• Download a PDF of the Freeh report here.
PHILADELPHIA — In May 1998, Gary Schultz scribbled two words that in hindsight look chilling.
“Other children?” he wrote.
Then a senior vice president at Pennsylvania State University, Schultz was reviewing a campus police report that assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky had showered alone with a young boy in the team locker room.
Even in the best light, Schultz concluded, the conduct was inappropriate. At worst, it was child sex abuse, and maybe not the first time.
“Is this opening of pandora's box?” he wrote.
Schultz's handwritten notes were among the most damning evidence disclosed Thursday in the long-awaited report on what the most powerful men at Penn State, including former football coach Joe Paterno and university President Graham Spanier, did about signs that Sandusky was sexually abusing boys.
The report's conclusion: Not much.
Instead, the team of investigators headed by former FBI Director Louis Freeh found a paper trail suggesting that Paterno, Schultz, Spanier and then-Athletic Director Timothy Curley discussed and worried about — but ultimately ignored — suspicions in order to avoid scandal, a decision that effectively allowed Sandusky to assault more children.
The records included 1998 notes that Freeh said Schultz tried to hide until recent months. Freeh's team also uncovered emails sent in 2001 in which the men used code words to describe Sandusky, his Second Mile foundation, and another complaint about a shower assault — and then scrapped their initial plan to alert state welfare officials.
Together, the information cast fresh doubt on the ex-administrators' assertions that they had no reason to suspect Sandusky or search for victims. The records also appear to undermine testimony by Spanier and Paterno that they knew nothing about the 1998 investigation.
Freeh stopped just short of declaring their conduct criminal, leaving such decisions to law enforcement. But that the findings came hand-delivered in a scathing 267-page report from a prominent former federal judge and prosecutor might be hard for those authorities to ignore.
“The evidence clearly shows, in my view, an active agreement to conceal,” Freeh said during a press conference in Philadelphia.
Last month, a Centre County Court jury convicted Sandusky of molesting 10 boys over a 15-year period. Investigators and civil lawyers say there are more victims.
Curley and Schultz are awaiting trial next year on charges they failed to report Sandusky's 2001 assault on the second boy and later lied to a grand jury about it. Sources have said they also expect Spanier to be charged.
Curley's and Schultz's lawyers said Thursday that Freeh's report will not affect their cases. Both noted that his investigative team lacked subpoena power and could not interview some crucial witnesses, including Mike McQueary, the former assistant coach who testified that he reported the 2001 shower assault to Paterno, Curley and Schultz.
Paterno had denied knowing about Sandusky's 1998 shower assault, which was investigated by university police but not prosecuted until this year.
Curley's emails suggested that he had briefed Paterno on that incident. In one, he told Schultz, whose office oversaw campus police, that he had “touched base” with the coach about the allegation. In another, Curley wrote: “Coach is anxious to know where it stands.”
A month after it started, campus police closed the 1998 investigation and stashed the report in a file labeled “administrative information.”
Schultz was relieved, according to his files. “I think the matter has been appropriately investigated and I hope it is now behind us,” he told Spanier and Curley in an email, the report says.
Freeh said he was struck that none of the four men interviewed Sandusky about the report, “including the coach, who was a few steps away from his office.”
At his press conference, Freeh walked a tightrope in describing Paterno. He said the coach left a “terrific” legacy but also might have made the worst mistake of his life.
“The facts are the facts,” Freeh said. “There's a whole host of evidence here, and we're saying the reasonable conclusion from that evidence is that he was an integral part of this active conspiracy to conceal. I regret that, based on the damage it does, obviously, to his legacy.”
The records link the four men again after McQueary reported the shower assault in 2001, according to the report. Schultz had a university lawyer research child-sex abuse reporting and asked campus police if it still had the file on the 1998 incident, his emails show.
At first, the men agreed to report the complaint to state welfare officials.
But Curley then altered the plan, according to the report. “After giving it more thought and talking it over with Joe, I am uncomfortable with what we agreed are the next steps,” Curley wrote in an email to Spanier and Schultz. “I am having trouble with going to everyone.”
He proposed offering Sandusky professional help and helping him inform the Second Mile organization.
The others agreed.
“This approach is acceptable to me,” Spanier emailed Curley and Schultz. “The approach you outline is a humane and reasonable way to proceed.”
By the time Sandusky was arrested on Nov. 5, 2011, a decade had passed. And there were 10 victims instead of two.
This report includes material from the Associated Press and McClatchy Newspapers.