July 12, 2012

A Guide to the Penn State Investigation

The Freeh Report was released at 9 a.m. Thursday, July 12. Chronicle reporters annotated the report, providing insights on what the Freeh Group found, who it implicated, and what it means for the university. Complete coverage.

Spanier and Board Failed in Their Duties, Report Says

The report is unwavering in its condemnation of the university’s two highest levels of leadership: the president and the Board of Trustees. “By not promptly and fully advising the Board of Trustees about the 1998 and 2001 child sexual abuse allegations against Sandusky and the subsequent Grand Jury investigation of him, Spanier failed in his duties as President," the report says. "The Board also failed in its duties to oversee the President and senior University officials in 1998 and 2001 by not inquiring about important University matters and by not creating an environment where senior University officials felt accountable.”

The most powerful leaders in the university concealed facts and failed to protect children, primarily because they hoped to “avoid bad publicity,” the report finds. But other factors contributed as well, according to the committee. Specifically, the report blames “A culture of reverence for the football program that is ingrained at all levels of the campus community.”

Coaches Saw Sandusky Shower With Boys Before 1998

Several Penn State staff members and football coaches regularly saw Sandusky showering with young boys in a Penn State locker building before May 1998, the report says. "None of the individuals interviewed notified their superiors of this behavior," the report says. One former coach, Richard Anderson, told investigators he often saw Mr. Sandusky with children in the showers, but that he didn't think the practice was improper.

In 1998, Vice President Schultz Feared ‘Pandora’s Box’

On May 3, 1998, Jerry Sandusky groped an 11-year-old boy in a Penn State athletic facility, the report says. The boy's mother reported the incident to a Penn State psychologist and to Penn State police, who informed a Penn State vice president, Gary Schultz. Confidential notes from Mr. Schultz indicate that he was aware of the gravity of the situation. "Behavior - at best inappropriate @ worst sexual improprieties," one note says. Two days after the incident, additional notes from Mr. Schultz say that a second boy had told police a similar story: "Locker room. Wrestling. Kissed on head. Hugging from behind in shower." The notes end with questions: "Is this the opening of pandora's box? Other children?"

Police later determined that there was no criminal behavior established and that the matter was closed, the report says. On June 9, 1998, Mr. Schultz wrote in an email to Penn State's athletic director that "I think the matter has been appropriately investigated and I hope it is now behind us."

If Not For 2nd Mile, Sandusky Could Have Been Head Coach, Paterno Apparently Wrote

Investigators discovered notes that "appear to be in Paterno's handwriting" related to Jerry Sandusky's retirement from Penn State in 1999. "We know this isn't easy for you and it isn't easy for us or Penn State," the notes say. "If there were no 2nd Mile then I believe you belief [sic] that you probably could be the next Penn State FB Coach. But you wanted the best of two worlds and I probably should have sat down with you six or seven years ago and said look Jerry if you want to be the Head Coach at Penn State, give up your association with the 2nd Mile and concentrate on nothing but your family and Penn State."

Janitors Who Observed Assault in 2000 Feared Retaliation

In fall 2000, a Penn State janitor saw Jerry Sandusky performing oral sex on a young boy in the Assistant Coaches’ locker room, the report says. On the same night, another janitor saw Mr. Sandusky showering with a young boy. The two janitors reported the incident to a superior, the report says. But one of the janitors said they should keep quiet, or "they'll get rid of all of us." The other janitor told investigators that reporting the incident "would have been like going against the President of the United States in my eyes." He added that "football runs this university."

Spanier: Limited Response to Reports of 2001 Incident Was 'Humane Way to Proceed'

In February 2001, after speaking with Joe Paterno, Athletic Director Tim Curley proposed changing the administration's response to the report Jerry Sandusky had abused a boy in a Penn State locker room. Instead of talking to 2nd Mile and the state Department of Welfare, Mr. Curley proposed meeting with Mr. Sandusky first. "I think I would be more comfortable meeting with the person and tell him about the information we received." In an e-mail response, Penn State President Graham Spanier said the approach "is acceptable to me." He said he admired Mr. Curley's willingness to have a difficult conversation with Mr. Sandusky. "The only downside for us is if the message isn't 'heard' and acted upon, and we then become vulnerable for not having reported it," Mr. Spanier wrote. "But that can be assessed down the road. The approach you outline is humane and a reasonable way to proceed."

Penn State Officials Failed to Issue Clery Act Report

Joe Paterno, Tim Curley, and Mike McQueary "were obligated to report the 2001 Sandusky incident to the University Police Department for inclusion in Clery Act statistics and for determining whether a timely warning should be issued to the University community." But no record exists of such a report, the investigation says. The officials "should have ensured that the University was compliant with the Clery Act with regard to this incident," the investigation says.

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