Back in November, just days after the Jerry Sandusky story broke, Mark Madden, a sometimes blowhard radio host and columnist from Pittsburgh, was telling anyone who would listen about an alleged investigation that focused on a child porn ring in which young boys were pimped out to Second Mile donors.
At the time, that tale seemed a bit far-fetched, but it made its rounds in the media and on this site. The story quickly went away, though, and there were no more (legitimate) mentions of it. Until last Friday. That’s when CBS and Radar Online released similar but separate reports that said Sandusky was being investigated for his part in a child porn ring that sent letters to and illegal photos of children across state lines and, maybe, shared rape victims.
Suddenly, that whole “it goes deeper than just Sandusky” sentiment that many assumed, but didn’t want to acknowledge, was given a shred of credibility.
One man, who had already hinted at the existence of a porn ring, was finally given a foundation to support his wild tale.
Greg Bucceroni, 49, garnered quite a bit of intertube attention for himself last week when he commented on a Daily Collegian article (Penn State student newspaper), alleging that he was abused over 250 times by Philadelphia businessman Ed Savitz, who died in 1993 while awaiting trial on a litany of disgusting charges. Savitz, Bucceroni wrote, was involved in a child porn ring that included the Second Mile, Sandusky, mobsters, and seemingly everyone from Jimmy Hoffa to the Loch Ness Monster. His assertions were not unlike many website comments, meaning that they were certainly thought-provoking, intriguing, and perhaps damning, but provided little evidence to back up extraordinary claims (because, no, Nessy never attended a Second Mile fundraiser– we looked into it).
Though there were the obvious red flags that go with most comments, Bucceroni’s story was a bit different. He used his real name (a rarity) and, as it turns out, has told his story to major publications, including the Philadelphia Inquirer and New York Daily News. He also works as a school police officer and is part of a crime-fighting task force.
Last December, Bucceroni, spurred by recent events at Penn State, told the Inquirer of the horrible, deviant and vile abuse he suffered at the hands of Savitz from 1977-1980. Bucceroni made no mention of Sandusky, however.
In July, Bucceroni told the New York Daily News about his abuse… and the time Savitz drove him to a Second Mile fundraiser to hand deliver his enrollment forms for the charity to The Coach, Jerry Sandusky.
More recently, last Thursday, just a day before the CBS and Radar Online released their reports, Bucceroni spoke to WJAC TV in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, telling them about his encounters with Sandusky.
The next day, the reports of an FBI investigation into Sandusky’s participation in a child porn ring came out and, suddenly, Bucceroni’s claims didn’t seem that far-fetched.
I spoke with Bucceroni for nearly three hours on Sunday night, and what he had to say was, for lack of a better word, disturbing.
[What follows is an extremely graphic account of alleged illicit child sexual abuse and the pimping out of young boys to men, including Jerry Sandusky. The language included is NSFW and, even for this site, quite graphic.]
Bucceroni grew up in Philadelphia and started getting involved in mob activities when he was about nine-years-old. The standard stuff, really: running numbers, making deliveries and other odds jobs. He was a gopher, and he was beginning to get in trouble. That’s when he met Savitz, a wealthy businessman and philanthropist who, not unlike Sandusky, used his money, power and hero status to sexually abuse troubled young boys.
Savitz died of AIDs in 1993 while awaiting trial. As mentioned above, he was facing myriad charges relating to illicit sexual conduct.
In an Inquirer commentary that June, then-Philadelphia district attorney Lynne Abraham wrote the following:
"For myself, I would have been well content to let Savitz go to his eternal rest, interred with all the good and the evil he did in his lifetime, fading into the nothingness of "yesterday's news." But no – his lawyers, Barnaby C. Wittels and Stephen Robert LaCheen – won't let the man and the memory diminish.
They continue to attempt to portray him as an icon of virtue, elevating an insatiable collector of 3,500 kiddie porn photos, an eager saver of hundreds of trash bags filled with feces-smeared boys' underwear and smelly gym socks, and an alleged sexual pervert especially involved with young boys, into a person of high moral character."
Savitz was a real freak.
Bucceroni found that out the hard way.
