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Former Penn State president Graham Spanier hasn't spoken publicly about Jerry Sandusky's rampage of abusing children since his forced resignation in November.  Well, he broke his silence in an interview with The New Yorker.

Spanier told Jeffrey Toobin--who also doubles as a legal analyst for CNN--that he has no memory of a 1998 incident that was, in hindsight, the first warning sign that Sandusky was a child molester.

I have no recollection. I am aware, as I said in my letter to the board of trustees, that I was apparently copied on two e-mails. I didn’t reply to them. The first e-mail that I saw didn’t mention anybody’s name. It simply said something to the effect of “The employee will be interviewed tomorrow,” something like that, no name mentioned. Then, about five weeks later, I think it was, I was copied on another e-mail that said, “The interview has been completed, the investigation has been completed, nothing was found, Jerry felt badly that the kid might have felt badly,” I’m not quoting directly, of course—“And the investigation is closed and the matter is behind us.”
So he knew about the exchange, but didn't explain why he didn't take any action to limit Sandusky's access to the football facilities while the investigation was underway?  Or why he didn't tell the board of trustees about it?  To my mind, Spanier just admitted to a gross failure of leadership.

He then talked about the 2001 shower incident.  First, the now-infamous email in which he agreed that it would be "humane" to handle the matter internally rather than report it.

What I meant by “humane” was I thought it was very humane of Tim to want to go the extra mile by meeting with Jerry and saying, “Jerry, I hope you understand that we don’t want this to happen, and we’re going to tell this to Second Mile, and if you want to accompany me to that meeting with Second Mile you may come with me. ” I thought that’s a very humane way to follow up on something like that....

I think what many people wanted to read into it was that it was humane for us not to turn him in for being a known child predator. But I never, ever heard anything about child abuse or sexual abuse or my antennae raised up enough to even suspect that. So I know that’s been taken out of context, and I suspect that whoever leaked those e-mails wanted them to be taken out of context....

Left unanswered is why Spanier didn't do what any school president worth his salt should have done--demand that Curley report it to the police.  Toobin didn't appear to press the issue, though.  I wonder if he simply wanted Spanier's words to speak for themselves.

As many of you know, Spanier effectively signed his death warrant by issuing a statement that athletic director Tim Curley and former vice president Gary Schultz had his "unconditional support."  But Spanier claims that the board approved that statement.

That statement was carefully reviewed by the chair of the board of trustees, and I presume by the vice chair of the board because he was supposed to touch base with him. It was reviewed by the university’s legal counsel. It was gone over by our university relations staff. It was not just a rash, “Let’s run out and be insensitive to potential victims and say nothing, just defend Gary Schultz and Tim Curley no matter what.” The chair of the board said, “This is exactly the statement that I would write.” He was very supportive of our issuing that statement.
The board of trustees says it pushed Spanier out for making unauthorized statements to the press.  It also kept Spanier effectively incommunicado from that Saturday statement until the meeting the following Wednesday in which he was forced to resign.  Either the board or Spanier are lying here.

Spanier characterizes the Freeh report as "wrong" and "deeply flawed."  Um, Graham?  That report includes your own words.  To my mind, your actions in all of this are the ones that were "wrong" and "deeply flawed"--and they may also be criminal.

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Comment Preferences

  •  so spanier never had any clue (6+ / 0-)

    there was anything wrong?  what exactly were they being "humane" about if he hadn't discerned the possibility of child abuse?  

    Ted Kennedy: “The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die…”

    by jlms qkw on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 02:50:56 PM PDT

  •  Spanier - when you became president of Penn State (15+ / 0-)

    why did you FORGET to implement the Clery Act?  

    You know, that law that required all Universities report violent crimes to the police, keep logs of violent crime incidents and provide accurate crime data to parents and others.

    Was he at Penn State his whole career?  Where was he when that girl was raped at Lehigh University? (It's in PA, for those not familiar with the scale of Spanier's stink.)

  •  "Either the board or Spanier are lying here." (7+ / 0-)

    I'd put money on both. This whole thing stinks to high heaven and I doubt any of them have a shred of honor.

