Three months ago today, Louis Freeh stood in the spotlight, revealing his report’s findings of a massive cover-up by Penn State university officials in the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse case. Though three months have passed, the fight against Freeh’s report hasn’t stopped.
Chairman of the Board of Trustees Karen Peetz announced at the Sept. 14 meeting that the board would not officially review the $6.5 million report, though others have not relinquished that scrutinizing eye.
Following Freeh’s report release, the board immediately accepted the conclusions, a statue was torn down, unprecedented NCAA sanctions were levied and widespread criticism erupted against a university with a longstanding history of “Success With Honor.”
As a result, members of the Penn State community and non-Penn Staters alike have since taken this fight into their own hands.
Legitimacy called into question
In Freeh’s July 12 press conference, he said the “critical 1998 and 2001 emails — the most important evidence in this investigation,” led to the conclusions that former Penn State employees Graham Spanier, Gary Schultz, Joe Paterno and Tim Curley knew about and “repeatedly concealed critical facts relating to Sandusky’s child abuse.”
Eileen Morgan, Class of 1990, released her own critical analysis of the report in an effort to reveal the truth and hold the appropriate people accountable.
Morgan, who has worked doing analytical reading and writing for 20 years, spent many hours analyzing theFreeh Report and twice working through the night.
Morgan said that not only did Freeh’s Special Investigative Counsel not interview any of the “key” people in the case, but that there was a serious problem when most of the 430 people the report said were interviewed were not named.
With former Interim Senior Vice President for Finance and Business Schultz’s and former Athletic Director Tim Curley’s perjury trial scheduled for January, Freeh’s report explains that “on the advice of counsel,” they both declined to be interviewed by the SIC. But Morgan said Freeh should have waited until he could speak with everyone and the trials were concluded.
Other individuals mentioned in the report, including former Penn State defensive coordinator Sandusky, were also described as having declined the invitation to be interviewed by the SIC.
Thomas Davies, a spokesperson for Freeh, Sporkin & Sullivan, declined comment on the report itself or the investigation process.
As another outspoken individual against the Freeh Report, John Ziegler, a broadcaster and filmmaker whose 2009 documentary film “Media Malpractice” focuses on media bias during the 2008 election, developed the website framingpaterno.com.
Ziegler, who does not have any previous connections with Penn State, said the Freeh Report was not the result of a “legitimate investigation.”
“You’re hit immediately by the fact that they didn’t speak to any of the top five most important people in the case,” he said.
In an separate 53-page extensive review of the Freeh Report by the Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship, 17 key people from the 1998 incident were cited as not being interviewed by the SIC, and 14 key people were not interviewed from the 2001 incident.
As one of the leaders of the PS4RS Legal and Regulatory Task Force, Christian Marrone and a group of other lawyers developed the PS4RS review.
Marrone, Class of 1997, currently works as a defense industry executive and is the former deputy chief of staff to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. Marrone also played football for the Nittany Lions and spoke at “A Memorial for Joe” after Paterno died in January.
The PS4RS report also notes a key misstep in Freeh’s investigation was its “failure to consider the role of The Second Mile and the failure of The Second Mile to act upon report of 2001 Incident.”
Morgan also finds a problem in the fact that the SIC did not look seriously into the actions, or inactions of The Second Mile.
“That’s the heart of where this all began,” she said. “That’s where the children were coming from, and they didn’t even interview them.”
In terms of not investigating The Second Mile, Michael Boni, attorney for the person referred to as “Victim 1,” said he didn’t see how it could contract from the findings of the report.
However, Boni said he would not object to a separate investigation into the charity.
In response to criticism that the SIC did not look enough into The Second Mile, Penn State spokesperson David La Torre wrote in an email that the board hired the Freeh Group to investigate the university’s actions with regard to issues outlined in the grand jury presentment.
One of the more unique excerpts of Morgan’s analysis was her analysis of 3.5 million pieces of evidence, which would have been nearly impossible by the SIC team given the time frame.
Morgan said the investigative team would have had to analyze almost 2,000 pieces of evidence per hour, seven days a week, based on eight-hour work days. She said she did the calculation at least 10 times to be sure.
“I can’t say that he lied about it, but I just wanted to bring it to the attention of the public to then start asking questions and putting up the red flags instead of taking what he said as the absolute truth,” she said.