He was a self-described Vinny Barbarino (John Travolta’s character in Welcome Back Kotter, for those of us under 30) and Savitz took a liking to him. At first, the philanthropist would take Bucceroni to sporting events (including Eagles and Penn State football games, Bucceroni says), movies and the like, buying him pretzels, popcorn and sodas. And then alcohol and drugs. Then, just as was the case with Sandusky and his victims, Savitz began getting more touchy-feely with Bucceroni. It started with a hand on the shoulder or leg, but then quickly evolved into… well, we’ll let Bucceroni describe it:
“We started out just going skinny dipping. It was the little things by little things by little things and, before you know it, the more you got comfortable and dependent on drugs and alcohol, the more he would start to ask, Can I massage you and jerk you off? Can I rub your butthole? When licking your balls, can you ejaculate on my face? It was the little things that became bigger things as time went on.”
Those terms are relative, big and little, because what, to most people, would be horrific abuse, was merely the tip of the iceberg with Savitz:
“He engaged in oral sex, masturbation, me using dildos on him, pissing on him, soiling dirty clothes. Selling to him fresh shit, where either I’d shit on him or I’d shit in his mouth or shit then smash it all over him while he rolled around on the ground barking like a dog and I was beating him with a whip. Stuff like that. Jamming dildos in his ass. You know, playing Darth Vader with the light sabers, but the light sabers were my penis and his penis and other kids’ penises. He wanted us to be Luke Skywalker and he was Darth Vader. And he even had his stupid fucking Darth Vader some kind of fucking mask, he’d wear. He was a sick fuck.”
It wasn’t just the deviant sex, either. Savitz liked to take photos of his victims. Photos to jerk off to. Photos to send to others for the purpose of “pimping out” his victims to other men, including Sandusky. Bucceroni says:
“When he took 8mm film or regular pictures, you couldn’t just go anywhere to go that developed, so we would go to this company called Brighton Enterprises, which was a front for the Gambino crime family.”
“[He would take] photos of me and other kids, and then he would mail them, US mail, to whatever person wanted them. So they just have us in sexual positions to see what we were packing. Meaning our penis.”
Do you know who those photos went to?
“They went to Sandusky, too.”
“In 1977, he took pictures – nude pictures – of me in provocative positions that he said he was mailing to ‘The Coach’ at Second Mile. ‘The Coach’ he was talking about was Sandusky. And he introduced me in 1979 and 1980 as, ‘this is the coach I’ve been telling you about and he’s been dying to meet you.’”
Savitz met Sandusky two times, but says he believes there were other social events, not related to Second Mile, where The Coach was present.
Sandusky had seen the photos of Bucceroni and wanted Savitz to bring his prized possession to a Second Mile event. The alleged offer was $200, for sex.
“Savitz picked me up in Blackwood, New Jersey, where I was living, and transported me to the State College area for the sole intention of engaging in sexual activities in a private motel room with Sandusky, for $200.”
Bucceroni met Sandusky at the Second Mile event, but never made it to the after-party, which is where these deals were consummated.
Savitz was a fanatic. Bucceroni says that punctuality was one of his many obsessions. The start of the after-party was running behind schedule and Savitz wanted to leave. There was no way he was leaving Bucceroni behind with “those sickos,” as Savitz called them. Instead, someone, who Bucceroni described as “a fat slob,” followed Savitz and Bucceroni back to Philadelphia and purchased Bucceroni’s services for the night. $200.
“I was some cheap whore being pimped out,” Bucceroni said. It wasn't the first, or last, time Savitz sold him for sex.
There was a second encounter with The Coach, in 1980.
“Same thing. [Sandusky] wanted more pictures of me masturbating. I was massaging my testicles. There was 8mm in that particular one. Same thing– we drop it off to one of the Brighton Enterprise locations and they developed it. Went to post office, he dropped them off, sending it to Sandusky up in the State College area.”
Bucceroni didn’t know who Sandusky was. He knew he was a boss at the youth program, but wasn’t a football fan and was unaware of Sandusky’s accomplishments. He just knew that the Second Mile was a potential landing place for troubled youths, like himself. It was around this time that Savitz encouraged Bucceroni to fill out an application because, if Bucceroni were arrested, Savitz would use his connections to get him out of trouble and into the Second Mile. Bucceroni believed he would be given his freedom in return for sexual favors.
“There was a social fundraiser event and I was supposed to go after that event to a hotel room to have sex.”
