The U.S. Education Department is investigating whether Penn State violated federal law by failing to report sex abuse on campus. The probe started after a grand jury indicted former Assistant Football Coach Jerry Sandusky for allegedly molesting young boys, and two high-level officials were charged with perjury for lying about the case. Days later the university trustees fired Head Football Coach Joe Paterno and President Graham Spanier as a result of the scandal. Lansdale lawyer Bob Szostak, who has read the grand jury report, said this week that there is public outrage because officials up to the president looked the other way for years after a near-assault occurred in 1998 in a Penn State shower. He said Sandusky retired the following year, but kept special privileges.
“He had an office, he had a telephone in their football facility, he was allowed access to all of the recreational facilities, parking pass, he had an account for a Penn State internet address, all of these factors that the grand jury looked into, so it emboldened him. It allowed him to continue to use the Penn State facilities from 1998 through 2002.”
He said Joe Paterno is not a target in the criminal investigation, but the whole affair is bigger than any one man or five men.
“It’s a total systemic breakdown and Joe, unfortunately, is at the head of the table, and what the press is upset about and what they’re going to be saying for the next few weeks, over and over again, is that responsibility attaches for allowing a known sexual predator to remain on campus under the auspices of the great football program.”
Appearing on the WNPV talk program Legally Speaking, Szostak said it’s a horrific human tragedy and a terrible story of damage to young children, and lawsuits and new levels of accountability will come from it.