Ex-FBI chief blasts Penn State, Paterno in Sandusky case
PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - Penn State leaders including late head football coach Joe Paterno concealed critical facts about former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky's child sexual abuse for years, showing a "total disregard" for the safety of his victims, former FBI director Louis Freeh said in a report on Thursday.
Pennsylvania State University trustees hired Freeh and his law firm to investigate the school's handling of the allegations involving Sandusky, 68, who was convicted last month of sexually abusing 10 boys.
"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," Freeh said in a statement on the findings of an eight-month investigation.
The report could influence Penn State as it prepares for potential civil lawsuits. The university has already invited victims to try to resolve claims against the school. The report could also shed light on any criminal liability for two university officials charged with perjury and failing to report what they knew about Sandusky. Both have pleaded not guilty.
Sandusky, the defensive coach who helped turn Penn State into a perennial powerhouse under Paterno, was convicted on June 22 of 45 counts of child molestation involving 10 boys over 15 years and awaits sentencing, facing up to 373 years in prison.
The grand jury charges against Sandusky in November prompted the firing of university President Graham Spanier and Paterno, the legendary "JoePa" who won more games than any other major college football coach. Paterno died two months later of lung cancer at age 85.
At the heart of the Freeh probe is how Paterno and other Penn State officials reacted to the story of Mike McQueary, a graduate assistant who told them in 2001 he had seen Sandusky in a sexual position with a boy in a football locker room shower. Neither police nor child protective services was informed.
Failure to alert authorities allowed Sandusky to continue preying on young boys for years, prosecutors said. At least three of Sandusky's 10 known victims were abused in the years after Penn State authorities were told about the 2001 shower incident.
Former Athletic Director Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, a former university vice president, face charges of perjury and failure to report suspected abuse in the case.
"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," Freeh said.
Freeh was a U.S. District judge when former U.S. President Bill Clinton named him to run the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1993. He remained in the post through 2001.
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