Criminal Justice / Welfare System neglect deflected onto Penn State / Paterno

Posted on July 23rd, 2012 in News and Commentary

For those  desirous of knowing what actually took place as well as the multitude infected by the current hysteria  in large part instituted by former Attorney General and current Governor Tom Corbett to deflect blame from himself, the following re-print of Bill Keisling’s January 24th, 2012 article will serve as at least a partial antidote.

Timeline: Penn State / Sandusky / Corbett

Posted on January 24th, 2012 in Keisling on Pennsylvania Politics, News and Commentary

A part of a RealReporting.org/Newslanc.com series

By Bill Keisling

Editor’s note: Associates of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett say there is more to the Penn State / Jerry Sandusky scandal than meets the eye.

Events took place over decades, many people are involved, and it is a complex story. NewsLanc accordingly has put together a detailed timeline based upon public record, published accounts, and information from those close to the situation. This timeline serves as an introduction and guide to articles that will soon follow.

The connections among pedophilia, illegal drugs, and politics in the state attorney general’s office suggests that, like an iceberg, there is much more beneath the surface than the Sandusky pedophilia charges indicate.

1950: Joe Paterno is hired by Penn State as an assistant football coach.

1966: Joe Paterno is named head coach of Penn State football team.

1969: Jerry Sandusky is hired as assistant coach at Penn State. Sandusky and his wife begin adopting their first of six children.

1977: Sandusky forms the Second Mile charity. The foundation takes its name from Matthew 5:38-41: “Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles.” (Catholic) “And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.” (King James version)

1995: Sandusky’s adopted son, Matt, attempts suicide shortly after moving in with the Sanduskys, prompting Matt’s probation officer to write letters to a judge saying that she was concerned about Matt’s “safety and his current progress.”

October 3, 1995: Tom Corbett is appointed Pennsylvania Attorney General following the resignation of AG Ernie Preate, who is indicted on federal mail fraud and corruption charges for taking payoffs from organized crime and gambling interests. Interim AG Corbett fills out Preate’s term until January 22, 1997. In late 1996, AG Corbett learns of an ongoing sex ring in York, Pennsylvania, involving Republican State Senator Dan Delp and dozens of other “VIPs.” AG Corbett intentionally cripples or otherwise bungles that investigation, York city officials assert. The York sex ring continues unabated.

May 1998 : Report of Jerry Sandusky in PSU shower room lifting Victim 6 up to shower head. After Sandusky brought her son home with wet hair, Victim 6’s mother reports the incident to Penn State University police. The complaint was referred to Ray Gricar, the District Attorney of Centre County. The case was first assigned to Centre County Assistant DA Karen Arnold. Arnold had the case for “two or three days,” she says, and then DA Gricar took the case from her, saying he (Gricar) was going to personally handle it. No charges were filed.

May 1999: Coach Joe Paterno tells Sandusky that Sandusky will not be named Paterno’s replacement as head PSU football coach, and Sandusky retires with emeritus status. Sandusky still has access to Penn State facilities. The grand jury presentment states: “Victim 4 remembers Sandusky being emotionally upset after having a meeting with Joe Paterno in which Paterno told Sandusky he would not be the next head coach at Penn State and which preceded Sandusky’s retirement. Sandusky told Victim 4 not to tell anyone about the (Paterno) meeting. That meeting occurred in May, 1999.”

Fall 2000: PSU janitor James Calhoun reports to other janitors that he witnessed Sandusky performing oral sex on a boy in the Lasch Building shower room.

March 1, 2002: Graduate assistant Mike McQueary says he observes Sandusky apparently having anal sex with a young boy in the Lasch Building shower room. That night McQueary talks with his father and discusses what to do. The next day, March 2, McCreary meets with Coach Joe Paterno and tells Paterno explicitly what he had observed. Paterno tells McQueary, “‘Well, I’m sorry you had to see that. It’s terrible.’ And he said, ‘I need to think and tell some people about what you saw and I’ll let you know what — what we’ll do next.’” (December 16, 2011 preliminary hearing transcript page 26.) Paterno reports the incident to his boss, PSU Director of Athletics, Tim Curley, the following Monday. The grand jury presentment reads (page 8): “Schultz testified that he was called to a meeting with Joe Paterno and Tim Curley, in which Paterno reported ‘disturbing’ and ‘inappropriate’ conduct in the shower by Sandusky upon a young boy, as reported to him by a student or graduate student.”

The presentment further reads (page 7): “Approximately one and a half weeks later, the graduate assistant was called to a meeting with Penn State Athletic Director Curley and Senior Vice President for Finance and Business Gary Schultz. The graduate assistant reported to Curley and Schultz that he had witnessed what he believed to be Sandusky having anal sex with a boy in the Lasch Building showers. Curley and Schultz assured the graduate assistant that they would look into it and determine what further action they would take. Paterno was not present for this meeting.”

