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Report: Penn State could have stopped child sex abuse in '98

By Associated Press


PHILADELPHIA  >> Joe Paterno and other top Penn State officials hushed up child sex abuse allegations against Jerry Sandusky more than a decade ago for fear of bad publicity, allowing the former assistant football coach to prey on other youngsters, according to a scathing report issued today on the scandal.

"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," said former FBI Director Louis Freeh, who was hired by university trustees to look into what has become one of sports' biggest scandals. "The most powerful men at Penn State failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children who Sandusky victimized."

After an eight-month investigation, Freeh's firm produced a 267-page report that concluded that the Hall of Fame coach, President Graham Spanier, athletic director Tim Curley and vice president Gary Schultz "repeatedly concealed critical facts relating to Sandusky's child abuse."

Paterno "was an integral part of this active decision to conceal" and his firing was justified, Freeh said at a news conference. He called the officials' disregard for child victims "callous and shocking."

Sandusky is awaiting sentencing after being convicted of 45 criminal counts for abusing 10 boys. The scandal led to the ouster of Paterno and Spanier. Curley and Schultz are awaiting trial on charges accusing them of lying to a grand jury and failing to report abuse. They have pleaded not guilty.

Asked whether the officials' actions amounted to a crime such as conspiracy or obstruction, Freeh said that would be up to a grand jury.

School leaders "empowered Sandusky to attract potential victims to the campus and football events by allowing him to have continued, unrestricted and unsupervised access" to campus and to affiliate with the football program, the report said. The access, the report states, "provided Sandusky with the very currency that enabled him to attract his victims."

Freeh said officials had opportunities in 1998 and 2001 to step in.

Sexual abuse might have been prevented if university officials had banned Sandusky from bringing children onto campus after a 1998 inquiry, the report said. Despite their knowledge of the police probe into Sandusky showering with a boy in a football locker room, Spanier, Paterno, Curley and Schultz took no action to limit his access to campus, the report said.

The May 1998 complaint by a woman whose son came home with wet hair after showering with Sandusky didn't result in charges at the time. The report says Schultz was worried the matter could be opening "Pandora's box."

Then, in 2001, after a member of Paterno's staff saw Sandusky in a campus shower with a boy, officials did bar him from bringing children to campus and decided not to report him to child welfare authorities.

"There's more red flags here than you could count over a long period of time," Freeh said.

In a statement, Paterno's family said the longtime coach made mistakes that he acknowledged but "never interfered with any investigation" and was fooled by Sandusky.

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lokela wrote:
Punishment = kill Penn States football program.
on July 12,2012 | 05:41AM
allie wrote:
not a surpise. Too many "universities" are selling their soul for football recognition. I pray the UH backs away from that bad path
on July 12,2012 | 07:56AM
GorillaSmith wrote:
I wonder how Paterno is enjoying hell.
on July 12,2012 | 06:30AM
jjjjo wrote:
Hopefully he now knows what "victim" means
on July 12,2012 | 08:19AM
allie wrote:
Tragedy for all. Penn State sold its soul to big football. There are many dirty hands on these rapes. Even fans share some of the guilt. Get these b ad programs off our academic campuses. Universities are not in the entertainment business. Go to pro football for that
on July 12,2012 | 06:32AM
Manapua_Man wrote:
The BC$ system is partially to blame.
on July 12,2012 | 06:53AM
MrRealistic wrote:
This is indeed a very bad series of incidents against children at a major university, but this sort of crime and more go on at many college campuses involving coaches players and admin. Woman are used as sex objects and passed from player to player, alumni donate money, cars, houses to universities to attract big time players, backs are turned on many recruiting violations and academic acceptance standards. These are just the tip of the iceberg how corrupt college sports are.
on July 12,2012 | 06:58AM
loquaciousone wrote:
It's too bad that all the good that Joe Pa did at Penn State for decades will be forever overshadowed by this slimeball.
on July 12,2012 | 07:20AM
HollyJHuber wrote:
Did you read the article? Your "Joe Pa" is guilty in the cover-up of child rape. Any "good" he may have done is now forgotten, as it should be.
on July 12,2012 | 08:46AM
jjjjo wrote:
Thank you!
on July 12,2012 | 08:56AM
Mallory wrote:
greed - I used to think highly of Joe Paterno but after reading this report, I've come to my senses - Football is just a game that comes and goes with the seasons but what Joe failed to do, affected peoples lives forever. No JoePa for me, just JoeFail
on July 12,2012 | 09:35AM
loquaciousone wrote:
You like to pile on doncha...?
on July 12,2012 | 10:58AM
lowtone123 wrote:
I hope criminal charges are on the way for these supposedly intellegent men who sought to use their power to cover up this tragedy. They sold their souls and now have this on their hands forever. Countless more victims at the hands of that scumbag could have been avoided if only one of them did the right thing.
on July 12,2012 | 08:07AM
HollyJHuber wrote:
Penn State will forever be remembered for the coverup of child rape. This is exactly were reverence of authority leads, as all Catholics should now know.
on July 12,2012 | 08:44AM
al_kiqaeda wrote:
What a tragedy.
on July 12,2012 | 08:46AM
hvagd1 wrote:
NCAA needs to step in and impose severe penalties...these were crimes against kids. Shame on you JoePa.....
on July 12,2012 | 11:00AM
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