A team led by former federal judge and FBI director Louis Freeh released a report today concluding that leaders at Penn State, including the late legendary football coach Joe Paterno, displayed “total disregard” for the children victimized by assistant coach Sandusky in order to prevent bad publicity in Happy Valley.
“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 at this morning’s press conference. “The most powerful men at Penn State failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children who Sandusky victimized.”
According to Freeh, the senior officials in question “never demonstrated, through actions or words, a concern for the safety and well-being of Sandusky’s victims until after Sandusky’s arrest.”
The report includes several email conversations between deceased former head coach Joe Paterno, athletic director Tim Curley, now retired university vice president Gary Schultz, and university president Graham Spanier.
The Paterno family released a statement on Tuesday seeking to refute claims that Paterno helped shield his longtime friend from the consequences of his actions. “Joe Paterno did not know that Jerry Sandusky was a pedophile,” the family statement said. “Joe Paterno did not act in any way to prevent a proper investigation of Jerry Sandusky.”
The report by Freeh says otherwise.
“Although concern to treat the child abuser humanely was expressly stated, no such sentiments were ever expressed by them for Sandusky’s victims,” the report says.
In 2001 Mike McQueary, a graduate assistant at the time, notified Paterno that he saw Sandusky with a teenage boy engaged in what appeared to be anal sex. Paterno then proceeded to alert Curley and Schultz, who decided not to alert law enforcement or child welfare authorities, as they were required by law to do.
Both Curley and Schultz are awaiting trial on charges they lied to a grand jury that was investigating Sandusky as well as the aforementioned failure to report what McQueary told them.
The report concluded “in order to avoid consequences of bad publicity, Curley, Paterno, Schultz and Spanier repeatedly concealed critical facts related to Sandusky’s child abuse from the authorities.”