Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Review and Analysis of the Sandusky Grand Jury Transcript

(In Part 2 I will review who may be liable for what).

Jerry Sandusky faces 40 counts of sexual child abuse over a 15 year period, including multiple instances of alleged sexual abuse in the Penn State football showers. Sandusky, 67, was charged by a state grand jury with various counts of deviate sexual intercourse, corruption of minors, endangering the welfare of a child, indecent assault and other offenses after a three-year state police investigation.

Penn State said it banned Sandusky from bringing children to the football building after then graduate assistant Mike McQueary reported he saw the then 59-year-old coach having anal intercourse with a 10-year-old boy in the shower of the football team’s locker room.

The graduate assistant, and current Penn State assistant McQueary, told coach Joe Paterno, athletic director Tim Curley and vice president Gary Schultz about the incident.

Curley and Schultz did not report to the incident to the police or to any government agency. Instead they banned Sandusky from the football locker room. The decision was reviewed and approved by university president Graham Spanier. However, he was still afforded access to the campus generally, given a Penn State office, email address and telephone number, appeared in the campus directory and maintained his retired coach status at the university.

Questions have been raised as to how far liability will extend and who could be found liable for Jerry Sandusky’s heinous and predatory crimes. As Penn State undoubtedly knows, this is a sorted question. One thing’s for sure – this is just getting started for everyone involved.

Here’s a closer look at the summary of the testimony (please note that transcripts of each person's testimony is unavailable and what was distributed was a summary of the testimony)"

Grand Jury Testimony

A grand jury is a group of people that examines evidence and issue indictments if they believe that there is enough evidence for a trial to proceed. They are an impartial panel of citizens who must determine whether it’s reasonable to believe that a crime has been committed. So the grand jury doesn’t determine whether a crime has occurred; they just decide whether a person should be charged with a crime and face a trial. If they believe a person like Sandusky should be charged, he’s indicted. That’s what happened here.

In the Sandusky case, the grand jury testimony has been released (a link is available below on this blog). The transcript tells us why athletic director Tim Curley and Penn State Vice-President Chris Schultz have been charged with perjury and failure to report a crime, and why others like coach Joe Paterno and Penn State President Greg Spanier have been vilified for their inaction – and ultimately fired.

The Second Mile Foundation

The Grand Jury transcript addresses 8 separate victims that allegedly were abused by Sandusky. The transcript opens with Sandusky establishing a foundation in 1977 called The Second Mile, which “began as a group foster home dedicated to helping troubled boys” and it “grew into a charity dedicated to helping children with absent or dysfunctional families”. The charity is now “statewide” and “Sandusky is the “primary fundraiser”.

Through Second Mile, “Sandusky had access to hundreds of boys many of who were vulnerable due to their social situations”. It was “within The Second Mile program that Sandusky found his victims”.

The Grand Jury’s review of “Victim 2” is what drew fire for all involved. It describes a pervasive, systemic and institutional failure to take action against Sandusky and remove him from society. It also suggests that steps were taken to avoid reporting Sandusky.

McQueary’s Account of the 2002 Incident

Then “Penn State graduate assistant” Mike McQueary, who was 28 years old at the time, entered the football locker room and saw a naked Sandusky having anal sex in the showers with a “naked boy…whose age he estimated to be ten years old”.

McQueary “went to his office and called his father” reporting what he had seen. They decided to “report what he had seen to Coach Paterno”. The next morning, McQueary testifies that he went to Paterno’s home and reported the incident.

McQueary continued by testifying that about 10 days later he met with Curley and Schultz and reported to both men that “he had witnessed what he believed to be Sandusky having anal sex with a boy”. Both men, according to McQueary, “assured the graduate assistant that they would look into it and determine what further action they would take. Paterno was not present at the meeting”.

McQueary indicated that he heard back from Curley two weeks later and was told that “Sandusky’s keys to the locker room were taken away and that the incident had been reported to The Second Mile”. Until he testified before the Grand Jury in December 2010, McQueary was never questioned by any entity conducting an investigation into the incident.

The Grand Jury found McQueary’s testimony to be “extremely credible”.

Paterno’s Account of the 2002 Incident

After receiving McQueary’s report, Paterno turned around and informed Curley, his immediate supervisor, that his graduate assistant saw Sandusky in the showers “fondling or doing something of a sexual nature to a young boy”. That is the extent of the reported testimony.

