PSU won’t fight $2.4M fine for lax crime re­port­ing

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

STATECOLLEGE>> Penn State said Fri­day it won’t fight a $2.4 mil­lion fine stem­ming from a five-year fed­eral in­ves­ti­ga­tion that found the uni­ver­sity re­peat­edly vi­o­lated cam­pus crime re­port­ing re­quire­ments, in­clud­ing in the case of for­mer as­sis- tant foot­ball coach Jerry San­dusky, who is now serv­ing decades in prison on child sex­ual abuse charges.

Penn State Pres­i­dent Eric Bar­ron said the uni­ver­sity is pay­ing the record fine even though it dis­agrees with some of the find­ings in a 239-page in­ves­tiga­tive re­port re­leased by the U.S. Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion this month.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors found that Penn State failed to com­ply with var­i­ous as­pects of the 1990 cam­pus crime re­port­ing law known as the Clery Act, in­clud­ing not is­su­ing warn­ings about po­ten­tial threats and un­der­re­port­ing crimes in an­nual statis­tics sub­mit­ted to the gov­ern­ment.

Bar­ron said Penn State has made a sig­nif­i­cant com­mit­ment to pre­vent­ing sex crimes and en­sur­ing strict com­pli­ance with cam­pus crime re­port­ing re­quire­ments.

All em­ploy­ees are now trained on the is­sues sur- round­ing sex crimes and their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties in re­port­ing crimes, Bar­ron said. The uni­ver­sity has also es­tab­lished a tele­phone hot­line and an on­line sys­tem for anony­mously re­port­ing sex crimes, he said.

“It is Penn State’s goal to not only meet the stan­dards ar­tic­u­lated by the Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion, as we be­lieve we cur­rently do, but to set a new stan­dard for Clery com­pli­ance in higher ed­u­ca­tion,” Bar­ron said.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors cited Penn State for twice fail­ing to warn 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.

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 that 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.

San­dusky, ar­rested in 2011 and con­victed in 2012, is serv­ing 30 to 60 years in prison. He main­tains his in­no­cence and is ap­peal­ing.

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.

The Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion re­port also said Penn State fos­tered a be­lief among ath­letes that rules didn’t ap­ply to them.

In one in­stance, then­head coach Joe Paterno had his sec­re­tary email ad­min­is­tra­tors to say he’d take care of dis­ci­plin­ing play­ers in­volved in an off-cam­pus fight, the re­port said.

In an­other, 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.

The pre­vi­ous record Clery Act fine was $357,500 against Eastern Michi­gan Uni­ver­sity in 2007, re­duced to $350,000 in a set­tle­ment.

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