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The Freeh Report, Summarized: Everything You Need To Know About The Evidence Against Joe Paterno And Penn State
The Freeh Commission released its exhaustive report today on the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State, shedding new light on perhaps the worst scandal in modern sports history. There’s a lot here — 267 pages worth, to be exact — so we’re going to provide you with the report’s most important points.
Former football coach Joe Paterno, as well as former Athletic Director Tim Curley and other high-ranking PSU administrators, knew Sandusky was a threat to children. Yet they chose not to turn him in, in what the Freeh Commission concluded was an attempt to “avoid bad publicity.” They were aware of the many red flags, and they were capable of preventing years of abuse. But they made the inexcusable choice not to act. That’s the main takeaway here.
“The most saddening finding by the Special Investigative Counsel is the total and consistent disregard by the most senior leaders at Penn State for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s child victims.
Four of the most powerful people at The Pennsylvania State University – President Graham B. Spanier, Senior Vice President‐Finance and Business Gary C. Schultz, Athletic Director Timothy M. Curley and Head Football Coach Joseph V. Paterno – failed to protect against a child sexual predator harming children for over a decade.”
Again, the document is incredibly in-depth, and full of damning information for Penn State and the people who were in power there.
Here is a rundown of key information.
- Mike McQueary wasn’t interviewed for the report at the request of the PA Attorney General on the grounds that it may have affected objectivity, even though it could have been helpful. Sandusky (and a few others) declined interviews on the advice of counsel.
“The Freeh Group believes the interest of avoiding bad publicity allowed Sandusky to remain free, where he would go on to abuse additional boys and maintain near full access to Penn State facilities and the inner workings of the football program.”
- Jerry Sandusky was on the Penn State football staff from 1969 to 1999. He reported to Paterno for all 30 years. In February of 1998, Paterno told Sandusky he would not succeed Paterno as head coach. Curley offered Sandusky the Assistant Athletic Director position instead, but Sandusky declined. Becoming head coach of Penn State was Sandusky’s ultimate goal.
- “Before May 1998, several staff members and football coaches regularly observed Sandusky showering with young boys in the Lasch Building (now the East Area Locker Building or “Old Lasch”). None of the individuals interviewed notified their superiors of this behavior.”
- “Former Coach Richard Anderson testified at Sandusky’s trial in June 2012 that he often saw Sandusky in the showers with children in the football facilities, but he did not believe the practice to be improper.”
- In May 1998, Sandusky assaulted an 11-year old boy, “Victim 6,” in the Lasch (Football) Building shower.
The 1998 incident.
Sandusky “kissed the boy’s head and said, ‘I love you,’” after wrestling with him. They then showered together, “when Sandusky told him to come to a closer one ‘saying it took some time for the water to warm up.’” From there, it got weirder.
“While in the shower, Sandusky wrapped his hands around the boy’s chest and said, ‘I’m gonna squeeze your guts out.’ The boy then washed his body and hair. Sandusky lifted the boy to ‘get the soap out of the boy’s hair,’ bringing the boy’s feet ‘up pretty high’ near Sandusky’s waist. The boy’s back was touching Sandusky’s chest and his feet touched Sandusky’s thigh. The boy felt ‘weird’ and ‘uncomfortable’ during the time in the shower.”
Actual sex wasn’t explicitly mentioned in the report.
After the incident got to the police, the boy told a psychiatrist that he felt ” ‘like the luckiest kid in the world’ to get to sit on the sidelines at Penn State football games… (and) that he did not want to get Sandusky in ‘trouble,’ and that Sandusky must not have meant anything by his actions.” The boy did not want anyone to talk to Sandusky because he might not invite him to any more games.
Following the investigation, it was determined that “there seems to be no incident which could be termed as sexual abuse…” He said that Sandusky should be notified “what is acceptable with young children, but only ‘to help him stay out of such gray area situations in the future.’”
This incident was classified as a “gray area situation.”
Soon after the 1998 incident, police covertly listened in on Sandusky conversing with the victim’s mother. During that conversation, Sandusky admitted that he had showered with boys before and that he told the boy he loved him. In response to a question of whether or not his private parts touched the boy, he said, “I don’t think so… maybe.” He asked to speak with the victim, but she declined. Sandusky said, “I understand. I was wrong. I wish I could get forgiveness. I know I won’t get it from you. I wish I were dead.”
Police didn’t question Sandusky at the time. About a week or two later, “the local District Attorney declined to prosecute Sandusky for his actions with the boy in the shower in the Lasch Building on May 3, 1998.”
The case file notes that Sandusky said “honest to God nothing happened,” regarding the incident. He also said he wouldn’t shower with children again.
“While no information indicates University leaders interfered with the investigation, Spanier, Schultz, Paterno and Curley were kept informed of the investigation.”
After the case was dropped, Schultz emailed Spanier and Curley saying that “I think the matter has been appropriately investigated and I hope it is now behind us.” None of them spoke to Sandusky about the incident and neither did Paterno. None of the four did anything to keep Sandusky away from PSU facilities, either. They also didn’t discuss his role at Second Mile, which included operating overnight programs at PSU. Nor did they say he should seek counseling.
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