Penn State lawyers and federal courts (“the good old boys network”) have role in Sandusky scandal

The immediate story being covered by this site is the attack on the law license of Don Bailey, and the damages and injuries being suffered by his clients, as reflected in the unprecedented filings that have recently been made, and as discussed in our November 5, 2011 post.  The primary purpose of this site, however, as set forth in our Welcome page, is to address the condition of the legal system, lawyers and courts, in Pennsylvania, and central Pennsylvania, in particular.  No better context can be set to study the condition of that system than that presented, not only by the Sandusky scandal, but by the role of Penn State and its attorneys in the courts.  The conditions of secrecy and control that led to the Sandusky travesty are ultimately permitted or rebuked by the courts, particularly the federal courts, whose power is immense in regulating cultural and political climates.  Penn State and its lawyers have had remarkable success in the federal courts, notwithstanding evidence of record, examples of which we will bring you, that show similar patterns of secrecy, sometimes to ruthless degrees, that demonstrate that control.  For now, we comment on the Sandusky case.

The indictment of Jerry Sandusky notes that in 1998, allegations of misconduct were reported to Wendell Courtney.  This did not surface until 2011.  Courtney is a partner in McQuaide, Blasko, a State College law firm, with a tradition at Penn State more enduring than Joe Paterno.  Courtney has also been counsel for Sandusky’s Second Mile organization.  McQuaide, Blasko handles most, if not all, of the civil rights and related litigation in the state and federal courts against Penn State.  A McQuaide partner, and prolific litigator, James Horne, is the current president of the Middle District Federal Bar Association, a position that requires close work with President Judge Kane, and Conner and Jones as well.  He was nominated and installed as president between 2009 and 2011.  The investigation under Tom Corbett is believed to have begun in 2009, then there was a hiatus until after Corbett was elected governor, and the investigative grand jury resumed in 2011.

In 1999, Sandusky retired, and the renowned coach and heir-apparent to Paterno, then only 55 years old, disappeared from the scene.  Paterno recalls a meeting with Sandusky in 1998 where he informed Sandusky that he would not become the head football coach at Penn State.  Sandusky was a hot nationwide commodity, with talk even of coaching in the NFL, and could seemingly have written his own ticket, but he never coached again.  There is no mention of what Wendell Courtney did with the information he was provided in 1998, and what, if any, relationship it bore to the end of Sandusky’s illustrious coaching career, at its zenith.

Sandusky-Grand-Jury-Presentment

In 2002, Joe Paterno reported information he received from a graduate assistant about the misbehavior of Sandusky to the athletic director.  Although not expressly stated, it is reasonable to assume that the information was also communicated to counsel for both Penn State and Second Mile – the incident was believed to involve one of the Second Mile youths.  Corbett later became Attorney General.  No action was taken until 2011 despite the fact that the graduate assistant had witnessed a graphic violation of a child by a legendary coach on the staff of THE legendary coach, at Pennsylvania’s most prominent public institution in 2002. Additional violations allegedly occurred, again per the grand jury report, in 2005-06 and 2008.  It is abundantly clear that there was information of reprehensible criminal activity concealed in 1998 by Wendell Courtney, and that there was additional clear and unequivocal evidence of similarly graphic criminal activity concealed in 2002, and no real inquiry into how this concealment was allowed to happen.  Untold numbers of children were allegedly violated by a known predator, and a lawyer could have stopped it – a lawyer closely-connected to the courts.

It was not again until 2008 that matters were reported publicly about Sandusky, but, conspicuously, these reports did not come from anyone in the Penn State circle.  These reports came from a rural Pennsylvania high school football coach who had received information concerning some very disturbing behavior – the kind of behavior known to Courtney in 1998, and to him and many Penn State administrators in 2002.  It is believed that, through the advice of attorneys, an institutional decision was made to keep the Sandusky secret a secret forever, and that but-for the report from the high school outside of Penn State’s control, the facts would have continued to be engineered to conceal the truth, letting Sandusky continue to molest children, if that is what happened, as long as it was “not on our campus”.   The implications of a secret of this nature are unspeakable here.  The matter resurfaced in 2008, and again, even under the watchful eye of our then-Attorney General Tom Corbett, was allowed to go into a hiatus until after he became governor.  Corbett, also an attorney, has some more pointed questions to answer too.  Did Spanier and others contribute to his campaign?  Why the hiatus in the investigation of a child predator?  Were there any victims during that hiatus?  Etcetera.

