Child Psychologist Who First Reported Sandusky Abuse Accuses PA Officials of ‘Whitewash’

By Barbara Hollingsworth | September 17, 2014 | 10:40am EDT

 

Child psychologist Michael Gillum, who reported in 2008 that Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky was sexually abusing Aaron Fisher (Victim 1). (Facebook)

(CNSNews.com) –  The child psychologist who first reported that former Penn State University football coach Jerry Sandusky was sexually molesting children though his now defunct Second Mile Foundation called the official state report on the scandal released in June by Pennsylvania State Attorney General Kathleen Kane “pretty much a whitewash.”

“All of the huge questions were left unanswered” in Kane’s “investigation of the investigation,” said Michael Gillum, who first reported that Sandusky was abusing Aaron Fisher (Victim 1) in November 2008.

In 2012, Sandusky was convicted of 45 counts of child sexual abuse against 10 victims, including Fisher, and sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison.

Gillum says that the attorney general’s report did not delve deeply enough into the role of Second Mile in the scandal, or the failure of state and county officials to search Sandusky's home for three years after they knew about his abuse of Fisher.

“There’s a lot of huge holes,” Gillum told CNSNews.com.  For example, “I questioned why Second Mile didn’t get investigated very well at all.”

Last week, the NCAA lifted the ban on postseason play and football scholarships it had imposed on Penn State for failing to report Sandusky after former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell recommended doing so in his second annual report as the university’s independent athletics integrity monitor.

However, under a 2012 consent decree, the university must still pay a $60 million fine to an endowment fund administered by Pennsylvania state officials.

“I hope the decreasing punishment does not erode the importance that people place on the extreme misconduct” that took place, said Gillum, who accused state officials of “stalling” the investigation of Sandusky for three years after his initial report.

Kane admitted that “the investigation took too long because of crucial missteps and inexplicable delays in bringing a serial child molester to justice.”

The report’s author, special deputy attorney general and former federal prosecutor Geoffrey Moulton, “didn’t have the power or true independence to investigate, so the many obvious questions I personally asked during the investigation they simply didn’t answer,” Gillum told CNSNews.com.

Chief among them: Why did Pennsylvania state officials “deny permission to get a subpoena to search Sandusky’s house and computer” until three years after Gillum first reported the abuse of Fisher?

Kane’s office confirmed to CNSNews.com that Moulton, who is no longer employed there, “did not have subpoena power,” but declined to comment on Gillum’s charges.

However, page 129 of his report acknowledges that Fisher had “described being victimized at Sandusky’s residence and provided investigators with significant details about the layout and contents of the house… In short, the failure to search Sandusky’s residence earlier in the investigation is difficult to defend.”

Moulton also noted that his report was limited in scope, and "does not address an extensive array of other matters, such as the decision by the Centre County District Attorney in 1998 not to file charges against Sandusky, or the general efficacy or propriety of the operations of The Second Mile."

lawsuit filed last month against Penn State and Second Mile by an 18-year-old identified only as D.F. references Gillum’s report: “In 2008, Defendant-Sandusky was barred from entering Clinton County High School, due to a mother's report that Defendant-Sandusky Sexually assaulted her Child.”

“During its investigation of Defendant-Sandusky’s conduct, the Pennsylvania State Police obtained a number of boxes from Defendant-Sandusky's residence which contained a list of Defendant-The Second Mile participants that had marks next to several participants' names. There was such a mark next to Plaintiff's name.”

The AG report “glosses over what are very blatant and significant issues and facts regarding the delays in prosecuting this case,” Gillum stated in a June 11 letter to Moulton, which was included in the report’s appendix.

“This was a case where all the law enforcement officials involved stated believing Aaron Fisher (Victim 1) and further that Jerry Sandusky was likely victimizing multiple children, yet there were no significant personnel assigned to the case or any task force until the summer of 2011,” the letter stated, noting that several state troopers assigned to the case were inexplicably transferred and not replaced.

“There are critical questions concerning the behavior” of then Attorney General Tom Corbett and his top aides. “We lack emails, other correspondence, and the ability to compel individuals to speak the truth regarding what actually occurred,” wrote Gillum, who is also a board member of the Let Go…Let Peace Come In Foundation, which supports victims of child sexual abuse.

Althugh Moulton cleared Corbett, now governor of Pennsylvania, of any wrongdoing, Gillum accused him “of trying to bury or at least stall the investigation.”

Aaron Fisher, Victim 1 in the Sandusky trial, holds a copy of "Silent No More" outside Central Mountain H.S. in Mill Hall, PA where Sandusky was a volunteer football coach. (AP photo)

Aaron Fisher met Sandusky when he was 10 years old at the Second Mile program. When he came to me, he had just turned 15, and at that point was trying to avoid him. But Sandusky was very persistent,” he said, engaging in what Gillum called “classic grooming behavior.”

Like other mandated reporters in Pennsylvania who have suffered retaliation after reporting suspected child abuse, Gillum says many people in the community, including some law enforcement and child welfare officials, responded to his allegations with hostility.

“I even received threats to kill me,” he told CNSNews.com.

“A lot of people supported Sandusky and a lot of people made negative comments like ‘The kid’s probably lying’,” he added. “How dare you say anything bad about their hero.”

“Aaron Fisher was the first victim to come forward,” Gillum noted. “There’s probably a lot more,” estimating the total number of Sandusky victims is “in the 40s. Sandusky had been doing this a long time.”

Although he knows of no state or county officials who were fired or disciplined as a result of the Sandusky scandal, Gillum lost his own job as a school psychologist in Clinton County after getting permission to write a book about the scandal with Fisher and his mother.

“Before I wrote the book (“Silent No More: Victim 1’s Fight for Justice Against Jerry Sandusky”), I got permission. They had no problem with me writing it,” he told CNSNews.com. “But right before the book came out, they told me if I kept speaking about child abuse, they would terminate my contract.”

“I got pretty angry with them and said you can’t legally do this,” he said.

But in February 2013, after he was reassured that he could continue to advocate on behalf of sexually abused children, “the director called me into his office and terminated my contract. He had no explanation. He just said that ‘we’re going in a different direction’.”

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