(STATE COLLEGE, Pa.) — Former Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno and other top university officials acted with “total disregard” for the children sexually abused by former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky because of their fear of “bad publicity,” a report by the university’s internal investigation said on Thursday.
The report was released at the conclusion of the investigation led by former FBI Director Louis Freeh, who was hired to find out why officials who knew of child molestation accusations failed to stop Sandusky or report him to police.
The report said that Paterno, along with officials Tim Curley, Gary Schultz, and former Penn State president Graham Spanier, “repeatedly concealed critical facts relating to Sandusky’s child abuse from the authorities,” and it blamed those four men for failing to stop Sandusky and protect other children from his harm.
The four officials showed a “striking lack of empathy” for the victims of Sandusky’s abuse and empowered Sandusky to continue abusing, the report said.
The report was released after eight months of investigation, launched in November by the university’s Board of Trustees after the arrest of Sandusky, Curley, and Schultz, and the firing of Paterno and resignation of Spanier.
Sandusky was convicted of 45 counts of child abuse in June.
Former athletic director Tim Curley and former vice president for finance Gary Schultz were arrested in connection with the Sandusky case and charged with not reporting an alleged incident of abuse in 2001 to the police. They’re also charged with lying about their knowledge to the Pennsylvania grand jury.
Both men have maintained their innocence and are months away from trial.
Paterno and former university president Graham Spanier were never charged criminally in the case, but Paterno was fired and Spanier resigned just days after Sandusky’s arrest when the Board of Trustees decided they had not done enough to stop Sandusky.
Spanier has said that he was never told about a specific allegation against Sandusky of child sex abuse. Paterno, who died in January, said that he told his supervisors what he knew about a 2001 allegation and left it up to them to decide what to do.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
AJ Willingham, CNN
Kait Richmond, CNN
Nate Eaton, EastIdahoNews.com
Kareem Khadder, CNN