ccfinlay

The Penn State Child Sexual Abuse Cover-up: A Timeline

Nov. 11th, 2011 | 11:26 am

Appropriate outrage over the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal and the response of Penn State University has been expressed much more eloquently by Scalzi and others.

Despite this outrage, I still hear people standing up for Joe Paterno or defending the actions/inactions of the university. Because I like you -- no seriously, I like you a lot -- I applied my training as a historian and read all of the grand jury presentment against Jerry Sandusky, as well as scouring other sources, to create a timeline of events.

Between 1998-2008, there were four reported instances of child sexual abuse by Jerry Sandusky. The first three were reported at Penn State and all three investigations were discouraged from going further. Only the fourth, reported by the school of one of the victims, led to legal action.



Background to incident #1:

  • 1963-1965 - Jerry Sandusky played football at Penn State, where Joe Paterno was an assistant coach

  • 1966 - Paterno becomes head coach at Penn State

    • - Sandusky is first graduate assistant hired by Paterno

  • 1969 - Sandusky becomes Paterno's defensive line coach

  • 1970 - Sandusky becomes Paterno's linebackers coach

  • 1977 - Sandusky becomes Paterno's defensive coordinator and is identified as Paterno's successor

  • 1977 - Sandusky founds The Second Mile, a group foster home for troubled boys that became a charity for children with absent or dysfunctional families


Incident #1:

1998 - Sandusky showers with an 11 year old boy from The Second Mile program in the Penn State locker room when no one else is present. The shower invokes Sandusky touching the boy. When the boy is delivered home, his hair is wet and he immediately tells his mother what had happened. This is the following sequence of events:

  • Mother informs University Police

  • University Police Detective Ronald Shreffler investigates and identifies a second boy who was subjected to nearly identical treatment by Sandusky

  • Shreffler and State College Police Department Detective Ralph Ralston arrange to eavesdrop on two conversations in which Mother confronts Sandusky

  • Sandusky admits to Mother than he showered with other boys, admits that his private parts may have touched the boy, admits that what he did was wrong. He refuses to promise the mother that he will never do it again with other boys.

  • Shreffler and Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare investigator Jerry Lauro meet with Sandusky. Sandusky admits to showering naked and touching young boys, and says that he knows it is wrong. He promises he will never do it again.

  • The incident is reviewed by Penn State Legal Counsel, Wendell Courtney. Courtney is also the legal counsel for The Second Mile and represents their interests. He advises everyone that no action is necessary.

  • Centre County District Attorney Ray Gricar refuses to bring criminal charges against Sandusky.

  • Director of Campus Police Thomas Harmon orders Shreffler to close the investigation.

  • Case closed.


Outcomes of incident #1:

  • 1999 - Paterno informs Sandusky that he will never be the head coach at Penn State. Sandusky decides to take early retirement. As part of his retirement negotiations, he is given:

    • emeritus status, including an office and phone in the football practice facility, the Lasch Building that houses the football program.

    • access to all recreational facilities on campus

    • unlimited access to all football facilities, including the locker rooms and showers


Incident #2

2000 - Jim Calhoun, a janitor in the Lasch Building, observes Sandusky in the showers with a boy who he has pinned against the wall and is performing oral sex on him. This is the following sequence of events:

  • Calhoun seeks out fellow staff to report the incident and finds Ronald Petroksy

  • Petrosky witnesses Sandusky and the boy, aged 11-13, leaving the shower

  • Petrosky and Calhoun, both new employees, go to the other janitorial staff for advice on what to do: the other employees all tell Petrosky and Calhoun not to report anything or they'll all lose their jobs. Petrosky decides to do nothing.

  • Despite the advice, Calhoun goes to Jay Witherite, his immediate supervisor. Witherite follows Calhoun to the parking lot, where he confirms the identify of Sandusky as the man in the shower.

  • Witherite informs Calhoun that he (Witherite) will not make any report, but tells Calhoun that he can if he wants to.


Outcome of incident #2:

Calhoun decides not to make an additional report. He is only a temporary employee at the Lasch Building and is not offered an opportunity to continue to work there afterward.

Background for incident #3:

  • 1994-1997 - Mike McQueary plays football at Penn State where Sandusky is the Defensive Coodinator

  • 2000 - McQueary is hired as graduate assistant at Penn State

Incident #3:

2002 - McQueary goes to the Lasch Building at 9:30pm on a Friday night to pick up some recruiting tapes and witnesses Sandusky anally raping a 10 year old boy in the locker room showers. This is the following sequence of events:

  • McQueary panics and calls his father, a physician practicing in State College, for advice; his father advises him to do nothing at that moment, but to leave the building and come to his parents' home, which McQueary does. They discuss the incident and what to do.

  • McQueary reports the incident to Paterno the next morning and describes witnessing anal rape.

  • Paterno contacts Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley and reports that a graduate assistant witnessed Sandusky in the showers "fondling or doing something of a sexual nature to a young boy."

  • A week and a half later, Curley and Senior Vice President for Finance and Business Gary Schultz interview McQueary. McQueary describes witnessing anal rape.

  • Curley and Schultz meet with Joe Paterno. They agree that nothing sexually explicit was described, that the allegation is not that serious, and that no crime had occurred.

  • Schultz reports the incident to Penn State President Graham Spanier. They agree to ban Sandusky from bringing children into the football locker room and to report the incident to The Second Mile.


Outcomes of incident #3:

Schultz admits to the grand jury that the ban on Sandusky bringing children into the facilities "was unenforceable." No restrictions were put on Sandusky's access to facilities, even though Curley informed McQueary that this was the case. No one reports the incident to University Police or any other police or child welfare agency despite a state law requiring them to do so.

Additional notes for context:

Paterno is the longest-serving employee at Penn State (61 years, including more than 40 years as head coach): Sandusky (41 years, including his access to the university as emeritus), Spanier (16 years as President), Curley (18 years as Athletic Director), Schultz (17 years as Senior VP). Paterno is the highest paid employee at Penn State, making significantly more money than Spanier or the other senior administrators. Paterno is responsible for raising millions of dollars from donors for university projects, more than any other single individual and is considered "the face of Penn State." He is clearly recognized as the most powerful employee in the university.

In 2006, Paterno makes jokes about sexual assault during a press conference, implying that women look for it, in answering a question about a player on an opposing team who was accused of rape.

Incident #4:

2008 - Another young boy from The Second Mile program is frequently removed from his school classes by Sandusky, with the approval of the school's football coach, for "mentoring." The boy becomes reluctant to go with Sandusky and describes sexual abuse by Sandusky to the school administrator, who reports it immediately to the boy's mother, the police, and child welfare authorities. This begins a 3-year investigation of Sandusky, in which victims, witnesses, Penn State officials, and Second Mile representatives are called to tesitfy.

Outcomes of incident #4:

2010 - Sandusky retires from The Second Mile. Legal counsel for The Second Mile is still Courtney, former legal counsel for the university.

2011 - Sandusky is indicted on 40 counts of molesting 8 young boys over a 15 year period. Curley and Schultz are indicted for committing perjury to protect Sandusky during the grand jury investigation. Paterno claims not to have known anything and Spanier commits the university to the position that the charges are groundless; both are relieved of their positions by the university board of trustees. McQueary is a key witness in the grand jury case against Sandusky; he continues to remain employed by Penn State but will not be on sidelines during games.


You're entitled to your informed opinion. Now you have the information.

Update: There is an interesting discussion about what are and aren't facts in this account over on the facebook post that links here - http://www.facebook.com/ccfinlay/posts/238636056196402

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