy who took a shower with Sandusky back in 1998, was of the few claimants who was actually deposed. On June 18, 2015, Konstas was videotaped during a deposition he gave in a civil case, John Doe 6 v. Penn State, The Second Mile and Gerald Sandusky.
It was Konstas's mother who was the first person to complain to authorities after she found out that her son had taken a shower with Sandusky. When questioned by police, Sandusky admitted that he had given the boy a bear-hug in the shower, and lifted him up to the shower head so he could wash shampoo out of his hair, but he denied any sexual abuse, as did Konstas.
Various authorities came to the same conclusion. After an investigation by the Penn State police, the Centre County District Attorney and a psychologist and investigator on behalf of the county’s Children and Youth Services, no evidence of sex abuse was found.
The psychologist who interviewed the boy for an hour wrote, “The behavior exhibited by Mr. Sandusky is directly consistent with what can be seen as an expected daily routine of being a football coach.” The psychologist, who interviewed several high school and college football coaches, wrote that it was “not uncommon for them to shower with their players.”
Konstas subsequently hired a lawyer and entered psychotherapy. He then contended that although Sandusky had never abused him, he was “grooming” him for future abuse. At Sandusky’s 2012 trial, Konstas testified that in addition to lifting him up to the showerhead to wash the shampoo out of his hair, Sandusky had slowly lathered him up with soap; Konstas also claimed that when Sandusky lifted him up he had “blacked out,” and could not remember whatever else might have happened.
After Sandusky was convicted, Konstas, 29, of Colorado Springs, CO sued Penn State in the civil courts claiming he had been abused.
In his civil claim, Konstas alleged that Sandusky used Penn State's showers to create "his own personal peep show" starring the 11-year-old boy as the victim. And that during the shower, Sandusky, playing "The Tickle Monster," used the tickling "as a pretense to put his hands over [Konstas's] adolescent body."
In 2015, Konstas collected a confidential settlement of $1.5 million.
But the university didn't say yes to all the claimants. Three claims were rejected, for unspecified reasons.
One of those rejected claims was filed by by an inmate. Shamont Sapp, 49, acting as his own lawyer claimed that from 1978 to 1984, Sandusky took him along on trips where he met with the commissioner of the Big 8 conference in St. Louis, attended Celtics games in Boston, and visited the home of the late former PSU President John Oswald.
Sapp also claimed that Sandusky frequently paid him for sex with Sandusky and other men, including former Centre County D.A. Ray Gricar, who disappeared in 2005 and was subsequently declared dead.
Sapp, who in his claim explained that he didn't testify at Sandusky's trial because he "was in prison in Oklahoma at the time," pled guilty to assault in 1999, and pled guilty to theft by deception in 2015.
In a letter to a judge, Sapp made some more allegations, claiming that he spoke to PSU President Spanier on the phone in 2011 and told him he had been sexually assaulted by Sandusky, and that Spanier called him a liar. In the same letter, Sapp claimed that "Joe Paterno caught us once in Sandusky's office naked from the waist down."
But not even Penn State was willing to grant a settlement from a guy who was filing his claim from jail, because they rejected Sapp's claim.
"It Just Doesn't Make Common Sense"
Some of the newer civil claims filed against Sandusky and Penn State reached the furthest back in time; they are also among the most improbable.
Michael Quinn, “John Doe 150,” was represented by Slade McLaughlin, who represented “Billy Doe” in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia sex abuse scandal, as well as 11 other alleged victims at Penn State.
In the Philadelphia case, “Billy Doe,” whose real name is Danny Gallagher, claimed to have been repeatedly raped when he was a 10 and 11-year-old altar boy by two priests and a Catholic school teacher. He collected $5 million in a civil settlement with the Philadelphia archdiocese, but his story has since been shredded by a retired Philadelphia police detective who was the lead investigator on the case.
Retired Detective Joe Walsh testified and wrote in a 12-page affidavit that he repeatedly caught Gallagher in one lie after another, and that Gallagher even admitted to the detective that he “just made up stuff and told them anything.”
