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Tag: jerry sandusky

HBO Docu-drama Makes Me Think How Bo Schembechler Would Have Handled the Penn State Scandal

HBO has produced a docu-drama about Joe Paterno & the Jerry Sandusky/Penn State scandal starring Al Pacino as Paterno. This column first ran in 2012 and is a summary of what the investigation of the scandal revealed and poses the question, how Bo Schembechler would have dealt with the Sandusky and the scandal.

The author (right) Greg Stejksal and late Michigan coach Bo Schembechler

By Greg Stejskal
ticklethewire.com

Last November I wrote a column about how I thought legendary Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler would have handled the Penn State scandal.

Since then Joe Paterno was fired and subsequently died from cancer. Jerry Sandusky was convicted of 46 of 48 counts of sexual child abuse involving 10 boys.

Now the results of an independent investigation, the Freeh report, have been released.

As I had speculated in my column, Joe Paterno knew of allegations of Sandusky’s sexual child abuse as early as 1998. He apparently forced Sandusky to “retire” from the PSU coaching staff (after the 1999 season), but gave him a unique severance package including $168,000 and the designation Assistant Professor Emeritus – thus, allowing Sandusky continued, unrestricted access to Penn State athletic facilities.

This makes Paterno’s actions and inaction in 2002 all the more indefensible. When confronted with an eyewitness account of Sandusky sexually abusing a child in a shower at the PSU football facility, Paterno passed the report to his superiors.

Not Report It 

But rather than actively pursue it, Paterno counseled that the allegations not be reported to law enforcement or child welfare services.

Paterno was an active participant in the cover-up. Then he lied about it under oath.

I am more certain now that faced with the situation that occurred at Penn State, Bo Schembechler would have handled it differently from the beginning, and it would not have ended like this.

Here is the column as it appeared last November:

“Do the Right Thing –Always,” Bo Schembechler

I want to preface this by saying, I was an admirer of Joe Paterno and Penn State football, which in my adult life have been synonymous. I don’t know Joe Paterno, but I know that he has been head coach at Penn State for 46 years and has been extremely successful, winning 409 games and two national championships.

Paterno achieved this seemingly without compromising sound values. His players were encouraged to be student-athletes with equal emphasis on the student part.

All About Honor

The football program’s slogan was “success with honor.” All of that including Paterno’s legacy is in jeopardy.

There was a seamy underside to all that success, Jerry Sandusky. Sandusky played for Paterno then became a coach. Ultimately he was Penn State’s defensive coordinator (the face of Linebacker U).

He was characterized as Paterno’s heir apparent. But if numerous allegations are to believed, Sandusky was, at least, as far back as the mid 90s, a child molester – using his position and its status to sexually abuse young boys.

Sandusky’s alleged transgressions go beyond despicable, but the issue for Paterno is what did he know, when did he know it and what did he do about it.

According to the report of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury, that was investigating the allegations against Sandusky, in 1998 the Penn State police conducted an investigation regarding allegations that Sandusky was in involved in the molesting of young boys.

The case was presented to the local prosecuting attorney, but no charges were brought as a result of that investigation. (It is difficult to believe a case could be presented to the prosecutor without Paterno being aware of the investigation.) Coincident with the conclusion of that investigation, Sandusky was informed by Paterno that he would not be Paterno’s successor as head coach. Following the 1999 football season, at the age of 55, Sandusky retired from the Penn State coaching staff.

I don’t know what caused Sandusky’s precipitous fall from grace, but the timing, at best, seems curious.

Although Sandusky was no longer on the Penn State coaching staff, he was still a member of the PSU faculty. He remained an Assistant Professor of Physical Education Emeritus with full access to Athletic Department facilities and other perks.

According to the Grand Jury report, March 1, 2002, Mike McQueary, a PSU football graduate assistant (now the wide-receiver coach) saw Sandusky sodomizing a young boy in the shower area of the football building. McQueary knew Sandusky and was shocked and unsettled, but on the following day he reported what he had seen to Paterno.

Paterno then told the Penn State Athletic Director, Tim Curley, of McQueary’s eyewitness account. Later McQueary would be interviewed by Curley and Penn State Senior Vice-President, Gary Schultz. It is not clear what further actions were taken as to Sandusky, but it is clear this incident was never reported to the police or child welfare authorities. Nor apparently was any action taken to identify the young boy or ascertain his welfare.

Sandusky retained his Assistant Professorship (He was listed in the faculty directory as recently as last week.) and his access to University facilities. According to the Grand Jury report, Sandusky’s abuse of young boys continued after 2002.

So did Paterno fulfill his responsibility as head football coach and as Sandusky’s former boss?

I don’t think it can be overstated the prestige and sheer clout that Paterno has at Penn State, but for whatever reason, he apparently never used any of that to further pursue the Sandusky matter or to inquire about the welfare of the alleged victims.

