Feds in­ves­ti­gat­ing San­dusky fine Penn State a record $2.4 mil­lion

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - NEWS -

Fed­eral of­fi­cials look­ing into how Penn State han­dled child sex­u­al­abuse com­plaints against for­mer as­sis­tant foot­ball coach Jerry San­dusky hit the univer­sity with a record $2.4 mil­lion fine Thurs­day, say­ing it vi­o­lated cam­pus crime re­port­ing re­quire­ments, failed to warn peo­ple about po­ten­tial threats and fos­tered a be­lief among ath­letes that rules didn’t ap­ply to them.

The fine was the re­sult of a five-year in­ves­ti­ga­tion be­gun as San­dusky’s 2011 ar­rest raised ques­tions about what ad­min­is­tra­tors had known about him.

A re­port by fed­eral of­fi­cials said Penn State of­fi­cials dis­closed in June that 45 peo­ple have claimed they were San­dusky’s vic­tims. His 2012 con­vic­tion and decades-long prison sen­tence stem from al­le­ga­tions in­volv­ing 10 boys.

The U.S. De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion con­cluded Penn State largely ig­nored many of its du­ties under the 1990 Clery Act, which pro­motes trans­parency about cam­pus safety.

“When we de­ter­mine that an in­sti­tu­tion is not up­hold­ing this obli­ga­tion, then there must be con­se­quences,” de­part­ment Un­der­sec­re­tary Ted Mitchell said.

The De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion found Penn State vi­o­lated reg­u­la­tions by not warn­ing stu­dents and em­ploy­ees about San­dusky af­ter ad­min­is­tra­tors were told he abused a boy in a team shower in 2001 and as of­fi­cials were be­ing sum­moned to a grand jury and the scope of his be­hav­ior was be­com­ing clearer a decade later.

San­dusky, due in court Fri­day as he seeks to have his con­vic­tion over­turned, still had ac­cess to foot­ball fa­cil­i­ties as his ar­rest neared. A team of­fi­cial asked for San­dusky’s keys, the re­port said, but San­dusky re­fused and said hand­ing them over might be con­strued as an ad­mis­sion of wrong­do­ing.

“In short, a man who was about to be charged with vi­o­lent crimes against de­fense­less mi­nors was free to roam the Penn State cam­pus, as he pleased,” the re­port said.

Penn State said the re­port was be­ing re­viewed and noted that since 2011 it has im­ple­mented “ro­bust” train­ing and is con­tin­u­ing “vig­or­ous ef­forts to cre­ate a cul­ture of re­port­ing, safety and ac­count­abil­ity.”

The De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion said Penn State’s po­lice de­part­ment con­cealed its in­ves­ti­ga­tion into an ear­lier re­port in­volv­ing San­dusky and a boy in a team shower. Po­lice didn’t record the 1998 mat­ter on their daily crime log even though univer­sity pol­icy re­quired the log de­scribe the type, lo­ca­tion and time of ev­ery crim­i­nal in­ci­dent.

The univer­sity ar­gued po­lice couldn’t de­ter­mine whether the in­ter­ac­tion rose to the level of a sex of­fense and be­cause it was un­clear a crime oc­curred there was no need to log it. But the De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion noted cam­pus po­lice logged far less se­ri­ous mat­ters, in­clud­ing some­one sleep­ing in a stair­well.

“In light of these en­tries, Penn State’s con­tention that the re­ported in­ci­dent of a mid­dle-aged man in­ap­pro­pri­ately touch­ing an 11-yearold boy, while naked and show­er­ing with him, didn’t rise to the level for in­clu­sion in the daily crime log strains credulity,” the Ed­u­ca­tion De­part­ment wrote in its re­port .

For­mer ath­letic di­rec­tor Tim Cur­ley and for­mer vice pres­i­dent Gary Schultz await trial along with for­mer pres­i­dent Graham Spanier on charges of en­dan­ger­ing the wel­fare of chil­dren and fail­ing to prop­erly re­port sus­pected abuse. They deny the ac­cu­sa­tions against them.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors said they also found Penn State un­der­re­ported crimes in an­nual statis­tics sub­mit­ted to the gov­ern­ment. In 2002, the univer­sity said it had no forcible sex of­fenses, but in­ves­ti­ga­tors said they found cam­pus po­lice re­ceived re­ports of 12 such crimes.

The re­port dis­closed new de­tails about the ath­let­ics staff, in­clud­ing that then­head coach Joe Paterno had his sec­re­tary email Spanier and Cur­ley to say he’d take care of dis­ci­plin­ing play­ers in­volved in a 2007 off-cam­pus fight.

Paterno had a text mes­sage sent to play­ers telling them if they went to the univer­sity’s ju­di­cial af­fairs to an­swer code-of-con­duct com­plaints they’d be “thrown off the team,” the re­port said.

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