Wednesday, August 20

Were Tom Harmon and Wendell Courtney untruthful about the 2001 incident?

Courtney and Harmon's roles, responsibilities, and relationships in the Sandusky case raise serious questions about their statements regarding lack of knowledge of the 2001 incident. 

By
Ray Blehar

Former PSU legal counsel Wendell Courtney and former University Park police Chief Tom Harmon are two individuals who have essentially escaped scrutiny for their roles related to the 2001 Sandusky incident.  

Ironically, they are the only PSU persons involved with the incident who only had regular contact with Sandusky and/or The Second Mile outside of the workplace.  

Harmon at one time lived at 120 Norle Street in Lemont and was Sandusky's neighbor. The two men also attended St. Paul's Methodist church.  

Courtney, by virtue of his wife Linette being a member of the The Second Mile (TSM) board from 1998 to 2005, would have routinely seen Sandusky at TSM fundraisers and events.  According to a TSM board member, the charity expected 100% participation and donations from its board members at every event.  Wendell and Linette typically donated between $1,000 and $1,500 per year to TSM during the time she served and after the time she stepped down from the board.  According to the charity's Annual Reports, they last donated in 2009 (year ending August 31, 2009).

In 2009, Wendell Courtney was retained by TSM as counsel and assisted them in the Sandusky matter.  An NBC news article noted that Courtney assisted with the subpoena for the expense records that had gone missing from TSM's storage facility.

These men's connections to Sandusky and, in Courtney's case,  TSM deserve consideration as possible motivations for them to act outside PSU's interests in response to the Sandusky scandal.  


Tom Harmon

In Harmon's case, he was a witness for the prosecution, as well as being exempted from the Freeh investigation at the request of the Attorney General. The latter point was rather disconcerting, considering that Freeh was conducting an alleged "full" investigation but wasn't allowed to talk to the Chief of police who was involved in both the 1998 and 2001 incidents.

1998:  Harmon's testimony at the July 2013 preliminary hearing regarding the 1998 police file and called into question his credibility as a witness.  Harmon stated he didn't recall ever giving the 1998 police report to Schultz, nor did he recall Schultz ever asking for it  (page 174).









That testimony likely took a chunk out of the prosecution's perjury charge that Schultz lied about his knowledge of the 1998 file, as well as, what was meant by "reviewed 1998 history" in the Schultz "secret file" note from 12 February 2001.  

Of course, neither the Patriot News (i.e., Charles Thompson) or any of the other local media chose to report anything about Harmon's faulty memories.  However, in a recurring pattern, Thompson reported a blatant falsehood that Schultz had inquired about the 1998 file from Harmon. 


"In 2001, and shortly after Shultz would have received McQueary’s account of the Lasch Building incident involving Sandusky, Harmon testified that Schultz asked him an out-of-context question about documentation of the 1998 report."

Harmon was very reliant on documents and leading questions by the prosecution in order to recall the events of 1998, even with that assistance, he erred in stating that Detective Schreffler and DPW agent Jerry Lauro had interviewed Sandusky at his home (page 136).  The last page of the 1998 police report  was clear that the incident took place in the locker room.  In addition, Harmon also testified that the Victim 6 incident occurred between 7-9 AM on Sunday, May 3rd, rather than 7-9 PM.  This error was of Harmon's own making because when he changed the title page of the police report, he also entered the incorrect time.  

While Harmon's memory was very unreliable to the unbiased observer, his overall trustworthiness and honesty also should have been called into question regarding his mislabeling of the 1998 police report.  Again, this is a case where the media completely ignored history and went along with Harmon's testimony (page 78) that he mislabeled the file as to avoid "premature publicity" about the investigation.  

Triponey:  Noted football players being
arrested at a greater rate than other students
Harmon retired from the University Park police force in 2005, however during the period from 2000 to 2005, football player's names were being splashed across the newspapers at a frequent rate.  It didn't appear that Harmon was the least bit worried about publicity compromising those investigations.  Note, that this was overlapping with the time-frame that Vicky Triponey was complaining that the football players were being arrested at a much greater rate than other students.  Many of these football player arrests were for alcohol related charges and other hi-jinks on campus, at which most other colleges and universities, the police likely would have looked the other way.  

It also should come as little surprise that Harmon would make that assertion about avoiding publicity, given it was the prosecution's "pet" reason for the alleged PSU cover-up.  However, Harmon's concern about publicity was indeed genuine in one regard -- the embarrassment it could cause his former neighbor, Sandusky and their church

Conclusion 1: Protecting his friend, Sandusky, and their church from public embarrassment was very likely Harmon's motivation for filing the police report as "Administrative Information."

2001:  As a prosecution witness, it was Harmon's contention that even though he was conversing with Schultz about the 1998 police file on February 12, 2001, Schultz never informed him of that incident.  Few in the media (and the public) have questioned the veracity of Harmon's statement, likely because Schultz was being made out to be a liar and a child abuse enabler.  However, Harmon's testimony deserved scrutiny and when honestly reviewed revealed the former police chief had a very poor memory.  In addition, Harmon, as a mandated reporter was motivated to say he had no knowledge of the case, otherwise he could have been charged with failure to report (FTR).

