Another Open Letter to Keith Olbermann, and other misinformed people on their soapboxes

A few days ago fellow Penn State alumnus Kevin Horne published an open letter to ESPN Great Shouter (I refuse to even call you a journalist or any other professional term based on your work) Keith Olbermann after Mr. Olbermann twice in one week labeled Penn State his “World’s Worst“. The Great Shouter was apparently upset that due process and the rule of law won out when the NCAA settled its suit with PA Senator Jake Corman (note to Keith, they did not settle with PSU, our Board is still trying to hide the true nature of this scandal and prefers to keep people like you focused on our Football Program) in his lawsuit over the NCAA consent decree. I won’t go in to detail how horribly wrong the shouter is on many facts, my fellow alumnus Mr. Horne has already done a fantastic job with that. I will simply ask The Great Shouter one simple question:

What have you done for abused children?

 

You see, anytime one of us very well informed and educated Penn Staters, those of us who have literally read every single word or page devoted to this Sandusky scandal; court transcripts, affidavits, depositions, expert reports, blogs, books, state statutes, child abuse reports, child abuse task force reports, opinion columns, witness interviews, IRS990s, financial disclosures (literally thousands upon thousands of total pages), and many more attempts to defend our school or football program we are met with “but what about the KIDS?!?!” So I find it instructive to compare our actions, not just words, Great Shouter, both before and after this scandal.

I will start foremost with myself. I am a fairly average college-educated person. Grew up in an upper middle class home outside of Philadelphia, received a B.S. from Penn State (my roots go back to the late 1920s when my grandfather began studying there) in 1999 (the same time Jerry Sandusky was ending his career there) with a degree in Biology (Genetics and Developmental), began working for a Pharmaceutical company, obtained my M.S. in Clinical Pharmacology at Thomas Jefferson University, am a sports and fitness junky, do fitness and wellness coaching as a side gig now, have a beautiful wife and soon to be 4 year old son. I am a lifetime member of what many of us joke is the “Penn State Cult”. Everyone I meet knows (jokingly) that being a member of the Penn State Community is in some ways like being in a cult. We have our traditions, our special calls to each other in public, a unique way of bonding as a community.

I admit prior to this scandal my contributions to child welfare were almost non-existent. Though my wife works in the autism/behavior field (she received her Applied Behavior Analysis degree online through Penn State as well, but attended West Chester and Widener Universities for her undergraduate and graduate work) and I did do some charity stuff with her here and there. Since the scandal though I have spent almost every free moment I have had researching this scandal, child abuse, state laws, task force reports, and other abuse cases. What I found horrifies me. Pennsylvania has a horrid system to protect abused children. Since then I have spoken with several experts to educate myself on how to deal with nice-guy offenders like Sandusky, and how we can better protect all kids in PA, and everywhere. I have penned LTEs, blogs, and letters to state officials highlighting problems and requesting that these services be improved. I do it for free, on my own time, and with all of my own resources, unless you count the collaboration with many (what have become I consider good friends) met online. Mostly I do it because I have a son who I hope grows up in a world where he can feel safe about these things.

Inside what we might call the “Sandusky scandal community” there are of course many others who have spent their own time in order to figure out both what happened, and how we can stop it from happening again. Ex-Penn State great Franco Harris has led the public charge to inform people about the true nature of this scandal. A group known as the SMSS Freehdom Fighters, headed up by Ray Blehar, Barry Bozeman, and Eileen Morgan, has created several websites and various reports and investigations detailing many many aspects of this scandal. Wisconsin-based alumnus Ryan Bagwell has dedicated much of his free time, and money, to fighting for public access to the documents surrounding the scandal. Jim Clemente (you may have heard of him) wrote a report, one that didn’t include a non-disclosure agreement (see Freeh, Louis for the opposite). Yes he was paid, though far less than Mr. Freeh. Mr. Clemente is a world-renowned child sexual abuse expert from the FBI’s behavioral analysis unit and worked with Ken Lanning. Who is Ken Lanning? Only this guy. Beyond  this there are dozens of others that communicate with each other and do research and volunteer work, too many to possibly name them all.