What Bo Schembechler Would Have Done 

In comparison, I pose the hypothetical question: What would Bo Schembechler have done?

Bo is a man I did know. Bo was a legendary football coach at Michigan from 1969-1989 and a peer of Paterno.

To the best of my knowledge, Bo never had to deal with any of his staff being alleged child molesters. He did have situations that required staff and players having to take responsibility for their acts even if it might reflect badly on Michigan, a place he loved and revered.

In 1987, the FBI was investigating two sports agents, Norby Walters and Lloyd Bloom, who had ties to organized crime. Walters and Bloom had worked up a scam where they bribed blue-chip college football players to sign post-dated, secret, agency contracts while they were still eligible to play college football – a clear violation of NCAA rules. Ultimately some of the players balked, threats were made by Walters and Bloom, and the whole thing fell apart.

Players who had signed the contracts were identified. They were all star players on prominent college teams. Two of the players were on Bo’s 1986 Michigan team.

When Bo found out, he was livid. He called one of the players, Garland Rivers, an All-American DB, into the office and had Rivers tell him the whole story. Then Bo called me.

Tell The FBI

When I got to Bo’s office, Bo told Rivers “Tell this FBI agent everything about your relationship with Norby Walters.” Bo could have distanced himself and Michigan from the investigation. Michigan would have been just one of many major football programs victimized by Walters and Bloom. But that wasn’t Bo. Damage control doesn’t mean hiding from the truth. It means taking responsibility for your actions and trying to rectify the mistakes.

Walters and Bloom had enticed his players to break the rules. They had besmirched Michigan. Bo knew he had to take a stand and do what he could to protect future players from illicit agents. Later when Walters and Bloom went on trial in Federal Court for racketeering and fraud, Bo testified. He was the star witness. His testimony was so strong, the defense declined to cross exam him. Walters and Bloom were convicted. What had been a dark moment in Michigan football history was a comeback win as important as any that had occurred on the field.

So what would Bo have done if faced with an assistant coach who was allegedly molesting young boys. We’ll never know for sure, but I’m certain that he wouldn’t have just reported the allegations to his boss and done nothing else. Bo would have made sure the police were aware of the allegations. And that assistant coach would not have had access to Michigan athletic facilities or be emeritus anything.

It has been said that Paterno fulfilled his legal responsibility by reporting the allegations to the Penn State AD. However, it would seem he did not fulfill his moral responsibility by making sure the allegations were pursued and, thus, protecting potential future victims. We may never know why Paterno failed to pursue the Sandusky matter further.

Perhaps Paterno didn’t do more out of a misguided effort to protect the reputation of Penn State, but if that was the motive, far more damage has been done to Penn State’s reputation than would have been done had this matter been fully confronted in 1998 or 2002.

Bo did not see degrees of honor and integrity. You either did the right thing or you didn’t – half way was unacceptable.

 

 

Attorney Finds Errors in Report by Director Freeh on Penn State Abuse Scandal

Louis Freeh

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An attorney charged with challenging a landmark report on the Penn State University investigation slammed the findings, saying they are inaccurate and misleading, the Pittsburgh Tribune Review reports.

The attorney, Michael L. Bangs, criticized the author of the report, former FBI Director Louis Freeh.

Bangs questions every page of the 267-page review that was used in the investigation and helped shape public opinion.

Bangs said the report grossly overstated the number of times Sandusky was compensated by the university.

The “use of this remarkably incorrect statistic by the Freeh report, which was then relied upon to form the basis for a number of its other conclusions, calls

into question the accuracy and veracity of the entire report,” Bangs wrote.

Freeh’s law firm could not be reached for comment.

Ex-FBI Director Freeh Facing Libel, Defamation Suit Over Penn State Child Sex Abuse Scandal

 

Louis Freeh

 Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Former FBI director Louis Freeh is being sued for libel and defamation over his detailed report about the child sex abuse scandal at Penn State University, the Associated Press reports.

The university’s former president, Graham Spanier, initiated the suit because of how he was characterized in the report.

The filing came just a day before the one-year anniversary of Freeh’s report, which outlined in great detail the failures that led up to longtime assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky being sentenced to prison on molestation charges.

Spanier insisted he knew nothing about the sexual assault, so he could not have “repeatedly concealed critical facts relating to Sandusky’s child abuse case,” as stated in the report, his lawyers claim.

Family of Joe Paterno Commissioned Study That Suggests Late Coach Did Nothing Wrong

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The family of Joe Paterno commissioned a report that suggests the Penn State University coach did nothing wrong and was the victim of a rushed investigation, CBS News and the Associated Press report.

The report argues that the probe into the handling of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal, which was led by former FBI director Louis Freeh, contends the evidence against Paterno is not supported by the facts, the CBS News and AP wrote.

One of the experts used in the report, Former U.S. Attorney General Dick Thornburgh, said the Freeh investigation was incomplete and flawed.

Freeh’s report reached “inaccurate and unfounded findings related to Mr. Paterno and its numerous process-oriented deficiencies was a rush to injustice and calls into question” the investigation’s credibility.

Freeh defended the probe.

“I stand by our conclusion that four of the most powerful people at Penn State failed to protect against a child sexual predator harming children for over a decade,” he told the AP.

NCAA Message Falls Shorts in Penn State Case

Allan Lengel

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The NCAA wanted to send a message that protecting children is more important than Penn State football. But if the NCAA really meant it, it would have suspended play for at least a year.

A $60 million fine essentially amounts to one year of revenue generated from the program.

And no bowl games for four years?

Well, many of the bowl games are irrelevant. To boot, Jerry Sandusky shouldn’t have been the only person to get indicted for what happened.

Cover ups matter.

I’m a Big Ten alum. I attended Michigan State University.

Had it happened at the Michigan State, I would have expected no less than a year suspension of the program.

I couldn’t even imagine going to a game involving Penn State.

What the officials at that university did, including coach Joe Paterno, is nothing short of criminal.

So next time the NCAA says it wants to send a message that children are more important than football, maybe it should mean it.

Column: Now More Than Ever I Believe Bo Schembechler Would Have Done Right Thing in Penn State Scandal

The author (right) Greg Stejksal and Michigan coach Bo Schembechler

Greg Stejskal served as an FBI agent for 31 years and retired as resident agent in charge of the Ann Arbor office.

By Greg Stejskal
ticklethewire.com

Last November I wrote a column about how I thought legendary Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler would have handled the Penn State scandal.

Since then Joe Paterno was fired and subsequently died from cancer. Jerry Sandusky was convicted of 46 of 48 counts of sexual child abuse involving 10 boys.

Now the results of an independent investigation, the Freeh report, have been released.

As I had speculated in my column, Joe Paterno knew of allegations of Sandusky’s sexual child abuse as early as 1998. He apparently forced Sandusky to “retire” from the PSU coaching staff (after the 1999 season), but gave him a unique severance package including $168,000 and the designation Assistant Professor Emeritus – thus, allowing Sandusky continued, unrestricted access to Penn State athletic facilities.

This makes Paterno’s actions and inaction in 2002 all the more indefensible. When confronted with an eyewitness account of Sandusky sexually abusing a child in a shower at the PSU football facility, Paterno passed the report to his superiors.

But rather than actively pursue it, Paterno counseled that the allegations not be reported to law enforcement or child welfare services.

Paterno was an active participant in the cover-up. Then he lied about it under oath.

I am more certain now that faced with the situation that occurred at Penn State, Bo Schembechler would have handled it differently from the beginning, and it would not have ended like this.

Here is the column as it appeared last November:

“Do the Right Thing –Always,” Bo Schembechler

I want to preface this by saying, I was an admirer of Joe Paterno and Penn State football, which in my adult life have been synonymous. I don’t know Joe Paterno, but I know that he has been head coach at Penn State for 46 years and has been extremely successful, winning 409 games and two national championships.

Paterno achieved this seemingly without compromising sound values. His players were encouraged to be student-athletes with equal emphasis on the student part.

Read more »

Column: Penn State Cover Up is Lesson for Institutions Including Fed Law Enforcement

Allan Lengel

 
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

There’s a lesson to be learned from the Jerry Sandusky-Penn State child sexual abuse scandal for institutions, including federal law enforcement agencies.

The main lesson is that institutions aren’t more important than people.

We’ve seen this play out so many times before. Institutions protecting their image, avoiding disgrace.

We’ve seen it in the Catholic church with the pedophile scandal. High ranking church officials covering up disgraceful criminal acts of sexual abuse to protect images and people in the institution.

We’ve seen it with the old FBI in Boston that covered up the misdeeds of mobster Whitey Bulger.

When cover ups like that happen, people get killed. Children get molested. Lives are ruined.

What happned at Penn State is unforgivable. Yes, as the Louie Freeh report points out, even good ole coach Joe Paterno was involved in the cover up.

So when scandal surfaces in institutions, including federal law enforcement, it’s best to come clean, lick the wounds and move on.

Cover ups are so much more dangerous to the things that matter most to us: People.

 

Ex-FBI Dir. Freeh Doing Thorough Job in Penn State Probe

Louis Freeh

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Former FBI chief Louis Freeh and his investigators have been doing a pretty thorough job looking at the child-sex scandal at Penn State involving assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

The Associated Press reports that the group has conducted 200 interviews, trying to get insight into the relationship between the football program and the administration.

Authorities there hope to figure out ways to prevent a scandal from going undetected as it did for so long.

To read more click here.

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