Jessica Knoll wanted to come to Penn State for many years.
But her childhood dreams never included tearfully watching the live news conference in which Louis Freeh described in detail the findings that expose a cover-up by former high-ranking members of the Penn State administration and people she admired.
Knoll sat in the HUB-Robeson Center with about 50 other students, alumni, residents and members of the media to watch the Freeh news conference at 10 a.m. after the release of the long-awaited Freeh report at 9 a.m.
According to the report, which Freeh’s investigative team began to compile in November 2011, former head football coach Joe Paterno and Penn State administrators Graham Spanier, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz knew about the sexual abuse allegations against former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky and failed to act.
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“I worked for so long to make it to Penn State, and I love Penn State with everything I have, and something so disgusting happened here,” Knoll said of her emotional reaction to the report.
Andrew Shevchuk, a 2008 Penn State graduate, also watched the news conference in the HUB and had eyes glued to the television with the rest of the attendees.
Shevchuk, of Tucson, Ariz., said he is in town for the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, but walked over to the HUB when he found out what was happening.
“Unfortunately a few people seem to have made some great mistakes and they are very powerful,” he said, adding that the “actions of a few” do not tarnish his image of the university.
After the report was released, Jack Sulzer, Penn State senior associate dean for undergraduate and learning services, began reading it on the website with others crowding around a computer in the Paterno-Pattee Library.
Sulzer said he had been anticipating its release and had been discussing it with friends and co-workers for several days.
“I’d just like to go through it to see what is there,” he said.
Sulzer also said he hopes there will be no criminal disturbances in reaction to the report during arts festival weekend, but “you never know what is going to happen.”
Also sitting in the library to read the report, Matt Bodenschatz said it appeared to be thorough and fair.
Bodenschatz, a 38-year-old non-traditional student, founder of “Voices for Victims” and sexual abuse survivor, said the content is sickening, but he is glad someone spoke for the victims.
“It is crazy,” he said. “It is beautiful, but it is crazy.”
Matt Morgan can be reached at 235-3928. Follow him on Twitter @MetroMattMorgan