“Our most saddening and sobering finding is the total disregard for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s child victims by the most senior leaders at Penn State,” Freeh said during a news conference Thursday.
The probe, which includes previously unknown e-mails, deals a crushing blow to the legacy of Paterno, the late coach who took pride in running an honorable program and whose reputation has been on the line since Sandusky’s arrest last November. It eviscerates Spanier, concluding he failed in his duties as president, and chastises the board of trustees at one of the nation’s largest public universities for being out of the loop as the scandal unfolded.
Particularly damaging to Paterno is the examination of the school’s handling of a 1998 criminal investigation into a woman’s accusations that Sandusky had inappropriately touched her 11-year-old son in the Penn State showers. In addition to Spanier and Paterno, athletics director Tim Curley and vice president Gary Schultz were also aware of the case, according to the report. Criminal charges were never brought in the case.
In his final public media interview and in grand jury testimony, Paterno disavowed knowledge of the incident, telling The Post’s Sally Jenkins, “You know, it wasn’t like it was something everybody in the building knew about. Nobody knew about it.”
But in an e-mail captioned “Joe Paterno” and dated May 5, 1998, Curley wrote to Schultz, “I have touched base with the coach. Keep us posted. Thanks.”
In a May 13, 1998, e-mail captioned “Jerry,” Curley asked Schultz, “Anything new in this department? Coach is anxious to know where it stands.” The report said “Coach” is believed to be Paterno.
At the time, Paterno, Spanier, Schultz and Curley never “spoke to Sandusky about his conduct. In short, nothing was done and Sandusky was allowed to continue with impunity,” Freeh said.
In June, Sandusky, 68, was convicted on 45 counts of child sex abuse and is awaiting sentencing. Eight young men testified during Sandusky’s trial that he had befriended them through his charity and sexually abused them in his home, in the Penn State locker room and on road trips with the football team.
Schultz and Curley face criminal charges of perjury and failing to report child abuse. Each maintains his innocence. A trial date has not been set. Spanier, who stepped down as president in the scandal’s wake in November, has been not charged criminally. Paterno died of lung cancer in January.