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ccfinlay

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

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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.

This is the timeline:Collapse )

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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Comments {48}

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e_moon60

(no subject)

from: e_moon60
date: Nov. 12th, 2011 12:18 am (UTC)
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Thanks for putting the timeline together. Among the things I find most appalling, in the generally appalling situation, are these: 1) the inability of supposedly adult men to stop the abuses while they were occurring (is there a mother of sons who *wouldn't* have blown into that shower like a wildcat and rescued the kid?) and 2) Courtney, the attorney covering both the "Second Mile" foundation and the university who advised that no further action was necessary. Courtney should be disbarred. McQueary's father, who as a physician should have been familiar with the medical ethics of such things, should at the least be censured by the state Board.

In discussing this with my husband, he mentioned a conversation between sportscasters, one of whom had known Sandusky when the sportscaster was a teenager--admired him then, stayed in contact with him when he went to college (other coast), etc. According to my husband, the sportscaster said if he had witnessed the rape, he would have been so shocked he'd have run away...but is pretty sure that later, when he'd calmed down, he'd have called police. I just don't get that. I get that moment of stunned shock and horror--my hero is a child rapist--but not the running away, the panicked call to Daddy, leaving the child in that situation. It's as if they interpret the situation as if it's all about them: maybe it will impact my job, maybe it will impact the university's reputation, or this guy's reputation...as if the child being assaulted is the least important part of the mental calculus.

Overall, maybe boys and young men need specific instruction on what to do if they see someone being sexually assaulted. (Intervene, protect the victim, report to law enforcement.) Maybe they just don't know...maybe they just don't get it that the person who witnesses sexual assault on a child is the one who should take immediate action. It's worth trying.

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Janet Chui

(no subject)

from: marrael
date: Nov. 13th, 2011 10:24 am (UTC)
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This was largely my own reaction as well. I don't understand why none of the witnesses intervened. They were the only witnesses (no diffusion of responsibility here) and a kid was involved (it's obviously not consensual, is it?). They all just ran and then had to nurse their own ego-related concerns first? Unfortunately I wish I could say with 100% certainty like some other commenters that all the men I know would've done something. I KNOW men who freeze--maybe it comes from never having been in a position of knowing what rape looks like, or some men really are missing some sort of protective gene when it comes to children. I doubt there's an answer out there that could really make me understand or forgive this behavior.

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Doctor Science

(no subject)

from: mecurtin
date: Nov. 14th, 2011 07:48 pm (UTC)
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The conversation your husband mentioned is embedded here, at Ta-Nehisi Coates' blog.

There is definitely a pattern of men, who will talk in grandiose detail about the righteous wrath they would unleash upon rapists, freezing or running away when they actually encounter it. I know a fair number of women who have intervened in situations where rape was being threatened or actually in progress; I do not personally know men who have done so without a woman being there to tell them it's rescuing time.
It's as if they interpret the situation as if it's all about them: maybe it will impact my job, maybe it will impact the university's reputation, or this guy's reputation...as if the child being assaulted is the least important part of the mental calculus.

Aptly put. I would guess it comes from not having spent any time thinking of themselves as a potential rape victim, not having worried about crossing a park at night, or of going into a parking garage by themselves, or having one too many drinks at a party.

So when they see something happening, right in front of their eyes, they're completely unused to the idea -- they don't even parse it as "rape".

But then, in watching that broadcast, my gut reaction was to ask them not "What would you have done?" but "What *have* you done, in the past, when your friends pressure women to have sex with them? or when they get women incapably drunk and have sex with them? Or when they talk loud & long about having sex with women who don't consent?" Because that young man is old enough and travelled enough that he *has* seen rape or the build-up to rape, though he may not have identified it as such.

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starcat_jewel

(no subject)

from: starcat_jewel
date: Nov. 15th, 2011 06:35 am (UTC)
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It's as if they interpret the situation as if it's all about them: maybe it will impact my job, maybe it will impact the university's reputation, or this guy's reputation...as if the child being assaulted is the least important part of the mental calculus.

Sadly, I think you've described the situation perfectly. The child being assaulted is the least important factor, behind all that other stuff.