Faulty Memory

Harmon also was adamant that if he was told that Sandusky had been involved in another incident, he would have surely remembered it.  But Harmon's faulty memory was exposed repeatedly under cross-examination by his lack of recall of serious incidents that took place on campus in 2001.  






Eventually, the defense got Harmon to admit that he was only able to testify about the incidents in question after refreshing his memory be reviewing documents.

Avoiding Arrest

The second part of the veracity issue regards Harmon as a police officer was a mandatory reporter of child abuse.  Obviously, if he was told about the 2001 incident he violated the law by not reporting it, therefore it was in his self-interest to say Schultz never told him about it.  Given the fact that Harmon sought out the 1998 police file just a day after Schultz learned of the incident, it strains credulity that Schultz didn't tell Harmon what had transpired.  It's highly likely that the Attorney General cut a deal with Harmon not to charge him with FTR in exchange for his testimony that Schultz didn't tell him what transpired in 2001. 


Tom Harmon:  Motivated to lie to about his
knowledge of 2001 to avoid arrest for FTR.
Logically, Harmon, as the Chief of police, would have been the "point man" for either Schultz or Courtney for contacting CYS and/or the local DA to initiate an investigation (as Schreffler did when he received a report on Sandusky from the mother of Victim 6 in 1998).  Harmon was contacted within the 48 hour window that PSU had to make an abuse report, therefore it is very possible the either Schultz or Courtney requested he contact the appropriate parties.

At the preliminary hearing, Gary Schultz's grand jury testimony was read into the record.  Schultz repeatedly testified (pages 212-215) that he believed that someone from PSU had contacted the local child welfare agency about the 2001 incident for investigation.


The timeline and evidence regarding the 2001 incident also indicates that Schultz and Curley's planned to interview Sandusky on Friday, February 16th were delayed.  In fact, the timelines between the 1998 and 2001 cases are very similar.  It is entirely possible that Harmon was manipulating the process to provide the appearance (to Schultz) that CYS was investigating.  

Finally, Harmon had retired from the University Park police in 2005 and was enjoying retirement in State College -- as many of us hope to do some day.  However, in August 2011, just months before the scandal hit, Harmon moved to Pittsburgh.  Was this just another coincidence?

In summary, Harmon may have unilaterally made the decision not to report Sandusky to the authorities in 2001 to protect his former neighbor and church from embarrassment. When interviewed by the AG in 2011, Harmon likely cut a deal to avoid being charged.

Conclusion 2:  Harmon's self-interest to avoid being charged with failure to report child abuse likely caused him to lie about Schultz failing to tell him about the 2001 incident.


Wendell Courtney

In the early days of the scandal, some attention was paid to Courtney because of his ties to TSM, but as the scandal was skewed into a Penn State scandal only, curiosity and reporting on Courtney faded (as it did for TSM).  Those early stories focused on the question of whether Courtney had knowledge of the 1998 incident and the grand jury report's allegation that he was serving as the legal counsel for both TSM and PSU in 1998.   However, his eventual termination as legal counsel for PSU and subsequent hire by TSM should have raised more questions about his role in the scandal.

1998:  The Sandusky grand jury presentment (page 9) reported that Schultz had consulted Courtney about the 1998 incident (but failed to state Courtney was consulted about the 2001 incident).  It also reported that Courtney "was then and remains counsel for The Second Mile."

The Second Mile

Courtney immediately denied that he was the counsel for TSM in 1998 and attempted to correct the record.  However, AG press officer Nils Frederiksen refuted Courtney's claim arguing that it was "semantics" and that the point was that Courtney had knowledge of the 1998 investigation.  The question of Courtney's employment was resolved later in an article in the ABA Journal. TSM's new Executive Director David Woodle stated that Courtney was not retained by TSM until 2009.  This refuted the statement in the grand jury presentment, as well as Frederiksen's rebuttal.

Knowledge of the 1998 investigation

The question of whether or not Courtney had knowledge of the 1998 incident can be solved by comparing evidence for and evidence against.   

Evidence for:  Gary Schultz's grand jury testimony (page 217)  that "perhaps" Courtney was consulted in 1998 is the only evidence that indicates Courtney's knowledge of the incident.  It was that testimony that was the basis for the statement on page 9 of the grand jury presentment and it is dubious at best.

Evidence against:  When PSU received the report of abuse allegations against Sandusky on the morning of May 4th, 1998, Detective Schreffler contacted ADA J. Karen Arnold at 4:00PM that day to alert her to the investigation.  According to the Freeh Report (page 43), Schreffler did so, at least in part, so he didn't have "to worry about Old Main sticking their nose in the investigation."

At 5:00PM on May 4th and at May 5th prior to 9AM, Harmon provided Schultz with updates of the investigation (Freeh Report exhibits 2H and 2I).  There is no mention of Courtney in Schultz's handwritten notes memorializing the discussions.  Also, Courtney is not mentioned in any of the e-mails related to 1998 nor is he an addressee or a courtesy copy on them.

Conclusion 3:  The evidence does not support that Wendell Courtney had  contemporaneous knowledge of the 1998 investigation of Jerry Sandusky.


