Former FBI director Louis Freeh has announced the findings of his investigation into the Penn State sex abuse scandal and the university's senior leaders all stand accused of covering up allegations about Jerry Sanduky's abuse of children. The report is a completely damning indictment of the school's four senior leaders: University President Graham Spanier, Vice-President Gary Schultz, Athletic Director Tim Curley, and head football coach Joe Paterno.
The report concludes that all four men were aware of sexual abuse allegations against Sandusky both in 1998 (a charge Paterno had denied) and in 2001 and did nothing about them. Even worse, the group apparently decided to report Sandusky to police after the 2001 incident, but Paterno intervened to change their mind.
The report clearly condemns Paterno and the others and is not dispassionate about the case. After learning about the 2001 allegation, Paterno reportedly told his assistant Mike McQueary that "It is my job now to figure out what we want to do.” Freeh's response is: "Why would anyone have to figure out what had to be done in these circumstances?" The most damning statement may be this one:
In order to avoid the consequences of bad publicity, the most powerful leaders at Penn State University – Messrs. Spanier, Schultz, Paterno and Curley – repeatedly concealed critical facts relating to Sandusky’s child abuse from the authorities, the Board of Trustees, Penn State community, and the public at large.
You can download the full 267-page report at this link: or the press release that summarizes the finding here. Freeh will hold a press conference at 10:00 a.m. and we'll update with more details if they become available. Our previous updates on the conclusions of the investigation are below.
UPDATE (10:54 a.m.): The press conference is over, but one final point emphasized by Freeh: Two Penn State janitors witnessed abused, but were afraid to report it for fear of losing their jobs. Compelling evidence of the culture of accountability at the university from the top to the bottom.
UPDATE (10:42 a.m.): When asked if Paterno could have stopped the abuse, Freeh says the coach was "one of the most powerful leaders on campus" and "he could have done so if he wished."
UPDATE (10:21 a.m.): Freeh read the full statement out loud and is now taking questions. Asked about the legal implications, Freeh (a former judge) would not say whether the action of Penn State's officials constitute a crime, but the "evidence clearly shows an active agreement to conceal."
UPDATE (10:00 a.m.): Here's live video of Freeh's conference, via MSNBC:
UPDATE (9:35 a.m.): Here is Penn State's official response. They were not given a copy of the report ahead of time and will review its findings.
UPDATE (9:31 a.m.): The NCAA has released a statement on the report saying: "The university has four key questions, concerning compliance with institutional control and ethics policies, to which it now needs to respond" and that response will determine if the NCAA decides to take action.
UPDATE (9:15 a.m.): Freeh has issued a press release with his prepared remarks. The press conference will actually be at 10:00 a.m. ET.
The report will say that Penn State failed to adhere to the Clery Act, the 1990 federal law that requires those who learn about crimes like Sandusky's to report them to police.
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. The most powerful men at Penn State failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children who Sandusky victimized. Messrs. Spanier, Schultz, Paterno and Curley never demonstrated, through actions or words, any concern for the safety and well-being of Sandusky’s victims until after Sandusky’s arrest.
According the report, all four men knew about a 2001 allegation (made by assistant coach Mike McQueary) that Sandusky had been seen having sex with a young boy in a Penn State locker room. The men initially agreed to report the allegations, but after a later conversation between Curley and Paterno, they changed their mind and did not report it to authorities. The "only known factor" to change the decision was that conversation.
In addition, all four men were also aware of a previous 1998 allegation involving Sandusky, and did nothing about it. Yet, there was no attempt to investigate the second allegation or identify the victim. It appears the only action they took was to inform Sandusky's charity of the accusation and "the best they could muster to protect Sandusky’s victims was to ask Sandusky not to bring his “guests” into the Penn State facilities."
Finally, the report concludes that Board of Trustees was not made aware of the allegations in 1998 or 2001, but that they "failed to create an environment which held the University’s most senior leaders accountable to it" and should not escape criticism.
Former FBI director Louis Freeh will announce the findings of his investigation into the Penn State sex abuse scandal today and, according to various leaks, no one will be spared responsibility. Freeh and his investigative team will release the results at a 10:00 a.m. press conference on Thursday. We'll have updates as soon as the report is available but for now, here's a preview of what's expected:
The report is believed to focus on the actions of four main individuals: University President Graham Spanier, Vice-President Gary Schultz, Athletic Director Tim Curley, and head football coach Joe Paterno. (Spanier and Curley have since resigned, Schultz retired, and Paterno was fired, then passed away weeks later.) The main questions to be answered are what they knew about allegations of child sexual assault by former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, when they knew about them, and what they did about it. Yahoo's Dan Wetzel says that according to his sources "everyone is going to be under a harsh microscope."
There's more at stake here than just assigning blame however. Curley and Schultz are already facing perjury charges for answers they gave to a grand jury during the investigation of Sandusky. All of them could face civil lawsuits if the report indicates that they had information about crimes and didn't do anything about it. The university itself — which paid for Freeh's investigation — could also be held liable for claims from Sandusky's many victims. Freeh has no power to bring criminal charges, but this document could certainly be used against (or in defense of) any of the participants in other arenas.
There's also Paterno's legacy, which may be the most important piece of the puzzle for Penn State alumni and fans. Paterno is still a beloved figure in State College, but recent leaks of university emails seemed to indicate that he may have had a hand in stopping Spanier and Curley from reporting Sandusky to the police. It is hoped that the Freeh report will shed more light on this particular issue.
Anticipation was also raised last night when Deadspin posted what appear to be parts of a draft copy of Freeh's opening statement, including sample questions that his team expects to get from reporters, with prepared answers included. They don't reveal much, but two questions do give some clues about the results of the report. One, is whether President Spanier and Joe Paterno should have been fired based on the evidence. In both cases, the answer is "yes." The other question is whether Paterno "did all he should have" to report the claims made against Sandusky. The one word answer underneath that is "no."
The report will be posted at http://thefreehreportonpsu.com/, but oddly enough, the prepared remarks are already apologizing for the site being down. Guess they didn't go with extra bandwidth package from their Web host. (They weren't wrong. The site has totally crashed.)