Bad Publicity Motive for Cover-Up as Freeh Report Lays Blame on Paterno, Spanier, Curley, Schultz
PHILADELPHIA — Louis Freeh, the former FBI director, left nothing to the imagination in his much-anticipated presentment Thursday morning.
There was an effort by the four most powerful men at Penn State to conceal a child sexual predator.
Former president Graham Spanier, athletic director Tim Curley, retired vice president of finance and business Gary Schultz, and, yes, beloved patriarch and former football coach Joe Paterno are all to blame for not stopping the raping of children by Jerry Sandusky as far back as 1998, according to the 267-page Freeh Report.
What motive could they possibly have for a cover-up?
According to Freeh, bad publicity. How about protecting the football program?
“That’s an inference you can draw, but bad publicity affects a panorama of different events, including the brand of Penn State, including the university, including the reputation of coaches, including the ability to do fundraising. It’s got huge implications.”
So, is this a football problem?
Freeh reasoned it as so: The rapes of the boys occurred in the Lasch Building. Joe Paterno’s office was in the Lasch Building. Jerry Sandusky was his chief defensive coach for nearly 30 years.
When Mike McQueary stumbled upon Sandusky sexually abusing a young boy in the Lasch Football Building shower in Feb. 2001 and reported it to Paterno, he said, “You did what you had to do. Now it’s up to me to decide what we want to do.”
“I think that’s a very telling and very important, critical statement,” Freeh said, ‘made not on hearsay but based on Mr. Paterno himself.”
There’s more. A 56-word email sent by Schultz to Curley, with Spanier CC’d, and dated June 9, 1998, changed Penn State forever. It caps a campus police investigation that yielded no charges against Sandusky at the time.
“They met with Jerry on Monday and concluded that there was no criminal behavior and the matter was closed as an investigation. He was a little emotional and expressed concerned as to how this might have adversely affected the child. I think the matter has been appropriately investigated and I hope it is now behind us.”
Of course, it wasn’t.
Emails between Curley, Schultz and Spanier after the 2001 incident outlined a three-step plan to alert The Second Mile and the Department of Welfare.
According to the Freeh Report, the only known intervening factor between reporting the incident to authorities and then agreeing not to is a conversation between Curley and Paterno.
“The reasonable conclusion that we make is that all four individuals made a decision to actively conceal the knowledge of the events of Feb. 2001," Freeh said.
“I can’t parse degrees of responsibility. What’s significant and shocking is the four of them, the most powerful people at Penn State University, made a decision to conceal this information.”