    Then they came for the trade unionists,
    and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

    by Ex Con on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 03:13:06 PM PDT

  •  The Alberto Gonzales gambit, "I don't recall" BS (5+ / 0-)

    I think that Republicanism is revealing itself as a personality disorder, not so much an ideology." -- Naomi Klein

    by AllanTBG on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 03:21:00 PM PDT

  •  I fully expect Spanier to be indicted shortly (10+ / 0-)

    Perjury, failure to report - perhaps child endangerment (coming off the heels of the Monsignor Lynn outcome).

    There are so many discrepancies in his interview - I also just watched his interview on ABC (it will be on Nightline later tonight and Good Morning America tomorrow so it's broken up into pieces) but he basically says he did nothing wrong.

    I will post the two discrepancies I noted immediately in my next comment (it will be long, so don't want to make this one too long - people won't read it! )

    Thanks for this - I've been on many other websites and haven't gotten back here to post a diary.

    "...I am the master of my fate/I am the captain of my soul" Invictus - William Ernest Henley Please donate to TREE Climbers, our 501(c)(3).

    by Roxine on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 03:44:53 PM PDT

    •  Personally, I do not think they will indict (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Spanier, until the perjury cased against Curley and Shultz are completed.  If the state loses those, they will drop everything else dealing with Spainer.

      To indict for perjury they will have to prove that Curley and Shultz and Paterno TOLD him there was sexual abuse taking place as per McQueary. Since Paterno is dead and Curley and Shultz are saying that McQueary didn't tell them that, it will be difficult to prove Curley or Shultz did tell him what they say they didn't tell him.  And McQueary's changing statements over time will hurt the states case.

      A Failure to report indictment will again come down to what Spainer states he was told (or evidence that confirms what he was told).  Again, he will state Curley and Shultz were vague, and this will be exactly what Curley and Shultz say.  They will claim McQueary was vague, thus they were vague with Spainer.  

      Both of these charges will be very difficult for the state to prove.  Hell, if I'm Spainer (or Curley or Shultz), I'd point out the DA had McQueary's statements for over a year (closer to 2) and didn't report Sandusky for another year.

      Possibly they could charge him with child endangement, but again, the state is going to have to prove that even though Curley and Shultz state otherwise, Spainer was told Sandusky was sexually molesting the child in the shower in 2001.

      If these guys continue to hold true to their stories, it is going to be extremely difficult to charge Spainer, and i think it is going to be very tough to convict Curley or Shultz without more evidence than I've seen that they perjuried themselves.  The state was hurt by Paterno's death, prior to them allowing him to be diposed with lawyers for Curley/Shultz present.

      •  You forget - there was evidence found by Freeh (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        that was turned over to the DA's office.  

        Freeh said from the beginning that they were working with the DA's office.  And it makes sense - why else would Judge Freeh state with such conviction that they covered it up, concealed, whatever terms he used - with the apparent holes in his report?  

        My guess is that there are other emails that had to be turned over for the CRIMINAL trials against Schultz, Curley and, again just a feeling I get - in the pending indictment of Spanier.

        We shall see - I anticipate either today or tomorrow Spanier being arrested.

        You don't need Curley and Schultz's testimony if you have hard evidence vis-a-vis emails...

        Remember, Spanier just "hopes" those emails from 1998 were destroyed - he's already plotting his defense, said in his interview that emails were "always getting lost" or deleted back then - it was an IT issue.

        Here's the thing though...when you send an email OUTSIDE your organization?  Regardless of what you hope may have happened on your side?  It's still retained on the OTHER server (I'm thinking Courtney in this scenario)

        "...I am the master of my fate/I am the captain of my soul" Invictus - William Ernest Henley Please donate to TREE Climbers, our 501(c)(3).

        by Roxine on Thu Aug 23, 2012 at 03:55:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Old Proverb! (0+ / 0-)

      ...Il pesce puzza dalla testa!

      Crying is all right in its own way while it lasts. But you have to stop sooner or later, and then you still have to decide what to do. ― C.S. Lewis Much Love, Andrea Lena.

      by Andrea D on Thu Aug 23, 2012 at 06:08:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Discrepancies - (9+ / 0-)

    On March 31st, Sara Ganim's story runs - about the indecent assault of an underage boy who

    “told authorities that Sandusky had inappropriate contact with him over a four-year period, starting when he was 10.” Her article also detailed the 1998 incident. In it, she wrote, “It is not clear whether university President Graham Spanier has testified [before the grand jury] and he declined comment on the matter when questioned earlier this week.”

    But Spanier states that he had NO IDEA...
    " I can’t remember exactly what the question was—whether it was, was I aware of sodomy, or did I approve of sodomy, or did I know what sodomy was, something about sodomy. This is April of 2011. I was stunned. I said, this is the first I have heard anything like that."

    So, Sara Ganim called you 2 weeks before your grand jury testimony to ask you about the story she's about to run alleging inappropriate contact with a 10 year old over 4 years (as well as the 1998 incident) - but on April 14th at the grand jury is the "first time you've heard about it."

    Oh, and Spanier now tells us it was "Joe's" idea in 2004...

    We had a series of meetings — three or four. Those discussions were initiated by Joe Paterno—not by me, not by Tim Curley. At the end of the season, Joe asked to speak to us. He knew that at the meeting would be me, Tim Curley, and Gary Schultz ... But Joe asked if we could include in the group Steve Garban.... Joe wanted him there I think because he felt Steve was the voice of history. [Garban was a longtime administrator at Penn State and later chair of the Board of Trustees.]  

    ....So that’s just to tell you that he was serious about thinking about it. But after that third or fourth meeting, whichever it was, Joe said, “You know, I’ve been thinking about it, and I think we can get this back. I think we just need to make a few changes, some of my staff here, I might need to change a person or two, and I’m not ready. I know I can turn this around.” And we said O.K.

    I guess Mr. Posnanski lied in his authorized biography when he writes:
    Spanier "cleared his throat" and told Paterno he was going to recommend to the board of trustees that 2005 be Paterno's final season. "At the end of his life, Paterno said, as if asking for forgiveness, 'I have a temper. I shouldn't have said what I said, but I was very angry. I had thought he came over to talk. But he already had made up his mind what he was going to do.' Paterno put both hands on the table, looked Graham Spanier in the eye, and growled, 'You take care of your playground, and I'll take care of mine.'"  

    Playground - interesting choice of words - brings to mind childhood, happiness, joy - something that was ripped away from how many children on your watch?

    "...I am the master of my fate/I am the captain of my soul" Invictus - William Ernest Henley Please donate to TREE Climbers, our 501(c)(3).

    by Roxine on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 03:48:27 PM PDT

  •  He looks like he's in a good situation to me (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cartoon Peril

    Well, except for losing his job and everyone hating him.  It's hard to imagine what else could be out there that would impeach his "no recollection" + "didn't know the severity of it."  People say those things, after all, because (a) sometimes they're true, and (b) they commonly work as legal defenses, because of (a).  Does anyone believe that the information currently out there would be enough to convict him? And it doesn't seem like any of the three are going to be flipped against the other two.

    Mitt Romney '12: Berlusconi without the sex and alcohol!

    by Rich in PA on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 05:05:40 PM PDT

  •  ABC News had part of the interview with Spanier (0+ / 0-)

    What was interesting was that he was apparently abused as a child.
    In addition, his academic area was psychology and he was a trained family therapist.
    An adult male engaging in "horseplay" with a teenage boy naked in a shower.
    Give us a break Graham.  Your only defense that I could see would be deep denial related to your own childhood experience.

  •  This would be sad if it weren't so reprehensible (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cartoon Peril

    Grant Spanier and Gary Schultz were two of the biggest deals in the Higher Ed administrative stratosphere.  They were it, they were the bomb.  And they blew it.  They thought they would never have to face a difficult moral choice that would decide their careers, and they did, and they were found wanting.  

    Grant Spanier had the ear of all the major University Presidents, and most of their boards.  He was that revered.  And now, he is running from his moral and professional failure to recognize that an investigation of one of your major coaches  for ANY improper behavior warranted that President's close scrutiny - because he didn't want to know, so he wouldn't have had to make an unpopular and difficult choice to choose a child with no resources over a popular coach supported by an even more popular coach.  

    Spanier is lying if he says he didn't know how serious it was.  He held his breath, and the school cops gave their boss, Gary Schultz the answer he wanted, and Schultz gave Spanier the answer he wanted.

    I've been a university administrator.  We all know how this works.  

