Excerpt from Clemente Section of Paterno Report:
I have no interest in or connection with Penn State football, I had no personal or professional interaction with Joe Paterno, and I have not followed his career in any way or seen any game that he coached. I do not follow college or professional football. Though I am being paid for my time to research and write this report, I have maintained independence while conducting my review of the Freeh investigation and supplementing it with my own investigation.
After reading the Freeh report in its entirety, I now know that the Freeh investigation made a number of errors, including its failure to properly consider the behavioral dynamics of the offender, the victims, and witnesses within the context of acquaintance child sexual victimization.
Investigating this type of crime is markedly counter-intuitive and investigators and the public need to have a deep understanding of these behavioral dynamics before they can understand and properly interpret the information and behavior presented in this case. It is precisely because this information is not within the general knowledge of the average person/juror, that local, state, and federal courts admit the testimony of expert witnesses, like myself, to explain to jurors the complicated behavioral dynamics of “preferential child sex offenders,” “nice-guy” acquaintance offenders, “grooming,” and “compliant victimization.” In fact, the SIC report does not once mention “preferential child sex offenders,” “nice-guy” acquaintance offenders, or “compliant victimization,” and uses the term “grooming” only once without applying this critical behavioral reality to their analysis. By not factoring in thesedynamics, the Freeh report got it wrong.
While I authored this report at the behest of the representatives of the Paterno family, it is not just about Joe Paterno. This report is about finding the truth and educating the public about acquaintance child sexual victimization in the real world. This report does not take the focus away from the victims; it restores that focus. As an expert in this field, and as a former victim, I can attest that one of the worst things professionals, the media, and the public can do in the aftermath of the discovery of nice-guy offenders, like Sandusky, is to perpetuate the myth that his victims must have been frightened, threatened, or physically forced into sexual behavior with him.This practice, though well-meaning, hurts those children who became compliant intheir victimizationbecause this type of offender actually takes the opposite approach and treatsthem well, is kind to them, pays attention to them, shows them affection, makes them feel special, and/or gives them gifts. Another hurtful practice is talking about how horrendous,horrific, or life-changing these crimes were to the victims. The more we amplify what happened to the victims with emotional rhetoric, the more they and other victims in the general public feel damaged by what they have endured. They feel a sense of futility about ever being whole again. They feel the obstacles to leading happy and healthy lives are insurmountable. And most unfortunately, as a result of both of these practices, they and other victims are less likely to come forward.
The sad truth is that as you read this analysis, there are thousands of acquaintance offenders similar to Sandusky sexually victimizing children in communities across this country. These “nice-guy” offenders are getting away with it because they appear to be good people who genuinely care about children. These “nice-guy” offenders escape detection even by those who are vigilant because they are on the look out for evil predators, not pillars of the community. Unless everyone in the public takes on the responsibility to educate themselves about the dynamics of acquaintance child sexual victimization, “nice-guy” offenders will continue victimizing children undetected and undeterred. For that reason, paying attention to the details of this analysis, sharing its contents with everyone you know, engaging in an age-appropriate open dialogue with children, however difficult, and investigating those who exhibit red flag warning signs, will go a long way towards eliminating this type of offending behavior.
Sandusky is a textbook preferential child sex offender, as well as being a textbook example of a “nice-guy” offender. However, I would put him in the top one percent of effective groomers in this country. This is based on the fact thathe was so bold in his high-profile “altruistic” public persona, he founded a youth serving organization, and he was caught in the act — though cleared at the time — of what turned out to be grooming and sexually assaulting children in the showers in 1998, yet he still did the samething in the same place again in 2001. Sandusky was able to deceive his way out of it. He built his reputation both professionally and interpersonally over many years of hard work and sacrifice. Drive, determination, selflessness, and altruism were his calling cards. He motivated others to give millions to needy children at The Second Mile. Sandusky was lauded and celebrated for his work. He effectively groomed most of the people who came in contact with him, including child care experts, psychologists, professionals, celebrities, athletes, coaches, friends, and family. And most notably, he was approved numerous times over thirty years as both a foster parent and an adoptive parent by child care professionals.
