Penn State may have sidestepped federal act

Posted: November 28, 2011

Now the feds are involved.

The U.S. Department of Education plans to begin its investigation today to determine if Penn State officials violated a federal law by failing to report allegations of child sexual abuse by former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

"We are making every effort to provide the review team with immediate access to all requested records and information sources pertaining to all aspects of Clery Act compliance," Penn State president Rodney Erickson said in a weekend news release.

"The notification letter included a long list of information the committee needs, and we have been busy gathering as much of that information in advance of their visit as possible."

The Clery Act, named after a 19-year-old Lehigh University freshman who was raped and murdered in 1986, requires universities to disclose campus crimes and, in some cases, issue a warning for current threats.

U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan, R-Pa., of Delaware County, had called for the investigation this month, after Sandusky was charged with abusing eight boys over 15 years. Meehan said the university's failure to report an allegation that Sandusky raped a boy in a locker-room shower in 2002 appears to violate the Clery Act.

"Even more upsetting is the fact that had university officials reported this to authorities, additional abuses could have been prevented," Meehan said.

In related developments, at least 11 alleged Sandusky victims will probably file civil suits against the Second Mile charity Sandusky founded in 1977, according to the New York Times. The nonprofit for underprivileged youths reported assets of more than $9 million last year.

Yesterday, the Centre Daily Times reported that Penn State police have received a letter from another person who says he was "possibly assaulted" by Sandusky. The letter, sent from a man incarcerated in Oklahoma, was received Friday and forwarded to the state Attorney General's Office.

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