Courtney:  Obstruction in the
 recent Sandusky investigation?
2001:  Courtney's claim that he had no knowledge of sexual misconduct in the 2001 incident also appears to be truthful.

Courtney stated that "whether in 1998 or in 2002 (sic) or any other point in time, was I made aware or did I have knowledge of Jerry Sandusky engaging in sexual misconduct with young children."

Courtney's timesheet (Freeh Report exhibit 5A) from February 11, 2001 states that he spent 2.9 consulting and conducting research into the "reporting of suspected child abuse."  The word "sexual" does not appear on that record.  Also, Schultz contacted Courtney about the incident after discussing the incident with Paterno and Curley, but before speaking with McQueary, therefore it is unlikely that Schultz reported sexual misconduct.  According to McQueary, he didn't get into details with Paterno.  Paterno also stated he stopped McQueary early in the discussion due to the then-grad assistant being upset.

However, where Courtney veers into dubious territory is in his discussion of the files maintained (or more correctly, files that he failed to maintain) about 2001 Sandusky incident.  

According to the Freeh Report (page 83) on December 28, 2010, Schultz contacted Courtney regarding any information he may have had about Sandusky.  On December 30th, Courtney responded that the "last thing in my Penn State file" was the 1999 Sandusky retirement letter.

As proven by the billing record, Courtney should have had a record memorializing the consultation he made with Schultz regarding the 2001 incident.  Additionally, Courtney could have also searched his billing records to see if he had performed work regarding the incident.

In an e-mail to Cynthia Baldwin on January 9, 2011 (Freeh Report, page 84), Courtney wrote that we "don't have any file on the matter you and I discussed yesterday....I recall that someone (I don't think it was me, since if it was I would have written documentation of contact) contacted Children and Youth Services to advise of the situation."  

Courtney was also consulted about how to handle the January 7, 2010 grand jury subpoena that requested all employment and personnel records for Sandusky.  

The Freeh Report (page 82) stated that the lawyer handling the request was a PSU employee and that person did not tell Courtney the subpoena concerned Sandusky.  I find that statement hard to believe, given that Courtney was the lead counsel for PSU at the time and was treated in the same manner as any other Vice-President at the University.  Even so,Courtney also should have had some record on this consultation on file or in his billing records.

These deficiencies in record keeping begs the question, did Courtney expunge the records in his Penn State file after being retained by TSM to represent them in the Sandusky case?

Did disgruntlement contribute to PSU's records going missing?

McQuaide Blasko (MB) had provided legal services to Penn State for over half a century, however in the late Spring of 2009, the Board of Trustees recommended to Spanier that PSU should have its own in-house counsel.  It is quite a coincidence that this proposal bubbled up at the time that the Sandusky investigation had made its way to then-Attorney General, Tom Corbett.

Spanier did not immediately embrace the idea and requested that then VP of Business and Finance, Al Horvath, contract for an outside review.  The review concluded that MB was providing good service, but recommended that a small inside General Counsel's (GC) office be established while maintaining most of the legal services via contract.



Baldwin: Looked like a great hire...
...but turned out to be a disaster.
Eventual GC Cynthia Baldwin, in her role as emeritus trustee, was present at the BOT meetings in which the in-house counsel proposal was discussed.  After the approval of the proposal, Baldwin approached Spanier and offered to take the GC position.

Spanier believed Baldwin would be a wonderful choice, given her legal background as a former judge and that she was the former head of the PSU Alumni Association and also served as Co-Chair and Chair of the BOT.   The compensation committee, composed of Surma, Broadhurst, Garban, and Strumpf, were also enthusiastic about the hire.  Baldwin's hire was announced in January 2010 and she took over as GC on February 15th.

Conversely, MB was not at all pleased with the decision.  

One MB employee remarked that Baldwin had been foisted on PSU.  In addition, once Baldwin was in place as GC, she began taking work away from MB and moving it to her old firm, Duane Morris.

Therefore, between Courtney being removed as PSU's top legal advisor, reductions of business at MB by PSU, and his role representing TSM in the Sandusky case, he certainly had motivations to give PSU some pay back (e.g., expunging the 2001 records).  

Now, combine that with the fact that TSM's records related to Sandusky also went missing and it appears that one could make a fair case for obstruction of the investigation by Courtney.

Conclusion 4:  Courtney's failure to possess and maintain records related to the Sandusky case is highly questionable and has the appearance of obstruction of the investigation. 

In summary, it appears that both Tom Harmon and Wendell Courtney has sufficient motivation to be less than truthful about their respective roles in the 2001 Sandusky incident.  Certainly, if the case of the PSU Three ever gets to trial, the defense will be able to raise many issues of reasonable doubt when Harmon and Courtney are called to testify.




Monday, August 18

Trial transcripts add evidence that Spanier was Corbett's ultimate target in Sandusky investigation

A sidebar discussing the possible use of e-mail evidence during the Sandusky trial revealed that the PA OAG wasn't going to try the cases of Curley and Schultz

By
Ray Blehar

In my February 1, 2014 blogpost, titled "Sandusky scandal marked by deception, suppression and manipulation," I posited the theory that a political vendetta by Tom Corbett against Graham Spanier was the critical turning point in the Sandusky case.  The timeline below, which shows that the case took off after the Corbett-Spanier budget battle, as well as other evidence, supported that theory.

























