The recently publicized “leaked” emails between Tim Curley, Gary Schultz, and Graham Spanier, first alluded to in an NBC News report and later released in greater detail by CNN are raising the hackles of the Paterno family.
“No one has claimed to have found—nor will they find—evidence in writing from Joe Paterno that suggests he was involved in a cover-up.” —TNT
One could infer from the emails that a conversation between Joe Paterno and Tim Curley caused a change in plans to report the Jerry Sandusky child molestations to outside authorities, essentially initiating a cover-up by sweeping details under the fine wool rug in Old Main.
However, the family claims through its attorney Wick Sollers, that sporadic emails taken out of context do not implicate the late Mr. Paterno. Furthermore, they have no idea who might be responsible for the leaks, which also suggest that Spanier, Curley, and Schultz violated their responsibility to report the incidents.
Spanier had previously said he knew nothing of it, which was a lie. He did not testify before the grand jury that investigated the Sandusky allegations at the time. Curley and Schultz did, and they’re under indictment for perjury. Their pre-trial hearing will take place on July 11 in Harrisburg.
The Paterno family issued the following statement about the emails:
From the moment the Jerry Sandusky crisis erupted, Joe Paterno patiently and persistently called for a thorough and professional investigation. He abhorred the rush to judgment that occurred last November and he spoke out forcefully for a comprehensive review that protected no one while preserving due process for everyone. Coach Paterno emphasized that the best way to serve the victims and protect the reputation of Penn State was by a total commitment to uncovering the full truth.
With the leaking of selective emails over the last few days, it is clear that someone in a position of authority is not interested in a fair or thorough investigation. To be clear, the Paterno family does not know the source or sources of these leaks. The question that needs to be asked is why this breach of confidentiality, which seeks to preempt the Freeh report and undermine the courts, is not being objected to or otherwise addressed by those in a position of authority. It should not be the responsibility of the Paterno family to call for an honest, independent investigation. Given the seriousness and complexity of this case, everyone should be demanding the full truth, not just carefully selected excerpts of certain emails.
Releasing these emails in this way is not intended to inform the discussion but to smear former Penn State officials, including Joe Paterno. The truth is Joe Paterno reported the 2001 incident promptly and fully. He was interviewed by the Grand Jury for a total of 8 minutes and told the truth to the best of his recollection. He was never interviewed by the University. He was not afforded due process and his story was never fully told. And he was never allowed to see the files and records that are now in question. In spite of these facts, however, numerous pundits and critics are exploiting these disconnected and distorted records to attack Joe Paterno.
Accordingly, the Paterno family today is calling on the Freeh Group and the Attorney General’s office to immediately release all emails and records they have related to this case. The public should not have to try and piece together a story from a few records that have been selected in a calculated way to manipulate public opinion. Joe Paterno didn’t fear the truth, he sought the truth. His guidance to his family and his advisors was to pursue the full truth. This is the course we have followed for 9 months. It is the course we will follow to the end.
We here at the Turkey have to once again question who leaked the emails and what was the motivation for doing so. One commenter made an interesting suggestion that the attention benefited CNN, whose ratings were down. It is highly doubtful that CNN invented the emails, though. A temporary increase in ratings would certainly eventually blow up in their faces, leaving the proverbial egg dripping from their nose and chin. Assuming they’re not that stupid over there in Atlanta, we’re still left with the question: Who leaked them, and why? The “why” could be simply money, but the “who” is anybody’s guess at the moment.
Assuming that the Freeh panel had them in its possession, anyone on that investigative body could be culpable. Moreover, someone at Penn State had to supply the emails to the investigation. Finally, Curley and Schultz could have kept archival copies of their own emails. What could their motivation be? Perhaps to deflect blame from them to Spanier. They could claim that they were operating under Spanier’s orders when they initiated the cover-up and when they lied about what they knew before the grand jury.
Spanier tried to get his hands on his emails from 1998 through 2004, believing no doubt that they would be used by the Freeh committee in its investigation. He was told by the university that nothing existed before 2004. Later, he discovered that the earlier emails actually existed. In May, he filed a civil suit against Penn State asking for the emails to be given to him. The university has not taken any action.
It seems to this Turkey that where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Spanier must have been involved in email exchanges that implicated him in one or more phases of the scandal. Once the Freeh report is presented, Spanier will potentially have to defend himself against any charges that might result. It is interesting that he wanted to go back to 1998, which was the time of an earlier incident in which Sandusky actually confessed to a victim’s mother with the police listening in. McQueary reported the infamous shower incident three years later, in 2001.
Joe Paterno never left much of an audit trail behind him. He eschewed modern devices, so he used neither email nor cell phones. He once referred to Twitter as “Tweedle Dum Tweedle Dee.” No one has claimed to have found—nor will they find—evidence in writing from Joe Paterno that suggests he was involved in a cover-up.
We will need to be patient and wait another few weeks for the Freeh report. Until someone issues some kind of an official report, we’re still premature in judging the individuals involved. Except Sandusky, that is. He has been convicted of 45 counts, with little chance of ever being a free man again during his lifetime.
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