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Freeh: Fear Of Bad Publicity Motivated PSU Officials

(Photo Credit: Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

(Photo Credit: Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

PHILADELPHIA (KDKA) — One day after the release of the more than 200-page Freeh report, the Penn State community is still trying to digest its findings.

Eight months of investigating produced the 267-page report, which includes 430 interviews and three-and-a-half million pieces of evidence.

One of the bombshells of the report, late Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno knew about allegations involving assistant coach Jerry Sandusky as early as 1998.

An email from former vice president Gary Schultz to former athletic director Tim Curley in 1998 says, “I’ve touched base with the coach. Keep us posted. Thanks.”

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The issue was allegations that Sandusky molested a boy. Those allegations didn’t result in criminal charges until that boy and others told their stories to investigators and a jury nearly 14 years later.

The investigation found a 1998 note from Schultz raising questions about “opening Pandora’s box” and other possible victims.

A year later in 1999, negotiations were underway for Sandusky’s retirement.

“He was paid a very large, unprecedented sum of money, $168,000,” said Louis Freeh, the chief investigator and former FBI director. “He was given not just emeritus status, but extraordinary access to the key and most sensitive parts of the university’s football building and program.”

Freeh says he found no direct connection between the 1998 allegations and the 1999 retirement, although attorneys for the victims say they wonder.

But Freeh said he does see connections between the administrators decision to go to authorities in 2001, then changing their minds – thinking that that was more humane – the result of a meeting with Paterno.

“Based on the evidence, the only known intervening factor was Mr. Paterno’s Feb. 26 conversation with Mr. Curley regarding what to do about Sandusky,” said Freeh.

The bottom line for the investigation, Freeh says that publicity – the fear of bad publicity – was what motivated the administrators.

RELATED LINKS
Penn State Board: ‘We Failed To Ask The Right Questions’ (7/12/12)
What’s Next For Penn State? (7/12/12)
More Jerry Sandusky News
More Penn State News

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