But at least Gallagher had to work for his money. In his civil case against the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Gallagher was examined extensively by two forensic psychiatrists, who found him non-credible. Gallagher also had to submit to two full days of depositions, where he handled all the factual contradictions in his many changing stories of abuse by claiming he didn't remember more than 130 times.
Gallagher's lawyer also claims that Gallagher passed a polygraph test. But when asked for proof, the lawyer has repeatedly declined to share the results of the test, which is not admissible in court.
A problem for the archdiocese, however, was that Gallagher's civil case was slated to go to trial the month before Pope Francis was scheduled to visit Philadelphia for a historic visit in September 2015. Church officials, who had been skeptical of Gallagher's claims, subsequently decided to settle the case and pay the former altar boy $5 million.
In the Penn State case, Quinn -- "John Doe 150" -- claimed that when he was in ninth grade, he attended a summer camp on the Penn State campus sponsored by The Second Mile. At that camp, Sandusky, whom Quinn had never met, supposedly came up to him in the shower and without even saying hello, soaped him up, and stuck his finger in the boy’s anus.
Here, the story takes a couple of incredulous turns.
In his claim against Penn State, Quinn asserted that as a ninth grader, he had the gumption to immediately tell several Penn State football players about what Sandusky had supposedly done to him.
Even more incredibly, Quinn claimed that the next day, he tracked down legendary Coach Paterno in a hallway outside the coach’s office and supposedly confronted Paterno about what Sandusky had allegedly done to him.
According to Quinn's claim, Paterno allegedly replied, “I don’t want to hear about any of that kind of stuff, I have a football season to worry about.”
When he first heard the details of Quinn’s allegations, Franco Harris, a Penn State star from the 1970s, and an NFL Hall-of-Famer, told reporter John Ziegler that Quinn’s story about allegedly tracking down and confronting Paterno was “unbelievable . . . It just doesn’t make common sense.”
It didn’t matter. Even though his claim was decades past the statute of limitations, which in Pennsylvania, for victims of sex abuse, is age 30, on Sept. 12, 2013, Quinn, 56, of Plains, PA, was paid a confidential settlement by Penn State of $300,000.
Quinn's lawyer, Slade McLaughlin, who also represented Glenn Neff, continues to defend his clients.
"All of my Penn State clients were solid people, and told the truth as far I know," McLaughlin wrote in an email. "If I had reason to disbelieve a client's story, I either rejected the case or had the client undergo a lie detector test. Not that facts like that matter to a so-called journalist like you. . . . You are a low life, bottom of the pit scumbag . . ."
A year after Quinn got paid, he was called as a witness to testify on Oct 13, 2014, in the civil case where Penn State’s insurance carrier sued the university.
“Have you ever been interviewed by anybody from Penn State regarding your claim,” asked lawyer Steven J. Engelmyer, on behalf of the university's insurance carrier.
Penn State Confidential
When it comes to sex abuse, as evidenced in the recent U.S. Senate confirmation hearings over Judge Kavanaugh, the media frequently goes for sensation over substance,hysteria over rational thought.
Another prime case of this type of malpractice occurred at Penn State, where the media for years has refused to re-examine what can only be described as an ongoing legal travesty of epic proportions.
As documented on my blog, the entire investigation at Penn State is contaminated by official misconduct. The headline allegation of the grand jury presentment — the alleged rape of a 10-year-old boy in the showers — is a work of fiction. A couple of decades later, no victim has ever come forward. And the only alleged witness to that alleged event, former Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary, isn’t credible, as determined by a former NCIS special agent who conducted a contemporaneous and previously unknown federal investigation of the so-called sex scandal and alleged coverup.