Reviewing the 1998 facts
Ray Blehar, who released his own executive summary of the Freeh Report’s investigation of the 1998 incident, earned his MBA from Penn State in 2008 and currently serves as a senior intelligence analyst in Washington, D.C.
Blehar contributes to the Second Mile Sandusky Scandal website and is part of the FREEHdom Fighters group, which he developed with his colleague Barry Bozeman.
In his executive summary, Blehar concluded that the Freeh Report, which they call “FactFreeh Fiction,” did not consider the law because of a Pennsylvania confidentiality statute that required Penn State Police and Schultz to keep the information confidential by law.
If either of them had violated the confidentiality statute by telling anyone the details of the case, includingPaterno, they would have been charged with a third degree misdemeanor.
According to Freeh’s report, Department of Public Welfare caseworker Jerry Lauro investigated the reports of the 1998 incident when Sandusky hugged an 11-year-old boy in the shower of the Lasch Football Building.
Lauro told the SIC that he was unaware of a first report of Sandusky’s behaviors by the child’s psychologistAlycia Chambers, who initially described Sandusky’s behavior is likely that of a pedophile.
After a second psychological evaluation of the boy conducted by counselor John Seasock who reported the incident was not sexual, the local district attorney decided not to prosecute Sandusky.
Blehar said the report contained bias because it does not cast blame on the 1998 investigative team, but instead mainly blames the former Penn State employees for potentially knowing about the case and not further questioning it.
Blehar’s colleague, Bozeman, who lives in Knoxville, Tenn., and has no connections to Penn State, agreed it was not the administrators’ place to investigate further or be concerned after the case was dropped.
“Who are they to question the Department of Welfare and the district attorney?” he said.
The Department of Public Welfare is trained to spot child abuse, Bozeman said, but they have not been as heavily criticized as the untrained administrators.
Blehar also called the evidence “suspicious” and possibly altered. Both the email evidence and Schultz’s handwritten notes about the 1998 case are currently being examined in an independent lab, but he said he will take it to a few more labs before he makes a definitive statement.
With all of the problems others have found with the 1998 email evidence, Boni calls it merely a “credibility dispute” and finds no counter evidence to the emails.
Boni said Schultz’s handwritten 1998 note, “Is this opening of Pandora’s box?” proves there was no concern for children that could potentially be affected by Sandusky’s abuse.
Tom Kline, an attorney for the person referred to as “Victim 5,” wrote in an email that he agrees with the facts and conclusions of the report.
“The emails and notes attached to the Freeh Report is a treasure trove of inculpatory documents against PSU and a basis of proof of the misconduct of PSU at its highest levels,” he wrote.
La Torre said the university would not comment on the supposed problems with the evidence and conclusions of the report.
Ziegler said one of the “myths” in the case is the idea that a cover-up took place because of some overlooked aspects of the case. If there was a cover-up as Freeh concluded, Mike McQueary would have also been part of it, Ziegler said.
McQueary would thus have had to “flip on the cover-up” when he testified that he witnessed sexual events taking place in 2001, Ziegler said.
Likewise, Paterno would have also continued to hide that he knew anything about the events when he testified before the grand jury, he said.
Boni said he found the Freeh Report “convincing” and that the email evidence prompted the conclusions of the report, including the idea of a cover-up.
“There was no other conclusion to draw other than there was a well-orchestrated cover-up and it was orchestrated at the top of the university,” Boni said. “I can say with certainty that if there were no cover-up that my client would not have been seriously abused.”
The future of the fight
Now in the process of making a documentary film, Ziegler said he hopes to tell a full and complete story that is about the truth, which he said has not been successfully told yet.
“Louis Freeh didn’t tell a story that is consistent with the facts and makes any sense,” he said.
Ziegler also looks to inspire critical questioning of the Freeh Report through an animated video he helped develop that shows how the cover-up would have unfolded if what the Freeh Report describes is true.
After starting three petition-signing campaigns in early September, Bozeman admits they have somewhat struggled with some criticism of their group for being invalid or merely conspiracy theorists.
“They say we’re crazy, that we’re just bloggers,” he said. “We’re throwing up actual testimony. It’s frustrating at times.”
In terms of future legal matters, Marrone said he agrees that some legal actions will take place between now and January — either against the university or the NCAA.
“We’re not going anywhere,” Marrone said. “We’re not moving forward. We’d like to move forward without those clowns on Old Main, but without the truth we’re not moving forward."