Moving to the larger Penn State community, we can only being to scratch the surface. Most famously, for the last 41 years Penn State has developed what has become the largest student-run philanthropy on earth, THON. THON raised $13,343,517.33 last year, and more than $114, 000,000 in it’s long history, for pediatric cancer. Over 700 dancers spent almost two full days on their feet to help the most vulnerable of ours gain some hope in their darkest times. Beyond the most known effort of THON are of course dozens, if not hundreds of other groups and individuals working with many other causes that help children. Many large causes have sprung up from this scandal. Efforts like #PSUProudforRAINN and the well-known Penn State Blue Out which both benefit child abuse and sexual violence causes, directly related to the Sandusky scandal. Again these are just two of the more well-known causes to spring directly from the scandal. There are literally dozens upon dozens of other efforts to help children that the PSU community was involved in prior to, and continued after the scandal erupted.

Finally I come to some of the people, next to the victims of Sandusky, that were most directly affected by this scandal and seemingly at the top of The Great Shouter’s hate list; the Paterno Family. Of course it’s very well known within the Penn State community that Joe and Sue Paterno were fond of many charity causes, including those that helped kids, over their long life at Penn State. Sue Paterno has long been involved with the Special Olympics for many many years. Furthermore, the Paternos were of course both spiritual and academic leaders at Penn State. They donated their time and money, lots of it, to developing Penn State into a world-class academic institution (and library of course) from its humble beginnings as The Farmer’s College. They opened a spiritual center on campus. They funded the expansion of the Patee Library. Joe used his prowess after winning a National Championship to make academics stronger at Penn State, forever known as The Grand Experiment. They were a lifeblood of our community for decades, to both children and adults alike. Recently, as cataloged by The Great Shouter’s colleague Ivan Maisel at ESPN, the Paterno family has fought since this scandal to actually solve the problem of child abuse through a program called “Stop It Now!”. From Maisel:

Last spring, Stop It Now!, a Massachusetts-based non-profit that works to prevent child sexual abuse, began a pilot program with the 14 state universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) to train university employees who work with minors on campus on how to create safer conditions for children and prevent them from being victimized.

The 149 employees included administrators, faculty, counselors, athletic directors, legal counsel, communication director, students — basically, anyone who might deal with the summer camps that many schools host. They are trained to look for the signs of “nice-guy predators,” because that is the profile of the Sanduskys who prey on children. They appear to be respectable members of the community. They mentally seduce their peer adults. Then they seduce the children around them.

The news release said that Stop It Now! created the pilot program “through the generosity of a donor.” That donor is underwriting the $240,000 to fund the pilot program. That donor is Sue Paterno, Joe’s widow and the one-time matriarch of the entire Penn State community.

You will note that the press release did not tout who funded the program. That was Sue’s way. She wasn’t one to toot her own horn. Again, according to Maisel:

Call it what you will. But while the rest of us pointed fingers and debated and dithered and pulled out our righteous indignation, Sue Paterno tried to solve the problem.

So you see Great Shouter, while you may think our Penn State community (I won’t be offended if you call it a cult) is only concerned with the Paterno legacy, and the wins, and the football program, we are actually out here trying to solve the problem. Perhaps if you spent less time trying to emulate Craig Sager, and more time educating yourself you might know this.

sagerolbermann

 

Now in fairness to The Great Shouter, I do not know him or his personal charity work very well. Perhaps he does a lot of work with charity. Perhaps he does lots of work with abused children. That’s why I asked:

What have you done for abused children?

