Jerry Sandusky Scandal

Prank calls to Penn State employees follow Sandusky scandal

A Penn State employee in the Bryce Jordan Center picked up her phone around 11:10 a.m. on Nov. 18.

The caller was a man who had a deep voice — and a filthy mouth.

He told the employee he was “looking for some little boys” to have sex with, a reference to allegations in the Jerry Sandusky case that enveloped campus the week and a half before. According to police, he told the employee: “You’re the ones that let it happen.”

Employees across the university fielded vulgar and harassing phone calls in the wake of the Sandusky case and the board of trustees’ firing of Joe Paterno, officials said. The callers were angry, profane; some vented, some exercised their right to free speech.

And some, including the Nov. 18 caller, are under investigation.

Penn State police aren’t releasing much at this point about the investigation beyond what they wrote in a search warrant filed earlier this week. It outlines what led to them ask for Verizon phone records pertaining to the four calls.

Police said the man on the other end of the Nov. 18 call was the same person who called another employee in the Bryce Jordan Center about 15 minutes later. He used similar language, police said, and the employee hung up after he refused to identify himself.

Police traced the phone numbers to California and Utah.

The California number, from a 213 area code, had been reported as a crank caller or telemarketer in the previous 12 months. The Utah number, from an 801 area code, was determined to be a fake. Neither are in service now.

Police are investigating a third call that was reported by an employee at Beaver Stadium’s ticket office on Nov. 18. The employee told police the office had taken more than 100 prank calls that day but this one scared them.

According to the search warrant, the caller said something like: “Just wait till you walk out those doors. Then you’ll see what I’ll do to you.”

A fourth call under investigation was transferred to police from the ticket office on Dec. 2. That call, from a man who used profanity, lasted two minutes — until the caller was told he was speaking to a police officer.

University spokeswoman Lisa Powers said many university employees who had nothing to do with the Sandusky case or the board of trustees received “harassing, angry, menacing and profane” calls and emails. Employees who work with her in the Public Information Office in Old Main were particularly targeted.

“Our staff assistants were subjected to some absolutely horrible conversations from individuals who really had no right to take out their anger and venom on people who were here and just doing their job,” she said. “It was certainly a disappointing lesson in human behavior.”

Mike Dawson can be reached at 231-4616. Follow him on Twitter @MikeDawsonCDT .

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