Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Former FBI Agent's Diary Documents Illegal Leaks in Penn State Probe

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

In "Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes,"  former FBI Special Agent Kathleen McChesney revealed on camera how the federal investigation of the serial killer got started. A woman called and said, "I'm concerned about my boyfriend -- his name is Ted Bundy."

The girlfriend proceeded to detail Bundy's suspicious behavior that included following women around at night, hiding a knife in his car and keeping a bag of women's underwear in his apartment.

McChesney, who was on the task force that arrested Bundy, rose to become the only female FBI agent appointed to be the bureau's executive assistant director. Her credibility was such that in 2002, in the wake of the widespread sex abuse scandal involving the Catholic clergy, the U.S. Conference of Bishops hired McChesney to establish and lead its Office of Child and Youth Protection. She's also the author of a 2011 book, "Pick Up Your Own Brass: Leadership the FBI Way."

But now the decorated former FBI special agent is drawing unwanted attention for another book she wrote -- an unpublished, confidential 79-page diary written in 2011 and 2012, back when McChesney was a private investigator working for her old boss, former FBI Director Louis Freeh. At the time, Freeh was getting paid $8 million by Penn State to probe another notorious sex scandal involving former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

According to Sandusky's lawyer, McChesney's diary may constitute newly discovered evidence of prosecutorial misconduct, because it documents how the Pennsylvania state Attorney General's Office was repeatedly violating state law by leaking grand jury secrets to Freeh's investigators.

Al Lindsay, the defense lawyer for Jerry Sandusky, was an avid reader of McChesney's diary.

"I have found the matter very interesting and it's worthy of further investigation," he said. "From what I understand, the diary details disclosure of information by the [Pennsylvania state] attorney general's office to the Freeh investigation, which would appear to be in violation of law."

Former NCIS special agent John Snedden, who investigated the Penn State sex abuse case on behalf of the federal government, had a more damning critique of McChesney's work.

"It's a diary detailing blatant collusion, corruption and major violations of grand jury secrecy, with an outline of personal gain, authored by a person operating under self-imagined impunity," Snedden wrote in an email. As far as Snedden is concerned, the diary shows that the Freeh Group's intent during the Penn State investigation "was to ingratiate themselves with the NCAA," to gain a lucrative client.

Under Pennsylvania state law, grand jury proceedings are supposed to be kept secret. At the time of the Penn State investigation, McChesney and her boss, former FBI Director Freeh, were functioning as private investigators, and as such, did not have authorization to access grand jury information. 

McChesney did not respond to written requests for comment. In 2018, when I questioned Freeh  about whether he had authorization to access grand jury secrets, the former FBI director, through a spokesperson, declined comment. 

The diary begins on Nov. 27, 2011, when McChesney was on the phone with Freeh. McChesney wrote that she learned she was to "take leadership role and focus on monitoring" in the Penn State investigation conducted by Freeh. That involved coordinating with a team of Freeh's investigators that included Tim Flynn, Omar McNeill, and Patti Bescript, and Gregory Paw.

The Freeh team started by gathering files on Sandusky, the retired former Penn State assistant football coach. Among the first documents to be perused: a "1998 investigation report has been provided," McChesney wrote, about the first alleged shower incident involving Sandusky and 11 year-old Zachary Konstas.

But according to state law, the police report that McChesney referred to should not have existed.

The report was prompted by a complaint from the boy's mother, about the 1998 incident where Sandusky washed Konstas's hair in the shower. The incident wound up being investigated by authorities that included an official from the Centre County Children and Youth Services, a detective from the Penn State police, an investigator from the state Department of Public Welfare, the boy's therapist, as well as a psychologist hired by the county. The authorities concluded that there was no evidence of abuse or of any sexual conduct whatsoever, so the mother's alleged claim was officially deemed unfounded.

As recounted in The Most Hated Man In America; Jerry Sandusky and the Rush to Judgment, by author Mark Pendergrast, the psychiatrist who questioned Konstas five days after the shower incident concluded:

"The behavior exhibited by Mr. Sandusky is directly consistent with what can be seen as an expected daily routine of being a football coach. This evaluator spoke to various coaches from high school and college football teams and asked about their locker room behavior. Through verbal reports from these coaches it is not unusual for them to shower with players. This appears to be a widespread, acceptable situation and it appears that Mr. Sandusky followed through with patterning that he has probably done without thought for many years."

