Sandusky Report: PSU Leaders Had No Concern for Victims

Freeh: Paterno and PSU leaders made conscious decisions to hide what they knew about Jerry Sandusky for 14 years in order to protect the school's image

An investigation conducted by a former FBI director into the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State University concluded that senior leaders at the university, including legendary football coach Joe Paterno, had no concern for the safety and welfare of Sandusky's victims.

The scathing report, commissioned by the school's Board of Trustees and released Thursday morning, said Paterno and other top officials hid key facts from authorities to avoid bad publicity. Sandusky was convicted on June 22 of 45 counts of sexual abuse.

Former FBI director Louis Freeh said the school's football program violated the Clery Act, which requires school officials to report crime. The report said Paterno, former University President Graham Spanier, vice president Gary Schultz and athletic director Tim Curley all were at fault, and that the board of trustees failed to provide proper oversight.

"Four of the most powerful people at The Pennsylvania State University - President Graham B. Spanier, Senior Vice President - Finance and Business Gary C. Schultz, Athletic Director Timothy M. Curley, and Head Football Coach Joseph V. Paterno - failed to protect against a child sexual predator harming children for over a decade," Freeh wrote in the report. "These men concealed Sandusky's activities from the Board of Trustees, the University community and authorities. They exhibited a striking lack of empathy for Sandusky's victims by failing to inquire as to their safety and well being..."

The report claims that officials empowered Sandusky to attract potential victims by giving him access to Penn State's football facilities.

"Indeed, that continued access provided Sandusky with the very currency that enabled him to attract his victims," the report said. "Some coaches, administrators and football program staff members ignored red flags of Sandusky's behaviors and no one warned the public about him."

The report identified 120 recommendations for changes, ranging from the school's culture to the Board of Trustees' responsibilities to the university police department's policies and procedures.

Paterno's family issued a statement saying that while they still need time to review the 267-page report, they want people to know that although Paterno was not perfect, that he would never knowingly protect a child predator.

"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."

The question of how the report might impact Joe Paterno's legacy began to be answered within hours when Nike removed Paterno's name from the child-care center on their Oregon campus.

Jeff Jubelirer, a local crisis communication strategist, and Penn State alum, predicts, "The Freeh Report will do significant and likely unrecoverable damage to Joe Paterno’s legacy. He will never be seen in an almost completely positive light ever again; we will always have questions about why he didn’t do more when he seemingly had the opportunity to do so, but unfortunately we will never find out because of his untimely passing."

Penn State officials will also hold a news conference at 3:30 p.m.

This morning in an exclusive interview on The Today Show, Joe Paterno's son, Jay, said the family was ready for the truth to come out:

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The Paterno family this week released a statement defending the former coach on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Paterno's family sent former PSU football players an op-ed column that Joe Paterno wrote in the weeks before he died, fiercely defending the program.

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