In previous articles discussing Jerry Sandusky, I have acknowledged the contributions of writers and researchers who have explored the possibility of his innocence. Their work has significantly helped me understand the case.
As public interest in this matter continues to grow, I intend to present a selection of these writers’ perspectives on Sandusky.
Dr. Crews taught English at Berkeley from 1958 until his retirement in 1994 and had served as the head of the English Department.
The email read:
“The truth about the Sandusky case is exactly opposite to what the public believes.”
He provided a link to an article he wrote: A Shower Of Lies: Spanier, Sandusky, And The Mess At Penn State
I read the article. It was persuasive. Then I read other articles of his:
Dr. Crews wrote:
“Jerry Sandusky didn’t commit the sexual crimes for which he was convicted…
“Quite simply, Sandusky never molested anyone. He was railroaded into prison through a combination of misplaced suspicion, erroneous theory, and grossly unfair maneuvers.”
Dr. Crews was not a friend of Sandusky’s, as I learned from interviewing him. He had not known Sandusky before he was convicted. No one paid him to write about Sandusky, though Crews has earned money as the author of 14 books, and edited ten others. He was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award and won a 1992 PEN prize for the best book of previously uncollected essays. He is a member of the now American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was a member of the now disbanded Professional Advisory Board of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation.
He wrote books about Henry James, E. M. Forster, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. He wrote the best selling “The Pooh Perplex.” Two of his books have been English composition handbooks, including “The Random House Handbook,” and have been used by over a million college students.
Perhaps more to the point as it relates to Sandusky, Dr. Crews wrote about the unreliability of repressed and recovered memories.
I hadn’t known this before hearing from Dr. Crews, but the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office had built much of its case against Sandusky on the repressed and recovered memories of victims who at first said Sandusky did not abuse them.
Dr. Crews wrote, “Though the jury was overwhelmed by the sheer number of alleged atrocities, there are reasons to conclude that none of them had occurred.”
Crews was not the only educated person who thought Sandusky was innocent. Crews’s articles appeared on a website called Big Trial.
I spoke with its publisher, Ralph Cipriano, a former Los Angeles Times and The Philadelphia Inquirer staff writer.
A muckraking reporter, Cipriano had a long career exposing corruption in local governments, the Philadelphia D.A.’s office, police departments, Ivy League football, and the Catholic Church.
When the Inquirer published a watered-down version of his exposé of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and Cardinal Anthony Bevilaqua, Cipriano took it to the National Catholic Reporter, which published the detailed story on its front page. This led to his firing at the Inquirer, which led to Cipriano suing the Inquirer, winning a confidential but reportedly large settlement, and the firing of the editor who fired him.
In short, Cipriano is known as a guy who digs for the truth, and once he finds it, he wants the truth told.
Cipriano has extensively written about Sandusky.
“In the Sandusky case, recovered memories were featured as prominent evidence from four of the eight alleged victims who testified against the defendant.”
“The first three alleged victims who testified against the defendant had been treated by quack therapists. On the witness stand, the trio was allowed to regurgitate ‘recovered memories’ in which Sandusky had allegedly repeatedly abused them.”
Cipriano also delved into the “rampant collusion” he felt was palpable in this case.
He wrote, “In the Sandusky case, the bad actors included cops, lawyers, quack therapists and a corrupt judge.”
Cipriano referred me to John Snedden, retired Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) special agent who was “NCIS Special Agent of the Year” (General Crimes Specialty), an NCIS Cold Case Squad Plank Owner, one of the few Federal Agents to be cross-designated as a Special Agent for the Office of Attorney General, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (wiretapping and electronic surveillance), and the recipient of the Federal Sustained Superior Performance Award.
As a federal agent, Snedden investigated the so-called coverup of Sandusky’s sex abuse as part of the process of determining whether to continue former Penn State President Graham Spanier’s high-security clearance.
Snedden concluded, “There was no coverup. There was no conspiracy. There was nothing to cover up.”
There was no pedophilia scandal at Penn State.
The story that the media used to convict Sandusky in the court of public opinion — of Sandusky raping a little boy in the shower, which reportedly Joe Paterno, Spanier, and others covered up to protect Sandusky and the reputation of Penn State — was unsubstantiated.