The psychologist also concluded that since no one else had previously accused Sandusky of abuse, and that the psychologist knew of no case where a then 52-year-old man had suddenly become a pedophile.

As reported by Pendergrast, according to state law, the unfounded report of abuse should have been expunged by the state Department of Welfare, which it was. But the Penn State Police failed to expunge the report. And 13 years later, the report was suddenly relevant after the state attorney general issued a grand jury presentment about a second alleged shower incident where Sandusky allegedly raped a 10-year-old boy, as supposedly witnessed by former Penn State assistant football coach Mike McQueary.

The second shower incident, however, was investigated for the federal government by Snedden, who determined that the alleged facts made no sense, and that McQueary was not a credible witness.

McChesney's diary doesn't state how the Freeh team came up with the 1998 police report, but three lines later, McChesney writes: "Records - IT: Team working with Atty general, will receive in stages."

Besides working closely with the Attorney General's office, Freeh's investigators were also staying in constant contact with the NCAA.

McChesney wrote that during the investigation, fellow investigator McNeill "has standing telcall on Fridays with NCAA & Big 10." During those phone calls, the NCAA "will provide questions for" the Freeh Group," McChesney wrote, and that "NCAA high level execs will decide on enforcement actions."

The FBI was also involved in the Penn State probe, McChesney wrote. She speculated about the need to have somebody "handle, organize, channel data" for the attorney general's office. GP, she wrote, presumably, Greg Paw, discussed "Piggyback on AG investigation re: docs."

On Jan. 4, 2012, McChesney wrote that during a meeting with investigator Anthony Sassano and another official from the state attorney general's office, she learned that the "1998 police report" was "out of sequence and filed in administrative rather than criminal." And that the Penn State police chief and the original investigator from the 1998 incident were the "only ones who knew."

McChesney also listed in her diary the initials of numerous Penn State officials who got subpoenaed for the 2011 grand jury investigation. She also records that "AG got 2nd mile records from subpoena," referring to The Second Mile, the charity for at risk youth started by Sandusky.

She also noted that the AG interviewed Ruth Jackson, the wife of Kenny Jackson, a former Penn State assistant football coach, as well as another man who had "been to the grand jury - and possibly friends with JS," as in Jerry Sandusky.

McChesney described the "AG's strategies: may go to new coach to read riot act to [Penn State Associate Athletic Director Fran] Ganter et al."

On March 7, 2012, she wrote "No smoking gun to indicate coverup." She also wrote that the Freeh Group continued to be in "close communications with AG and USA," as in the U. S. Attorney.

According to McChesney, members of the Freeh Group "don't want to interfere with their investigations," and that she and her colleagues were being "extremely cautious & running certain interviews by them." McChesney wrote that the Freeh Group even "asked [Deputy Attorney General Frank] Fina to authorize some interviews." And that the AG's office "asked us to stay away from some people, ex janitors, but can interview" people from the Second Mile.

On March 30, 2012, McChesney noted that Sandusky's trial was rescheduled to June 5th of that year. Meanwhile, Greg Paw related to McChesney what he learned during a call with Frank Fina, that Fina was "relooking at [Penn State President Graham] Spanier," and that Fina was "not happy with University & cooperation but happy to have 2001 email."

McChesney was referring to an email chain, conducted over Penn State’s own computer system, where President Spanier and two other top administrators discussed confronting Sandusky about his habit of showering with children at Penn State facilities. The officials discussed simply telling Sandusky to stop, rather than report him to officials at The Second Mile, Sandusky's charity for at-risk youth, as well as the state Department of Public Welfare.

 In the email chain, Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley described the strategy as a “more humane approach” that included an offer to provide Sandusky with counseling. Spanier agreed, but wrote, “The only downside for us if the message isn’t ‘heard’ and acted upon [by Sandusky] and we then become vulnerable for not having reported it.”

In her diary, McChesney seemed to know what's going on with the supposedly secret grand jury proceedings being conducted by the state attorney general's office. She wrote that "40+ more people before grand jury." She also knew that the grand jury judge was "not happy with" Penn State Counsel Cynthia Baldwin," specifically "what she [Baldwin] said about representing the university."

