Penn State Board to Meet on Disputed FBI Report

October 22, 2014

Penn State’s board plans next week to discuss the Freeh report, a document regarding the school’s response to the Jerry Sandusky molestation scandal that has divided the university and its alumni since it was issued more than two years ago.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Monday that the trustees will take a new look at the report, which was produced for the university in 2012 by a team led by former FBI director Louis Freeh.

The paper said the meeting in State College on Oct. 28 could lead to a vote on whether it should be accepted or rejected. A public session will follow a closed-door discussion.

The report concluded that then-football coach Joe Paterno and other high-ranking university leaders concealed key facts about Sandusky’s abuse of children to avoid bad publicity.

Al Lord, an alumnus who joined the board in July, sought the meeting, but it is unclear whether he and other alumni trustees will have enough support to reopen the report. In July, Lord proposed that the board “immediately undertake to identify matters not fully investigated and complete the investigation of such matters.”

“I think it’s time we talk about these things, whether we win, lose or draw,” Lord told the Inquirer.

Freeh’s report included more than 100 recommendations for change that have been adopted by the university, from governance to child safety.

What has rankled many were the criticisms of Paterno, who died a few months after Sandusky’s arrest in 2011, as well as then-president Graham Spanier, former athletic director Tim Curley and former vice president Gary Schultz.

“My look at the Freeh report (is that) it more than any single document is what divides the university,” Lord told the Inquirer. “It divides alumni. It divides board members and the board, other than a few moments at the last meeting, never really examined it in any detail.”

Spanier, Curley and Schultz are charged criminally with covering up complaints about Sandusky, a retired defensive football coach convicted of molesting 10 children.

The former administrators await trial in county court in Harrisburg, where the judge last week ruled against them and for the attorney general’s office in a dispute about pretrial discovery. A trial date has not been scheduled.

Freeh’s report was issued shortly before a consent decree between Penn State and the NCAA resulted in a four-year bowl ban, a $60 million fine and a temporary loss of football scholarships. The NCAA recently ended the bowl ban earlier than scheduled and said Penn State can return to its full complement of scholarships next season.

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