# Penn State Could Face Years of Litigation

By Kevin Begos | July 18, 2012

• July 18, 2012 at 12:16 pm
Steve says:
Like or Dislike:
7
9

I’m a proponent of not implementing a death penalty on the football program and instead leaving it to the plaintiff attorneys to do their jobs, attacking the University one very expensive lawsuit at a time.

• July 18, 2012 at 12:26 pm
remembervictims says:
Hot debate. What do you think?
8
12

We must remember who the only victims are. The young men who lost their innocence at the hands of Sandusky due to the Ped State Cover-up. Neither The Big 10 or 12 of whatever it is nor the teams scheduled to play PSU, nor the students at PSU are victims. Only a meaningful Death Penalty will bring validation to Sandusky’s victim as well as to all child victims out there. Only a meaningful Death Penalty will serve as a deterrent to other institutions. Only a meaningful Death Penalty will keep the NCAA from being regarded as a do-nothing institution on its way out. A meaningful Death Penalty would be at least one year for each year of Cover-up, i.e. 14!!! There is another way to calculate too: How about one year for each probable victim. Sources close to the investigation report that the number of victims has risen to 45 (and is still climbing). Since as few as 1 out of 40 cases are ever reported, well, let’s do the math: 45 times 40 = 1,600 victims. (And that doesn’t include cases before 1993.) So how about 1,600 year- Death Penalty?

• July 18, 2012 at 12:30 pm
remembervictims says:
Like or Dislike:
8
4

But the Death Penalty is the only way to bring validation to the true (and only) victims – the young boys who lost their innocence at the hands of Jerry Sandusky. The Death Penalty is the only action that would serve as a deterrent to other institutions. A meaningful Death Penalty would be at least one year for each year of Cover-up, i.e. 14!!! There is another way to calculate too: How about one year for each probable victim. Sources close to the investigation report that the number of victims has risen to 45 (and is still climbing). Since as few as 1 out of 40 cases are ever reported, well, let’s do the math: 45 times 40 = 1,600 victims. (And that doesn’t include cases before 1998.) So how about a 1,600 year- Death Penalty?

• July 18, 2012 at 12:31 pm
remembervictims says:
Like or Dislike:
3
5

A meaningful Death Penalty would be at least one year for each year of Cover-up, i.e. 14!!! There is another way to calculate too: How about one year for each probable victim. Sources close to the investigation report that the number of victims has risen to 45 (and is still climbing). Since as few as 1 out of 40 cases are ever reported, well, let’s do the math: 45 times 40 = 1,600 victims. (And that doesn’t include cases before 1993.) So how about 1,600 year- Death Penalty?

• July 18, 2012 at 3:18 pm
MGD says:
Well-loved. Like or Dislike:
16
6

Is it right though to punish the current student body and keep them from the very reasons they are attending this school? Why then not return all the tuition money and close the school altogether?
I say it is a catch 22. I agree to punishing the wrong doers but don’t punish those who had nothing to do with it. There has to be a way.

• July 18, 2012 at 3:40 pm
Ins Guy says:
Like or Dislike:
10
4

Well, if that’s the only reason they’re there then they should be dropping out anyways! Jeez, I thought the reason you go to college was to get a degree, not because you like to get student discounts to their football games. (You said student body, not football players)

• July 19, 2012 at 8:18 am
Like or Dislike:
6
0

I agree with you. In my opinion, the school itself shouldn’t be punished, just those involved. I think there is a difference between school officials and just the school. Because there are many other areas of that university that wouldn’t have been involved, so why should they be punished? As usual, it’s the students and the student athletes who pay for the crimes of the highly overpaid administration.

• July 18, 2012 at 4:06 pm
NCAgent says:
Like or Dislike:
6
6

In this case no NCAA violations occurred. It is a stretch to group this into lack of institutional control. Lack of institutional control is most often used when schools gain an unfair advantage by cheating ie SMU, USC, UNC, Ohio St. What happened was absolutely horrible. I am sure all of us would turn back time to 1998 or sooner to stop the abuse if we could. What happened is a legal issue. As large as the NCAA rule book is it does not address criminal and moral issues such as this. As someone who grew up in W. PA and went to WVU, I am not a PSU fan. At the same time, I don’t see where this is an issue for the NCAA to get involved in. PSU will pay in civil suits and tarnished reputation.

