Former Penn State coach Joe Paterno and other senior university officials “concealed critical facts” about Jerry Sandusky’s child abuse scandal because they were worried about hurting the university’s reputation, details a new report.
An eight-month internal investigation led by former FBI director Louis Freeh concluded that Paterno, school president Graham Spanier, athletic director Tim Curley and vice president Gary Schultz were aware of Sandusky harming children “for over a decade,” saying the men “failed to protect against a child sexual predator harming children.”
“In order to avoid the consequences of bad publicity, the most powerful leaders at the university — Spanier, Schultz, Paterno and Curley — repeatedly concealed critical facts relating to Sandusky’s child abuse,” the 267-page report said.
University trustees hired Freeh shortly after police arrested Sandusky in November. The investigation included more than 430 current and former school employees. During Sandusky’s trial, Freeh’s team centered on how Penn State and its employees failed to protect children.
The report detailed the Penn State football program’s special treatment of Sandusky, who they allowed to retire in 1999 “as a valued member of the Penn State football legacy” despite knowing of his child abuse history.
The retired assistant coach was convicted of 45 criminal counts and currently awaits sentencing. Sandusky’s scandal, one of the biggest in sports history, also led to the controversial firing of the university’s president and Paterno, a Hall of Fame coach who died at age 85 in January having never disclosed information to Freeh’s team.
"We want to ensure we are giving the report careful scrutiny and consideration before making any announcements or recommendations," said the Penn State Board of Trustees shortly after the report was released. "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."
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