The relevant point to this post relates to the principle of “acculturation” in the legal system.  In the kids-for-cash scandal, the element of acculturation was specifically cited as an obstacle to investigating the breakdown in the courts.  This was mentioned in Bailey’s King’s Bench Petition (see Bailey docket post).   It relates to the point raised by Bailey throughout that skewed loyalties motivated by politics, status, and even personal relationships, have gravely compromised equal access to justice.  This climate of acculturation, where loyalties are to the power structures which sustain the attorneys, slowly allows attorneys to turn a blind eye here and a blind eye there to actions that would otherwise dictate more direct intervention, in service to the “institution”, and the power structures that maintain it.  These are not easy things to negotiate legally, and professionally, and demonstrate why the role of the attorney, and service of that role with integrity, is so vital. When attorneys grow up professionally through these systems, they fight to maintain their personal positions, among service to other loyalties, and are acculturated to protect much, much more than the specific interest of their client in every cause at issue.  The Sandusky tragedy unfortunately illustrates the harm that can result.  We will continue provide you with examples of this principle, as we already have.  This is the essence of the problem in Pennsylvania.

Again, it is likely that Paterno at some point did convey the information he received to an attorney in 2002.  The attorney/client privilege, a vital individual protection in a system with integrity, may limit any ability to know much more than this.  To illustrate the point of this post, however, we will assume that such communication occurred.  If Paterno communicated to counsel what he testified to the grand jury, it is reasonable that Paterno was informed that he has satisfied his legal obligations.  This is what the grand jury concluded.  This is where the acculturation comes into play.  In 2002, there would already have been something to protect – the 1998 secret – which was kept to protect the institution and power structures.  The 2002 information threatened the 1998 secret, which institutionally demanded be kept secret for the same reasons.  Counsel with an institutional secret to protect would naturally instruct the purveyor of the information that since his legal duty had been satisfied, he need not and should not discuss it again with anyone, and that the attorney would take all action deemed appropriate.  Reasonable persons would heed that advice, trusting that they had placed the information in the right hands – their attorney.  Through this dynamic, if it is accurate, numerous crimes of the most heinous nature imaginable had now been covered up, and numerous more were allowed to happen.  Paterno, McQueary, and others surely did not forget what they had seen and heard, and these things were left to fester, and whether, over time, they had a duty to follow up is a moot point because the climate had been set by the institutional secret.  The longer such secrets are kept by the individual, the more daunting the prospect of being the one person to bring down the institution.  This is surely not the only such secret maintained by Penn State and its lawyers, and this is how cultural tones are set.

The hallmark of the climate of acculturation is secrecy, and secrecy is the theme of whistle blower litigation, and other civil rights litigation.  Penn State dominates the culture of central Pennsylvania, and the federal court judges in Harrisburg have sprung forth from this same climate of acculturation, through state political circles.  These courts have demonstrably protected, at least tolerated, efforts to conceal misconduct by state actors and their attorneys.  This is the “good old boys” network, and Penn State and its lawyers are big players in that network.  The good old boys network is what has given rise to the civil rights law network, and we believe both networks are working toward competing principles – equal access to justice for all in the latter case, perversion of justice for a select few in the former.  In the Sandusky case, the good old boys network has caused grievous harm to untold numbers of innocent children, and the civil rights law network will continue to shine the light on the conditions that allowed it to happen.  We will bring you specific material relating to Penn State, and other matters that touch upon our overall theme, as this mission continues to be fulfilled.

Please read on about the unprecedented action taken by Don Bailey’s clients, and allow this post provide you with some context as to why Don Bailey, and the clients he represents, are not treated with favor, as we have suggested, and has Don has suggested for years.

Thank you.

