The Freeh Report, on Penn State's complicity...
Trigger Warning: Today I'm referencing the Penn State rape cases, and the report Director Freeh put out today, from his investigation.
As always, when I talk about abuse, or abusers, I include contact information.
Here they are. If you, or someone you know is being abused or is thinking of ending their life, please get help.
SNAP: 1.877.SNAPHEALS (1.877.762.7432)
RAINN's online hotline or call 1.800.656.HOPE (4673)
The Trevor Project: 1.866.488.7386
The Hotline (DV): 1.800.799.SAFE (7233)
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1.800.273.8255
This will be my final blog about the Sandusky-Penn State sex abuse catastrophe. I might blurb when the various sentences comes down. I hadn't intended to write about it again, after Sandusky was convicted. But this morning I was looking at CNN and found a vid that disturbed me greatly. You can see it, and two others here. [Yeah, I know, CNN's vids aren't laid out the best but it's worth the hassle this time.]
I'd highly recommend you take a peek, as Former FBI Director Louis Freeh has finished his investigation. If you've followed the story at all, or are curious as to "how it got so out of hand" this report will explain more than you ever wanted to know.
For those who were certain Paterno, Curley, Spanier and the lot of them would be found blameless, or at the very most scolded for being naughty and not telling quickly enough, you're not going to like this at all. This report is scathing... to say the very least.
And I, for one, and glad of it! The time for cosseting the feelings of Penn State are over! Their reputation deserves the hit it's taking, and so does everyone involved.When you choose to protect an abuser, a rapist, you really do deserve what you get.
The video of Freeh's speech will be all over the internet for the next few weeks, and months. I would expect several more people to go to prison over their actions, or should I say “choice of inaction” and I hope that Joe Paterno's reputation is forever ruined by his own actions. I wouldn't be surprised if the victims read-- perhaps even studied-- the investigative report and then sued the pants off the University, the Board, the President of the Uni, the former President, and everyone else involved-- including the Paterno estate.
They have every right to gain recompense-- even if the so-called high priest of football is dead.
Before I get too far in, let me U-turn back to the report.
You can see it here, (PDF). It's rather long and opens as they always do with methodology. This is important in investigations, especially ones that might cause, help, expand criminal probes. In this case Freeh and his people were scientists, and therefore showed us exactly where they got the information that they got.
This is very very important, and will come into play later as the authorities continue their own criminal investigation. [I saved a copy of the PDF to my desktop, if you're having trouble getting to load, or whatever, let me know, and I'll email it to you if you like.]
In the introduction, on page 11, comes the first damning remarks-- the Introduction!
“The Special Investigative Counsel had unfettered access to University staff, as well as to data and documents maintained throughout the University. The University staff provided a large volume of raw data from computer systems, individual computers and communications devices. The Special investigative Counsel performed the forensic analysis and review of this raw data independent of the University staff. From this review and analysis, the Special Investigative Counsel discovered the most important document in this investigation—emails among former President Graham B. Spanier, former Senior Vice President-Finance and Business Gary C. Schultz and Athletic Director Timothy M. Curley from 1998 and 2001-- relating to Sandusky's crimes. The Special Investigative Counsel immediately provided these documents to law enforcement when they were discovered. [emphasis added]
The last paragraph on the 11th page... still in the intro where Freeh tell us everything they did in a very cursory fashion, and we learn about emails. “The most important documents in this investigation”, it says. The Most Important. That can't be good for the people at that Uni, present and past, who tried like hell to cover things up, can it...