Late March 2002: Curley contacts McQueary to say that Sandusky no longer has keys to the PSU locker room, and that the incident has been reported to Second Mile charity. Curley and Schultz meet with PSU President Graham Spanier, according to the grand jury presentment, “to report an incident with Jerry Sandusky that made a member of Curley’s staff ‘uncomfortable.’”

The presentment reads (page 7): “The graduate assistant heard back from Curley a couple of weeks later. He was told that Sandusky’s keys to the locker room were taken away and that the incident had been reported to The Second Mile. The graduate assistant was never questioned by University Police. … Curley testified that he informed Dr. Jack Raykovitz, Executive Director of the Second Mile of the conduct reported to him and met with Sandusky to advise Sandusky that he was prohibited from bringing youth onto the Penn State campus from that point forward.”

The presentment further relates (page 9) that: “Schultz testified that the 1998 incident was reviewed by the University Police and ‘the child protection agency’ with the blessing of then-University counsel Wendell Courtney. Courtney was then and remains counsel for The Second Mile.”

January 18, 2005: Tom Corbett is sworn in as Pennsylvania’s 46th Attorney General, having won election the previous November.

March 31, 2005: AG Corbett holds a press conference with Centre County DA Ray Gricar to announce the prosecution of Taji “Verbal” Lee in the “largest heroin operation that we have ever seen in Centre County, feeding a drug trade that stretched throughout the region and allegedly resulted in at least one deadly overdose,” AG Corbett says. Senior Deputy Attorney General Michael T. Madeira, who works in AG Corbett’s Drug Strike Force Section, will prosecute this drug case, AG Corbett announces. The State College newspaper reports that, “Gricar pointed out that heroin and cocaine were problems that have been increasing throughout Pennsylvania.”

April 15, 2005: Centre County District Attorney Ray Gricar vanishes.

April 20, 2005 : Days after DA Gricar’s disappearance, a former Brigham Young University offensive lineman makes a splash in the national press by saying there is widespread steroid use in college athletics, including at BYU.

April 2005: In a press conference in Bellefonte, PA, Bellefonte Police Chief Duane Dixon, when asked about a possible connection between DA Gricar’s disappearance and drug cases, says, “They’re looking into that.” Referring to decisions already made in Attorney General Corbett’s office, Dixon says, “they don’t think” drug cases had anything to do with DA Gricar’s strange disappearance. Though Chief Dixon has jurisdiction in the missing person case, he cedes authority in this area to the attorney general’s office. Chief Dixon points out that the recent “Verbal” Lee heroin case, for example, was not actually prosecuted by DA Gricar, but by Senior Deputy Attorney General Michael Madeira.

January 2006: Tom Corbett’s drug prosecutor, former Deputy Attorney General Michael Madeira, is sworn in as the new district attorney of Centre County, replacing missing DA Ray Gricar.  There is still no serious investigation of Gricar’s disappearance. Instead, unsubstantiated reports in the press of Gricar sightings from strangers are treated as reasons not to suspect foul play.

March 2009: Citing a personal conflict of interest between himself and Jerry Sandusky, Centre County DA Madeira refers a pedophile complaint or complaints involving Sandusky to his former boss, Pennsylvania AG Corbett. Corbett associates says Corbett makes it clear to his staff that he does not want to prosecute the Sandusky case, and effectively places the Sandusky investigation in limbo.

Between May to September 2009: Pennsylvania’s two statewide grand juries are in recess, as normal, for summer.

September 14, 2009: AG Tom Corbett formally announces that he is running for governor of Pennsylvania. The Harrisburg Patriot-News -driven “Bonusgate” scandal becomes the core of Corbett’s political campaign for governor. The Patriot portrays AG Corbett as a corruption-fighting crime buster.

There are only two statewide grand juries at any time, each with 18-month terms. Grand jurors only meet part time, a few hours each week. In an effort to get Tom Corbett elected governor, the grand jury time is by now almost totally saturated by “Bonusgate” matters.

December 10, 2009: Acquittal in “Bonusgate” trial of former state Rep. Sean Ramaley. Corbett fears for his election prospects. AG Corbett orders all the agents in the Bureau of Criminal Investigation to drop whatever they are doing to perform background checks on approximately 350 potential jurors in the “Bonusgate” jury pool. Corbett says he suspects jury tampering by his political opponents. The Sandusky investigation continues to languish.

November 2, 2010: AG Tom Corbett is elected governor of Pennsylvania.

November 2010: First Deputy Attorney General William Ryan, a longtime career prosecutor in the AG’s office, is mentioned in the state press as a logical contender for appointment as Corbett’s replacement as attorney general.

Ryan however soon learns that he will be passed over by Corbett for the honor. Ryan is increasingly the de facto AG after the November election while Corbett is absorbed by the transition. Corbett associates say Ryan is “pissed off,” and tells AG office staff that he will make no major changes until the permanent AG is sworn in sometime in 2011.

November 2010: AG Office Bureau of Narcotics Investigation and Drug Control Agent Anthony Sassano, conducting a narcotics investigation, performs a “toll search” of telephone records and gets a hit on the office PACE system (Police Assisted Computerized Entry) that reveals to Sassano the Sandusky pedophile investigation that has stalled within the AG’s office. Agent Sassano soon learns of the 1998 and 2002 pedophile complaints involving Sandusky.

