From a NY Times report of July 12:
Behind the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal at Penn State lay a series of failures all the way up the university’s chain of command — shortcomings that were the result of an insular and complacent culture in which football was revered, rules were not applied and the balance of power was dangerously out of whack. (My emphasis)Change the word "football" to "business success" and you'll see what I mean.
From the Freeh report:
The University Police Department promptly responded to the 1998 complaint about Sandusky's conduct, but the sensitivity of the investigation and the need to report on its progress to a senior administrator could have compromised the extent of its inquiry. . .(My emphasis)
The law enforcement officers did not question Sandusky at this time. Had the officers been better trained in the investigation of child sexual abuse they would have interrogated Sandusky directly after his confrontation with the boy's mother. A timely interview with Sandusky may have elicited candid responses . . . (My emphasis)
. . . Seasock opined that "there seems to be no incident which could be termed as sexual abuse, nor did there appear to be any sequential pattern of logic and behavior which is usually consistent with adults who have difficulty with sexual abuse of children." Seasock's report ruled out that the boy "had been placed in a situation where he was being 'groomed for future sexual victimization.'" (My emphasis)
[B]etween May 27, 1998 and June 1, 1998, the local District Attorney declined to prosecute Sandusky for his actions with the boy in the shower in the Lasch Building on May 3, 1998. A senior administrator of a local victim resource center familiar with the 1998 incident said the case against Sandusky was "severely hampered" by Seasock's report. . . (My emphasis)
The crime log entry would have been a public record of the incident concerning Sandusky with the boy, yet Harmon reported to Schultz before noon on May 5 that "[w]e're going to hold off on making any crime log entry. At this point in time I can justify that decision because of the lack of clear evidence of a crime." . . . (My emphasis)
Spanier explained that he was concerned with Sandusky because the situation "doesn't look good, I was concerned with what people will think, the visibility and the public relations aspects of it. . . (My emphasis)
. . . Spanier said that he still thought nothing would come of the investigation because other grand juries had reviewed the matter without bringing charges.483 Over the weekend of October 28-30, 2011, Garban had conversations with Trustees John Surma and Jim Broadhurst and told them what he learned from Spanier and Baldwin.484 Garban also spoke again with Spanier who told him Baldwin was going to try to convince the Attorney General's Office that they did not have a case.485 Garban told the Special Investigative Counsel that he was "astounded" to see Sandusky in the Nittany Lion Club at the football game on October 29, 2011, given what he had learned. (My emphasis)While there are certainly some very real differences between the two cases, what stands out in my mind are the following similarities:
- the reluctance of authorities to take vigorous action due to the "sensitivity" of the situation and the prominence of those under suspicion.
- the long delays in interrogating those involved, despite strong signs of possible culpability.
- the inability of the authorities to act firmly and decisively, resulting in long delays over a great many years. Sandusky was only brought to justice very recently, despite accusations dating back to the 1970's, while the Ramsey case remains unresolved up to the present moment with no resolution in sight, despite the very strong indications of Ramsey guilt as stressed by so many law enforcement personnel involved in the investigation.
- the callous disregard of the possibilities for future abuse by the suspects in both cases. Sandusky remained in close contact with young boys for many years due to his involvement in his Second Mile charity. The Ramseys retained custody of their young son Burke, despite strong indications that John could have both abused and murdered his daughter.
Yet the District Attorney's office, in all its incarnations from that day to this, has shown no concern whatsoever for this aspect of the case.