Let me answer my own question by pointing you to page 14, the Findings:
“The most saddening finding by the Special Investigative Counsel is the total and consisted disregard by the most senior leaders at Penn State for the safety and welfare of Sandusky's victims. As the Grand Jury similarly noted in its presentment1, there was no “attempt to investigate, to identify Victim 2, or to protect that child or any others from similar confuse except as related to preventing its co-occurrence on University property.” [emphasis added]
That echoes Director Freeh's opening statement [text] as he released his findings this morning. [the "findings" portion of the speech, not the opening, "hey, here we are, we were totally independent and shit, and you can see our website here", part]
“Our most saddening and sobering finding is the total disregard for the safety and welfare of Sandusky's child victims by the most senior leaders at Penn State. The most powerful men at Penn State failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children who Sandusky victimized. Messrs. Spanier, Schultz, Paterno and Curley never demonstrated, through actions or words, any concern for the safety and well-being of Sandusky's victims until after Sandusky's arrest.” [emphasis added]
I know that many people don't want to hear this next part. They want to believe that Paterno made a mistake, he screwed up just once, and it doesn't taint his entire career, I mean everyone messes up, right? Much as we might wish, that just is not the case.
To quote Freeh's statement again, “(2) Mr. Paterno said that "I didn't know exactly how to handle it and I was afraid to do something that might jeopardize what the university procedure was. So I backed away and turned it over to some other people, people I thought would have a little more expertise than I did. It didn't work out that way." [emphasis added]
By law the "University procedure" would have been to notify the police immediately. Often they ask you call the board of directors, too-- but that's not always necessary. Following the law, that's procedure. Coaches are "mandated reporters" just like doctors and teachers-- I don't think it matters that the coach in question was for university level.*
This man was a little older than my grandmother, when he died earlier this year. He could have been one of her friends, they were in the same cohort. My grandmother, liar for Jesus that she is, knows what to do when she sees a kid being raped. She knows she has to call the cops. So Paterno had no excuse. Shit, he could have called crime stoppers and made an anonymous tip! A lot of people do that when they don't want to be caught telling the cops about a crime. But it's still the right thing to do... they told, so someone could help! Hell, an anonymous call to Child Protective Services would have been a decent thing to do. Then he could have pretended to be just "shocked! shocked there was gambling at this establishment!" Covered his reputation just perfectly, I tell ya.
But Paterno did nothing, except put the screws to anyone who said call the cops. Better to treat it in-house... better to be silent. Better to pretend that nothing happened, or would happen... I mean, they told him not to bring guests to Penn State any more, so they did their part... right?
Of course that's just as bad as Curley and Schultz's reasons: they wanted to be “humane” to Sandusky... but who gives a fuck about the kids he was raping! They weren't humane to them!
Reputations are shredding by the word. In the world of universities, academia, research and football, reputation is all you have. Reputation brings in the good professors, the research grants, the sports nuts and their big money.
Freeh went on, “...Messrs. Spanier, Schultz, Paterno and Curley also failed to alert the Board of Trustees about the 1998 investigation or take any further action against Mr. Sandusky. None of them even spoke to Sandusky about his conduct. In short, nothing was done and Sandusky was allowed to continue with impunity. Based on the evidence, the only known, intervening factor between the decision made on February 25, 2001 by Messrs. Spanier, Curley and Schulz to report the incident to the Department of Public Welfare, and then agreeing not to do so on February 27th, was Mr. Paterno's February 26th conversation with Mr. Curley. We never had the opportunity to talk with Mr. Paterno, but he did say what he told McQueary on February 10, 2011 when McQueary reported what he saw Sandusky doing in the shower the night before: "You did what you had to do. It is my job now to figure out what we want to do." Why would anyone have to figure out what had to be done in these circumstances? We also know that he delayed reporting Sandusky's sexual conduct because Mr. Paterno did not "want to interfere" with people's weekend....Even though they all knew about the 1998 incident, the best they could muster to protect Sandusky's victims was to ask Sandusky not to bring his "guests" into the Penn State facilities.” [emphasis added]
What would you have to figure out, indeed?!
I was angry when Paterno died, because I felt he would be sainted by Penn State's alumni, staff, fans and students. I was afraid that this man who was their high priest of football would get away with enabling rape. For a time, he did. Calling out his actions caused people to damn near riot! "Fuck those guys! But Football!"