“What happened that time was everything had gone good, everyone was happy. Sandusky told Savitz he’d be back and [we] were supposed to go to this after thing at a hotel or motel or whatever. Sandusky tells Savitz that he’ll be back in five minutes. So, Savitz is fanatic on time and five minutes turns out to be an hour and a half, and no Sandusky. There was no way to get a hold of him because there were no cell phones at the time. So, Savitz is freaking the fuck out. Everything had to be exact with that guy, no exceptions. He didn’t care who you were. He’s a multi-millionaire. He’s got more money than you. So he didn’t care, and he’s a fanatic. He’s flipping the fuck out. He was in a rage and I didn’t want to be around him when he was in a rage. He was in a rage—‘Either get in the car or you’re walking the fuck home, [he said].’”
Bucceroni was in his mid-teens by this point. He was bigger than Savitz and he wanted his money for the night. So, Savitz paid Bucceroni $200. Nothing ever happened between Sandusky and Bucceroni.
Bucceroni says the atmosphere at those parties was weird. Many of the people in attendance were simply there for a charity fundraiser. Others, like Savitz and Sandusky, were there for those and more nefarious reasons. Most of the time, Bucceroni says, the men in attendance were normal, well-off businessmen. Other times? Awkward, fumbling, shells of their outwardly-projected selves, fawning over young boys like a child at a puppy adoption event.
That is, until Joe Paterno arrived.
“[Savitz] is introducing me to people and that’s where the wink-wink, hint-hint, touch-touch comes in. Not sexual, just like their secret society codes. Then it comes to guys where their postures change. Once the conversation continues in a more discreet part of this function—where you’re a little bit to the side or have a table by yourself—that’s where they kind of touch you on your knee, rub you on your back, rub on your thigh. Nothing sexual, but, like, provocative.”
“Savitz would hand them nude photos that were brought to the event, discreetly. And then the guys would say, ‘Come over, we’ll barbecue, bring your bathing suit– not that you’ll need it HA HA HA.’ Shit like that. The guys that he’s introducing us to, their posture would change from a straight legitimate married person to more of a gay, sexual pedophile. Their sexual body language, their tone was very soft and sexual, like you’re trying to talk to a girl in the bar… with the goal to get down her pants. That’s how we were treated at the Second Mile. But then, here comes the mention of Paterno: whether [they] saw him, or they said he was in the room—because these are not small rooms, these are big halls—whether they saw Paterno, or he was in the area… all that shit stopped and everyone was straight and narrow.”
“I didn’t know who [Paterno] was. I knew he was some kind of no-nonsense guy – this is what Sandusky said – that didn’t tolerate it. He wasn’t down for all that stuff. Savitz said that and Sandusky confirmed it to us.”
I pushed back on Bucceroni here because I found it odd that Paterno stood out to him if he didn’t know who the head coach was. Bucceroni explained that the kids Savitz brought with him (and those involved in the Second Mile) were troubled. Paterno not being “down for all that stuff,” meant that he wouldn’t tolerate any fighting, cursing, drinking, etc. Basically, sex solicitation notwithstanding, the kids were to be on their best behavior when Paterno was around and at the Second Mile events in general.
One Saturday that same year, 1980, Savitz, as he would frequently do, supposedly offered Bucceroni $20 a head for each boy he could “recruit” to come over and pose for pictures/perform sex acts/poop on him. You know, the usual. Bucceroni and his friend, another one of Savitz’s favorites, grew tired of waiting as a train of boys went in and out of Savitz’s bedroom.
Bucceroni and his friend, senior Savitz victims, cut to the front of the line so they could get their money and get out of there. Their cutting the line caused a fight with the other street-tough kids in Savitz’s expensive Rittenhouse condo. Savitz got angry, rolled up a $20 bill, threw it in Bucceroni’s face, and told him to get lost. Bucceroni, now considerably bigger than Savitz, punched his tormenter. The fracas continued out onto the street, much to the horror of Savitz’s affluent neighbors.
The cops were called.
Bucceroni and some others were arrested.
At the police station, Bucceroni told detectives about the four years of abuse he suffered at the hands of Savitz. The police didn’t buy the story, but they let Bucceroni go as Savitz decided not to press charges.
He did, however, take out a restraining order on Bucceroni.
Needless to say, Bucceroni never became part of any Second Mile programs. He continued his involvement with the mob for a couple more years until 1982 when he joined the military. He now works as a school police officer and, for the last 14 years, has volunteered for the DA’s office as a victim’s advocate.
