Previously withheld documents regarding Louis Freeh’s investigation into the university’s handling of incidents surrounding former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky will be released, according to a Pa. Office of Open Records decision released Friday.
Ryan Bagwell, Class of 2002, requested the release of over 600 pages of emails and other documents under the Right to Know Law.
These documents include emails between members of the Board of Trustees, Louis Freeh, Freeh’s partners and former Pa. Secretary of Education Ron Tomalis. The subject of these communications include Freeh’s internal investigation, the NCAA and Board of Trustees meetings, according to court documents.
On Friday, the Office of Open Records ordered the Pennsylvania Department of Education release 518 of these documents in the next 30 days, according to court documents.
Bagwell considered this number a victory, although he expects the university to appeal this decision within the 30-day window, he said.
According to court documents, 155 documents will not be released on the grounds of attorney-client privilege.
While Bagwell respects the Office of Open Records’ ruling, he said he does not believe the attorney-client privilege should apply to Freeh.
“Louis Freeh wasn’t hired to provide legal advice. He was hired to conduct an investigation,” Bagwell said.
By allowing Freeh to talk to the NCAA, the attorney general and the grand jury, Penn State waived the attorney-client privilege, Bagwell said.
Bagwell has yet to decide if he will appeal the decision, which comes four days after it was determined that Penn State waived the attorney-client privilege by allowing former legal counsel Cynthia Baldwin to testify to the grand jury in Sandusky’s investigation.
Bagwell is the creator of the Penn State Sunshine Fund, a grassroots organization dedicated to increasing transparency of the Penn State administration.
“My ultimate goal from day one has not been to prove one point, but to reveal how Louis Freeh came to the unsupported conclusions he did,” he said.
Bagwell, who currently lives in Wisconsin, has made twenty requests for records since May 2012 and has received hundreds of previously-withheld records, he said.
“For a Board [of Trustees] that claims to be transparent, they’re fighting awfully hard to maintain the secrecy of these documents,” Bagwell said. “The Board owes us answers.
The Office of Open Records did not return a request for comment as of Saturday afternoon.
Erin McCarthy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (814) 865-1828. Follow her on Twitter at @ErinMcPSU.