The recently released investigation commissioned by the Paterno family, coupled with the renewed criticism of the Freeh Report, has sparked increasing conversation among state and university officials.
Coming as one of the latest developments, Trustee Ryan McCombie’s statement calls for a thorough review of the Paterno Report.
“Mr. Clemente’s report is the first thing that has made any real sense to me since this debacle began,” McCombie said via email. “It gives some understanding to how our entire community could look past a pedophile and never realize what he was doing to children in plain sight.”
Also commenting on the matter, Sen. Jake Corman, R-Centre, has expressed that trustees should conduct a re-examination of the Freeh Report.
While Corman did not officially issue a public statement, he responded to a request from The Harrisburg Patriot-News for a comment Sunday, Corman’s legislative director Scott Sikorski said.
Sikorski said Corman told the news outlet he felt that “the board owned the Freeh Report and that they have a duty if they don’t feel that the Freeh Report is accurate to look at that.”
The legislative director further said Corman also made a similar statement to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, while his office has issued statements beforehand on the matter. Such can be found on the senator’s website, Sikorski added.
Citing that the report did not talk to “the particulars,” Corman said this is a “glaring example” for why the Freeh Report is incomplete.
Furthermore, Sikorski said Corman has underlined the importance of due process from the beginning.
“Due process is our legislated way of handing out justice. There is a justice system that should be followed,” Sikorski said. “At the time, we are still in that process.”
While former university President Graham Spanier, former Interim Senior Vice President of Finance and Business Gary Schultz and former Athletic Director Tim Curley are still going to have their day in court, Sikorski said, until that time, the Freeh Report is marked by incompleteness.
Though Corman has not made a statement on the Paterno Report, he has stated that it brings up counter-arguments to the Freeh Report.
Sikorski also said there are similarities between the Clemente report and what has been said to the Pennsylvania Task Force on Child Protection, which, he said, was established as a resolution in the legislature and given 400 pages worth of results and recommendations.
Further on legislative plans regarding this matter, Sikorski said Sen. Lloyd Smucker, R-Lancaster, chair of the Senate State Government Committee, has announced he plans to conduct a number of hearings with regard to this issue.
The legislative director believes the new Auditor General Eugene DePasquale is going to talk about the report that former Auditor General Jack Wagner issued, or talk about the investigation on behalf of his office currently.
“I believe Penn State will give a chance as well to comment,” Sikorski said. “And, looking at that hearing, it’s going to be a good way to get more information out on that.”
Penn Staters Reforming the Board of Trustees, a group that aims to bring about changes in the board’s structure, governance and operations, “wholeheartedly supports” both Corman’s and McCombie’s calls for re-examination, said member Helen Woodyard via email.
“Any review needs to be made public in the spirit of transparency as espoused by the Board. We want to know the truth, whatever that is. Doesn’t the Board?” Woodyard said.
University spokesman David La Torre said he has no comment on the matter.
Trustees Adam Taliaferro, Linda Strumpf, Kenneth Frazier and Keith Eckel could not be reached for comment. Trustee Joel Myers deferred comment until a later date.