Penn State Probe: Freeh Report Reveals Paterno, Administrators Concealed Facts

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Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky (center) leaves the Centre County Courthouse in handcuffs after a jury found him guilty in his sex abuse trial on June 22, 2012 in Bellefonte, Penn.

UPDATED: 11 a.m.

The independent investigation into the Penn State child sex abuse scandal has revealed that a number of senior administrators at the university knew about two separate instances of misconduct by Jerry Sandusky but failed to act properly on the charges.

Conducted by Louis Freeh, a federal judge and former FBI director, the investigation released Thursday morning [PDF] shows that four of the “most powerful people” at Penn State, including the late Joe Paterno, “failed to protect against a child sexual predator harming children for over a decade.” The report notes:

“The most saddening finding by the Special Investigative Counsel is the total and consistent disregard by the most senior leaders at Penn State for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s child victims.”

The report says Paterno, along with former President Graham Spanier, former Vice President of Business and Finance Gary Schultz, who had control of the Penn State police department, and former athletic director Tim Curley, “in order to avoid the consequences of bad publicity … repeatedly concealed facts relating to Sandusky’s child abuse from the authorities, the University’s Board of Trustees, the Penn State community, and the public at large.”

(LIST: Seven Key Players in the Penn State Abuse Case)

The figure whose reputation could suffer most from Freeh’s report is Paterno, the legendary Penn State football coach. Paterno was removed from his position as head coach in November after it was alleged he knew of the abuse but failed to escalate the situation. Freeh’s report argues that Paterno did indeed know about the abuse, particularly in 2001, when then-graduate assistant Mike McQueary happened upon Sandusky in the Penn State locker room showers with a young boy.

Paterno, who passed away in January after a battle with lung cancer, is still revered on Penn State’s campus, where students rioted after he was fired from his post in the wake of the Sandusky allegations.

A whopping 267-page document, the Freeh report is filled with details about the actions of Penn State administrators conducted during their eight-month investigation. In a press release unveiled Thursday morning, Freeh noted that his team, including lawyers, former prosecutors and former law enforcement officials, conducted 430 interviews and pored through 3.5 million emails and documents. It is the first independent look into the conduct of administrators when they were allegedly alerted of the abuse in both 1998 and 2001.

The report, even before its release, was criticized for its overly detailed focus on Joe Paterno’s action. In a Thursday morning press conference, when asked if Paterno was most at fault in failing to properly escalate the situation, Freeh refused to single  out the individual most responsible. “We came to a reasonable conclusion that all four individuals, including Paterno, made a decision to actively conceal the information. I can’t parse between them as to degrees of responsibility.”

Freeh underscored his report’s finding that the cover-up occurred because of not just the fear of bad publicity, but “a motivation to avoid the consequences of bad publicity – including police investigations, donors being very upset, and the university community being very upset.”

(PHOTOS: Riots Rock Penn State After Paterno Firing)

The report notes that Paterno’s firing was handled poorly, a visceral reaction to the “crisis” faced by the board. Asked in Thursday’s press conference whether his firing was justified, Freeh bluntly answered “Yes.”

Before the report was released, the family of Joe Paterno released a statement defending Paterno and refuting his involvement in the scandal. The family’s letter, released to the Associated Press on Tuesday, says:

“Joe Paterno did not cover up for Jerry Sandusky.  Joe Paterno did not know that Jerry Sandusky was a pedophile.  Joe Paterno did not act in any way to prevent a proper investigation of Jerry Sandusky.  To claim otherwise is a distortion of the truth.”

Freeh was hired eight months ago by Penn State’s Board of Trustees to investigate the university’s response to the sexual abuse allegations. Freeh said Tuesday that no one but his team would be allowed to review the document before its release. Today marks the first time even the Board of Trustees has seen the report.

It faced an uncertain release date, but earlier this week Freeh revealed that the report would be released imminently – setting a Thursday launch date and unveiling TheFreehReportonPSU.com where it would be available to the public. The reason for the report, Freeh said in a statement Thursday morning, “we sought to clarify what occurred, including who knew what and when events happened, and to examine the University’s policies, procedures, compliance and internal controls” that led to a failure to report the charges.

In anticipation of the report, ESPN spoke to someone connected to Penn State’s trustees who said report would be “very broadly based” and “very harsh in a lot of areas.” “Everyone is going to get hammered,” the source told ESPN. Trustees were alerted that the report would be wide-reaching and potentially explosive. The Penn State Board of Trustees is convening today at the college’s Scranton-Worthington campus – their usually routine meeting is expected to receive exponentially greater attention as they determine how to proceed with the recommendations made by Freeh in the report.

Jerry Sandusky’s conviction last month on 45 out of 48 counts of criminal child sexual abuse may have affirmed his personal guilt, but the fate of the scandal hinges on others in the Penn State hierarchy who’ve been implicated. At least two Penn State administrators still face criminal charges of perjury and failure to report the abuse.

(MORE: What Makes a Pedophile Tick?)

