In the wake of the recent Penn State sexual abuse lawsuit leveled at Jerry Sandusky, many people have begun to question the moral fiber of several high ranking school officials. Three Penn State officials in particular, including the legendary Joe Paterno, have been widely criticized for failing to involve the police when they were made aware of the lewd and salacious acts committed by Mr. Sandusky in 2002. Subsequently, a Pennsylvania lawmaker and former federal prosecutor has requested an investigation into whether or not these men broke federal law by failing to report their information to the proper authorities.
According to the Clery Act, Penn State University is required to prepare, publish and distribute an annual security report disclosing all criminal offenses reported to campus security or local police. Through the establishment of this act, the three men who were aware of Sandusky’s actions were obligated to report what they had heard to the proper authorities. Each of the men failed to do so.
Subsequently, U.S. Rep. Patrick Meehan has asked Education Secretary Arne Duncan to look into whether these men violated the Clery Act. According to Meehan’s letter to Duncan “University officials are required to report suspected criminal offenses to campus security” under federal law. The request called for a formal investigation to determine if Penn State officials violated federal law by not reporting their findings to the police.
Meehan’s request for an investigation is in response to a sexual abuse scandal that has recently rocked the foundation of Happy Valley. Former defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky was indicted on Novemebr 5, 2011 for committing eight counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and numerous other charges, including aggravated indecent assault, corruption of minors and endangering the welfare of a child. For the better part of 15 years, Sandusky allegedly sexually assaulted eight boys.
According to the grand jury report, senior Penn State officials failed to report abuse allegations to police in 2002, when a graduate assistant said he told coach Paterno that Sandusky was abusing a boy in a locker room shower. After hearing of the heinous act committed by Sandusky, Paterno immediately informed Tim Curley, the schools Athletic Director. Accordingly, news reached the vice president of operations, Gary Schultz, as well. However, neither official sought to notify the police of what had taken place.
Both Schultz and Curley have been charged with lying to the state grand jury and failing to alert police to the complaint about Sandusky. According to Meehan, their failure to report the sexual abuse was directly in violation of the Clery Act. Meehan acknowledges that as sad as these allegations are, “even more upsetting is the fact that had university officials reported this to authorities, additional abuses could have been prevented.” By failing to inform the proper authorities, these three officials have demonstrated a gross neglect for child safety.
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