Gov. Buries Paterno to Distract from Own Inaction

UPDATE: (Jan. 25, 2011, 9:21aPT): Jay Paterno Tweeted the following Wednesday morning:

To clarify: Our family looks forward to welcoming everyone to a celebration of Joe Paterno’s life tomorrow afternoon.

UPDATE (Jan. 24, 2011, 5:13p PT): The HARRISBURG PATRIOT-NEWS reports that Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, who ordered all state government flags lowered to half-staff following Joe Paterno’s death, will not be attending the Thursday memorial service for Joe Paterno, “at the request of the (Paterno) family.

Gov. Tom Corbett and Joe Paterno

From a report Tuesday evening by Charles Thompson of the Patriot-News:

Corbett’s press secretary, Kevin Harley, said today the governor is “not planning” on attending the service.

Asked why, Harley said, “I am not aware that any members of the (university’s) board of trustees are attending, at the request of the family.”

Corbett, he said, wants to respect that request.

Though reporter Thompson did note that, according to sources, the Paterno family qualified the ban on PSU Trustees:

Other sources said the family was discouraging the trustees from attending as a group. That would leave the way clear for individual members with long ties to the Paternos to attend.

As noted in the original post below, Sara Ganim of the HARRISBURG PATRIOT-NEWS recently reported that Corbett voiced his feelings to the Penn State Board of Trustees at the fateful Nov. 9, 2011, meeting in which Paterno was removed from his position by school officials:

Moments before Penn State’s board of trustees voted to fire Joe Paterno, Gov. Tom Corbett uttered a final thought.

“Remember that little boy in the shower,” Corbett said via speakerphone, acting in his role on the 32-member board.

It was the last thing the board members heard before being asked if anyone objected to relieving Paterno of a coaching job he’d held for 61 years.

With that, Paterno was fired Nov. 9 in a late-night move that led to student riots in State College and boiling animosity toward the board by alumni.

What motivated Corbett to make such a strong statement in the final moment before the Board of Trustees voted to terminate Paterno after 61 years at Penn State?

Keep reading.

Current Pennslyvania Governor Tom Corbett officially learned of allegations of child sexual abuse against Jerry Sandusky in March 2009. As Attorney General of the state at the time, Corbett assigned a single state trooper to investigate the allegations - though that law officer was not authorized to bring charges against Sandusky because Corbett decided not to assign an agent from his office to directly supervise the investigation.

When Corbett became governor two years later the children’s charity Sandusky had founded in 1977, The Second Mile, had not officially been notified by Corbett or anyone in law enforcement that its founder was being investigated on multiple allegations of child rape.

Despite that apparent disconnect, the HARRISBURG PATRIOT-NEWS reported on Dec. 10, 2011, that at the same time Corbett was conducting his two-year investigation of Sandusky as Attorney General, Corbett’s gubernatorial campaign benefited financially from Sandusky’s charity:

Corbett accepted more than $25,000 from state board members of Sandusky’s charity, The Second Mile, during his gubernatorial campaign last year. On top of that, he accepted thousands more from the charity’s regional board members, according to Pennsylvania Department of State campaign contributions website.

His openness to the charity’s board members’ contributions to his campaign didn’t stop there. Corbett also allowed S&A Homes president and CEO Robert Poole, who chaired Second Mile’s board, to hold a small fundraiser for him at Poole’s home in January 2010.

Following Corbett’s election as Governor, he “re-released” a $3 million state grant to The Second Mile as part of the charity’s effort to erect a building meticulously-planned by Sandusky himself - with Poole’s company handling the construction. The release of the state funds came four months before Sandusky was arrested on dozens of child sexual abuse charges stemming from Corbett’s own investigation as then-Attorney General.

After the background of the grant was exposed to the public, Corbett pulled the state funding.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett played key role in enabling Jerry Sandusky's child rape to continue

(Corbett gave millions in state funds to Sandusky pet project in July!)

From the month he learned of the Sandusky allegations to the day he took office as Governor, Corbett’s Attorney General office issued 42 press releases touting hundreds of arrests by the Corbett-commissioned “Child Sexual Predator Unit” and “Child Exploitation Task Force.” (March, 2009 to Jan. 18, 2011.)

But Sandusky’s case was never assigned to either detail by Attorney General Corbett, even after Mike McQueary told a Pennsylvania Grand Jury of the alleged shower rape of a child by Sandusky in December, 2010, and the first-hand revelations about Sandusky showering with children from two police detectives contained in a 130-page, 1998 Penn State Police Dept. report.

Two weeks after Corbett left office as Attorney General, in late January, acting Attorney General Bill Ryan assigned four more state troopers to the Sandusky case and three agents from the state’s attorney general office, with the latter empowering investigators to bring charges against Sandusky.

