Monday, November 14, 2011

Welcome to Prosti-vania

November 14-15, 2011 -- Welcome to Prosti-vania

The Penn State football pedophilia scandal will not stop at the Penn State campus in State College bit will have ramifications throughout Pennsylvania. The Penn State scandal already involves the current Republican Governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Corbett, and his two predecessors, Democrat Ed Rendell and Republican Tom Ridge.

Corbett is guilty of the same ethical and possibly criminal violations that plague ousted Penn State football coach Joe Paterno. Like Paterno, who was more concerned about his near-godly status as Penn State's football coach for over 40 years than in the plight of molested children, Corbett, as Pennsylvania Attorney General since 2004, sat on issuing indictments in the Penn State and The Second Mile foundation pedophile case until after he was elected governor in 2010.

Corbett had a chance to act quickly when the case of child molestation involving Paterno's former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky came to his attention in 2009. Although Corbett convened a grand jury to examine evidence in the pedophilia scandal, speed of action to prevent continuing molestation by Sandusky and perhaps others was not Corbett's major priority, but becoming governor was. Corbett postponed action against Sandusky and perhaps others until after his election and the scandal had another two years to metastasize into a scandal of epic proportions.

Corbett as governor is also a member of the board of trustees of Penn State. Corbett has a major conflict of interest owing to his previous status as Attorney General, current governor, and trustee of Penn State. Corbett should recuse himself as a Penn State trustee and, perhaps, this rumored GOP vice presidential candidate in next year's election should consider resigning as governor. Corbett's involvement as trustee and past Attorney General is also complicated by the fact that two past Penn State officials, Vice President Gary Schultz and former Athletic Director Tim Curley, have been indicted on charges of failing to report child abuse and perjury before the grand jury. Schultz retired in 2009 but returned to his old position temporarily in September, while Corbett, knowing full well of the problems with Schultz, was serving as a university trustee. Curley's and Schultz's attorney fees are being paid by Penn State, with Corbett as a trustee of the university -- another ethical conflict on the part of Corbett.

Corbett, as Attorney General, could have certainly seen through the conflict taking place after the 2007 election for Centre County magistrate Leslie Dutchcot and the outset of the grand jury probe of Sandusky. A registered Republican, like Sandusky and Paterno, Dutchcot ran in the May 2007 Democratic and Republican primaries, winning the Democratic primary and coming in third in the GOP race. She won the general election but the fact that she was on both ballots and was a donor to Sandusky's Second Mile charity and volunteered her services to the organization raises all sorts of red flags, but not to Attorney General Corbett, who may have been more interested in propelling the career of a Republican who won the Democratic primary than in seeing justice done.

Dutchcot, rather than recuse herself from the arraignment of Sandusky on 21 felony counts of sexually abusing eight boys over a 15-year period, granted the accused serial pedophile $100,000 unsecured bail, in other words without any cash, and allowed him to return to a home that adjoins Lamont Elementary School in State College. Dutchcot's involvement with rescuing Yorkshire terriers does not appear to extend to rescuing abused children, especially from the likes of her associate Sandusky.

Second Mile, in business since 1977, is also accused by some sports columnists of pimping out young boys for sex to deep-pocketed donors to the charity. Pittsburgh sports talk radio host Mark Madden said "I hear a rumor that there will be a shocking development from the Second Miles Foundation … That Jerry Sandusky and Second Mile were pimping out young boys to rich donors." Two prominent columnists were reported by Madden to be working on the story.

On April 15, 2005, Centre County district attorney Ray Gricar, turned up missing when his car was found locked and abandoned near the Susquehanna River in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. Gricar, who had been Centre County's district attorney for 20 years, declined to prosecute Sandusky in 1998, when the first charges surfaced about sexual misconduct with minors. In July 2005, Gricar's lap top computer was founs by fishermen in the Susquehanna, minus the hard drive. Two months later, the hard drive was found near the river bank but too badly damaged to retrieve information. In 1996, Gricar's brother, Roy, was reported missing in Dayton, Ohio after his abandoned car was discovered. He had recently been fired from his job at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. A few days later Roy Gricar's body turned up in the Great Miami River. No traces of his brother Ray have ever been found.

In 1998, when Sandusky was first investigated for inappropriate behavior with a boy, the Pennsylvania State Police reportedly warned the boy's mother not to speak to the press. The governor of Pennsylvania at the time was Tom Ridge, who was also a Penn State ex-officio trustee. Ridge was also a trustee when Penn State, in 1995, hired Graham Spanier, the Chancellor of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, as Penn State President. Spanier, a specialist on family sociology who hails from Cape Town, South Africa, remains a tenured Penn State professor. Spanier wrote an article on mate swapping and sexual "swinging" for the Archives of Sexual BehaviorIronically, Ridge, the governor when Spanier was hired at Penn State, is now rumored to be in consideration for Penn State's next president. 
Political conflicts-of-interest in Pennsylvania that involve child abuse are not confined to Republicans in State College or Harrisburg. 
In September 2009, Luzerne County Pleas Court judges Mark Ciavarella, Jr. and Michael Conahan were indicted on federal charges in the "Kids for Cash" scandal. The judges were later convicted of accepting millions of dollars in cash kickbacks from two private, for-profit, juvenile facilities run byPA Child Care and Western PA Child Care for sentencing juvenile offenders to harsh sentences in order to ensure maximum use of the facilities. Youthful offenders who committed minor violations were handed out severe sentences. Hundreds of victims' sentences were later overturned but there were rumors of violence and sexual abuse committed on the youth at the private detention centers.

Luzerne County Democratic district attorney Jackie Musto Carroll said she took no action against Ciavarella because he raised no red flags in his sentencing practices. Musto Carroll's Republican opponent in the last election, Stephanie Salavantis, took issue with the incumbent's defense that she was unaware of Ciavarella's kickback scheme. Salavantis defeated Musto Carroll, whose uncle, former Pennsylvania state senator and U.S. Representative Ray Musto, was indicted in 2010 on federal charges of accepting kickbacks from an unnamed company.

WMR has previously reported on a number of sex scandals involving Pennsylvania politicians:
Ironically, Rendell is now being considered to be the next president of Temple University in Philadelphia, proving that, for Ridge and Rendell, inattention and conflicts-of-interest pay off in the end.

The fallout from Penn State has universities and colleges across the nation checking their records for indications of child abuse and other sex scandals. The Citadel is now embroiled in a scandal involving child sexual abuse by a summer camp counselor. Past gay-oriented sex parties at Duke and the University of North Carolina involving then Duke basketball and football player Reggie Love reportedly cost him his job as President Obama's "body man." De facto White House chief of staff Pete Rouse, upon hearing of potential problems regarding Love at Duke and UNC and on the heels of the scandal at Penn State, forced Love to leave the White House staff immediately, even over the objections of Obama.

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