This morning, students at Penn State University were watching television in anticipation of the release of the Freeh Report, the inquiry into the Penn State sex abuse scandal headed up by former FBI investigator Joeseph Freeh. But as 9 a.m. rolled around — the appointed time when the 267-page report’s details would be released and revealed on CNN — the school’s televisions suddenly went blank. When the TVs came back on, they were broadcasting a local public access channel instead.
Students attempted to switch the channel back to a news broadcast, but were thwarted. As the Philadelphia Inquirer reported:
Several students went to speak with a student working at the main desk at the student center. But the student said a university employee was in charge of what is broadcast. That person, the student said, was in a meeting and could not be reached.
The Freeh Report comes down hard on Penn State’s top officials, and condemns football coach and university “hero” Joe Paterno, for failing to protect children who were sexually abused by his former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.
“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,” said the report, continuing that the officials “never demonstrated, through actions or words, any concern for the safety and well-being of Sandusky’s victims until after Sandusky’s arrest.”
For example, evidence shows that all four men knew about a 1998 investigation into Sandusky’s conduct — in which Sandusky was accused of sexually molesting a boy in a university shower — but did nothing to censure Sandusky. Further damning charges refer to a 2001 incident in which assistant coach Mike McQueary encountered Sandusky molesting a child and reported it to head coach Joe Paterno.
According to Freeh’s findings, Paterno then went to university officials and begged them not to report the incident. “After [Athletic Director] Curley consulted with Mr. Paterno, however, they changed the plan and decided not to make a report to the authorities. Their failure to protect the February 9, 2001 child victim, or make attempts to identify him, created a dangerous situation for other unknown, unsuspecting young boys who were lured to the Penn State campus and football games by Sandusky and victimized repeatedly by him. Further, they exposed this child to additional harm by alerting Sandusky, who was the only one who knew the child’s identity,” Freeh said.
Both President Spanier and Paterno were forced out of their jobs after Sandusky was arrested last fall. Paterno died of cancer soon after. Curley and Schultz are currently awaiting trial on charges of perjury and failing to report the abuse.