JoePa's 'legacy' lives on
Former FBI Director Louis Freeh's report on Penn State's role in the Sandusky child sex abuse scandal makes a convincing case that there was a cover-up that included former university President Graham Spanier, two of his top administrators and the late head football coach Joe Paterno.
Much of the discussion since the arrest last fall of former football coach Jerry Sandusky, and the subsequent firings of Mr. Paterno and Mr. Spanier, has been about what it all meant relative to Mr. Paterno's legacy.
Well, clearly it is tarnished, although the degree of that will be argued over time, regardless of whether it is settled. The subject will be whether Mr. Paterno's failure in this case eclipsed his achievements in football and for the university.
Mr. Sandusky has been convicted and trials are pending for former Penn State Vice President Gary Schultz and suspended Athletic Director Tim Curley, who are charged with perjury before the grand jury that recommended charges against Mr. Sandusky, and for failing to report his crime.
Other investigations continue. Meanwhile, Penn State also will have to deal with civil litigation by the victims.
Beyond the legal implications, the most damning part of the report is its finding that the administrators placed the welfare of children secondary to the welfare of Mr. Sandusky and, by extension, the institution.
To that end, the university has implemented most of the recommendations by the Freeh Report.
Meanwhhile, the state Legislature has several bills pending regarding reporting requirements for child sexual abuse, statutes of limitations for criminal investigations and civil suits and related matters.
To the Legislature's credit, it has adopted a deliberate pace rather than reacting in a knee-jerk fashion to the scandal at Penn State and within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The objective should be a comprehensive review of the body of laws relative to child sexual abuse, to hold people responsible for reporting without precipitating rushes to judgment against innocent people.
The Freeh Report was limited to Penn State's conduct. Still unanswered is why the state attorney general's office did not arrest Mr. Sandusky for more than two years after it was made aware of a complaint against him.
In addition to the new policies at Penn State and laws being pondered by the Legislature, remedial action should include a commitment by the attorney general's office to act with dispatch when it learns the identity of an alleged pedophile.