We told you yesterday about filmmaker John Ziegler's lunatic shouting tour to promote his jailhouse interview with Jerry Sandusky. Ziegler had hoped to use that interview to help rescue Joe Paterno and other Penn State officials from allegations that they covered up Jerry Sandusky's sex crimes against children. That effort has backfired spectacularly.
Ziegler's plan, which included airing portions of the Sandusky interview on television, was so misguided even the Paterno family has distanced themselves from him. Another part of that plan called for revealing the name of the victim from the infamous 2001 Penn State shower episode. Ziegler eventually reconsidered, but then it was posted on his site anyway, where it remained for several hours. In the text, the victim's first name appeared five times, his last name once, and the name also showed up for a while in the URL link to a separate document. Ziegler admitted he made a "stupid mistake," but he also claimed that his websites "were immediately hit with a massive and coordinated cyber attack" that initially prevented him from making post-publication edits.
This is the same John Ziegler who, back in January, was asked in front of an audience of Penn State Truthers if they were showing enough concern for the victims. His answer:
“My only thought on the victims,” says Ziegler. “And I can’t stand, every time I do a media appearance, you almost have to spend the first 30 seconds saying, ‘Sandusky’s guilty, I’m sorry about the victims,’ and all that business, which is political correctness run amok.”
Now keep in mind that Ziegler had every intention of outing the man known as Victim 2. He made a subtle reference to it in his stupid challenge to the media published last week. Monday morning, Matt Lauer had to interrupt Ziegler to assure viewers of Today that the name wouldn't be revealed on the air. Yesterday afternoon, Ziegler wrote that if Victim 2 "agreed to speak to me and explain this to me himself, that I would gladly consider not releasing his identity." He later denied that was a threat and accused TMZ of defaming him after the site called him out on it.
Ziegler was trying to show that Victim 2 had remained close with Sandusky until after his arrest. In the months before Sandusky was charged, Victim 2 had written letters on his behalf to the editor of a local newspaper and to the Pennsylvania attorney general's office. Even after Sandusky was charged in November 2011, Victim 2 gave investigators a statement denying Sandusky had ever abused him. But soon after, Victim 2 changed his story and admitted he in fact had been abused. Victim 2's denial had been reported before, but Ziegler now had the corroborating evidence, including the letters and the police statements. (The prosecution never called Victim 2 to testify at Sandusky's trial, after which Victim 2 came forward through his attorneys and announced his intention to sue Penn State. And as recently as October, prosecutors were still saying publicly that Victim 2's identity was unknown.)
Ziegler's "bombshell" about Victim 2's denial is problematic, though, because it flies in the face of sworn testimony offered by Paterno, Mike McQueary, and even Gary Schultz, one of the three Penn State administrators still awaiting trial in the alleged cover-up. That denial is also explained away by Jim Clemente, the sex-abuse expert hired by the Paterno family. In the Paternos' own report on the case, Clemente detailed what he called the compliant victimization theory, which posits that victims have been so conditioned by their abusers that they feel a sense of loyalty to them, even to the point of denying they were ever abused. It makes perfect sense that Victim 2 would adamantly defend Sandusky until the story became a national scandal, and then recant after conditions made it easier for him to come forward. It also explains why Sandusky's defense team didn't call Victim 2 during the trial, either.
But Ziegler is working on a film that defends Paterno (donate here!), and he has a narrative to cling to. Last night, he laid out all of his so-called explosive evidence on his website and sat back and waited for the world to react.
He even called out some of his Twitter trolls at first.
Wait for it ...
Ziegler eventually seemed to think the fix had been made. Not so.
But just a reminder ...
The dog ate John Ziegler's homework.
By this morning the victim's name had been removed. Ziegler tweeted out a link to what he called a "series of apologies." He mentioned victims' rights advocates, his webmaster, his many supporters, "members of the Sandusky family and their representatives," his own wife, and "those, who like me, [sic] desperately want the truth to come out here." John Ziegler did not apologize to the child-sex abuse victim whose identity he shared with the world because of his "stupid mistake."
Update (7:08 p.m., March 28, 2013): Ziegler says he eventually discovered his site sustained a DDoS attack and was not hacked.