Joe Paterno and other senior officials at Penn State blatantly ignored the safety of Jerry Sandusky's victims, so concludes a long-anticipated report from the university's investigation. Paterno, the late head coach of the university's successful football program apparently looked the other way while Sandusky raped young, at-risk boys for his own twisted pleasure.
Louis Freeh, a retired FBI director the university hired to lead the investigation, said in a statement:
Our 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. The most powerful men at Penn State failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children who Sandusky victimized.
PBS News reports that more than 430 interviews were conducted and a whopping 3.5 emails and documents were analyzed before reaching this conclusion. Freeh and his investigators honed in on the actions (or lack thereof) of Joe Paterno, former university president Graham Spanier, former vice president Gary Schultz and former athletic director Tim Curley.
Jerry Sandusky's trial resulted in his conviction on 45 counts of sexual abuse of ten boys over the course of 15 years. Curley and Schultz are now facing criminal charges for their actively ignoring or trying to cover up this sexual predator's actions, sickening proof of how football was more important than the safety and protection of young and vulnerable boys.
A hand-written note by Schultz reveals just how much he knew about Sandusky's perversion going back to 2001. The note reads, "Tell J.S. to avoid bringing children alone into the Lasch Bldg."
The investigation also revealed that all four of these men knew exactly what had gone on during the 1998 sexual misconduct investigation and chose not to discipline him in any way.
Even Paterno, before he died, admitted he knew everything but didn't know how to deal with it so he naÃ¯vely turned over the information to others thinking they'd actually do something. However, he had to have been aware that nothing was done since more than a decade passed and Sandusky was still on the football staff.
It's time for Penn State and other universities across the nation to re-evaluate their child safety procedures when sexual abuse by staff is suspected. It's obvious that the football program in this particular case was more important, and that needs to change.
Image: Exhibit 5E in the Freeh Report