Updated: Sandusky labeled as ‘likely pedophile’ in report

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UPDATED 3/24 @ 11:30 a.m. ET: According to a Patriot-News report earlier this week, a child psychologist concluded that one of Jerry Sandusky’s alleged victims, “Victim 6”, was not sexually abused by Sandusky — a conclusion that could have significant legal ramifications in Sandusky’s case.

However, it appears the other child psychologist mentioned in the report has a different view, one that could also be equally important in Sandusky’s trial.

NBC News has obtained a complete internal Penn State file of the 1998 police investigation of Sandusky, which looks into allegations that the former PSU defensive coordinator showered and horsed around with two boys. State College, Pa., psychologist Dr. Alycia A. Chambers, the therapist for Victim 6, was included in that report. Below is a portion of her conclusion:

“My consultants agree that the incidents meet all of our definitions, based on experience and education, of a likely pedophile’s pattern of building trust and gradual introduction of physical touch, within a context of a ‘loving,’ ‘special’ relationship.

“One colleague, who has contact with the Second Mile, confirms that Mr. Sandusky is reasonably intelligent and thus, could hardly have failed to understand the way his behavior would be interpreted, if known. His position at the Second Mile and his interest in abused boys would suggest that he was likely to have had knowledge with regard to child abuse and might even recognize this behavior as a typical pedophile ‘overture.’” 

A report from the Patriot-News earlier this week noted that a second psychologist, John Seasock, was consulted after a first psychologist concluded Sandusky’s behavior was a “classic example of how a sexual abuser grooms his victim.” Seasock, however, drew his own conclusion that Victim 6 was not sexually abused by Sandusky, nor was there “grooming” or “inappropriate sexual behavior” by Sandusky. Seasock did admit, though, there were “gray areas” and that investigators “can’t walk away from the investigation.”

Seasock had previously worked with the local Centre County Child and Youth Services, a local agency that had licensed Sandusky as a foster parent. Seasock did not comment to NBC News for their story

When reached by NBC News, and with the permission of Victim 6’s family, Chambers reiterated “There was very little doubt in my mind (Sandusky) … was a male predator, someone that was in the process of grooming a young man for abuse. I thought…my report was strong enough to suggest that this was somebody who should be watched.”

The allegations involving Victim 6 are, for a lack of a better word, interesting. No where in the grand jury indictment does it state Victim 6 was sexually abused by Sandusky. At the same time, the allegations became grounds for an investigation that provided precedence for concern when the alleged 2002 incident between Sandusky and “Victim 2” took place four years later, even though the ’98 investigation was ultimately scrapped. Former PSU VP Gary Schultz testified that he never reviewed the details of the case.

There was another person who never saw the details of the Chambers’ report. NBC News explains:

But one of the investigators on the 1998 case, Jerry Lauro, then with the state Department of Public Welfare and now retired, told NBC News he was never shown a copy of Chambers’ report and was stunned to learn of its conclusions. 

“Wow!” he said when he was read Chambers’ conclusions by a NBC News correspondent. “This is the first I’ve heard of this. I had no idea . If I would have seen the report, I would certainly have done some things differently. Boy, this is a shock. “

Sandusky’s lawyer, Joe Amendola, also says he hasn’t seen the report, but plans to dispute it with other psychologists who will testify for the defense.

“I understand that there are some people who could look at this behavior and say it’s a pedophile problem,” Amendola said. “But there are others who will say, ‘This is somebody who loves kids and loves to be around them’ … It’s the old story, you get your expert and I’ll get my expert.”

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As we’ve stated numerous times before, the scandal involving former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky branches far beyond the walls of Penn State’s athletic facilities. Investigations at the local, state and federal level involving two grand jury reports and totaling 10 alleged victims have made the story bigger than most of us can probably imagine.

One branch of the Sandusky story is that of prosecutor Ray Gricar, who mysteriously disappeared in 2005 before being declared legally dead last summer*. According to Pennsylvania’s state attorney general’s office, Gricar made the decision not to prosecute Sandusky in 1998 after two kids reported that Sandusky washed them in a shower. The reason behind Gricar’s decision remains unknown and his laptop hard drive, which was found in the Susquehanna River in close proximity to his parked car, was too badly damaged by water to be read.