In the Penn State scandal, the prosecutors were unethical crusaders who broke the law by repeatedly leaking grand jury secrets and trampling on the constitutional rights of the accused, The police were caught on tape deliberately lying to alleged victims. Psychologists in the case relied on scientifically-discredited recovered memory therapy. Former FBI Director Louie Freeh conducted an “independent” investigation of the scandal that was marred by factual mistakes and unsubstantiated opinions. And the university’s board of trustees not only are engaged in an ongoing coverup of Freeh’s botched report, but they also failed in their fiduciary duties by failing to do anything to investigate the allegations of 36 alleged victims, who hopped on the gravy train and collected a total of $118 million. You won’t find any of these facts in the mainstream media, but all of this has been documented on my blog:
Big Trial Series | Ralph Cipriano
Featured Series From BigTrial.net Cardinal Sins When he was the Catholic Archbishop of Philadelphia, the late Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua presided over a criminal enterprise. While predator priests were out raping children, His Eminence was orchestrating a systematic coverup that kept the priests...
FROM JZ Seven years ago today Joe Paterno’s amazing 61 year career was destroyed by a panicked Penn State BOT when he was unfairly fired in a fact-free media firestorm.
Bob Costas told me this 2014 CNN interview I took part in was the most convincing thing he’s seen that the ENTIRE narrative was BS. Everything we have learned since then has only further confirmed that this entire episode was maybe greatest miscarriages of justice in our modern history. If you watch the video, I am confident you will agree.
The plane that flew over Beaver Stadium towed a banner that said -- "PRES BARRON: WHAT ARE YOU HIDING? RELEASE THE REPORT!"
Former Penn State Trustee Anthony Lubrano took to the skies last month in his campaign to get Penn State President Eric Barron to release the findings of an investigation into the so called "source materials" for the Louis Freeh Report on the Penn State sex scandal. The investigation into the Freeh Report, done by a minority group of trustees, was buried by the majority on the PSU board as part of an ongoing coverup of epic proportions, aided by an astounding lack of curiosity on the part of the mainstream media.
As to what PSU is hiding, Big Trial's readers know the answers, because this past summer, we printed many of those big secrets contained in the confidential "source materials." What are they hiding? That the Freeh Report was filled with faulty opinions dressed up as facts, that Freeh had a conflict of interest, and that Freeh's investigators were colluding with former deputy attorney general Frank Fina in a manner that violated state grand jury secrecy laws and may have contaminated both probes. And that's just for starters.
Fraudulent Freeh In June, Big Trial printed the highlights of a seven-page "executive summary of findings of that internal review of the Freeh Report, dated Jan. 8, 2017, plus a 25-page synopsis of evidence gleaned from the confidential source materials.
The findings of the minority trustees: Freeh "disregarded the preponderance of the evidence" in concluding there was a cover-up of Jerry Sandusky's crimes at Penn State.
And: "Louis Freeh and his team knowingly provided a false conclusion in stating that the alleged coverup was motivated by a desire to protect the football program and a false culture that overvalued football and athletics."
The Freeh Report, the executive summary found, relied on "deeply-flawed" procedures for interviewing witnesses, and faulty investigative methods that resulted in "biased reporting of interview data" and "inaccurate summaries" of witness testimony.
In their synopsis of evidence, the trustees charged Freeh with a conflict of interest. The minority trustees offered as proof confidential internal Freeh Group emails that showed that while Freeh was finishing up his investigation of Penn State, he was angling for his group to become the "go to investigators" for the NCAA.
On July 7, 2012, a week before the release of the Freeh Report on Penn State, Omar McNeill, a senior investigator for Freeh, wrote to Freeh and a partner of Freeh's. "This has opened up an opportunity to have the dialogue with [NCAA President Mark] Emmert about possibly being the go to internal investigator for the NCAA," McNeill wrote. "It appears we have Emmert's attention now."
In response, Freeh wrote back, "Let's try to meet with him and make a deal -- a very good cost contract to be the NCAA's 'go to investigators' -- we can even craft a big discounted rate given the unique importance of such a client. Most likely he will agree to a meeting -- if he does not ask for one first."
A spokesperson for Freeh, the former judge and FBI director, never responded to a Big Trial request for comment.
