On July 12, 2012, Louis Freeh and his law firm released the findings of their independent investigation into the child sex abuse scandal of Penn State University. According to “The Freeh Report”, the most saddening of the findings was the total and consistent disregard by the most senior leaders at Penn State for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s victims.
Taking into account the available witnesses and evidence, the investigation found that the most powerful leaders at the University – Graham Spanier, Gary Schultz, Joe Paterno, and Tim Curley – repeatedly concealed critical facts relating to Sandusky’s child abuse from the authorities in order to avoid the consequences of bad publicity.
May 3, 1998, Sandusky assaults Victim 6 in Lasch Building Shower. His mother reports to the University Police Department that Sandusky showered with her 11-year old son. University Police and officials ultimately did nothing.
November 2000, Sandusky assaults Victim 8 in Lasch Building Shower. A Janitor observes the assault by Sandusky, but does not report the assault for fear that “they’ll get rid of all of us.”
February 9, 2001, Sandusky assaults Victim 2 in Lasch Building Shower. Assistant football coach, Mike McQueary, witness’ the assault by Sandusky and does nothing; merely reporting it to Joe Paterno the following day.
October 29, 2011, Sandusky attends Penn State home football game and sits in the Nittany Lion Club seating at Beaver Stadium.
According to the Freeh report – this failure by many to do nothing or not enough – contributed to the fall of Joe Paterno, the disgrace of a University, and the disregard for children in danger. It was deemed that there was a problem with “The Penn State Culture.” A culture where avoiding negative publicity was more important than rescuing a child and where the reputation of a man was placed at a greater significance than the welfare of young children.
The Freeh report brings to life the reality that a latent cowardice and self-preservation deeply influence our culture. The fear of backlash, what people will say, and what may happen if we stand up for our convictions . . . its a brand of fear that lies in the heart of too many a man and too many a Christian.
So being mindful of this, we should ask God for courage. Courage to act in the presence of evil, to stand in the face of conflict, and to rise above the influences of our day. The culture which allowed a predator to roam free screams to us the importance of being vigilant over our children and the importance of being courageous for our God.