In the grand jury proceedings, Baldwin asserted that she had represented the university, and not Spanier, Athletic Director Curley, and Penn State Vice-President Gary Schultz. Apparently, the grand jury judge had a problem with that, McChesney wrote.

Baldwin's grand jury testimony was described by McChesney as "inconsistent statements." McChesney also noted that "we are getting" copies "of the transcripts." On April 2, 2012, McChesney recorded being notified by fellow investigator McNeill that "AG documents received re: Curley and Schultz."

McChesney's diary also portrayed Fina as not only leaking grand jury secrets to the Freeh Group, but also being actively involved in directing the Freeh Group's investigation, to the point of saying if and when they could interview certain witnesses. McChesney recorded that the Freeh Group was going to notify Fina that they wanted to interview Ronald Schreffler, the investigator from Penn State Police who probed the 1998 shower incident. After he was notified, McChesney wrote, "Fina approved interview with Schreffler."

In her diary, McChesney continued to log grand jury secrets that not even the defendants in the Penn State case were aware of.

On April 16, 2012, McChesney recorded "next week more grand jury," and that Spanier would be charged. She added that Spanier's lawyer didn't "seem to suspect" that Spanier was going to be arrested. She also recorded that Spanier's lawyer "wants access to his emails," but that Fina did not want Spanier "to see 2001 email chain."

She wrote that the grand jury was meeting on April 25th, and that an indictment of Spanier might come as soon as two days later. She also recorded that Fina "wants to question [people]; then it turns into perjury," which McChesney noted was "not fair to the witness."

McChesney also wrote that Paw was scheduling meetings with lawyers for Schultz and Curley. "Have not seen emails," she wrote, without saying whom she was referring to.

As part of their investigation, the Freeh Group was also looking at former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno.  The Freeh Group contacted the state attorney general's office for help but the AG's office advised them that they had "nothing further on Paterno [other] than what" the Freeh Group already had.

On April 19, 2012, Paw "spoke with Fina," and was advised that the deputy attorney general "does not want Spanier or other [defendants] to see documents; next 24 hours are important for case & offered to re-visit over weekend re: sharing documents."

McChesney further recorded that "attys and AG's office staffs are talking & still looking to charge Spanier." Paw, she wrote, was scheduled to meet with Spanier's lawyer tomorrow, and that "Fina said the 4 of them [including Wendell Courtney] are really in the mix." McChesney was presumably referring to Spanier, Curley, Schultz and Courtney, then a Penn State counsel.

The emails from the trio of Penn State administrators, McChesney wrote, would be "released in a [grand jury] presentment and charging documents."

The night before Spanier was arrested, Paw sent an email to his colleagues at the Freeh Group, advising them of the imminent arrest. The email was contained in other confidential records connected to the Freeh investigation, records that the Penn State board of trustees has repeatedly refused to release.

The subject of Paw's email: "CLOSE HOLD -- Important."

"PLEASE HOLD VERY CLOSE," Paw wrote his colleagues at the Freeh Group. "[Deputy Attorney General Frank] Fina called tonight to tell me that Spanier is to be arrested tomorrow, and Curley and Schultz re-arrested, on charges of obstruction of justice and related charges . . . Spanier does not know this information yet, and his lawyers will be advised about an hour before the charges are announced tomorrow."

Other members of the state attorney general's office were helpful to Freeh's investigators. McChesney wrote that investigator Sasssano divulged that he brought in the son of Penn State trustee Steve Garban because "he had info re [Jerry Sandusky] in shower." The AG's office also interviewed interim Penn State football coach Tom Bradley about his predecessor, Joe Paterno and the 1998 shower incident.

"Bradley was more open & closer to the truth," McChesney wrote, "but still holding back."

On April 26, 2012, McChesney noted in her diary that "police investigators have interviewed 44 janitors, 200+ victims." On May 1, 2012, she wrote that Fina told them that "Spanier brings everyone in on Saturday." Fina also told the Freeh Group that he found out from Joan Coble, Schultz's administrative assistant, and her successor, Kim Belcher, that "there was a Sandusky file," and that it supposedly "was sacrosanct and secret."

