Tuesday, January 30

Needed Solutions for the Nassar Problem

As the NCAA and Congress get ready to meddle in the Nassar case and waste everyone's time and money by figuring out who to punish for not reporting, here are the reforms that should be made to protect children from the Larry Nassar's of the world.

By
Ray Blehar
January 30, 2018, 8:13 PM EST

The NCAA and Congress are jumping into the Michigan State University (MSU) and USA Gymnastics failures with both feet to find out why there were reporting failures in those organizations.

If the NCAA does what it did in the Sandusky case -- the blame will be placed on the "culture" at MSU that favored athletics over common decency.  The results of the NCAA investigation will be unhelpful to protect against future sexual abuse of children at MSU or elsewhere.

The Congress has already passed a bill mandating that governing bodies of amateur sports must call police in the event of reports of child abuse.  It won't prevent another Nassar situation from occurring.

The familiar vows of University trustees that this "can never happen again" will also do nothing to stop the next Nassar because their views, like those of Congress and the NCAA,  are informed by sensational news reports -- and not the full facts of the case.

Speaking of facts, the NCAA, Congress, MSU, the media, and and the public need to accept this one:

Focusing corrective action on reporting alone will not make children any safer and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has the facts to prove it. 

Thursday, January 25

Heed Judge Aquilina's Call for a "Massive Investigation"

Judge Rosemarie Aquilina rightfully sentenced Larry Nassar to 175 years, however her call for a "massive investigation" is much more important.

By
Ray Blehar
January 25, 2018. 9:32 AM EST

Judge Rosemarie Aquilina's sentencing of Larry Nassar will put him in prison for life and will ensure he never touches a child again.  That was pretty much expected given the amount of suffering Nassar caused. However, the Judge went well beyond expectations by calling for "a massive investigation" over the "inaction" and "silence" about Nassar's crimes.  


Aquilina's call for a "massive investigation" of "inaction" is on the mark


If her call for such an investigation is heeded it will be more beneficial than any of the partial (i.e., sports) investigations that have been initiated and/or are being proposed.  

As notpsu.blogspot.com reported on January 18th of this year, the Nassar case was veering in the wrong direction and becoming a sports story.  Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post, in a column seemingly unaware of the scope of Nassar's crimes, is calling for a Congressional investigation into USA Gymnastics.  That won't help stop another Nassar.

The decision by the NCAA to send a letter of inquiry to Michigan State University (MSU) regarding compliance with the NCAA Constitution -- similar to its actions in the Penn State University (PSU) Sandusky matter - will be similarly unhelpful.

Only the "massive investigation" (all-encompassing) that includes every organization that had an opportunity to stop Nassar, but didn't, will have the potential of educating the public about "nice guy" offenders and possibly prevent future abuse across our nation.

That's something that former FBI Director Louis Freeh's investigation at Penn State University (PSU) completely failed to do. 

The failures in the Nassar case involved numerous organizations, including Michigan's Children's Protective Services (CPS), which absolved him of abusing Kyle Stephens starting in 1998 and continuing through 2004.  By the way, 1998 was the same year Pennsylvania's Department of Public Welfare (DPW) cleared Jerry Sandusky of abusing two boys in a PSU shower.

The Meridian Township police and prosecutors also couldn't rein in Nassar.

To be clear, Michigan CPS and the police are the people that would have been called by USA Gymnastics, Twistars, and MSU had they appropriately acted on complaints.  

When people on the front lines who are paid with tax dollars to identify child molesters and protect society from people like Larry Nassar are unable to do it, why should anyone expect that coaches, athletic trainers, and educators should fare any better?

Only an all-encompassing investigation, including a review of Michigan CPS, can get to the answers.

The scope of Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette's investigation (requested by MSU) must be expanded to include every instance when there was inaction and/or a failure to recognize Nassar's actions as inappropriate.

"This is not Penn State"
The collective ignorance of MSU officials was prominently on display when they were asked to compare the Nassar case to the Sandusky scandal.  

Jason Cody told the Detroit News that PSU officials "illegally ignored" allegations against Sandusky.  

MSU Trustee Joel Ferguson, in response to the possibility of an NCAA investigation, scoffed: "This is not Penn State."

No, Joel, it's worse on a couple of different levels.

First, MSU employees didn't act on complaints about Nassar in 1998 and 2000.

