RSS
The Jerry Sandusky cover-up: 4 takeaways from a damning new report
After a seven-month investigation, Penn State releases a blistering report detailing how top officials failed to punish Jerry Sandusky for his sexual abuse of young boys
A damaging new report on the Penn State sex-abuse scandal seems to confirm that legendary coach Joe Paterno was involved in covering up Jerry Sandusky's crimes.
A damaging new report on the Penn State sex-abuse scandal seems to confirm that legendary coach Joe Paterno was involved in covering up Jerry Sandusky's crimes. AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar
F

ormer Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky had his day of reckoning in court last month, and was found guilty of 45 counts related to the sexual abuse of 10 boys over 15 years. But he's not the only one in trouble. On Thursday, several Penn State administrators were implicated in the years-long cover-up of Sandusky's crimes. Former FBI director and federal judge Louis Freeh released a report on the case after a seven-month investigation commissioned by Penn State trustees. Freeh concluded that a number of high-ranking officials at the university repeatedly ignored allegations brought against Sandusky "in order to avoid the consequences of bad publicity." Here, four takeaways from the devastating report:

1. Joe Paterno was involved in the cover-up
The Freeh report establishes what has been speculated about for months: Legendary head football coach "Joe Paterno intentionally covered up multiple instances of child sex abuse, years apart, and then allowed a serial child rapist to keep bringing children to campus facilities," says Jason Kirk at SB Nation. In one 2001 incident, graduate assistant Mike McQueary told Paterno that he had seen Sandusky molesting a young boy in a locker room shower, and when it came time to cover up such incidents, emails quoted in the report show "explicitly that athletic department officials or university officials had informed [Paterno] of what was going on," says Nina Mandell at BuzzFeed. Even though I don't like the idea, says Kirk, Paterno, who died of cancer in January, "should've gone to jail." 

2. Several administrators were complicit, too
Freeh's report calls out a number of "powerful Penn State men" who "failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children who Sandusky victimized" — including former university President Graham Spanier, former Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley, and former Penn State Vice President Gary Schultz. Freeh says that Spanier shot down an independent investigation into Sandusky in 2011 and lied when he said he'd never heard of allegations made against Sandusky. The truth is, the report alleges, that Spanier met with Curley and Schultz regarding Sandusky many times, beginning in 1998.

3. Spanier could be charged with a crime
Curley and Schultz, who have both been charged with lying to a grand jury and not reporting child abuse, helped orchestrate Sandusky's retirement in 1999, "including the benefits package that paid Sandusky $168,000," says Kirk. So far, the former university president has not been charged with any crimes related to the Sandusky scandal. But after this report, it may be time for Spanier to lawyer up, if he hasn't already, says Dan Filler at The Faculty Lounge. The details that have emerged from the Freeh report could "more clearly define [Spanier's] role as a grand jury continues to investigate his actions in response to McQueary's allegations," says Jeremy Roebuck at The Philadelphia Inquirer.

4. Even the janitors knew about Sandusky
At a news conference after he released his report, Freeh talked about investigators' interviews with janitors at Penn State "who knew of questionable incidents by Sandusky but didn't take any action because they were afraid of the power of the football program and its prominent coaching staff," says Michael Muskal at the Los Angeles Times. "If that was the culture at the bottom," Freeh said, "imagine what the culture was at the top."

Sources: The Associated Press, Buzzfeed, The Faculty Lounge, Los Angeles Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, SB Nation

EDITORS' PICKS

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week