Also in November 2010: AG’s office investigators researching the 1998 and 2002 pedophile complaints against Sandusky recognize that the one person who has crucial information about the Sandusky Centre County pedophile investigation(s) — former DA Ray Gricar — has been missing for more than five years. This raises the question: What happened to Ray Gricar?

December 2010: Penn State assistant football coach Mike McQueary is finally put in front of the Thirtieth Statewide Grand Jury. This is what should have happened in March 2009, Corbett associates say. The grand jury presentment states, “The graduate assistant (McQueary) was never questioned by University Police and no other entity conducted an investigation until he testified in Grand Jury in December, 2010.”

January 12, 2011: Penn State officials Curley and Shultz are called to the grand jury.  Coach Joe Paterno also testifies before the grand jury in January 2011. Curley and Shultz tell the grand jury that they were never told by McQueary of any sexual contact. The grand jury will charge Curley and Schultz with perjury.

January 18, 2011: Tom Corbett is sworn in as governor of Pennsylvania. At the moment of Corbett’s inauguration, per the Commonwealth Attorneys Act, First Deputy AG William Ryan automatically becomes Acting AG. This is a “Magic Moment.” Acting AG Ryan and the other professional staff are not beholden to politics or politicians, as they have been for some years.

Late January 2011: The Thirtieth Statewide Grand Jury’s term expires.

Late January 2011: Seven additional state police and AG office agents are assigned to the Sandusky case.

February 8, 2011: Gov. Corbett officially nominates Linda Kelly to succeed him as attorney general. The state senate won’t confirm Kelly until May 23, 2011. Until she is confirmed, William Ryan remains Acting AG.

February 2011: New Thirty-Third Statewide Grand Jury is convened.

February 2011: Karen Arnold, the former assistant district attorney who originally handled the Sandusky case in 1998 for DA Ray Gricar, is asked to testify before the Thirty-Third Statewide Grand Jury. It is a totally new grand jury that uses information from the former grand jury(s).

March 10, 2011: Arnold testifies before the grand jury. Arnold will later say there are aspects of the Sandusky case ignored by the grand jury.

May 23, 2011: AG nominee Linda Kelly is confirmed by the state senate and only now becomes Pennsylvania attorney general.

August 19, 2011:

August 19, 2011: Gov. Tom Corbett appoints former acting AG William Ryan as chairman of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

November 2011: Grand jury presentment is released and Jerry Sandusky is charged with pedophile crimes.

November 2011 onward: PSU Coach Joe Paterno, and university president Graham Spanier both are fired at Gov. Tom Corbett’s behest. A student riot ensues in State College. A new head football coach will be hired despite protests by Penn State alumni and players. There is no indication that anyone from the existing PSU football staff will be retained.

Live Coverage of Penn State Trustee Announcement

 

 

 

PSU Board of Trustees results live tomorrow 12:57pm on May 3, 2012 CentreDaily.com will have live video coverage of the election results and BOT meeting tomorrow at 1:30 p.m.

PSU Alumni Trustee Voting is Over–35,000+

More than 35,000 Penn State graduates had voted in the race for three trustees seats as of early Wednesday. Voting closes at 9 a.m. today. Penn State spokesman David La Torre said ballots will be tabulated after voting closes. The university hired KPMG, an international auditing company, to oversee that process. Results will be announced during the trustees meeting, which starts at 1:30 p.m. Friday in the Nittany Lion Inn. Each year, three of the board’s nine alumni seats are up for election. An unprecedented 86 candidates are running in this year’s race. The meeting will be streamed live at www.centredaily.com.

Polarizing Figure in Penn State Trustee Election-Philly.com

“Lubrano is a 1982 graduate whose corporate biography describes him as a varsity baseball player, as does his application for trustee. For several years, the school’s baseball media guide has been calling him a four-time letter winner from 1979 to 1982. The athletic department’s website entry for the park also until recently called Lubrano a letter winner. The website of the local pro baseball team, the Spikes, which plays at the same park, still does.

But Lubrano has acknowledged that he neither lettered nor played in an official game, but was on the equivalent of the “practice squad.” His name never appeared on the official roster, according to university spokesman Bill Mahon.

Lubrano said earlier this year that he did not know about the media guide and asserted that he never claimed anything untrue. But he also said he felt he had no obligation to correct the record – a stance ridiculed by Deadspin.com, a national sports website, which has also taken a shot at his video.

“Phony Penn State Baseball Star and Potential Trustee Made an Absurd Campaign Video,” said a recent headline on the site.”

Anthony Lubrano Honesty in Question as a Candidate for Board of Trustees

Penn St. Trustees Seek to Rebuild Communications

By GENARO C. ARMAS Associated Press
April 1, 2012

Trustee candidate Joanne C. DiRinaldo, an educator and researcher, said this week the board has shown “from my eyes, incremental baby steps. I would like to see more drastic attempts with transparency.”

