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The Freeh Report, Joe Paterno and NCAA Sanctions

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Part One: 1998

Given that it was the Freeh Report that provoked both the rash and unconscionably harsh sanctions imposed by the NCAA upon Penn State and the cowardly willingness of the Penn State President and the Board of Trustees to swallow them, I believe it's time for somebody to conduct a thorough examination of the report, if only to assure that the report's scathing criticism of Penn State's response to the 1998 investigation is justified and that its evidence of a cover-up by Penn State in 2001 actually supports the report's conclusion of a cover-up at Penn State.

For, regardless of what incompetent reporters, irresponsible commentators or your uninformed friends have told you about the Sandusky Child Molestation Scandal and Penn State, all of the available evidence still indicates the Penn State President, Graham Spanier, Senior Vice President for Finance and Business, Gary Schultz, Athletic Director, Tim Curley and Head Football Coach, Joe Paterno were aware of only two instances of possible misconduct by Sandusky. The first occurred in May 1998, the second in February 2001.

Unfortunately, the fact that there were only two instances hasn't prevented the authors of the Freeh Report from engaging in unsubstantiated speculation about other instances. Here's how the report throws prejudicial sand in your eyes: "Before May 1998, several staff members and football coaches regularly observed Sandusky showering with young boys in the Lasch Building. None of the individuals interviewed by the Special Investigative Counsel notified their superiors of this behavior. [my emphasis] Former coach Richard Anderson testified at Sandusky's trial in June 2012 that he often saw Sandusky in the showers with children in the football facilities but he did not believe the practice to be improper." [p. 40]

In the very next paragraph (on page 41), the report notes that "The Centre County jury convicted Sandusky in June 2012 of assaulting three different boys at Penn State's football facilities and other places on campus before May 1998."

Who doubts that the sequencing of these two paragraphs is intended to suggest not only that the individuals who observed Sandusky in the shower with young boys did something wrong, when they failed to report such incidents, but also that these failures to report Sandusky enabled him to assault three boys during the period under consideration?

Presumably, we all can agree that the second suggestion can't be true if the first suggestion is false. Presumably we all can agree that the burden of proving the first suggestion true rests with the Special Investigative Counsel that issued the Freeh Report.

So, what do they prove?

In fact, they prove nothing? There's nothing in the report that states what the staff and coaches specifically saw, nothing to explain why these observers should have reported what they saw, and nothing to link these observations of Sandusky showering with boys to the three boys actually molested between 1995 and May 1998.

There is no evidence in the report to demonstrate that the failure of the observers to notify their supervisors allowed Sandusky to remain at liberty to molest young boys. Finally, there is no evidence that even one of these observations of Sandusky showering with young boys rose to the level of a reportable crime.

(As a multi-sport athlete in high school, I often showered with coaches and thought nothing of it.)

Thus, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the authors of the Freeh Report gratuitously inserted the sentence: "None of the individuals interviewed by the Special Investigative Counsel notified their superiors of this behavior." If the insertion of that sentence was gratuitous, one might reasonably assume that the report's intent was to spread innuendo.

What innuendo? Why, nothing less than the possibility that these staff members and football coaches were active enablers.

If correct, then the report commences its investigation into the facts surrounding Sandusky assaults of 1998 and 2001 by offering unsupported innuendo suggesting that "they all knew."

Here's the significance of such innuendo: Last Saturday, as I was walking down Hanover Street in Boston's North End, having just finished a delicious early dinner at Saraceno's, a large, slightly inebriated man in a fedora and sunglasses noticed my Penn State polo shirt. He stopped and said: "You got a lot of balls wearing that shirt up here." Curiosity getting the better of me, I approached him to ask, "Why?"

He said: "Because, they're going to take Paterno's statue down tomorrow."

I replied: "Actually, I have mixed feelings about the statue. On the one hand, I cannot believe Paterno ever approved of the one forefinger raised in proclamation of being "Number One." On the other hand, I'm outraged that President Erickson has caved in to press and public opinion demanding the removal of the statue."

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Walter C. Uhler is an independent scholar and freelance writer whose work has been published in numerous publications, including The Nation, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the Journal of Military History, the Moscow Times and the San (more...)
 