10 months later, Sandusky was in handcuffs and the Penn State Board of Trustees was contemplating the fate of Joe Paterno.

Pa. Governor Tom Corbett and Joe Paterno

Of the November 9, 2011, Penn State Board of Trustees meeting that resulted in Paterno’s ouster, Sara Ganim of the HARRISBURG PATRIOT-NEWS reported it was Governor Corbett who had the last word before a vote was taken to determine the Penn State legend’s fate:

Moments before Penn State’s board of trustees voted to fire Joe Paterno, Gov. Tom Corbett uttered a final thought.

“Remember that little boy in the shower,” Corbett said via speakerphone, acting in his role on the 32-member board.

It was the last thing the board members heard before being asked if anyone objected to relieving Paterno of a coaching job he’d held for 61 years.

With that, Paterno was fired Nov. 9 in a late-night move that led to student riots in State College and boiling animosity toward the board by alumni.

Appearing on FOX News Sunday four days later, Corbett said:

“In my opinion, when you don’t follow through, when you don’t continue on to make sure actions are taken then I lose confidence in your ability to lead.

After learning of Paterno’s death on Sunday, Corbett released a statement which read, in part:

“As both man and coach, Joe Paterno confronted adversities, both past and present, with grace and forbearance.”

“Forbearance” as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary: “a refraining from the enforcement of something (as a debt, right, or obligation) that is due.

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Gov. Funded Sandusky Pet Project, Hid His Abuse

There will never be anything more incomprehensible than a man creating a charity expressly to allow him to rape children, but the wide-ranging enabling of Jerry Sandusky to do just that is almost as impossible to fathom.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett played key role in enabling Jerry Sandusky's child rape to continue

(Corbett: Never told charity about Sandusky rapes, then funded pet project)

As Sandusky continues to enjoy free, unsupervised release following charges of 40 crimes related to child rape, the level of complicity in his appalling who-knows-how-long rampage of pederasty now appears to, somehow, extend beyond Penn State and State College, Pennsylvania.

Last July, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett announced the “re-release” of a $3 million grant for the construction of what was essentially the pet project of Sandusky to “benefit” the children of The Second Mile charity he founded in State College in 1977.

On August 10, 2011, the CENTRE (PA) DAILY TIMES reported that thanks in part to Corbett’s grant and a subsequent rubber stamp from Centre County (PA) Commissioners - who actually sponsored the now-disgraced charity’s taxpayer cash grab - “The Second Mile Center for Excellence” building project was soon to be realized.

Sandusky had long wished for a centralized facility to carry out his unspeakable crimes against children and was personally involved in what is still scheduled to be a 45,000-square-foot, $12 million facility the includes a gym, fitness room, locker rooms and a “second floor featuring dorm rooms where 100 to 115 people can sleep.

The news of the imminent construction project last August was provided to the State College-area Centre Daily Times by then-Second Mile CEO Jack Raykovitz, who this week resigned after it was revealed he personally knew of Sandusky’s 2002 ban from bringing children to Penn State but didn’t attempt to segregate Sandusky in any way from The Second Mile children until Sandusky informed him of the current criminal investigation - which began in 2008.

The acting head of The Second Mile’s building project now? Raykovitz’s wife, Katherine Genovese, who herself reportedly “told a person in authority that the charity already had concerns about Sandusky and certain boysin 2008.

That concern by Genovese apparently did not extend to the prevention of Sandusky’s intimate input into the design of much of “The Second Mile Center of Excellence,” a facility perhaps not coincidentally unburdened by the requirements of an actual school. As Raykovitz noted to the Centre Daily Times last August, “nobody will be in residence during school weeks, but the site will be used for weekend, after-school and summer programs.

Not to mention overnight stays by children in what was likely designed, at least originally, as Sandusky’s own personal chamber of horrors.

As noted in the August Centre Daily Times report, construction of the project “is slated to begin this fall … (and) if all goes as planned … will take 16 months to complete and be finished in spring 2013.

The early stages of the project are underway, with local homebuilder Bob Poole, who also serves as Chairman of the charity’s Board of Directors, overseeing the actual construction along with PennTerra Engineering and Keller Engineers. The latter two - according to Sandusky in a 2008 newsletter - are providing services at no cost.

It took a decade for Sandusky and his Second Mile colleagues to raise enough funds to cover the cost of the construction. The acquisition of the land though was a much easier process for Sandusky thanks to cooperation from his alma in 2001. That isn’t to say that the transaction took place without anyone at Penn State knowing about the school’s “lengthy investigation” into Sandusky showering with children on  campus in 1998.

At least one official representative of Penn State who witnessed the land transaction in 2001 had intimate knowledge of the ‘98 investigation  - and did nothing to stop the school from selling land to Sandusky’s charity.

