Penn State getting Freeh report today

After 8 months of the Sandusky scandal and millions of dollars


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Penn State University has spent millions of dollars and eight months on its investigation into what university officials knew about the child sexual abuse scandal involving retired assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

Penn State students, alumni, staff and Centre County residents have waited anxiously to hear the details.

They will be made public at 9 a.m. today when former FBI director Louis Freeh and his investigators, who were hired by the university in November, release their findings and recommendations at TheFreehReportonPSU.com.

The release of the report will be followed by a 10 a.m. news conference by Mr. Freeh in Philadelphia. It will be carried live on the Pennsylvania Cable Network.

Mr. Sandusky's arrest and the disclosure of a grand jury report put the university under the microscope and it faced mounting criticism over its failure to report one of the purported assaults to law enforcement. That prompted the board of trustees to fire longtime football coach Joe Paterno and accept the resignation of university president Graham Spanier.

It led to widespread speculation about what university officials knew about Mr. Sandusky before charges were filed and what they did with it. That speculation grew in recent weeks when CNN and NBC cited emails among university officials that suggested they intended to report to authorities a 2001 child sex abuse allegation against Mr. Sandusky but changed their minds after discussing the matter with Paterno.

Mr. Sandusky was convicted last month on 45 counts of sexually abusing 10 boys over 15 years.

Among the groups waiting for the release of the Freeh report is the Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship. Maribeth Roman Schmidt, a spokeswoman for the group, released a 10-page list of questions to which the group is seeking answers. The questions pertain to university administrators and board of trustee actions, university procedures and processes, the state attorney general's investigation and details about The Second Mile charity, which was founded by Mr. Sandusky.

The questions must be answered for the Freeh report "to be considered a credible, valid summary of the case, up to this point in time," Ms. Schmidt said in a statement.

In advance of the release of the Freeh report, Mr. Spanier's attorneys released a statement Tuesday saying he was interviewed by investigators with the Freeh Group, at his request, last Friday and that he told them that while he was president of Penn State he was never told of an incident involving Mr. Sandusky and child abuse or sexual misconduct.

Paterno's family also released a statement Tuesday. In it they criticized the leak of the emails to the networks and the refusal by investigators in the Freeh group to meet with them to get their rebuttal to the leaked emails. The family maintains that Paterno was not involved in any cover-up of information about Mr. Sandusky's sexual abuse of young boys.

The university has spent about $12 million in response to the Sandusky scandal, including about $7.6 million on the Freeh investigation and associated crisis communication.

Recent reports have suggested the Freeh investigation not only looked at issues surrounding the Sandusky case but also at the intervention of Penn State athletic department officials in the university's discipline proceedings involving student athletes, particularly football players.

Ms. Schmidt said her group was not happy with reports of the email leaks or the fact that the investigation moved away from the Sandusky case.

"We did not expect this to become a wide-ranging investigation into matters totally unrelated to Jerry Sandusky's behavior. And we certainly did not expect anonymous, unauthorized leaks for which no one is being held accountable," Ms. Schmidt said in her statement.

On Wednesday, a letter the Paterno family said was written by the late coach late last year was released to players and posted on the Internet. In the letter, Paterno said he did not want to see the scandal tarnish the reputation of Penn State, its football program or the generations of players who were part of it.

"Regardless of anyone's opinion of my actions or the actions of the handful of administration officials in this matter, the fact is nothing alleged is an indictment of football or evidence that the spectacular collections of accomplishments by dedicated student athletes should be in anyway tarnished," said the letter that was published on the Fight On State website, which covers Penn State Athletics.

Mara Vandlik, of the firm McGinn and Company which represents the Paterno family, said Paterno had intended for the piece to be published as a guest editorial, but "with the rush of events that never happened."

In his letter, Paterno said he had not discussed the specifics of his grand jury testimony at the request of the state attorney general's office but that he felt compelled to speak out about negative comments he heard people making about the Penn State football program.

"For over 40 years young men have come to Penn State with the idea that they were going to do something different -- they were coming to a place where they would be expected to compete at the highest levels of college football and challenged to get a degree. And they succeeded -- during the last 45 years no one has won more games while graduating more players," the letter said.

education - state

Mary Niederberger: mniederberger@post-gazette.com: 412-263-1590. First Published July 12, 2012 4:00 AM


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