In light of corrections to the scathing Freeh report that condemned Penn State officials for covering up child abuse by Jerry Sandusky, a former administrator facing trial wants to see if there is anything else inaccurate about the report.
Trouble is, the materials used to compile the 267-page report aren’t part of the discovery process for Gary Schultz’s case, so he is asking a Dauphin County judge to help get them from Louis Freeh’s law firm in Washington.
On Monday, one of Schultz’s defense attorneys asked Dauphin County President Judge Todd Hoover to allow a D.C. lawyer they’ve hired to subpoena Freeh’s firm for the materials.
George Matangos, Schultz’s attorney, said the materials are essential for preparing his client’s defense.
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Schultz faces perjury and failure to report abuse charges and is awaiting trial in Dauphin County. Prosecutors allege he and another former senior leader, director of athletics Tim Curley, lied to the grand jury investigating Sandusky.
Schultz’s defense attorneys want 25 sets of materials that include notes and other documents from interviews with mostly Penn State people who appear to be central in Freeh’s findings that blamed them for covering up in the abuse out of fear for bad publicity.
For instance, they want to see materials from investigators’ interviews with former university President Graham Spanier and former general counsel Cynthia Baldwin.
They also want records from the interviews in February with Stephen Shelow, the former director of Penn State police who is now an associate vice president overseeing the police force, and retired university Detective Ron Schreffler, who investigated Sandusky in 1998.
The request also asks for similar records from investigators’ interviews with counsel for The Second Mile; from John Seasock, a therapist who interviewed the 1998 victim but found Sandusky wasn’t showing signs of pedophilic behavior; and from Jerry Lauro, a state Department of Public Welfare worker who handled the 1998 report.
Schultz’s attorneys have asked to get the materials by Sept. 1.
When the Freeh report was released July 12, the university accepted its findings as fact, but Schultz’s defense criticized the Freeh group for not having the power to subpoena witnesses under oath.
Since then, Freeh corrected several errors.
Schultz said one that’s “severely prejudicial” alleges Schultz told former Penn State outside counsel Wendell Courtney that he didn’t know of any police investigation of Sandusky in 1998. Freeh revised that to say it was Courtney who was not aware of the 1998 investigation, not Schultz.
“Given the incredible exposure and media coverage the Freeh report has received both within the state, nationally and internationally, and its concomitant threat to poison Mr. Schultz’s jury pool, it is of vital importance that Mr. Schultz have access to certain of its underlying documents in order to prepare his defense,” attorney Matangos wrote. “Mr. Schultz must have access to the documents and interview notes in order to learn of other possible inaccuracies, and to determine if any exculpatory information exists that was excluded from the final version of this report.”
Schultz’s defense attorneys argue they have the right to Freeh’s materials because it was paid for by Pennsylvania agencies.
Freeh’s findings blamed Schultz, Curley, Spanier and former head coach Joe Paterno for covering up Sandusky’s crimes.
The NCAA pounced on the findings, hitting Penn State with a $60 million fine and a multiyear bowl ban for its football program, along with other penalties.
With Sandusky convicted and sitting in the Centre County jail awaiting sentencing, the next phase of the child abuse scandal will turn to the Schultz and Curley cases that are being tried in Harrisburg.
Their attorneys are scheduled to give oral arguments in front of Hoover, the Dauphin County judge, this month.
Mike Dawson can be reached at 231-4616. Follow him on Twitter @MikeDawsonCDT