PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Attorneys for ousted Penn State President Graham Spanier planned Wednesday to dispute allegations he covered up reported child sex abuse involving convicted former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.
Spanier’s lawyers scheduled a news conference in Philadelphia to discuss the university-funded investigation by former FBI director Louis Freeh. Spanier will not be in attendance.
Freeh’s report alleges Spanier and late coach Joe Paterno participated in a cover-up to spare the school bad publicity. Spanier and Paterno were fired in November, a few days after Sandusky was charged.
Two other university officials accused of covering up Sandusky’s abuse are charged with perjury and failing to report suspected child abuse. Spanier has not been charged.
Sandusky is awaiting sentencing on 45 criminal counts involving 10 victims, some of whom were abused in locker room showers on campus.
Spanier disputed the Freeh report’s findings in a letter to Penn State’s trustees last month, calling it “full of factual errors” and saying it jumps to “untrue and unwarranted” conclusions.
In the letter, Spanier wrote he would not have turned “a blind eye” to abuse because he himself had been beaten by his father as a child.
“It is unfathomable and illogical to think that a respected family sociologist and family therapist, someone who personally experienced massive and persistent abuse as a child, someone who devoted a significant portion of his career to the welfare of children and youth … would have knowingly turned a blind eye to any report of child abuse or predatory sexual acts directed at children,” Spanier wrote.
Freeh’s report concluded Spanier, Paterno, athletic director Tim Curley and former Vice President Gary Schultz participated in a cover-up.
The report cites an email from Spanier in which agrees with a proposal from Curley — who said he’d talked it over with Paterno — to not report a 2001 incident involving Sandusky to the Department of Public Welfare as previously planned and instead offer him professional help.
In the email, Spanier noted “the only downside for us is if the message isn’t (heard) and acted upon and we then become vulnerable for not having reported it.”
(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)