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silk_noir

(no subject)

from: silk_noir
date: Nov. 12th, 2011 04:11 am (UTC)
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Yeah, I read the grand jury report either yesterday or the day before; I don't remember. It sounded all very drearily familiar.

I can't say I'm terribly surprised by any of this.

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Victim 8

from: anonymous
date: Nov. 13th, 2011 04:37 am (UTC)
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My observations/questions from reading Pages 21 - 23 of the Grand Jury Report regarding Victim 8 - yr. 2000 Report states Victim 8 identity is unknown.

1) Ronald Petrosky (job was to clean showers) saw Sandusky exit the locker room with a boy between the ages of 11 and 13.
2) Petrosky watched them exit the building and noted that Sandusky took the boy's hand and they left the building hand in hand.
3) Jim Calhoun (janitor) witnessed Sandusky in the shower with the boy (details in report)
4) Jim reported incident to Jay Witherite ( immediate supervisor). Jay Witherite told Calhoun to whom he should report the incident , it he chose to report it.
5) Jim reported to Witherite that the man he saw in the shower was sitting in a car in the parking lot. Witherite confirmed that was Sandusky sitting in the car - this was between 10:00 p.m. - 12:30 a.m.
7) Petrosky also saw Sandusky drive very slowly through the parking lot about 2 to 3 hours after the incident was reported.
8) Petrosky again saw Sandusky drive by very slowly and not stopping between 2:00 and 3:00 a.m. same evening.

Questions:
1) Why did Jay Witherite (supervisor) not report the incident?
2) Why has this young boy never been identified?
3) It appears that the last known adult with this young boy, so late in the evening, was Sandusky. I know it sounds weird but didn't Sandusky have some responsibility for the safety of this "minor" boy getting home?
4) Was this young boy part of the Second Mile program? Did anyone find a young boy missing from program events?
5) Has anyone interviewed the boys in the program at that time to try to locate victim 8?
6) Is this boy just unidentified or is he missing?

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C. C. Finlay

Re: Victim 8

from: ccfinlay
date: Nov. 13th, 2011 03:34 pm (UTC)
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As far as we know, Victim #8 is just unidentified. We don't know the identity of Victim #2 either.

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Your details are inaccurate

from: anonymous
date: Nov. 13th, 2011 01:24 pm (UTC)
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You should read the timeline from Harrisburg Patriot News. Curly/Schultz met with McQueary and Paterno was not present. Pretty big detail, although I'm sure nothing that took place was unknown to Joe. You probably just want to be accurate. Thanks.

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C. C. Finlay

Re: Your details are inaccurate

from: ccfinlay
date: Nov. 13th, 2011 02:39 pm (UTC)
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My timeline does not say that Paterno was present when Curley and Schultz met with McQueary.

From the Grand Jury Presentment, p 8-9

Schultz testified that he was called to a meeting with Joe Paterno and Tim Curley, in which Paterno reported "disturbing" and "inappropriate" conduct in the shower by Sandusky upon a young boy, as reported to him by a student or graduate student. Schultz was present in a subsequent meeting with Curley when the graduate assistant reported the incident in the shower involving Sandusky and a boy. Schultz was very unsure about what he remembered the graduate assistant telling him and Curley about the shower incident. He testified that he had the impression that Sandusky might have inappropriately grabbed the young boy's genitals while wrestling and agreed that such was inappropriate sexual conduct between a man and a boy. While equivocating on the definition of "sexual" in the context of Sandusky wrestling with and grabbing the genitals of the boy, Schultz conceded that the report the graduate assistant made was of inappropriate sexual conduct by Sandusky. However, Schultz testified that the allegations were "not that serious" and that he and Curley "had no indication that a crime had occurred."

So two meetings take place and Schultz describes the outcome of the second meeting.

1) Schultz and Curley meet with Paterno and hear about an incident with Sandusky naked in the football facility shower with a 10 year old boy involving inappropriate sexual conduct.

2) Schultz and Curley meet with McQueary and hear about an incident with Sandusky naked in the football facility shower with a 10 year old boy involving inappropriate sexual conduct.

Note that if we take Schultz at his word, the information conveyed in the two meetings is fundamentally identical.

