Penn State President Rodney Erickson gets chastised for university’s tacit acceptance of Freeh Report


By Charles Thompson |

The Freeh Report reared its head at today’s Senate hearing on the state’s annual appropriation to Penn State.

Several lawmakers engaged in the fight against the NCAA penalties that flowed from its findings lightly grilled President Rodney Erickson for letting former FBI Director Louis Freeh‘s narrative stand last summer as the official word on the university’s management of the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

Freeh’s conclusions, you will remember, were that Penn State’s top leaders chose to handle a 2001 allegation against Sandusky internally rather than turn them over to police or other investigative agencies.

That act of omission, Freeh and later state prosecutors have alleged, helped set the stage for assaults on several other boys over the next seven years.

Senate Appropriations Chairman Jake Corman, R-Centre, referencing the longstanding complaints about gaps in Freeh’s work, asked Erickson if he still believes its conclusions are accurate.

Erickson ducked, arguing it is “not appropriate for me to comment on that question here in this kind of forum.”

Noting there are pending criminal and civil cases that still have to play out, Erickson said, “I think it’s appropriate that we let the investigative and the judicial process take its course Mr. Chairman, with all due respect.”

And Corman pounced.

“But when Penn State decided to release this report without any review or due diligence it already entered into the fray of these criminal trials and to the public discourse of how this matter is treated….”

Corman then acknowledged the pressures the university was under at the time, noting “there is no manual to walk yourself through this.”

But, he concluded, “I guess I wish you would have taken that same position prior to the (release of the) report, which has been used not only to punish Penn State” but to frame the public narrative of the case.

On the whole, it was a gentler version of similar critiques Erickson has already received at various alumni town halls, or that he and trustees routinely field at public board meetings these days.

But given that Corman is perhaps Penn State’s most influential ally in the state legislature, today’s back and forth was another forceful reminder that the Sandusky wounds have not yet healed.

Erickson fielded other questions during today’s hearings about the Freeh report from Sen. John Yudichak, D-Luzerne County, and inquiries about the NCAA fine from Sen. Patricia Vance, R-Cumberland County

Time for Tom Corbett to get HIS!!


HARRISBURG—

— With former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky behind bars, convicted on 45 of 48 counts of child sexual abuse, it might have been the question that Gov. Tom Corbett thought had finally gone away.
But with the release Thursday of former FBI Director Louis Freeh‘s report on the handling of the scandal that rocked the university to its core, Corbett was asked it again: As the attorney general who began the investigation into the allegations against Sandusky, what would you have done differently? Would you have moved more quickly to get Sandusky off the streets?
The Republican‘s anger was instant and incandescent.

“Why are you all obsessed with that?” he retorted, his face growing red at the query from a Philadelphia Inquirer reporter. “It has been answered. It has been answered over and over and over again.”
Corbett rapped his podium, underscoring each “over” with the quick smack of his fist.
“Forty-five of 48 counts,” he fumed. “We do not hold up investigations for anything. You are disparaging the reputation of the men and women in that office who have worked very hard to get to the result that justice was served and a monster was taken off the street.”
That Sandusky walked free for nearly three years while investigators built their case against him has been the question nagging at Corbett since the grand jury report was released in November. Corbett served as attorney general from 2004 to 2010.

The Penn State child sex abuse investigation has already cost the university more than $12 million


excerpted from ABC News Lyneka Little

 

The university launched an Openness Website that follows the amount spent on legal fees and crisis communication. The financial figures, which were last updated in Feb. 2012, show more money being spent on the internal investigation and crisis management than on legal services and defense.

According to the Websites Openness page, by the end of Feb. the University spent more than $5.3 million on its internal investigation and crisis communication in the sex abuse scandal that rocked the University last year.

Two months later the figure would balloon even more.

According to the Centre Daily Times, by the end of April the University had shelled out close to $12 million in legal and other fees in connection to the child abuse scandal related to the case. Of the $11.9 million spent, more than half was spent on crisis management and for an internal investigation.

The university has spent $2.46 million for the board of trustees’ internal investigation, including $1.14 million to Freeh, Sporkin & Sullivan, former FBI director Louis Freeh‘s firm, according to Pennstatetrustee.com, a blog operated by Myke Triebold, a Penn State graduate. The website breaks down the fees with $111,164 going to Domus Inc. and $172,563 to Kekst and Company Inc., both for public relations for Freeh; $499,370 to Ketchum Public Relations for crisis management; $506,162 to Reed Smith LLP and $32,053 for “other” consultants and costs. (as of February)

With the college’s reputation at stake, Roskopf does not find the figure spent for crisis management surprising.

