The Story of How We Got Here: The Bombshells Which Never Went Off
Of the many incredibly frustrating elements of the never-ending saga that is the Sandusky scandal, there is probably none more demoralizing than the reality that there have been numerous occasions where “bombshell” developments have occurred which should have altered the landscape of the story, and yet the impact of them has been minimal at best. It is almost as if the media (with the now rather overt help of Penn State itself) has built a fortress so strong around their false narrative that anything short of a nuclear weapon is rendered harmless against its formidable walls of deceit.
There is no better (or worse) example of this phenomenon than what happened recently with regard to CBS choosing to report interviews with the two lead prosecutors in the Sandusky case. After all, the man at the center of the case, Frank Fina, told Armen Keteyaian of CBS Sports that he was very sure that Joe Paterno was NOT part of a cover up and that there was no evidence to suggest that he was.
Let me repeat that. The lead prosecutor in the Sandusky case, who believes (absurdly) that Penn State actively concealed Sandusky’s crimes, said on national television that the entire foundation for the NCAA sanctions and Paterno statue coming down is without basis in fact. In other words, even those with a huge incentive to claim that he was, are now saying that Joe Paterno was not involved in a cover up.
Now, in a remotely rational world (which clearly no longer exists) that would easily be headline news across America and every public person who accused Paterno of being part of a cover up, especially Louis Freeh and Mark Emmert, would be forced to answer for their false charges.
Instead, not only did none of that happen, but CBS literally went out of their way to spike their own scoop. The most bizarre part of that aspect of the story was that Keteyian himself tried to diminish the news value of the only piece of information which came out of his interviews which could be considered remotely news-worthy.
Keteyian lamely argued with Fina that his conclusion just doesn’t seem possible because everyone knows how all-knowing/powerful Paterno was. After eventually getting Fina to slightly backtrack, CBS tried their best to hide their own “news” and even edited out important elements of what Fina said (regarding what Paterno actually did do to report what Mike McQueary told him) from the version which aired first, and to the largest audience, on the CBS Evening News.
Once CBS failed to promote their own scoop, that made it incredibly easy for the rest of the media to simply pretend that it didn’t really happen (especially when, once again, the inept Paterno PR team simply sat on their hands and let that happen for reasons which I am sure Scott Paterno has convinced himself were utterly brilliant). Absurdly, I was forced to nudge the reporter from the Centre Daily Times to even mention this “bombshell” in his report on the longer Showtime version of Keteyian’s report, which originally was absent, laughably because he said he wrote about that tidbit the prior day (and there was absolutely no citing of the editing issue I mentioned previously)!
Unfortunately, this is hardly the first time that the media has worked as a proactive bomb squad to prevent any explosives from going off in the vicinity of their cherished narrative. Consequently, I thought this would be a good time to review, in general chronological order, some of the most dramatic bombshells which could have changed the outcome of this story if they had been allowed to detonate as the truth should have dictated.
Mike McQueary Got the Date Wrong:
This one is perhaps my favorite because it is so unambiguous and so much else can be discerned from what should have been a highly dramatic revelation. After all, the entire case against Joe Paterno and Penn State hangs on the account of Mike McQueary and the episode he says he witnessed for three seconds through a mirror.
In a story with so many shifting shades of gray, the fact that a few months after the indictments the prosecution was forced to admit that their star witness got the date, the month, and the year totally wrong, should have immediately shed a completely different light on what really likely happened here.
This goes far beyond simply the reliability of McQueary’s memory or his credibility. I strongly believe that the date error changes nearly everything about the case, and yet, even to this day, amazingly there are still media reports which incorrectly use the original 2002 date and, as we proved in our scientific poll, almost no one knows that McQueary got this critical fact very wrong.
There is simply no way to logically believe that McQueary saw what he now claims he witnessed (or at least thought that he did when it actually happened as opposed to after investigators came to him for help ten years later) when it was not important enough to him to even remember the year in which it happened. Fina laughably told CBS that this event “shattered” his world to its “core.” And yet, he somehow thought it occurred after 9/11 when it actually occurred before that day which marked most American’s lives forever.
There are several other important elements to the date change which should have greatly altered people’s perceptions of this case.
First, the prosecution made a huge deal during McQueary’s grand jury testimony of the “fact” that the event occurred on the Friday night before spring break and that Sandusky had an expectation of no one being around, but that turned out to be totally false.
Second, the date change now puts all of this in the context of two different job situations which were not able to be connected back in November of 2011. It turns out that this episode really occurred just two days after it was known that Kenny Jackson had left the very coach’s position which McQueary would get three years later. Also, Sandusky was about a month removed from being a whisker away from accepting the head coaching job at the University of Virginia. As I wrote in my book, “The Betrayal of Joe Paterno,” I believe that both of these situations could have added important context for what was, or was not, likely really going on here if they had been connected chronologically to the McQueary episode when is actually still mattered in November of 2011.