In July, Big Trial ran more top secret stuff from the source materials -- a series of internal emails at the Freeh Group that showed that former deputy attorney General Frank Fina was routinely and repeatedly leaking grand jury secrets to Freeh's investigators.
Leaky Frank Fina
When asked about this breach of grand jury secrecy, and whether Freeh's team was authorized to share grand jury secrets with Fina, Freeh courageously declined comment.
Another big secret contained in those source materials -- Penn State's board of trustees utterly failed in their fiduciary duties to investigate claims of abuse before they paid out $118 million to 36 alleged victims.
Confidential documents showed that Penn State's trustees, presently engaged in that ongoing coverup, didn't subject the now-wealthy young lads to criminal background checks, depositions by lawyers, or examinations by forensic psychiatrists before they handed out the big checks. The so-called "victims" never even had to divulge their real names while they were cashing in.
No wonder Penn State wants to keep that report on the source materials sealed. Because it makes them looked like easy marks squandering millions of dollars on suspect "victims" with ever-changing and highly implausible stories that were often the product of therapy sessions featuring scientifically discredited memory recovery therapy.
In ordinary times, the shocking degree of incompetence and malfeasance that took place at Penn State during that big sex scandal might have aroused the curiosity of the mainstream media, and maybe even prompted them to reconsider their hysterical rush to judgment in the Sandusky case.
Especially in the light of another Big Trial bombshell, that the headline allegation of the 2011 grand jury presentment --- that Jerry Sandusky raped a 10-year-old boy in the showers -- probably never happened, according to a previously unknown federal investigation conducted back in 2012 on the Penn State campus by former NCIS special agent John Snedden.
Contrary to what Freeh found, Snedden concluded that there was no cover up at Penn State because there was no credible evidence or a credible witness to show that a sex crime had ever occurred in the PSU showers.
But the mainstream media remains silent on the Snedden investigation and subsequent 110-page report, as well as the accumulating evidence that Penn State, Louie Freeh, and the attorney general, along with cops and therapists, completely botched the Sandusky investigation.
Because the members of the media have their own credibility to protect, or what's left of it.
Memo to the minority trustees: President Barron reports to the board of trustees and not the other way around. He's never going to willingly release that report, and neither will the majority board members.
The only solution: do what Frank Fina did, leak the damn thing. Hopefully, the report is available as a PDF or word document. Email that file to email@example.com and I'll take care of the rest.
I got a lot of questions this week about Jerry Sandusky’s sentence being vacated (he will be resentenced) so I decided to invite his attorney Al Lindsay, with whom I have rarely gotten along, on the WATZ podcast. The result was a fascinating and important interview, one which I hope you listen to and share...
A confidential report by seven alumni-elected Penn State trustees says a two-year review of source materials found the 2012 Freeh Report and investigation that led to it were "flawed" and "fatally compromised."
The Freeh Report was the culmination of an $8 million, university-commissioned investigation led by former FBI director Louis Freeh into the circumstances that led to the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal. Freeh's report claimed former football coach Joe Paterno, president Graham Spanier, athletic director Tim Curley and senior vice president Gary Schultz knew of and concealed instances of Sandusky's abuse of children and blamed a "a culture of reverence for the football program that is ingrained at all levels of the campus community."
Sandusky, a former Penn State football defensive coordinator, was charged in November 2011 and convicted in 2012 on 45 counts related to child sexual abuse. He was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison and maintains his innocence. He recently was granted a re-sentencing but denied a new trial by Pennsylvania Superior Court.
The Freeh Report was used by the NCAA to levy unprecedented sanctions against Penn State football, but was also met with almost immediate criticisms of its findings and credibility. After the university rejected requests by then-alumni-elected trustee Anthony Lubrano, he and six other trustees won a court order in November 2015 to receive the source materials for Freeh's investigation. The order, however, restricted trustees from publicly discussing privileged or confidential materials, thus requiring board approval for the release of the report.
The alumni trustees' 113-page report contains few new revelations for those who have followed the case most closely, but it pulls together information that has slowly trickled out over the past six and a half years and builds the most comprehensive case to date for rejecting the Freeh Report.