The timeline not only supports the theory that the budget battle was the most important catalyst of the Sandusky investigation, but negated the theory that electoral politics were what caused the investigation to lag.  

Other evidence supporting the budget battle theory includes that PSU officials were informed (on or about January 31, 2012) that "Fina expected Curley and Schultz to flip,' the failure to charge Spanier at the same time as Curley and Schultz, the chain of custody and tampering issues regarding the e-mail evidence, and Baldwin's forced "flip-flop" on Spanier.


Trial Transcripts Provide More Evidence

While reviewing the 6-18-2012 Sandusky trial transcripts (pps. 162175)-back in June of this past year, I took particular notice to a sidebar discussion regarding the possible use (by the defense) of the grand jury transcripts of Curley, Schultz, and Spanier as a method of impeaching the testimony of Mike McQueary.  

After some discussion, defense counsel Karl Rominger then limited his request to just pages 3 through 8 of Tim Curley' s testimony. As the discussion continued, prosecutor Joseph McGettigan brought up that their side could use the e-mails and Schultz's notes,as well as the perjury charges, as "tremendous contrary evidence."  

Not long after that, Judge Cleland began discussion and brought up the concept that the Commonwealth could have been using the indictments against Curley and Schultz to "hamstring the defense" in the Sandusky case (see page 169).  However, as it concerns Spanier, Judge Cleland's comment that use of the email and other evidence might compromise the OAG's case against Curley and Schultz is the more critical discussion.


McGettigan: "We're not
going to try that case."

























As the discussion continued, Judge Cleland was "thinking out loud" that the use of the email and other evidence might compromise Curley and Schultz's right to fair trial down the road.  

Seconds later, prosecutor Joseph McGettingan made the surprising admission that the Commonwealth was "not going to try that case."  The latter statement supporting the existing evidence that the OAG's strategy was to get Curley and Schultz to flip on Spanier (after Spanier was charged).




"Flip" would save Commonwealth's weak case

The Commonwealth's case against Spanier is flimsily supported by the grand jury testimony of former PSU General Counsel Cynthia Baldwin and three emails, only one of which  contains anything of substance, and even it is of dubious provenance.

Baldwin
As I wrote back in December 2013, Baldwin's grand jury testimony has been refuted by practically everyone else who had some role in the case, including Spanier, PSU PR employee Lisa Powers, PSU IT employee John Corro,  OAG employees Braden Cook and Agent Sassano and even members of the PSU Board of Trustees.  


Baldwin's testimony was refuted by
everyone else in the Sandusky case
If Curley and Schultz were not facing charges, they too would have refuted Baldwin's testimony, however their pre-grand jury interviews managed to do just that.  Baldwin contended that she had met on several occasions with the PSU Three to discuss grand jury Subpoena 1179, which requested files relating to the 2002 (sic) incident involving Sandusky and any other known incidents.  Ironically, at their pre-grand jury police interviews (Exhibit B) neither Curley or Schultz knew the year of the incident, with Schultz believing it took place sometime after 2003 and Curley stating it was in 2000.  It's a stretch to believe Baldwin told them to search for records but didn't tell them the year in which the incident occurred.

Then there's Baldwin herself, who can only be described as duplicitous in her representation of the PSU Three.  When asked the question if she represented Tim and Gary, she evaded answering by simply stating that Tim was an employee and Gary was retired.  In Spanier's case, before he testified she told the grand jury judge (page 28)  that she "represents the University solely," then did not correct the record when Spanier identified her as his counsel (page 3).  

Baldwin also "flipped' her position on Spanier, first telling government investigators who were processing his security clearance that he was "a man of integrity" but later told a grand jury (page 70) the exact opposite, "that he was not a man of integrity. He lied to me."  Baldwin's alleged change of heart about Spanier came after the Freeh Report was released. That argument doesn't hold water either, because there was no evidence about Spanier in the Freeh Report that Baldwin shouldn't have already seen (save the one tampered e-mail).  Even so, that e-mail doesn't refute Spanier's claim of believing horseplay took place in 2001.

I doubt the Commonwealth has much confidence that Baldwin's testimony would be believed by a jury.


E-mail Chain of Custody
The prosecution, Spanier/PSU critics, and the media all seem to believe that a February 27-28, 2001 email of which Spanier was a conversant, provides "rock solid evidence" that Spanier, Curley, and Schultz decided not to report Sandusky to the authorities.  It was in that email that Spanier allegedly wrote "then we become vulnerable for not reporting it."  

One of the reasons they believe it is because they are oblivious to the chain of custody issue  regarding all of the e-mail evidence used in the case.


Freeh Report findings were about Paterno and
the e-mails refuted by Fina, Moulton, and others
Snippets of the e-mail were first leaked in the press in mid-June 2012, just before the Sandusky trial.  Media coverage of the e-mail leaks then became more prominent at the end of June, with CNN leading the reporting.  The full e-mails were released as part of the Freeh Report as the most important evidence in the case.  According to former FBI-Director Louis Freeh, they proved not only a cover up, but that Joe Paterno was the only intervening factor that caused PSU officials not to report Sandusky to the proper authorities.  

