Louis J. Freeh, who five years ago produced a scathing report on the culpability of Pennsylvania State University administrators in the Jerry Sandusky child-molestation scandal, released a two-page statement on Friday that tore into the university’s leaders and called for the resignation of President Eric J. Barron.
The statement, reported by Penn Live, appeared hours after a jury in Dauphin County Court convicted Graham B. Spanier, Penn State’s former president, on one misdemeanor count of endangering the welfare of children. Timothy M. Curley, Penn State’s former athletic director, and Gary C. Schultz, a former senior vice president, pleaded guilty earlier this month to child endangerment.
Mr. Freeh held nothing back in his indictment of those three administrators, along with Penn State’s longtime head football coach, Joe Paterno, who died five years ago.
“For over 12 years, these men actively protected a notorious pedophile who inflicted irreparable harm on countless child victims on the campuses and locker rooms at PSU,” Mr. Freeh wrote. “Although these men had multiple opportunities to stop this vicious, serial predator from continuing to sexually assault children who trusted the PSU campuses and programs as safe havens, they decided together to protect this monster rather than report him to the police.”
Perhaps most surprising was Mr. Freeh’s call for the resignation of Penn State’s current president. Mr. Barron assumed that post in 2014, long after the crimes of Mr. Sandusky and the decision by Penn State’s leaders not to report the allegations against the former coach to the police. Before becoming president of Penn State, Mr. Barron worked there from 1986 to 2006 as a professor and, eventually, a dean. But Mr. Freeh’s statement called out President Barron for waiting until after the verdict against Mr. Spanier to concede a “profound failure of leadership,” and for not apologizing to Mr. Sandusky’s victims.
“Barron and a coterie of ‘Paterno denier’ board members, alumni, cultlike groups such as Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship, a former professional football player, and certain elected state political hacks have been nothing but apologists for Paterno, Spanier, Schultz, and Curley, more concerned about bringing back a bronze statue than worrying about the multiple child victims who have forever been so grievously harmed on the PSU campus,” the statement read. The bronze statue portrayed Coach Paterno and was taken down in the wake of the scandal.
The Centre Daily Times reported on Friday that Ira Lubert, chairman of Penn State’s Board of Trustees, had issued a statement in support of Mr. Barron’s leadership.
“I take exception with Freeh’s statement and categorically reject his criticism of President Barron,” Mr. Lubert wrote. “The board leadership and President Barron have been consistent in our communications about the Freeh report. We embraced the road map for reforms that Freeh presented, and have disagreed firmly with Freeh’s characterization of Penn State culture. President Barron has led the creation of a model ethics and compliance program to protect and support the university community. He has my full support and appreciation for his leadership and accomplishments.”Return to Top