Former athletic director Tim Curley and former VP for finance and business Gary Schultz have come under wide scrutiny for their alleged roles in the scandal. While Curley and Schultz have both denied any wrongdoing, recent email leaks have alleged that the administrators attempted to deflect the situation, allegations that Freeh’s report appears to support.

Former university president Graham Spanier was fired from his position in November just after the scandal broke. He hasn’t been charged with any crime, but Freeh’s report indicates that he, too, knew about the investigation into Sandusky. His attorneys sounded off to USA Today on Tuesday, before the report came to light:

“At no time in the more than 16 years of his presidency at Penn State was Dr. Spanier told of an incident involving Jerry Sandusky that described child abuse, sexual misconduct or criminality of any kind, and he reiterated that during his interview with Louis Freeh and his colleagues.”

Jerry Sandusky, the ex-defensive coordinator for Penn State’s football team, was arrested on November 5, 2011 after the release of a grand jury presentment that alleged he had committed criminal sexual acts with children. The grand jury’s investigation, conducted over two years, contained sworn testimonies of eight young boys who alleged they had been abused by Sandusky.

In December, two more young boys came forward to say that Sandusky abused them. The ex-coach was originally charged with 52 counts of abuse, though during his June trial four of those counts were dropped. The trial was expected to take three weeks but was sent to the jury in less than two; a verdict was reached in less than 24 hours. Over the course of the eight days of testimony, they jury heard from eight out of the 10 young boys – now men – who said they were abused by Sandusky. Some told tales of showering with the coach after workouts, at which point he would abuse them. Many said they spent nights at Sandusky’s home, sleeping in the basement with Sandusky, when he would force sex on them. The abuse occurred over the course of 15 years.

Sandusky met the boys, who were between the ages of 10 and 13 when the abuse occurred, through his charity, The Second Mile, which he started in 1977. Now shuttered, the charity was launched to provide mentors and father figures to troubled kids.

Sandusky faces up to 400 years in jail if he receives the maximum sentence and is currently being held at the Centre County Jail pending his sentencing this fall. Despite his conviction, Sandusky and his lawyers have maintained his innocence and plan to appeal the conviction.

MORE: Jerry Sandusky Trial: The Uncomfortable Testimony

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28 comments
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jonjon1958
jonjon1958

Fact is the Paterno family and Jay Paterno in particular continues to support his father in this matter. Fact is that there is nothing that can be said and or done to support someone who allows young boys to be raped. Joe Paterno was not a stupid man and any suggestion of him not knowing what was going on is just ridiculous. I wonder if Jay Paterno would feel the same way if it was his son who was raped by the inactions of people in power. Regardless of what Mr Freehs findings did or did not cover nothing that any other witness could bring up justifies or makes right what Joe Paterno did not do which was do everything humanly possible to stop a pedophile. Whatever good Joe Paterno did while at Penn State is now gone. His legacy will forver be linked to this scandal

Veronica Lodge
Veronica Lodge

Jay Paterno was just on CNN where he gave new meaning to the word DENIAL.

Clearly this was a criminal conspiracy.  How on earth have no charges been filed against Spanier?

Whatnow05
Whatnow05

But....But... Football!

Always seems like people are whiling to give a pass (pun?) if you can play (or win)  sports or dance well.  Just think what Hitler's reputation would have been today.

"Yeah Hitler guy was a real douchebagel" 

"Sure could run that ball though.. and man you see him dance on stage!!?"

Kathy Arnold
Kathy Arnold

start looking at little leagues and go up,up,up!

Kathy Arnold
Kathy Arnold

start looking at other coaches!   high office!

adamsarah630
adamsarah630

Now all the idiot students who rioted over the little pious scum JoePa will have to take down his fake statue. Dumb Dottie knew what was happening also.YOU SHOULD READ THIS ARTICLE  ...... FinancialsReports.blogspot.com...

DEKSOFT
DEKSOFT

Isn't it more than a tad bit strange that when Mike McCreary came to Joe Paterno's home to tell Paterno, the emotional, demonstrative coach that was always seen yelling at his players and the officials, that he witnessed Sandusky, Paterno's right hand man of more than twenty years, having inappropriate sexual conduct with a young boy that Paterno replied "I'll take it from here" and expressed no shock, indignation, or surprise? It is obvious that Paterno was not shocked or surprised

because he heard it before but yet this man who is lauded as a God by many fools, cared more about his football team than about little children who were being molested.

I hope that the NCAA makes Penn State ineligible for Bowl games for the next three to five years. Penn State wants to quickly settle with the victims and forget about the horrible things that occurred but they need to be deprived of both the

millions of dollars in revenue and national exposure they would receive from participating in a bowl game.

I have read many comments around the Internet today from people that feel it was only these four people mentioned by Louis Freeh who were responsible and that no one else at Penn State should be penalized. Sorry, but that is totally wrong. High level officials at Penn State knew what was going on for a dozen years (or more) and caused countless young men to continue to be molested (and there's probably more victims that were too frightened or embarassed to come forward) and the University must not be allowed to simply write a bunch of checks and act like all is forgotten and

forgiven.