It was authored by current trustees Ted Brown, Barbara Doran, Robert Jubelirer, Bill Oldsey and Alice Pope and former trustees Lubrano and Ryan McCombie, who left the board at the end of June.
They say that contrary to claims otherwise, the Freeh Report and investigation were not independent or thorough, misrepresented findings, ignored contradictory information and were rife with conflicts of interests and biases.
In an executive summary, the alumni trustees list their findings before delving into the materials:
- There was no support for the conclusion that Paterno, Spanier, Schultz or Curley knew Sandusky had harmed children.
- There was no support for the conclusion that Penn State's culture was responsible for allowing Sandusky to harm children.
- The Freeh team's independence was "fatally compromised" by collaboration with three interested parties: the NCAA, members of the Penn State Board of Trustees, and then-Gov. Tom Corbett and his Office of Attorney General.
- Those three interested parties "appear to have had their own conflicts of interest that influenced the unsupported conclusions of the Freeh Report."
- The Freeh Report was full of investigative and reporting flaws, using unreliable methods for conducting and analyzing interviews; failing to interview most of the individuals with direct knowledge of the events being investigated; supplying motivations supported only by conjecture and speculation; selectively misrepresenting investigative data; and ignoring or withholding "the vast majority of investigative findings which were contrary to the report's conclusions."
The alumni trustees wrote that Freeh did not fulfill his obligations and they repudiated his conclusions. They also wrote that the university "has an obligation to come to an honest understanding of the responses to Sandusky's actions, and to use that understanding to promote educational efforts to prevent future abuse."
By failing to formally review and evaluate the Freeh Report, the alumni trustees wrote, the rest of the board "breached its fiduciary duty," resulting in "grievous harm to the university," including "profound reputational damage," and costs of more than $300 million and rising.
The board's tacit acceptance of the Freeh Report also "callously attributed unsubstantiated culpability to respected and longstanding servants of the institution, resulting in irrecoverable damage to those individuals, their families and the entire university community."
The mental gymnastics some people still put themselves thru to try and understand how Jerry, a dufus who couldn't even handle a simple Bob Costas question, suddenly turned into a criminal mastermind able to hide these horrific acts for decades is still kind of silly . The reason is Jerry is innocent .
Sunday, February 17
Freeh's Desperate Arguments About the A7 Report
Louis Freeh's arguments in rebutting the A7 report appear to be the act of a desperate man who will stop at nothing to defend his reputation and the indefensible findings of the Freeh Report. By Ray Blehar
February 17, 2019, 10:07 AM EST
Former FBI Director Louis Freeh's statement regarding the leaked report by the Penn State University's (PSU) alumni-elected trustees (A7) contains arguments that fabricate information, dishonestly characterize or otherwise ignore the evidence on the record, and suspend the law and logic in order to desperately defend his unearned reputation and the dubious findings of the Freeh Report.
Freeh desperation is also demonstrated by the frequency of ad hominem attacks on those who dare to criticize his report or its findings.
On Monday at 10 a.m., Al Lindsay, Jerry Sandusky's appeals lawyer, will talk to the media about his reaction to the report of seven Penn State trustees on the "flawed methodology and conclusions" of the Louis Freeh Report.
"Of course we are gratified that somebody in a position of authority has challenged the Freeh Report, which, of course, we believe was flawed in many ways," Lindsay said in a press release. "I must reluctantly state, however, that there is a significant flaw in the A7 Report. The Report accepts as gospel that Jerry Sandusky actually did these things. So much of what is wrong in the Freeh Report and the A7 response, is that we are operating under that paradigm. Of course, it is our position from day one that Jerry Sandusky is absolutely innocent of the charges and was convicted of the various counts only by a very flawed criminal trial."
Also appearing with Lindsay will be John Snedden, a former NCIS special agent who conducted a contemporaneous but previously unknown federal investigation on the Penn State campus for six months in 2012 and found no official cover up.
In the press release, Snedden described previous investigations at Penn State as "politically motivated, agenda-driven, and collusive."
