Penn State trustee: 'Don't care if they are acquitted'

Kenneth C. Frazier
Kenneth C. Frazier
Posted: March 16, 2013

Pennsylvania State University trustee Kenneth Frazier unleashed a passionate defense Thursday of the trustees-commissioned report that found that senior university administrators covered up child sex-abuse allegations.

During a fiery exchange with an alumni candidate for the board at a meeting of the trustees, Frazier said he did not care whether those administrators were found guilty at trial. Evidence unearthed by former FBI Director Louis Freeh and his team proved their culpability, he said.

Penn State, he said, has to continue to take responsibility for the child sex-abuse that occurred on its campus and off at the hands of former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

"You can try all you want to get us to focus elsewhere," said Frazier, who chaired the special investigations task force that was the liaison to Freeh. His remarks came at a committee meeting of the board of trustees in Hershey.

"I find it fascinating that I've gotten thousands of e-mails with conspiracy theories and yet no one seems to have read the very first document in chronological order that Freeh produced."

The Freeh report uncovered e-mails and notes that investigators say show that former president Graham B. Spanier, athletic director Tim Curley, administrator Gary Schultz, and football coach Joe Paterno conspired to cover up abuse allegations against Sandusky.

Spanier, Curley, and Schultz have all been indicted on conspiracy and other charges and await trial. Paterno was not charged and has died.

"No one seems to be able to look at the black-and-white facts," said Frazier, a lawyer and president and chief executive officer of the pharmaceutical firm Merck & Co. "You're not going to distract me or anybody else from the facts that occurred here. And they are abundantly clear that people on this campus did not take action to protect children."

William Cluck, a lawyer and candidate for the board who was in the verbal sparring match with Frazier, said the trial should shed more light. But Frazier said the evidence was clear.

"We are not subject to the criminal 'beyond a reasonable doubt' standard, and you're a lawyer, so you can stop pretending that you think we are," Frazier told Cluck. "We can take employment actions. We can take corrective actions without any need to resort to due-process reasonable-doubt standards. I don't care if they are acquitted.

"If you care about that, then you are one of the few people in this country . . .who actually believes the O.J. Simpson not-guilty verdict was correct. And you know you didn't.

"Those documents say what they say, and no amount of hand-waving will ever change what they say."

Cluck told the rest of the committee that he was shocked they said nothing during Frazier's presentation and remarks, which he viewed as an attack on Paterno.

"This gentleman has a valid point of view," Cluck said. "I respect his opinion. Is that the opinion of the board?"

The Freeh report is expected to come up again at Friday's trustees meeting, where 30 lettermen plan to show up on behalf of Paterno.

In his remarks, Frazier said the Freeh report delivered what it promised and set the university on a course to prevent such a scandal from occurring again. Officials noted that 83 of the 119 recommendations put forth by Freeh have been implemented in the wake of the scandal.


Contact Susan Snyder at 215-854-4693 or ssnyder@phillynews.com

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