Former FBI Director Louis Freeh's report of his investigation of Penn State — a critical jab at former administrators and the Board of Trustees — was released Thursday to the public.
In his opening remarks, Freeh reports that the investigation was launched in order to find the inner most failings at Penn State — failings that may have let former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky sexually abuse children on campus.
According to his remarks, Freeh said the "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 his remarks that he felt the most powerful leaders at Penn State were attempting to "avoid bad publicity" and concealed facts relating to Sandusky from the Board of Trustees, the authorities and the general public.
The evidence from the investigation also shows that Spanier, Curley, Schultz and Paterno were all aware of a 1998 investigation of Sandusky and his conduct with a different boy in a shower.
"Again, they showed no concern about that victim," Freeh said.
Freeh said that the men also failed to alert the Board of Trustees following that investigation.
He said — with regard to former President Graham Spanier, former athletic director Tim Curley, former Interim Senior Vice President for Finance and Business Gary Schultz and the late former head coach Joe Paterno — "their callous and shocking disregard for child victims" was also reported by the grand jury in its initial presentment when there was no attempt to locate or identify the person identified as "Victim 2" following their notification of the 2001 incident.
While the report focused on the inaction of the administrators, it said the Board of Trustees is not without criticism. Freeh said that the board failed to create an environment which held senior administrators accountable. In fact, he said, when Curley, Schultz and Sandusky were arrested, Spanier did not give any additional information to the board than he did to the public.
Also with regard to the board, Freeh found that trustees did not have proper reporting procedures as far as things that pose major risk to the University.
He said the board was unprepared to handle crises related to charges filed in November against Curley, Schultz and Sandusky, and was unprepared when Paterno was fired.
"From 1998-2011, Penn State's "Tone at the Top" for transparency, compliance, police reporting and child protection was completely wrong, as shown by the inaction and concealment on the part of its most senior leaders, and followed by those at the bottom of the University's pyramid of power," he said.
Freeh also outlined basic recommendations that are further outlined in his 267 page report.
His final statement: "It is critical that Old Main, the Board and the Penn State community never forget these failures and commit themselves to strengthening an open, compliant and victim sensitive environment — where everyone has the duty to 'blow the whistle' on anyone who breaks this trust, no matter how powerful or prominent they may appear to be."
Adminstrators’ response to the 1998 report
Despite grand jury testimony indicating otherwise, Spanier, Curley, Schultz and Paterno were all aware of a 1998 investigation into Sandusky’s conduct, according to the Freeh report.
The mother of the person referred to as “Victim 6” in court documents contacted police on May 3, 1998 after her son revealed that he showered with Sandusky in the Lasch Football Building after a workout in 1998. The boy did not recall any sexual contact, but testified in June against Sandusky, saying the event had changed meanings to him as he aged.
Sandusky was found guilty on June 22 on 45 counts of child sex abuse, including those related to the 1998 report.
In the Freeh report, it states that investigators were not sure as to when Schultz became aware of the 1998 investigation. Confidential notes from Schultz dated May 4, 1998 make obvious that he was aware of the report by that date.
According to the report, the notes end with Schultz writing, “Critical issue — contact w genitals? Assuming same experience w the second boy? Not criminal.”
The next day, Schultz was notified that the boy had been interviewed again and provided additional details about the incident. Police had also interviewed a second boy and he told a similar story, according to the report.
“Is this opening of pandora’s box? Other children?” Schultz wrote, according to the report.
By May 5, Schultz had also alerted Curley to the report, according to the Freeh Group’s findings. Curley replied saying he had also notified Paterno.
“I have touched base with the coach. Keep us posted. Thanks,” he wrote.
Spanier, in a written statement to investigators, said the message was a “vague message with no individual named.”
University Police also determined on May 5 that they had found “no evidence of a crime” and would not make log the report, according to Freeh’s findings.
Curley made several requests for updates to Schultz over the next several days, according to the report. He sent one email on May 13 with the subject line “Jerry,” writing, “Anything new in this department? Coach is anxious to know where it stands.”
Schultz passed the message on to University Police who updated Curley. While the “coach” was never identified, investigators believe it to be Paterno, according to the Freeh report.
On May 30, Curley contacted Schultz again, according to the report. Schultz was on vacation at the time, but replied on June 8, saying that University Police were planning to meet with Sandusky, and he would provide a report on that meeting once it happened.
According to the Freeh report, investigators informed Schultz about the meeting, and June 9, Schultz informed Curley and Spanier of the results via email.
He said, “met with Jerry on Monday and concluded that there was no criminal behavior and the matter was closed as an investigation. He was a little emotional and expressed concern as to how this might have adversely affected the child. I think the matter has been appropriately investigated and I hope it is now behind us.”
The email did not mention that Sandusky had been advised not to shower with children, according to the report.
According to the Freeh Group’s findings, no messages were found to indicate that the investigators or administrators planned to speak to Sandusky about the incident, nor did it show that they would discuss his use of university facilities. They also did not discuss terminating the relationship between Penn State and The Second Mile, or if Sandusky should receive counseling, according to the report.
The report states that Paterno’s knowledge of the investigation’s conclusion is unclear, as investigators were never able to interview him due to his death in January.
Spanier told investigators that no effort was made to limit Sandusky’s access to Penn State.
Schultz testified before the grand jury in January 2011 and said he could not recall that he “knew anything about the details of what the allegation was from the mother.” He said he did not remember if it was reported in the Lasch Building.