Finally, I also believe that the date change shows how utterly ridiculous the cover-up allegation is. After all, everyone else involved (including Paterno) also thought as late as November 2011 that the event occurred in 2002. Incredibly, it appears as if Paterno himself died thinking that the event which destroyed his legacy occurred in the wrong year. If there really was an active cover-up wouldn’t those involved also know the year in which it took place?!
Ironically/tellingly, the only person who seemed to know all along that the correct year was 2001 was Jerry Sandusky. Importantly, a big part of the reason that it took so long for the date to be corrected (other than the arrogance of the prosecution) is that Sandusky didn’t even know that there was such a thing as a “McQueary episode” until it, and its incorrect date, became public after his arrest.
Sara Ganim is Revealed to Have Been Actively Helping the Prosecution:
You would think that the revelation, in court, as stipulated by the prosecution, that a reporter was contacting family members of victims during a Grand Jury investigation and asked them to find more victims, would be huge news, right? And you would further think that if the reporter in question was the one who actually ‘broke” the entire story and had won the Pulitzer Prize for her work, that this would be a “bombshell,” correct?
Well, apparently not when it comes to this case where all the normal rules of rationality have long ago been discarded. This scenario is exactly what happened near the end of the Sandusky trial and almost no one noticed it. Unbelievably, to my knowledge no one (other than me on Twitter) has even bothered to even try to ask Ganim what the heck she was doing here.
It should be clear that this was not just a technical violation of journalist ethics (as if such a concept still exists) committed by Ganim. This was her blatantly trying to impact the outcome of the investigation by urging the mother of Victim 6 to find more victims so that her big “scoop” wouldn’t die on the vine.
Not only should this bombshell have made big news and forced the Pulitzer people to revoke her award (I am quite certain that they are not even aware that it happened and was stipulated to in court), but even more importantly it should have brought into grave question Ganim’s entire role in this case and specifically her relationship with the mother of Victim 6.
Ganim’s critical article on the Monday night after Sandusky’s arrest, which used the mother of Victim 6 (who allowed her son to see Sandusky without restriction or incident for twelve years after the vastly overblown 1998 episode) to blame Penn State and Joe Paterno, should have been completely discredited.
This episode reveals that Ganim, at best, was an inexperienced and overly ambitious reporter who was used by the prosecution to help find victims when their case was simply too weak to move forward. Unfortunately, because no one even knows about this episode, the media still considers her, absurdly, to be one of the few heroes in this case and an important pillar of the false narrative has been allowed to remain intact.
Audio Proves the Victim 4 Was Lied To By Investigators:
I have come to believe that the biggest mistake, of many, that the Paterno family PR forces made was not realizing that, fair or not, like it or not, their fate was tied to Jerry Sandusky’s. They mistakenly thought (ironically, much like the Penn State BOT did when they fired Paterno and Graham Spanier) that by throwing Sandusky as far under the bus as they could get him that this would someone how help their cause. However, because once people accepted the “Sandusky as hideous monster” narrative they also concluded that “Paterno had to know,” this was an understandable, though spectacular, miscalculation.
Contrary to popular belief, there were actually plenty of opportunities during the Sandusky trial for serious doubt to be raised about the most horrific of the charges against him. Once such episode was so truly remarkable that had it occurred in a movie the audience probably would never have believed it was plausible.
Most people have no idea that “only” four men ever actually testified to what would be reasonably considered to be “sex” with Sandusky and only two of them told their stories to anyone before the saga became a national sensation and Penn State made it clear they would be paying lots of money to nearly anyone who came forward claiming any level of abuse.
One of those two was Victim 4, but at first investigators had a very difficult time getting him to claim actual “sex,” so they lied to him to get him to say what they wanted. Most amazingly, they did this at the urging of Victim 4’s own attorney and it was all, quite by accident, caught on audiotape!
Here is the transcript (in italics) of that remarkable exchange as played in court. The first person speaking is Victim 4’s attorney.
“Can we at some point in time say to him, ‘listen, we have interviewed other kids and other kids have told us that there was intercourse and that they have admitted it. You know, is there anything else that you want to tell us?’ Corporal Joe Leiter answers “Yep, we do that with all the other kids. ‘Say, listen, this is what we found so far. You fit the pattern of all the other ones.’ This is the way he operates and the other kids we dealt have told us that this has happened after this happened. Did that happen to you?”