In September 2013, Freeh's allegation that Paterno was part of the cover-up was refuted by lead prosecutor Frank Fina.   

But Fina was not the only person to refute Freeh's e-mail assertions.

All of the e-mail evidence used in the case were from the mail folders of Gary Schultz.   At the report press conference, Freeh announced that his team had made "independent discovery" of the e-mail evidence on March 20, 2012.  

"Our investigative team made independent discovery of critical 1998 and 2001 emails – the most important evidence in this investigation."

Freeh's statement was refuted by testimony at the July 2013 preliminary hearing of the PSU Three, Spanier's grand jury proceedings, and by Geoffrey Moulton's investigation.  The media, particularly the Wall Street Journal (whom I contacted personally) refused to print these revelations, thus the public has yet to learn that Freeh lied about the e-mail (and other evidence) during his press conference. 

At the preliminary hearing,  PSU IT department employee John Corro testified that he had provided three thumb drives containing emails in response to Subpoena 1179 to Cynthia Baldwin in April 2011 (page 89).  Furthermore OAG computer forensics expert Braden Cook stated that in March 2012, he realized the Schultz e-mails were missing from the inventory.  Cook then stated he received Schultz's network file share on a DVD from the OAG computer unit on March 23, 2012 (page 107).   

Then PSU-Counsel Cynthia Baldwin informed the court at Spanier's April 2011 colloquy (page 27) that the PSU IT Department (i.e., PSU's SOS unit) was searching for the e-mails related to Subpoena 1179 and she promised to turn them over by April 15, 2011.

To recap to this point, four different timeframes were mentioned regarding the turnover of the email evidence:  April 2011 (Corro); April 15, 2011 (Baldwin); March 20, 2012 (Freeh); and March 23, 2012 (Cook).  

It doesn't stop there.


Kelly:  Obstruction allegations re: email
have been refuted by the Moulton report.
The Conspiracy of Silence grand jury presentment (page 32) alleged that the emails and other evidence were not searched for and found until the first four months of 2012.  In addition, it alleged (page 22) that the PSU IT department (SOS) was not used to find the email evidence until after the arrests of Curley and Schultz.  Both allegations are patently false, given that Corro is an SOS employee and testified to searching for and obtaining the emails in April 2011.



After five different dates/time-frames, Geoffrey Moulton put the final nail in the coffin at #6.

#6:  The Final Nail
The report of the Sandusky investigation (page 158)  by Special Deputy Attorney General Geoffrey Moulton  revealed (as part of the investigation timeline )that a thumb-drive containing the Penn State e-mail evidence was turned over to Trooper Scott Rossman on July 7, 2011.  


"July 7, 2011.  Tpr. Rossman receives a thumb drive containing Penn State emails. "

Therefore, the Moulton Report disproved not only Freeh's statement of independent discovery by his team in March 2012, but also disproved the former-AG Linda Kelly's allegations in the Conspiracy of Silence presentment that the e-mails were not turned over by PSU until the first four months of 2012.  

The analysis and conclusions regarding the e-mail evidence (which could be tossed due to chain of custody) also lends credence to the theory that getting Curley and/or Schultz to implicate Spanier was the preferred, if not the only way, that the OAG could get a conviction.  

E-mail Tampering
Moulton's verification of the true date that the e-mails finally made their way to the lead investigator also lends credence to my theory of evidence tampering.   If the e-mail evidence, particularly from 27-28 February 2001, was turned over in April 2011, then Spanier could have been (wrongly) charged with failure to report child abuse at the same time as Curley and Schultz.

The likely reason Spanier wasn't charged is because the contents of the e-mail in April 2011 didn't match the contents of the e-mail that was included in the Freeh Report.

Given that Freeh's computers were not part of the University system, any information processed on them could have been subject to alteration and there would be no audit trail left behind at PSU.  When Freeh packed up and left State College, you can bet his computer hard drives were either wiped or trashed as not to leave an evidence trail.

Forensic analysis of the email in question by document and computer forensics experts all concluded the e-mail was suspicious and needed to be compared with an original version of the e-mail from the PSU server.   The interpersed html code, specifically the single " " within the response by Curley, as well as the fact that Schultz signature block, not Spanier's should be at the bottom are indications of suspected tampering. 





The appearance of html in the body of emails can occur when when converting a
Eudora mailbox to Outlook.  In this case there were five Eudora emails from the February 2001 time-frame included as evidence exhibits in the Freeh Report.  Only two of the five have the interspersed html code and in both cases, contain the wrong signature block, which (not so) coincidentally belonged to Spanier.   Those emails were likely subject to tampering.

When the e-mails were tampered with, they were first downloaded from Eudora as plain text files and edited in Outlook in rich text (or html).  They were likely messy looking when downloaded, but to no avail, Freeh's team went about its business. When the changes were made, they were saved back to the Eudora mail box with the messy html still visible. 

My review of the Freeh Report appendices found that nearly of dozen e-mails and documents showed signs of tampering. This evidence has been turned over to law enforcement.


Fina's statement to PSU officials

Despite the lack of openness we've experienced from the Penn State administration recently, Universities are rather open environments and not of the mindset of the ways in which seemingly benign information can be very valuable to an adversary.  As a result, Universities, including PSU, are not very proficient at safeguarding information and data.  

