Report comes out regarding Penn State investigation failures
Former FBI Director finds glaring faults in university procedures
Published: Thursday, July 12, 2012
Updated: Thursday, July 12, 2012 16:07
On Nov. 21, 2011, former FBI Director Louis Freeh was approached by the Special Investigations Task Force of the Penn State University Board of Trustees to perform a thorough and fair investigation into the university’s actions related to the child molester and former assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky.
The 267-page report was released this morning and it sheds a negative light on critical members of the university including former coach, the late Joe Paterno, then President Graham Spanier, Athletic Director Tim Curley and Vice President Gary Schultz as well as the school’s Board of Trustees.
The report revealed that those close to the Sandusky incidents “failed to protect against a child sexual predator harming children for over a decade.”
A large part of that failure included continued access for Sandusky to things related to the football program, giving him the means to further attract children.
“No one warned the public about him,” the report stated.
The report details three instances when an assault was witnessed, yet the situations did not immediately amount to any serious investigation.
The first was in 1998, when Victim 6’s mother reported to the university police department that Sandusky had been showering with her 11 year-old son.
On May 15 of that year, president Spanier failed to notify the Board of Trustees of an investigation into the incident by the police department. After the District Attorney declined to bring charges against Sandusky, the university police detective met with Sandusky, who said that he had hugged Victim 6 in the shower but denied any sexual nature about it.
After that discusstion, Sandusky admitted that he had done similar things several times before, but he was then advised that there was no criminal behavior to what he had done.
An email that was sent out by Vice President Schultz to both Athletic Director Curley and President Spanier revealed that “the matter had been appropriately investigated and I hope it is now behind us,” the report stated.
The second witnessed incident occurred in Nov. of 2000 when Victim 8 was assaulted in the shower and was seen by a janitor. However, this janitor did not report the incident to anybody stating that “they’d get rid of all of us.” A second janitor confirmed that the university goes out of its way to protect the football program.
Then on Feb. 9, 2001, Mike McQueary became the third known witness to see Sandusky assaulting a child, Victim 2, in the shower.
McQueary approached coach Paterno on Feb. 10 with the incident and Paterno told McQueary not to worry any further about the incident and said it was up to him to figure out how to handle it.
Paterno did not approach Curley and Schultz with the matter until Feb. 11 as to not “interfere with their weekends.”
An action plan was put into place as to best handle the situation. This plan included a notification of the Second Mile Foundation founded by Sandusky to serve children whom are underprivileged or at-risk. The action plan also included reporting the incident to the Department of Welfare and ordering Sandusky not to bring any more children into the Lasch Building, where he had been seen showering with children.
However, this plan was not acted upon and nothing further was mentioned of the matter except to advise Sandusky to get help, according to the report.
“After Mr. Curley consulted with Mr. Paterno, however, they changed the plan and decided not to make a report to the authorities, the report stated. “[This] 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.”
Although the Board of Trustees was not notified of the 1998 or 2001 incident, it is not completely blameless in the report.
After key members of Penn State had appeared before a grand jury investigation related to Sandusky in early 2011, the Board requested information regarding this investigation, but none was given to them on the grounds that “grand jury investigations are by law kept secret,” according to the report.
About a month later, the Board’s chair had a conference call to discuss the matter and in May, the Board met specifically to discuss it. However, the Board only asked a couple of limited questions regarding it.
Two months after the May meeting, the Board met again on July 15 but did not ask about the Sandusky investigation and was not given any details about it. Two months after that, in September, the Board met and once again was not given any update on the investigation, nor did it ask about it.
The report stated that at no point in the Sandusky incident, dating back to the first reported assault in 1998, did the Board “perform its oversight duties..
“[The Board] should have recognized the potential risk to the University community and to the University's reputation. Instead, the Board, as a governing body, failed to inquire reasonably and to demand detailed information from [President] Spanier.”
It is unknown how this crushing blow to the school’s reputation will affect the school's admissions in the long run. But for now, at least one incoming Penn State Student is looking past the grievances.
Amanda Caputo of West Warwick, R.I., daughter of a Penn State alum and an incoming Penn State Altoona freshman says that the investigation did not affect her decision to attend the school.
“As bad as this might be and as bad as this might seem, the school and institutions as a whole are bigger than just this situation is,” Caputo said.
She did acknowledge huge mistakes on part of the university, but said that she’s wanted to go there her entire life and still wanted to give it a chance.