Penn State Could Incur Steep U.S. Penalty in Probe of Unreported Crime
Penn State University could face a record government penalty, potentially in the millions, for failing to report campus crime, including Jerry Sandusky’s child sex abuse, experts said on Thursday.
The Department of Education is investigating Penn State for possible violations of the Clery Act, which requires colleges to collect and report daily and annual crime statistics and issue timely warnings to students and others.
The DOE is seeking school records from 1998 to 2011, a 13-year span in which Sandusky, a former assistant football coach, sexually abused boys in campus showers amid what investigators say was a cover-up by the university to shield its reputation.
Sandusky, 68, faces a sentence of as many as 373 years in prison after being convicted in June of sexually assaulting 10 boys.
Since the Clery Act requires schools to keep records going back only seven years, the DOE’s request for 13 years of records from Penn State is highly unusual, said Dolores Stafford, a campus security consultant and former chief of police at George Washington University in Washington.
“This is the most extensive Clery Act investigation ever conducted,” said S. Daniel Carter, director of a safety program at VTV Family Outreach Foundation in Centreville, Virginia.
Penn State declined to comment other than to say it was cooperating with all investigations, according to a spokesman.