In a Centre County Grand Jury presentment released on Nov. 5, 2011, it was reported that in 1998 Penn State University Police Detective Ronald Schreffler conducted a “lengthy investigation” that resulted in Sandusky admitting to the Penn State University Police Detective that he “showered naked with Victim 6, admitted to hugging Victim 6 while in the shower and admitted that it was wrong.”

Detective Schreffler also testified to the Centre County Grand Jury that he and State College Police Department Detective Ralph Ralston, with the consent of the mother of Victim 6, eavesdropped on two conversations the mother of Victim 6 had with Sandusky on May 13, 1998, and May 19, 1998.

She asked him if his “private parts” touched Victim 6 when he bearhugged him. Sandusky replied, “I don’t think so…maybe.” At the conclusion of the second conversation, after Sandusky was told he could not see Victim 6 anymore, Sandusky said, “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.” Detective Ralston and the mother of Victim 6 confirm these conversations.

The incidents that Sandusky admitted to took place in the Penn State football team’s locker room.

On Nov. 11, 2011, Sara Ganim of the HARRISBURG PATRIOT-NEWS reported of the same 1998 investigation of Sandusky:

The Centre County Office of Children and Youth Services also was investigating that case.

Investigator Jerry Lauro said this week he didn’t feel there was enough evidence for abuse charges solely based on interviews with the boys.

“At that time, the information that we had wasn’t sufficient enough to substantiate a case,” Lauro said. “I don’t want [the mother)] to think we didn’t believe their kid back then. We did, but we didn’t have enough.”

Lauro said Penn State University Police Detective Schreffler never told him the details of Sandusky’s confession at the victim’s house.

“I remember my last conversation with him concerning him hiding in that room,” Lauro said. “Schreffler didn’t tell me details. All he said was, ‘There’s nothing to it — we’re going to close our case.’ And I said, ‘That’s fine, I’m going to close my case, too.”

Of Penn State University Police Detective Schreffler’s decision to close the 1998 case in which Sandusky admitted to him he “bear hugged” a child while showering with the boy because there was “nothing to it“, Penn State Senior V.P. Gary Schultz told the Center County Grand Jury:

… 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

Courtney resigned as counsel of The Second Mile on Monday and was replaced in that capacity by Penn State in 2010.

While Courtney’s lack of action as it pertains to Sandusky’s future conduct imperiled the lives of countless children in future years, Courtney’s similar do-nothing stance at a Sept. 21, 2001, Penn State Board of Trustees meeting set the stage for the school to facilitate - literally - Sandusky preying on children in a more discreet and insidious way.

On Sept. 21, 2001, the Penn State Board of Trustees, with Courtney in attendance, decided to sell a 40 acre parcel of land to Sandusky’s Second Mile charity. On the same day, the transaction was announced to the public on Penn State’s official website:

The University will sell 40.7 acres in Patton Township to the Second Mile, former Penn State football defensive coach Jerry Sandusky’s non-profit group for prevention, early intervention and community-based programs for Pennsylvania youth. The mission of Second Mile is to challenge young people to achieve their potential as individuals and community members by providing opportunities for them to develop positive life skills and self-esteem.

So Penn State itself provided the land upon which the culimination of Sandusky’s lifelong devotion to the sexual abuse of children is currently being constructed.

Despite knowing of Sandusky abuse, Wendell Courtney allowed Penn State to sell land to Sandusky's charity

But that transaction never had to happen had Courtney, who by then was well aware of the allegations of child sexual abuse by Sandusky on Penn State’s campus in 1998, said something.

Anything.

After the Grand Jury report was released, Courtney denied he was counsel for The Second Mile when he learned the details of Penn State’s police report about Sandusky in 1998.

In response to Courtney’s denial, Nils Frederiksen, a spokesman for state Attorney General Linda Kelly said:

“It’s clear from the findings of the grand jury that Mr. Courtney had direct dealings with both Penn State and The Second Mile and he had knowledge and was aware of the 1998 incident.

“The grand jury findings are based on evidence and testimony. There’s no dispute he had interaction with both [Penn State and The Second Mile]. If he wants to engage in semantics, so be it.”

Wife of Wendell Courtney, Linette Courtney, on The Second Mile Board of Directos in 2001

There’s also no dispute that Courtney’s wife Linette was on The Second Mile Board of Directors in 2001, which was previously listed on the charity’s website. And that Courtney’s colleague at the legal firm McQuaide Blasko, attorney Dan Bright, remains on The Second Mile’s Board of Directors to this day. (In what surely is a complete coincidence, Bright removed the mention of his Board member status with The Second Mile on his company website profile after the Grand Jury report came out.)

