It’s been just over a week since the much-anticipated release of the Freeh Report, but legal analysts are already buzzing about how the findings could impact pending and future civil litigation in the Penn State child sex abuse cases.
On June 23, 2012, Jerry Sandusky, former Penn State assistant coach, was convicted of 45 counts of child sex abuse- he is currently awaiting sentencing and faces life in prison. Sandusky, a former assistant coach at Pennsylvania State University, was arrested last November on charges that he molested children on and off campus as far back as the 1990’s. After Sandusky was arrested, many Penn State officials, including legendary head football coach Joe Paterno, were fired or resigned after being accused of failing to report sexual abuse allegations.
The Freeh Report (Report of the Special Investigative Council Regarding the Actions of The Pennsylvania State University Related to the Child Sexual Abuse Committed by Gerald A. Sandusky), led by Former FBI Director Louis Freeh, was commissioned by the Penn State University Board of Directors to investigate how Penn State officials responded to and reported child sex abuse in the Sandusky case.
It was released on July 12, 2012, nearly a month after Sandusky was found guilty. The findings were scathing. The report indicated major failures on the part of Penn State’s top officials (including former school president Graham Spanier, former senior vice-president of business and finance Gary Schultz, former head coach Joe Paterno, and former athletic director Tim Curley) in both the handling of known accusations of child sex abuse on campus and in protecting children from Sandusky, who they knew to be an accused child molester.
The report concluded that these top Penn State officials knew about and concealed Jerry Sandusky’s abuse in an attempt to avoid negative publicity against the university and the football program. It also stated that these officials showed “a total disregard for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s victims.”
It is widely thought that the Freeh Report will strengthen the civil suits that have been filed and will be filed against Penn State University because it shows negligence among university officials and highlights efforts to cover up or explain away allegations of abuse at the hands of Sandusky. An attorney representing one of the victims reportedly referred to the university as an “enabler” to Jerry Sandusky because they did nothing to stop his abuse. The fact that some of the abuse occurred in Penn State locker rooms also adds liability to the university.
If you believe your child has suffered from physical or sexual abuse, contact Thomas J. Henry immediately. We have the knowledge and experience to handle your child’s case. We will also take immediate action to prevent any further mistreatment.
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