Penn State University has received a preliminary report from the U.S. Department of Education based on a program review of the university’s compliance with the Clery Act in relation to allegations against former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.
The Clery Act is a 1990 federal law that requires universities to document all crime on campus.
At issue is whether the university should have called police after a report that Sandusky was seen sexually assaulting a 10-year-old boy in a shower in the university’s football complex in 2002.
According to a grand jury indictment and independent investigation by former FBI director Louis Freeh, the incident was reported by then-graduate assistant Mike McQueary, who told the late football coach Joe Paterno, who in turn told athletic director Tim Curley and vice president Gary Schultz, who then told former university president Graham Spanier.
But no one at the university ever called police, which was required under Penn State’s own Clery Act policy.
Spanier recently filed legal papers indicating he plans to sue Freeh and his investigative staff for slander and defamation.
The U.S. Department of Education has been investigating Penn State’s possible violation of the Clery Act since November 2011. That’s when it sent a letter to the university announcing it would be arriving on campus and asking for documents pertaining to crime reporting, including a list of all crimes reported to the campus police or other campus security authorities from 1998-2011 and a copy of the campus daily crime log from 1998-2011.
Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers said the university cannot disclose the contents of the preliminary report and that it has at least 120 days to respond to its contents.
A statement posted on the university website said Penn State had provided the review team “with access to all requested records and information sources.”
In addition, it said, Penn State hired a full-time Clery compliance manager in March 2012 and has instituted a mandatory Clery Act training program for employees.
Powers said more information about the report will be made public after a final determination from the education department. The U.S. Department of Education could not immediately confirm that the preliminary report had been sent or that is must remain confidential.
Penalties for violation of the Clery Act range from a fine of up to $27,500 for each violation to suspension of federal financial aid to the school.
Sandusky was accused of abusing 10 boys over a 15-year period while working for Penn State and with his charity, The Second Mile. He was convicted in June 2012 of four criminal counts of sexual abuse and is serving a 30- to 60-year state prison sentence.
On Friday, the Penn State board of trustees authorized an attorney to make settlement offers to 32 people who said they were abused by Sandusky.
A preliminary hearing on charges of obstruction, conspiracy and other offenses regarding the handling of the Sandusky matter is set to start July 29 for Spanier, Curley and Schultz.