Penn State trustees seek access to Freeh background material
Nine alumni-elected members of the Penn State University Board of Trustees want access to documents that led to the Freeh report, which criticized the university’s role in the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal, according to a letter sent to the board’s chairman.
In a letter dated Wednesday to Keith E. Masser, chairman of the board of trustees, the nine members set a Monday deadline for a response to their request.
“In order for us as members of the board to fully discharge our fiduciary obligations relative to a careful review of the Freeh report and the factual findings that purportedly support the conclusions reached by Mr. Freeh and his investigators, we believe access is vital,” the letter read.
Penn State spokesman Lawrence Lokman said Saturday that Masser had received the letter and was reviewing it.
A group led by former FBI Director Louis Freeh in 2012 issued a report that said former head football coach Joe Paterno and three top university executives failed to protect children from Sandusky, a former assistant football coach, who was convicted of abusing 10 boys. Paterno died in 2012.
Former university President Graham Spanier, former Athletic Director Tim Curley and former Vice President Gary Schultz are awaiting trial on charges that they covered up complaints about Sandusky.
Many critics, including Paterno supporters, said the report was flawed, containing incorrect data and conclusions. The report became a trusted guide to the scandal, helping drive public opinion and sanctions that the NCAA imposed on the school’s football program.
Penn State President Eric Barron said on Nov. 15 he would “conduct a thorough review” of the report and related materials.
“Louis Freeh and his report greatly damaged the reputation of Penn State,” Albert Lord, elected to the board in 2014, said in a statement. “As fiduciaries of Penn State, we have both a legal and moral obligation to ask questions about such an inherently incomplete work product.”
Shortly after the report was issued, Penn State and the NCAA reached a consent decree that banned the university from bowl games for four years, fined the school $60 million and eliminated some scholarships, though all will be reinstated by next season.
Many sanctions have been overturned, though the erasure of 111 game wins under Paterno remains.
State Sen. Jake Corman and state Treasurer Rob McCord sued the NCAA, saying that the association overstepped its authority to sanction Penn State. A trial is scheduled for January.
Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621.