Then, from the Grand Jury Presentment, p. 9

Schultz testified that the allegations were "not that serious" and that he and Curley "had no indication that a crime had occurred."

Do you think that conclusion wasn't shared by Paterno? Did Paterno think the allegations were serious? Did he act like a crime had occurred?

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Wendy S. Delmater

(no subject)

from: safewrite
date: Nov. 13th, 2011 08:14 pm (UTC)
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Oh Charlie. As an abuse survivor myself I wanted details, and yet I didn't. It's not so much triggery as it is...disheartening. When will people stand up and protect children? I could tell you about my adult friends who have broken bones and detached retinas from beatings as children, about women who repeatedly went to trusted adults and TOLD they were being sexually abused and were dismissed as lying or mistaken.

To anyone reading this who is an abuse survivor: it is not your fault, and you were the victim. Not just of the abusing adult, but of the ones who aided the cover-up via denial.

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C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Nov. 13th, 2011 09:53 pm (UTC)
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Thank you for saying something, Wendy. I'm sorry that you had to experience anything like this. It's a cruel injustice that the shame that should be felt by the adult predators is carried instead by the children. When other adults who have been through this as children speak up, it makes it easier for others to take steps to recover.

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aqua, of the questioners

(no subject)

from: aquaeri
date: Nov. 14th, 2011 11:22 pm (UTC)
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Hi, I'm here via Scalzi's blog.

I'm just wondering, what is your basis for claiming that Sandusky's retirement was the "outcome" of incident #1? You're far from the only person who suspects Sandusky was eased out because of his behaviour, but that's hardly the official reason. And Paterno is, I imagine, going to be claiming pretty vehemently he'd never suspected anything about any of this until Mike McQueary came to him in 2002. For his sake, I hope it's true.

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C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Nov. 14th, 2011 11:57 pm (UTC)
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Thanks for coming by.

To answer your question, look at the Grand Jury presentment, p. 16.

Victim 4 remembers Sandusky being emotionally upset after having a meeting with Joe Paterno in which Paterno told Sandusky he would not be the next head coach at Penn State and which preceded Sandusky's retirement. Sandusky told Victim 4 not to tell anyone about the meeting.

So the fact that Sandusky's retirement comes after a confrontational meeting with Paterno, that Sandusky went to one of the teenage boys while he was still emotionally upset to discuss the confrontation, and the fact that he made the boy promise to keep the conversation secret are all strongly suggestive of a connection. Sandusky's retirement was considered a surprise at the time. He was only 55 years old, was the architect of a defense that had won two national championships, and was the mentor of many professional NFL players. It doesn't make sense that he "retired to spend more time with his family" when, according to all reports, he continued to be at team practices every day, hang out at the football facility, and travel to most of the games. For the first time, the sports mystery of Sandusky's retirement makes sense.

Paterno would have known about the 1998 incident because of the police interviews, and because Curley (who was the man Paterno, a former AD at Penn State, is reported to have selected for the job) and Schultz would have told him.

So if you want to argue that "outcome" is too strong a word because it suggests absolute causality (I don't believe it does), or if you have a simpler explanation that accounts for all of the evidence, that's fine. The timing, the grand jury testimony, and the other evidence suggests otherwise even if university officials, including Paterno, made sure they had plausible deniability.

Or to look at it another way, on incident #2 (Victim 8), you could also make the claim that there is no official connection between the other janitors saying they'd all be fired, the supervisor's refusal to report the incident as soon as he confirmed Sandusky was involved, and Jim Calhoun's decision not to report it himself. No one objects to drawing that connection, however, because Paterno isn't directly involved. Which is also strongly suggestive.

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materials

from: anonymous
date: Nov. 25th, 2011 06:41 am (UTC)
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hi to all ccfinlay.livejournal.comers this is my first post and thought i would say hi -
regards speak again soon
gazza

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DeLoessian

(no subject)

from: rsgarcia
date: Feb. 2nd, 2012 02:02 pm (UTC)
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I can't believe how quickly things change. I was so mad over this. Now the man is dead and gone. Surreal. I do hope they hang Sandusky high, but I'm sort of sad for this man who ruined such a great reputation and career because he didn't care enough about the kids he had a duty to protect.

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