• July 18, 2012 at 4:29 pm
Celtica says:
Like or Dislike:
9
7

What is the point of having a death penalty if it is not enforced?

• July 18, 2012 at 4:58 pm
NCAgent says:
Like or Dislike:
4
4

SMU has never recovered from the death penalty. Many have said that because of SMU it should never be used again. SMU was running the equivilent of a pro football team. The players were under contract. ESPN did a great film on SMU. There hasn’t been a case of cheating ever come close to SMU. Please show me what NCAA rules PSU broke that would warrant the death penalty. Lack of institutional control is the only one and it is a stretch at that.

• July 18, 2012 at 5:15 pm
Sununu says:
Like or Dislike:
9
3

PSU’s Football program ran the ethics for the University, empowering the child rapist. Surely even NCAA has an ethics clause.

• July 18, 2012 at 4:48 pm
Sununu says:
Like or Dislike:
3
6

I say let’s go after all the schools for recruiting violations and throw the death penalty book at them — but we should honor Paterno’s legacy by leaving the PSU football program intact.

That will show the world that the NCAA program has teeth, dammit!

• July 18, 2012 at 4:56 pm
Melanie Merton says:
Like or Dislike:
4
3

The great irony of the Freeh Report is that one of its most quoted statements was that there were “red flags all over the place” that should have alerted people to Sandusky and were ignored.

But that applies even more so to the Freeh Report itself except the evidence of the report being incompetetent, dishonest and the product of polititcal hackery is more obvious than any red flags Freeh claims wee apparent with Sandusky. And as expected these red flags are being ignored by the news media who have their own ground to defend, their own myths to perpetuate and then there are those who will swallow almost anything they are told by the media.

As for ?Freeh himself, the Board of Trustees who has botched every possible decison from the beginning couldnt have made a worse decision in choosing Freeh to do the investigation. As pointed out here the other day, Freeh had the reputation in Washington DC of being a political hack. He was excoriated by former Republican governor Tom Kane as Chairman of the 911 Commission who tore Freeh to shreds for his incompetence as FBI director in his handling of terrorist related intelligence prior to 911. And as recently as April of 2012, appearing before a congressional committee, Freeh was battered by the committee investigating the bankruptcy of MF Global for which Freeh and his group were overseeing, for Freeh’s refusal to turn over relevant documents to federal regulators.
All indications were that the Freeh Report was going to be the product of a political hack. And the report did not disappoint.

First, the Freeh Report was not an impartial investigation. In fact it wasn’t an investigation at all. It was a prosecution and an unscrupulous one, that misrepresented,and distorted evidence where it existed, eliminated anything exculpatory, took facts that clearly meant one thing and distorted them to mean something else and ignored the truth in almost every circumstance and any fact that didnt fit with the premise.

Freeh’s central premise regarding Joe Paterno is that Paterno knew all about Sandusky and his activites as far back as 1998 through what McQuery says he witnessed and covered it up to shield Penn State from bad publicity. Taking a wrecking ball to that premise and his report using a wrecking ball made up of nothing but facts, logic, common sense and the truth, will demolish both Freeh’s report and his credibility.

Before getting into specifics, and recalling the Woody Allen line that when you tell the truth all the time you never have to remember anything, when it comes to Freeh’s central premise of Paterno being motivated by a desire to shield Penn State from bad publicity ( preposterous on the face of it), Freeh forgets one important fact: within days of the story breaking back in November, Paterno called a press conference where he was going to tell everything he knew, everything he heard and everything he did regarding the Sandusky incident and was going to take questions from reporters. It was Penn State university officials and the Board of Trustees who forced him to cancel it. So right from the beginning who does the evidence show was trying to shield Penn State from bad publicity? Joe Paterno or the Board of Trustees who paid Freeh \$ 6 million for his report?

The Freeh Report has one central premise regarding Paterno and uses 3 main assertions to try and substantiate that conclusion. And he uses two in Freeh’s words “critical” emails that ?Freeh says “proves” it.