However, Patriot-News report provides some new context that may explain Gricar’s decision to close the case:

Information made public in a searing grand jury presentment showed that Sandusky allegedly admitted to touching the boy known as Victim 6 while they were both naked and saying, “I wish I were dead.

What wasn’t made public until now was that two days before Gricar closed the case, a psychologist concluded Victim 6 was not sexually abused by Sandusky. 

The psychologist — John Seasock — was identified in court documents by Sandusky’s attorney as he asked a judge to force prosecutors to hand over the document, along with juvenile records and current and past addresses and phone numbers of the alleged victims.

 A source who reviewed those documents told the Patriot-News that he believed Seasock’s report was the reason the investigation was closed. Whether it actually was or not isn’t known for sure, but another psychologist, called a day after “Victim 6” reported the alleged “awkward” shower incident with Sandusky, concluded “what the boy described… was a classic example of how a sexual abuser grooms his victim,” said the source, paraphrasing the psychologist’s report.

It’s important to note that Seasock’s conclusion is just that — a conclusion — and not a reflection of what actually happened one way or the other.

In fact, the testimony from “Victim 6” remains a point of debate. The mother of alleged victim, who reportedly heard directly from Sandusky that he felt what he did was “wrong”, says prosecutors didn’t initially want to include her son’s testimony in the grand jury indictment.

“At that time, the information that we had wasn’t sufficient enough to substantiate a case,” Children and Youth Services investigator Jerry Lauro said in November. “I don’t want [the mother] to think we didn’t believe their kid back then. We did, but we didn’t have enough.”

Sandusky has admitted to showering and ‘horsing around” with young boys, but denies any sexual abuse. His trial has been set for May 14, where he faces over 50 counts of child-sex abuse.

(*note: Gracar’s disappearance isn’t believed to be connected to Sandusky’s allegations)

Jim McElwain reportedly signs deal to join Michigan coaching staff

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The Jim McElwain watch in Ann Arbor is essentially done. ESPN reports the former head coach of the Florida Gators has signed a deal to join Jim Harbaugh as a new member of the Michigan coaching staff. Michigan has not formally announced the new addition yet, but McElwain told ESPN he is getting to work right away as a wide receivers coach.

I’m excited to get back into it and am looking forward to going there and learning and helping Michigan get better,” McElwain said to ESPN‘s Chris Low, who reported the latest update in the ongoing McElwain-To-Michigan story. It has been quite a year for McElwain, who has now gone from wanting to “beat the heck out of Michigan” to joining Harbaugh as an offensive assistant (Harbaugh was 2-0 against McElwain in head-to-head meetings between Michigan and Florida).

McElwain was fired by Florida last October in the midst of a disappointing season after discrepancies in McElwain’s claims about receiving death threats could not be backed up by the coach. Florida bought out McElwain’s contract at a reported $7.5 million.

Michigan had been looking to fill the role of receivers coach following the abrupt departure of Dan Enos to Alabama. Enos joined the Michigan coaching staff for a cup of coffee, getting hired in January after the Arkansas coaching staff was given an overhaul with the firing of Bret Bielema only to leave for a job with Nick Saban. McElwain, of course, is one of many coaches to jump into head coaching off the Saban coaching tree in recent years, first with Colorado State and most recently with Florida.

Previous reports have floated the idea McElwain will call plays for the Wolverines, but that remains unconfirmed.

Drag racing accident leads to arrest for Mississippi State commit

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Mississippi State commit Nathaniel Watson has gotten himself into some legal trouble before his arrival at Mississippi State. Watson, currently a high school senior, was charged with assault first degree and a handful of traffic violations following a traffic accident earlier this month. Another student from Watson’s high school was arrested for reckless endangerment and other traffic violations as well. The two are accused of drag racing.

