New Penn State Prez Scrutinized for Handling of Abuse Allegations

Did football cloud the handling of rape investigation?

The appointment of Eric Barron as the new president at Penn State was supposed to mark a turning point from the bad old days of the Jerry Sandusky scandal that did so much to devastate the reputations of the school and its football program. But that plan may have run into a snag.

The New York Times on Wednesday ran a story suggesting that Florida State badly mishandled a rape allegation against its star quarterback, Jameis Winston. Florida State’s president at the time? Eric Barron.

You see where this might be going.

PennLive reports that the NYT report has caught the attention advocates for victims of sexual violence, who are proceeding cautiously. “My expectation when Barron surfaced was that Penn State had not gone with him unless they believed he was vetted that that problem was vetted out of the way,” said attorney Thomas Kline, who represented Sandusky Victim No. 5. “But facts and circumstances change and it’s incumbent on Penn State to look at anything new that is both public and comes from a highly reputable and important source in national news.”

But Kristen Houser of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape notes the Times story doesn’t directly point a finger at Barron.

“We need to look at Penn State as a whole system and acknowledge a lot of progress and positive steps since the Sandusky case broke,” she said “Hopefully bringing in a president who has dealt with this in the national spotlight .. that he would support continuing doing the right thing and getting positive feedback.”