Former FBI director Louis Freeh was tapped today to head an independent investigation of Penn State University's role in allegations of child sex abuse by former football coach Jerry Sandusky.
The investigation announced today by the school's board of trustees is the fifth probe of the school launched since the scandal broke earlier this month.
The state attorney general's office, the federal Department of Education, the NCAA, and the university's faculty senate are all also investigating or planning investigations of the abuse and events surrounding it on Penn State's campus.
Today, the head of the board's special committee, Ken Frazier, announced that it had hired Freeh to look specifically at how the culture, policies, and practices of the university and its administration could have allowed the alleged sexual abuse to happen on campus and go unreported for so long. It will also seek to make recommendations to the board as to how to prevent similar events from ever occurring again, Frazier said.
"No one is above scrutiny," Frazier said.
Freeh, who led the FBI from 1993 to 2001, said he will use a team of former FBI agents, former U.S. attorneys and prosecutors and investigators with experience in pedophilia and sexual predators. The team will interview all individuals involved in the scandal as well as go through university records and documents going back to 1975, he said.
"I'm tasked with investigating the matter fully, fairly, and completely, without fear or favoritism, including the board of trustees," Freeh said. "The special committee ensured us total independence."
Freeh said his team will not have the power to issue subpoenas or force testimony.
As part of its work, Freeh's team will examine the Penn State University police, their role, practices, and investigative procedures, he said. Freeh said he will make all the results of the investigation available to public at the end of their work.
Frazier noted that Freeh has no connection to the university, or to Pennsylvania, and so would be an impartial investigator.
But Freeh came under scrutiny shortly after the announcement for his years working at MBNA, once one of the nation's largest credit card companies, which held a $30 million contract with Penn State to obtain names and addresses of alumni and students, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Freeh worked from 2001 to 2006 as MBNA's general counsel, until the company was acquired by Bank of America.
ABCNews.com has also determined that Freeh's boss, MBNA's chief executive Ric Struthers, sat on the Smeal Business School Board of Visitors at Penn State and now sits on the Board of Trustees for the Second Mile, Jerry Sandusky's charity. Struthers helped coordinate the "MBNA Jerry Sandusky Testimonial Dinner and Roast," held by Penn State's athletics department to benefit the Second Mile, in 2000.
Tom Davies, a manager at the public relations firm Kekst & Co., hired by Penn State in the wake of the scandal, maintained that Freeh has no meaningful ties to Penn State.
"Judge Freeh has no previous personal connection to Penn State University," Davies said in a statement. "The investigation will be completely independent."
Former Top Fed Louis Freeh Heads Newest Penn State Probe
On Friday, the school's faculty senate decided to form their own special committee to look into the Sandusky allegations after feeling that the Board of Trustee's special committee was too closely tied to Penn State. Their committee will be comprised mainly of people who are not affiliated with the university, they said. They have not yet announced specific plans for its investigation.
The NCAA will examine how well the university oversaw its athletics programs, as well as the actions of relevant responsible personnel, according to a letter they sent the university. Sanctions against athletic programs could follow, they said.
The federal Board of Education also launched a probe into whether the university failed to comply with mandatory reporting requirements for crimes that occur on campus relating to 2002 incident in which graduate assistant Mike McQueary allegedly saw Sandusky raping a boy in the football complex showers and failed to report the incident to police.
An internal review has also been launched at the Second Mile, the charity founded by Sandusky and which he is accused of using to find vulnerable boys to abuse. Former Philadelphia district attorney Lynne Abraham, who prosecuted cases of sexual abuse in the Philadelphia Catholic diocese, was hired by the Second Mile to lead the investigation.
None of the investigators have given timeframes for the completion of their work..
- Penn State University
- Jerry Sandusky
- Louis Freeh