Louis Freeh Press Conference Tomorrow, July 12 at 10 am. from Philadelphia


Louis Freeh, the former FBI director and federal judge who has led an independent, external investigation into all aspects of the University’s actions related to child abuse allegations against former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, will hold a press conference at 10 a.m. on Thursday, July 12, in Philadelphia. Freeh will discuss the findings of his investigation, to be released at 9 a.m. July 12 at http://www.TheFreehReportonPSU.com online.

The press conference will be broadcast live on Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN) and online. To watch the press conference on PCN, check your local channel listings or visit http://pcntv.com/in-your-area/channel-designations/ online. The press conference also will be streamed live online by multiple outlets, including ESPN (at http://espn.go.com/watchespn/index/_/source/espn3/id/545609/ online), WPSU (at http://wpsu.org/live online) and PCN (at http://www.pcntv.com online).

Possible Cover Up by PSU Senior Administration? (Not Joe Paterno)


By Michael Rubinkam — The Associated Press The Jerry Sandusky case, the way authorities have framed it, is one littered with missed chances to stop a rapist who preyed on children for years. Prosecutors have hinted that top university officials knew far more about Sandusky’s alleged proclivities than they have let on, submitting a document Monday that says Penn State’s former vice president —  himself facing charges related to the scandal — maintained a file on Sandusky a decade ago.

A Penn State trustee told The Associated Press he now suspects a cover-up.  Keith Masser, a Penn State trustee, said in an interview that he initially thought the scandal was about a failure of administrative oversight of the football program. Now he suspects it goes deeper.When the board of trustees ousted Spanier on Nov. 9, four days after Sandusky’s arrest, it was “because we didn’t have confidence in his ability to lead us through this crisis,” Masser said. “We had no idea (at the time) he would be involved in a cover-up.”Masser stressed he was speaking for himself and not the board at large, and said he wants to be careful not to draw premature conclusions. But he said it now appears like “top administration officials and top athletic officials were involved in making the decision to not inform the proper authorities.”With prosecutors focused on the sex abuse allegations against Sandusky, the trial isn’t intended to yield evidence of a possible cover-up. That’s the job of Louis Freeh, the former FBI director hired by the board of trustees to investigate the scandal. His report could be released in late summer.Spanier, who has not been charged with any crime, did not respond to email and phone messages. His attorney did not return a phone call.

The law firm defending Curley and Schultz against charges they lied in their grand jury testimony and failed to report suspect abuse said in a statement last week they “conscientiously considered” McQueary’s account and “deliberated about how to responsibly deal with the conduct and handle the situation properly.” Penn State spokesman David La Torre had no comment Saturday.

Masser said the Freeh investigation is helping Penn State get to the bottom of the scandal.“I hope the truth comes out, and from a board standpoint it was Judge Freeh’s investigation that found these emails that relate Spanier, Curley and Schultz to the suspected cover-up,” he said. “I want the alumni to understand and the stakeholders to understand that this independent investigation is uncovering this information.”

Read more here: http://www.centredaily.com/2012/06/17/3231942/penn-state-trustee-suspects-cover.html#storylink=cpy

How The Current Board of Trustees Spends Your Money


Penn State is paying for two athletic directors at a cost that could exceed $750,000 this year, records suggest.
Curley’s defense attorney Caroline M. Roberto and Schultz’s defense attorney Tom Farrell, both of Pittsburgh, are among about a dozen lawyers, law firms and consultants who collected nearly $3.2 million from Penn State as of Dec. 31 for costs stemming from the Sandusky scandal.  Roberto collected $82,697, and Farrell was paid $65,842, Penn State told the Trib.

In addition to Roberto and Farrell, Vaira & Riley, a Philadelphia law firm, was paid $61,769 for “employee legal defense.”

The university has spent $2.46 million for the board of trustees’ internal investigation, including $1.14 million to Freeh, Sporkin & Sullivan, former FBI director Louis Freeh‘s firm; $111,164 to Domus Inc. and $172,563 to Kekst and Company Inc., both for public relations for Freeh; $499,370 to Ketchum Public Relations for crisis management; $506,162 to Reed Smith LLP and $32,053 for “other” consultants and costs.

Penn State disclosed “university legal defense” costs of $359,753, including $172,658 to Saul Ewing LLC; $65,771 to Duane Morris LLC; $26,354 to Lanny J. Davis & Associates; and $94,952 for “other.”

A $50,130 bill for costs related to external investigations included $46,173 to Margolis & Healy, a security firm specializing in higher education; $3,711 to the Lightfoot, Franklin & White LLC law firm and $245 listed for “other.”

The school paid $108,205 for contract negotiations, including $88,205 to Schnader, Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP and $20,000 to ML Strategies.

Read more: Athletic directors may cost PSU $750,000 – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/s_781687.html#ixzz1mYmTeY7l