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Report slams Penn State, Paterno's 'total disregard' for victims

10:20 AM, Jul 12, 2012   |    comments
  • Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky (File Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
  • Penn State Coach Joe Paterno (Getty Images)
    
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PHILADELPHIA -- Penn State's independent probe into the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal found "the total disregard for the safety and welfare of Sandusky's child victims by the most senior leaders at Penn State.

The 267-page report specifically criticizes the late head football coach Joe Paterno for not taking action when alerted to allegations of misconduct by Sandusky at university facilities.

RELATED | Louis Freeh's prepared remarks on the Penn State report
MORE | Read the entire Penn State report

"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," the report charges. The Lasch Building is where the report says Sandusky abused several children.

Former FBI director Louis Freeh, who headed the investigation, said in prepared remarks that his team conducted 430 interviews and analyzed over 3.5 million emails and other documents during the probe.

Freeh says that former vice president Gary Schultz and former Athletic Director Tim Curley declined, on the advice of counsel, to be interviewed.

"Mr. Paterno passed away before we had to opportunity to speak with him, although we did speak with some of his representatives," Freeh said in his prepared remarks. "We believe that he was willing to speak with us and would have done so, but for his serious, deteriorating health."

Freeh said his team did review and evaluate Paterno's grand jury testimony, public statements, notes and papers from his files that were provided by his attorney.

"The most powerful men at Penn State failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children who Sandusky victimized,'' the investigation found.

It cited former Penn State University President Graham Spanier, former vice president Gary Schultz, former head football coach Joe Paterno and Athletic Director Tim Curley, now on leave, as never demonstrating "through actions or words, any concern for the safety and well-being of Sandusky's victims until after Sandusky's arrest." 

If university leaders had not granted Sandusky full use of facilities and supported his "work with young people through Penn State," sexual assaults of several boys could have been prevented, the report says.

In his remarks, Freeh said his group recommended adopting new policies for annual training of university personnel on child abuse and mandatory reporting for all employes and a strengthening of the university's background check process.

In response to Freeh's report, Penn State University officials released a statement:

Today with the report released by Judge Louis Freeh, the Penn State Board of Trustees delivered on the commitment we made last November when we engaged Judge Freeh to conduct an independent investigation into the University's actions regarding former Penn State employee, Jerry Sandusky, and the handling of allegations of the child abuse crimes of which he has since been found guilty.

Judge Freeh and his team conducted a rigorous eight-month investigation into all aspects of the University's actions to determine where breakdowns occurred and what changes should be made for the future. We, like many others, have eagerly anticipated Judge Freeh's Report of the findings of his investigation.

His 267-page report has just been released at http://www.TheFreehReportonPSU.com/ and we are currently reviewing his findings and recommendations. We expect a comprehensive analysis of our policies, procedures and controls related to identifying and reporting crimes and misconduct, including failures or gaps that may have allowed alleged misconduct to go undetected or unreported. We will provide our initial response later today.

We want to ensure we are giving the report careful scrutiny and consideration before making any announcements or recommendations. We are convening an internal team comprising the Board of Trustees, University administration and our legal counsel to begin analyzing the report and digesting Judge Freeh's findings.

As we anticipate the review and approval process will take some time, our initial response and immediate next steps will be presented at 3:30 p.m. at the Dayton/Taylor Conference Room at the Hilton Scranton & Conference Center.

These top-line reactions will provide an overview of our process for developing and implementing a plan once we have studied the report and have a better understanding of what it means and how we can implement findings to strengthen Penn State's role as a leading academic institution and ensure that what occurred will never be allowed to happen again.

Sandusky, 68, was recently convicted on 45 criminal counts of sexual abuse involving young boys.

Curley and Shultz face perjury charges for allegedly lying to a grand jury about their knowledge and reaction to the allegations against the former Penn State assistant football coach.

(USA Today)

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