PSU child sex scandal: Many others knew, not just JoePa
Anyone offering an opinion regarding the Penn State child rape scandal this week should really read the grand jury findings in the investigation into former PSU defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky’s alleged sexual abuse of children.
The 23-page report could likely be the most disturbing material you read all year, but the information within sheds light on the fact that these heinous acts went on for years, and reveals there were many people on the Penn State campus who likely knew about the abuse and could possibly have done more to stop it.
We’ve been repeatedly hearing the names Joe Paterno, Graham Spanier, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz all week for their alleged role in covering up Sandusky’s misdeed, but the grand jury findings say at least two other people actually witnessed Sandusky abuse a child, and multiple others observed inappropriate behavior, or were told by other people that Sandusky may have posed a threat to children.
It’s impossible to understand how so many people could have known about what was (allegedly) happening on campus, yet the abuse (again, allegedly) went on for years.
Here’s a summary of the major players within the report and the involvement each of them had… or didn’t have.
Joseph Miller, Clinton County wrestling coach
According to the grand jury, Sandusky would assist with coaching at a Clinton County high school and had access to the building’s facilities. Joe Miller, a wrestling coach for the district’s elementary school, entered a room at the high school one evening in 2006 or 2007 to find Sandusky and a young boy, age 12 or 13, lying face-to-face on a mat, alone in a wrestling room.
“He recalls that Sandusky jumped up and said, ‘Hey Coach, we’re just working on some wrestling moves.’ Sandusky was not a wrestling coach. Miller found the use of that secluded room odd for wrestling because the bigger wrestling room right outside the weight room had more room to wrestle and more mats,” the report said.
It does not say, however, that Miller ever reported the incident.
Steven Turchetta, assistant high school principal and head football coach
Turchetta testified that he routinely witnessed controlling behavior from Sandusky towards the boys who he mentored through the Second Mile program, a charity founded by Sandusky to benefit underprivileged children. Turchetta said he became aware of allegations of sexual assault against Sandusky when a mother of one of the victims called the school to report it in 2008. Sandusky was forbidden to return to the school district and Turchetta did, indeed, notify authorities.
The investigation launched found that Sandusky had made more than 100 phone calls to the victim from January 2008 to July 2009.
Mike McQueary, PSU graduate assistant
It’s well known by now that McQueary said he actually witnessed Sandusky sexually abusing a boy as young as 10 years old in a PSU locker room shower in 2002.
“The graduate assistant was shocked, but noticed that both Victim 2 and Sandusky saw him. The graduate assistant left immediately, distraught,” according to the report.
McQueary did nothing to rescue the young boy from the assault he was enduring. He did, however, say he reported the matter to head coach Joe Paterno. Paterno testified to passing along the information that Sandusky had been doing something of a sexual nature with the boy to Penn State Atheltic Director Tim Curley. Curley testified that he and Senior Vice President for Finance and Business Gary Schultz then had a meeting with McQueary about what he witnessed.
Curley and Schultz gave different accounts about the information they received from McQueary, and neither of them ever contacted police. Curley did inform PSU President Graham Spanier. However, Curley was not specific in the language he used in that conversation. Curley and Schultz have both been charged with perjury. Records that were subpoenaed from the Department of Public Welfare and Children and Youth Services and University Police show that this incident was never reported.
Dr. Jack Raykovitz, executive director of the Second Mile
Curley testified that he informed Raykovitz about Sandusky’s “inappropriate conduct” or “horsing around,” but also said that he did not get a sense that the behavior was sexual in any way.
Wendell Courtney, PSU counsel, The Second Mile counsel
“Schultz testified that the 1998 incident was reviewed by the University Police and the ‘child protection agency’ with the blessing of then-University counsel Wendell Courtney. Courtney was then and remains counsel for The Second Mile,” the report states. However, there is no testimony from Courtney included by the grand jury.
University Police Detective Ronald Schreffler and State College Police Department Detective Ralph Ralston
The mother of a victim called University Police in 1998 after she learned that her son had showered with Jerry Sandusky, according to the report. Schreffler conducted a lengthy investigation, during which he and Ralston listened in on phone conversations between Sandusky and the victim’s mother. Sandusky admitted to showering with other boys and said in one conversation, “I understand. I was wrong. I wish I could get forgiveness. I know I won’t get it from you. I wish I were dead.”
The investigation was closed after then-Centre County District Attorney Ray Gricar decided there would be no criminal charges brought against Sandusky. Schreffler testified that he was also told by the director of campus police, Thomas Harmon, to close the investigation, which by then included a second alleged child victim of Sandusky.
Jerry Lauro, investigator with the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare
Lauro testified that he interviewed Sandusky with Schreffler during the 1998 investigation. Sandusky admitted to showering with the victim, hugging the victim while naked in the shower, and acknowledged that it was wrong. Lauro testified that Schreffler advised Sandusky not to shower with children again and Sandusky said he would not.
Jim Calhoun, PSU janitor; Ronald Petrosky; Office of Physical Plant employee; Jay Witherite, Calhoun’s supervisor
Calhoun said he witnessed Sandusky performing oral sex on a boy in the locker room showers in 2000. Much like McQueary, Calhoun reported leaving the scene without stopping the abuse. The same evening, Petrosky saw Sandusky and a young boy together in the locker room and watched them walk away holding hands. Calhoun, who was visibly shaken, told Petrosky about what he had seen later that evening. Petrosky testified that Calhoun was crying and seemed so upset that Petrosky worried he might have a heart attack.
“Jim said he had ‘fought in the [Korean] war… seen people with their guts blowed out, arms dismembered… I just witnessed something in there I’ll never forget,’” according to the report.
That same evening, Calhoun also told Witherite about seeing Sandusky perform oral sex on the boy.
According to his testimony, “Witherite told him to whom he should report the incident, if he chose to report it.”
Jim Calhoun never filed a report.
There have been no trials or convictions in this case. Whether you believe the people in this report did enough or not, it’s hard not to wonder if any of Sandusky’s alleged victims might have been spared if just one of these people had done something more.
The full grand jury report: