PHILADELPHIA (WFAN/AP) — Penn State University’s board of trustees has hired former FBI director Louis Freeh to investigate the conduct of university personnel in response to child sex-abuse allegations against former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.
Freeh said on Monday that his team “will be looking periods back to and including 1975,” but added they are “not conducting a criminal investigation.”
Penn State has faced criticism since announcing that its internal investigation would be led by two university trustees, Merck pharmaceutical company CEO Kenneth Frazier and state Education Secretary Ronald Tomalis.
Faculty members on Friday called for an independent investigation of how the university handled abuse allegations, and the faculty senate endorsed a resolution asking for an investigation to be led by a committee whose chair has no links to Penn State.
In announcing Freeh’s appointment, Frazier stressed the former FBI director’s independence. Freeh will be empowered to investigate employees up to and including the board of trustees itself, Frazier said.
“No one is above scrutiny,” Frazier said.
Retired Air Force Col. and astronaut Guion Bluford also will be part of the investigation, Frazier said. Bluford is a 1964 Penn State graduate.
Freeh’s investigation firm, Group International Europe, was hired by soccer’s governing body this year to look into the bribery case involving FIFA’s presidential election. FIFA banned candidate Mohamed bin Hammam for life for bribing voters. The ruling body also banned 11 Caribbean soccer leaders and disciplined others in the corruption scandal.
Freeh founded Group International Europe after leading the FBI from 1993 to 2001. He previously served six years as a special agent.
“We are here today in response to the shocking and horrendous grand jury report” released earlier this month, Frazier said.
The report alleges Sandusky had sexual contact with eight boys he met through the charity he founded in 1977, The Second Mile. Much of the alleged sexual contact happened on Penn State’s campus, including showers in a football facility.
“We are especially heartbroken that some of these unspeakable acts could happen on the campus of Penn State University,” said Frazier.
Amid the scandal, Penn State’s trustees ousted university President Graham Spanier and long-time coach Joe Paterno. The trustees said Spanier and Paterno failed to act after a graduate assistant claimed he saw Sandusky sexually abusing a young boy in a campus shower in 2002.
Paterno, who has the most wins of any major college football coach, has conceded he should have done more. Spanier has said he would have reported a crime if he had suspected one had been committed.
Sandusky has said he is innocent. He has acknowledged he showered with boys but said he never molested them.
Former school administrators Tim Curley and Gary Schultz are charged with not properly alerting authorities to suspected abuse and with perjury. They maintain their innocence.
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