“The accident occurred after Tyrone Davis, also a student at [Maplesville High School], lined up in front of the school with his vehicle along with Nathaniel Watson’s vehicle for a race, witnesses stated that they lined up side by side and floored it, and both vehicles were squalling their tires and fishtailing up the highway heading into town,” according to an Maplesville Police Department press release (via The Clanton Advertiser). “As the racing vehicles topped a hill, an oncoming car caused Nathaniel Watson Jr. to swerve and lose control striking a power pole, cutting it in half and knocking power out to portions of Maplesville.”

A passenger in Watson’s vehicle suffered a crushed femur, fractured pelvis, a broken right arm and internal injuries. Neither vehicle involved in the accident was insured. Watson currently awaits a date in court in a county court. There has been no update or comment from Mississippi State’s football program or head coach Joe Moorehead about Watson or his status with the football program at this time.

Watson signed with Mississippi State on February 7. The wide receiver and two-sport athlete signed with Mississippi State over Auburn.

NCAA rule prevents Penn State football players from participating in THON activity

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This weekend is the annual THON dance marathon at Penn State, which has traditionally done wonders in racking up donations to help fight pediatric cancer. This year, however, the NCAA rulebook is getting in the way of one of the events members of Penn State’s football team typically participate in.

A message from Penn State informed media members there would be no media availability for football players at the THON event at the Lasch Building due to an NCAA rule regarding time restrictions in the offseason.

“We were informed this afternoon that due to the NCAA Time Management regulations, our current student-athletes are not permitted to participate in the THON event at the Lasch Building nor conduct media interviews [today] as it is a mandatory day off for the team,” a statement from Penn State Associate Director of Athletic Communications Kris Petersen said.

Members of Penn State’s football team have typically spent part of the day interacting with kids benefitting from THON’s mission, but that has tended to overlap with offseason days already scheduled through the athletics department for the football program. Because this was a scheduled day off for the football program, players are not permitted to take part in any organized activity while representing the football team. Although, one wonders just how far the NCAA would have been willing to challenge Penn State on this infraction in the event there was a conflict.

Players on the team can still participate and appear at the main event in the Bryce Jordan Center, and a couple already have along with head coach James Franklin.

Georgia football coaches all getting well-deserved raises

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File this one under stories that should have been expected from a mile away. The football staff at Georgia, following up on an SEC title and appearance in the College Football Playoff national championship game, are getting bumps in pay. As a whole, the assistant coaching staff under head coach Kirby Smart will be paid roughly $2 million more than the staff received a year ago, according to a report from Seth Emerson of Dawg Nation.

Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker will see the biggest pay raise with of $900,000 to bump his total pay up to $1.5 million. That would make him one of the top assistant coaches in assistant coaching salaries. Based off last year’s USA Today salary database, Tucker would be the fifth highest-paid assistant coach, and that may even be higher now given some of the offseason changes in the assistant coaching pool. Last year, four assistant coaches received a total pay of at least $1.5 million, and three of them were in the SEC (LSU’s Dave Arranda and Matt Canada, and Texas A&M’s John Chavis; Clemson’s Brent Venables was the outlier).

Keeping in line with another growing trend when it comes to power conference programs and how much money is budgeted for the football staff, Georgia will give strength and conditioning coordinator Scott Sinclair a $150,000 raise from his previous contract of $300,000.

What has not been finalized, publicly at least, is what the future holds for the contract of Smart. After a wildly successful season, Smart is expected to receive a raise as well as Georgia continues to build something special under his leadership after just two seasons. Smart was paid a base salary of $3.75 million last year, according to USA Today’s salary database, which made him the 9th highest-paid coach in the SEC in 2017. That is fair, considering Smart was a first-time head coach and other coaches in the conference had more head coaching experience, but Smart has quickly proven himself among his peers in the conference and is likely to move up the SEC coaching salary ranking quite quickly. Nick Saban (Alabama) and now Jimbo Fisher (Texas A&M) may still be on another playing field in terms of salary, but Smart should manage to move up closer to the high-end of the SEC salary spectrum.