New Castle News

July 11, 2012

Many waiting for Penn State report

By Staff
Associated Press

STATE COLLEGE — The team brought in by Penn State to investigate “the facts and circumstances of the actions” surrounding molestation of boys by former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky will release its highly anticipated report this week.

Meanwhile, the school’s reputation and future direction hanging in the balance.

The university trustees who paid for the probe, led by former FBI agent and federal judge Louis Freeh, will pore through it on Thursday to see what it says about university employees, recommendations for policy changes and even their own knowledge about rumors Sandusky had abused children on campus.

Penn State alumni, college football fans and the family of Sandusky’s former boss Joe Paterno will look to see if it sheds new light on Paterno’s actions, particularly after a graduate assistant complained to him in 2001 about Sandusky showering in a team locker room with a boy.

School administrators Gary Schultz and Tim Curley, awaiting trial on charges they lied to the Sandusky grand jury and didn’t properly report child abuse, will find out whether Freeh’s investigators uncovered anything that might help — or hinder — their criminal defense.

And former Penn State president Graham Spanier, who has not been charged with any crime, could discover whether emails or other records disclose more about his role.

Lawyers for the young men who testified against Sandusky, and others who might file civil lawsuits related to the scandal, will be reading the report closely for what it might mean regarding litigation. A civil complaint and a second legal notice of a lawsuit have been filed in Philadelphia, and there are signs other cases may be on the way.

“I’m going to be looking for what we believe will be full and complete disclosure,” said Harrisburg lawyer Ben Andreozzi, who represents the young man described as Victim 4 in court records. “It’s going to be convenient for the university to release certain information but to hold back on some of the details concerning potential information that could expose them to liability.”

Andreozzi said he also represents four other young men and is evaluating their potential civil claims related to the Sandusky scandal.

In announcing that the report will go online at 9 a.m. Thursday, Freeh took pains to say no one outside his team will get copies beforehand, including the trustees. Investigators will hold a news conference that morning in Philadelphia. That day, trustees will start a two-day meeting in Scranton where they can respond to the report.

“I think we’ll find that this thing revolves so tightly around coach Paterno, and I would hope the Freeh report is much broader than that and addresses the university as a whole — and how this culture was handled or mishandled correctly — and comes to some closure on that,” trustee Ryan McCombie said Tuesday.

“The people who loved Joe Paterno will still love him when this is over,” McCombie said. “The people who disliked him may feel they have ammunition to continue to dislike him.”

Paterno died of cancer in January, but his family issued a statement late Tuesday saying leaks have made them question the fairness of the Freeh group’s process. They defended the Hall of Fame coach, saying he did not know Sandusky was a child molester and did not prevent a proper investigation.

Sandusky, 68, was convicted of 45 counts of child sexual abuse last month and awaits sentencing. Prosecutors described how Sandusky culled the most vulnerable children from his charity for at-risk youth and used gifts and his access to Penn State facilities to abuse them over a 15-year span.

The Paterno family took aim at a February 2001 email by Curley, recently reported by CNN, saying he had a change of heart about reporting the shower incident to authorities after speaking with Paterno. Penn State has disclosed that Freeh’s probe turned up emails among top officials that have been given to prosecutors.

“When the facts come out, it will be clear that Joe Paterno never gave Tim Curley any instructions to protect Sandusky or limit any investigation of his actions,” the Paterno family’s statement read.