Freeh Investigation Finds Penn State Officials 'Disregarded' Welfare of Sandusky's Victims

Read Remarks From Judge Louis Freeh on His Law Firm's Findings in Penn State Probe

The President, a Senior Vice President, and General Counsel did not perform their duty to make timely, thorough and forthright reports of these 1998 and 2001 allegations to the Board. This was a failure of governance for which the Board must also bear responsibility.

 We also found that:

• The Board did not have regular reporting procedures or committee structures to ensure disclosure of major risks to the University;

• Some Trustees felt their meetings were a "rubber stamp" process for Mr. Spanier's actions;

• The Board did not independently ask for more information or assess the underreporting by Spanier about the Sandusky investigation after May 2011 and thereby failed to oversee properly his executive management of the worst crisis in Penn State's history;

• The Board was over-confident in Spanier's abilities to handle crises and was unprepared to deal with:

• the filing of criminal charges against senior University leaders and a prominent former football coach in November, 2011; and,

• the firing of Coach Paterno. From 1998–2011, Penn State's "Tone at the Top" for transparency, compliance, police reporting and child protection was completely wrong, as shown by the inaction and concealment on the part of its most senior leaders, and followed by those at the bottom of the University's pyramid of power. This is best reflected by the janitors' decision not to report Sandusky's horrific 2000 sexual assault of a young boy in the Lasch Building shower. The janitors were afraid of being fired for reporting a powerful football coach.


The other important part of our charge was to make recommendations to prevent such catastrophic failures to report from ever again occurring at Penn State. The Board of Trustees had requested recommendations as soon as possible, in order to improve policies and procedures regarding the protection of children on its campuses. Just this summer alone, over 20,000 non-student minors are participating in sports camps on the University Park campus. To ensure that these children would be better protected, we gave the Board of Trustees 14 of our preliminary recommendations in January, almost all of which have now been implemented.

Further, we suggested some longer term changes, including the creation of a comprehensive and stringent Compliance Program, including Board oversight through a Compliance Committee. That committee would have oversight responsibility for all regulatory obligations, including the Clery Act, and the Chief Compliance Officer would have a direct reporting line to the committee. The University has commenced a national search for a highly qualified Chief Compliance Officer and adopted two new policies for the protection of children: one provides for annual training on child abuse and mandatory reporting for all employees; the other revises and strengthens the University's background check process.

In addition to our interim recommendations, we have added 119 recommendations set forth in today's report. One of the most important of our recommendations is for Penn State itself to study, evaluate and make any needed additional changes. The goal should be to create a more open and compliant culture, which protects children and not adults who abuse them.


With the presentation of this Report to the Special Investigations Task Force and the Board of Trustees, our work is largely completed. We will make ourselves available to the Task Force and Board to answer any questions they may have, but we will not have an ongoing role with the University. We will also make ourselves available to the students, faculty and staff of the University at the appropriate time at State College. We hope such an interaction might assist the Penn State community in moving forward.

The release of our report today marks the beginning of a process for Penn State, and not the end. It is critical that Old Main, the Board and the Penn State community never forget these failures and commit themselves to strengthening an open, compliant and victim sensitive environment – where everyone has the duty to "blow the whistle" on anyone who breaks this trust, no matter how powerful or prominent they may appear to be.

Freeh and his team's investigation findings as well as the full text of the former FBI official's statement on the probe are available online.