Bucceroni’s story, if true, has far-reaching implications. He’s talked to the FBI, but isn’t sure if his allegations are the sole reason for its investigation into Sandusky’s involvement with a child porn ring. Bucceroni says there are details – specifically in the most recent Radar Online report, which allege that Sandusky and another man abused a boy aboard a private plane – well beyond what he’s claiming happened. Remember, Sandusky never touched him.
One part of Bucceroni’s story that stood out concerned Brighton Enterprises, the Philadelphia-based business that he says developed child pornography for the Gambino crime family. It sounds far-fetched, but it’s not. In fact, Anthony Trombetta, whose name we discovered is on the deed, was convicted in 1975 on federal charges of transporting women across state lines for prostitution and was once regarded as Philly’s porn kingpin.
From a 2007 Philly Mag article, by Victor Fiorillo, on, you guessed it, pornography:
"So, I wondered, what amazing business practices have allowed the Forum to remain open in the age of virtual sex? To find out, I decided to track down the masterminds behind the theater. In my search for the owners, I came across Anthony Trombetta, a 64-year old grandfather who has been involved in the porn business for decades. Trombetta was convicted in 1975 on federal charges of transporting women across state lines for prostitution, and he was named in the Meese Commission’s 1986 report as Philadelphia’s porn kingpin. The report also mentioned alleged ties between a company he operated and the Gambino crime family, once led by John Gotti. But the most valuable piece of information in my pursuit came from a 2004 “Ask the Geator” column in Atlantic City Weekly in which the Geator, a.k.a. Jerry Blavat, mentions an Anthony Trombetta who was once a crooner in the doo-wop band Rick & the Masters."
It turns out Trombetta is not only a porn man, but he’s also friends with the Geator. Fiorillo, after an introduction to Trombetta by Blavat, was brushed off and eventually wound up tracking down New York’s porn kingpin, Richard Basciano… at Blavat’s birthday party.
"The Geator didn’t offer to do a three-way [call] this time, but I did hear a rumor that Basciano would probably show up at Blavat’s birthday party at Memories in Margate in July. So down to Margate I went, joining the likes of Bob Brady, Stu Bykofsky and Chuck Peruto. Basciano was there, and I did get a brief audience with him, which amounted to him telling me, “Listen, kid, I’ve been out of that business for 20 years. Talk to Tony Trombetta."
So, yeah, Trombetta, owner of Brighton Enterprises, certainly had his hands buried deep inside the porn industry, organized crime and, apparently, doo-wop. Bucceroni’s story passes that sniff test.
Bucceroni’s biographical information checks out, too. He is, in fact, who he says he is. Records show that he works as a police officer for a charter school in the city (so does the Google machine) and that he’s part of an anti-crime task force. His brother, Kevin, is the school board president in Blackwood.
But, then there are the somewhat fantastical portions of Bucceroni's story.
He was involved in mob activities until around the time he was 18, when he joined the military. He not only claims to have met Sandusky, but also to have met, worked with, or been involved in situations surrounding Mumia Abu-Jamal and the cop he was convicted of killing in 1981, Daniel Faulkner. And Henry Hill and Jimmy Burke, of Goodfellas fame. It’s a lot to digest and, if true, would make Bucceroni the Forrest Gump of unfortunate encounters. But perhaps it’s all plausible for someone involved with the mafia around that time.
Bucceroni is no stranger to the press, either. His story about Savitz, which he kept inside for over 30 years until Sandusky allegations inspired him to go public, has been told to a number of mainstream and independent outlets, in varying detail:
Maggie’s Notebook. And many others.
He’s told his story in the comments of the Daily Collegian’s webpage and almost nonstop on his Twitter account (@gregbucceroni). He’s not shy about it and understands that his words will be met with a healthy dose of skepticism. He doesn’t want money (he says he would have said Sandusky “touched his pecker,” if that’s what he wanted). He simply wants the facts to come out that Sandusky was just one of many sick men who abused boys as part of a sex ring.
In her five-part series about The Second Mile, Patriot-News reporter Sara Ganim downplayed Bucceroni’s assertions, incorrectly writing that he claimed on the Daily Collegian’s website that he was abused by Sandusky. He didn’t. He wrote that he was introduced to Sandusky by Savitz, hinting at the existence of a so-called child porn ring in which young boys were shared for sex.
Bucceroni has since spoken to Ganim, he says. [We reached out to Ganim to confirm that, but did not receive a response.]
There’s more, too: Bucceroni is a real-life Batman. Well, sort of. Last year, he was beaten with a brick while walking a 13-year-old boy home in West Kensington. He’s convinced his attackers were trying to kill him because of his work to stop street corner drug sales.
