The five-year federal investigation into Penn State's (mis)handling of allegations against Jerry Sandusky has resulted in a record $2.4 million fine for the university, with the Department of Education confluding that Penn State "violated requirements about reporting campus crimes and warning people if their safety was threatened." Forty-five people have come forward with reports of being abused by Sandusky, who was convicted of abusing 10 boys.
The U.S. Department of Education concluded that Penn State largely ignored many of its duties under the 1990 Clery Act.The Education Department was not persuaded by Penn State's claim that "a 1998 report involving Sandusky and a boy in a team shower...wasn't clear that a crime had occurred [thus] there was no need to record it on the crime log."
Ted Mitchell, undersecretary at the Education Department, said transparency about what happens on campus helps ensure that colleges and universities are safe.
"When we determine that an institution is not upholding this obligation, then there must be consequences," Mitchell said.
The Education Department found the school violated regulations when it didn't warn students and employees of the forthcoming charges against Sandusky, who was convicted in 2012 and is due in court Friday as he seeks to have the conviction thrown out or get a new trial.
"In short, a man who was about to be charged with violent crimes against defenseless minors was free to roam the Penn State campus, as he pleased," the report said.
[T]he Education Department noted that campus police recorded far less serious matters on their log, including a man sleeping in a stairwell and a slip-and-fall in a public shower.At least someone in authority involved in this entire reprehensible situation finally had some common sense and basic decency.
"In light of these entries, Penn State's contention that the reported incident of a middle-aged man inappropriately touching an 11-year-old boy, while naked and showering with him, didn't rise to the level for inclusion in the daily crime log strains credulity," the Education Department wrote in its report.
I don't know that this will feel like justice or closure to Sandusky's victims, but I hope it brings them some measure of satisfaction or peace. I take up space in solidarity with them.