McChesney recorded that Fina told the Freeh Group that one of Schultz's administrative assistants "got a call on her way to work on Monday from Schultz." She was told she had to surrender keys, presumably to the locked file. "She's emotional," McChesney wrote. " She may have been sleeping w Schultz."

Both Coyle and Belcher got immunity to testify against Schultz. Meanwhile, there were several leakers on Schultz's supposedly secret file that he was keeping on Sandusky. As McChesney recorded in her diary, "Fina got papers from two different sources."

In her diary, McChesney kept compiling more secrets. On May 22, 2012, McChesney wrote that the "FBI took DNA & handwriting samples" from Sandusky. Meanwhile, the cooperation between the attorney general's office and Freeh's investigators went both ways.

When Freeh's investigators, one of whom was McChesney, interviewed Penn State counsel Baldwin and learned somebody else in the attorney general's office was leaking her information, they knew they had to tell Fina.

"Paw: didn't tell Final that Baldwin heard @ the charges before they happened, but will tell him that," McChesney wrote. Baldwin, McChesney added, told Freeh's investigators " a colleague in the AG's office leaked that Curly, Schultz and Sandusky would be charged," and that Spanier "was stunned."

The Freeh Report concluded that Penn State officials had conspired to cover up Sandusky's sex crimes. The NCAA used the Freeh Report to justify draconian sanctions against Penn State that included a $60 million fine, a four-year bowl game ban, and the loss of 40 athletic scholarships.

In other confidential emails included in the source materials for the Freeh Report, McChesney used her experience with the Catholic bishops as a selling point to be hired by Freeh for the Penn State investigation.

"Louie: Just wanted to reach out to you in the event that any of my experiences with the Catholic Bishops Conference would be of use to your team," McChesney wrote. "Too many sad parallels between this case and the Church."

Freeh responded by telling his staff in an email that McChesney's experience in investigating the church would come in handy at Penn State because "the church has an insularity similar to what we are seeing" at Penn State.

Other emails contained in the source materials show Freeh was indeed angling to land the NCAA as a client.

On July 7, 2012, a week before the release of the Freeh Report on Penn State, McNeill, a senior investigator for Freeh, wrote to Freeh. "This has opened up an opportunity to have the dialogue with [NCAA President Mark] Emmert about possibly being the go to internal investigator for the NCAA. It appears we have Emmert's attention now."

In response, Freeh wrote back, "Let's try to meet with him and make a deal -- a very good cost contract to be the NCAA's 'go to investigators' -- we can even craft a big discounted rate given the unique importance of such a client. Most likely he will agree to a meeting -- if he does not ask for one first."

It took seven years but Freeh's efforts finally paid off. This past August, the NCAA hired five employees of the Freeh Group to staff its new Complex Case Unit.

According to the NCAA, the new unit will be paid to investigate allegations of infractions of "core NCAA values, such as alleged failures to prioritize academics and the well-being of student athletes; the possibility of major penalties; or conduct contrary to the cooperative principles of the existing infractions process."

Ray Blehar: McChesney Diary Confirms Freeh & OAG Misconduct.

11 comments:

  1. How and when did Sandusky's lawyers get a copy of McChesney's diary detailing crimes by Frank Fina and others working for PA Attorney General Linda Kelly?

    ReplyDelete
  2. It's a recent development. Now the lawyers have to figure out whether to file a motion based on newly discovered evidence.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Frank Fina and others in Attorney General Linda Kelly's office leaking grand jury secrets to Freeh was long suspected so this is not really surprising.

    I'm not sure if it could help Sandusky's appeal because the Freeh Report did not become public until after Sandusky was convicted. For Sandusky, I think a judge would probably say "no harm, no foul."

    Spanier may have better luck because the Freeh Report was mainly damaging to him and others at Penn State especially Curley, Schultz and Paterno's reputation.

    Spanier may be able to use this new misconduct evidence to get Shapiro to drop his appeal, then he could revive his lawsuit against Freeh using this new evidence as well as lots of old evidence. I'd love to see Freeh, Fina and cronies be deposed for Spanier's lawsuit. I'd be surprised if it goes to trial because Penn State trustees would want to settle with Spanier to avoid further bad publicity. What's another $10 or $20 million settlement after all they've spent already.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Who leaked to the press? Was it Fina or Freeh? What was the point of spending millions on a private investigation if they were piggybacking evidence. Wasn't the point to look for new evidence and be independent of the Attorney Generals office?

