Report: Penn St., Paterno Showed No Concern for Sandusky Victims

BY News Desk  July 12, 2012 at 3:18 PM EDT


The long awaited report from Penn State University’s investigation into the child abuse scandal surrounding former football coach Jerry Sandusky concludes that the senior leadership of the school failed to protect children.

“Our most saddening and sobering finding is the total disregard for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s child victims by the most senior leaders at Penn State. The most powerful men at Penn State failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children who Sandusky victimized,” said former FBI director Louis Freeh in a prepared statement about the findings. Freeh was appointed by the university to lead the investigation.

The investigation conducted more than 430 interviews and analyzed more than 3.5 million emails and other documents. It focused on the actions of four key senior members of the Penn State community: Former head football coach Joe Paterno, former university president Graham Spanier, former vice president Gary Schultz and former athletic director Tim Curley. Paterno died in January at the age of 85 and was not interviewed by investigators. Schultz and Curly both face criminal charges for alleged perjury and failing to report suspected child abuse.

Last month, Sandusky was convicted on 45 counts of sexually abusing 10 boys over the course of 15 years.

“Taking into account the available witness statements and evidence, it is more reasonable to conclude that, in order to avoid the consequences of bad publicity, the most powerful leaders at Penn State University — Messrs. Spanier, Schultz, Paterno and Curley — repeatedly concealed critical facts relating to Sandusky’s child abuse from the authorities, the Board of Trustees, Penn State community, and the public at large. Although concern to treat the child abuser humanely was expressly stated, no such sentiments were ever expressed by them for Sandusky’s victims,” Freeh wrote in his statement.

An image of a 2001 handwritten note by Penn State Senior Vice President Gary Schultz. Labeled as Exhibit 5E in the Freeh Report

Before his death, Mr. Paterno said: “I didn’t know exactly how to handle it and I was afraid to do something that might jeopardize what the university procedure was. So I backed away and turned it over to some other people, people I thought would have a little more expertise than I did. It didn’t work out that way.”

Freeh’s statement went on to say:

“The evidence shows that these four men also knew about a 1998 criminal investigation of Sandusky relating to suspected sexual misconduct with a young boy in a Penn State football locker room shower. Again, they showed no concern about that victim. The evidence shows that Mr. Paterno was made aware of the 1998 investigation of Sandusky, followed it closely, but failed to take any action, even though Sandusky had been a key member of his coaching staff for almost 30 years, and had an office just steps away from Mr. Paternos. At the very least, Mr. Paterno could have alerted the entire football staff, in order to prevent Sandusky from bringing another child into the Lasch Building. Messrs. Spanier, Schultz, Paterno and Curley also failed to alert theBoard of Trustees about the 1998 investigation or take any further action against Mr.Sandusky. None of them even spoke to Sandusky about his conduct. In short, nothing was done and Sandusky was allowed to continue with impunity.”

We will have more on the report throughout the day. We will have more on this story on tonight’s NewsHour.

View the full report: