Former Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno and other top university officials acted with "total disregard" for the children sexually abused by former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky because of their fear of "bad publicity," a report by the university's internal investigation said today.
The report was released at the conclusion of the investigation led by former FBI director Louis Freeh, who was hired to find out why officials who knew of child molestation accusations failed to stop Sandusky or report him to police.
The report said that Paterno, along with officials Tim Curley, Gary Schultz, and former president Graham Spanier, "repeatedly concealed critical facts relating to Sandusky's child abuse from the authorities," and it blamed those four men for failing to stop Sandusky and protect other chidlren from his harm. Read the full report.
The four officials showed a "striking lack of empathy" for the victims of Sandusky's abuse and empowered the former assitant coach to continue abusing, the report said.
The report was released after eight months of investigation, launched in November by the university's Board of Trustees after the arrest of Sandusky, Curley, and Schultz, and the firing of Paterno and resignation of Spanier.
Sandusky was convicted of 45 counts of child abuse in June.
Former athletic director Tim Curley and former vice president for finance Gary Schultz were arrested in connection to the Sandusky case, and charged with not reporting an alleged incident of abuse in 2001 to the police. They are charged with lying about their knowledge to the Pennsylvania grand jury.
Both men have maintained their innocence and are still months away from trial.
Paterno and former university president Graham Spanier were never charged criminally in the case, but Paterno was fired and Spanier resigned just days after Sandusky's arrest when the Board of Trustees decided they had not done enough to stop Sandusky.
Spanier has said that he was never told about a specific allegation against Sandusky of child sex abuse. Paterno, who died in January, said that he told his supervisors what he knew about a 2001 allegation, and left it up to them to decide what to do.
The report is expected to answer nagging questions about how much Paterno knew about the accusations against Sandusky and whether he and his supervisors chose not to report those allegations to police as part of a "cover- up."
Many of the questions about how Penn State handled the scandal arose from a 2001 incident in which then graduate assistant coach Mike McQueary saw Sandusky with a young boy in the football locker room's showers late one Friday ngiht. McQueary later described the incident as "extremely sexual" and said he drew the conclusion that Sandusky was raping the boy.
McQueary told head coach Paterno the next day that he had seen Sandusky doing "something sexual" with a young boy. Paterno then relayed the incident to his superiors, Curley and Schultz. None of the men reported the incident to police.
Curley and Schultz, as university officials, were later charged with failure to report sexual abuse allegations to authorities. Paterno was only required by law to report the incident to his boss, Curley. The Pennsylvania Attorney General, however, said that all of the men had failed morally in not reporting the incident to police.
Curley and Schutlz were also charged with perjury for telling the investigating grand jury that they were never told that the incident was sexual in nature, and that they were only told Sandusky was "horsing around" with a young boy in the shower.
The investigation, which included 430 interviews and reviews of 3.5 million emails and other documents, included emails from all of the officials showing how much they knew about that incident.
Paterno's family released a statement Wednesday in anticipation of the investigation's findings, saying that Paterno had already acknowledged that he wished he had done more with the allegation against Sandusky.
"To this point, Joe Paterno is the only person who publicly acknowledged that with the benefit of hindsight he wished he had done more. This was an honest and courageous admission that a true leader must assume a measure of responsibility when something goes wrong on his watch," it read. "The sad and frightening fact is Jerry Sandusky was a master deceiver."
Sandusky was convicted in June on 45 counts of child abuse, many of which took place on Penn State's campus.