Penn State Probe Expected to Drag

Louis Freeh's investigation into the Sandusky scandal likely won't wrap before school's initial May deadline. But the Board of Trustees enacted five "interim reforms" Friday.

Penn State's Board of Trustees Friday received a preliminary report on the work of former FBI director Louis Freeh's Special Investigations Task Force, which is looking into the university's role in the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

The head of the board's special committee on the scandal, Ken Frazier, said the initial timeframe during which the university hoped to receive the results of the investigation -- the end of the current academic year in May -- was too ambitious.

“I expect it will take a little longer than that,” Frazier said. “Perhaps until the beginning of the next academic year (in August).”

He added, “Timing will be dictated by how long it takes to conduct a thorough investigation.”

Though the report was short on details, it did include five “interim reforms” that had been suggested by Freeh's team. The following recommendations were unanimously adopted by the board:

• Strengthening university polices for programs involving minors. This includes providing clear guidance on acceptable behavior and training on identifying abuse.

• Prompt reporting of incidents of abuse and sexual misconduct.

• Compliance with the Cleary Act's training and reporting requirements. The Cleary Act requires colleges and universities to publicly disclose information about campus crimes.

• Administrative reforms. This includes appointing an “ethics officer” who will have direct access to the board.

• Improved security at athletic facilities. This includes former employees turning in their keys and access cards to facilities once they are no longer employed by the university.

A former Penn State football assistant, Sandusky is accused of sexually assaulting boys, including two incidents that allegedly took place in the school's Lasch Football Building (one after Sandusky had retired). Sandusky has maintained his innocence.

Penn State came under intense scrutiny for not reacting strongly enough to reports of improprieties by Sandusky until after he was charged with the crimes. That prompted the empanelment of Freeh's task force.

Frazier said the board “did not want for the work (of the task force) to be complete” before acting on the five preliminary recommendations.

“This is the first step,” board chairman Steve Garban added.

Freeh has an office on campus as he conducts the investigation. While his team has not been identified publicly, Frazier said it includes “former law enforcement officers, lawyers and former prosecutors.”

Frazier insisted the investigation is independent, which was one of the conditions Freeh put on taking the job Nov. 21.

“We will not interfere,” Frazier said.


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