Curley’s Account of the 2002 Incident

Curley testified that McQueary did not, in fact, report that “anal sex or anything of a sexual nature whatsoever” had occurred. Rather, he testified that McQueary described the conduct as “inappropriate”, that it made him “uncomfortable” and that it was merely “horsing around”.

The transcript then provides as follows:
When asked if McQueary had reported sexual conduct of any kind by Sandusky, Curley answered “No” twice. When asked if the graduate assistant had reported “anal sex between Jerry Sandusky and this child,” Curley testified, “Absolutely not.”
Curley later advised McQueary that Sandusky was directed not use to use the Penn State athletic facilities with young people and that Second Mile had been notified along with Penn State President Spanier. Curley “was not specific about the language he used in reporting the 2002 incident to Spanier” and confirmed that he never reported the incident to any agency.

Schultz’s Account of the 2002 Incident

Under oath, Schultz denied that inappropriate sexual conduct was reported to him by McQueary or Paterno. He testified that he had “the impression that Sandusky might have inappropriately grabbed the young boy’s genitals while wrestling and agreed that such “sexual conduct between a man and a boy” was “inappropriate”.

Despite having that impression, he continued by testifying that McQueary’s allegations were “not that serious” and that he and Curley “had no indication that a crime had occurred”.

Schultz further testified that he and Curley “agreed that Sandusky was to be told not to bring any Second Mile children into the football building” and that Second Mile would be advised of the situation. Schultz also testified that Penn State President Spanier agreed with this action.

He believed that he and Curley asked the child protection agency to look into the matter.

Schultz also testified that he knew of the 1998 investigation into Sandusky by the child protection agency where it was alleged that Sandusky had made inappropriate contact with a minor in the football showers.

Although Schultz oversaw the University Police “as part of his position, he never reported the 2002 incident to the University Policy” or any other agency. He also never sought to review the lengthy police report into the 1998 incident, find out who the child was, ask specifics about the 2002 incident.

Schultz said that “there was never any discussion between himself and Curley about turning the 2002 incident over to any police agency”.

Spanier’s Account of the 2002 Incident

Spanier testified that Curley and Schultz came to him and indicated that McQueary said Sandusky was involved in actions that made him “uncomfortable” and that Sandusky was “horsing around in the shower” with a boy.

Spanier denied that the incident was reported as “sexual in nature” and confirmed that Curley and Schultz did not indicate that they would report the incident to police.

Spanier also denied being aware of the 1998 incident.

Further Statement Made in Grand Jury Transcript

The Transcript also includes the following:

- The 2002 incident was never reported to any officials.

- Sandusky held the emeritus status with Penn State as a retied coach.

- He had an office and telephone number at the athletic facility.

- Sandusky had access to all recreational facilities, a parking pass, a Penn State email address, a listing in the faculty directory and faculty discounts.

1998 Incident

It’s alleged that in 1998 Sandusky showered with an 8 year old boy and gave the boy a naked bear hug in the shower. This led to a police investigation, where Sandusky admitted to showering naked with the boy. No charges were laid but police directed Sandusky not to shower with boys.

Considering The Testimony As A Whole

There are clearly inconsistencies in the testimony that are difficult to reconcile. McQueary (who was deemed “extremely credible”) alleges that he reported to Paterno, Curley and Schultz that Sandusky had anal sex with the boy.

On the other hand, Curley and Schultz deny being told that sexual conduct has occurred.

Rather, they testified that McQueary reported that Sandusky had engaged in “inappropriate conduct” that made him “uncomfortable”, that Sandusky was merely “horsing around”, that “sexual conduct” did not happen and that there “was no indication a crime had occurred”.

Interestingly, in his meeting with McQueary, Schulz testified that he may have been left with the impression that Sandusky may have grabbed the boy’s genitals. This is not consistent with his previous testimony.

As far as Paterno, it’s unclear if he intentionally provided a milder version of the incident to Curley or if he presented the incident as he understood it. However, McQueary (who again was deemed credible) testified that he told Paterno what happened.

In any event, McQueary did meet with Curley and Schultz, so there was the opportunity to get this right. Still, questions remains about the extent of Paterno’s knowledge of the event and if he intended to mislead Curley or if he was not telling the truth about what he said.

Despite a 1998 incident that triggered a lengthy investigation and despite the alleged 2002 incident, Sandusky was still provided with widespread access to the Penn State campus.

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