Comparatively, there is no evidence of a lack of action or that PSU "illegally ignored" allegations against Sandusky.   

The failure to report charges in the case were dismissed.  It is also a fact that PSU officials made reports outside the University to entities that had responsibility for the welfare of the victims both times (1998 and 2001) they were made aware of Sandusky's inappropriate conduct.  Those who received the reports, including the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, Centre County Children and Youth Services, and The Second Mile charity, all failed to take any action to stop Sandusky's access to children.  

The evidence of that is in the Freeh Report -- if you bothered to read it.

Unfortunately, it seems no one at MSU or on the NCAA Executive Committee (e.g., Ed Ray, Lou Anna Simon, etc.) bothered to read past the Executive Summary of the Freeh Report -- if they read that far.  It is likely that they, like the NCAA VP for Communications, Bob Williams, simply listened to Freeh's press conference or got their information from media sound bites.

The second reason that MSU's inaction is worse is because it happened at the highest levels of the University in 2014 -- after the Clemente Report was made public by the Paterno family.

 The Clemente Report
Many of PSU alumni who are still dealing with the aftermath of the Sandusky scandal already know some of the answers Judge Aquilina's "massive investigation" will bring because we're fortunate enough to have leaders like Sue Paterno and her family do what the Freeh Report failed to do...

...Figure out what really happened.

The Paterno family hired retired FBI Supervisory Agent James Clemente, a top profile in child sexual victimization cases, to evaluate the evidence in the Sandusky case and write a report explaining how Pillar of the Community/Nice Guy offenders -- like Sandusky -- fool nearly everyone.  

Clemente's report recounted the case of Richard Taus, a decorated Viet Nam veteran who had a sterling reputation in his Long Island (NY) community for his work with children.  He founded a youth soccer league and surreptitiously molested many of the children that he coached.  Taus was so adept at pulling off his deceptions that he molested a young boy while bouncing him on his knee in full view of the child's mother.

Taus's methods used deception in the same manner that Nassar was able to molest young girls as their parents were present at their "treatments."

I doubt that few people at MSU, and especially Lou Anna Simon, bothered to read the Clemente Report.  If they had, things might have turned out very differently during its 2014 Title IX investigation.  Perhaps there would have been a few less victims.

It is sad that two institutions of higher learning -- two Land Grant Universities -- neither taught nor learned the lessons of the Sandusky scandal.

What is the job of a University if not to educate?


Educate the Public
While addressing the court, Judge Aquilina also asked Nasser why, as a physician, he didn't recognize his problem and seek treatment.

The Judge's remarks also lay bare the need for public education about "Nice Guy" offenders and pedophiles, in general.   Nassar didn't seek treatment because of a mental disorder (i.e., pedophilia). 


"One difficulty with the diagnosis of the disorder is that persons with pedophilia rarely seek help voluntarily from mental health professionals. Instead, counseling and treatment is often the result of a court order." 

For the most part, pedophiles believe they are not doing anything wrong and that their crimes against children are acts of love.   When questioned directly, as Nassar was on a number of occasions, he didn't show a hint of guilt because he believed he had done nothing wrong.  They can use plays on words to convince themselves (and others) they are telling the truth, such as:  "I would never do those disgusting things with a child."  

To Nassar, it's not "disgusting;" it's "love."  And he and others like him are incredibly convincing -- just ask the people they've fooled and the expert investigators who bring them to justice.

The people who were “silent” or did not take “action” were either convinced by Nassar’s reputation or by Nassar's explanations that he was doing nothing wrong. That’s not an MSU or USA Gymnastics problem.  That happens to nearly everyone who crosses paths with "nice guy" offenders. 

Nice Guy, not "Monster"
As I write this, the drum beat is escalating. The media is already undermining the potential for public education by referring to Nassar as a “monster” and questioning how no one could have identified his nefarious behavior.

The "monster" moniker is completely wrong.  Nassar did not appear to be a "monster" and his methods were such that they allowed for plausible deniability.   Jerry Sandusky operated in a very similar manner.  What happened at USA Gymnastics is pretty much a carbon copy of what happened at The Second Mile charity.  

Nassar is just one “nice guy” offender among thousands across our country, but his case can – and should -- become a national public service effort to teach society how to identify “nice guy” offenders. Sadly, that opportunity was missed in 2012 and 2013 with Sandusky. 


We can only hope that heeding Judge Aquilina’s call for a “massive investigation,” perhaps even using the Clemente Report as an important roadmap, will lead to a comprehensive study of every instance where there was inaction and/or a failure to recognize Nassar’s actions as inappropriate. That means taking a deep dive into Michigan's Children's Protective Services (CPS) agencies, MSU, USA Gymnastics, Twistars, and law enforcement. 

Only then, by sharing the outcomes with the goal of preventing future victimization of children in Michigan and nationwide, will the victims of Nassar, Sandusky and other pedophiles receive the justice they truly deserve.

Tuesday, January 23

Nassar: No Blame, No Outrage

Columnists have weighed in on why there isn't as much outrage over the Nassar scandal as there was  over the Sandusky scandal.  Their columns get it partially right -- but go to fantasy land when opining that it's because of the gender of the victims.

By
Ray Blehar
January 23, 2018, 10:52 AM EST

A number of columnists are weighing in on the reasons why there is not as much outrage over Larry Nassar's crimes as there was over Jerry Sandusky's.

They get it partially right in recognizing there is far less national interest in gymnastics than there is for football and that Nassar was not a legendary coach, like Joe Paterno.  But that was so easy that Jemele Hill and everyone else could figure it out.

Buzzfeed's Jessica Luther surprised me when she correctly recognized that the outrage and repercussions at Penn State (and Baylor) were not because people actually care about victims. 

But then Luther and Hill both drove into fantasy land when they opined that there is less outrage because the victims were women or involved women's sports in the Nassar case.

Luther wrote:

"Sports media barely covers women’s sports and that coverage can be laced through with sexist ideas about how female athletes should look or behave (especially during the Olympics). "

Hill wrote:

"Until we accept the fact that predators go to school, church and work with us, coach our kids and date our daughters, the voices of abused girls and women will never regularly inspire courageous action on their behalf." 

They couldn't be more wrong.

Friday, January 19

MSU Almost Gets It Right - But Misses by A Million Miles

Calling for an independent review of the actions of MSU employees (by Michigan AG Schuette) is good, but that review will overlook the failures of many others who had a duty to protect children.  As a result, the lessons on how to detect the next Larry Nassar will be lost again and more children will be unnecessarily harmed.

By
Ray Blehar
January 19, 2018, 8:41 PM EST

The Michigan State University (MSU) Board of Trustees (BOT) has almost gotten it right by requesting Michigan Attorney General (AG) Bill Schuette to review the actions of MSU personnel with regard to the Larry Nassar case.

Almost.

Unfortunately, the MSU BOT is following a similar track as the Penn State University (PSU) BOT did with the Sandusky scandal and is foolishly asking for a review of its actions only.

The problem with this review is that it won't show how Nassar was able to similarly fool those outside the University, especially Michigan's Children's Protective Services (CPS), the Meridian Township Police, and the Ingham County Prosecutors office -- all public services entrusted with protecting society from criminals like Larry Nassar.

Kyle Stephens, the first victim to testify, spoke about being abused by Nassar in his basement starting when she was five years old.

At the beginning, she stated (my emphasis added):

“I’ve told counselors your name in hopes they would report you. I’ve told your name to Child Protective Services twice. I gave a testament to get your medical license revoked. You were first arrested on my charges. And now as the only nonmedical victim to come forward, I testify to let the world know you are a repulsive liar.”






Thursday, January 18

Distant Replay: Nassar Case Veering In Wrong Direction

Unfortunately, the lessons that should have been learned from the Sandusky scandal were lost in favor of the false narrative that PSU officials knew a pedophile was in their midst and covered it up to preserve the reputation of the University and its football program.  It appears we are in for a replay in the Larry Nassar case.

By
Ray Blehar
January 18, 2018, 12:10 PM EST

They "knew."

Everyone "knew."

As preposterous as it may seem, the media (ESPN, The Detroit News, et al) once again is propagating a false narrative that Michigan State University (MSU) officials, those at USA Gymnastics, and other organizations that Larry Nassar used to perpetrate child sexual victimization all "knew" what Nassar was doing.

Yes, many female athletes, some of them children, complained to MSU athletic officials, USA Gymnastics officials, and, yes, their stories are compelling and heart-breaking.