Those two emails which are central to Freeh’s report are a 1998 email from Curley to Spanier, the now nfamous “after talking with Joe…” email in 2001 from Curley to Spanier and incredibly, the interview Paterno gave to the Washington Post at the height of the media frenzy surrounding the story in which he claims Paterno statements prove he was trying to shield Penn State from bad publicity ( I dont know what rock Freeh was hiding under but by the time that interview was held the story was the biggest in the country and there was no sheilding Penn State from anything).

Freeh claims a 1998 email from Curley to Schultz proves that Paterno knew all about Sandusky and his activities contrary to Paterno’s grand jury testimony and public statements. He cites one email from May 13, 1998 from Curley to Schultz which says only, ” anything new is this department? Coach is anxious to know where it stands”.

There is not one single corroborating email that Freeh offers, which,given the accusation Freeh is making based on this, you would think there would there would be in abundance. Does it raise questions? absolutely. Does the report answer them and provide proof? Absolutely not. To an ethical investigator that email would be a lead NOT proof. Why does Curley refer to Paterno as “Joe” in other emails and “Coach” in this one? How do we know this relates to the Sandusky investigation involving child abuse? Where are the corroborating emails that make this clear when on would think there would be many? Where are Harmon’s emails confirming this? And most importantly why does the Freeh report say ” the reference to Coach is believed to be Paterno”.

“Believed to be”? A \$6 million dollar investigation into what was the biggest story in the country for weeks, and an attack on a man’s credibility, grand jury testimony and public statements on one of the two most crucial assertions the Freeh Report makes and it’s based on “believed to be”? Why doesn’t he know?.Why didn’t he find out?

One other crucial point: the 1998 investigation which included a psychologist interviewing both Sandusky and the children he showered with and said their accounts were the same found that NO ABUSE had taken place. If one wants to argue that Paterno knew of the investigation then one has to accept he knew about the results of the investigation and those results exonerated Sandusky of any wrong doing. In that case there would be nothing for Paterno to do.

On page 51 of the Freeh report, it says:

” After Curley’s initial updates to Paterno, the available record is not clear as to how the conclusion of the Sandusky investigation was conveyed to Paterno”.

Freeh doesn’t know how the results of the investigation was conveyed to Paterno but he insists they were. And notice how he uses the word ” :conclusion” of the investigation and not “results” of the investigation, Is this an accident? or is it because the results of the investigation undercut his very premise? Because the results of the investigation that would have been conveyed to Paterno would have been that Sandusky was exonerated of any abuse.

There is no fact in Freeh’s written report that shows that the conclusion of the Sandusky investigation was ever conveyed to Paterno. He just says it. He just wants you to take his word for it. But he has no proof. Which may be why Freeh says, oops, he cant find any evidence of how it was done. If you’re going to accuse someone of lying to a grand jury and lying in public statements you better have the goods to prove it. Freeh has, by his own admission, nothing.And he also ignores the fact that if Paterno did know the results, he would have been told there was no abuse by Sandusky.Which blows Freeh’s entire premise out of the water. Why would Paterno feel the need to cover up or protect Penn State from an investigation that concluded nothing happened? And for the Tinker Toy brains who can’t see through that, it would have been to Paterno’s advantage and Penn State’s advantage to tell the grand jury that yes, he remembers the investigation and it completely exonerated Sandusky. The idea that Paterno was covering up or keeping Penn State from bad publicity by holding back on an investigation he knew about that cleared Sandusky is not just stupid, but anyone who believes that and has a college degree didnt get their moneysworth. Or stole it.

Now you see why “conclusions” by a witness are inadmissible in a court of law. A conclusion is not fact. It is not proof. It isn’t even evidence.

This entire report could be cut to pieces by a 3rd year law student with one glaring example after another where Freeh draws conclusions without facts, makes statements about facts not in evidence and chooses to ignore anything that is in conflict with his premise.

There is one more crucial example of Freeh’s dishonesty that needs to be exposed and that is the infamous leaked Curley to Spanier email where Curley says, “after talking with Joe and thinking about it more..” where Curley says he is no longer comfortable doing ” what we decided in reporting it to everyone”.

