Last month, I interviewed Greg Bucceroni, the school police officer (and apparent former mobster) who claims that he was abused from 1977-1980 by powerful Philadelphia businessman Ed Savitz, who died of AIDS while awaiting trial for doing all sorts of vile things to young boys. Bucceroni says that Savitz took nude photos of him and tried to pimp him out to Jerry Sandusky.
Bucceroni has spoken to many media outlets – some independent, some mainstream – about his alleged abuse. He claims that Ed Rendell and other famous and infamous men covered up a massive child sex ring involving Savitz, Sandusky and others. [Rendell, Bucceroni says, received campaign contributions from Savitz.]
Parts of his story are believable, other parts – specifically, the accusations against politicians and other notables – seem far-fetched.
Today, Bucceroni will tell the story on Dr. Phil. Here’s a preview of the show:
Bucceroni is also the subject of a Daily News cover story, which basically calls him a liar.
Specifically, the story’s writer, William Bender, finds that Bucceroni’s claims about Rendell (the DN story cites what Bucceroni told me– that he wanted to put a fucking bullet in Rendell's head), mobsters, cops, Mumia Abu-Jamal, and others, don’t check out: [Philly.com]
These only scratch the surface of Bucceroni's latest allegations. None of it checks out.
Bucceroni says he told Rendell about Savitz's abuse when Rendell was D.A. in the late '70s or early '80s. Rendell said Bucceroni is lying.
"That guy is completely crazy. I don't know anything about what he's talking about, and none of it's true," Rendell said. "The guy is just crackers."
Bucceroni says that he contacted senior Deputy Attorney General Joseph McGettigan, who prosecuted the Sandusky case, in July and that McGettigan was "rude and obnoxious" and tried to talk him into giving false testimony.
"That's an absolute lie," McGettigan said. He said he doesn't know Bucceroni and doesn't recall ever speaking with him.
"The story keeps evolving and changing," said Sara Ganim, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Patriot-News reporter who broke the Sandusky story. Ganim said Bucceroni contacted her over the summer with new allegations, but couldn't provide details. Bucceroni has since been harassing her by email and with vulgar tweets, Ganim said.
"I asked him for the names of other guys in the pedophile ring, and he said he could only remember first names," Ganim said. "Now he can remember all these famous pedophiles?"
Ralph Cipriano, a former Inquirer reporter who interviewed Bucceroni for his book The Hit Man, about Philly mobster John Veasey, said he considered Bucceroni to be "spectacularly unreliable" and cut him from the book because "his facts did not seem to be reality-based."
A federal law-enforcement source familiar with Bucceroni said he is not considered credible.
"He runs around grabbing headlines," said a close relative. "That's what I think this is. Somebody needs to out him. It's not fair to the real victims."
The relative said that Bucceroni's "family is beside itself."
I agree with most of that skepticism. Here’s what I wrote in my post last month:
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.
The mob ties and crazy stories about being involved with such notorious criminals cast doubt on everything else Bucceroni says, and every accusation he makes. Again, the Forrest Gump thing.
And then there are the leaps to conclusions. [Some of this is re-posted from the original story.]
He says that Louis Freeh, the former FBI director who conducted an independent investigation at Penn State, 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.
About Rendell: Bucceroni claims that Savitz was buddies with Rendell and donated a lot of money to his 1977 District Attorney campaign. He also calls 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, whose guilt may only be by association.
Bucceroni told me he wanted to kill Rendell when he saw him speaking out against secrecy at Penn State last fall.
Right or wrong, it’s those accusations that make you question the legitimacy of the Savitz-Sandusky story. What I wrote last month:
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.
But there are things, fringe details, that check out, and some of the doubts about Bucceroni may be unwarranted.
Despite the craziness of many parts of his story, I found very little evidence that Bucceroni has changed his tune. Yes, the web of evil he’s spinning seems to grow by the week, but all details are consistent throughout the numerous outlets he has spoken to. Crazy, but consistent.
Dates, times, places, and dollar amounts included in his recounting of events related to Savitz and Sandusky haven’t changed. He says he was offered $200 to have sex with Sandusky at two Second Mile events in 1979 and 1980, respectively. On both occasions, Savitz refused to leave Bucceroni overnight in Happy Valley and brought him home, once allowing Bucceroni to go back to Philly with “a fat slob,” who molested him.
Ganim, the Patriot-News reporter, wrote that Bucceroni, in the comments section of the Daily Collegian, Penn State's student newspaper, first claimed to have been a victim of Sandusky, but then changed his tune to say he was merely introduced to him. That’s wrong. I couldn’t find any instance of Bucceroni saying that Sandusky abused him (trust me, I looked).
And then there are the very specific details, ones that are almost too specific to be completely made up.
Bucceroni told me that Savitz would have pictures of nude boys developed at Brighton Enterprises, in South Philly. As it turns out, Anthony Trombetta, whose name I discovered is on the deed at Brighton Enterprises, was convicted in 1975 on federal charges of transporting women across state lines for prostitution, and was once regarded as Philly’s porn kingpin. Philly Mag even wrote about him a few years ago.
Bucceroni claims Rendell is still friendly with the Savitz family. That’s hard to prove, but, in 2009, Rendell, as Governor, honored Selma Savitz, Ed’s sister-in-law, for her volunteer work. Rendell and Sam Savitz (Ed’s brother and Selma’s husband) also both hold or held board positions at the Kimmel Center (their respective levels of involvement are unclear, however). So, it seems they run in the same circles.
I’m not advocating for Bucceroni, trust me. I think parts of his story are fantastical. But, there are many ways to bring attention to yourself… saying you shit on another man for money (which Bucceroni says he did with Savitz) is certainly an interesting way to do that. Now, whether he has a serious ax to grind with Rendell and others, and this is just a way of doing it… well, I suppose that’s a possibility, too.
Anyway, the Daily News story is a must-read. And we’ll keep you updated on that Dr. Phil thing.