Penn State gets early results of federal review of Sandusky matters

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Penn State University has decided to keep confidential a preliminary report from the U.S. Department of Education based on the program review of the university's compliance with the Clery Act in relation to allegations against former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

The Clery Act is a 1990 federal law that requires universities to document all crime on campus. Penn State received the preliminary report from the Education Department Friday. It has 120 days to respond before a final determination is made in the matter.

The university announced on its website Monday that the preliminary report had been received but that its contents would not be made public.

The federal Higher Education Act requires the Department of Education to maintain the confidentiality of any program review report until the institution has an opportunity to respond and the department issues a final report. However, Penn State is not obligated to keep the report confidential.

Jane Glickman, press officer for the U.S. Department of Education, confirmed her department provided the preliminary program review report to Penn State and that the department would keep the results confidential until a final report, taking into consideration Penn State's response, is issued. She said there is no timetable for when a final report will be issued.

Penn State spokesman David La Torre declined to comment on why Penn State is not releasing the details of the preliminary report other than to repeat information from the posted university statement: "The University is committed to fully engaging in the review process and will maintain the confidentiality of the report. The Department of Education will make a final program review determination after this process is complete, at which time more information about the investigation can be made public," he wrote in an email.

The preliminary report is a result of a Department of Education investigation into possible violations of the Clery Act that was launched in November 2011 after allegations surfaced that Sandusky was seen sexually assaulting a young boy in an athletic complex shower in 2001.

At issue is whether the incident should have been reported to police.

According to a grand jury indictment and independent investigation performed by former FBI director Louis Freeh, the incident was reported by then-graduate assistant Mike McQueary, who told the late football coach Joe Paterno, who in turn told athletic director Tim Curley and vice president Gary Schultz, who then told former university president Graham Spanier.

Mr. Curley, Mr. Schultz and Mr. Spanier face a preliminary hearing on obstruction, conspiracy and other offenses regarding the handling of the Sandusky matter July 29. All three deny the charges.

Mr. Spanier has filed legal paperwork indicating he plans to sue Mr. Freeh and his investigative team for slander and defamation.

Sandusky was accused of abusing 10 boys over a 15-year period while working for Penn State and with his charity, The Second Mile. He was convicted in June 2012 of four criminal counts of sexual abuse and is serving a 30- to 60-year prison sentence.

As part of its investigation, the U.S. Department of Education asked for documents pertaining to crime reporting, including a list of all crimes reported to the campus police or other campus security authorities from 1998-2011 and a copy of the campus daily crime log from 1998-2011.

The website statement said Penn State had provided the review team "with access to all requested records and information sources."

In addition, it said Penn state hired a full-time Clery compliance officer in March 2012 and has instituted a mandatory Clery Act training program for employees.

Penalties for violation of the Clery Act range from a fine of up to $27,500 for each violation to suspension of federal financial aid to the school.

On Friday, the Penn State board of trustees authorized an attorney to make settlement offers to 32 people who said they were abused by Sandusky.

education - mobilehome - breaking - psusports

Mary Niederberger can be reached at mniederberger@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1590. First Published July 15, 2013 1:00 AM


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