Freeh uses this email to assert flat out that this proves Paterno was involved in a cover up ( again contrary to Paterno’s public statements and grand jury testimony) and Freeh draws the “conclusion” that this email. It is central to Freeh’s “case” and central to every statement Freeh makes in his report about Paterno, every conclusion he draws and wants you to believe. Freeh’s dishonesty and lack of ethics and his unscrupulous conduct is no more glaring than in how his report characterizes this email going so far as to change the actual words to conform with a meaning he wants to sell.

This is how the Freeh Report characterized the email:

“In critical written correspondence that we uncovered on March 20,of this year, we saw evidence of their proposed plan of action in February of 2001 that included reporting allegations about Sandusky to authorities. After Mr. Curley consulted with Mr. Paterno however,they changed the plan and decided not to make a report to authorities”.

When you have to alter the facts to fit your point, it is not only the earmark of a hack, but someone unethical, unscrupulous and whose credibility has been shattered. Such is the case with Freeh and this email is one more glaring example.

First, Curley’s actual email states. ” after talking with Joe and thinking about it more…”

Freeh changes the wording of the email to fit his conclusion of what he wants you to accept it means by substituting the word ” consulted” for “after talking with..”. A very different meaning can be taken from ” consulting” which has sinister and conspiratorial overtones than “after talking with”. He also uses the word “they” in referring to the contents of the email, the “they” being Paterno and Curley when Curley’;s email consistantly uses the word “I”, not “we” and never once mentions that his decison had anything to do with Paterno. The most logical conclusion from this email alone is that after the intital meeting with Paterno where Paterno told him of McQueary’s accusations and it was decided that they would be “reported to everyone”, Curley on his own, “after thinking about it more”, decided against it and informed Spanier of such.There is not a shred of evidence anywhere that there was a second meeting with Paterno where they both decided to reverse course.

Let it be said that if the implications Freeh is trying to sell were actually true Joe Paterno would be guilty of a bad mistake, perjury, and certainly failure to report child abuse which is a crime. The problem with Freeh’s statement and his conclusion is that it is nowhere to be found in Curley’s email.

Nowhere in Curley’s email does he say he consulted with Paterno. That is Freeh’s word and he offers not a shred of proof to back it up even though that word in itself convicts Paterno of being part of Curley’s decision not to report what McQueary says he witnessed. And Freeh makes the claim without one shred of corroborating evidence to support it.

Curley constantly uses the word “I” and not “we” in his email to Spanier. Freeh on the other hand,using the same email constantly uses the word ” they” as in Paterno and Curley. And again he does it without one shred of evidence to back it up. Only the supposition of what an unscrupulous prosecutor wants you to swallow.

Not one corroborating piece of evidence, no phone records to indicate a second conversation between Paterno and Curley took place, no office or appointment logs to show Paterno met with Curley a second time. not one witness to a second meeting interviewed or cited. Nothing. Just Freeh deciding to use this email as “proof” of his own unsubstantiated conclusions which also happens to run contrary to every shred of evidence, testimony, grand jury testimony and public statement that does exist.

And just to put a fine point on it, ESPN Magazine’s senior writer, Dan Van Nata did report a few days ago before the release of the report that a source, probably in Freeh’s own group, who had seen all the emails told him that this email from Curley to Spanier was in the source’s words, “definitely taken out of context” and “chosen to put everyone in the worst possible light”.

While a reasonable person could certainly say the email raises a potential question of was there a second meeting and did in fact Joe Pateno influence Curley’s decision not to report it Freeh doesnt answer any of it. Not with facts. Not with proof. Not with anything.And all the facts and proof that does exist say Freeh’s assertion is preposterous.

No evidence is presented that there was a second meeting that undid everything that was decided in the first — a meeting that supported Paterno’s later statements that he told what he knew to Curley and Schultz and was under the impression that the matter was ” going to be handled appropriately:.

Adding to how preposterous Freeh’s assertion is, if in the first meeting, they had decided as Curley said, “to report it to everyone”, and in a purported second meeting of which there is no record “a change of plan was decided” on, common sense would tell you that it would have been to Curley’s advantage to tell Spanier that Paterno was involved in the decision and would have helped sell the idea to Spanier. But Curley doesn’t. He says “I” not “we”. Yet Freeh wants everyone to believe the evidence shows that Paterno was influential in Curley’s decision not to report it.

