Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - It's not like it came as a tremendous
to anyone who has followed the story, but former FBI Director Louis Freeh and
his team came down hard on Penn State Thursday morning, following a long
investigation into the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.
In the 267-page report, the opening to the findings section says it all.
"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."
The report was released one day after a letter written by former Penn State
coach Joe Paterno surfaced in defense of the PSU football program.
"This is not a football scandal and should not be treated as one. It is not an
academic scandal and does not in any way tarnish the hard earned and well-
deserved academic reputation of Penn State."
"Let me say that again so I am not misunderstood: regardless of anyone's
opinion of my actions or the actions of the handful of administration
in this matter, the fact is nothing alleged is an indictment of football or
evidence that the spectacular collections of accomplishments by dedicated
student athletes should be in anyway tarnished," Paterno wrote.
Paterno was right that it should not reflect negatively on the accomplishments
of the individual student athletes that Penn State has churned out over the
years. but it is no longer an "opinion" that the university as a whole failed.
It has long been a forgone conclusion that the university, namely former
President Graham Spanier, Vice President Gary Schultz, Athletic Director Tim
Curley and Paterno, did not take the necessary steps to bring Sandusky's
horrific crimes to light and protect the victims from further harm.
Sandusky was found guilty last month on 45 of the 48 counts against him and is
awaiting sentencing. Schultz and Curly are still involved in their own
It was the Penn State board of trustees that brought Freeh into the picture,
hiring him last November to review the case and provide a completely
To his credit, Freeh did just that, as the university did not receive a copy
the report prior to it being released on Thursday morning. While the findings
are obviously thorough, as any 267-page report would be, there are some
telling excerpts that strike at the very core of Penn State University.
"In our investigation, 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 relating to identifying and
reporting sexual abuse of children. Specifically, we worked to identify any
failures or gaps in the University's control environment, compliance programs
and culture which may have enabled these crimes against children to occur on
the Penn State campus, and go undetected and unreported for at least these
14 years. As you will read in our report, Penn State failed to implement the
provisions of the Clery Act, a 1990 federal law that requires the collecting
and reporting of the crimes such as Sandusky committed on campus in 2001.
Indeed, on the day Sandusky was arrested, Penn State's Clery Act
plan was still in draft form. Mr. Spanier said that he and the Board never
had a discussion about the Clery Act until November 2011."
It is hard to fathom why any university would fail to put a plan in place to
adhere to the Clery Act, when the sole purpose of the Act is to report crimes
on or near campus and promote a safe environment, which in turn, would prevent
any coverups of any sort.
The report goes on to say, "In critical written correspondence that we
uncovered on March 20th of this year, we see evidence of their proposed plan
action in February 2001 that included reporting allegations about Sandusky to
the authorities. After Mr. Curley consulted with Mr. Paterno, however, they
changed the plan and decided not to make a report to the authorities. Their
failure to protect the February 9, 2001 child victim, or make attempts to
identify him, created a dangerous situation for other unknown, unsuspecting
young boys who were lured to the Penn State campus and football games by
Sandusky and victimized repeatedly by him."
This is where Paterno is complicit, not in the crimes committed by Sandusky,
but for getting together with the other men of power in Happy Valley and
deciding to take another course of action other than reporting the alleged
Paterno's lifetime of achievements as a coach, educator and mentor will not be
forgotten. Unfortunately, neither will his lack of action that ultimately
brought down the legend and will forever tarnish the Penn State brand.
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