JohnOBX
JohnOBX

If it is going on at Penn State, you can bet it is going on elsewhere.  Maybe not pedophiles, but cover-ups and enabling of other bad behavior.  I love sports as much as the next fan...well, maybe not as much as that guy in the full body paint and eighteen inch orange wig...but the sports-mania in this county has gotten out of hand.  

BalanceZero
BalanceZero

The monster destroyed young children while the people in charge did nothing.

There is no justification for doing absolutely nothing to stop it.

None.

jason024
jason024

Terrible story all around. Sure JoePa may not be as responsible as Sandusky but one thing is clear from the report, he lied like everyone else. 

People defending him should be ashamed. He is arguably the most influential football coach in a university. Anything that man said was taken as gospel at PSU. To think he couldn't  speak up  when he clearly knew what was going on  is deplorable.

adamsarah827
adamsarah827

 What about the Vatican and Pope concealing all the abuses by the priests???? Why do they get to get away with this?????

TheWanderer
TheWanderer

>

>> How any adult can turn a blind eye to the rape of a child

>> is beyond comprehension.

>

You have got to be kidding!!

In the American, capitalist society, it's ALL about money. Rightly or wrongly, the individuals who turned a blind eye at Penn State, felt that the profitability of the athletic program at Penn State, as well as the university's income from wealthy contributors, was threatened.

If we want a more compassionate, just society, there needs to be compromise between capitalistic goals and social responsibility. Until we, as a society, choose to make this happen, any one that gets in the way of the almighty dollar is gunna get thrown under a bus.

Hollywooddeed
Hollywooddeed

No, I wasn't kidding.

While I understand that some people will bow to the gods of money, power and sports teams, I'm stumped that a human being in a university culture can allow violence to be done to a child and stand silent.

In addition to a lack of conscience, there must be a gigantic wimp factor.

Mike259
Mike259

You are correct. It was about the money.

More egregious trepasses have been committed in other time and settings because of money and power.

What a bunch of scum. I hope they erase that little halo they painted on Paterno on the wall a Penn State. Better yet, they should erase him like they did Sandusky.

KimDur
KimDur

Now all the idiot students who rioted over the little pious scum JoePa will have to take down his fake statue. Dumb Dottie knew what was happening also.

ellis seawell
ellis seawell

Football is all that matters at Penis State, and Joe P knew it. Child rape? No problem! We have the money, and the influence to make it go away. Serial rape, ongoing criminal activity right here in the locker room? No problem, the University President, and Athletic Director will hide it. That's what they're there for. Yes, parents, send your children to Penis State, we'll use your tuition  money well, and teach them the values that matter: "Football before all else!" Shut down Penis State Football! Send a message of contrition that means something!

Sanjay Bhandari
Sanjay Bhandari

I don't quite get this.

If they were afraid of bad publicity, they could've removed Sandusky quietly somehow, and protected the children.

Was it that Sandusky so valuable that they did not want to touch him? Or connected?

Or is it that these people are somehow OK with little kids being sexually abused like this? And they nod and wink, and secretly laugh about old Sandusky getting some? I can't even begin to imagine a scenario like this, where the people we trust our children to, might have such pathological mindsets.

DannyHaszaM
DannyHaszaM

Penn State,Pedophile Priest and Jehovah's Witnesses molestation unholy trinity big news same week.

Jehovah's Witnesses hit with $28 million sex abuse settlement Oakland,Calif.-Google it.

 Many court documents and news events prove that Jehovah Witnesses require two witnesses when a child comes forward with allegations of molestation within the congregation. It has also been shown that child molesters within the organization usually have not been identified to the congregation members or the public at large. These people engage in a door to door ministry, possibly exposing children to pedophiles. The Watchtower corporation has paid out millions in settlement money already.  --Danny Haszard *tell the truth don't be afraid*

rokinsteve
rokinsteve

I knew this was coming.  And all I hear is howling from the guilty that they are innocent.

Hollywooddeed
Hollywooddeed

The headline reads, "Penn State Probe". Very clever.

How any adult can turn a blind eye to the rape of a child is beyond comprehension. Whether those complicit go to jail or not, this is a lesson for those who would put the status quo above destroying the life of a child.

DannyHaszaM
DannyHaszaM

Penn State,Pedophile Priest and Jehovah's Witnesses molestation unholy trinity big news same week.

Jehovah's Witnesses hit with $28 million sex abuse settlement Oakland,Calif.-Google it.

 Many court documents and news events prove that Jehovah Witnesses require two witnesses when a child comes forward with allegations of molestation within the congregation. It has also been shown that child molesters within the organization usually have not been identified to the congregation members or the public at large. These people engage in a door to door ministry, possibly exposing children to pedophiles. The Watchtower corporation has paid out millions in settlement money already.  --Danny Haszard *tell the truth don't be afraid* 

mevidai
mevidai

I like your answer, and agree with your point. This is actually an expensive lesson for us all, children should be protected.

Dat phong khach san

Nicolas Lazarus
Nicolas Lazarus

What about the Vatican and Pope concealing all the abuses by the priests???? Why do they get to get away with this?????

ellis seawell
ellis seawell

 Because the Fat-again is its own sovereign nation.  Short of an invasion there will be no accountability, ever. Mazel tov!