However, we are hearing those stories with the benefit of hindsight.  Nassar confessed and was convicted of being a serial child molester.

Did all of those people, who are the subjects of the media onslaught, actually "know" Nassar was a child molester at the time of the allegations?   Were they all turning a blind eye to Nassar's abuse?

Of course not.

ESPN called them "enablers."  And that's wrong.

Wednesday, January 10

No Coincidence, Part 2: The Non-Investigation of Sandusky & The Second Mile

The Washington Post story on the Sandusky scandal discounted the influence of The Second Mile on the Sandusky investigation, however Corbett's avoidance of the charity remains "inexplicable" and "doesn't pass the smell test."

By
Ray Blehar

January 10, 2018. 8:50 PM, EST

In Part 1, notpsu.blogspot.com laid out the circumstantial evidence supporting the scenario that Corbett used the Sandusky investigation for the purpose of eliminating his nemesis, former PSU President Graham Spanier.

Part 2 will show that Tom Corbett's statement that The "Second Mile had no influence on that investigation" is without merit and that the Washington Post shouldn't have dismissed the charity's influence without a full appraisal of the evidence.

From the Post:

"....McQueary unwittingly became part of a conspiracy engineered by former Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett (R). As Pennsylvania attorney general, Corbett oversaw the early stages of the Sandusky investigation, and as governor, Corbett was a member of the Penn State board that forced out Spanier, the school’s president. Blehar points out Corbett accepted campaign donations from Second Mile board members and had feuded with Spanier over state funding.
While outlandish, such theories gained currency in Pennsylvania. In 2013, newly elected Attorney General Kathleen Kane (D), who suggested on the campaign trail that Corbett slow-walked the Sandusky investigation and donations from Second Mile officials played a role, appointed a special prosecutor to investigate the state’s Sandusky investigation.
“The Second Mile had no influence on that investigation whatsoeverand there’s no evidence that they did,” Corbett said. “But [Penn State alumni] won’t accept that, will they?”

Penn State alumni have good reason not to accept that TSM didn't influence the investigation because they're among the few people who are familiar with the contents of the Moulton Report -- and aren't relying on media sound bites.

The Moulton Report clearly showed that the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) and the Office of Attorney General (OAG) avoided the charity like the plague in the first two years of the investigation.

Former AG Kathleen Kane called it an "inexcusable" delay. Moulton called it an "inexplicable" delay.

Both are correct.

Thursday, January 4

No Coincidence, Part 1 - Corbett's Feud With Spanier

The Washington Post's recent story dismissed the theory that Tom Corbett's feud with Graham Spanier and that The Second Mile charity influenced the Sandusky investigation....but the evidence shows otherwise.

By
Ray Blehar

January 4, 2018, 8:03 PM, EST, Updated January 5, 2018, 4:08PM

The Washington Post's story on the Sandusky scandal covered a lot of ground and exposed many of the highly questionable decisions of the Penn State University Board of Trustees (PSU BOT) in the aftermath of the criminal trial and the Freeh Report.

One area it did not place much focus on was the unnecessarily protracted 3-year investigation that eventually brought Jerry Sandusky to justice -- and the evidence indicating that Governor Tom Corbett's feud with Spanier revived an investigation that was first sand-bagged by the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) and then was sent to die a slow, secret death in Pennsylvania's grand jury system.

The Post, much like the rest of the media, seemingly relied on a single data point to label that scenario as "outlandish."   To be clear, reporter Will Hobson summarized the Moulton Report as follows:

"The inquiry concluded politics played no role in the Sandusky investigation..." 

However, that statement isn't accurate.  Special Deputy AG Geoffrey Moulton actually said the investigation:

 "revealed no direct evidence that electoral politics influenced any important decision made in the Sandusky investigation."

The Moulton Report is replete with circumstantial evidence that shows the investigation was going nowhere until Corbett's feud with Spanier and that the "release of the hounds" occurred right after his election.


Thursday, December 28

Wash Post Writes Fair Story on Sandusky Scandal

Investigative reporter Will Hobson did a good job covering most of the key questions that still remain open about Penn State University's decisions in response to the Sandusky matter.  That said, there are a few missing pieces of information that add needed context.  

By
Ray Blehar

December 28, 2017, 9:23 PM EST

The Washington Post released a story today that covers many of the key questions that require answers in the search for the truth about the Sandusky scandal.   It was a refreshing read compared to most other columns that continue to report the now-disproved allegations of a conspiracy and cover-up.