 

Can you answer me? Of course I tried doing some background research to see if I could find anything on your charity work. I found a few stories that you can read here, herehere and one that mentions St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital about some of your charitable donations. At least two of them seem to be stunts you performed on air (and thus further your own career). One mentioned some at-large column writing salary that would be partially donated to St. Judes. That seems to be the bulk of it. Perhaps in this time you have done other things? Perhaps you have educated yourself on child sexual abuse, have you?  How much of your vast fortune you accumulated over the years have you donated to worthy child abuse causes? You certainly have means similar to the Paterno’s, so the question is, have you put up like they did, with time and a great deal of money?

You have recently turned down the opportunity to be educated on this scandal from several parties on twitter. You turned down challenges from Mr. Horne, Jay Paterno, and I guess the one I sent you to speak with Mr. Clemente. The question is, what are you so afraid of? The two possible outcomes are that you will learn much more about child abuse, or you will come out looking the victor when you vanquish them with your superior morals! Seem’s like a win-win to me. You could even plug your donations on air! Either way, I guess you will get to keep shouting.

 

24 thoughts on “Another Open Letter to Keith Olbermann, and other misinformed people on their soapboxes

  1. Good Question!
    And in fact other members of the Paterno family have done additional work with organizations like Male Survivor and Safe4Athletes, both of which are dedicated non-profits that have been helping sexually victimized children and preventing further abuse via education.
    No matter what the answer to the question posed is…
    There is always today– to start educating yourself, to focus on the future and to elevate your understanding of Nice Guy Acquaintance Child Sex Offenders, Grooming and Compliant Victimization and actually do something constructive in the fight against Child Sexual Victimization.
    BTW : I’m available if anyone would like to learn more to protect their children or others.
    Jim Clemente

    Like

  2. Well said John. I applaud your personal efforts into this saga as well as educating (trying, in this case) the people who haven’t bothered to do the research. It’s kind of like politics – if you don’t vote, then don’t bitch. In the Sandusky/Freeh debacle – if you haven’t done the research, don’t open your mouth.

    Like

  3. Still have to reinforce the fact that The Second Mile organization has not been held responsible for it role in this whole mess! When are they going to answers questions about allowing JS access to young boys after allegations were made? If they couldn’t recognize him as a pedaphile or did they just turn the other way because his association with Penn State generated more money for the charity? Why aren’t these kids suing TSM and youth services and Tom Corbett?

    Like

    1. Lavonne, I can answer you question about the TSM and it may or may not surprise you. The victims have not sued TSM because the PSU BOT’s included language in victim settlements that excluded TSM from further law suits. This is beyond reasonable explanation I know and no-one on BOT’s have ever answered for why this was done and how exactly it was in best interest of the university. The list of those not held responsible for their roles goes well beyond TSM unfortunately.

      Like

  4. Nice article but my questions is about the picture at the top. You label it a sunset but from the angle to me that has to be a sunrise. Either way it’s a great pic, did you take it or if not, do you know who did?
    Steve “69 in VA now

    PS I like your title for him, “ESPN Great Shouter” … I label them all as “talking heads” and I don’t listen to any of them, even when they broadcast games I turn the sound off. For PSU games I listen to COM Radio (from the PSU Communications Dept) via the internet, I recommend it!

    Like

  5. Not only should the Great Shouter be ashamed of himself for acting like a fool but ALL ESPN “shouters” INCLUDING Matt Millen should be ashamed of themselves for spewing hate like they did concerning Penn State and especially Joe Paterno…I can guarantee Joe Paterno treated Matt Millen with respect the entire time…

    Like

  6. The Second Mile couldn’t recognize a child predator??? Youth services couldn’t either? They left the predator ADOPT a child! And what about deaf, dumb, and blind, Mrs Sandusky ???
    God Bless the victims. God bless Joe and his family! Never stop fighting for the most honorable coach that took thousands of young students and molded them into successful men. SUCCESS WITH HONOR

    Like

  7. … it is more likely to conclude that pedophiles operate by building trust and will use any association with prestigious institutions to groom victims. I learned that thanks to Sue Paterno and Jim Clement on the Katie Couric show. That is how the Freeh report should have ended. Mr Olberman gets more clicks by beating up a great university than educating people about the truth. More clicks is his job. I don’t expect him to change.