Snedden said, “It wasn’t an independent inquiry. It was an orchestrated effort to make the circumstances fit the alleged crime.”
How did they get it so wrong at Penn State?
“There was an exceptional rush to judgment to satisfy people,” Snedden said. “So they wouldn’t have to answer any more questions.”
So, the rush to convict Sandusky was in response to the media?
“Ninety-nine percent of it is hysteria,” Snedden said. “Ninety-nine percent of what happened at Penn State boiled down to people running around yelling, ‘Oh my God, we’ve got to do something immediately,” Snedden said.
Today, Snedden co-hosts “Search Warrant,” a podcast focusing on “Crime, Corruption, and Media Bias” – with live broadcasts on KGRA Radio and KGRAdb.
(I appeared on their most recent episode: Railroaded — I show up after the hour mark.)
Snedden’s official federal report is available here.
So here was a distinguished author and professor, Crews, a hard-nosed reporter, Cipriano, and top-flight NCIS Special Agent Snedden, all challenging Sandusky’s conviction.
There was more.
Christopher Barden, Ph.D., J.D., LP, a psychologist and attorney, is an expert in psychopathology, psychotherapy, standards of care and ethics, and investigative procedures.
His 136-page report condemns the prosecution, the judge, the therapists, and the defense attorney to the point that it is jaw-dropping in its extraordinary detailing of lapses in the process that railroaded a man into prison.
Barden’s report cast doubts on every aspect of the Sandusky case.
He condemns the lawyers and therapists who represented the alleged victims, who typically told authorities that Sandusky had never abused them. Then, they changed their stories and made millions.
Here is Barden’s report.
I advise readers to enter with caution. Barden spares no one as he concludes Sandusky was the “victim of one of the most improper, corrupt, falsely investigated and improperly, negligently tried cases in U.S. history.”
Next, courtesy of Dr. Crews, I got a copy of Mark Pendergrast’s 2017 book “The Most Hated Man in America: Jerry Sandusky and the Rush to Judgment.”
Pendergrast, who has authored 14 books on diverse topics, made his name on his landmark books, For God, Country, and Coca-Cola and Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World, as well as, “Memory Warp,” “The Repressed Memory Epidemic,” and “Victims of Memory.”
“Everyone knows the story of Jerry Sandusky, the serial pedophile, the monster. But what if that story is wrong?
“What if the former Penn State football coach and founder of the Second Mile is an innocent man convicted in the midst of a moral panic fed by the sensationalistic media, police trawling, and memory-warping psychotherapy?”
Pendergrast names the alleged victims, and shows how their stories changed over time.
He repeats his assertions of his earlier books that repressed memory therapy can generate false memories of incidents that never took place.
He also claims police used repetitive leading questions, lying to young men to draw out damning statements, and working with therapists and civil lawyers (opportunistic “sex abuse” lawyers) unheard of in other cases.
Pendergrast cites Allan Myers, the now-famous “shower boy,” who said police put words in his mouth and took statements out of context. Myers signed a statement saying Sandusky never abused him in the shower.
Prosecutors lied in the case, telling the jury they did not know the identity of the shower boy Sandusky allegedly raped.
(Prosecutor Joseph McGettigan criminally colluded with the shower-boy’s civil attorney Andrew Shubin to hide Myers during the trial to keep Sandusky from calling him for the defense. Myers, who betrayed his mentor and friend Sandusky, by hiding and not defending him, then changing his story, later collected $6.9 million from Penn State.)
Rev. Joseph Stains
Rev. Joseph Stains, the pastor of a United Methodist Church, took a big risk.
He had been a pastor for over 45 years, and his church was not far from Penn State. He did not know Sandusky. In his community, everybody thought Sandusky was guilty. They were likely to react with the typical response of “What, you’re defending a pedophile?”
Rev. Stains went ahead and wrote a five-part series entitled “Reconsidering Sandusky” and published it in January 2020 in the Tribune-Democrat, the local newspaper, summarizing the findings of Pendergrast and others.