She suggested potential changes in bylaws that govern rules of confidentiality of dissent on the board, and to open up trustees meeting to public participation.

Unlike other vocal critics on social media, DiRinaldo said she does not favor the entire resignation of the board because she could not judge how they made their decisions behind closed doors. “I will say they arrived at their decision hastily and without due process.”

Joe Paterno’s Last Statement About Sandusky Scandal

Let me begin by offering Sue and my prayers for all of the people impacted by these events. I know it is small comfort given the circumstances.

I also understand that there are a lot of questions regarding the events involving former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz. However, because of the status of these ongoing legal matters, I will not speculate or answer questions about the charges or the people involved beyond this brief statement.

As the Grand Jury report notes, I was subpoenaed last January to testify regarding an incident in 2002. As my very brief testimony established, my role was limited to a single report made to me by an assistant coach in 2002. The coach in question came to my house on a Saturday morning and informed me that he witnessed former coach Jerry Sandusky in a shower with a young boy. The coach made it clear that he felt strongly that there was something inappropriate going on and that he was very upset by what he saw. The coach made no specific allegations of any identified sexual act, nor did he use any graphic terms – just the idea that what he saw was wrong and that he did not know what to do next.

At that time I told the coach that he had done the right thing and that I would take the appropriate next step. After consideration I determined that, given Sandusky’s status as a retired employee governed by a retirement package negotiated with the administration, I had no authority to act directly. The next day, in accordance with University policy, I contacted the head of my department and related what was told to me. That was the last time the matter was brought to my attention until this investigation and I assumed that the men I referred it to handled the matter appropriately.

I know that there are many other questions that people want to ask, but I ask that we all be patient and give the judicial process time to do its deliberate work. Finding the truth is what will benefit the victims most of all, and that is who we should all keep in mind as we deal with this tragedy.

In order to give that process adequate time I will not be answering any questions on this matter, nor will I have further comment, until the legal process is completed

Shakeup at Penn State might — or might not — cause renewed interest in board of trustees election

Written by Jeff Frantz, Harrisburg Patriot News

Welcome to the political science experiment that is the Penn State board of trustees election.

Will there be a few thousand voters or half a million?

No one knows.

Will those voters know more than a handful of the 86 candidates or what they stand for?

No clue.

Will the alumni casting ballots be motivated by Joe Paterno’s firing, which brought protests online and at town hall meetings? Or will they care about issues impacting tomorrow’s students, such as tuition, research and academic reputation?

Flip a coin.

Does the record number of candidates mean alumni angered by the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal will turn out in droves? Or will the passing months, and new board leadership, be enough for alumni to once again become complacent observers of the university?

No one is sure what will happen April 10 when alumni begin voting for three of the 32 seats on Penn State’s board.

Individual candidates — and groups of candidates — have been working tirelessly since December to win a spot on a board that is increasingly questioned about its power structure and transparency. They’ve started websites and held meet-and-greets. They’ve raised questions about one another’s fitness to serve.

One candidate even aired a TV commercial.

One group endorsing candidates — Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship — and one group of candidates — Penn State Alumni Trustee-Choice — established themselves early. Both strongly support the Paterno family. Their names come up repeatedly among the most-likely voters.

How much of an advantage is that really?

Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship’s Facebook page has less than 4,600 friends. The three Penn State Alumni Trustee-Choice candidates with dedicated campaign Facebook pages each have less than 100 people “liking” them.

More than 100,000 Penn State alumni association members automatically will receive ballots, and any nonmember alumni can request one. Everyone guesses there will be more votes than in recent elections, when around 10,000 alumni cast ballots, but nobody knows how many more.

How much support will a candidate really need?

Maybe less than you think, said Christopher Borick, a professor of political science at Muhlenberg and a Penn State graduate.

“As much as [alumni] are invested, it’s still not going to probably be the type of turnout where a majority of alumni cast ballots,” Borick said.

Voting advocates are thrilled when they get 50 percent turnout for a presidential election, Borick said. Alumni traditionally ignore the trustee election. Anything close to 50 percent turnout would be a surprise, he said.

If the votes get spread out across the field, a candidate could win with a relatively low percentage of voters.

Alumni probably will scan the daunting list of names for people they know, Borick said, and then people they recognize. If they haven’t picked their three candidates yet, they’ll look for people who graduated in the same year, people who live in the same area or work in the same field. If trends from traditional elections hold, some women will want to pick a woman candidate, Borick said.

Name recognition will be huge. If a candidate isn’t well known for something such as playing football for Paterno, his or her best bet is probably to join a group.

Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship formed as a group of alumni who wanted to change the board but focused their public rhetoric around Paterno’s firing. More than 50 people asked for the group’s endorsement. The three people it ultimately backed all wrote about the need to apologize to the Paterno family in their official position statements. One of them, Anthony Lubrano, has traveled the state with Franco Harris demanding justice for the legendary coach.

They enjoy a first-mover advantage in claiming to be the most righteous Paterno defenders on the ballot.

Could it backfire?

