Rep. Thompson: Federal investigation of possible Clery Act violations at Penn State will be public

Although a preliminary report on the U.S. Department of Education’s Penn State investigation was not made public, the federal agency’s final report will be, U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson said Wednesday.

When that will happen, however, remains uncertain.

“This has taken a very, very, very long time,” Thompson, R-Howard Township, said in a meeting at the Centre Daily Times office in College Township.

In November 2011, the Department of Education launched an investigation into whether Penn State failed to follow requirements of the Clery Act, which mandates that criminal offenses on college campuses be reported to authorities, and that a warning be issued if a reported crime poses a threat to the campus community.

The investigation was initiated after former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was charged with sexually abusing young boys over several years, including incidents on campus. The review covers the period from 1998 through 2011.

Sandusky was convicted last summer on 45 counts of child sexual abuse. Former Penn State officials Graham Spanier, Gary Schultz and Tim Curley were ordered July 30 to stand trial on related charges, including perjury and failure to report crimes.

Penn State President Rodney Erickson has said he expects the federal review to find Clery Act violations.

The findings of a preliminary report delivered to Penn State on July 13 were kept confidential, and Thompson called that first statement “far from final.”

“The preliminary report is just supposed to go to the school in question to allow them a chance to respond,” Thompson said. “If the Department of Education missed something, the school has an opportunity to help fill in the blanks.”

Jane Glickman, Department of Education spokeswoman, confirmed Wednesday that while the preliminary report was not released, the “Final Program Review Determination Letter will indeed be made public.”

She added: “We are required by statute to maintain the confidentiality of any program review report until the institution has an opportunity to respond and the (d)epartment issues a final report taking into consideration the institution’s response.”

No release date has been set for the full Department of Education report, university spokesman David La Torre said Wednesday.

Glickman confirmed that “we don’t have any time line for when it will be out.”

Thompson said he speaks often with Education Secretary Arne Duncan about the Penn State situation, and was disappointed that the preliminary Clery Act report was issued without his knowledge.

“I wasn’t real happy with Arne Duncan,” Thompson said.

Among numerous pieces of information the Department of Education requested from Penn State in November 2011 were:

•  a list of all incidents of crime reported to the university police department between 1998 and 2011;

•  a copy of the organizational chart for police and security-related functions for Penn State and all of its colleges;

•  a comprehensive list of buildings and land owned by the university; and

•  a list of all “timely warnings and emergency notifications” issued during the same 13-year period.

In March 2012, Penn State hired Gabriel Gates as its full-time Clery Act compliance manager.

The Clery Act is named for Jeanne Clery, a Lehigh University freshman who was raped and killed in 1986 by another student in her campus dormitory.