The victims love the offender for the things he has done for them. On the other hand, they hate the offender for the things he has done to them. That’s why the boy in the shower in 2001 kept silent even though McQueary witnessed him being groomed and assaulted by Sandusky. That’s why the nine other victims who testified, or were testified about in Sandusky’s trial, never made an immediate outcry. Even when investigators first came to some of these boys and asked them direct questions, most of them remained silent or denied anything sexual occurred. They claimed that they had not been victimized, when in fact they had. Eventually, most of them made partial or incremental disclosures, and then over time gave a full account of their victimization. It’s called the “conspiracy of silence” that surrounds child sexual victimization. It is the opposite of an “active agreement to conceal.”
The combination of nice-guy acquaintance offending, coupled with the “conspiracy of silence” by victims and “compliant victimization,” is why Paterno did not know that Sandusky was really a child molester. It is why the entire State College community did not know. One astute mother, however, saw a behavioral change in her son and recognized it as a possible sign of victimization and reported Sandusky in 1998. She might have initially bought into Sandusky’s grooming, giving him access to her child hoping the relationship would help her son have a better life. But the behavioral changes her son exhibited after spending an evening with Sandusky triggered her intuition and she fought for her son’s protection. She is a hero. Unfortunately, the system failed her, and her son. We all want to search for the culprit who caused the system to fail. In my professional opinion, the culprit is ignorance of “nice-guy”offending.
One psychologist, trained in the art of deciphering offender behavior, Alycia Chambers,evaluated the boy, saw and recognized all the red flags presented by Sandusky’s behavior, but her report apparently did not receive the attention it deserved. Centre County Children and Youth Services (CYS) referred the case to counselor John Seasock, 20 who, without reading Chamber’s report, evaluated the boy for one hour and then wrote a report concluding nothing improper took place.That is why no one at Penn State did anything to sanction Sandusky. The UniversityPolice Department, the Department of Public Welfare (DPW), and the District Attorney all closed their cases based in large part on Seasock’s report. For those who worked closely with Sandusky and knew about the 1998 incident, the closing of this investigation as unfounded was confirmation of Sandusky’s outstanding reputation and their belief that he was a devoted advocate for children.
Though a trained child sex crimes investigator should have known to keep a close watch on Sandusky from that point forward, civilians generally revert back to the thousands of positive interactions they have had with him and validate the belief in their own minds that they knew Sandusky couldn’t have been a “monster predator.” If he had been, they tell themselves, they would have known. They would have been able to tell the difference between that kind of evil person and the affable Sandusky they knew, whom they viewed as a dedicated husband and father, who fostered and adopted dozens of children, an altruist, who founded a children’s charity, and a professional, who worked for decades as assistant football coach of one of the most successful college teams in the country.
Because of the private and one-on-one nature of the vast majority of child sex crimes, adult offenders know that in most circumstances, if the child makes an allegation against them, they have a higher likelihood of being believed than a troubled youth. And, as the inaction by McQueary and the janitor exhibit, even if adults witness this behavior, they are reticent to get involved or make a detailed report because it is just too difficult to comprehend or believe or talk about what they witnessed. As I will develop in much greater detail below, these complicated dynamics, which so few people understand (and most find completely counter-intuitive) explain why McQueary behaved as he did. They explain why he did not rescue the boy in 2001, and instead, left the scene as quickly as possible. They explain why McQueary had such difficulty recounting what he saw to his father and Dr. Dranov, and even more difficulty speaking about it to Paterno. McQueary likely was relieved when Curley and Schultz did not ask him detailed questions about what he had witnessed. At the time, he was not certain of what he saw because it was so abjectly counter to what he knew about Sandusky and how he expected a child victim to behave. They also explain why McQueary gave Paterno such a watered down and, ultimately, unhelpful version of events.