And then there’s the perplexing Greg Bucceroni Reports series on YouTube, a collection of investigative videos attacking… The Guardian Angels. Yeah, he has a beef with a rival faction of volunteer crime fighters.
Despite these things being somewhat (very?) odd, they are all good-intentioned, and (mostly) legitimately recognized efforts to clean up the streets.
Bucceroni does, however, make some drastic leaps from fact to theory that we can in no way endorse at this point. Among them: He says that Louis Freeh, the former FBI director who conducted an independent investigation at Penn state that, as we wrote last month, stopped exactly at its paywall (the board of trustees), never explained why his investigation went back no further than 1998. Bucceroni believes that’s because Freeh was afraid of what he might find, especially as it relates to – remember, Bucceroni’s assertions here – the mafia, which Freeh investigated and subsequently wrote a book about.
Bucceroni says that Sandusky prosecutor Joe McGettigan wasn’t interested in hearing his story because it doesn’t bring any further allegations against Sandusky, Paterno or Penn State.
Bucceroni thinks that Lynne Abraham – yes, the same Philadelphia DA who wrote that commentary about Savitz – prematurely and quietly concluded her independent investigation of Second Mile because it might, yep, turn up information about Savitz and the people he was connected to… including Ed Rendell, who is the main target of Bucceroni’s anger.
Bucceroni claims that Savitz was buddies with Rendell and donated a lot of money to his 1977 District Attorney campaign. He also makes the huge leap to call Rendell an enabler, who knew full-well what Savitz was up to, citing the fact that his victims were often around Rendell and helped out with his campaign, but did nothing because Savitz was a political backer. That’s a massive leap, as it’s assumed (and noted by Bucceroni) that Savitz had contact with many powerful men, who may only be guilty by association. But, Bucceroni points out that, to this day, Rendell is still friends with members of the Savitz family, including Savitz’s brother, Samuel, and his wife, Selma. Indeed, in 2009, Rendell, as Governor, honored Selma for her volunteer work.
Bucceroni says that, last fall, he was sent into a rage when he saw Rendell on TV speaking out against the culture of secrecy at Penn State. The street-tough victims advocate wanted to take drastic measures just so he could get a trial and have his claims investigated.
Once again, Bucceroni’s words:
“I was considering walking up to Ed Rendell and putting a fucking bullet in his head. And you can print that. I stalked him out like a serial killer and I was waiting.”
Thankfully for Rendell, Bucceroni, and humanity in general, Bucceroni thought better of it and got himself help with Women Organized Against Rape of Philadelphia. In the months since, he’s learned to channel his anger, he says, and wants to fight back as best he can– by getting the word out there about what he believes is a culture of child rape and its enablers that goes well beyond what happened at Penn State.
Bucceroni’s theories may be spot-on. But, it’s quite possible we will never know for sure. He doesn’t have any documents to share. He doesn’t want money, just for child rape enablers (he named other powerful people) to be held accountable. He says that if subpoenaed by a court, he will gladly share emails he’s sent to Abraham and McGettigan. Bucceroni wants the curtain lifted on what he claims is a massive child sex ring dating back to the 1970s. Recent reports have strengthened his claims, and the details, dates and characters in his story also check out, but there’s nothing other than his (powerful) words that place him in these situations. The details he gives are specific and there are very few inconsistencies in his recounting of events that happened over 30 years ago, so there’s no legitimate reason to doubt his tales of abuse and meeting Sandusky. The conclusions he draws from those stories, however, are, at best, theories.
Whatever the case, one question remains: Why come out with this now?
“The last 20 years I’ve been a crime victims advocate for the city of Philadelphia. And I, as a coward, have told many people – whether it was shooting victims or rape victims or muggings or things of that nature – to have the courage to stand up and face their offenders, and don’t be scared and I’ll be there for you. All those years I told people to have the courage, yet I didn’t have the courage for myself. So how can you tell someone to fight the good fight and, you know, do it and have the courage, but when I was victimized horribly, caught up in all kinds of craziness in the 1970s and early 1980s, I didn’t have the courage?”
He certainly does now.
The original post included an aside about Trombetta’s recent legal troubles in 2009 and 2010. Those more recent cases related to a different Anthony Trombetta, who had the unfortunate distinction of having the same name and similar business corruption charges in PA as the original Trombetta. That portion of the story has been removed.