PHILADELPHIA – Judge Louis Freeh’s investigative report regarding how Penn State employees dealt with the abusive actions of Jerry Sandusky is being called a “roadmap” for future civil lawsuits.
Three attorneys — Matt Casey, representing the men referred to as “Victim 3” and “Victim 7”; Jeff Fritz, representing the man referred to as “Victim 4”; and Tom Kline, representing the man referred to as “Victim 5” — shared their opinions on the report after Freeh made his own comments on it.
The Freeh Report contained information that lends credence to a cover-up of Sandusky’s sexual abuse before and after he retired as defensive coordinator in 1999.
According to the report, former athletic director Tim Curley, former head football coach Joe Paterno, former Vice President for Finance and Business Gary Schultz and former University President Graham Spanier were all aware of incidents in 1998 and 2001 involving Sandusky and those referred to as “Victim 6” and “Victim 2,” respectively, but did not take the appropriate actions to alert authorities.
Kline was candid with his remarks.
“[Men] in power like Mr. Paterno, Mr. Spanier, Mr. Curley, Mr. Schultz, did nothing to protect the youngsters who were seen with Mr. Sandsuky,” Kline said. “…It is a crying shame that this thing happened and it went on for so long.”
Sandusky was found guilty on 45 counts of sexual abuse on June 22. He is currently awaiting sentencing.
The three attorneys all said that the Freeh Report will act as a sort of template or stepping stone for future civil lawsuits against Penn State University or those involved.
Casey said the next steps for him are civil suits.
“Mr. Schultz in 1998 used the phrase ‘Pandora’s box’ to question whether there were other children,” Casey said, referencing an email written by Schultz that was uncovered in the Freeh report. “That becomes, from a civil liability standpoint, extremely damning.”
Casey said that once the criminal prosecutions are over, since they generally take precedence over civil suits, he intends to interview those who acted inappropriately in the Freeh report.
Fritz said he has not yet filed a lawsuit, but plans to discuss a plan of action that would include “pursuing civil remedies against anyone responsible for what happened” after he reviews the Freeh report in greater detail.
“The time period over which this abuse was known by so many people for so long is shocking,” Fritz said. “And with each page I turn, it’s even more shocking. This was a systemic problem that went from the bottom to the top: From the janitor to the president to the trustees. And each of those levels had conscience opportunities to stop this guy.”
Casey also said he thinks there will be more information uncovered through the civil cases, saying, “Jerry Sandusky didn’t just become a pedophile in 1998.”
He did note, though, that any new information that could be uncovered in the future may not be the same “caliber” of the information uncovered in the Freeh report.