As a result of these deficiencies, information related to the Sandusky case and subsequent NCAA investigation was not properly safeguarded and made its way outside the University.  Among that information was Fina's statement to PSU officials that he "expected Curley and Schultz to flip."  

In addition, other leaked information revealed that Schultz had been approached by the Commonwealth and asked to testify against Spanier.  Schultz refused to do so, allegedly telling the prosecution that he wasn't going to perjure himself to implicate Spanier, especially when he was already facing perjury charges.

Conclusion

In summary, Fina is on the record as expecting Curley and Schultz to "flip."  McGettigan is on the record stating that the Commonwealth "wasn't going to try that case" (i.e., Curley and Schultz).  It seems clear that by June 2012, the OAG was getting the charges ready against Spanier and believed that Curley and Schultz would testify against the former President to save their own backsides.   That didn't happen.

AG Kathleen Kane has been steadfast in her statements about prosecuting the case, however, the key driver there appears to be politics.  As we saw in the un-prosecutable Ali bribery case, Kane's opponents in the GOP and the media went after her relentlessly for not prosecuting four Democratic legislators who accepted gifts totaling  $16,500.  Meanwhile, the informant, Ali, had been given "the deal of the century" by former prosecutor Fina, who dismissed over 2,000 charges related to a fraud of $430,000. 


Schultz, Spanier, and Curley: Being scapegoated to
cover up the failures of PA's child protection system
I suspect that Judge Hoover and Kane are waiting for the Federal investigation of The Second Mile to conclude in order to have the political cover to ditch the case of the PSU Three.

When, and if that happens, how long will it take for  the media realize the whole case against PSU was a smokescreen to cover up the failures of PA's child protection system and of The Second Mile in the Sandusky case?  And that the Freeh investigation was a complete sham.


Deborah C. Beidel: Letter Writing Campaign to Penn State Alumni Association


Friends and Fellow Alumni

On a different Facebook page, Susan Beck Wilson, a former member of the Alumni Council and a current leader of our efforts to right the wrongs at Penn State, asked us to write letters. Letters to the Penn Stater, Roger Williams (Executive Director of the Alumni Association
, Kay Salvino (Current President of the Alumni Council) and perhaps your local Alumni Council representative. 

The Penn Stater magazine
Hintz Family Alumni Center
University Park, PA 16802
pennstater@psu.edu

Roger Williams
0202A Hintz Family Alumni Center
University Park, PA 16802


Kay Salvino
President, Penn State Alumni AssociationHintz Family Alumni Center
University Park, PA 16802

Although she is right that letters, not just emails are probably most effective, if you do email one of them (and PLEASE contact all of them), please copy me at deborahbeidelPSU@gmail.com. I want to collect all of the communication that we send, so we have our own record of how many alumni are engaged. If you write letters, send me an email listing the people to whom you wrote letters. I will download every email that I will receive and I will take it to the September BOT meeting. Think of the visual if I get to speak at the meeting or if I get to speak to the media. They will not be able to dismiss us as a minority.

I will take them to the first Alumni Council meeting in October and ask how we as an association can disenfranchise our members in this fashion.

I will plant a tree for every ream of paper that I use – hopefully, you will all allow me to plant a forest. So please write those letters and copy me. Since they won’t open the email – I would just put in the subject line “No change in alumni seat apportionment”. You can also write directly to me and express your outrage at the potential change.

Dandrea wants numbers – let’s give him real numbers. And as always, leave your thoughts on my Alumni Council Facebook page Deborah Casamassa Beidel – Penn State Alumni Council.
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Deborah-Casamassa-Beidel-Penn-State-Alumni-Council/512119348898683


I will use this page to communicate with Penn State alumni about activities of the Alumni Council.

Saturday, August 16

Jay Paterno: 409


June 18, 2014
The Normandy Inn—Blue Bell, PA

I want to thank everyone for coming out here tonight to be a part of a special evening like this. It really does a soul good to feel the love for Penn State that is in this room. I want to thank the artist Daniel Duffy for a couple of things. First for creating a unique and meaningful work of art and second for presenting it to my mother and our family. The way you’ve woven all the wins into a broader image of a great man is really a wonderful concept.

Before we go any further—before anyone accuses us of trying to live in the past or hang on to something let me say this clearly:

“You can root like hell every Saturday for the current team, yet still fight for the truth in our past---THEY ARE NOT MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE GOALS.”  Don’t let anyone tell you that they are—in fact one helps the other.

Tonight through his art we celebrate the number 409.

In July 2012 when the NCAA announced the sanctions against Penn State and the stripping of all the wins from 1998 through 2011 I wasn’t really concerned with the wins. I was angry at the things that were said about our program and our university’s culture of big football; our flawed culture of big football.

It was another punch in the face after having to watch Louis Freeh falsely allege all kinds of horrible things about our program and Joe Paterno just eleven days earlier. It was hard to watch those shots fired at our university and then to see people in the administration who knew better simply choose not to defend what they knew to be true—a truth that ran completely counter to that report.

So when the sanctions were announced I felt isolation, I felt helplessness for the young men in our program who were being punished, for a university that was being punished for the actions of a former employee.