These complicated dynamics explain why Paterno did not conclude that Sandusky was a child molester, and why Paterno did what he did and nothing more. Paterno did not witness a child being sexually assaulted. Paterno did not have the opportunity that McQueary had to rescue that child while he was being sexually assaulted. Paterno did not have the opportunity to catch Sandusky in the act and restrain him while calling the police. As I’ll discuss in more detail below, Paterno only heard the sketchiest version of what happened from a confused, embarrassed, and reticent McQueary. Paterno could not read McQueary’s mind. He did not know what McQueary actually witnessed, but sensing that McQueary was having so much trouble talking about it and wanting to minimize his distress, Paterno told McQueary that he did not have to speak the details to Paterno, that he did the right thing coming to Paterno, and that Paterno would find the right people for McQueary to report it. Paterno was not an investigator. Paterno had no authority over Sandusky, who had retired two years earlier. Paterno ran into Sandusky infrequently and did not socialize with him. Paterno did his best to address the situation by informing the people at the university who were in a position to deal with Sandusky, and, in fact, who had dealt with Sandusky’s retirement and continued to deal with Sandusky about administrative details.
As it relates to Paterno, there is very little to be said about the 1998 incident. As far as Paterno knew, if he knew anything, it was fully investigated and Sandusky was fully cleared. Had Paterno or anyone else taken any action against Sandusky, as far as they knew, they would be exposing themselves and the university to a lawsuit from Sandusky. Nonetheless, I will discuss the 1998 incident in some detail for two reasons. First, if Paterno did know about the 1998 incident and the fact that Sandusky was investigated and cleared, this likely would have affected Paterno’s understanding of the 2001 incident. Upon hearing the report from McQueary, Paterno could have reasonably believed that Sandusky was simply horsing around with the boy — just like he was determined to have been doing in 1998 — despite the fact that McQueary perceived it as “over the line.”
The allegations of sexual misconduct were fully investigated by the University Police and Public Safety (“University Police Department” or “UPD”), DPW, CYS, and the District Attorney’s Office. The “victim” and Sandusky were repeatedly interviewed at the time and it was determined that Sandusky had no sexual intent and did not commit any crimes. The investigators had evenidentified another boy who recounted virtually the same story as the first boy and they still did not find sexual or criminal intent.Thus, even if the 1998 accusations had been communicated to Paterno, there would simply have been no way for Paterno to know that Sandusky was actually sexually attracted to boys and that he had been sexually victimizing a number of them in secrecy for years. Following the closing of this investigation, UPD Detective Schreffler instructed Sandusky not to shower again with any child.This explicit advice coming from the law enforcement body responsible for policing Penn State — and not simply the head coach —should have put Sandusky on notice that his actions were being scrutinized and dissuaded him from showering with any more boys at Penn State or anywhere else. UPD apparently did nothing else with respect to Sandusky beyond issuing this “advice the members of this approximately 50-man police department were bettertrained in the area of sex crimes and investigations than Paterno. Certainly UPD had the ultimate responsibility to police and secure all facilities on Penn State’s campus. And certainly, UPD had the ultimate responsibility to protect all persons, including children who were guests on campus. Paterno is blamed by the SIC for not instituting his own prevention program, when the very police agency that was charged with conducting, and actually conducted, the 1998 investigation, did absolutely nothing to investigate Sandusky further, to prevent him from bringing children into the showers, or to inform university staff and students about the allegations against Sandusky. That’s because Sandusky was cleared.
Paterno didn’t know about or have access to the 98-page report that the UPD had compiled on the 1998 incident. Paterno didn’t have a team of detectives who presumably were trained to recognize sex offender behavior. Paterno’s profession had nothing at all to do with children, or sex offenders, or investigations, or recognizing the red flags of child sexual victimization. It is incorrect to assert that Paterno, even as head coach and football icon, was in abetter position to keep an investigative eye on Sandusky and prevent him from offending on campus than was the UPD.
The UPD, DPW, CYS, and the DA’s office also should be accused of “callous and shocking” “total disregard for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s child victims,”or the accusations against Paterno related to the 1998 incident are biased and wrong.
