Friday, July 13, 2012

Freeh Report: A Penn State Tragedy

Sara Ganim

If you still don't know who Sarah Ganim is, she won a Pulitzer for her ground breaking coverage of the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal.  Sandusky was convicted on 45 counts of child molestation, child endangerment.

I'm still trying to pick myself up off the floor from the Freeh Report revelations about "JoPa" Joe Paterno, university president Graham Spanier, senior vice-president Gary Schultz and athletic director Tim Curley. The red flags and missed opportunities are jaw dropping.

My friend Matthew McGough directed me to this excellent, thoughtful analysis by Jason Whitlock, who stated in his article:
The Four Horsemen of Penn State’s Apocalypse — Paterno, Spanier, Curley and Schultz, the men rightfully vilified in Louis Freeh’s Last Judgment — concealed Sandusky’s vile behavior because they understood, and, yes, sympathized with his inability to control his sexual demons.

The Penn State tragedy is a disaster rooted in sexism and man’s lack of sexual control.

We think with the wrong head.
 (snip) could scan the globe and it would be impossible to find four women who climbed the leadership ladder within a major institution who would conspire to protect a child molester.
T&T couldn't agree more.

Is it any surprise that it was a lone, female reporter, who dug deep, followed her instincts and broke the story about Jerry Sandusky?  HERE Sara outlines how the Freeh Report was able to come to a starkly different conclusion about Joe Paterno that the state's grand jury investigation.

pennlive Jerry Sandusky Coverage


Robert said...


I love your reporting, but I disagree with Whitlock's premise and conclusions and since you saw fit to post them, I feel free to respond.

First of all, the presence of four women in the Penn State hierarchy would not have hastened Mr. Sandusky departure from the program nor sent him to prison any quicker than the job just done by the men and women who just sent him away.

The reason Mr. Sandusky got away with his behavior is because we as a society, and no doubt the people in Happy Valley are not terribly concerned with the rape of men and boys. Our late night talk shows make jokes about it when men like OJ Simpson get sent to prison, because it is socially acceptable. They would never make those same jokes about about Martha Stewart and the pretended shock about the abuse of those poor boys does not square up with the way we live and talk, and the things we allow ourselves to laugh about.

A good way to gauge that reality is ask yourself what would have happened if Mr. Sandusky or even a mythical Mrs. Smith from a woman's program was showering with a ten year old girl. You can bet your life the reaction would have been loud and immediate. The same can be said If he was inviting ten year old girls to his home and visiting them in the basement. Janitors would have come forward, the cowardly Mr. McQuery would have stepped in, and maybe even Mrs. Sandusky would have done the right thing. Either way, this mess would have ended decades ago. The fact is, we do not afford boys and men the same protections we afford girls and young ladies and that is the primary reason Sandusky got away with his heinous behavior for so long.

Second point, Mr. Sandusky was/is a closeted homosexual who preferred young boys and young men. Mrs. Sandusky was nothing but a beard, and the abused boys described her behavior as that of a woman scorned. She treated the boys her husband was preying on the way a woman would treat her husband's mistress. Mrs. Sandusky's presence at the center of this horror defeats Whitlock's assertion that no four women at the top of a major institution would conspire to protect a child molester. Mrs. Sandusky was not just part of the Penn State hierarchy, she was right upstairs while her husband was in the basement destroying the hearts and lives of young boys. The best description of her behavior is that she conspired to protect a child molester for three decades.

Last point, and lest we forget, it was Jerry Sandusky who committed those heinous acts, not the other people whom Whitlock wants to cover with Sandusky's slime. "The Penn State tragedy is a disaster rooted in sexism and man's lack of sexual control. We think with the wrong head."

Maybe Mr. Whitlock thinks with the wrong head, but I don't, and I don't appreciate the reference. His pronouncement sounds like a Gloria Steinem speech not an honest assessment of what happened at Penn State. Whitlock and Mr. Freeh should ask Mrs. Sandusky where she was for three decades, and then get back to us...

Sprocket said...


Although I disagree with your analysis, I sincerely can appreciate your point of view, and want you to know that your commenting and participation in sharing your thoughts on T&T has been sorely missed.

Robert said...

I genuinely appreciate your response, in that it comes from someone I respect entirely. You have provided something guaranteed in our Constitution, but which rarely works itself out in real life... the right to a fair trial. Your coverage of the Spector trial and the Lazarus trial was even-handed and insightful. Had you been working for a paper and not for yourself it would have been you, and not Sara Ganim hoisting a Pulitzer today.

That said... the Sandusky mess would not have been uncovered by four well-meaning ladies, it would have been overlooked for the same reason their male counterparts overlooked it... We as a nation don't care when boys or men are raped; we believe they should take care of themselves. We only care when girls and women suffer indignities...

That is my response to Jason Whitlock's column, a man whom I read and enjoy and generally agree with. His point is, women in the mix would have made a difference, and my response is, if that is so then Mrs. Sandusky would have made a difference... and she did not. Enough said.

Keep reporting in the manner in which you do, and hopefully the day will come when people in their white towers will pay you for your efforts. You proved the VANITY FAIR's author was not present at the LAZARUS trial and his piece was puffery. I felt from the beginning that you were unwilling to expose him, but when the investigators and other let you know they preferred your reporting to his... you did what you had done from day one... you spoke the truth and let the half-truths wilt in the noonday sun.

Before I sign off, let me reiterate that your reporting on the Lazarus trial was second to none. I read them all and nobody did a better job. You were the gold standard and I truly hope and pray this kerfluffle works to your benefit. You have a gift for reporting Betsy, and not many do.

All the best,

Maddie said...

Robert -- re: your commendations of Betsy, I'm not sure that the late, great Dominick Dunne could have said it any better. Perhaps Vanity Fair will take note and we'll be reading pieces soon with the byline Betsy Ross. Fingers crossed....