    "Out of Many, One." This is the great promise of our nation -9.75 -6.87

    by Uncle Moji on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 05:45:40 PM PDT

  •  Spanier ought to just STFU and count himself (0+ / 0-)

    lucky that he's not facing indictment in this mess.  He's nothing but a self-serving apologist who got caught out while trying to sweep the Sandusky mess under the carpet, even if he was a one-off player in the whole process.  He was the University President and had a responsibility to have been better informed, as well as take action as directed by the Clery Act.  

    There's no way he's ever gonna get back into Higher Education again. I hope he invested that exorbitant salary he got as PSU president well, it's likely to the last regular paycheck he ever sees again.  Unless he gets a job at the Quickie Mart (if they'd hire him).  

    A celibate clergy is an especially good idea, because it tends to suppress any hereditary propensity toward fanaticism. -Carl Sagan

    by jo fish on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 08:50:15 PM PDT

    •  Well, he was able to get some job with the (0+ / 0-)

      national government,  He even passed the highest level background security check we have (all while the Sandusky scandal was taking place).

      Not that any of that is revelant to whether or not he knowly allowed a pedophile to continue to rape children to protect a football program.  Although, I would hope (and believe) the Justice Dept would not allow a person to have the highest security clearance in the nation if they believed he knowingly allowed a pedophile to continue to rape children.

      •  I believe there is much more to this story n/t (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        "...I am the master of my fate/I am the captain of my soul" Invictus - William Ernest Henley Please donate to TREE Climbers, our 501(c)(3).

        by Roxine on Thu Aug 23, 2012 at 03:57:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree--and have been saying so for a long (0+ / 0-)


          Until the state or more hopefully, the federal government, investigates exactly how Sandusky existed in the very world of those best equiped to stop him, all while being granted the abilty to start a childrens foundation; adopt and have foster children; and be hailed as a hero to children everywhere for over 30 yrs.  Until we know those answers, and why the state of Pa's childrens services failed so horribly, the children of Pa are still no safer.

          This constant focus on PSU has allowed evidence to disappear and people to move on.  This investigation has been a diaster that the media and law enforcement has allowed simply because a big name and school are involved.

          I will again point out that only PSU and the NCAA have made any changes to attempt to stop this from happening again.  To me, the priorities of all involved, are still more focused on big names instead of root causes.  To think only the men at PSU are responsible for allowing Sandusky to exist is allowing those most responsible for protecting children to escape scrunity.  To me that is the biggest joke--look at the shiny thing over here, but ignore the elephant in the room.

          •  While it is true these boys were failed by many (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            it starts with Penn State -

            Two reported (three witnessed) events involving "something of a sexual nature" in the showers between Jerry Sandusky and little boys.  

            1. Mother's report - 1998 to Penn State University police - inapproriate behavior between Sandusky and her son

            2. The excited utterance of a Janitor as reported in the trial: "“His face was white. He was shaky. I said, ‘John, what’s wrong?’ He told me, ‘I just witnessed something I’ll never forget... He [Sandusky] was sucking on his dick!’ ” (Mr. Calhoun was so shaken up...his face turned white and he was physically shaking in the moments after he left the shower area. His fellow janitors felt Mr. Calhoun was going to have a heart attack.)

            3. Graduate Assistant Mike McQueary reports that he saw something of a "serious sexual nature" in the showers between Jerry Sandusky and a boy (10 or 11 years of age)

            "...I am the master of my fate/I am the captain of my soul" Invictus - William Ernest Henley Please donate to TREE Climbers, our 501(c)(3).

            by Roxine on Thu Aug 23, 2012 at 06:57:46 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Not sure it "starts" with Penn St. More honestly (0+ / 0-)

              it ends with Penn St.

              It starts wth a pedophile being able to adopt and have foster children placed in his home for over 30 yrs by a state that failed in background checks, home visits, and exit interviews.  SIX ADOPTED CHILDREN and TWENTY + FOSTER CHILDREN AND NOT ONE NOTE OF ANY CONCERNS.  These workers are supposed to be the best trained in the state to protect children

              It continues with a pedophile being approved by a state to start a Childrens Foundation (2nd Mile), that he uses to for over 20 yrs to pick and groom suseptible, innocent children to feed his sexual desires. TWENTY YEARS OF GROOMING AND RAPING CHILDREN AND NOT ONE NOTE OF ANY CONCERN. These workers are supposed to be the best trained to spot abused children and signs that a person is a pedophile.

