A long-anticipated private report conducted by Louis Freeh has come out, providing clarity in the Jerry Sandusky scandal in regards to how much the people in power at Penn State University knew about the sexual abuse taking place on their campus, and what they did to prevent it.
The Penn State Board of Trustees hired Freeh to conduct a full investigation of the Penn State program in an effort to determine the culpability of those involved in fostering an environment for repeated abuse to take place. Freeh was charged with investigating the alleged failure of Penn State personnel to respond to and report abuse by Sandusky to the proper authorities, as well as how such abuse could occur on campus grounds.
Louis Freeh, the former FBI director, found that heads of the university “repeatedly concealed critical facts” from authorities, which allowed five boys to be assaulted by Sandusky after school officials learned of a 1998 criminal investigation.
Perhaps more startling were Freeh’s findings that university’s failure to report the crimes were caused by the desire to avoid bad publicity. Detailed in the report was the following summation:
“Four of the most powerful people at The Pennsylvania State University – President Graham B. Spanier, Senior Vice President-Finance and Business Gary C. Schultz, Athletic Director Timothy M. Curley and Head Football Coach Joseph V. Paterno – failed to protect against a child predator harming children for over a decade.”
The report added:
“They exhibited a striking lack of empathy for Sandusky’s victims by failing to inquire as to their safety and well-being, especially by not attempting to determine the identity of the child who Sandusky assaulted in the Lasch Building in 2001. Further, they exposed this child to additional harm by alerting Sandusky, who was the only one who knew the child’s identity, of what (Mike) McQueary saw in the shower on the night of February 9, 2001.”
In response to the report, the family of now-deceased Joe Paterno released its own statement, in an effort to separate the longtime football coach from the shrapnel of conspiracy:
“The idea that any sane, responsible adult would knowingly cover up for a child predator is impossible to accept. The far more realistic conclusion is that many people didn’t fully understand what was happening and underestimated or misinterpreted events. Sandusky was a great deceiver. He fooled everyone – law enforcement, his family, coaches, players, neighbors, University officials, and everyone at Second Mile.”
“Joe Paterno wasn’t perfect. He made mistakes and he regretted them. He is still the only leader to step forward and say that with the benefit of hindsight he wished he had done more. To think, however, that he would have protected Jerry Sandusky to avoid bad publicity is simply not realistic. If Joe Paterno had understood what Sandusky was, a fear of bad publicity would not have factored into his actions.”
Jay Paterno, the son of Joe Paterno, told Matt Lauer Thursday morning on the TODAY Show that the family was never afraid to see what people have had to say. “We’ve never been afraid of the truth, so let’s have the truth come out and let’s go from there,” Jay Paterno added.
Former Penn State linebacker Lavar Arrington, host of “Lavar and Dukes” on 106.7 The Fan in Washington, D.C. told WNEW’s Rob Dawson “It’s sad and unfortunate that things weren’t handled differently.”
“I think they need to do an independent investigation of all the decision-making bodies of the institution and they need to work on implementing policies that will ensure that things like this be handled correctly if they were to ever have any situation like this ever happen again.”
Arrington, who played under Joe Paterno in 1998 and 1999, suggests it will take time before any of us know what his lasting legacy will be.
“When you look at how many lives he’s impacted being what he was and then you have to digest all of this that’s come out, it’s difficult to figure…I don’t know that that will define itself immediately.”