Shortly thereafter I saw the 409 car magnets, t-shirts, signs, hats that started to sprout up.

I have to confess that it was hard to see, it was hard to be in State College and see the constant reminders of it, reminders that I had lost my Dad and what had been taken from us. I just wanted it and the fight to just go away. My father didn’t care about wins and records and I was convinced that he would’ve said to just let it all go.

That was just selfish on my part----and I was wrong.

I started to hear from former players, from alumni, from current students from people I’d never met. They called, e-mailed, wrote letters, stopped me on the street—all with the same message.

“Please don’t stop fighting. This isn’t right.”

One former player said to me “Jay those are all of our wins they took. I got hurt in some of those games and now they want to tell me they never happened?”

Once again I realized the bigger lesson of what my father had always preached—we are part of a team and being part of a team requires us to put aside individual preferences for the good of the group.

Life would be easier if I could just go away and never talk about this ever again.

But then the truth would lose…..not just for Joe Paterno.

I realized 409 meant something much bigger.

It took the words of other people to teach me the meaning of 409, and to remind me of what my father had once said to me.

In December of 2011 a childhood friend home for Christmas came with me to see my father. My friend had known my father as just a man who lived in the neighborhood and raised one of his best friends. That day we sat in my father’s room and talked of family, of years gone by, and inevitably the events at Penn State.

A USA Today article had quoted a Penn State official stating that he “hoped Penn State would become known as a world-class research university rather than a football factory.”

That came up and the pain became apparent in my father’s face and voice.

He said to us “We ARE known as a great research university and we’ve never been a football factory. That is an insult to every student-athlete, coach, administrator, team doctor, academic advisor, professor and alum in every sport and every department who have done the right things the right way…the harder way…for decades.”

That was months before the NCAA sanctions, but that was the lesson of 409.

409 means more than wins. As you look at the picture Daniel Duffy has created what I hope you take out of it is this…the wins are moments, they represent hard work, sacrifice and triumph but as you back away they are threads, points in time that when woven together create a rich tapestry of unmatched and unsurpassed “Success With Honor.”

The NCAA may or may not reduce the sanctions further with the hopes of trying to paint the fight as nothing more than a fight for wins and a place in the record books. Nothing could be further from the truth.

They’ve alleged that we are trying to re-write history. THEY’VE tried to re-write history---We are trying to re-claim the truth. Reclaim the truth from people who mangled it, twisting it for agendas or reasons that only they can confess to having.

Despite trying to portray it as a Paterno Family lawsuit, they forget that the lawsuit they face isn’t just from our family—on that suit are Trustees, Former Players, Former Coaches and Faculty members—all willing to stand up and show the courage to re-claim the truth.

409 has a deeper meaning.

In a time when the NCAA is rife with stories of players taking money, of players demanding to unionize, of a basketball player being on the dean’s list admitting that he did so without ever having attended a single class….409 should be the NCAA’s shining city on the hill.

As coaching salaries spiral ever higher, and athletic departments race to spend more and more money on facilities and perks for staff and administrators---409 should be an example of a program living within its means.

Surely 409 represents an imperfect program---any human endeavor will be scarred by imperfection—that is the nature of our humanity. But while it was imperfect Penn State football and indeed all of Penn State athletics led by Tim Curley pursued high ideals, pursued perfection.

We graduated our student-athletes, we maintained higher eligibility standards than those set by the NCAA and the Big Ten. While we did that we won more National Titles since joining the Big Ten than any other Big Ten program and in fact since 2007 no Athletic Department in the nation has won more national titles than Penn State. On the football field over the last 7 calendar years of his career Joe Paterno led his teams to the 6th-best record on the country and stood as the ONLY program in the country to win over 77% of our games and graduate over 80% our student-athletes.

All this was done without academic fraud, all of this was done without any major NCAA infractions---and regardless of what was handed down in July of 2012—that remains the TRUTH.

Was that a flawed culture of football? Hell No.

But 409 is more than that—much like the artwork tonight--it is the threads woven—individual stories that occurred across decades.

It is Adam Taliaferro here tonight who Joe Paterno promised would walk again—and he did creating one of the great moments in our University’s history when he walked onto the field in 2001. Adam is on the lawsuit fighting the NCAA and I am proud to have him on our team.

It is Richard Gardner who was determined to prove he could play big-time college football. He walked on from a small private high-school in Chicago and his family paid his way. Ultimately he persevered got a scholarship, a starting position graduated from Penn State and went on to the NFL. In fact he was one of several walk-ons from 1999 through 2011 who came to Penn State graduated and went on to the NFL.  He is also on our lawsuit team.

It is Anthony Adams from inner-city Detroit—his father was sent away to prison when Anthony was 4 years old. His mother Connie raised him so well, to value education. He went on to play a long time in the NFL but he came back a year after he finished playing at Penn State to finish his degree and he took that diploma to have his picture taken next to a statue that used to be outside Beaver Stadium. When we recruited Anthony, Connie told us that she was always very careful to evaluate the kind of men, the examples in Anthony’s life and that she wanted him around Joe Paterno, around Larry Johnson and me.