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3 Responses to Penn State lawyers and federal courts (“the good old boys network”) have role in Sandusky scandal

  1. Mark Stanco says:

    I knew this whole case stunk a whole lot deeper than it appeared. I, also believe it goes even deeper. What has happened to this, once great nation?

  2. Anonymous says:

    He is the Equal Employment Opportunity Coordinator who established change and eased racial tensions between Volkswagen of America, the press, the black community, and government agencies in the 70′s and early 80′s. The oppressed employees formed the Black Caucus and named Brock president a spokesperson of the organization. Negotiations led to Volkswagen repeatedly agreeing to terms behind closed doors but denied them in public meetings. As a result, the Caucus filed a $70 million dollar class action discrimination lawsuit against the automaker. Mr. Brock, a prominent black executive, had more than enough information to impact unfavorably upon Volkswagen’s ability to do business in the United States. Volkswagen knew this, and thus, attempted to blackmail Mr. Brock with knowingly false information to get him to convince the other blacks not to pursue the suit.

    The plan backfired and, in fact, caused Brock to join the lawsuit. Soon after, the New York Times and the New Pittsburgh Currier reported that he allegedly shot himself that very same day. The articles DO NOT reveal that Mr. Brock was a left-handed man, who was shot in the back of the right side of his head. Additionally, there was an alleged suicide note found near his body that was later analyzed by a leading expert in the field, who is willing to prove in a court of law that the note was forged.

    On the day of his death, Mr. Brock mentioned to his friends that he would be selling his Audi because he had purchased a Porsche Days before the alleged suicide, Mr. Brock called a family meeting, informing them that he had been approved for a $9 Million dollar venture outside of Volkswagen. When pressed by family members at the meeting to leave Volkswagen immediately due to threats, he responded, “I can’t, I’ve got people counting on me.” Mr. Brock was optimistic and had plans for the future. Does that sound like suicide to you?

    Suicide? I don’t think so…!!!
    How does a LEFT HANDED man take a 38 pistol with an 8 inch barrel and shoot himself in the BACK of the RIGHT side of his head after joining a $70 Million dollar class action discrimination lawsuit against Volkswagen, the automaker, when he himself had the bulk of the damaging information against them?

    http://www.nytimes.com/1983/01/29/us/bias-suit-made-grimmer-by-a-suicide.html

    Read the article yourself. Take NOTICE that, the article DOESN’T mention that Mr. Brock was LEFT HANDED shot in the BACK of the RIGHT side of his head. On the day of the alleged suicide Mr. Brock told friends that he was selling his Audi because he had just bought a Porsche.

  3. gonifwatch says:

    Wendell V. Courtney should spend several decades in the greybar hotel. The following is an excerpt from a November 2011 CDT article, back when Penn State and Courtney still believed in their invisibility cloak.

    The man who served as attorney for both Penn State and The Second Mile said that, contrary to a state grand jury report, he was never aware of a 1998 investigation into possible allegations of sexual misconduct by Jerry Sandusky.

    State College lawyer Wendell Courtney said he also never knew that then-graduate assistant Mike McQueary had told former Nittany Lions head football coach Joe Paterno about witnessing Sandusky allegedly sexually assault a boy in a Penn State shower in 2002. Paterno, according to the grand jury, in turn notified Athletic Director Tim Curley. Curley and Gary Schultz, senior vice president for finance and business, spoke with McQueary one week later.

    Courtney served as counsel for Penn State from the time he passed the bar in 1980 until 2008, all while working with the McQuaide Blasko law firm. He said in an interview he never was asked by Penn State whether police should be notified about any allegations of sexual abuse involving Sandusky.

    “Had I ever been asked, my response would have been, ‘Absolutely and immediately,’ ” Courtney said. “Had I ever had any inkling that Sandusky was engaging in behavior with children that was even remotely improper, nothing on God’s green earth would have kept me from making certain that the allegations were reported to the police authorities and thoroughly investigated.”

    Read more here: http://www.centredaily.com/2011/11/17/2989371/courtney-denies-knowledge-of-acts.html#storylink=cpy

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