Then, on tape Corporal Leiter (who had very limited experience in sex crimes) told Victim 4:
“Before we start again, I just want to let you know you are not the first victim we have spoken to. We have interviewed probably I’m going to say nine. Again I call them kids. I apologize. Nine adults we have interviewed and you are doing very well. It is amazing if this was a book, you would have been repeating word for word pretty much what a lot of people have already told us. It is very similar. A lot of things you have told us is very similar to what we have heard from the others and we know from listening to these other young adults talk to us and tell us what has taken place, that there is a pretty well-defined progression in the way he operated and still operates I guess to some degree and that the often times this progression, especially when it goes on for an extended period of time, leads to more than just the touching and the feeling. That’s been actual oral sex that has taken place by both parties and there’s—we unfortunately have found that there’s been – classifies as a rape has occurred and I don’t want to you feel that again. As Trooper Rossman said, I don’t want you to feel ashamed because you are a victim in this whole thing. What happened happened. He took advantage of you but when I – when we first started we talked, we needed to get details of what took place so these types of things happened. We need you to tell us this is what happened. Again, we are not going to look at you any differently other than the fact that you are a victim of this crime and it is going to be taken care of accordingly. But we need you to tell us as graphically as you can what took place as we get through this whole procedure. I just want you to understand that you are not alone in this. By no means are you alone in this.”
At that point the officer, mistakenly thinking the recorder was off, says:
“Okay, we’re going to restart the recording. It’s now 12:37 on 4/21/2011 and again we’re going to continue to record it.”
Can you imagine how big a bombshell that tape would have been if it had been played at the Michael Jackson trial?! The prosecution would have been devastated and their credibility shattered. Instead, in the Sandusky case the judge laughably told the jury that they should only use the tape to evaluate the trustworthiness of the investigators and not the word of the victim who significantly altered his story after having been lied to.
Had this episode been reported properly, I maintain that this would have opened the door to people having at least some doubt about the nature of Sandusky’s guilt and that this would have made the job of defending Joe Paterno much easier. It also would have greatly limited Louis Freeh’s ability to get away with what he did. Instead, a very important part of the process of determining who is really to blame for this entire travesty was basically skipped and this allowed the raging river of injustice to pick up speed and crash through the damn of truth, soon flooding the entire Penn State football program.
Victim 5 Changes Key Date for Political/Financial Purposes:
Another situation that occurred at the Sandusky trial, which got even less publicity, was that Victim 5 suddenly, and without any actual evidentiary reasoning, dramatically altered both the date and the location of his allegation.
He had originally testified to the Grand Jury that he had been forced to take a shower and touch Sandusky’s penis, on the Penn State campus, in what he thought was 1998 but could have been as late as 2002. However, just ten days after the McQueary date was changed to February of 2001, Victim 5 suddenly changed the date of his episode to August of 2001 and the location was now the infamous shower of the Lasch building. (Sandusky was acquitted on the worst charge in this case, apparently because the jury didn’t believe the victim, probably because he was so uncertain about when it supposedly occurred).
This was undoubtedly no innocent or insignificant alteration in testimony. It was done with a clear purpose which obviously had nothing to do with the truth. The prosecution wanted a date on the PSU campus after the McQueary episode to strengthen the case against the three administrators because it would show that they did “nothing” to stop Sandusky. Similarly, Victim 5’s attorney obviously understood that Penn State would be forced to pay out a lot more money for an event which occurred in that time frame. Shockingly, the date and location got conveniently changed and no one in the media ever bothered to ask questions about this, or really even notice.
How do I know that this change in testimony is bogus? Well, first all, there was no real reason given for the alteration and the fact that the date change just happened to occur right after the new McQueary date is beyond suspicious.
Secondly, the original date was based on the victim’s date of birth, which obviously didn’t change.
Thirdly, I have spoken to Sandusky extensively about this and, regardless of how guilty he is, he was well aware that to take a naked kid into a Penn State shower after the McQueary episode would have been the height of insanity and stupidity. He just didn’t do that and he has emphatically insisted to me that Victim 5 never came close to being inside the Lasch showers (people don’t realize that Sandusky took very few kids into the facilities and that Victim 2 was an exception because he and Jerry were so close that Sandusky stood in as his father at his senior football game a few years later). Sandusky also correctly pointed out to me in a recent letter that taking a boy into the football showers in August would be particularly absurd because things then are extremely busy with pre-season practice in full swing.
As an aside, I find it particularly telling that the prosecution gladly accepted Victim 5’s highly suspicious date/location change even though he was likely never in the Lasch building. This is flat out funny because the prosecution also decided that they could ignore Victim 2’s entire existence because when they asked him to draw a sketch of the Lasch shower (a complex maze he hadn’t been in since he was 14, ten years earlier) they thought it was flawed. Of course the real reason they rejected his drawing was that they didn’t like his version of the McQueary episode. I’m quite sure that Victim 5's drawing test was graded on quite a different curve.
