A lawyer for ousted Penn State president Graham Spanier assailed the university-sanctioned report that not only detailed the horrors of the Jerry Sandusky sex scandal, but paved the way for unprecedented NCAA penalties. In a Wednesday press conference in downtown Philadelphia, Timothy Lewis assailed the lengthy report headed up by former federal judge and FBI Director Louis Freeh, calling it a “blundering and indefensible indictment” of Spanier.
“The Freeh Report, as it pertains to Dr. Spanier, is a myth,” Lewis said. “And that myth … ends today.”
The Freeh Report cited Spanier as complicit in helping to cover up complaints about Sandusky between 1998 and 2001. Sandusky, a longtime Nittany Lions assistant coach, was convicted this year of assaulting 10 boys and awaits sentencing.
Lewis assailed the report’s findings, calling Freeh a “biased investigator” who piled speculation on top of innuendo to reach pre-formed conclusions.
Lewis said that Spanier, who was not in attendance at the press conference, had little involvement in the matter and certainly had no idea the complaints were of a sexual nature.
The scandal has already costs the jobs of former athletics director Tim Curley and school vice president Gary Schultz. It could still do more than that when the two go on trial to face charges of perjury and failing to report suspected child abuse.
“Curley and Schultz have denied that they ever told Dr. Spanier anything (about the nature of the complaints),” Lewis said. “Horseplay was referred to over and over again, but never with any sexual connotation. But Judge Freeh paid no attention to that.”
Spanier’s lawyers said they had no reason to think their client would be charged with any criminal offense.
The NCAA relied on the Freeh Report in handing down crippling sanctions to the Penn State football program, including a $60 million fine, the loss of scholarships and a four-year bowl ban.