Tag Archives: Penn State

Court Cases in Pennsylvania: Good vs Evil

by DocJess, Democratic Convention Watch, 8/1/13

Two interesting happenings in the courts of Pennsylvania this week. Both of them relate directly to Tom Corbett and show him to be the kind of person dedicated to personal gain and opposed to human rights. What a governor….

Certainly you remember the Jerry Sandusky case: the coach who was abusing young boys for years and is now in prison for life. When pedophiles are brought to light, it is the obligation of those in charge to DO SOMETHING to prevent further abuse. Tom Corbett, as Attorney General, chose not to, and instead to take $640,000 from Sandusky for his gubernatorial campaign coffers. He’s not being charged, yet, but the three men who oversaw Jerry Sandusky are now going to trial. Former Penn State president Graham Spanier, former Penn State vice president Gary Schultz, and Penn State ex-athletic director Tim Curley are charged with knowing about Sandusky’s abuse, not reporting it to police, and then lying about it to the Grand Jury. Specifically, perjury, obstruction, endangering the welfare of children, failure to properly report suspected abuse and conspiracy.

My guess is that Corbett’s complicity will come up at some point. And probably someone will end up mentioning that he’s up there with Bob McDonnell for turning the governor’s mansion into a pay-to-play site. Read this.

So, in the battle of good vs evil, we have a bunch of powerful men putting their own institutions (Penn State and the Pennsylvania Legal System) ahead of the protection of young boys. EVIL.

In the other court case, the Pennsylvania Board of Health is suing Montgomery County Register of Wills D. Bruce Hanes. Hanes is the man in charge of issuing marriage licenses. In light of the recent Supreme Court decision, he started issuing marriage licenses to gay couples: 34 of them so far.

I know, you don’t understand what the Register of Wills and the Health Department have to do with marriage licenses. This is Pennsylvania, and we’re weird. For example, my mailing address has a zip code that includes part of 3 counties, and is different from my actual township. If I had a landline, it would be in yet another town. In addition, Pennsylvania is one of the only states in the country that does not have a gay marriage or civil union law, and also doesn’t have a constitutional ban on marriage equality. Marriage licenses come from the Register of Wills, which is a county position, and the State Health Department oversees, among other things, marriage and death certificates.

The Attorney General’s office, headed by Kathleen Kane, is refusing to defend the state against the ACLU suit related to the ban on gay marriage. She won’t touch this, either. Under PA law, the Health Department is allowed to sue in Commonwealth Court because marriage licenses are a civil, not criminal, matter. That’s why it’s a suit in lieu of a criminal action.

Further, the Health Department is an arm of the Executive Branch, and Corbett wants to defend against both the ACLU suit, and anything that would allow gay people to marry. Because, again, he’s against civil rights and human rights, and basic moral decency. EVIL.

On the up side, Jerry Sandusky is in jail where he can’t hurt any more boys, and he’s never getting out. Spanier, Schultz and Curley will likely join him there in a year or two. It’s not out of the realm that Corbett will end up an indicted co-conspirator one of these days on either this charge or something else…so many choices. In the end, the PA DOMA law will be struck down, and the Montco marriage licenses will stand, and will end up issued in all the other counties, too. GOOD!

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Filed under Gay & lesbian issues, Jessica Weingarten, PA govt & politics

Two Scandals, One Connection: The FBI link between Penn State and UC Davis

by Dave Zirin, The Nation, 11/23/11

Two shocking scandals. Two esteemed universities. Two disgraced university leaders. One stunning connection. Over the last month, we’ve seen Penn State University President Graham Spanier dismissed from his duties and we’ve seen UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi pushed to the brink of resignation. Spanier was jettisoned because of what appears to be a systematic cover-up of assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky’s serial child rape. Katehi has faced calls to resign after the she sent campus police to blast pepper spray in the faces of her peaceably assembled students, an act for which she claims “full responsibility.” The university’s Faculty Association has since voted for her ouster citing a “gross failure of leadership.” The names Spanier and Katehi are now synonymous with the worst abuses of institutional power. But their connection didn’t begin there. In 2010, Spanier chose Katehi to join an elite team of twenty college presidents on what’s called the National Security Higher Education Advisory Board, which “promotes discussion and outreach between research universities and the FBI.”

Spanier said upon the group’s founding in 2005, “The National Security Higher Education Advisory Board promises to help universities and government work toward a balanced and rational approach that will allow scientific research and education to progress and our nation to remain safe.” He also said that the partnership could help provide “internships” to faculty and students interested in “National Security issues.”

FBI chief Robert Mueller said at a press conference with Spanier, “We knew it would not be necessarily an easy sell because of the perceived tension between law enforcement and academia. But once we’ve briefed President Spanier on the national security threats that impact all of you here at Penn State and at other universities, it became clear to all of us why this partnership is so important. “

But the reality of this partnership is far different. Its original mandate was about protecting schools from “cyber theft” and “intellectual property issues.” As has been true with the FBI since Hoover, give them a foothold, and they’ll take off their shoes and get cozy. Their classified mandate has since expanded to such euphemisms as “counter-terrorism” and “public safety.” It also expanded federal anti-terrorism task forces to include the dark-helmeted pepper-spray brigades, otherwise known as the campus police….

As for the actual meetings between the presidents of academic institutions and the FBI, those discussions are classified. If you are a rabble-rousing faculty member or a student group stepping out of line, your school records can become the FBI’s business and you’d be none the wiser.

Chris Ott, from the Massachusetts ACLU, said of the NSHEA, “The FBI is asking university faculty, staff, and students to create a form of neighborhood watch against anything that is so called ‘suspicious.’ What kinds of things are they going to report on? Who has the right to be snitching? One of the scary things is who [on the campuses] will take it upon themselves to root out spies?”…

As for Spanier, how much of Sandusky’s actions at Penn State, which were documented on campus but never shared with the local police, was the FBI privy to? Why did the school hire former FBI director Louis Freeh to head up their internal investigation? Does that in fact represent a conflict of interest? And most critically, did the “chilling effect” of a sanctioned FBI presence at Penn State actually prevent people from coming forward?…

read the whole article at The Nation

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Filed under Education and schools, Rights, Justice, Law