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Penn State alumni trustees renew call for access to Freeh documents

Penn State’s alumni trustees still want to review the Freeh documents and they are making sure no one forgets.

On Tuesday, trustees Al Lord and Anthony Lubrano sent a letter to Chairman Keith Masser as a counter to the chairman’s Dec. 1 reply that granted them permission to review the documents from former FBI director Louis Freeh’s investigation of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. The board of trustees commissioned the investigation in November 2011, shortly after Sandusky’s arrest.

“Meaningful access to those documents is critical to fulfill our fiduciary obligations,” Lord and Lubrano wrote.

What they want now is a draft of the confidentiality agreement Masser referenced that they would have to sign to view the material.

“We expect we will need the advice of professionals with respect to certain documents and so your confidentiality agreement should permit such sharing. We expect to include individuals competent to search e-discovery material, legal counsel to evaluate documents’ legal ramifications, as well as advisers knowledgeable about investigative techniques. All those advisers will also sign an appropriate agreement,” the trustees wrote.

They also questioned the location of the access.

Masser said in his letter that the trustees were welcome to review the documents in the law offices of Saul Ewing in Philadelphia. The trustees said this is “simply not feasible” due to the volume of documents in question, numbered at “millions of pages.” They also “expect that you will not withhold any documents from us,” and if documents are not turned over, they will receive a record of what is being held back and why.

“This is not an issue of privilege,” Lubrano told the Centre Daily Times. Some documents from Pepper Hamilton, the law firm that merged with Freeh’s in 2012 after the release of the report, have been withheld from the Paterno family’s lawsuit against the NCAA, President Mark Emmert, former executive committee chairman Ed Ray and Penn State due to attorney-client privilege.

But Lubrano said that is not the question with these documents; it is one of protection.

In a Dec. 19 opinion piece, Penn State President Eric Barron, who said in November that he would undertake his own review of the Freeh report, stressed the confidentiality of the information shared by employees and others, saying that those who were interviewed needed to be protected from retaliation.

“The best we can tell, not everyone was told there would be confidentiality,” he said.

Others interviewed in the Freeh investigation have said they want to have someone look at their comments and see if they match up with what they told investigators, Lubrano said, because they were told they could not take notes themselves or check investigators’ notes for accuracy.

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