Sexual Abuse Charges Filed Against Jerry Sandusky; Penn State Officials Charged With Perjury and Failure to Report

Sexual Abuse Charges Filed Against Jerry Sandusky; Penn State Officials Charged With Perjury and Failure to Report

Disturbing news out of the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office today, where charges of child sexual abuse have been filed against former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. Charges of perjury and failure to report have been entered against Timothy Curley, Penn State's Athletic Director, and Gary Schultz, Senior VP of Finance and Business, a position that oversees the Penn State police department. Head coach Joe Paterno is also said to have testified to a grand jury, although he has not been charged with wrongdoing.

Sandusky is the founder of a program called The Second Mile, which operates programs for young people, according to a press release given by the Attorney General's office. A grand jury investigation has identified eight boys as being targets of sexual activity by Sandusky between 1994 and 2009; all of the encounters began with Second Mile activities.  

“This is a case about a sexual predator who used his position within the university and community to repeatedly prey on young boys,” [Attorney General Linda Kelly] Kelly said. “It is also a case about high-ranking university officials who allegedly failed to report the sexual assault of a young boy after the information was brought to their attention, and later made false statements to a grand jury that was investigating a series of assaults on young boys.

The press release issued by the state's Attorney General details a very troubling story in which Sandusky is said to have encountered a victim, aged either 11 or 12 at the time, through The Second Mile program, then initiated a sexual relationship with him that involved providing expensive gifts and trips to sporting events.

The statement notes that suspicious behavior was discovered by employees of a high school in Clinton County, where Sandusky was a volunteer coach and maintained contact with the boy. After the boy's mother reported allegations of sexual assault in 2009, an investigation was initiated.

Unfortunately, the behavior had been noticed years earlier and discussed with Penn State officials, reportedly including Paterno, who relayed the incident to Curley, but the Penn State officials did not report the incident to external police or follow-up in any way beyond trying to distance Second Mile from the football program, according to the AG's statement.

Curley and Schultz have been charged with perjury after a ground jury determined that they provided false testimony in the case. They are scheduled to surrender on Monday. The perjury offense is a third degree felony punishable by up to 7 years in prison and a $15,000 fine. Failure to report is a summary offense punishable by up to 90 days in prison and a $200 fine.

A summary of the Attorney General's report, including the extensive charges filed against Sandusky and an account of the timeline of events, can be read here. The complete report can be found here. It's horrifying. Both the acts that transpired between Sandusky and at least eight young boys, and that key members of the Penn State athletics program, including Joe Paterno, knew that at least one such act went unpunished, with Sandusky maintaining a presence both in the youth charity and the university. It is far worse than recruiting scandals, gifts to players, and academic cheating, and it will forever mark this era of Penn State football.

A search for additional victims is ongoing.

Phillies sign OF Daniel Nava, LHP Sean Burnett to minor-league contracts

Phillies sign OF Daniel Nava, LHP Sean Burnett to minor-league contracts

The Phillies made a couple quiet additions as the winter meetings ended, signing veteran outfielder Daniel Nava and lefty reliever Sean Burnett to minor-league contracts.

Nava, 34 in February, is a left-handed hitter who can play the outfield corners and first base. He came up with the Red Sox and became a fan favorite in Boston in 2010 as a 27-year-old rookie. Some Phillies fans will remember him for hitting a grand slam off Joe Blanton in his first major-league plate appearance.

Nava had a few decent years in Boston, the best of which was 2013, when he had 536 plate appearances and hit .303/.385/.445 with 29 doubles, 12 homers and 66 RBIs. 

Nava's numbers and opportunities have dropped every year since. He was designated for assignment by Boston in 2015, latched on with the Rays, signed the next year with the Angels and was traded late in the season to the Royals.

Over the last two seasons, Nava has hit just .208, albeit with an on-base percentage 99 points higher because of his 30 walks and 10 hit by pitches.

Burnett, 34, has spent five of the last seven seasons in the Nationals' bullpen. He had a 2.85 ERA in 283 appearances from 2009-12 and parlayed that success into a two-year, $7.25 million contract with the Angels. However, he barely pitched in 2013 and 2014 for the Halos because of an elbow tear. He returned to the Nats last season and allowed two runs in 5⅔ innings.

Burnett, perhaps more so than Nava, has a chance to fill a role with the Phillies if he can stay healthy. He's shown he can get outs at the highest level, posting a 2.38 ERA in 2012 with 9.1 strikeouts per nine innings and a 2.14 ERA with 8.9 K/9 in 2010. That was a long time ago now, and Burnett's fastball has dipped from averaging 90-91 mph to 88.

According to Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith, Burnett will receive a $1.25 million salary if he makes the team and can earn another $1.75 million in incentives based on his number of appearances.

Burnett has an opt-out date of March 26, meaning he can become a free agent a week before the regular season begins if it looks to him like he isn't in the Phils' plans.

Nava's chances at cracking the opening-day roster seem longer because the Phillies are expected to make more depth signings between now and the start of camp. They've prioritized finding some offense in the corner outfield and that could come in the form of more minor-league deals, a guaranteed contract or trade. One potential fit I examined last week was Mariners outfielder Seth Smith, a hitter more proven than Nava (see story).

These minor-league deals were commonplace for Phillies general manager Matt Klentak last offseason, when the only free agent he signed to a major-league deal was reliever David Hernandez. 

Last season, three players who were signed to minor-league deals with invites to spring training made the team on opening day: outfielder Cedric Hunter, utilityman Emmanuel Burriss and reliever James Russell.

Others, such as former closers Edward Mujica, Ernesto Frieri and Andrew Bailey, failed to make the team out of camp. Bailey eventually earned a call-up; the other two didn't.

Former Sixer Lou Williams lighting it up with Lakers off the bench

Former Sixer Lou Williams lighting it up with Lakers off the bench

Former Sixers point guard and Meek Mill collaborator Lou Williams is enjoying quite the run off the bench for the Lakers recently.

Over Los Angeles' last four games, Williams has posted totals of 40, 38, 24, and 35 points. 

The six-man is averaging 34.5 points per game over the stretch, and his 137 points are the most off the bench in a four-game span by any player since 1970-71, when stats were first recorded, per Elias Sports Bureau, via ESPN. Williams is now averaging 19.3 points this season, which is 4.4 more than his highest average with the Sixers.

Williams isn’t the only player who used to play for the Sixers that is playing well for the Lakers this year. Nick “Swaggy P” Young, who also comes off the bench, is averaging 13.3 points per game. Just a few weeks ago, Swaggy P stole a pass intended for Lou Williams, and then proceeded to hit a game winner against the Thunder. Swaggy P, however, is currently sidelined with a right calf strain, but is getting closer to a return.

"Lou Will" was also talked about last April during Kobe Bryant’s final NBA game, when he was beefing on Twitter with another former Philadelphia athlete, LeSean McCoy.