Courtesy of MCT
Former FBI director Louis Freeh’s investigation into Penn State’s handling of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse saga has found that top university officials, including the late, former PSU football coach Joe Paterno, failed to take action against the child predator.
PSU’s Board of Trustees enlisted the help of Freeh’s law firm, Freeh Group International Solutions, LLC, eight months ago and the resulting 267-page report condemned the hall of fame football coach, now-former university administrators, president Graham Spanier, athletic director Tim Curley and vice president Gary Schultz, to have concealed “critical facts” related to Sandusky’s pattern of child abuse.
“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,” Freeh said during a Wednesday press conference in Philadelphia. “The most powerful men at Penn State failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect children who Sandusky victimized.”
The report also said that Paterno’s PSU football program treated Sandusky as a welcome and “valued member” after the now-convicted sex offender’s retirement from college football in 1999, which enabled him to continue to prey on children.
A Paterno family statement, obtained by multiple outlets following Freeh’s press conference, said that the family appreciated the effort put into the investigation but did take issue with some of the final report’s findings.
“(The conclusions) represent a judgment on motives and intentions and we think this is impossible. We have said from the beginning that Joe Paterno did not know Jerry Sandusky was a child predator,” the Paterno family statement read. “Moreover, Joe Paterno never interfered with any investigation. He immediately and accurately reported the incident he was told about in 2001.
“It can be argued that Joe Paterno should have gone further. He should have pushed his superiors to see that they were doing their jobs. We accept this criticism. At the same time, Joe Paterno and everyone else knew that Sandusky had been repeatedly investigated by authorities who approved his multiple adoptions and foster children. Joe Paterno mistakenly believed that investigators, law enforcement officials, University leaders and others would properly and fully investigate any issue and proceed as the facts dictated.
“This didn’t happen and everyone shares the responsibility.”
Also in response to the release of Freeh’s report, NCAA Vice President of Communications Bob Williams released a statement which read: “Like everyone else, we are reviewing the final report for the first time today. As President Emmert wrote in his November 17th letter to Penn State President Rodney Erickson and reiterated this week, the university has four key questions, concerning compliance with institutional control and ethics policies, to which it now needs to respond. Penn State’s response to the letter will inform our next steps, including whether or not to take further action. We expect Penn State’s continued cooperation in our examination of these issues.”
Sandusky was found guilty on 45 of 48 counts of sexual abuse June 22 in Centre County (Pa.) Court. The 68-year-old former PSU defensive coordinator will likely die in jail as he faces a minimum 60-year and maximum 422-year sentence.
Schultz and Curley await trial for perjury and failing to report their knowledge of Sandusky’s child abuse. As of Wednesday, a date has not been set for their trial to begin.
Paterno died of lung cancer in January at the age of 85 and had not been interviewed for Freeh’s investigation.