At Michael Shermer's site for his Skeptic magazine, I ran across a review of a new book by a very respectable science writer named Mark Pendergrast. It is entitled, The Most Hated Man in America -- Jerry Sandusky and the Rush to Judgement, in which he argues that Sandusky is most likely innocent! Now this is a very sensitive subject and Shermer even included a disclaimer for the review. Some prominent skeptic movement skeptics, such as Jerry Coyne and Danial Dennet have commented on it. It's also gotten some derision, most notably in a couple posts by PZ Myers.
The review notes that repressed memory was involved. The book is endorsed by repressed memory expert, Elizabeth Loftus. Pendergrast has written past books on repressed memory, and he has a new companion book entitled, Memory Warp.
Now I'm going to have to say that maybe I'm being fooled (wouldn't be the first time and most likely not the last). A lot of Pendergrast's research comes from John Ziegler. He's a commentator, filmmaker and former talk show host. He has a website called Framing Paterno. He's a serious journalist (I think an underrated one). He's interviewed Sarah Palin, been on the Today Show, MSNBC and such. He's conservative/libertarian. He appears to be a never Trumper and to dislike FOX news. Pendergrast notes in his chapter on Ziegler, that his interest in this case has negatively affected his career. Ziegler started out believing Sandusky was guilty, but that Paterno was innocent. After doing a startling amount of research, he's concluded that Sandusky is also innocent. He's documented it all in a huge amount of posts, podcasts and videos. If you like crime shows and miss Breaking Bad, I think you'll find them more interesting than the current fare on TV.
One blogger I tweeted to, said it looked like a conspiracy site and it does with a lot of caps and font coloring. But what would you expect such a site to look like? He has a somewhat boisterous style and when he's agitated, he can sound like Gilbert Gottfried (especially on just audio). But he also comes across as very knowledgeable and I don't think anyone would doubt his sincerity. And if there's one thing more certain than his sincerity, it's the huge volume of shoe leather he's put into this case.
I'm not going to summarize the case, since I've provided links that can do it better than I ever could. But since this is a blog about facts that get canned by the mainstream media, I am going to provide a list of facts (many unreported or under reported) about the best known episode -- the boy Mike McQueary saw in the shower:
> Grand jury testimony is secret. We don't know exactly what McQueary said.
> All accounts say that McQueary heard slapping sounds that sounded sexual.
> A man named Allen Myers, claimed to be the boy in the shower. He was in his early to mid twenties, had been married, and had been a sergeant in the marines.
> Jerry Sandusky agreed that that was who it was.
> Myers and Sandusky both say they were either snapping towels or slap boxing and that nothing sexual was going on.
> Meyers wrote a letter to a newspaper in his own name supporting Sandusky and saying that police were pressuring him to make accusations.
> Sandusky went to Myers wedding.
> Myers submitted a sworn statement to the Pennsylvania state police that he was not abused.
> Myers was represented by lawyer Andrew Shubin.
> Shubin represented Myers on a DUI case.
> Shubin represented other Second Mile clients.
> Myers did not testify in Sandusky's trial.
> Meyers' name was not revealed in Sandusky's trial.
> Sandusky was charged and acquitted of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse in this shower incident.
> Sandusky was found guilty on four other charges in this shower incident -- indecent assault, unlawful contact with a minor, corruption of minors and endangering a child's welfare.
> Myers and other Second Mile clients of Shubin got settlements.
I strongly urge readers to visit Ziegler's site and watch some of his videos or listen to some of his podcasts. There are many other startling facts about the whole Penn State scandal.
What's all this got to do with climate change?
In addition to what I noted at the start of this post, I think there are similarities to the plight of John Ziegler and climate bloggers. As Matt Ridley said in his great Angus Miller lecture:
Ridley's lecture is about as old as the grand jury presentment, which started all the Penn State hysteria, but it's still well worth reading or rereading. To all you climate geeks and bloggers -- if they can do this to Penn State, Joe Paterno, Graham Spanier and a perhaps innocent Sandusky, think of what they can do to us!By contrast scientists and most mainstream journalists risk their careers if they take a skeptical line, so dogmatic is the consensus view. It is left to the blogosphere to keep the flame of heresy alive and do the investigative reporting the media has forgotten how to do. In America*, Anthony Watts who crowd-sourced the errors in the siting of thermometers and runs wattsupwiththat.com;In Canada*, Steve McIntyre, the mathematician who bit by bit exposed the shocking story of the hockey stick and runs climateaudit.org.Here in Britain,* Andrew Montford, who dissected the shenanigans behind the climategate whitewash enquiries and runs bishop-hill.net.In Australia*, Joanne Nova, the former television science presenter who has pieced together the enormous sums of money that go to support vested interests in alarm, and runs joannenova.com.au.The remarkable thing about the heretics I have mentioned is that every single one is doing this in his or her spare time. They work for themselves, they earn a pittance from this work. There is no great fossil-fuel slush fund for sceptics.
On a final note, I'll just say that I know that the case of Sandusky is a very emotional issue and that his showering with second mile kids was inappropriate in this day and age, but Pendergrast and Ziegler have uncovered a lot of surprising facts about him. I urge you to read about some of them and if you can refute them, please do!
[Note: Because of the sensitive subject, I'm moderating all comments]