Corbett blames former Penn State administration
HARRISBURG -- In his first detailed remarks on the Penn State Freeh report, Gov. Tom Corbett on Thursday expressed disappointment with the university's prior administration for a lack of cooperation with the state attorney general's office.
That report from former FBI director Louis Freeh relies in part on a series of emails between Penn State officials that were not initially disclosed to state investigators.
Mr. Corbett -- who began the investigation into former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky during his tenure as state attorney general -- told reporters following an unrelated news conference that the emails show there was "incomplete" cooperation from the university, then led by president Graham Spanier.
The attorney general's office had subpoenaed information from Penn State but were not provided certain emails and other documents until after charges were filed against Mr. Sandusky, retired vice president Gary Schultz and athletic director Tim Curley, according to court filings.
"When an investigator issues a subpoena, you rely upon the person complying with the subpoena to meet the full requirements that the subpoena calls for, or for them to come in and object in court," Mr. Corbett said. "If there is not full compliance with a subpoena, it certainly puts the prosecutor at a disadvantage."
The governor stopped short of calling the failure of Mr. Spanier and other individuals to release all relevant emails an instance of obstructing justice. But he did say he is "very disappointed in the lack of forthcoming evidence to the subpoena that was given to them by the attorney general."
"Let's take a look at the obvious facts: There was a change in control," Mr. Corbett said, referencing the November decision by trustees to replace Mr. Spanier. "The board was in a position to say we need this information, and to direct the new administration to comply. Basically, open up the doors. And I think that's what happened."
"The prior administration, they made decisions as to how they would deliver and what they would deliver," he continued, with a reference to the state attorney general's office, "I'm sure that is the subject of much discussion on the 16th floor of Strawberry Square."
Nils Frederiksen, spokesman for Attorney General Linda Kelly, said the state investigation remains active and on-going, declining to comment directly on Mr. Corbett's remarks.
"The public record so far clearly shows that this has been an on-going process," Mr. Frederiksen said.
The governor said Thursday he has read about two-thirds of the Freeh report. He described it as a "pretty thorough" document, adding that he will be talking to his fellow Penn State trustees about his reactions before offering additional specific reactions publicly.
The report pointed to four individuals -- Mr. Spanier, Mr. Schultz, Mr. Curley and former head coach Joe Paterno -- as enabling the sexual-abuse incidents by Mr. Sandusky to be hidden from the public for years.
Mr. Schultz and Mr. Curley are awaiting trial on charges of perjury and failure to report abuse. Mr. Spanier has not been charged and remains on sabbatical.
In addition to the state investigation, the NCAA has been reviewing how Penn State responded to the allegations against Mr. Sandusky, and has indicated that it is considering sanctions against the school.
Asked about those potential NCAA actions, Mr. Corbett said he hopes the athletic association would consider ramifications on the region and state before imposing any penalties on Penn State.
• PSU trustee Steve Garban resigns, See Page B-5.
First Published July 20, 2012 12:00 am