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Freeh Report Press Release On Penn State: “Total Disregard For The Safety And Welfare Of Sandusky’s Child Victims”
Today marks perhaps the most significant event of the Jerry Sandusky scandal since Sandusky’s conviction last month: the release of an investigation, headed by former FBI director Louis Freeh, on the university’s handling of allegations of misconduct against Sandusky dating as far back as 1998. The site containing the full report is here, and Freeh’s team put out a press release in conjunction with the release of the report, which you can read here. As one might expect, that release paints the leadership at Penn State in a harsh light.
The press release is littered with phrases like “catastrophic failure to report,” “total disregard for…safety and welfare,” and “callous and shocking disregard for child victims.” In other words, in an overarching sense, it confirms what you already knew: Penn State’s leadership structure passed the buck and valued trying to protect its own reputation over properly reporting what it had been told about Sandusky.
But there are also some details you might not have heard about before, like that “Penn State failed to implement the provisions of the Clery Act, a 1990 federal law that requires the collecting and reporting of the crimes such as Sandusky committed on campus in 2001,” and that “The Board [of Trustees] did not have regular reporting procedures or committee structures to ensure disclosure of major risks to the University.” So while the power of the football program at Penn State is inextricably linked to the failure to stop Sandusky sooner, the Joe Paterno op-ed released yesterday about how it’s “not a football scandal” does have some truth: every part of the university, it seems, was in some way unprepared to deal with what it faced.
So even if the Freeh report won’t teach you a whole lot you don’t already know (thanks in part, too, to the contents of some emails discussed in the report getting leaked already, its release is still important. The failure of Penn State in this instance needs to be documented as much as possible, as thoroughly as possible, so no scandal like it can happen anywhere else. As tempting as it is to wish a horrible story like this would just go away, it won’t and it can’t. The Freeh report is one more reason it won’t, and that makes the report a good thing.
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