Posts tagged ‘Jerry Sandusky’

The Penn Stater Daily — Oct. 29, 2013

Settlements reached: It was announced yesterday that Penn State will pay $59.7 million to settle lawsuits filed by 26 victims of Jerry Sandusky. The settlements will not be funded by student tuition or taxpayer funds, according to officials. (See this news release for more details on how the settlements will be paid.) Said President Rodney Erickson: “We hope this is another step forward in the healing process for those hurt by Mr. Sandusky, and another step forward for Penn State.”

An interesting comparison: On the heels of the announcement, Bloomberg Businessweek posted this piece, comparing Penn State’s settlements to the deals struck by the Catholic Church with four men abused by a former priest. The takeaway: Victims in both settlements received about $2.3 million each.

Get a room: On a lighter note, new research from SAS and Breffni Noone, a faculty member in the School of Hospitality Management, shows how bad online reviews can affect a hotel’s bottom line. According to the study, “consumers simply will not choose a hotel with negative reviews.” Which means I’m not the only one who won’t book a room until I’ve skimmed at least 50 reviews for the word “bedbug.”


Muppets! The next Muppets movie isn’t due in theaters until March 2014, but this fun new poster, featuring Ty Burrell ’97g, was released yesterday. According to, Burrell plays Jean Pierre Napoleon, who—judging by this pic and that creepy mustache—appears to be a bad guy.

Mary Murphy, associate editor

October 29, 2013 at 11:55 am Leave a comment

The Penn Stater Daily — Sept. 18, 2013

From news to features, your daily dose of everything Penn State.

Innovation in sight: A Penn State-led team received a $10 million Expeditions in Computing award from the National Science Foundation for the development of a machine vision system that replicates human cognitive abilities. The project, says an NSF manager, “holds promise for making momentous impact on society.”

Among the Ivies: Penn State University Libraries rank eighth among North American research libraries, according to a recent report from the Association of Research Libraries. Also in the top 10: Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Cornell, and Columbia.

Reputation rehab: The New York Times’  Tim Rohan profiles members of the Penn State community, including Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship, (more…)

September 18, 2013 at 9:56 am Leave a comment

The Penn Stater Daily — Sept. 17, 2013

From news to features, your daily dose of everything Penn State.

Food for thought: A writer from Forbes magazine uses the research of Evan Pugh professor Donald Hambrick, who’s also the Smeal chaired professor of management, to rank the 25 most narcissistic CEOs. (Spoiler alert: the No. 1 ranking, by a lot, goes to Google’s Larry Page.) There’s an interesting discussion of Hambrick’s research, which delves into how a CEO’s background affects the way she or he runs a company, and this piece also explores the idea that narcissism isn’t necessarily a bad thing (see: Steve Jobs). This will make you think.

Reading list: Kesley Tamborrino of the Collegian tells the tale of Michelle Kemper Brownlow ’92, who drew upon her Penn State experiences her first novel, In Too Deep. The novel traces an emotionally abusive relationship which is exacerbated when the boyfriend pledges a fraternity—something that happened to Brownlow—but also includes happier allusions to The Phyrst (called Mitchell’s) and West Halls, among others.

Must-see TV: If you’re a hockey fan, you’re in luck. (more…)

September 17, 2013 at 10:03 am Leave a comment

Sandusky Verdict: Guilty on 45 Counts

(Courtroom sketch by Art Lien)

After seven days of testimony and about 20 hours of deliberation, a Centre County jury has found Jerry Sandusky guilt on all but three of 48 criminal charges related to sexually abusing young boys.

Barring appeals, it seems almost certain that Sandusky, who is 68, will spend the rest of his life in prison.

Court officials announced at about 9:30 p.m. that the jury had reached a verdict and that court would convene in 20 minutes to receive the verdict. An order from Judge John Cleland barred reporters inside the courtroom from tweeting or sending electronic communications of any kind until court had adjourned, so it wasn’t until 10:10  p.m. that the news finally came.

Reports said that Sandusky was taken into custody immediately, pending sentencing.

Prosecutors initially charged Sandusky ’66, ’71g, the longtime Nittany Lion defensive coordinator and founder of the Second Mile charity, last November with 40 counts involving eight accusers. A month later they added 12 more counts and expanded the list of alleged victims to 10. Over the course of the trial this month, four counts were dropped.

