Ex-Penn State President Spanier Disputes Freeh Criticism
Ex-Pennsylvania State University President Graham Spanier disputed findings from an internal investigation that found him at the center of a cover-up in a sexual abuse case against Jerry Sandusky.
The report by Louis Freeh, who conducted an inquiry into the school’s handling of the sex-abuse scandal, is a “blundering and indefensible indictment” of Spanier that is undeserved, Spanier’s attorney Timothy Lewis, a former federal judge, said today.
The report, issued last month after a seven-month probe, is “a flat-out distortion of facts so infused with bias and innuendo that it is, quite simply, unworthy of the confidence that has been placed in it, let alone the reported $6.5 million the university paid for it,” Lewis said at a news conference. Spanier didn’t attend.
Sandusky, 68, a former Penn State assistant football coach, was convicted in June on 45 criminal counts tied to abuse of boys over a 15-year period.
The university commissioned an investigation by Freeh, a former federal judge and Federal Bureau of Investigation director. He concluded that Spanier, former head coach Joe Paterno and other senior school officials hid critical facts surrounding Sandusky’s abuse.
There is no evidence that Spanier knew about reports of Sandusky’s sexual acts with children, his lawyers said today.
The attorneys dismissed e-mails described in Freeh’s report alluding to Spanier’s knowledge of a 1998 investigation into Sandusky. There is no evidence that Spanier replied to e-mails or was otherwise kept informed of that probe, the lawyers said.
“Dr. Spanier, himself a victim of child abuse, would have been the first to have acted had he known in 1998 or in 2001, or at any other time, that a predator of this ilk lurked on or anywhere near the Penn State campus,” Lewis said.
“We stand by our report,” Thomas Davies, a spokesman with Kekst & Co. for Freeh on the Penn State investigation, said in an e-mail.
To contact the reporter on this story: Sophia Pearson in Philadelphia at firstname.lastname@example.org