Penn State President Criticizes Freeh Report
Penn State’s president has criticized the Freeh Report that found broad university culpability in the Jerry Sandusky scandal, saying it was overly “prosecutorial” and arrived at “absurd” conclusion.
An association of sexual abuse survivors reacted angrily to the news, issuing a statement urging university officials to “man up” to their responsibilities in the matter.
President Eric Barron, who arrived on campus from Florida State after the scandal had seemingly run its course — and who had expressed concern about remaining incivility in the university community — made his comments in an interview with the Associated Press. He criticized the report, which was compiled by former FBI director Louis Freeh.
“I have to say, I’m not a fan of the report,” Barron told AP. “There’s no doubt in my mind, Freeh steered everything as if he were a prosecutor trying to convince a court to take the case.”
The report said that Joe Paterno and former administrators Graham Spanier, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz had concealed facts about the case — Spanier, Curley, and Schultz still face criminal charges in the matter — and that the scandal had been enabled by a university culture of reverence for football.
The report “very clearly paints a picture about every student, every faculty member, every staff member and every alum,” Barron said. “And it’s absurd. It’s unwarranted. So from my viewpoint, the Freeh report is not useful to make decisions.”
He said the NCAA should’ve stayed out of the matter because Penn State gained no competitive advantage from hiding Sandusky’s activities. The NCAA has reversed or curtailed most of the sanctions imposed in the scandal’s aftermath, recently restoring more than 100 football victories that
it had previously ordered forfeited.
“I think it’s increasingly clear that none of the things that transpired had any impact on the field,” Barron said.
A representative of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests reacted angrily in an interview with PennLive.
“Barron joins a long line of self-centered, football-obsessed Penn State students and staff who somehow can’t let go of their unhealthy Paterno-worship and remember the shattered lives of Sandusky victims,” SNAP Outreach Director Barbara Dorris said.
“Kids were sexually assaulted by a Penn State staffer. Top officials knew or should have known. And they did little or nothing to stop the assaults. The school was punished. It’s time for university officials to man up and move on.”