In a surprising twist on Thursday, while the jury was deliberating, two new alleged victims surfaced: A man in Ohio told NBC’s Rock Center that Sandusky abused him more than 100 times; and one of Sandusky’s adopted sons, Matt Sandusky, said through his attorneys that he was prepared to testify that Sandusky had abused him as well. The jury presumably knew nothing about these new accusers, as they were sequestered at the time.

The case had its bizarre touches, such as the day when someone dressed as Pedobear showed up outside the courthouse and gave interviews to the media. And then there was defense attorney Karl Rominger ’98g tweeting trivia questions while the jurors deliberated. (One sample tweet: “This NSAID drug, a COX-2 inhibitor was linked to heart damage and withdrawn from the market.. What is?”)

Those of us who have watched the trial closely have found the coverage of the Citizens Voice in Wilkes-Barre and the Harrisburg Patriot-News worth following; there’s also been extensive coverage by the Centre Daily Times,, and the Daily Collegian, as well as the live blog at Onward State, among many other media outlets.

Beyond the straight reporting of the news, Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports has had some very good insights and analysis along the way.

There is still so much more to come: the trials (not yet scheduled) of Gary Schultz ’71, ’75g and Tim Curley ’76, ’78g, accused of perjury and failure to report; the Freeh Group’s report to the trustees (coming perhaps as soon as next month); the results of a U.S. Justice Department investigation; and the possibility of civil suits against Sandusky and/or Penn State; among many other potential developments. In short, this story will be a part of our lives for some time to come.

Tina Hay, editor

June 22, 2012 at 10:13 pm 2 comments

Sandusky Trial: Breaking Down Week 1

This courtroom sketch by Arthur Lien shows the person known as Victim 6 testifying.

Kristen Eisenbraun Houser ’93 has some insight into what the alleged victims in the Sandusky trial are going through. As the vice president of communications and development for PCAR, the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, Houser spent all of last week outside the courthouse in Bellefonte, talking to news outlets (she’s appeared on NBC’s Nightly News, CNN’s In Session, and TruTV) about victims’ rights and the psychology of child sexual abuse. On Friday, she talked with me to help break down the week of disturbing testimony — from the accusers’ perspective.

For any victim, how difficult is it to testify about child sexual abuse?

It’s the last thing on the planet they want to do. Here in America, everything is saturated with sex, yet we don’t talk honestly about it. It’s extremely difficult to talk about sexual violence and things that make you feel disgust, shame, and humiliation. That’s why people say they’ve “locked the memory away.” To then get to a place where you can tell a room full of strangers is unbelievably hard.

Some of the young men who testified this week got very emotional, and others were more composed and straightforward. What accounts for such contrasting reactions?

I haven’t worked with these individuals, but I can tell you that when you’re dealing with trauma, people react on far ends of the spectrum. When someone is awash with emotion, and the pain is raw and uncontrollable, that’s what we think everybody will look like, and it can throw the public when we see someone who can speak in a detached and unemotional way. But that’s self-protection. You can choose to do one or the other — access the feelings and fall apart on the stand, or separate yourself.

The defense has been critical of accusers who’ve waited years to come forward. Is that common in cases of child sexual abuse?

It’s very common for victims to wait years, even decades. Nobody ever wants to talk about this. What’s happening to you is happening in secret, so you think you’re the only one. Isolation makes you think no one will believe you. Look at it through the eyes of a 12-year-old: You don’t understand human sexuality period, let alone abuse.

In general, is it especially difficult for male victims?

For males, it gets very confusing. There’s still a lot of homophobia in society. That’s an extra layer that keeps boys silent because of the stigma attached. And that’s on top of the gender dynamics; we think boys should be able to protect themselves. Unfortunately, there are different societal rules about victimization in men. They’re all barriers to disclosure. One of the young men said it extremely well — “How do you tell your mom about something like that?”

Some of the accusers mentioned “blacking out” the abuse, which makes it hard to recall specifics. Is that a common coping mechanism?

