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QUICK TAKE: Education Department to Investigate Penn State QUICK TAKE: Education Department to Investigate Penn State

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White House / Education

QUICK TAKE: Education Department to Investigate Penn State

photo of Andrew  Joseph
November 10, 2011

The federal government is now getting involved with the Penn State sexual abuse scandal that has led to the firing of football coach Joe Paterno and university President Graham Spanier.

The Department of Education says it's investigating whether the university failed to comply with the Clery Act, which requires colleges and universities to disclose the number of criminal offenses on campus that are reported each year.

“If these allegations of sexual abuse are true, then this is a horrible tragedy for those young boys,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a statement. “If it turns out that some people at the school knew of the abuse and did nothing or covered it up, that makes it even worse.”

 

Rep. Patrick Meehan, R-Pa., wrote to Duncan on Tuesday outlining the alleged abuses and asking him to launch an investigation. In 2002, a graduate student told Paterno that he had witnessed Jerry Sandusky, a former assistant football coach now accused of years of pedophilia, sexually assaulting a minor in the locker room and that senior Penn State officials knew of the report, Meehan wrote. University officials, however, never reported the incident to police or campus security.

“The grand jury report alleges Sandusky engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct with a total of eight boys over a span of years that lasted until 2009,” Meehan wrote. “Had the 2002 allegations been properly reported, investigated, and disclosed, the later instances of abuse could have been prevented and future victims protected.”

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