The entire case against Paterno regarding the 2001 Sandusky shower incident hinges on the words of Mike McQueary. Paterno was not an eyewitness. His only basis of knowledge about what Sandusky did in the shower with a boy in February 2001 was the words McQueary chose to tell Paterno at that time. Clearly, those were not the detailed and explicit words McQueary used a decade later when talking to investigators and during his testimony. What is most critical in analyzing Paterno’s subsequent behavior is what McQueary actually communicated to Paterno during that five to ten minute conversation on the morning of Saturday, February 10, 2001. There are no contemporaneous recordings, notes, or confirmatory emails from this meeting, and the documentation that was made closest in time to the actual events was a statement made by McQueary to attorney general investigators, Trooper Rossman and Agent Sassano, almost a decade later on November 22, 2010. Because of the lapse of time between the actual conversation and the documentation thereof, the probability that particular details of this conversation are reliably recalled from memory is very low.
When a layman, like Paterno, hears ambiguous information about an incident that might involve male on male child sexual victimization and “considers” but rejects the possibility of it actually being true, it does not mean that it is an act of deliberate or willful denial or an attempt to conceal. This is especially true when the accused “offender” does not act like a heinous criminal and the alleged “victims” don’t act like he did anything wrong to them at all. What is actually going on with the untrained layman is a common and fundamental misunderstanding of offender and victim behavior and honest disbelief.
We know the following: McQueary walked into the coaches’ locker room between 9:30 and 10:00 on a Friday night. After McQueary passed through the first of two privacy doors to the locker room, he heard the showers running. He then heard what he has variously described as “two or three” “slapping noises,”36 “smackingsounds,”and “rhythmic slapping sounds”38 over the course of a second or two. In McQueary’s words, he “immediately became alerted and kind of — I don’t know — embarrassed that I was walking in on something that I didn’t want to see or walk in on.” At that moment McQueary “thought maybe one of the other people had someone with him in the showers.”McQueary got to his locker and glanced over his right shoulder and, using the reflection of a mirror, looked into the shower. His first glance lasted one to two seconds. In McQueary’s words, “I immediately turned back to my locker, trying to digest what I just saw and making sure I saw what I just saw. . . . I thought maybe I wasn’t seeing what I was seeing.” McQueary then stepped to the side and looked directly into the shower.According to his testimony, McQueary saw Sandusky in the shower with a young boy. Taking into account all of McQueary’s testimony, that’s all the detail he has given about what he actually saw as opposed to what he thought was happening or what he thought he heard, or what he told Paterno. McQueary also testified to what he did not see or hear. He did not see the front of Sandusky or the boy until the two of them were standing three to five feet apart and were facing him. He did not see any genitalia, erection, or insertion. He did not see any fondling. He did not see any sex act. He did not hear any “protests or any verbiage.” McQueary says he was “extremely alarmed, extremely flustered, extremely shocked, all of those things.”He went back to his locker and “tried to think . . . I accentuate the word ‘try.’”McQueary explained, “this is a Penn State football building . . . you don’t register that. .. . I’m used to pressure situations, and I can tell you that’s — that’s more than my brain could handle at that time.” McQueary was so overwhelmed that he described what he had seen as “ridiculous” as opposed to criminal.
Some believe that he wanted to save the name of Penn State football and so he decided to forget what he saw and walk away rather than to act to save the boy or restrain Sandusky. However, if this were true, he would not have attempted to tell five other people about what he saw and he would not have been so upset while he was trying to do so. In my experience the reasonable conclusion is that he was so overwhelmed by what he saw that he was paralyzed with confusion and disbelief. He did not understand how a man he knew and respected could possibly be doing something like that to a boy. He could not understand why the boy was not screaming out in pain or protest, or fighting to free himself. He could not understand why, when faced with a potential rescuer (McQueary), the boy did not even ask for help. He could not understand how Sandusky could just stare at him with a blank expression only seconds after he was apparently sexually assaulting a boy. And he did not understand how any of this could have happened in his own football locker room. Quite simply, in McQueary’s mind, it did not compute.