It’s textbook. You see this with victims of any trauma — car accidents, war. The brain literally processes sensory information differently. When a person experiences something they perceive as life-threatening, the brain gets that sensory info and codes it as “dangerous” and stores it. It’s not always stored in context, in a linear fashion. The Broca’s area of the brain, which is responsible for language, doesn’t code it with words. So the data is not readily accessible, but it can be triggered. Think about Vietnam vets who can’t be around fireworks — it literally takes them back to the battlefield. If you’re a sexual assault victim, something like the smell of brewing coffee, a song on the radio, a certain aftershave can bring it all back. It’s very common for a person who’s been through trauma to have sketchy, scattered details. Over time, as they begin to process it, the memories become richer.

It’s confusing to some people that several of the accusers maintained a friendly relationship with Sandusky after the alleged abuse.

I think we have to recognize he was not abusive all the time. He was kind, loving, fun, made them feel special — and he abused them. As a child, you can hate the abusive experience but love the person who did it. Many victims feel that way. To stay in contact doesn’t make sense to the average person. Also, offenders try to foster those friendly relationships to maintain silence. If you’re still in touch, still friendly with the offender, it’s harder to report the abuse.

Many of the accusers were afraid to tell anyone for fear they wouldn’t be believed. One testified that a school counselor dismissed his claims because Sandusky “has a heart of gold.” What can parents learn from this?

If you want your children to know you’re a person they can confide in, you need to send that message all the time. You can’t have a meltdown when a lamp gets broken accidentally and expect that they’ll feel comfortable telling you someone is touching them. It’s about modeling that you’re a calm, trustworthy person on a regular basis. And we need to stop labeling sexual offenders as “monsters,” “animals,” and “predators.” We use language to talk about people who commit sexual crimes that separates them from who we spend time with in reality. That makes you blind to your inner circle. People who commit sexual offenses are people, and they may be in our everyday lives.

LaVar Arrington ’00 blogged at The Washington Post about feeling like he should have seen one alleged victim’s pain and done something more. How can people in the same situation get over the guilt?

Attorneys I’ve worked with say the worst thing about child sexual abuse cases is asking people about the offender, because they always say, “Now that you mention it, I always had a funny feeling.” But hindsight is 20/20. I think at some point we have to forgive ourselves for not having had all the information, and then commit to changing it, so that we never have to feel that regret again.

So what can we do when we get that feeling in our gut that something isn’t right?

Talk about it. If you’re feeling weird about something, other adults probably are too. No, you can’t report someone for giving you the creeps, but if you talk to other adults, and a situation is making all of you feel uncomfortable, then you have something. You’ve started the conversation.

If Sandusky is convicted, will the young men get any closure or healing?

I think everyone thinks that a conviction is all that victims want, but when it happens, they don’t feel any better. The reality is, going through the trial really does re-traumatize you. You have to face this horrible experience, say it out loud, have people in the room try to make you look like a liar. You can feel good that this person is locked up, but it doesn’t change the loss and devastation of your life.

Learn more about PCAR at, and follow the Sandusky trial on PCAR’s blog.

Mary Murphy, associate editor

June 18, 2012 at 8:53 am Leave a comment

Curley, Schultz Headed to Court

Several of us on the magazine staff just spent most of our Friday editing page proofs for the January-February issue while keeping a constant eye on Twitter.

Twitter was pretty much the only way to follow, in real time, today’s preliminary hearing for Tim Curley ’76, ’78g and Gary Schultz ’71, ’75g, who face charges of perjury and failure-to-report in connection with the child-sex-abuse case against former Nittany Lion defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky ’66, ’71g.

Farrell: Give me an accurate height of the boy. McQueary: I would need a measuring tape for that, sir.  (@annaorso)

A district magisterial judge in Harrisburg listened to 4-1/2 hours’ worth of testimony today, then ruled that there’s enough evidence to send both Curley (the Penn State athletic director, currently on administrative leave) and Schultz (now-retired VP for finance and administration) to trial on the charges.

Many of the reporters who attended the hearing in the Dauphin County Courthouse were tweeting constantly from the proceedings, and the result was a virtual play-by-play of the testimony. Through their tweets—easily numbering in the hundreds—we essentially watched as a series of five witnesses (more…)

December 16, 2011 at 6:28 pm Leave a comment

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