POSITIVES

The column points out many important facts that have been glossed over, under-appreciated, and/or unreported in the media:

- Child welfare workers were aware Sandusky was showering with children and didn't consider that to be a warning sign of child abuse (but Penn State University (PSU) officials were condemned for not recognizing those same signs);

- Dr. Jack Raykovitz, the Executive Director of Sandusky's charity, The Second Mile (TSM), advised Sandusky to wear a swim suit as his solution to PSU's report of Sandusky showering kids;

- The conflict of interest between former PSU Board of Trustees Chairman Ira Lubert and TSM and  poor optics and governance negligence of Lubert running the settlement claims process;

- Experts weighing in that PSU's settlements excluding TSM from liability to be highly unusual;

- The testimony of PSU administrators at the trial of former President Graham Spanier continued to contradict that Mike McQueary made a report of a sexual nature in 2001; and,

- The single misdemeanor criminal convictions and extremely light sentences of former PSU administrators Timothy Curley and Gary Schultz were rather hollow victories for the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General (OAG) -- that spent six years and expended tremendous resources on the case.

Saturday, December 23

Setting the Record Straight on Paterno and Penn State

The majority of the public remains in the dark about the facts of the Sandusky (a.k.a., Penn State) Scandal because their knowledge of it is mostly based on inaccurate information provided by law enforcement officials, misleading media reports, the Freeh Report, and opinion pieces that were disguised as news

By
Ray Blehar

December 23, 2017. 6:10 PM EST, Updated at 10:50 PM

For the last six years, many Penn Staters have found themselves repeatedly correcting the record in discussions with friends, family, football fans, and many others about what really happened at Penn State University(PSU) regarding the Sandusky scandal. 

For the most part, here's what the public believes in a nutshell:

In 2001, Joe Paterno was told about an employee -- Jerry Sandusky -- raping a boy in the football building and did nothing about it.  Paterno, football coaches, and other high ranking PSU officials were aware of prior sex acts by Sandusky and stayed quiet about them to protect the football program.  As a result of the cover up, Sandusky was able to lure boys to campus and molest them up  until the time he was arrested in November 2011.  

The facts contradict the public's beliefs at every turn.


Thursday, November 23

Sally Jenkins Email -- The rest of the story

After only a cursory review of the Freeh Report, I sent an email to Sally Jenkins and Sara Ganim challenging some of the findings/assertions in the report.  Jenkins provided a weak response to just one of the challenges and had no response for the rest.  Ganim, as usual, didn’t respond at all.

By
Ray Blehar

In Tuesday's blogpost, I shared an email response that Sally Jenkins sent me on July 13, 2012 -- just a day after Louis Freeh released the Freeh Report and held a widely televised press conference.   

What you didn't see is my initial email to Jenkins and Sara Ganim that challenged several of the assertions made by Freeh.  

From: Ray Blehar [rayblehar@yahoo.com]
Sent: 07/13/2012 02:25 PM MST
To: "sganim@pnco.com" <sganim@pnco.com>; Sally Jenkins
Subject: Freeh report - evidentiary leaps

In reading through the Freeh report and hearing some of his public statements, I found that some of the conclusions about Spanier, Curley, Schultz, and Paterno are unsupported by the evidence in the report and the report relies on hindsight in a number of occasions to proscribe how PSU officials should have reacted to the incidents.  While many of the conclusions in the report are correct and undeniable, I believe Judge Freeh took evidentiary leaps or used information that occurred outside of the timeframe of the incidents to come to the conclusions and/or suggest actions.  

1.  Freeh states Paterno (among others) was kept informed of the 1998 investigation.

This is unsupported by the evidence, which consist of just two e-mails.  The first e-mail vaguely states the coach was informed and the second that he inquired about the status.  There is no evidence of other updates to Paterno.  Based on the evidence, Freeh cannot even reasonably conclude that Paterno got EVEN one update.  Freeh also admits that his investigation could not find information that Paterno was even informed of the result of the 1998 investigation.

Jenkins attempted to defend this argument, stating that the two emails were "slam dunks" that "Paterno was fully briefed on a police investigation he followed anxiously in 1998."

For the record, here are those "slam dunk" emails.