PSU Scandal: Highlights from the Freeh Report
Key excerpts, findings and recommendations from the investigation into the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal led by former federal judge and ex-FBI director Louis Freeh:Excerpts
● "Four of the most powerful people at The Pennsylvania State University -- President Graham B. Spanier, Senior Vice President-Finance and Business Gary C. Schultz, Athletic Director Timothy M. Curley and Head Football Coach Joseph V. Paterno -- failed to protect against a child sexual predator harming children for over a decade. These men concealed Sandusky's activities from the Board of Trustees, the University community and authorities."
● "The Board (of Trustees) did not create a `Tone at the Top' environment wherein Sandusky and other senior University officials believed they were accountable to it."
● "Before May 1998, several staff members and football coaches regularly observed Sandusky showering with young boys in the Lasch Building (now the East Area Locker Building or `Old Lasch'). None of the individuals interviewed notified their superiors of this behavior."
● "Janitor B explained to the Special Investigative Counsel that reporting the incident (a 2000 encounter during which a colleague saw Sandusky molesting a boy in a school shower) `would have been like going against the President of the United States in my eyes.' `I know Paterno has so much power, if he wanted to get rid of someone, I would have been gone.' He explained `football runs this University,' and said the University would have closed ranks to protect the football program at all costs."
● "The special investigative counsel found no evidence to indicate that Sandusky's retirement was related to the police investigation of him in 1998."
● Handwritten note, apparently from Paterno to Sandusky: "If there were no (Second) Mile, then I believe you ... probably could be the next Penn State FB coach. But you wanted the best of two worlds and I probably should have sat down with you six or seven years and said look Jerry, if you want to be head coach at Penn State, give up your association with the (Second) Mile and concentrate on nothing but your family and Penn State. ... You are too deeply involved in both."
● "A reasonable conclusion from Spanier's email statement (in 2001after a graduate assistant reported seeing Sandusky with a boy in a shower) that `(t)he only downside for us is if the message isn't `heard' and acted upon, and we then become vulnerable for not having reported it,' is that Spanier, Schultz and Curley were agreeing not to report Sandusky's activity."
● "Neither Spanier nor the University's General Counsel, Cynthia Baldwin, briefed the Board of Trustees about the Grand Jury investigation of Sandusky or the potential risk to the University until the Board's meeting on May 11, 2011 and, then, only at the request of a Trustee who read the March 31, 2011 article" published by The Patriot-News of Harrisburg.
● "Spanier and (university lawyer Cynthia) Baldwin opposed an independent investigation of the Sandusky issue, with Baldwin stating that `(i)f we do this, we will never get rid of this (outside investigative) group in some shape or form. The Board will think that they should have such a group.' Spanier agreed."
● "The Board was unprepared to handle the crisis that occurred when Sandusky, Curley and Schultz were charged. This contributed significantly to its poor handling of the firing of Paterno, and the subsequent severe reaction by the Penn State community and the public to the Board's oversight of the University and Paterno's firing." Findings
● Penn State officials including coach Joe
Paterno and university President Graham Spanier concealed information of
Sandusky's activities from authorities and the public to avoid bad
● Paterno, Spanier, Vice President Gary
Schultz and athletic director Tim Curley "empowered Sandusky to attract
potential victims" by failing to restrict his access to the university
despite receiving two reports of illicit sexual contact involving him
● Spanier failed in his duties as
president by not informing the board of trustees about the allegations
against Sandusky and the subsequent grand jury investigation.
● Once aware of the grand jury
investigation, the trustees failed in their duty to the university by
not pressing Spanier for details about Sandusky's situation.
● The trustees handled Paterno's firing poorly.
● There was no evidence to indicate that Sandusky's 1999 retirement was related to a 1998 police investigation.
● Reinforce the commitment of all
university officials to protect children and create a stronger sense of
accountability and transparency among school leadership.
● Evaluate security and access protocols for all campus buildings and better track university programs involving children.
● Require and provide abuse awareness and reporting training to faculty, coaches and staff.
● Establish a policy for university
police to seek assistance in sensitive investigations or ones where a
conflict of interest may exist.
● Appoint a university ethics officer and an ethics council.
● Strengthen the university's human resources office.
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