              It continues with an investigated report in 1998 by the police and childrens services.  With no influence from anyone at PSU, the investigation concludes and reports NO WRONG DOING.  These are trained professionals who should have stopped the man that day.

              It continues with McQueary's report in 2001.  Here a 28 yr old man left a child in the possession of Sandusky. Instead of reporting to police, he calls his Dad and tells him and a family Dr.  They tell him to call Paterno.  Paterno reports it to Shultz/Curley, who tell Spainer.  But we are now to believe 7 men all acted exactly the same, but knew a child was being raped.  And what was their motive--to protect the football program.  I'm not seeing it.  I would have to believe all 7 knew if they said nothing children would continue to be raped and they would risk jail and financial ruin if they were caught.  Again to protect football while boys continue to be raped.  Report it and have some bad publicity or risk everything. It just doesn't fit the evidence.  You have these guys acting rationally after deciding something to fit your narrative, but you don't have them acting rationally when it doesen't fit.

              I'm not saying the PSU group failed--they did.  But the state of PA. failed first, continued to fail throughout, and were suppossedly the best trained to spot this and best suited to stop it.  

              I have to question why so many want this to be all about PSU and not about the trained professionals.

              I'm not sure if you've noticed, but everyone seems to be moving on (just look at the number of responses to any other child abuse articles vs. one mentioning PSU/Paterno)  The only time anyone even pays attention to this is when a PSU name is mentioned.  Pa has not done one thing to fix how this man was allowed to thrive in the very comunity trained to stop him.  As long as society continues to look for more blood from PSU, the longer those truly responsible continue to put our children in danger.  

              The Paterno/PSU sole focus is giving cover for those that failed.  Paterno/PSU have deserved the attention/anger they have received.  But it has come at a huge price.

  •  I know this isn't a popular position, but i tend (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Glacial Erratic

    to believe these guys when they say they didn't realize Sandusky was raping children.  Otherwise, we all would have to believe they chose to consciously decide to allow more children to be raped.  And for what?  To protect the football program?  If they report in 2001, the university sees some bad publicity for a few weeks/months and they all move on.  Instead, we are to believe they chose to let children to continue to be raped, while risking everything (their freedom, money, jobs, reputations).  We have to believe they would allow a chid rapist to continue to avoid bad publicity.

    The fact that no adults (McQueary, McQueary's father, Dr. Dranov, Curley, Shultz, Spainer or Paterno) who saw or heard the 2001 accusation did not call the police seems important.  The fact that the 1998 investigation found no wrong doing by police or Childrens Services seems important (with no influence by Penn St according to Freeh).  The fact that the state of Pa. allowed Sandusky to have over 20 foster children placed in his care and allowed him to adopt 6 children seems important. The fact that 2nd Mile employees never felt Sandusky was a risk seems important.  Local Childrens Services, the state of Pa. children services and 2nd Mile employees are actually trained to spot children who have been abused and spot signs of child abusers and they failed.

    We all continue to look at this through the prism of what we now know.  It is so easy to say what all of them should have done.  They failed.  But to insist that we all know the motives of why they failed, seems unfair.  I believe they failed because they were so focused on other things that they simply didn't think this guy was a pedophile.  But that's just my opinion based on the facts as i see them.

    What is so much more bothersome is that STILL, after 4 yrs off investigating, the only changes and punishments have come from PSU and the NCAA.  Where in the hell is the investigation into the failures of the 1998 investigation; into 2nd Mile; into the Pa. childrens services that allowed Sandusky access to children for over 30 yrs; into why the DA allowed Sandusky unsupervised access to children for over 3 yrs while being investigated as a serial pedophile?  

    Until the real investigations in Pa are done, not one chlid in Pa is any safer today than before.  

    This constant focus on PSU and Paterno has allowed the people most in charge of protecting children to remain free to continue to expose children to pedophiles.  The state of Pa needs to realize scolarship losses and vacated wins is not fixing the culture that allowed Sandusky to run free for over 30 yrs.

  •  Dude was getting paid $500,000+ per year (0+ / 0-)

    for leadership and instead he gives us this "not my department" excuse.

    You have exactly 10 seconds to change that look of disgusting pity into one of enormous respect!

    by Cartoon Peril on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 08:57:55 PM PDT

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