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Alumni-Elected Trustees Continue the Fight for Freeh Documents

by on December 31, 2014 9:36 AM

The alumni-elected members of the Penn State Board of Trustees are getting impatient while waiting to review the Freeh report.

In a new letter sent to board chairman Keith Masser on Tuesday, trustees Anthony Lubrano and Al Lord renew their fight to see the source documents from former FBI director Louis Freeh's investigation into the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal. Though Masser granted the alumni-elects access to the documents in a letter on Dec. 1, Lubrano and Lord now write that he hasn't taken the necessary next steps to keep the process moving.

"A month has elapsed since you agreed to provide this access, yet you have not sent the draft confidentiality agreement you referenced in your letter," the alumni-elects write in Tuesday's letter. "We are anxious to review documents, please immediately provide the agreement."

When granting access to the Freeh investigation materials, Masser wrote that Penn State "intends to honor the promise of confidentiality to the maximum extent permitted by law." As part of that promise, Masser wrote that the investigation materials would only be available at the Philidelphia offices of a university attorney after trustees sign a confidentiality agreement.

Lord and Lubrano fired back at those restrictions on Tuesday. 

"Each Trustee has an individual right to review and access these documents, and it is simply not feasible for trustees and our respective advisors to review these documents exclusively in Saul Ewing's Philadelphia offices," the two trustees write.

While they do agree to sign Masser's confidentiality agreement, the two trustees demand that every member of the board be provided with a complete database of the investigation materials to review as they see fit. They also ask Masser to confirm that no documents will be withheld from their review.

The Freeh report, released in July 2012, concluded that several top Penn State administrators repeatedly hid their knowledge of Sandusky's sexual abuse from the public. The report formed the basis for sweeping sanctions imposed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association, and has been the subject of debate among the board of trustees ever since. Lord previously attempted to have the board examine the report in-depth, but his suggestion was voted down in an October board meeting.

Penn State President Eric Barron is also in the process of reviewing the Freeh report, and has publicly communicated his commitment to confidentiality. In an statement earlier this month, Barron said that those who spoke in the Freeh investigation did so under the promise of confidentiality, which the university must continue to honor.

"We need to foster trust and encourage employees to speak up when they encounter something concerning them," Barron wrote in his Dec. 19 statement.

Last week, three members of the Penn State Board of Trustees, Anthony Lubrano, Albert Lord and William Oldsey, challenged Barron's stance. In an editorial, they said, "We too are sensitive to the subject, [of confidentiality] but believe that getting to the complete truth outweighs the importance of individual confidentiality. ... For anyone to conduct a credible, in-depth review of Mr. Freeh's findings, unfettered and uncensored access to all the materials Freeh used is necessary. The very reputation of our university is on the line."

Representatives for Penn State and Masser both say the letter has been received and is under review, but can not offer further comment at this time.

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Michael Martin Garrett is a reporter and editor for StateCollege.com who covers local government, the courts, the arts and writes the Keeping the Faith column. He's a Penn State alumnus, a published poet and the bassist in a local indie rock band.
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