The majority of candidates focused their position papers on keeping Penn State affordable while restoring its worldwide brand as an elite university. With another state-funding debate looming in Harrisburg and the current board having discussed a private-school model with Cornell, might alumni be more focused on what’s next?

Perhaps, Borick said. But who knows if those people will show up?

The alumni focused on Paterno? They could be the all-important base.

“I can’t only talk about [Paterno], but I certainly make that the focus of my outreach efforts,” Borick said. “If you want to reach out to the masses, and those masses were engaged because of this issue, your sales pitch on it is crucial.”

The Paterno issue has caused some friction among the candidates.

“He was a fabulous football coach, and he did fabulous things for Penn State,” candidate Jayne Miller said. “For that to be the sole issue for someone to get on the board of trustees — if anything, it misses the point of what this university faces.”

More than 50 people asked for Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship’s endorsement. More than 20 of those endorsement seekers ran even after they were passed over.

They complain that the group now censors its Facebook page, and tries to control information such as the current trustees. The group counters that it is simply promoting its message.

Getting good information has been an issue. Penn State did not let the candidates include a website with their 250-word biography or position statement. The student radio station has interviewed some candidates and streams those sessions online.

Penn State now is hosting a meet-and-greet for candidates during Blue-White weekend, when thousands of alumni return to campus for the spring football game. But with the event being held in the center of campus, a decent walk from the stadium, turnout is uncertain.

The alumni association also has asked each candidate to answer three questions. It will post the answers on its website the day before voting begins. None of the questions address the board’s handling of the Sandusky investigation or the ensuing scandal.

Nikos Phelps, the president of the Harrisburg Chapter of the alumni association, said alumni seem interested to him but aren’t sure how they will approach the ballot.

“I think [turnout] will be half-decent,” Phelps said. “The question is, with that many candidates, is it feasible for anyone to do their homework?”

Voting will continue until May 3.

What’s next for the 84 losers? For many, May 4 is the beginning of campaign 2013.

“It will show who’s committed to the cause,” candidate Marlene “Myke” Atwater Triebold said.

Maybe by then, we might have a better idea how this experiment works

Voting Instructions–PSU BOT

ballot links are provided automatically to alumni (with email addresses on file) who are members of the Penn State Alumni Association, have held membership within the past two years, or have contributed to the University within the past two years.

 

Additionally, any alum is eligible and encouraged to participate. All they would need to do is email BOT@psu.edu and provide the following:

1. Full Name

2. Year of Graduation

3. College/Major

4. Current Home mailing address

 

If alums submit this information by Thursday, March 29, we can add them to the list of those individuals receiving a ballot link on April 10. Any requests received after March 29 will be processed after April 10. Alums can request to participate until May 2, close of business (5 pm). However, it is advisable for alums to submit their request as early as possible in order to participate.

Follow the Timeline–High Profile Scapegoat-Joe Paterno

Following Tom Corbett‘s election as governor in November 2010, more troubling writing soon emerged on the wall. In this case, the electronic wall.

In this politically charged environment, about the time of Corbett’s election as governor, AG’s Office narcotics Agent Anthony Sassano conducted a routine “toll search” in connection with a State College-area drug investigation and got a surprise hit on his PACE Explorer computer database.

Narcotics Agent Sassano discovered that a pedophile complaint concerning Jerry Sandusky had been filed in Corbett’s office way back in early 2009. What’s up with that?

Once the right hand was aware of what the left was not doing, other things became apparent.

Agent Sassano quickly learned that Centre County DA Ray Gricar had investigated a pedophile complaint against Sandusky in 1998. The agent soon helped piece together another story, told in public postings in Internet chat boards, concerning Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary.

McQueary saw something that deeply troubled him in 2002 involving Sandusky and a boy in the PSU shower room. He’d reported it to Penn State officials, including Coach Paterno. But had those PSU officials reported anything to DA Ray Gricar?

DA Ray Gricar, and what Gricar may or may not have known about Sandusky and these complaints, suddenly became, well, important. Trouble was, DA Gricar had mysteriously vanished from the face of the earth in April 2005. Ray wasn’t going to be talking to anyone in the AG’s office any time soon. Nor could invisible Ray provide much insight about Sandusky’s earlier legal treatment, status, or much of anything else, for that matter, including the weather, or what he might have for lunch.

As Clarence the Angel tells George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life, “Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”

By now even Inspector Clouseau could divine there was more amiss than just DA Ray in Tom Corbett’s troubled AG’s office.


It became all too apparent that here was  multi-layered in the office of the state attorney general. And it was heading to the governor’s office.

Why hadn’t Corbett pushed to solve DA Gricar’s disappearance, or even seemed much concerned about it?

Following DA Gricar’s much celebrated strange vanishing, AG Corbett had just as mysteriously refused to allocate much in the way of resources to address Gricar’s non-existence. Oh, a state police unit was assigned to supposedly look into Gricar’s non-whereabouts. But that was just another one of Corbett’s Keystone Kops details, one State College private investigator tells me. “Those guys didn’t know shit from shinola.”

