Penn State trustee Lubrano calls for refund on Freeh report

mdawson@centredaily.comFebruary 24, 2013 

Penn State trustee Anthony Lubrano long has been critical of Louis Freeh’s $6.5 million report that accused former university leaders of covering up abuse allegations against Jerry Sandusky.

Now, Lubrano — after reading the Paterno family’s rebuttal and the eight-page contract with Freeh’s group — wants to go one step further.

He thinks Freeh’s group should give Penn State back at least some of those millions of dollars because the investigators hired by the university’s trustees did not do a thorough enough job, Lubrano told the Centre Daily Times on Saturday.

“It became clear to me that we didn’t get our money’s worth,” said Lubrano, who was elected to the board last year by seizing upon the anger from alumni over the trustees’ handling of the Sandusky scandal. “I think we’re entitled to a refund of some or all what we paid Louis Freeh because he did not deliver on his promise.”

Lubrano plans to raise the question at next month’s board of trustees meeting in Hershey, and he wants a serious discussion in public about it.

Penn State spokesman David La Torre declined to comment Saturday. The university distanced itself from the Paterno report in comments two weeks ago, saying Freeh’s body of work was focused on suggesting reforms in the university’s governance.

Freeh has stood behind his investigation, too, calling the Paternos’ rebuttal “self-serving.”

Lubrano said he recently reviewed what he called the “engagement letter” that is the document authorizing Freeh’s law firm to undertake the investigation. Lubrano said he saw the document at the trustees office in Old Main but was not allowed to make a copy. He said he took “copious notes.”

The document, he said, specified that Freeh would “perform an independent, full and complete investigation of the recently publicized allegations of sexual abuse at the facilities and the alleged failure of PSU personnel to report such sexual abuse to appropriate police and government authorities.”

Lubrano said one hole in the report is the failure of Freeh’s team to interview important witnesses, such as former head coach Joe Paterno before he died, former senior administrators Tim Curley and Gary Schultz and people who were with the Centre County District Attorney’s Office around 1998.

“He didn’t deliver what he promised us,” Lubrano said of Freeh.

“The Freeh report purports to be the result of something that it is not — a full and complete investigation. As a result, it does a disservice to all those parties it was intended to help — the victims, the university and the community at large.”

Lubrano assuredly will find support for his idea among the Penn Staters who blame the board of trustees for the way they fired Paterno amid a maelstrom of the first days of the Sandusky scandal.

A few trustees have spoken publicly about the Freeh report since the Paterno family’s rebuttal two weeks ago.

Trustee Al Clemens said the board of trustees should re-examine the report, and even this summer, Clemens told the CDT he thought the report was “sketchy.”

Ryan McCombie had said the Paterno family’s rebuttal “should give us pause to closing the book and ‘moving on’ from this terrible tragedy.”

Those trustees had said they spoke for themselves, not on behalf of the board.

The group Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship, which has been critical of the trustees’ response to the Sandusky scandal, supported Lubrano.

“We remain gravely concerned and confused as to why there has not been an open dialogue between the board of trustees and Freeh as to the many significant failures of the report and an attempt to rectify them,” said Maribeth Schmidt, a spokeswoman for the group.

Schmidt said the trustees should have demanded the report withstand the toughest scrutiny.

“Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship not only would like to see a full refund, but demands that Freeh publicly face his critics and explain the methodology and motivation behind the absurd conclusions that have wrongly tainted and devalued the Penn State brand,” she said.

Mike Dawson can be reached at 231-4616. Follow him on Twitter @MikeDawsonCDT.

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