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Freeh investigation concludes Joe Paterno knew about 1998 shower incident, was instrumental in Jerry Sandusky cover-up

The Freeh investigation commissioned by Penn State released its findings on Thursday morning and confirmed the public’s worst fears: Joe Paterno and other Penn State leaders knew in 1998 that Jerry Sandusky was a child sex abuser, and they let him continue his behavior because they wanted to protect the football program’s image.

The first sentence in the “Findings” section of the Freeh report (download PDF here) states the disturbing truth: “The most saddening finding by the Special Investigative Counsel is the total and consistent disregard by the most senior leaders at Penn State for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s child victims.”

The report concludes that some of Penn State’s most powerful men — including Joe Paterno — knew that Jerry Sandusky was investigated in 1998 for showering with a boy. Their response in 1998, and in 2001 after Mike McQueary told them he saw Sandusky anal raping a young boy, was essentially that Sandusky could continue to do what he wants so long as it weren’t on Penn State property. The report also finds the Penn State Board of Trustees at fault for not holding the highest university administrators accountable and for not investigating matters when they learned Sandusky was being investigated by a grand jury in 2011.

Below is some of the most damning info from the press release:

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Penn State emails written in code to avoid detection, use of Jerry Sandusky’s name

The emails exchanged by Penn State administrators that were uncovered by CNN have made it painfully obvious that President Graham Spanier, Vice President Gary Schultz, and athletic director Tim Curley were consciously covering up Jerry Sandusky’s sexual abuse.

We’ve already summarized what was discussed in the alleged emails between the administrators: they considered contacting The Second Mile charity and authorities about the shower incident but ultimately decided not to (in Curley’s case, the decision was made after consulting with Joe Paterno).

One aspect of the emails that needs to be emphasized is that the men never referred to Jerry Sandusky by name. Instead, they used code words and called him “the subject” or “the person.”

Their refusal to call him by name indicates they knew they were engaging in wrongdoing. They probably used the code words so it would be more difficult to trace the cover-up. As Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports pointed out over the weekend, those email exchanges would not come up if a media outlet or person requested all Penn State communication/emails that included “Sandusky.”

I’m not sure what defense they could have at this point, but just using code names to avoid mentioning Sandusky is a strong indication they knew exactly what they were doing.

Just like we suspected, Penn State covered up Jerry Sandusky’s sexual abuse in order to protect the reputation of the school and football program. I also believe that Joe Paterno and some of the others were covering up Sandusky’s pedophilia since 1998. There is becoming less and less doubt that these men prioritized football, money, and their reputations over the welfare of children, which is utterly despicable.