This whole situation should have revealed so much about what was really going on in this investigation (including Penn State’s own nefarious intentions here when they indeed paid Victim 5 more money because of the highly suspicious date and publicly stated why), but the reality is that almost no one knows it even happened. I’m sure Victim 5’s attorney (and their accountant) is quite pleased with themselves for having pulled off this boondoggle.
The Real Aaron Fisher Story Emerges (Chris Cuomo Confronts High School):
One of the many things that people don’t realize about the Sandusky case is just how close it came to never being prosecuted at all (thus Sara Ganim’s pleas to the mother of Victim 6 to find more victims). The primary reason for that was not, as some have now claimed, that the state was somehow purposely delaying, but rather because the first and central victim in the case, Victim 1 (now known as Aaron Fisher) was such a horrendous witness around which to build a high-profile case.
In two separate Grand Jury appearances, Fisher basically choked and refused to give any details of his abuse. He barely even acknowledged anything happened, only muttering “yes” after repeated attempts to get him to claim he was sexually abused. Finally, on the third try he was allowed to read a statement, probably written by his therapist who ended up co-writing his book. At one point Fisher even threatened to quit the case.
Partly because of his less than stable history, Fisher’s original story was so lacking in credibility that the officials at Central Mountain High School (who would later be bizarrely praised by the Attorney General) did not initially believe him. When he went on his book tour Fisher clearly stated that he did not blame Penn State. Instead, he held a protest outside of his old high school.
The moment which should have made all of this a “bombshell” was when ABC’s Chris Cuomo literally chased after Central Mountain HS officials on camera who refused to speak to him. Unfortunately, the rest of the media ignored the story and eventually Fisher decided that he deserved some of that free Penn State money which he had made possible for everyone else. He then pursued a settlement with a university he had nothing to do with and which he had publicly said he doesn’t blame, for the crimes of a man who hadn’t worked there in almost a decade when they apparently occurred.
The two most important people to the prosecution in the Sandusky case were Aaron Fisher and Mike McQueary and, contrary to what the public has been led to believe, both of their stories have massive problems. While I have been very critical of McQueary, if Fisher’s story was ever to get anywhere near the same kind of scrutiny, I actually think his might fair even worse than the former coach’s.
Louis Freeh is Revealed to be a Fraud:
It never ceases to amaze me what the media will ignore when they have a self interest to do so. If the media had wanted to portray Louis Freeh as a disgraced, desperate, unreliable, gun-for-hire who will do or say whatever it takes to get a big check, they would have had plenty of ammunition to do just that. Instead, he was the “respected” former director of the FBI and the public was never informed of his past which should have rendered his report on the Sandusky case highly questionable if not totally discredited.
What was most amazing about this reality is that it isn’t even debatable and the timing of some of the revelations should have been particularly fortuitous for those who would have like to have seen his work on behalf of the Penn State Board of Trustees at least get some healthy scrutiny and criticism.
Just days after his Freeh Report was released Freeh was credibly accused of running a massive cover up (oh the irony!) while he was the head of the FBI. Not long after that he had the results of two of his previous reports reversed because they were found to not be credible.
And yet, despite these bombshells, while the Freeh Report is now seen with far more skepticism than it was on the day it was released to a media which had its pom-poms out leading the cheers, it is not viewed with the disdain and ridicule that the factual record easily could have facilitated if the media was at all interested in that narrative. Instead, unbelievably, Freeh has not faced any legitimate questions since his comically premature press conference ended well over a year ago.
Graham Spanier's Letter Blows Apart the Freeh Report:
One of the many unique and vastly underrated aspects of this case is that everyone who was accused was immediately rendered completely “not credible” by the media, to the point where they were presumed to be lying even before there was any real evidence presented against them. This was particularly devastating in a case where so much depends on the mindset of those who were involved and so much of the “evidence” is one person’s word against another.
This phenomenon was perhaps best (or worst) seen in the lack of reaction to an amazing letter which former Penn State President Graham Spanier sent to the board of trustees. In a normal media world, a man who had a tremendous reputation, was an abuse victim himself, and was a liberal with a high security clearance within the Obama administration, would have been given every benefit of the doubt.
If they had released this powerful a document completely destroying it, the Freeh Report would have been instantly brought into grave question. Instead this remarkable letter was almost totally ignored and, to this day, isn’t even well-known among people on our side of this issue.
