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Government Agency Eyes Sex Assault Reports At Penn State

Penn State Campus in State College. (credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Penn State Campus in State College. (credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A federal government agency is looking into Penn State’s handling of sexual harassment and sexual assault complaints to see if it had responded immediately and appropriately.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights informed Penn State of the investigation in a letter Thursday.

Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine Lhamon says the agency had concerns after it reviewed Penn State’s sexual harassment policy and it saw a huge spike “forcible sex offenses.” The spike came after the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal broke in 2011.

A Penn State spokeswoman says the school is looking forward to working with federal officials. Penn State’s crime data showed 56 forcible sex offenses on its main campus in 2012. That’s fourteen times the number reported in 2010.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)