AG’s office flaks were still putting out the line that perhaps DA Ray, looking forward to retirement in a few months, had simply “wandered off,” leaving behind his family and his well-vested pension, and that DA Ray was most likely not the victim of anything untoward. Like the 2008 Sandusky complaint, the disappearance of DA Ray Gricar was for some reason never at all a priority of Tom Corbett’s.

The one law enforcement official — Ray Gricar — who could best shed light on the multiple Sandusky pedophile complaint(s) himself was long gone, and AG Corbett had long ago allowed the trail to go stone cold, cold, cold.

What was up with that?

Corbett avoids assigning Sandusky case to AG’s Child Predator Unit: ‘Could have done a quick grand jury in two months’ time’

Why had there been no serious investigation or prosecution of Jerry Sandusky before the 2010 governor’s election? Do we really need to ask?

Tom Corbett simply did not want a Sandusky pedophile investigation to go forward, going back to 2009, those with knowledge of the case say.

Now that he’d won the governor’s office, Corbett was out of the way. He’d used the AG’s office as a political stalking horse, and now he climbed off the broken beast and sauntered away to greener pastures. Corbett got what he’d wanted, and that was all that mattered to him.

“Corbett didn’t want the Sandusky investigation to go forward. He resisted it for some reason. There was no priority at all to it. He told his staff he didn’t want to do it. Corbett was the problem.”

Corbett associates point out that AG Corbett had every opportunity to pursue the investigation for a year and a half, and had many venues available to him to do it, his lame excuses involving “Bonusgate,” and “slow grand juries” notwithstanding.

For example, AG Corbett could simply have assigned the 2008-2009 Sandusky complaint(s) to the AG office’s much-hyped Child Predator Unit, which would have been a normal and logical course of action for a case like this.

“In order for law enforcement to stay one step ahead of … sexual predators the Office widened the scope of the Attorney General’s task force into a larger, broader statewide Child Predator Unit,” the AG’s office website explains.

“In January 2005, a dedicated Child Predator Unit was created using a group of specially trained agents and prosecutors across Pennsylvania to identify and capture … predators before they can harm children,” the webpage goes on to tell voters.

The webpage reminds us, “The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reports that one in five girls and one in ten boys are sexually exploited before they reach adulthood.” Tom Corbett would do nothing to improve those statistics.

In 2011, in fact, the AG’s office crowed that its hard-working Child Predator Unit had, since its inception in 2005, arrested 298 child predators. Jerry Sandusky would never be among the hundreds arrested by the unit.

“The Child Predator’s Unit could have done a quick grand jury in two months’ time back in 2009, arrested Jerry Sandusky like all the other predators and got him off the street.”

But that never happened. AG Corbett didn’t seem to trust his own vaunted Child Predator Unit to handle the Sandusky case, or to get the job done.

Or, alternately, Corbett could have chosen to assign the Sandusky case to his Child Sexual Exploitation Task Force, which was formed in 1995.

“The Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General has also been recognized as a leading law enforcement agency in this area with respect to its proactive ‘sting’ operations aimed at pedophiles and child pornographers,” the AG’s Child Exploitation Task Force’s webpage explains. “These ‘sting’ operations are designed to arrest and convict those individuals who actively seek teen and pre-teen children to engage in deviate sexual conduct. Through continued cooperation and support, the Child Sexual Exploitation Task Force will work to eradicate crimes against our children while keeping pace with today’s technology.”

The Child Sexual Exploitation Task Force evidently couldn’t keep pace with the AG office’s own PACE computer system, where evidence lurked for a year and a half of the languishing Sandusky pedophile complaint(s) referred to Corbett’s office in March 2009.

You begin to get the picture. AG Corbett had many venues available to him to get the Sandusky case moving, if he so chose. He simply chose not to, as those around Corbett say.

Making sad matters even more ridiculous, after the nationwide public relations fiasco of the Sandusky case hit the fan in November 2011, Gov. Corbett would disingenuously propose yet another agency in the AG’s office to supposedly follow through on child abuse complaints. Talk about the fox watching the hen house.

Informed parents and children for their own safety would be better advised to avoid the office of Pennsylvania Attorney General altogether. It’s simply not a safe or responsible place, at the moment, for kids.

In fairness to the hard-working and genuinely concerned members of these child predator units, I should point out the obvious: Tom Corbett was the problem here, not them. It was the injection of politics into the office of attorney general that’s the problem. The inherent political nature of the office remains. And that’s a big problem, as we now see.

A moveable scandal: Gov-elect Corbett removed as obstacle, AG office nabs Sandusky in several months’ time

It’s a matter of public record how fast things happened once Tom Corbett won his governor’s election and was on his way out the AG office door, leaving behind a broken and demoralized AG’s office staff.

It was a magic moment, a transition time between two attorneys general where the professional staff has greater-than-normal latitude.

The involvement of the narcotics unit officer, and the subsequent discovery of the two earlier Sandusky complaints, tied together with the vanishing of DA Ray Gricar, now made the case compelling, to say the least.

