PSU Lawyer Says He Told Officials About Sandusky in 2001

Wendell Courtney says he advised Penn State to report child abuse allegations to the authorities.

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The former top lawyer for Penn State said he told the university’s vice president to notify a state agency about child abuse allegations against assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky in 2001. The claim was included in a deposition given on May 31st.

Wendell Courtney, the former general counsel for the university, also said no one from Penn State asked him about his communications with then-vice president Gary Schultz or his research into the abuse. The exchange was noted in the report done by a team led by former FBI director Louis Freeh in 2012. Courtney was not interviewed by the Freeh team.

Courtney said that “the advice I gave was to report to DPW.” The Department of Public Welfare, now called the Department of Human Services, is responsible for Child Line, which is a hotline for reporting suspected child abuse.

Parts of the deposition, including Courtney’s statements, were attached to a filing in a related case involving former assistant coach Mike McQueary. That filing was an attempt to oppose the university’s effort to delay McQueary’s whistleblower and defamation lawsuit.

“Perhaps the reason why the defendant avoided making the inquiry was because it knew the answer to the question,” said McQueary’s lawyers in the filing.

“Penn State engaged the Freeh firm to investigate the matter and, as set forth in Freeh’s report, Courtney declined to be interviewed upon advice from counsel,” Penn State spokesperson Lawrence Lokman told the Associated Press. “So any implication that Penn State did not want the benefit of Courtney’s input is simply not correct.”

Sandusky, who is 72, is serving a 30- to 60-year prison sentence. He was convicted of sexually abusing 10 boys in 2012. He maintains his innocence and is appealing.