A report commissioned by Penn State University finds former football coach Joe Paterno and other top university officials “repeatedly concealed critical facts” about former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky‘s sexual abuse of young boys.
The report, headed by former FBI director and federal judge Louis Freeh, accuses former university president Graham Spanier, Paterno, athletic director Timothy Curley and Gary Schultz, the school’s senior vice president of finance and business, of “total and consistent disregard … for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s child victims.”
“As the Grand Jury similarly noted in its presentment, there was no attempt to investigate, to identify Victim 2, or to protect that child or any others from similar conduct except as related to preventing its re-occurrence on University property,” the report reads.
Freeh’s report finds the university’s failure to act more decisively after it learned of Sandusky’s behavior was motivated in large part by fear of negative publicity for Penn State, but also by poor oversight from university trustees, lack of empathy for Sandusky’s victims and a “culture of reverence” for the legendary coach and his football program.
It also says that Spanier, Paterno, Curley and Schultz (who was in charge of the university police) knew about a 1998 criminal investigation of Sandusky but took no action against him, and also didn’t relay their knowledge to Penn State trustees. (Sandusky retired from coaching in 1999.) It also says Curley and Paterno “changed the plan” to report to police another allegation of abuse by Sandusky in February 2001.
Paterno’s family issued a statement following the report’s release that reads in part, “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.”