For the record, here is that letter which should have at least prevented Penn State from fully accepting the NCAA sanctions and going forward with the Sandusky settlements.
Joe Posnanski’s Book Reveals Nothing Damning:
I am a big believer that you often learn more from silence than anything else (which is why one of the most underrated facts in this case is that none of the former Penn State administrators have "flipped" on each other). In a sense, that is what should have happened with the release of Joe Posnanski’s book “Paterno” in late 2012.
Posnanski, is a highly-respected and talented author who had been given extraordinary access to Joe Paterno during his entire final year as the Penn State coach. I have always found the cover-up allegation against Paterno to be particularly humorous because of this fact. Those, like Freeh, who claim such a theory never seem to want to explain (or even realize they need to) why it is that a man, who had to know that his ten-year-long cover-up of child abuse was in grave danger of unraveling, would decide, for really the first time in his career, to be shadowed by a journalist for a full year.
Those same people never even try to explain why it is that Posanski didn’t find even one shred of significant evidence pointing to Paterno’s “guilt” in all of this. After all, how is it remotely possible that Posnanski, who obviously had a huge incentive to reveal it if had existed, could have spent all that time with Paterno during the height of the crisis and still not come up with anything that remotely indicated that there was a cover-up or that the coach had any knowledge that Sandusky was a pedophile?
That is simply just not possible.
And yet, largely because Posnanski panicked and, clearly fearing that his media elite “club” card would be revoked, caved into media pressure and ripped Paterno in general terms during the promotion of a book which somehow lacked any new evidence of his guilt. Just as bad, he then sold the rights to the book to a movie producer who appears to be making a film where Paterno is depicted as being at least somewhat culpable for Sandusky’s crimes. Posnanski’s hypocrisy on all of this was comically revealed just this week when, and I am not making this up, he wrote a column about how disappointed he is that a statue of Michael Jackson was being taken down from in front of a soccer stadium (after he made no such protest over Joe Paterno, a man never accused of child molestation, having his statue taken down).
Other than Posnanski’s lack of courage, the element of this fiasco which makes me most depressed is that Scott Paterno has been, despite his betrayal, bizarrely tolerant of the author and, at times, even goes out of his way to praise him (I will admit that when I compare Scott’s treatment of Posnanski to how he has dealt with me it is rather perplexing/demoralizing). I can only theorize that Scott is so enamored with his relatively-positive portrayal in the book (for having supposedly been the first to see the dangers of the grand jury presentment) and is so naively hopeful about how the movie will turn out, that he is able to ignore Posnanski’s betrayal of his “client” and what his book should have been had Posnanski handled this situation properly.
Had Posnanski used his incredible opportunity to spread the truth rather than try to thread a politically correct needle before running away forever (it is rather amazing that the guy who wrote the definitive book on Joe Paterno almost never publicly comments on this case any more), I really believe that it could have been a game-changer. Unfortunately, it did almost nothing for the cause of truth here.
Mark Emmert is Exposed by Franco Harris:
Contrary to popular belief, I am actually an extremely open-minded person. Consequently, when I went with Franco Harris to see NCAA President Mark Emmert speak here in Los Angeles I honestly expected him to be a least somewhat convincing on the issue of why he approved the worst sanctions in history on Penn State.
I figured that there was just no way that such a big decision was made without some sort of actual basis and by a president who had at least carefully studied the facts of the case.
I was stunned to learn that Mark Emmert didn’t have a clue about the facts of the Sandusky case.
While it is difficult to prove such a statement on the basis of one answer (to a question from Franco Harris), Emmert left no doubt in my mind that this was true.
First, his people went way out of their way to prevent us from videotaping his response which, at a semi-public event where cameras were allowed, I found to be highly suspect.
Second, he clearly didn’t even understand what Franco was talking about when he stated to him that Sandusky had been found “not guilty” in both the 1998 and 2001 episodes (Sandusky was acquitted of the anal rape charge in the McQueary event and in 1998 the rather minor alegation was found by law enforcement to be “unfounded”).
Thirdly, Emmert clearly stated that Joe Paterno was not found guilty/punished by, or even mentioned in, the consent decree, when in fact his name is plainly mentioned in the portion which takes away his wins starting in 1998.
Finally, while it didn’t necessarily prove that Emmert was clueless about the case itself, when he sincerely asked Franco, who graduated a quarter century before NCAA’s magic eraser started with the 1998 team, whether he had played on a team impacted by the sanctions, I knew for sure that Emmert was an idiot who had no basis for the horrific decision he had made.
Now here we had audio of an NFL Hall of Famer confronting the NCAA president in a situation where video was prohibited in a suspicious manner which brought Emmert’s authority to make his Penn State decision into grave question. That alone could easily have been seen as a very legitimate news story which easily could have significantly altered the narrative.