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After having read, and re-read, your article a num... by Robert P. Philipps on Saturday, Jul 28, 2012 at 5:31:40 PM
I've read your comment a few times and believe I u... by Walter Uhler on Saturday, Jul 28, 2012 at 8:46:01 PM
Your piece doesn't state how the police detective ... by Robert P. Philipps on Sunday, Jul 29, 2012 at 12:02:10 AM
Dr. Alycia Chambers, a psychologist who evaluated ... by Barry Bozeman on Sunday, Jul 29, 2012 at 6:13:04 AM
To Walter, from Mike SimonsHow ya doing? Not so ... by Mike Simons on Sunday, Jul 29, 2012 at 11:14:54 AM
I wrote about 1998 in light of the Freeh Report's ... by Walter Uhler on Sunday, Jul 29, 2012 at 1:07:45 PM
everywhere he can regardless of the content of the... by Barry Bozeman on Sunday, Jul 29, 2012 at 2:38:26 PM
To one Barry Bozeman Walter is a big boy and can t... by Mike Simons on Sunday, Jul 29, 2012 at 4:44:58 PM
Oh My!!! Your reach exceeds your grasp Mr. Si... by Barry Bozeman on Sunday, Jul 29, 2012 at 4:59:00 PM
Barry, I cop to it! Yeah, I did it! I sprung... by Mike Simons on Sunday, Jul 29, 2012 at 7:06:04 PM
This is an open forum, you can't forbid anything.&... by Walter Uhler on Sunday, Jul 29, 2012 at 6:09:23 PM
Walter, Walter, WALTER!Lighten up.  See my re... by Mike Simons on Sunday, Jul 29, 2012 at 7:08:59 PM
I appreciate the article and it's attention to fac... by sbaker on Sunday, Jul 29, 2012 at 3:34:32 PM
I agree the Freeh Report is a faulty, biased, mis... by Mike Simons on Sunday, Jul 29, 2012 at 4:43:08 PM
the rest is completely off base. A presentmen... by Barry Bozeman on Sunday, Jul 29, 2012 at 5:05:01 PM
Careful BB,  Mr Uhler quite clearly feels the... by Mike Simons on Sunday, Jul 29, 2012 at 7:35:28 PM
BS Crazy is continuing to type out these long repe... by Barry Bozeman on Monday, Jul 30, 2012 at 4:53:33 AM
Another weak sister bites the dust with one very ... by Mike Simons on Monday, Jul 30, 2012 at 8:52:34 AM
sad to say they wasted 6.5 million on the Fact Fre... by Barry Bozeman on Sunday, Jul 29, 2012 at 5:08:04 PM
Dear Mr. Revisionist There you go again! Fir... by Mike Simons on Sunday, Jul 29, 2012 at 4:25:46 PM
More of the same off topic rambling. ... by Barry Bozeman on Sunday, Jul 29, 2012 at 5:05:49 PM
BB, Walter demands you stick to the topic by unsti... by Mike Simons on Sunday, Jul 29, 2012 at 7:41:24 PM
Mikey:  Please get back on you meds and stop ... by Walter Uhler on Sunday, Jul 29, 2012 at 7:48:10 PM
IT'S QUITE WRONG (AND PERHAPS DISHONEST) OF YOU TO... by Walter Uhler on Sunday, Jul 29, 2012 at 6:26:14 PM
Gee Walter, I have always thought of you as a Lim... by Mike Simons on Sunday, Jul 29, 2012 at 8:35:28 PM
Mikey:  You really do need to get back on you... by Walter Uhler on Sunday, Jul 29, 2012 at 9:40:48 PM
Yo Walter! Your doing it again!  Acting l... by Mike Simons on Monday, Jul 30, 2012 at 2:05:59 AM
McQueary's own testimony says no insertion or pene... by Keith Ward on Tuesday, Jul 31, 2012 at 10:11:09 AM
Yo Kieth! McQueary never said he saw a rape nor an... by Mike Simons on Tuesday, Jul 31, 2012 at 10:34:21 AM
Wow, to pay $6.5 million for the tool that beats y... by sbaker on Monday, Jul 30, 2012 at 7:03:31 AM
To Sbaker Thak you for your continued interest... by Mike Simons on Monday, Jul 30, 2012 at 1:03:32 PM
From a phone call with John Ziegler today -  ... by Barry Bozeman on Tuesday, Jul 31, 2012 at 8:36:17 AM
BB I'm stunned! This incredible revelation su... by Mike Simons on Tuesday, Jul 31, 2012 at 10:11:12 AM
BB,One more big thing!In rereading your post, I ju... by Mike Simons on Tuesday, Jul 31, 2012 at 10:17:59 AM
Walter My Friendly Adversary My bad! I did it... by Mike Simons on Thursday, Aug 2, 2012 at 11:10:21 AM