No time was now wasted. In December 2010, Mike McQueary was finally put in front of the soon-to-expire Thirtieth Statewide Grand Jury. “The graduate assistant was never questioned by University Police and no other entity conducted an investigation until he testified in Grand Jury in December, 2010,” the Sandusky grand jury presentment tellingly concludes.

On January 12, 2011, less than a week before Tom Corbett was sworn in as governor, Penn State officials Tim Curley and Gary Schultz finally made it before the Thirtieth Grand Jury, perjuring themselves, the AG’s office later would allege.

Like the earlier grand juries, those grand jurors wouldn’t be given much of a crack at the case. In fact, the Thirtieth Grand Jury was set to expire at the end of January 2011, only a month after they’d first heard from McQueary. In February a new statewide investigating Grand Jury, officially numbered the Thirty-Third, loaded with newcomers, would have to be convened and sworn in to take fresh testimony long overdue in the Sandusky case.

Meanwhile, late in January 2011, seven additional state police and AG office agents were now assigned to the Sandusky investigation(s). The priorities and resources were finally beginning to be placed.

Karen Arnold would be one of the witnesses to testify before the new, Thirty-Third Statewide Grand Jury. Arnold was a Centre County Assistant DA (ADA) working under District Attorney Ray Gricar when the first complaint had been filed against Jerry Sandusky in 1998. She briefly was assigned the Sandusky case.

Former ADA Arnold tells me that she only had the 1998 Sandusky case for “two or three days” before DA Gricar, without explanation, took the case from her.

“Ray was my boss and he said he would handle it,” former ADA Arnold says. “I only had the Sandusky case for a few days. I don’t know why Ray handled it the way he did. I can’t read his mind. I’m not a mind reader.”

She says Ron Schreffler of the PSU police department originally referred the Sandusky case to the DA’s office way back in 1998. Schreffler was an investigator with the university police department. He handled the original 1998 Sandusky complaint. Schreffler in those days oversaw most of the important investigations at the university, including those involving drugs, football betting, arson and bomb incidents. Schreffler helped produce the 100-plus-page report about the 1998 Sandusky incident that was referred to DA Gricar. That report has become one of the more sought after Pickwick Paper / MacGuffins in the current media paper chase for Sandusky documents.

Former ADA Arnold says she was contacted in February 2011 by a woman in the AG’s office. She asked Arnold to testify before the new grand jury.

“‘You shouldn’t worry if you’re not familiar with the grand jury process,’” Arnold says she was told by the AG’s office contact, “‘as these jurors are new too.’”

Arnold says she testified before the newly seated grand jury the day after Ash Wednesday, which places her testimony on March 10, 2011. Ash Wednesday is what is known as a “moveable feast.” That’s fitting, for a moveable scandal like this. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the 40 days Jesus fasted before beginning his ministry, during which time he was tempted, Scriptures say, by Satan.

“The grand jury experience was one of the more negative experiences in my life,” Arnold says. She adds, “There are aspects of the Sandusky case this grand jury ignored and that will bite them in the ass if the case goes forward.”

She wondered aloud about the multiple grand juries involved in the case, and how much of the hundreds of pages of testimony had been produced by which of the jurors. “You have to wonder what’s going on,” she says.

Within a few months of her testimony — and more than a dozen years after DA Ray Gricar took the 1998 case away from her — Jerry Sandusky would finally be arrested for predatory acts against children.

Karen Arnold would suddenly be inundated with telephone calls from media, and a New York Times reporter would be pounding on her door.

Like some long overdue bill, the grand jury presentment finally was delivered and Sandusky arrested in November 2011. Much of the glory would go to a newly appointed and confirmed Attorney General Linda Kelly. But she hadn’t come to office until late May 2011.

Not many in the public nor the media understood that the ball really got rolling in the Sandusky case when the AG’s office was helmed by Acting Attorney General William Ryan, who had been passed over by Gov. Corbett for the AG’s job. Ryan accomplished in several weeks and months’ time what AG Corbett could not do in a year and a half.

And what became of Bill Ryan?

On August 19, 2011, less than two months before Sandusky’s arrest, Governor Tom Corbett announced he’d appointed Ryan chairman of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. The former Acting AG would now be in charge of the state’s casinos and racetracks.

“Bill’s proven integrity and more than three decades of experience as a prosecutor will serve him well as the new chairman of the Gaming Control Board,” Corbett said.

Ryan obviously knows more than just prosecuting. Ryan obviously knows something about gambling, and politics, and how both games are played.

JoePa takes the fall for TomCo

For Gov. Tom Corbett, meanwhile, there remained one more important task following the nationwide public relations fiasco of Jerry Sandusky’s long-overdue arrest. Corbett had to protect his own carcass, and cover his own ass for the nuclear blast he now feared was about to blow.

It wouldn’t do to have the public focus on Corbett’s own refusal to investigate or prosecute Jerry Sandusky for a year and half. Corbett sought to change the conversation. He looked around for a likely scapegoat(s) to take the fall for him. What’s one more victim, or two?