However, the media bizarrely gave my initial 140-character tweet (which I wrote after dropping Franco off at the airport) announcing only the gist of what had happened far more play than the actual audio of Emmert which we released later the next day. Even more maddening, almost no one in the media bothered to even contact me to find out what I meant in the tweet because they obviously didn’t want the facts to get in the way of the good story that they had imagined about what might have happened as Emmert ran away from Franco and out the back door.
Consequently, very few people are even aware that Mark Emmert ever exposed himself as being so stunningly ill-informed about what he should have treated as the most important decision of his career.
Sue Paterno Knocks it out of the Park on Katie Couric:
The Paterno family waited quite a long time to formally respond to the Freeh Report. Clearly, through little fault of their own, they waited too long.
I have been outspoken, against my own self-interest, that one of their biggest mistakes Scott Paterno and his PR person Dan McGinn made was allowing the conventional wisdom/narrative to cement to the point where it became unbreakable (a large part of why these bombshells never went off is because Scott Paterno did a lousy job of establishing that there was indeed a very credible other side to this story). Part of why they were forced to do this is that, quite understandably, Sue Paterno was, for obvious reasons, simply not emotionally ready to respond in a live television format.
However, once she was finally was ready to do the Katie Couric Show, she was truly outstanding. I honestly can’t imagine how that program could have possibly gone any better. How anyone could have watched that show and believed that Joe Paterno knowingly protected a pedophile is a complete mystery to me. I honestly doubt that anyone actually did.
Unfortunately, most people, especially in the media, had already made up their minds and the impact of the show beyond that specific audience was minimal at best.
Of course Sue Paterno’s appearance with Couric was strategically designed to come at the same time as the release of the Paterno Report, which also lacked the “bang” that it should/could have, but for very different reasons.
In a remotely fair media environment, the Paterno Report would have totally changed the narrative about what really happened in this story (though not necessarily in a truthful direction). After all, Dick Thornburgh was a highly-respected former U.S. Attorney General/Pennsylvania Governor and Jim Clemente was a highly-qualified sex crimes expert who was a victim himself and who used to work for the FBI.
However, because it was paid for by the Paternos, provided no dramatic new evidence, and debuted on a network (ESPN) which had a clear agenda against its findings, the report was largely, though not totally, disregarded.
It is my view that the Paterno Report was actually a net negative for our side of this story in the long run because it further solidified the narrative that Sandusky was a “monster” who ran around State College constantly raping young boys. It also betrayed the truth of what likely really happened here in favor of a purely political gambit intended to appeal to the very media which had destroyed Joe Paterno to begin with.
It not only failed politically, but it also based in an inaccurate view of what really happened here.
I have taken a lot of heat for saying that Jim Clemente (with whom I have had exponentially more contact than any member of the Paterno family has) got this case wrong and is not nearly as credible as a lot of people would seemingly like to believe.
Jim and I had hours and hours of phone conversations, emails, and even a meeting. While I found him to be smart and knowledgeable in general, his familiarity with the specifics of this case was shockingly weak. It should also be pointed out that we have learned an enormous amount about this case after he wrote his report (including the entire story of Victim 2 and the settlements which I believe disprove a huge portion of his whole theory on the nature of child sexual abuse cases involving men) and was locked into a false narrative.
Quite simply, Jim failed to realize the unique nature of this case (there has never been a situation like this where victims had a greater assurance of being protected by the media and of being paid big money by an entity which wouldn’t ask tough questions) and lacked the courage to express his suspicions about what really happened for fear of jeopardizing his place in the victim’s rights advocacy hierarchy. I have posted an email exchange I recently had with Jim (which will surely be our last) as a way of further explaining why I have come to these conclusions.
The bottom line is that in Sue’s TV appearance and the release of the Paterno Report, the Paterno team fired its final PR weapons. One was fired too late and the other was misaimed.
Still, it should be pointed out that, had the media been remotely fair, both still would have done far more damage to the fortress of deceit than they were allowed to do.
The Real Story of Victim 2 is Featured on Today Show:
I am obviously biased since this event involved me directly, but I still think the most shocking thing I have seen happen in all of this from a media perspective was what occurred when I waved the bombshell statement of Victim 2 on the Today Show and I got exactly ZERO media inquires about the remarkable document.
In some ways, this was roughly the equivalent to finding a hidden gold mine and being told that suddenly that metal is, for the first time in human history, now worthless.
