PHILADELPHIA – Former FBI director Louis Freeh, tapped to lead Penn State’s investigation into the child sex-abuse allegations against a former assistant football coach, said his inquiry will go as far back as 1975, a much longer period than a grand jury report issued earlier this month.
Freeh was named Monday to oversee the university board of trustees’ internal investigation into the abuse allegations that ultimately led to the ouster of longtime football coach Joe Paterno and university president Graham Spanier.
Freeh said his goal was to conduct a comprehensive, fair and quick review. His team of former FBI agents, federal prosecutors and others has already begun the process of reading the grand jury report and looking at records.
“We will immediately report any evidence of criminality to law enforcement authorities,” said Freeh, who has no connection to Penn State.
Penn State has faced criticism since announcing that its internal investigation would be led by two university trustees, Merck pharmaceutical company CEO Kenneth Frazier and Pennsylvania state Education Secretary Ronald Tomalis.
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Faculty members on Friday called for an independent investigation of how the university handled abuse allegations, and the faculty senate endorsed a resolution asking for an independent investigation.
In announcing Freeh’s appointment, Frazier stressed the former FBI director’s independence. Freeh will be empowered to investigate employees up to and including the board of trustees itself, Frazier said.
“No one is above scrutiny,” Frazier said.
Freeh said he had been assured there would be “no favouritism.” He called that assurance “the main condition of my engagement.”
Former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky is accused of molesting eight boys over a 15-year period beginning in the mid-1990s. Authorities say some assaults happened on campus and were reported to administrators but not to police.
Amid the scandal, Penn State’s trustees ousted Spanier and Paterno. The trustees said Spanier and Paterno failed to act after a graduate assistant claimed he saw Sandusky sexually abusing a young boy in a campus shower in 2002.
Paterno, who has the most wins of any major college football coach, has conceded he should have done more. Spanier has said he would have reported a crime if he had suspected one had been committed.
Sandusky has said he is innocent. He has acknowledged he showered with boys but said he never molested them.
Former school administrators Tim Curley and Gary Schultz are charged with not properly alerting authorities to suspected abuse and with perjury. They maintain their innocence.
Freeh founded an investigation firm, Freeh Group International Solutions, after leading the FBI from 1993 to 2001. He previously served six years as a special agent.
Freeh’s law firm was hired to look into the bribery case involving FIFA’s presidential election. Soccer’s governing body banned candidate Mohamed bin Hammam for life for bribing voters. The ruling body also banned 11 Caribbean soccer leaders and disciplined others in the corruption scandal.
Freeh will report to a special committee comprised of six university trustees; Dan Hagen, chair of the university’s faculty senate; Rodney Hughes, a doctoral student in higher education at Penn State; and retired Air Force Col. and astronaut Guion Bluford, a 1964 Penn State graduate.
Officials also announced that anyone who has information related to the probe can contact investigators at a telephone hotline – 855-290-3382 – and a special email, PSUhelp(at)freehgroup杭州龙凤.
AP Sports Writer Fred Lief contributed to this report.