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Freeh Report Shows a Penn State Cover-Up

Joe Paterno knew about Sandusky in 1998

 

A report summarizing an eight month investigation into Penn State University’s handling of the Jerry Sandusky scandal confirmed on Thursday what many people already believed. Legendary football coach Joe Paterno and top leaders at Penn State concealed information and took many steps to keep the child sex allegations against Jerry Sandusky private. Information in the 267 page report shows that top administrators were aware of the actions of Sandusky as far back as 1998.

Penn State merchandise Former FBI director Louis Freeh was hired by the University Board of Trustees to investigate the evidence. Freeh was tasked with discovering who knew what and how far did the cover-up go. Freeh sifted through millions of emails and documents, phone messages, and 430 interviews in order to find out what really went on.

Officials implicated in the report include: Paterno, former Athletic Director Tim Curley, former President Graham Spanier, and former Senior VP Gary Shultz. According to Freeh, “Four of the most powerful people at The Pennsylvania State University- failed to protect against a child sexual predator harming children for over a decade.” Freeh also concluded that “In order to avoid the consequences of bad publicity, Spanier, Schultz, Paterno, and Curley- repeatedly concealed critical facts relating to Sandusky’s child abuse from the authorities, the University’s Board of Trustees, the Penn State community, and the public at large.”

The report references several conversations between university leaders discussing whether or not to report Sandusky to the proper authorities. It’s vague who actually made the final decision, but evidence in the report shows that it was decided to protect Sandusky and not report him. Officials at Penn State decided to let Jerry Sandusky retire as a valuable member of the Penn State football family, and continue to have access to team facilities - which he used to lure future victims.

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The report reveals a culture at Penn State that was flawed. In many instances, the football program was put ahead of everything else. Two janitors interviewed in the report claim to have seen Sandusky molesting children in the showers. The janitors explained that they did not report Sandusky because they feared for their jobs, claiming that going up against the football program would be like “going against the President of the United States.” Make no mistake, football ruled at Penn State.

The findings of the Freeh report have now tarnished one of the most respected universities and successful football programs in the entire country. Paterno was clearly told of the 2001 incident by Mike McQueary and may have been the one who changed a plan to turn Sandusky in.

While there are still many questions that need to be answered, this report helps to clarify what went on at Penn State. Top administrators and a famous football coach ignored the fact that innocent children were being abused right under their noses.

 

By Barry Leonard
BigTen-Fans.com Penn State Correspondent

 

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