I had somehow made it onto the premiere morning news show in the country, going head-to-head with Matt Lauer (who himself fully understood the significance of the revelation), with proof that the boy who Mike McQueary supposedly saw assaulted in the Penn State showers had said several times as an adult that nothing remotely sexually had ever happened that fateful night. And yet no one in the media cared enough to even ask about it. Heck, Piers Morgan didn’t even inquiry about the document during the commercial break when we were just a couple of feet away from each other and desperately searching for some small talk to break the obvious tension between us.
There are those who will claim that somehow those statements are typical of an abuse victim (ironically, Jim Clemente, a huge proponent of “compliant victimization” theory, did not discount the significance V2’s statement during our hours of conversation), but I have always maintained that V2’s actions are so proactive and strong that they don’t actually fit that common pattern.
There are others (like, Sara Ganim) who laughably sort of try to pretend that this isn’t the “right” V2, even though they will never call this person a liar and he just settled with Penn State. Unfortunately, like so much of this case, it is far too complex to explain in 15 seconds why there is no possible way he is the wrong V2. But there is no doubt, especially now that he has been paid by Penn State, that the person I identified by piecing together different bits of information and getting lucky is indeed the person Sandusky showered with when he was seen by Mike McQueary (who, importantly, contrary to at least one version of his story, didn’t make his presence known to either of them).
I am also more convinced than ever that the interpretation of what happened with V2 which I gave on the Today Show (that V2 has not changed his story, just his interpretation of Sandusky’s intent) is indeed correct. I am quite sure that V2 has never said in any formal way that he was abused in the shower that night (otherwise he would have testified, his lawyers statement in response to my Sandusky interview would have said that, and the prosecution would not have flipped out when Graham Spanier’s lawyer asked about his identity at the preliminary hearing) and that he likely never will.
It seems pretty clear to me that if V2 had really done a complete 180-degree turn on his prior statements (made as a 24-year-old, married, Marine), then he would have done an interview right after his settlement as other victims represented by the same law firm did. The window of opportunity to do that interview has likely closed for now. This means that either V2 will never tell his story publicly and will just take his money and go home, or that he is planning a book (which is why he didn’t do any interviews now) where he can make even more money. I can’t be sure, but my guess is that if he is indeed writing a book that he will still not say that he was abused in the shower, I say this both because that story is frankly not as commercially viable any more and because I don’t think it actually ever happened.
Of course the fact that the victim in the only episode which really implicates Penn State or Joe Paterno at all said in a credible fashion (on the very day Paterno was fired!) that nothing ever happened should have obviously been a massive bombshell. Instead, largely due to “friendly fire,” my efforts to expose this important reality largely got shot down on take off.
Scott Paterno, in what I am now positive was an act motivated entirely by ego and politics (rather than a belief that I was wrong about the facts), actively torpedoed my revelation by releasing a statement before my Today Show appearance condemning something of which he had no idea what the substance was. Then, Scott’s sex crime expert, Jim Clemente, with whom I had spent MANY hours discussing the case, lied to me and hung me out to dry when I tried to accommodate both him and V2 with regard to the identity issue after Jim changed his mind about it at the very last moment. Then when I screwed up the last-minute cleansing of Victim 2’s name from our website (just as our website got hit with a massive cyber attack), it all backfired badly, though unjustly, on me and my reputation.
I still believe that I will eventually be even more vindicated on the V2 issue than I already have been. Unfortunately it will almost certainly be too late to do much for the overall narrative of the case.
Bob Costas Changes His Mind :
In this era of massive media fragmentation there are very few personalities who still possess the celebrity and the gravitas to make a difference by on their own. In today’s environment, unless the media works together as a pack, the have very limited power (which is a big part of the reason that they almost always act as a horde).
In the world of sports only a couple of people have the ability to rise above the fray. Without a doubt, one of them is Bob Costas.
Costas originally joined the rest of the chorus when the Freeh Report was released and condemned Penn State and Joe Paterno, even calling for some sort of “death penalty” from the NCAA. Unfortunately, he didn’t get the chance to read the full report because he was traveling to London for the Olympic Games at the time and he largely went on what others he trusted were saying.
To his great credit, Costas eventually revisited the issue and even hosted an hour-long TV special in which he said that the underlying premise of the Freeh Report “didn’t necessarily make sense.” He then went on the Tonight Show, of all outlets, and said that he didn’t believe that Joe Paterno was part of a cover-up (interestingly, Jay Leno seemed to agree with him).
Costas’s unique stature alone should have made such dramatic comments very news-worthy. The fact that he was rather substantially changing his opinion should have made such a development even more significant. And the reality that he had potentially more to risk than anyone else who has spoken on this case, and was showing courage in doing so, should have made his “conversion” a sensation.