But we were right. Those of us who demanded an accounting for Paterno, who refused to let his death wash away his sins of inaction, interference and allowing the child rape to continue have some measure of comfort knowing that Director Freeh and his crew of tireless investigators have uncovered the truth of Paterno's involvement in a very short seven and half months.
He wasn't that sweet old man who had “no idea!” He wasn't confused. He wasn't in the dark.
He knew, and like Curley and Schultz, and everyone else, he worked-- actually worked!-- to cover those crimes up, so that his beloved job and reputation and University wouldn't be marred.
Fuck those kids, is what they all said. The boys were a sacrifice on the altar of football, and it was OK with them. Their University kept its ivory walls, and pristine appearance, while those boys, now men, suffered with the consequences.
USA Today's report quotes Freeh, “At a press conference in Philadelphia after the report was released Freeh said Paterno, who died in January of cancer, could have stopped the abuse "if he so wished.” [emphasis added, link below]
If he wished.
I didn't start this blog to speak ill of the dead. I'd do that without blogging if it was necessary. I wrote to to contrast the truth with the perceived sainthood of this man.
If Paterno was really the saint, the “JoePa” of Penn State, he would never have ignored the evil in his midst. He would have shouted from the rooftops as soon as he was alerted.
If he was really a good man, he would have damned the University to hell before he let kids be raped.
If he was really a good man, a saint, he would have done everything in his power-- which was considerable-- to make sure Sandusky was prosecuted as soon as the first accusation was raised.
Instead he was a selfish, cruel enabler.
Joe Paterno has no legacy that anyone should aspire to. Neither does Athletic Director Tim Curley, or former Penn State President Graham Spanier... none of these men deserve accolades. They deserve prison time.
Paterno is dead, so prison is out, but his legacy, all those millions he poured into Penn State don't need his name attached any more. They need to be named in memory of the lost innocence of those men who were raped on his watch.
I hope his estate does the right thing, and starts pouring money into helping the men who were raped and abused by Sandusky at Paterno's silence and assent.
If not, I hope those men sue them for everything they have.
Justice is blind, but she's not stupid. In this case, justice is not Paterno's name in lights, and his family living in the lap of luxury. Justice is those men who were raped as little boys getting help, counselling and everything else they need to put their lives together.
Good men never turn their backs on those weaker than they. Good men protect the weak. Good men never turn away from someone who needs help-- even in the face of “But Football!”
I am glad that Director Freeh released the investigative report publicly.
I'm glad that Reuters wasn't afraid to state so plainly “Penn State leaders including former President Graham Spanier and late football coach Joe Paterno covered up Jerry Sandusky's child sexual abuse for years to save the reputation of the school and its multimillion-dollar football program, former FBI director Louis Freeh said on Thursday.”[emphasis added]
I'm glad that the Board really did mean it when they said they would be hands off the investigation. when they asked Freeh to find the truth.
I'm glad that the Pennsylvania AG isn't done digging for the truth and seeks to hold those accountable who contributed to this harm
I'm glad Sandusky is in prison.
I hope Curley and Schultz and Spanier end up there, too. They're going to trial in the near future as it is, although I'm certain there will be amended charges after this report.
I just wish that Paterno could have lived long enough to join them.
ChicagoTribune, where I found the link to the PDF.
Take your pick, there are countless versions of the story, all telling the same facts. Here are the first three I read.
*"In many U.S. states and Australia, mandated reporters are professionals who, in the ordinary course of their work and because they have regular contact with children, disabled persons, senior citizens, or other identified vulnerable populations, are required to report (or cause a report to be made) whenever financial, physical, sexual or other types of abuse has been observed or is suspected, or when there is evidence of neglect, knowledge of an incident, or an imminent risk of serious harm.
These professionals can be held liable by both the civil and criminal legal systems for intentionally failing to make a report ." [quoted from linked Wikipedia article]