By David Madden
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The release of the results of an eight-month probe into the Jerry Sandusky affair Thursday showed that the school’s top leadership, including late football coach Joe Paterno, knew about what Sandusky was doing and actively covered it up for the better part of 14 years to avoid adverse publicity. Reaction to the Freeh report was swift, stunning and direct.
Two of the four leaders named in the Freeh report, Senior Vice President Gary Schultz and Athletic Director Tim Curley, await a criminal trial. Head football coach Joe Paterno is dead, leaving former President Graham Spanier.
Attorney Jeffrey Fritz, representing one of Sandusky’s victims, believes Spanier should face criminal charges.
“Failure to report and especially at the level of the position that he’s in with actual knowledge of abuse of a child is criminal.”
The report’s bottom line? Top leaders wanted to protect the reputation of the school and its football program. To what degree? Cathleen Palm, head of the Protect Our Children Committee, an umbrella group of victim advocates, cites just one example:
“To have e mails that refer to these children as guests of Mr. Sandusky, I think, was tough to read because that, in itself, seems to have minimized just how much these children needed adults to step up on their behalf.”
A grand jury continues an investigation and Attorney General Linda Kelly says the Freeh report won’t impact their work. But will things really change in Happy Valley? From victim advocates to Penn State alumni to lawyers like Fritz came a united response: they have to.