Instead, the comments of Costas were met in the media with essentially the figurative sound of crickets in the wilderness. The establishment completely ignored them.
I had actually predicted this exact reaction on KDKA radio in Pittsburgh because I knew the media had no other option here. They couldn’t combat Costas with facts and they didn’t dare try to destroy him personally. Therefore, their only other recourse was to simply pretend that it never happened and hope that everyone else in their pack of cowards would do the same. This is, unfortunately, precisely what happened.
There will ever be a better chance for one media personality to change the tidal wave of the media’s narrative in this case than when Bob Costas did what he did here. That fact that even Bob Costas has so far been able to do little damage to the wall of deceit might be the greatest testament yet to just how formidable it really is.
New Joe Paterno Interview Emerges:
It is pretty amazing to think that somehow an interview that Joe Paterno did with the office of the Attorney General just two weeks before he was fired could somehow have remained totally hidden for over a year and a half, but that is what happened until I released my online book, “The Betrayal of Joe Paterno.”
When I released the transcript of the interview I went to great pains to explain that I knew that it would be grossly misinterpreted by the lazy, stupid, biased media and, unfortunately that is exactly what happened. In fact, they did so without even bothering to ask me about the issue (the only reporter who even bothered to do so purposely left out half of the two-line statement that I gave him because it didn’t fit his narrative).
The focus should have been on the fact that Paterno makes it very clear (at a time when he had neither the incentive nor the knowledge to lie about it) in the interview that he was NOT in the loop on the final decision about what to do with Sandusky after the McQueary episode. Instead, the media was only interested in the part where Paterno further confirms his grand jury testimony where he says he thinks McQueary told him ten years earlier (though he has absolutely no idea what year it was) that the event he witnessed was “sexual.”
Interestingly, I believe that Sandusky prosecutor Frank Fina’s statement to CBS that Paterno was not part of a cover-up was based in large part on the content of this interview.
I also believe that the fact that the interview had never been made public was a smoking gun with regard to the tactics and intention of Louis Freeh. After all, it is abundantly clear that the attorney general’s office and Freeh were in direct communication and tied at the hip. It is inconceivable that Freeh didn’t know about this interview and yet it somehow didn’t make it into his report.
How is that remotely possible? The only way that could have happened is if Freeh simply decided that it wasn’t in his interests to release it and he purposely withheld evidence which directly contradicted his entire theory. This revelation alone should have been a bombshell regarding Freeh’s credibility and yet, once again, no one in the media is even remotely aware of this obvious reality.
The Date for the Victim 8 Story Turns Out to be Bogus:
There is no one in the world who knows the facts of this case better than Ray Blehar. I disagree strongly with Ray about how this story likely unfolded, but his revelation regarding the so-called “janitor episode” was very significant.
By simply doing some fact-checking which should have obviously been done by the prosecution, Ray proved that the case involving Victim 8 (who is not an actual person, though I have concerns that it could possibly be the same person as Victim 2) as stated by the prosecution, simply could not have happened. This is because pay roll records show the janitor in question did not yet work at Penn State when it is said to have occurred.
Of course the entire case which Freeh absurdly used to condemn Penn State’s “football culture,” was already incredibly dubious to begin with. The case always lacked a victim, an exact date (even before Ray’s revelation), a contemporaneous report, or even an actual witness. It was based entirely on the hearsay testimony of a fellow janitor who was supposedly told about this by the actual witness (who now has dementia), but who never reported this episode to anyone. The story also has some serious logistical flaws in it.
Part of me thinks that the date screw up actually shows that some sort of event had to have actually taken place because if the prosecution was really going to be so brazen as to completely make it up that they would have at least taken the time to make sure the date they chose was even possible. Under this scenario I am concerned that, given some other things Sandusky has told me about that time frame, it is possible that the victim here may have been the same person as in the McQueary incident (I have since asked Sandusky about this and he is sure that this is not the case).
Like all of these other bombshells, this one also never detonated. Amazingly, even though the Victim 8 case is emblematic of so much of this entire story and is by far the weakest of the convictions against Sandusky, almost no one knows the details of it.
Unbelievably, Sandusky’s own lawyers apparently did not even raise the overall Victim 8 issue in their oral arguments for his recent appeal, which is sure to be rejected.
As with so much of this incredible saga, what might be the most remarkable aspect of all of this is how much important information has been discovered and yet treated as if it is the proverbial tree which falls in the forest with no one (other than us) around to actually listen.
But let the record show that, no matter what happens from here, we have indeed been profoundly vindicated on many occasions. While it obviously would have been nice for more to have taken notice, nothing will ever change that reality. Much like the NCAA, the media can pretend that history didn’t happen, but they can’t actually make that true.