He began his series with:
“In eight years since the 2011 indictment, with its now-infamous account of a 10-year-old boy being brutally raped in a shower, the entire state – and to some degree, the world – has sustained a tone of outrage and malice toward anything associated with the name Sandusky…
“Yet a growing number of researchers with no vested interest in Sandusky personally or the institutions deeply invested in the guilt narrative are reaching troubling conclusions about the truth of the accusations and the moral panic that clouds otherwise level-headed efforts to find the truth.
After telling the story and how flimsy the evidence was against Sandusky, Stains concluded with:
“Knowing what we now know, a thorough review and pursuit of a new trial are owed to Sandusky and to the general public…”
Well, we have a professor, reporter, criminal investigator, science author, lawyer/psychologist and minister all pointing to Sandusky’s innocence, up against about 50 million Americans who think otherwise.
We also have the man who broke the contrarian story of Sandusky being innocent. He came first. He was the voice of one crying in the wilderness:
John Ziegler is a radio talk show host, filmmaker, journalist, and sportscaster.
He worked at WTOV in Ohio, WRAZ in Raleigh (but got fired after saying O. J. Simpson was guilty), WWTN in Nashville, WHAS in Louisville, and KGIL in Los Angeles. He became famous in LA for “The John Ziegler Show” on KFI, a news-based political commentary known for “three hours of rationality in a world of ever-increasing insanity.”
He co-hosted a talk show on Comcast’s CN8 Television Network, which led to his winning an Emmy. In November 2014, Ziegler co-hosted the nationally syndicated “John and Leah Show” on KHTS in Santa Clarita, which was recognized as one of the 100 most influential radio talk shows in the United States in 2016.
Ziegler was the first in the media to suspect all his colleagues were wrong.
He started a website called framingpaterno.com.
When no one else dared to go public, Ziegler insisted, asserted, and willingly fought anyone who repeated the media’s false narrative.
“I presumed Jerry Sandusky was guilty at the start, because everyone said he was. After I interviewed him in prison, I realized that presumption was in grave doubt. After I interviewed him a second time along with his wife Dottie, I was almost positive he was innocent. Today, I am about as sure he is innocent of the criminal charges as I am O.J. Simpson was guilty. In fact, this whole case is the direct inverse of the Simpson case.
I did not want to come to this conclusion. In fact, I fought it every day for about a year. In the end, I had no choice.
Everyone who told me he was guilty… I presumed were telling me the truth, but I learned from personal experience that they were obvious frauds.
Conversely, I assumed everyone who told me he was innocent was insane, but they all turned out to be telling me the truth.
BTW, you are badly misinformed if you think the group of people who think Jerry is innocent is “nonexistent.”
The closer to the case you get, the more likely someone is to believe he is innocent. I have spoken to many prominent people (including several media members and Jay Paterno) who have told me that they don’t believe Jerry is guilty, they just are too afraid to express these beliefs publicly because that position is so toxic.
Of course, this reality should be the first sign, at least to a thinking person, that something here is very wrong.”
Ziegler wasn’t acting solely as a reporter. He also acted like a man who saw an injustice and rang the alarm bell. He did not make money. He lost money, maybe even tanked his career over it.
You can try to ignore the in-your-face journalism, but take some time to read FramingPaterno.com. It may remove any doubts about the injustice of Sandusky’s conviction.
So yes, it took Ziegler, a tough, bold, antagonizing, aggressive, wild man, to start it all. And it took the others, all with special talents of their own, a pretty amazing group, to stand against the tide in the Sandusky case.
I recently appeared on Ziegler’s podcast, The Death of Journalism: Episode One Hundred Twenty: It Wasn’t Inevitable.
More to Come
So this is what it took to get me there: some admirable and weighty thinkers who put their names and reputations on the line — that and the facts of the case.
Of course, Sandusky’s wife, his family, and his friends like John and Patti Galuppi, who published the website Justice for Jerry, also helped me reach the conclusion that a grave injustice has been done to Jerry Sandusky.
These and others will be the subject of another post.
I will also publish the findings of the men I named above, starting with the master of English, Dr. Frederick Crews, whose books taught a million college students how to compose.
This is appropriate, for he was the one who first wrote to me that “The truth about the Sandusky case is exactly opposite to what the public believes.”
He was right.