While the failure of so many at Penn State and The Second Mile to place the welfare of children above their own personal desires has now been established, the lack of action taken by the highest law enforcement official in the state during much of the current Sandusky investigation has yet to be explained. At least sufficiently.

Perhaps that has something to do with that same person being the current Governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Corbett.

Corbett was the state’s Attorney General when the first break in the current Sandusky case took place. In 2008, according to the Grand Jury report, it was first learned that Sandusky had forcibly performed oral sex on an early-teens boy more than 20 times, and forced the child to perform oral sex on the former Penn State Defensive Coordinator.

Because the crimes took place in State College the local District Attorney, citing a conflict of interest, referred the case to Corbett’s office. Despite the appalling nature of the 2008 charges against Sandusky, and the fact that he still had access to thousands of vulnerable children at The Second Mile, now-Governor Corbett only assigned a single state trooper to investigate the case in March, 2009.

The Second Mile was never notified by Corbett - or anyone in law enforcement for that matter - that Corbett’s investigation had evidence that the children’s charity founder was a child rapist.

Or that Sandusky was being investigated at all.

Incredibly, Sandusky notified The Second Mile in 2008 that he was being investigated, but Corbett’s office never did.

The Second Mile was finally notified in 2011 of the investigation into its founder by the Attorney General who succeeded Corbett, Linda Kelly.

Nearly two years after Corbett assigned a single investigator to the Sandusky child rape case, no progress had been made. In the fall of 2010, with Attorney General Corbett in the middle of his campaign for Governor, his office took over direct supervision of the case.

As reported by Sara Ganim of the HARRISBURG PATRIOT-NEWS, “one of the first things that happened was the discovery of a 1998 Sandusky report in the files of the Penn State police.

So Corbett, who was now directly supervising the case, had documented evidence of another accusation against Sandusky. Shortly thereafter, McQueary gave his account of the 2002 Sandusky shower rape of a 10-year-old boy in the Penn State locker room to authorities.

But while the case now appeared ready to explode, Corbett, who was in the final throes of his gubernatorial run, didn’t beef up his investigation. In fact, it took Corbett’s departure as Attorney General at the end of 2010 for Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan to add investigators to the case.

Eight, to be exact.

Having clearly soft-pedaled the Sandusky investigation during his campaign for governor, Corbett soon learned that even as the highest official in the state he couldn’t escape an issue related to Sandusky’s sexual abuse of children.

On Dec. 31, 2010, the PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW reported:

Gov.-elect Tom Corbett, confronted with new spending figures Thursday, said he will review Gov. Ed Rendell’s last-minute, multimillion-dollar grant awards closely when he takes office next month.

“We will review everything that isn’t signed, sealed and delivered,” Corbett said.

Among those grants was a $3 million award to The Second Mile which would essentially consumate the construction of Sandusky’s beloved, pet project.

Seven months later, on July 20, 2011, then-Second Mile CEO Jack Raykovitz received the following letter:

“The Office of the Budget has completed its review of The Second Mile Learning Center project and I am pleased to inform you that Governor Corbett has approved the Commonwealth’s commitment of $3,000,000 in RACP funding for this project.”

Corbett followed with his own press release detailing the “re-release” of state funds to the children’s charity founded by a man who - by then - Corbett personally knew had been sexual abusing children for at least over a decade. And was free to continue to do it.

Despite the news media having now exposed Corbett’s horrific so-called oversight, the Governor hasn’t exactly backpedaled from his decision.

Instead, today he lauded the charity founded by Sandusky and tried to defend his decision to fund construction of “The Second Mile Center for Excellence”:

“Yes I knew this (Sandusky investigation was under way), but I could not act publicly on this without saying certain things that would have possibly compromised the investigation. So eventually we did approve it.”

Remember, Corbett first blocked the grant, vowing to “review everything that isn’t signed, sealed and delivered.

Seven months later, he personally signed off on it.

Corbett is no different than anyone at Penn State, including Joe Paterno, who covered up child rape for the sake of their own peronal well-being. Corbett, in my opinion, did virtually nothing to advance a case against a child rapist then-currently immersed in a children’s charity because he thought it would injure his run for governor.

Caught supporting the culimination of Sandusky’s child rape-enabling charity despite intimate knowledge of Sandusky’s crimes against humanity, Corbett said today he’s now “pulling back” the funding. Reluctantly!

“The Second Mile had good purposes and I would like to see it go forward. I don’t know that it’s going to be able to continue to go forward, and I would hope that there would be a successor organization… to help children in that area. But right now, we have to pull back that proposal.”

I’d say “too little, too late” but that’d be overstating Corbett’s contribution to stopping a child rapist who has likely preyed on the children of Corbett’s Pennsylvania for decades.

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