This morning, former FBI director Louis Freeh released his report on a months-long investigation of Penn State University’s handling of former defensive coordinator and recently convicted felon Jerry Sandusky.
The report casts wide blame on Penn State’s top officials, including longtime head football coach Joe Paterno, who became aware of Sandusky’s crimes in 1998. Listed among the findings in the report is this passage directly citing Paterno for his failures to alert the proper authorities of the troubling events transpiring on Penn State’s campus.
■ Read the full Freeh Report here
■ Follow live coverage of the press conference here
“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. 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, especially by not attempting to determine the identity of the child who Sandusky assaulted in the Lasch Building in 2001. Further, they exposed this child to additional harm by altering Sandusky, who was the only one who knew the child’s identity, of what McQueary saw in the shower on the night of Februrary 9, 2001. ”
In an exclusive interview with the Post’s Sally Jenkins in January — days before his death — Paterno expressed remorse over his response after former assistant Mike McQueary told Paterno he had witnessed Sandusky molesting a boy in an on-campus shower.
“I didn’t know exactly how to handle it and I was afraid to do something that might jeopardize what the university procedure was,” Paterno told Jenkins in January. “So I backed away and turned it over to some other people, people I thought would have a little more expertise than I did. It didn’t work out that way.”
In a statement issued after Freeh’s Thursday press conference, Paterno’s family maintains Joe Paterno made mistakes but, unlike other university leaders, he said he wished he’d done more.
“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 Daily Collegian published the full statement here.
Former athletic director Tim Curley and former Penn State vice president Gary Schultz both face perjury charges for failing to report suspected child abuse. Both declined to be interviewed for the Freeh Report on the advice of counsel.
The report will no doubt have major implications at Penn State University, but how will it affect the school’s former football coach?
How do the Freeh Report’s findings impact Joe Paterno’s legacy?
Eugene Robinson: Joe Paterno’s shame
Timeline: Inside the Penn State scandal