School Climate & Safety News in Brief

Penn State Report Describes ‘Shocking’ Inaction

By Bryan Toporek — July 17, 2012 1 min read
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Former FBI Director Louis Freeh’s report about the child-sex-abuse scandal involving Pennsylvania State University’s famed football program sent a loud and clear message to school administrators at all levels: Athletics can never come before the safety of students.

The report, released last week, accused Penn State administrative leaders of “total and consistent disregard … for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s victims,” referring to former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, who last month was convicted of 45 counts of sexual abuse of 10 boys.

Penn State University students gather around a television in the student union on the school's main campus to listen to a press conference held by former FBI Director Louis Freeh. He issued a report chronicling administrators' failure to protect children in the child sex-abuse scandal connected to the university's storied football program.

Despite learning of sex-abuse accusations against Mr. Sandusky in 1998, four Penn State leaders held off alerting the university’s board of trustees once the district attorney filed no charges against the assistant coach.

After a graduate assistant coach allegedly witnessed Mr. Sandusky assaulting a young boy in a shower on campus in 2001, the four men decided against telling the state department of welfare in favor of offering Mr. Sandusky “professional help.”

The report concludes that the four men “concealed critical facts” from the authorities for fear of any potential negative publicity. At a July 12 press conference, Mr. Freeh characterized the officials’ inaction as “callous and shocking.”

A version of this article appeared in the July 18, 2012 edition of Education Week as Penn State Report Describes ‘Shocking’ Inaction


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