    Like

  8. Penn State is a cult.
    1. The Guru is always right.
    Penn State scores a 10
    2. You are always wrong.
    Penn State scores a 10
    3. No Exit.
    Penn State scores a 10
    4. No Graduates.
    Penn State scores a 10
    5. Cult-speak.
    Penn State scores a 10
    6. Group-think, Suppression of Dissent, and Enforced Conformity in Thinking
    Penn State scores a 10
    7. Irrationality.
    Penn State scores a 10
    8. Suspension of disbelief.
    Penn State scores a 10
    9. Denigration of competing sects, cults, religions, groups, or organizations.
    Penn State scores a 10
    10. Personal attacks on critics.
    Penn State scores a 10

    Like

  9. There have been far too many pedophiles who were convicted via evidence without a shadow of doubt that were let off with a light sentence. Jerry was labeled a MONSTER and the only evidence of rape via eyewitness testimony by McQueary that unraveled and where V2 said there was no abuse or anything sexual. The only evidence Jerry got convicted on was hearsay by a janitor that does not have a victim or a date. Furthermore two “victims” who were going to testify for Jerry recanted and later were paid $3,000,000.00 by Penn State. With time, John Ziegler was able to punch holes in each “victims” testimony and there is now reasonable doubt for Jerry to get a new trial. I am ashamed that Penn Staters want to ignore the facts, pin this on Jerry and move on. If Jerry is guilty, I want to hear it from an objective jury not a jury that did not want to be labeled pedophile enablers.

    Like

    1. Jerry was convicted on much more than the V8, and the identity of V2 is in no way settled no matter what Ziegler thinks. Finding inconsistencies in victim testimony does not equate to Jerry being innocent. Jerry himself has admitted to actions that qualify as child abuse and failed to defend himself both when indicated for abuse and at trial.

      Like

      1. Thank you so much no1ion for the ammunition for my argument. Andrew Shubin, the lawyer who made millions of dollars coaching several victims, was telling the media about himself and his new project that he is doing with Matt. Matt bragged about how many clients and has and Andrew said that HIS client is V2. You are so right, Shubin is the one who talked to both Matt and V2 and soon after they changed their testimony from for Jerry to against Jerry and then Shubin coached them and they got $3 mil apiece. BTW, I have worked with handicapped and kids with disabilities, please tell me how I can prove that I never had sesx with one if someone accused me??? If volunteers thought about this, they would never volunteer again.

        Like

      2. To repeat JS was not convicted on V2 or MS allegations alone. He burned himself and then didn’t defend himself. Tried to sneak quietly out back door of TSM and didn’t fight indication of abuse. He’s guilty by his own words.

        Like

      3. If you are saying that Jerry is guilty by his own words by admitting he showered with kids, then you are right. What Jerry did was outrageous! However, it looks like the DA, the police, TSMP and DPW investigated it and chalked it up to Jerry being Jerry. They did not put him in jail and stranger they did not demand that he no longer took TSMP kids out of the boundaries of their program. DPW and TSMP were staffed with professionals trained to spot a pedophile; why didn’t they try to stop Jerry. Maybe because he is not guilty. Thanks again for pointing out more reasonable doubt that should mean a new trial.

        Like

  10. No, Jerry is guilty of much more than just admitting to showering. He is guilty of multiple child abuse crimes of grooming, which he admitted to. He further has admitted that he intentionally pushed boundaries. If you are a betting man put your money on no new trial. The chances of that are less than 5% since the stuff you mention is irrelevant to legally procuring a new trial.

    Like

    1. Grooming is not a crime. My only purpose is to show doubt. I think it is a shame rapist convicted without a shadow of doubt get their hand slapped and Jerry rots in jail, because of a media frenzy. I grew up on Westerns and this was called lynching and was prevalent after the McCarthy Hearing. Tell me how do you defend yourself against a sex charge with someone you have contact?

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s