"What does that previously unknown concurrent and independent federal investigation have to say about this whole mess?" Snedden said in the press release. "Monday at 10 a.m. be there."
The press conference will be held at The Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, 1357 East College Avenue, State College PA.
Also appearing at the press conference will be Ralph Cipriano of bigtrial.net. Cipriano will talk about how confidential documents show that the entire board of trustees at Penn State paid out $118 million to 36 alleged victims of Sandusky -- an average of $3.3 million each -- without having those alleged victims questioned by lawyers, forensic psychiatrists or detectives, or subjected to polygraph tests or criminal background checks.
"Easy money," is how Big Trial has described the payouts at Penn State.
Lindsay presently has an appeal before the state Supreme Court on Sandusky's behalf filed under the Post-Conviction Relief Act. "Hopefully, we will be granted a new trial," Lindsay said.
The press conference caps some recent new developments in the so-called Penn State sex scandal. The report done by the trustees on Freeh was recently leaked. The leaking of that report, and perhaps the contents as well, are expected to dominate a meeting of the full board of trustees at Penn State today.
Meanwhile, former Penn State president Graham Spanier, who was the subject of Snedden's investigation, yesterday lost his appeal to the state Supreme Court of his conviction of one count of endangering the welfare of a child. As a result of the appeal, Spanier may be headed to jail to serve a sentence of two months, followed by two months of home confinement.
Jerry Sandusky's post-conviction attorney said he will continue to pursue a new trial for his client and that if a new one is granted, he believes he will prove Sandusky's innocence.
Attorney Al Lindsay spoke at a press conference Monday at the Country Inn & Suites in State College, where he was joined by a former federal investigator, a longtime colleague and friend of Sandusky and an investigative journalist.
The press conference was spurred by a few recent developments. Earlier this month, Pennsylvania Superior Court granted a re-sentencing for Sandusky, but denied his request for a new trial for the former Penn State football assistant coach, who was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison after being convicted in 2012 on 45 counts related to child sexual abuse. Lindsay said he will now petition the state Supreme Court for a new trial, and if that is denied will take it to federal court.
"Anybody who thinks this thing can be suppressed and suppressed and is going to go away, I have two words for you: dream on," Lindsay said. "This is not going to go away. Thirty years from now there will be books written about this [asking] ‘How did our system go so wrong?’"
Last week, meanwhile, seven Penn State alumni trustees' review of the Freeh Reportwas leaked and offered a highly critical look at the university-commissioned investigation and conclusions of former FBI director Louis Freeh's team.
Lindsay praised the report for its insight but said it was flawed because it accepted the premise that Sandusky committed the crimes for which he was convicted. The report, he said, refers to the concept of a "pillar of the community pedophile," who uses his stature to prey on children and dupe other adults.
"To be that type of pedophile, you have to be a very conniving, secretive person," Lindsay said. "In the report, they state themselves that Jerry Sandusky is like a big kid. Those of us who know Jerry well, the idea that he could keep anything secret is ridiculous. This guy is as open as you could possibly imagine... Too many people know Jerry Sandusky and they’ve been intimidated and cowed and [are] afraid to say this is impossible that he could have committed these crimes."
The alumni trustees' report said Freeh's team was compromised by collaboration with the state attorney general's office and the NCAA and ignored critical evidence to conclude that former President Graham Spanier, Athletic Director Tim Curley, Senior Vice President Gary Schultz and Coach Joe Paterno knew about Sandusky's actions and covered them up.
The accusations against Paterno and the administrators stemmed from former football assistant Mike McQueary's 2001 report of seeing Sandusky with a boy in a locker room shower. That incident also was a key piece of the prosecution's case against Sandusky. The former administrators said they had not been told of sexual contact, and McQueary has testified that while he believes what he saw was sexual, he did not explicitly describe it as rape, as was stated in a grand jury presentment.
"We like to say McQueary is the Christmas tree upon which all the ornaments were hung," Lindsay said. "[He] is very, very vulnerable to good cross-examination because there were so many different versions of the McQueary testimony."
