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PSU report on sex-abuse scandal due out Thursday
Question of the Day
Penn State has disclosed that Freeh’s probe turned up emails among top officials that have been turned over to prosecutors.
Two Penn State administrators are charged with lying to a grand jury and failing to properly report suspected abuse when then-graduate assistant Mike McQueary described witnessing Sandusky attack a young boy in the football team shower in 2001. Athletic director Tim Curley, now on leave, and vice president Gary Schultz, who has since retired, deny the allegations and await trial.
Spanier’s comments to the Freeh group — that he was never told of any criminality by Sandusky — echoed his testimony before a state grand jury that neither Curley nor Schultz informed him of the sexual nature of what McQueary saw.
The extent of Spanier’s involvement has come under scrutiny recently after CNN reported on emails that said Spanier was “supportive” of a decision by Curley and Schultz not to report the incident. Spanier warned, however, that they might “become vulnerable for not having reported it,” CNN said.
Spanier’s lawyers said the emails were selectively leaked without the full context, and were “distorting the public record and creating a false picture.”
In May, Spanier filed a related civil lawsuit against Penn State seeking access to old work emails so he could better prepare for the school’s internal investigation. A university lawyer responded that state prosecutors asked the school not to share the emails so that the ongoing investigation would not be compromised.
A court hearing on the case is scheduled for Aug. 17, but Spanier went ahead and requested to speak to Freeh’s team. His lawyers said they would revisit the issue of the lawsuit now that the interview has taken place.
Spanier has said he turned in his resignation in November, while trustees have said he was terminated without cause.
“Since November of last year, when he resigned his presidency, he has wanted the Freeh Group to create an accurate report and has been determined to assist in any way he can,” said the statement from Spanier’s lawyers. They ended their four-paragraph statement by saying they remained “hopeful that truth and reason prevail.”
Spanier declined to comment when reached by the Associated Press.
The NCAA is reviewing how Penn State exerted “institutional control” in relation to the Sandusky matter, and whether university officials complied with policies that pertain to honesty and ethical conduct. The NCAA could open a more formal investigation that may expose Penn State to sanctions.
The Freeh report is not being released in advance to Penn State trustees or any other officials, his public relations agency said in its statement.
“The publication of the report will be the first time anyone outside of Judge Freeh’s investigative team will in any way receive the report, including The Pennsylvania State University Board of Trustees and the Special Investigations Task Force,” it said.
• Scolforo reported from Harrisburg, Pa. Michael Rubinkam contributed to this report.
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