This morning, the Penn State board of trustees held a press conference in Philadelphia to announce its sponsorship of an independent investigation into the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal. The investigation will focus on the University’s handling of the situation, as well as the policies in place for addressing such matters.
The board hired Pennsylvania law firm Freeh Sorkin & Sullivan to conduct the investigation, which will be led by former FBI director Judge Louis Freeh. According to Freeh, “This examination will include, among other things, any failures or gaps in the university’s control environment, compliance programs, and culture which may have enabled the alleged misconduct to occur, go undetected, and not be reported and addressed promptly and properly.”
Freeh also announced that throughout the course of the investigation, he would be providing recommendation to the board of trustees “which will ensure that we rectify such failures in leadership and control environment at Penn State that allowed anyone to prey on children with impunity.”
This investigation is separate from the one directed by law enforcement. However, Freeh stressed that he is not conducting a criminal investigation and that if the investigators uncovered any evidence of criminality, “we will report that immediately.”
Throughout the speech, Freeh emphasized the team’s commitment to independence and impartiality. This independence would be in contrast to the highly publicized reports of the state officials with ties to both Penn State and The Second Mile, Jerry Sandusky’s charity organization through which he allegedly gained access to many of the victims. The most notable example of this conflict is Judge Leslie Dutchot, who released Sandusky on $100,000 unsecured bail. Judge Dutchot was a volunteer and donor for The Second Mile.
A new judge has since been assigned to Sandusky’s preliminary hearing. Senior Westmoreland County District Judge Robert E. Scott has no known connections to Sandusky, The Second Mile, or Penn State.
Former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky faces 40 counts of child molestation and sexual abuse. The mishandling of the reports led to the firing of head coach Joe Paterno. Stay tuned as we continue our coverage and legal analysis of the Penn State child molestation scandal.