Freeh Report: Joe Paterno, Penn State 'Failed To Protect' Children

STATE COLLEGE, PA - JANUARY 22: Community members pay their respects at the statue of Joe Paterno, the former Penn State football coach, after hearing of Paterno's death, outside of Beaver Stadium on January 22, 2012 in State College, Pennsylvania. Paterno, who was 85 years old, had been battling lung cancer. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

The Freeh Report on Penn State's response to claims made against Jerry Sandusky in 1998 and 2001 has been released, painting a very unpleasant picture of the decisions made by Joe Paterno and other school leaders.

The independent report by former FBI director Louis Freeh into Penn State leadership's coverup of the Jerry Sandusky sex assault investigations is now public right here. It's more than 200 pages long, so if you'd prefer a shortened version, you might just want to read the press release by Freeh, which summarizes the findings and methodology.

Basically, nobody did what they should have done to stop Sandusky from abusing children and to ensure justice was delivered. Former head coach Joe Paterno, former president Graham Spanier, former athletic director Tim Curley and and former vice president Gary Schultz are all named repeatedly and damningly, as "four of the most powerful people at Pennsylvania State University" who "failed to protect against a child sexual predator harming children for over a decade."

According to Freeh, Paterno and the others knew about the 1998 investigation into Sandusky, and didn't do anything even when told by Mike McQueary in 2001 that Sandusky had struck again.

It's alleged that the four men "did not even speak to Sandusky" about his 1998 sexual assault of the prosecution witness known as "Victim 6," which received more serious attention from law enforcement than his previous assaults did. Their choice to allow Sandusky to retain use of the campus "essentially grant[ed] him license to to bring boys to campus facilities for 'grooming' as targets for his assaults," finds Freeh.

At one point during the 1998 investigation, Schultz wondered whether looking into the allegation was "opening of Pandora's box? Are there other children?" He followed that a month later with, "I think the matter has been appropriately investigated and I hope it is now behind us."

Freeh finds that Penn State repeatedly failed to comply with the Clery Act, a federal law that requires schools that get federal money to share campus crime statistics -- from 1991, Clery compliance was assigned to the University Police Department, but the officer in charge wasn't aware in 2007 that compliance with the Act was part of his job. All this despite Spanier serving at the time as the head of the NCAA's Board of Directors.

The document includes a detailed timeline from the point in 1998 at which Sandusky was informed he would not take over for Paterno as Penn State's head coach -- shortly followed by his assault of "Victim 6" -- all the way through the Board's decision to fire Paterno in 2011.

The Penn State Board of Trustees also released a statement of its own in advance of Freeh's 10 a.m. ET press conference, saying it is "convening an internal team comprising the Board of Trustees, University administration and our legal counsel to begin analyzing the report and digesting Judge Freeh’s findings."

The NCAA has released a statement as well, saying, "Penn State’s response to the letter will inform our next steps, including whether or not to take further action." Even though the NCAA doesn't really have jurisdiction over the Sandusky allegations themselves, the surrounding coverup could give them footing.

Much more to come on this document.

For more on Nittany Lions football, visit Penn State blog Black Shoe Diaries, plus Big Ten blog Off Tackle Empire, SB Nation Pittsburgh and SB Nation Philly.

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