Lindsay criticized Sandusky's trial attorney, Joe Amendola, for numerous alleged missteps, actions which have formed the basis of Sandusky's post-conviction relief appeal. Among those, Lindsay said Amendola handed off cross-examination of McQueary at trial at the last minute to co-counsel Karl Rominger.
"Karl Rominger had an hour to prepare that cross-examination, the most significant cross-examination maybe in the history of American jurisprudence," Lindsay said. "That’s the kind of ineffective trial counsel Mr. Sandusky had in this case."
The boy at the center of the shower incident was not identified at trial, but Lindsay has argued throughout appeals that he did come forward and first said nothing happened, then retained a lawyer and received a monetary settlement from the university. Lindsay said both prosecutors and Amendola agreed not to identify him at trial.
The alumni trustees' report cites former NCIS agent John Snedden's investigation to determine if Spanier should maintain high-level federal security clearance for potential government work. Snedden, who spoke on Monday, found no wrongdoing by Spanier and has been critical of Freeh's investigation as well.
But, Lindsay said, the alumni trustees report does not note that Snedden's investigation concluded Sandusky had done nothing criminal.
"There was no cover up. There was no conspiracy," Snedden said. "There was nothing to cover up."
Snedden said his investigation led him to believe that Freeh's report was pre-determined "to satisfy his clients and handlers," and was used to justify decisions made by the Penn State Board of Trustees.
"It is abundantly clear now Freeh was not interested in any exculpatory information as it would adversely impact his already written pre-determined conclusions," said Snedden, who also questioned McQueary's credibility as a witness and the political motivations of the attorney general's office and former Gov. Tom Corbett.
Former Penn State assistant coach Dick Anderson, who worked alongside Sandusky for decades, described his own experience of being interviewed by Freeh's team, which told him the interview would not be recorded and he could not have access to any notes taken. He said he was met with leading statements such as "We hear that Joe Paterno runs everything at this university." Anderson said the perception of Paterno having an outsize or improper influence on university operations was far from the truth.
Anderson added that while he was not personally threatened or bullied by Freeh investigators, he knew many others who were, some to the point of tears.
"Louie Freeh was deceptive and dishonest," Anderson said. "He hurt many people and a great institution with a false narrative."
Investigative reporter Ralph Cipriano, a former Los Angeles Times and Philadelphia Inquirer writer who has covered the Sandusky case in depth on BigTrial.net, said the alumni trustees report "just scratches the surface of the scandal behind the scandal at Penn State."
That, he said, is the university's payment of $118 million to 36 people who said they were abused by Sandusky. Those claimants were not interviewed, deposed or subjected to background checks, he said.
Cipriano cited his conversations with a former FBI agent who privately investigated more than 150 abuse cases for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and noted several "red flags" in the Penn State case. He said those included that for the 36 claims of abuse over four decades, there were no contemporaneous complaints, that stories changed frequently and that much-criticized repressed memory therapy seemed to be used to recall the incidents.
He also said that Sandusky's medical records show multiple ailments and genetic conditions that would make it unlikely Sandusky would be sexually aggressive.
Cipriano said "we in the media often get sex abuse wrong," and that the Sandusky case has been "a journalistic disaster."
Lindsay said the case in the media was built on the earliest stories and that he challenges journalists to look into it more closely.
"This is one heck of a story about how all of this happened," Lindsay said. "My deal is to challenge the media. OK that was a story. You built on a narrative. But we need to start a new narrative, that the whole doggone thing is preposterous. It’s a horror story and it deserves attention." http://www.statecollege.com/news/loc...eport,1479399/
3/10/19, 8:20 AM
Discredited Former Political Appointee Louie Freeh’s Fantasy of Self-imagined Impunity Comes to a Crashing Halt: Big Trial: Former Federal Agent On Attorney General & Louis Freeh: 'Two Politically Motivated, Agenda-Driven & Collusive Reports' bigtrial.net/2019/03/federa…