McQueary was forced to reconcile three things in his mind that he did not know how to reconcile: (1) when he heard the slapping sounds, he expected to see “normal” sexual activity, but what he saw was shocking, (2) he had always known Sandusky as a nice guy, professional, altruistic person, but now he was confronted with the sight of Sandusky apparently sexually assaulting a boy, and (3) the young boy was not fighting, screaming, or attempting to get away — all the things he would expect the victim of a sexual assault to do. At the time, and in the subsequent days, McQueary could not reconcile these things. He knew nothing about preferential sex offenders, grooming, “nice-guy” acquaintance offenders,and compliant victimization. Consequently, he did not rescue the boy. He ran away. He did not go to the campus police, he went to his office and called his dad. McQueary lived on his own, but he did not go home. He went straight to his parents’ house. While McQueary’s actions are confusing to many, in my experience they are typical of someone who is completely baffled and confused by what he saw and consequently he did not have the confidence to report it in detail.
McQueary has consistently testified that he did not tell Paterno any graphic details, so it is highly probable that McQueary did not tell Paterno anything that would have led Paterno to believe that Sandusky was sexually assaulting the boy in the shower.
The following day, McQueary went to Paterno’s house. According to McQueary, he told Paterno that he “saw Jerry with a young boy in the shower and that it was way over the line,”“[t]he rough positioning I would have described but not in very much detail,”“I told him what I had seen, again, on the surface.”However, McQueary has been clear that he did not use the terms “anal,” “intercourse,” sodomy,” or “rape.”McQueary explains he did not give these details “out of respect and just not getting into detail with someone like Coach Paterno,”“in my mind I don’t go to Coach Paterno and go into great detail of sexual acts. I would have never done that with him ever.” In fact, the reason McQueary didn’t want to use sexual terms with Paterno was the very reason why he needed to. Paterno was known as a prude who was uncomfortable talking about sex. Implying a sex act was not enough to undermine Paterno’s years of interactions with Sandusky and Sandusky’s image as a pillar of the community. McQueary needed to be direct, explicit, and comprehensive in his description. If McQueary had simply said to Paterno, “I saw Sandusky having sex with a boy,” then at least Paterno would have known what McQueary meant. Paterno may still have had trouble believing McQueary, but he would at least have been aware of what McQueary was saying.
Sexual behavior is typically very private; criminal sexual behavior is extremely private.McQueary was understandably embarrassed by what he witnessed, and he acted like someone who had never had to talk about this difficult topic before in his life. It apparently was particularly difficult for McQueary to talk to an elder and iconic figure whom he looked up to about the details of sexual activity.
In response, Paterno, trying to spare McQueary from any further distress, told McQueary that he didn’t have to tell Paterno anything else, that McQueary did the right thing bringing it to Paterno, and that it was Paterno’s job to get McQueary together with the right people for McQueary to report it.
What we do know from Paterno’s recounting of events and his later shock and surprise when he finally read McQueary’s statements in the presentment the week of November 7, 2011,was that Paterno did not have any idea that McQueary was trying to tell him that Sandusky was sodomizing the boy or even sexually assaulting the boy. When asked by an investigator if McQueary said there was a sexual act, Paterno responded, “He never said that.” When Paterno finally read the presentment, he asked his son what the word “sodomy” meant. After his son explained it to him, Paterno asked, “Can a man even do that to a boy?” Nonetheless, as Paterno explained, if he had been told that Sandusky was raping a boy, or having sex with a boy in the shower, he “would have gone to the police right then and there, no questions asked.”
It is more reasonable to conclude that these five men did notunderstand the true nature of Sandusky’s actions because McQueary did not convey what he thought he had conveyed to them. That’s because McQueary relied on implication, and deliberately did not use explicit or graphic terms in describing what he thought he witnessed in the shower.
Of those five men, the one who was most prepared for such a situation arguably would be Dr. Dranov. As a medical doctor, he is a mandated reporter, and he acted like one. He asked all the right questions aimed at determining whether McQueary had seen any specific sexual acts. McQueary repeatedly said no and got more upset when Dr. Dranov attempted to get more details out of him. Dr. Dranov then advised McQueary to tell Coach Paterno and did nothing more. Dr.Dranov did not tell McQueary to call the police, he did not call the police himself, and he did not call the Department of Public Welfare. This behavior is consistent with Dr. Dranov deducing at the time that what McQueary had actually witnessed was non-sexual in nature.