    This is just more fodder for those who believe the FBI are untrustworthy individuals and part of the prosecution. They are not the unbiased fact finding agency we were led to believe,just powerful opportunists.

    Can someone use FOIA to get the report from Penn State?

    Thanks for the info, we would never read about this in the Inky. Can journalist be held liable for damages for slander for printing information from non-credible sources like the Justice Department?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Freeh was not part of the FBI during his work for Penn State. He was just a private lawyer trying to cash in on his FBI connections. Either his customers are ignorant of Freeh's terrible record as FBI chief or they simply want a corrupt ex-FBI chief to do a faux investigation.

      The point of Freeh's investigation was to protect the trustees and Second Mile, several of whom were big Second Mile supporters. The trustees put in his contract that Freeh would cooperate with the Attorney General's office so it could not be an independent investigation as advertised. Freeh was not even loyal to the trustees. He sold them out because he was using the investigation to ingratiate himself with the NCAA in order to secure a lucrative NCAA contract.

      I don't know if Freeh could be held criminally liable for accepting secret grand jury evidence from Frank Fina or others in the PA Attorney General's office, but it certainly could be grounds for disbarment.

      Delete
  5. How have Baldwin and Fina escaped any charges? And why is the Phla Inquirer silent on this? Instead putting their Crackerjack Investigative team on investigating volunteer background checks. Pathetic

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Frank Fina is still waiting for the PA Supreme Court decision on whether he loses his law license for a year because of misconduct in the Sandusky case. Fina's disciplinary case is a good example of the corrupt PA judicial system. A complaint was made about Fina on 1/10/2018 and after numerous steps outlined in the link below, he is still awaiting a decision.

      https://www.padisciplinaryboard.org/for-the-public/find-attorney/attorney-detail/71711

      In contrast, Sandusky was arrested on 11/05/2011 and convicted on 6/22/2012 and effectively given a life sentence.

      To summarize, over two years to determine if ex-Deputy Attorney General Fina committed misconduct for which the potential punishment is losing his law license for a year versus Sandusky convicted less than 8 months after arrest and effectively given a life sentence.

      Delete
  6. Baldwin and Fina at least have to worry about the disciplinary board. This is not a PC subject so the Inky would not be interested.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At what point can we expect Louie Freeh to be brought before the State Disciplinary Board and are there grounds to criminally charge the Freeh Crime Organization under RICO.

      Former FBI Directors should not be immune from prosecution for blatant extortion and criminal misconduct.

      Hopefully James Comey and Andrew McCabe will be glaring examples of Equal Justice under the Law.

      Delete
  7. At the least, both Freeh and Fina should be disbarred from the practice of law for life instead of a one year suspension. Not that I care whether on not other law firms hire those clowns but no reputable powerhouse law firm would ever consider this possibility. Best way to settle this mess would be to pardon Spaniner, Curley and Schultz and for both Penn State and the State of Pennsylvania to share in paying off legal fees incurred by them. The Estate of Joe Paterno deserves to be repaid legal fees spent on defending the decedent after his death. Perhaps the Philadelphia law firm that bought out Freeh's law firm should work out a buyout of Freeh from the firm.

    ReplyDelete
  8. While the DOJ and FBI will have been proven to be corrupt and unlawful, clearly over the last 50 years, we stand at a watershed moment and recognize that the NY Times Washington Post et al, are the corrupters that facilitated the greater crimes.

    They should be held accountable.

    The Tech Giants are now the White Knights to restore Truth and Justice, really? Yahoo News has been at the forefront of FBI Lies for years and their Editors and 'journalists' should be prosecuted.

    ReplyDelete

Thoughtful commentary welcome. Trolling, harassing, and defaming not welcome. Consistent with 47 U.S.C. 230, we have the right to delete without warning any comments we believe are obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected.

 

Big Trial | Philadelphia Trial Blog Copyright © 2016 BigTrial.net

Privacy Policy: BigTrial.net does not distribute, share or sell email addresses, or any other personal information received from this website.