409 was a coach, a staff, a team a university and a fan base who stood by Rashard Casey in 2000 when he was unjustly and falsely accused of a crime that he never committed. Amid the tempest winds of a media storm demanding punishment without due process the leadership stood firm by Rashard’s side because we knew the content of his character.

We were right.

In the years taken away by the NCAA they stripped away the young men who competed in the classroom and on the field. From 1998-2011 Penn State had two dozen players named Academic All-Americans—the highest number in the country over that span.

From 1998 through 2011 Penn State won Big Ten Titles in Football, had 2 players named Big Ten MVP and two Heisman Trophy Finalists…..

Their stories of perseverance are the threads in the story of 409.

409 was about an Athletic Department that was a self-sustaining operation that became a boost to the reputation of our University because it was run by people who understood that athletics was there to serve the Academic mission of Penn State and not the other way around.

I don’t care how much money they’ve paid former Senator George Mitchell to write every three months that Penn State is “moving towards compliance”

It begs the question; how does a school that was already in compliance move towards compliance?

I guess some people will write anything if the check is big enough and it clears.

That is why 409 is important—it is a symbol of our history, the truth that we all witnessed. You can’t make us un-see what we know to be true—but some day those who witnessed will all be gone and our history must be recorded accurately.

College football is rooted in tradition. Those who try to separate us from those roots leave a fan base that is anchorless.

That’s why 409 is so much bigger than wins, awards, records, trophies and championships.

There is a truer meaning to the number 409 and what it stands for.

409 was teaching young men about life, it was not about using football to fill stadiums or make money or build a brand or get rich or for entertainment on a Saturday afternoon. Those were all outgrowths of what the true mission of football was at Penn State, the true story of 409.

409 was understanding that Penn State was not for everyone. It was for the student-athlete who had three goals—goals that were ranked by importance in this precise order:

1. Get a meaningful education and graduate

2. Be part of great football TEAMS

3. Move on to the NFL—if the talent and desire were there

In that order –Education, TEAM and then individual goals.

409 was about players getting a chance to play regardless of their high school resume, and getting a chance—a legitimate chance beyond one or two years—to prove their abilities and grow as people as students and as athletes.

Look around folks, and I would urge that the people who run big-time college athletics need to take a good hard look at the state of big-time college sports right now. Almost every headline we’re reading right now is about MONEY. It is coaching contracts, television contracts, National Championship Playoff revenue, it is $10.8 billion over 14 years for the TV rights to March Madness.

Mark Emmert and the conference commissioners and the people who make decisions should take another look at what 409 was all about. If they’d open their minds to the truth they’d see that even as recently as 2011 it was possible to run a program that placed the welfare of the student-athlete as the central focus of a big-time football program—certainly well ahead of winning at all costs.

But I suspect I am Don Quixote tilting at windmills. I suspect that 409 represents an ideal, a truth that most of them could never see, and never wanted to believe in—including some people who made decisions at our own university.

When the times got tough it was easier to throw aside all that 409 represented rather than fight to defend it.

However, what they could never understand was what 409 meant to so many people—many who never played at Penn State or ever even met Joe Paterno. The people in this room.

Thomas Paine once wrote “Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness that gives everything its value”

What they didn’t get was how hard we worked to achieve every victory on and—more importantly—off the field.

What they could never understand, because it was never theirs to begin with, was that in giving away the honor that was won the hard way for the school—they gave away something that was obtained through difficult conflict, the road less taken of Success With Honor.

What they could not understand was that 409 did not belong to one man—Joe Paterno. They could not understand what Joe Paterno said to my good friend just weeks before he died—this was not about him.

They could not understand that 409 belonged to every student-athlete at Penn State, every coach, every administrator, every professor and every alum who understood that we are different. It belonged to so many people—people in this room included.

A friend said to me recently about Penn State that “maybe now we’re like everyone else.”

I looked at him and said “You say that like it’s a good thing.” He looked at me with a puzzled look on his face.

I said “That was exactly the point—we never aspired to be like everyone else. That’s settling---We wanted to be the best and that’s what makes Penn State different.”

It is not bragging or boastful. This spring I visited Dan Rooney in the Steelers offices—and their building is not flashy, not in your face—much like the Lasch Building when Joe Paterno was there. I mentioned that to him and he told me a story.

When they got back from their first Super Bowl Championship Dan walked into the office and heard the receptionist answer the phone “Good Morning Pittsburgh Steelers—The World Champions”. He stopped until she’d put the call through and told her calmly to never say that again.

“If they don’t already know it doesn’t matter. We don’t boast.”

That story hit home.

Perhaps 409 is best summed up by a quote that hung in Joe Paterno’s office for years, the faded framed quotation hangs in my den now and that same quote is carved into the gravestone of Joe Paterno.

409 is what Robert Browning said “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp or what’s a heaven for?”

409 was reaching for the ideal, stretching further than we thought we could and going further together as a team,  as a university, than we ever could as individuals.

That is why we fight—not to get some wins back but rather because those threads are bound together into a masterpiece of truth and Success With Honor. It was the Mona Lisa, the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and when this fight is over it will be restored not for Joe Paterno but for every man and woman who helped weave a thread into this story—all of you.

When that day comes I will put a car magnet on my car and it will say “410”