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JULY 13, 2012 2:00PM

Penn State Employees Feared Being Fired in Sandusky Case

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Louis Freeh

 

Cross Posted at Legal Schnauzer

 

Former FBI director Louis Freeh yesterday released his report on the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State, and coverage has focused mainly on the role of iconic football coach Joe Paterno in an apparent cover up.

 

Freeh's 267-page report concluded that the late Paterno and three high-ranking Penn State administrators tried to bury reports of child sexual abuse because they feared bad publicity for the university and its storied football program.

 

The most telling part of the report, however, focuses on janitors who worked in and around Penn State locker-room and shower facilities. One of the janitors witnessed Sandusky's abuse of a child, but he and his coworkers feared they would be fired if they reported it.

 

I know, from first-hand experience, that the janitors were justified in their fears. After all, I was fired from my job in the University of Alabama System for reporting on this blog about corruption in our state's "justice system." I didn't blow the whistle on misconduct within the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), where I had worked for 19 years in various editorial positions. Rather, I reported on corruption among various lawyers, judges, and prosecutors in both are state and federal courts. These clearly were matters of public concern, and as a government employee, I had a First-Amendment right to comment on them without facing reprisal.

 

But I still got fired, and powerful University of Alabama forces apparently are ensuring that my ongoing federal lawsuit will be dismissed in a manner that is grossly contrary to law. I've been without a job for more than four years, and I've presented overwhelming evidence that a U.S. District Judge named William M. Acker Jr. has handled my case in a stunningly unlawful fashion, almost certainly at the instigation of pro-UA forces in our state's legal and political circles.

 

Are there similar forces in Pennsylvania that would have caused the janitors to be fired if they had reported child sexual abuse on the Penn State campus? Would those same forces have exerted their power over federal authorities to make sure the janitors got cheated in any lawsuits for wrongful termination and retaliation?

 

The answers, based on my own experience, is an overwhelming yes. I have little doubt that pro-Penn State forces are every bit as powerful in Pennsylvania as are similar forces here in Alabama.

 

Bruce Feldman, of CBS Sports, addresses the janitors' story in an article titled "Institutional Control? Report Shows Tragic Result of Coach as King Culture." Writes Feldman:

 

Speaking to the culture of the place and how the football program controlled the school, Freeh brought up a janitor who observed one of Sandusky's attacks. Freeh said the man told him it was the worst thing he ever saw: "This is a Korean War veteran who said, 'I've never seen anything like that. It makes me sick.' He spoke to the other janitors. They were alarmed and shocked by it. But what did they do? They said, 'We can't report this because we'll get fired.' They knew who Sandusky was.

"They were afraid to take on the football program. They said the university would circle around it. It was like going against the President of the United States. If that's the culture on the bottom, God help the culture at the top."

 

Dennis Dodd, one of Feldman's colleagues at CBS Sports, called for a reappraisal of big-time college football in a piece titled "Let Freeh's Damning Report Ring--King Football Needs to Answer for Sins." Writes Dodd:

 

King Football must die. It must die a painful and immediate death. 

It must be hanged in the public square to show that now and forever King Football can't rule a sport, a school, a society. It is time. It is overdue. If you don't know that the culture has changed after the release of the Freeh Report on Thursday then you are blind to the toxic byproducts of the second-most popular spectator sport in our country.

 

Those are powerful words, but I contend that Dodd's view is too narrow. Cleaning up football abuses, even killing "King Football," is not going to heal what ails higher education.

 

UAB has one of the worst football programs in the country--the Blazers are plagued by losing records and sparse crowds--but I witnessed rampant corruption on the campus. And it has nothing to do with football.

 

The problem stems from placing weak, dishonest individuals in positions of authority. The real issue at Penn State was that President Graham Spanier and Vice President Gary Schultz were not willing to make sure the athletics department and the football program followed the law.

 

A similar culture exists at UAB under President Carol Garrison. It's not just my imagination, by the way, that I was cheated out of my job because of the content on this blog. A UAB human-resources official named Anita Bonasera admitted in a tape-recorded conversation that I was targeted because of my reporting on the Bush-era prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman--and there is little doubt that President Garrison knows all about the real reason I was fired. You can listen to a key portion of the Bonasera conversation in a video at the end of this post.

 

In fact, I compared my experiences at UAB to the coverup at Penn State in a post written more than eight months ago. And that post includes a word-for-word transcript of Bonasera's statements.

 

In our state the University of Alabama Board of Trustees contributes mightily to corruption that permeates higher education. The board is led by a CEO who has documented ties to insurance fraud.

Paul Bryant Jr. is president of the UA board and serves as CEO of Greene Group Inc., which used to include a company called Alabama Reassurance. That firm was implicated in a $15-million insurance fraud scheme that netted a 15-year federal prison sentence for a Philadelphia entrepreneur/lawyer named Allen W. Stewart.

 

Public documents clearly show that Bryant's company was involved in the scam, but he never has been held accountable. And now, this man with ties to insurance fraud helps manage millions of taxpayer dollars that are funneled to the UA System.

 

Bryant's father, of course, is the late Crimson Tide football coach Paul "Bear" Bryant--a man who basically was Alabama's answer to Pennsylvania's Joe Paterno.

 

On second thought, maybe the arrogant mindset that comes with football success is the problem. Maybe King Football really does need to be killed.


Video: University of Alabama corruption is caught on tape 

 

 

 

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Comments

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It's all so inconceivably vile if you have a conscience. No job can be worth such looking the other way. Watching a kid get molested or allowing innocent people to go to jail, or just following no law to help your cronies or to preserve your measly job? Those who allow such things, or even witness them , and say nothing should be jailed for a long time, in my opinion.
Instead, they rarely recieve any punishment. Perjury and lying to the police are almost never pursued by cops or prosecutors.
Your legal nightmares sound fascinating(in that awful way) I named a particulary wicked judge on my blog today. It's the best tiny fisted effort I can manage without fearing too much retaliation.
I was the same things in the legal system. I relate to what you are going through too much and understand exactly how twisted these systems become and how pathetically fearful the players within the system become. So few heros( or even just plain decent people) in the legal system.
news flash: americans are as bad as other people.

once you get out of the habit of talking to people as though they were responsible adults, competent at work and ethical in social dealings, you can begin to see homo sap for what he is: just another primate scrabbling for more bananas and the opportunity to reproduce.

this innate selfishness looks like driving the species to a massive die-back from environmental collapse, or worse. since no one wants to make any fundamental change in the behavior of americans, the fuss about penn state will have little consequence.
Ever wonder why universities protect their football programs? It's not only because of the money they bring in for academic programs (at least that's the public argument). It's to fund the exorbitant salaries administrators and their cronies earn. This scandal might be the pinprick that pops the higher education bubble.
Mary, it was a mother of victim #2 that "dropped the dime" so to speak. This resulted in a grand jury investigation in 2011.
Paterno, Schultz, and Curley were less than forthcoming in this process and may be guilty of perjury. Paterno of course, has conveniently avoided this next phase of justice. Spanier is trying to wiggle out claiming ignorance.
You should blame Paterno. He knew for 14 years what Sandusky was up to.
He passed the info down the line.... Paterno was the boss at Penn State aka. State Penn