Meet the Woman Who Exposed Jerry Sandusky

November 18, 2012 Comments Off on Meet the Woman Who Exposed Jerry Sandusky

Meet the Woman Who Exposed Jerry Sandusky

She’s Sara Ganim and she’s just 24. In a Glamour exclusive, she tells how she broke the story of Penn State’s sex-abuse scandal and changed college sports forever.  by Liz Brody

“Anything else going on?” Sara Ganim asked her source late one night in 2009. As the crime reporter for a small newspaper in State College, Pennsylvania, it was a question she always ended with. And this evening, to Ganim’s surprise, the source replied, “Well, actually, a boy just came forward to the police and alleged sex crimes against Jerry Sandusky.”….

Ganim, a Penn State grad and a football fan herself, knew her way around the university’s online message boards. There she quickly found gossip about Sandusky getting too friendly with young boys. So she started asking around. “I’d say, ‘Hey, have you heard anything strange about Jerry Sandusky?'” And though people knew about the rumors, Ganim says, “almost no one believed they were true.”

For the next two years, Ganim tried to get real facts—”I just started knocking on doors,” she says—and pursued the story aggressively after joining the staff of Harrisburg’s The Patriot-News in January 2011…..

“Some people closed their doors in my face, and others definitely did not tell me the truth,” she says. “But many were relieved—they were done keeping the story bottled up inside.” What she uncovered was staggering: She identified two alleged victims and learned that Sandusky was under investigation by a grand jury for sexual abuse. (In Pennsylvania such proceedings are held in secret.) Ganim kept digging and, by this time last year, had enough evidence to write the first story exposing the grand jury hearing, as well as accusations that the former coach had molested at least one boy in the university’s locker room.

Some readers savaged the paper for printing “gossip.” But other media and sports reporters ignored the news, even as Ganim continued to report the story. “It felt like we were living in the Twilight Zone,” says The Patriot-News’ editor, David Newhouse. Adds Ganim, “Particularly with the local papers, I thought [that] was pretty irresponsible.” It took a full seven months—after Sandusky was arrested and publicly charged with the sexual abuse of eight boys he met through his charity, The Second Mile—for national news media to pounce. The horrifying charges included repeated oral sex and sodomy; one victim testified that he screamed in vain from the Sandusky family basement, knowing the coach’s wife was upstairs….

On November 8, based on Ganim’s reporting, The Patriot-News published a front-page editorial calling for the resignations of Penn State’s president, Graham Spanier, and its head coach of 45-plus years, Joe Paterno. The day after the editorial, the university forced out both men, and the campus erupted in student riots. It was only then that Ganim realized just how huge her story had become….

In one blistering article, she detailed how an incident witnessed by then grad student Mike McQueary had been watered down with every retelling—from “anal rape,” as McQueary described it to Paterno, to “something of a sexual nature,” as the coach retold it to the school vice president, to what Spanier eventually characterized as “conduct that made someone uncomfortable”—without ever being reported to police. (It later came out that Spanier and the board of trustees had known about the Sandusky investigation for months and done next to nothing.) Ganim’s discerning coverage made sure Penn State and other schools started taking abuse allegations seriously; soon after, similar cases drew attention at Syracuse University and The Citadel.
http://www.glamour.com/inspired/magazine/2012/02/meet-the-woman-who-exposed-jerry-sandusky

Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.

What’s this?

You are currently reading Meet the Woman Who Exposed Jerry Sandusky at Eassurvey's Weblog.

meta