Corbett incredibly settled on a beloved 85-year-old to take the fall. The Gipper was down, why not kick him down some more? Gov. Corbett landed on the brilliant idea of throwing Joe Paterno under the bus. As Nixon observed, when the wolves are gaining, it’s time to toss a baby from the sled.

After all, hadn’t Joe Paterno failed to follow up by calling the university police or DA Gricar in 2002? It wasn’t nearly as bad as deliberately sandbagging the Sandusky case for a year and half, and actively shielding and protecting Jerry Sandusky, as AG Corbett had done.

But Corbett knows from first-hand experience that today’s corporate media is servile, for the most part isn’t all that smart or morally scrupulous, and doesn’t look into things all that deeply or for very long. And more and more these days they simply write what they’re handed. Corbett himself learned this on his long slog for the governor’s chair, and all through the recent years of growing corruption in Pennsylvania. That business with the 6,500 kids sold down the river in Wilkes-Barre had blown over. Maybe the serial rape of innumerable kids at Penn State will blow over too.

Corbett’s job as attorney general had been to prosecute. To uphold the law. To protect the public. He didn’t do so well in that job. Now, as governor, the job was altogether different.

A competent governor, and a good man, would have, and should have, asked the public not to rush to judgment against Joe Paterno. A competent leader, and a good man, would have asked the public to wait for all the facts to come in. A competent governor, and a good man, would have reminded the public of the great and exemplary services performed for Pennsylvania, and Penn State, by Joe Paterno in over 60 years on the job. A competent governor, and a good man, would have pointed out that that Joe Paterno was Our Coach.


‘Joe Paterno was Pennsylvania’s Coach, and we owed him, in his final days, our debt of gratitude, not a death of instant scandal and ruin’


Joe Paterno was Pennsylvania’s Coach, and we owed him, in his final days, our debt of gratitude, not a death of instant scandal and ruin.

“It’s going to kill Joe,” suddenly was on everyone’s lips. “It’s going to kill him.”

Tom Corbett, as usual, had his own not-so-sorry ass to worry about. It would be the pathetic act of a desperate, morally bankrupt man.

On November 9, 2011, Gov. Tom Corbett indulged the Penn State board of trustees, by telephone, to throw Joe Paterno under the bus. At the moment of the vote to fire Paterno, Corbett said over the speakerphone, “Remember that little boy in the shower.”

From the 31 trustees in the room there was no response. No question. No objection. Just silence. Despite the illustrious backgrounds of most of them, they all marched in lockstep, following Corbett’s lead.

Corbett wasn’t there to look them, or Paterno, in the eye. He wasn’t there to explain why he had done nothing to help that little boy. He wasn’t there to explain why he himself had prevented any investigation for a year and a half. He wasn’t there to explain the double standard. Why should the coach be punished, but not the attorney general/governor? As I say, in Tom Corbett’s Pennsylvania, some are more privileged than others.

That night Corbett got his scapegoat, and the students rioted in State College. A weary nation turned its eyes to the fleeting images of the saddened cries, groans and crashes of the decline and fall of Pennsylvania.

A simmering story in the sports columns in moments ignited into an all-consuming firestorm, a national disgrace, and a world-class scandal.

Tom Corbett’s self-serving decision to sack Coach Joe Paterno and make Paterno the fall guy in this long-running tragedy was as if, one observer told me, “the A-bomb had been used to detonate the H-bomb.”

But competence, and properly handling a delicate, important matter, after all, has never been Tom Corbett’s forte. Tom Corbett’s forte has always been fixing cases.

This time, if there remains any justice at all on earth and in heaven, the fix might yet fix him.

As I finish writing this essay, sadly, news arrives of the passing of Coach Joe Paterno.

What this is called

How had we come to this?

It is Acting Attorney General Bill Ryan’s role as state attorney general in the magic moment period between Corbett and Kelly that bears our close consideration.

It is that magic moment itself, that period between the transactions, when politics is there, and isn’t there, that deserves our thoughts.

It is indeed a magic moment. It is a moment when law enforcement professionals in Pennsylvania can, in the most amazingly unfettered fashion, do something extraordinary.

With the Sandusky case, after all, Acting Attorney General Bill Ryan didn’t have to do much of anything but give proper priority to the case, assign it proper resources, and sit back and watch the process take its normal course.

It’s one more measure of our collective sickness, and our jaded expectations of political machinations, that we have to wonder at all about the motivations behind this once-normal process.

Enforcing the law, it used to be called at the attorney general’s office.

– Bill Keisling IV

posted January 22, 2012

This is the second of a planned three-part essay.

Read the first part, Busted: Narcotics officer nabs Sandusky, here >.

Read Part 3: The Magic Moment: Six decades of Pennsylvania governors, AGs, and the Pennsylvania Republican Party – Part 1 1950 to 1980

The Magic Moment Part 2: The Elected Years 1980 to 1995

Related:

Timeline: An insider’s timeline of the Sandusky/PSU/Corbett scandal

Busted: Narcotics agent nabs Jerry Sandusky