Freeh report on PSU liability set for release Thursday

Posted: July 10, 2012

A report detailing Pennsylvania State University's liability in the handling of the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal will be released Thursday, school officials said.

The product of a seven-month internal investigation, commissioned by university trustees and led by former FBI Director Louis Freeh, the document is expected to lay out the decision-making process of top administrators who failed to report accusations made against Sandusky as early as 2001.

The findings could vindicate or further tarnish some of Penn State's most powerful figures, including former head football coach Joe Paterno and ex-president Graham B. Spanier, both of whom were dismissed by trustees, shortly after the former assistant football coach's November arrest, for not taking more action.

Sources close to the Freeh investigation have said the report's scope extends well beyond Sandusky and will include assessments of Penn State's record on handling sexual-assault cases on campus involving students, as well as the influence of athletics programs on university policy.

"We look forward to seeing the report on Thursday and reviewing Judge Freeh's recommendations," university spokesman David La Torre said.

Freeh, a former U.S. district judge, was hired by the trustees last year in response to one of the worst scandals in university athletics. A Centre County jury convicted Sandusky of using his position to groom and molest at least 10 boys.

Trustee Ken Frazier, head of a special committee to address the crisis, said at the time that Freeh's investigators would face no impediments in determining "who knew what, when."

"We picked Judge Freeh in large part because he has no connections to the university," he said. "In fact, he has no connections to Pennsylvania to speak of. We have someone who can make a report on wherever the evidence leads."

Since then, Freeh's group has interviewed more than 400 current and former university employees ranging from trustees to janitorial workers in the campus' athletic offices.

But some, including Paterno's family, have questioned the fairness of the investigation.

On Tuesday, the late coach's family criticized a series of leaked e-mails discovered by Freeh's group that seemed to implicate Paterno, Spanier, and other university officials in a decision not to report a 2001 incident involving Sandusky and a 10-year-old boy in a football locker room shower.

"The board promised a fair, transparent, and impartial process," the family said in a statement. "These developments are a threat to their stated objections."

The family said it had asked Freeh for the opportunity to review the findings in advance and to prepare a response, but its request was rejected.

Spanier lawyer Peter Vaira also took issue with what he described as "selective leaks, without the full context."

The former president had refused to participate in Freeh's investigation until he had a chance to examine those e-mails. However, Vaira said Tuesday that Spanier had relented and submitted to a lengthy interview Friday in Philadelphia.

"He has wanted the Freeh Group to create an accurate report and has been determined to assist in any way he can," Vaira said. "At no time in the more than 16 years of his presidency at Penn State was Dr. Spanier told of an incident involving Jerry Sandusky that described child abuse, sexual misconduct, or criminality of any kind."

The Freeh report was to be released simultaneously to the public, university trustees, and law enforcement officials in a 9 a.m. posting on the website www.TheFreehReportonPSU.com.


Contact Jeremy Roebuck

at 267-564-5218 or jroebuck@phillynews.com,

or follow on Twitter @jeremyrroebuck.

Inquirer staff writer Susan Snyder contributed to this article.

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