Curley denied that he was aware of the incident, though he said he thought such an investigation would be brought to his attention.
Paterno also testified that he was not aware of the incident, and his family has steadfastly maintained that position through several statements.
“I do not know of anything else that Jerry would be involved in of that nature, no. I do not know of it. You did mention I think you said something about a rumor. It may have been discussed in my presence, something else about somebody. I don’t remember, and I could not honestly say I heard a rumor,” Paterno testified.
According to the report, the Board of Trustees was never made aware of the 1998 investigation.
Administrator’s response to the 2001 incident
Schultz discussed the “suspected child abuse” with Penn State’s outside legal counsel Wendell Courtney in February 2001, according to the Freeh report released Thursday.
Courtney charged 2.9 hours of time to Penn State for his legal work.
Almost 10 years later, on January 10, 2011, Courtney emailed Schultz and told him that Penn State counsel Cynthia Baldwin was asking him what he remembered about the Sandusky issue, according to the report.
“Based on the advice of counsel, Courtney declined to be interviewed by the Special Investigative Counsel,” the report said. “Thus, the special investigative counsel was unable to learn Courtney’s explanation about the legal work he performed on February 11, 2001.”
In November 2011, Schultz’s assistant removed some files containing Jerry Sandusky information from Schultz’s office and gave them to Schultz, according to the report.
The assistant didn’t disclose any of that information about the documents being removed to the investigator.
In May 2012, it was confirmed that the files existed and were retrieved for investigation. The documents were Schultz’s handwritten notes marked as “confidential” which stated that Curley and Schultz discussed a 1998 incident in which a boy’s mother reported that her son had been in a campus shower with Sandusky.
The handwritten notes state that Schultz and Curley met in February 12, 2001 to discuss the Sandusky allegations. Both agreed that they will meet with “JS,” which the investigators think stands for Sandusky, to avoid bringing children alone into Lasch building, according to the report.
The report also mentions that Spanier met with Schultz and Curley on February 2001. Spanier said to the investigator that both men gave him “ a heads up” that a member of the athletic department staff had reported to Paterno about the Sandusky incident in the shower with the minor.
According to the report, Spanier said to the investigator that the meeting was unique and that an event like that had never occurred before in the university. Then he asked Curley if he could meet with Sandusky to tell him that he must never again bring youth into the showers.
Some of the notes and emails Curley and Schultz sent used codes to refer to certain people or organizations. Curley did that because “the athletic department was notorious for leaks,” Spanier said to the investigator.
Other emails Curley sent used different wording when referring to Sandusky, such as “the subject”, “the person involved” or “the person.”
Since Sandusky declined to speak with the investigative counsel, they instead spoke with Sandusky’s counsel. His counsel said that Sandusky offered to give the child’s name to Curley, but Curley did not accept this invitation, according to the report.
Curley met with the executive director of The Second Mile in 2001 to discuss the Sandusky matter. A counsel for the Second Mile said to the investigators that Curley told the executive director that Sandusky wasn’t allowed to bring children to campus to avoid publicity issues.
The executive director for Second Mile told trustees from the organization, and the trustees said that it was a “non-incident for the Second Mile and there was no need to do anything further,” stated the report.
The executive director also met with Sandusky and told him Curley’s rule about children on campus, to which Sandusky responded by saying that the rule only applied for locker rooms, according to the report.
During the Board of Trustees on March 16, 2001, the records state that there was no discussion about the Sandusky incident during that meeting.
Freeh holds a press conference
An hour after Judge Louis Freeh released his report on Penn State — which scorned the inactions of four of the university's most powerful men to stop Sandusky from sexually abusing children for 14 years — the former FBI director fielded questions from reporters about his team's findings.
Freeh said he believes that Spanier, Schultz, Paterno and Curley concealed information in order to "avoid the consequences of bad publicity."
When asked by reporters if held the most responsibility in the endangerment of children, Freeh said that the coach and the three administrators were equally responsible, but he was shocked that Paterno didn't take more steps throughout the years to ensure that Sandusky did not have access to university facilities.
"At the very least, Paterno could have alerted the entire football staff in order to prevent Sandusky from bringing any other children into the Lasch Building," Freeh said.
Many reporters' questions kept the attention on Paterno and whether or not "the football culture" at Penn State led the four men to actively conceal information about Sandusky's actions.
Freeh said one of the biggest indicators of the "culture" at Penn State was testimony from university janitors. Several janitors witnessed what Freeh called Sandusky's "most horrific" sexual assaults but they "panicked" and did not report what they saw, in fear of losing their jobs.
"If that's the culture on the bottom, then God help the culture on the top," Freeh said.
One of the final questions Freeh fielded was whether or not Penn State is a safe university for parents to send their students.
"I think parents should be comforted and assured at this point that when sending their kids to Penn State, they will be safe,” Freeh said.
NCAA responds to the report
The NCAA issued a statement in response to the release of the Freeh report, which came out at 9 a.m. Thursday.
According to the statement, NCAA President Mark Emmert wrote in a letter to Penn State University President Rodney Erickson on November 17 that said the university has “four key questions concerning compliance with institutional control and ethics policies, to which it now needs to respond. ”
According to the statement, the NCAA will decide whether or not to take further action after Penn State responds to the letter.
“We expect Penn State’s continued cooperation in our examination of these issues,” NCAA officials said, according to the statement.
Collegian staff writers Lauren Ingeno, Paige Minemyer, Stephen Pianovich, Valeria Polit, Anna Orso and Rachel White contributed to this report.