A Powerful President Sought First to Protect His University’s Reputation
Graham B. Spanier, who often seemed beyond reproach during his 16-year reign as Pennsylvania State University’s president, ultimately used his power to try to protect the reputation of the institution and its storied football program at the expense of young children’s safety.
That was the portrait painted by a scathing independent investigation released Thursday. The exhaustive 267-page report is the product of an eight-month probe led by Louis J. Freeh, the former FBI director. Mr. Freeh was commissioned by Penn State trustees to investigate the circumstances surrounding the crimes of Jerry Sandusky, a retired Nittany Lions defensive coordinator, who was convicted last month of 45 counts of child sexual abuse involving 10 victims over 15 years.
If Mr. Spanier and his colleagues at the very top of Penn State’s administration had fulfilled their basic moral and legal obligations, they might have saved some of Mr. Sandusky’s victims, the report states. Instead, a new trove of evidence suggests, Mr. Spanier repeatedly took steps that, knowingly or not, enabled a child predator to use the campus as a hunting ground.
Timothy M. Curley, Penn State’s athletic director at the time, and Gary C. Schultz, its former interim senior vice president for finance and business, have been charged with lying to a grand jury and with failing to report the allegations of suspected child abuse to proper authorities when they learned of them. Both have denied wrongdoing. Thus far Mr. Spanier has not faced criminal liability. That may soon change.