The bottom line with this email is that Freeh intentionally distorts and mischaracterizes it. And if you have to distort and misrepresent evidence to make your case, you have no case.

In the end, the evidence of the Freeh report’s dishonesty speaks for itself.

The two emails cited can certainly raise questions in the minds of reasonable people. And though all the available facts say otherwise about Paterno being involved in any cover up or lying to the grand jury, or knowing what Freeh tries to claim Paterno knew, they would have been worth investigating to find the facts behind the emails and clarify them for the record, instead of using speculation and distortion and unsubstantiated conclusion to make a dishonest case. What these emails would be to an honest investigator would be leads, something to follow up on to find the truth. Freeh tries to turn what might be a lead into something he wants you to buy as proof. And as in the case of the 1998 investigation, he wants you to believe Paterno knew of the investigation but says nothing and draws no conclusions from the fact that the results of the investigation he is alleging Paterno knew about, was that Sandusky was innocent of any wrong doing. Because that would spoil everything.

( NOTE: For those who want a point of view posted by someone at the other end of the political spectrum from myself, but who sees much the same things I have, read what a conservative has to say about the Freeh Report here).

• July 18, 2012 at 5:17 pm
Celtica says:
Like or Dislike:
4
1

If PSU took their lumps and took the penalty like men, they could at least be done with it and move on. Not being penalized only prolongs the misery of debating whether they should be penalized.

• July 18, 2012 at 6:54 pm
Lisa Lincoln says:
Like or Dislike:
2
1

“…financial resources exceeding \$5 billion…” – are tuitions too high?

• July 19, 2012 at 9:28 am
NCAgent says:
Like or Dislike:
0
1

Its called an endowment fund from private donations not public money. Take away the football program and that fund will start to go way down.

• July 18, 2012 at 7:19 pm
SEAN says:
Like or Dislike:
1
1

And some “Genius Broker” has them w Pa. Maunufactures !! Sure the Abuse & Molestation coverage is also Sublimited and Excluded from the Umbrella Coverage… Selecting their Broker was likely just another HORRIFIC error in judgement!!

• July 19, 2012 at 1:31 pm
ralph says:
Like or Dislike:
6
1

I’m going to preface my comment by saying the I am a Penn Stater. I graduated class of 1999. Like almost all Penn Staters (amd a lot of people in PA), Joe Paterno was my hero. He preached “success with honor” and could do no wrong. I ran into him once on campus and it might as well have been God walking past me. I couldn’t even speak.

Everyone that went to Penn State knew that Joe OWNED that school. He wasn’t arrogant about it in any sense, but it was known.

Therein lies the problem.

Did he do ton of good for the University and pretty much everyone even remotely connected to it? Undoubtedly. Did he help a small, agricultural college grow to over 40,000 students, helping the academic departments expand to make it one of the finest state schools in the country. He did indeed. Guess what? None of any of that means ANYTHING in the wake of this.

Out of everyone, Paterno could have stopped Sandusky. He could have made it known that he wasn’t going to tolerate a monster on campus or otherwise. He could have threatened to quit if nothing was done, and if they fired him still made it public. THEN he would have been a true hero. Now, he’s nothing.

In this case, he let football become more important than the welfare of a child (ultimately too many). Is he the only guilty party to turning a blind eye to this? Nope, but he’s the one that could have made the most difference. As a father, this is the one mistake I can never forgive.

I don’t care a whole lot about the football program any more. I say the NCAA should give them the death penalty, for a year at minimum but perhaps longer. The message needs to be sent that sports CANNOT become bigger than the safety of a child.

To my fellow alums, we must ONLY grieve for the victims of this terrible tragedy. Forget the stupid football program or the damage to Dear Old State.

• July 20, 2012 at 2:34 pm
Alive and Well in CT says:
Like or Dislike:
2
2

I hope Joe Paterno’s eternity is a very painful one. The man was just as much of a criminal as Sandusky is. They will both burn in h*** for what they did…and everyone else will who didn’t speak up for those abused kids.

• July 23, 2012 at 1:30 pm
Celtica says:
Like or Dislike:
0
0

Sonow that the NCAA has ruled, is the punishment just?
I think it is and Paterno has only himnself to blame for his tarnished place in history.

More News
More News Features