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Trustees Demanding Access to Freeh Investigation Materials

by on November 30, 2014 7:35 AM

A coalition of Penn State trustees -- all of them elected by university alumni -- is now formally requesting access to documents that were compiled as part of the controversial Freeh investigation.

In a letter sent to board chair Keith Masser, the nine alumni-elected trustees claim they have a duty to review documents used in the Freeh investigation.

Trustee Anthony Lubrano, an outspoken critic of the Freeh Report says in a news release, "We have a very clear fiduciary obligation to verify the veracity of the information used by Louis Freeh to condemn the culture of Penn State."

Adds trustee Al Lord, "Louis Freeh and his report greatly damaged the reputation of Penn State. ... As fiduciaries of Penn State, we have a both a legal as well as a moral obligation to ask questions about such an inherently incomplete work product."

The Freeh Group, led by former FBI Director Louis Freeh, issued a scathing report on July 12, 2012 that accused top Penn State administrators of trying to cover up the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

Former Penn State President Graham Spanier, former Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley and former Senior Vice President for Finance Gary Schultz face trial on a number of charges including perjury, failing to report child endangerment and conspiracy. All three men have pleaded not guilty and promise to vigorously defend themselves in court.

The Freeh Report was the basis for the consent decree Penn State signed with the NCAA, which set the stage for the NCAA to impose unprecedented sanctions against the football team. Those sanctions included the loss of athletic scholarships, a ban on bowl games, a $60 million fine and the vacating of 111 victories under former head coach Joe Paterno.

In their letter the alumni-elected trustees state that the Freeh Report is "challenged by many as deeply flawed and substantially incomplete. It goes on to say " ... our ability as Trustees to fully and independently evaluate the findings and conclusions of the Freeh Group rests on our access to this information."

The alumni-elected trustees cite the recent release of NCAA emails as cause for concern. In those emails officials for the athletic organization call the threat of sanctions against Penn State "a bluff" and suggest that NCAA staffers were "banking on the fact [the] school is so embarrassed they will do anything."

Those emails were released in court documents filed by Pennsylvania State Senator Jake Corman and Pennsylvania Treasurer Rob McCord. Corman and McCord are suing the NCAA and Penn State in Commonwealth Court to force the organization to spend that $60 million fine in Pennsylvania. The NCAA wants to distribute that money nationally, and has filed a separate lawsuit in federal court.

The trustees are requesting a response by Monday. Board chair Keith Masser did not immediately respond to a request for comment. However, Penn State spokesperson David La Torre says, "Chair Masser has received the letter and has it under review."

The letter can be read in its entirety below:

Letter to Keith Masser for Freeh Files 11-26-14

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Steve Bauer was the Managing Editor of StateCollege.com. Steve and his wife Trina are longtime area residents. They reside in State College along with a wacky Golden Retriever named Izzy.
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