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Shock and Sadness Emanate From Happy Valley

(Federal judge and former FBI director Louis Freeh holds a news conference at the Westin Hotel in Philadelphia on the Penn State University child abuse scandal.  Credit: William Thomas Cain/ Getty Images)

(Federal judge and former FBI director Louis Freeh holds a news conference at the Westin Hotel in Philadelphia on the Penn State University child abuse scandal. Credit: William Thomas Cain/ Getty Images)

David Madden David Madden
David Madden is a Philadelphia native with virtually a lifetime of...
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By David Madden

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (CBS) — Reaction to the Freeh report, at least among those with a special interest in it, is rather consistent: shock but no surprise at the lack of response by Penn State leaders, including the late Joe Paterno.

Nittany Lion alumni are heartbroken to think that “Joe Pa” could have been part of the coverup (see related story), but victim advocates at the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR) believe the report makes clear what experts have said from the beginning:

“We know that preventing child sexual abuse is not stranger danger.  It’s not incident-based, and it’s not simply risk mitigation.  It’s about shifting cultural norms,” says Kristen Houser, who is also a Penn State alumna.

PCAR now has a three-year contract with Penn State to begin that process.

John Gallagher, who leads the alumni association in Delaware County, Pa., believes that, in time, people will put Paterno’s role in perspective with his football legacy.

And Gallagher is confident that attitudes on the Happy Valley campus will change, too.

“That whole concept of absolute power being in a small number of people’s hands is dangerous has borne out to be true,” he told KYW Newsradio today.

Pennsylvania attorney general Linda Kelly, in a statement, said the Freeh report “should prove helpful to decision makers” — a sentiment echoed by attorneys for Sandusky’s victims and groups working to protect children from abuse.

Attorney Tom Kline, who represents one of Sandusky’s victims and has waited for this report before recommending to his client whether to file a civil suit against Penn State, believes the report provides what he calls a “road map” of who knew what when.

“Coach Paterno, sadly and unfortunately, knew that Mr. Sandusky was a grave risk to children and did nothing about it,” he says.  “It’s a crying shame.”

The NCAA, in a statement, has asked the school to answer questions regarding compliance with its standards.

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