Jerry Sandusky Scandal

Former Penn State President Graham Spanier kept security clearance after review in light of Sandusky case

Attorneys for Graham Spanier criticized the Freeh report for what they say are inaccuracies and for ignoring the fact that the former Penn State president received high-level federal security clearance.

In a statement issued Monday, attorneys Elizabeth Ainslie and Peter Vaira note that Spanier has held a job with the federal government that required “top secret security clearance.” That clearance underwent a re-review by federal investigators after the Jerry Sandusky scandal came to light in November.

The four-month investigation included interviews with “many of the same individuals the Freeh Group interviewed and other relevant individuals Freeh did not interview. At the conclusion of the investigation the government reaffirmed Dr. Spanier’s clearance,” Ainslie and Vaira said.

The Louis Freeh report didn’t include that information and isn’t “an independent judicial evaluation,” Spanier’s attorneys said.

The Freeh report, released Thursday, found that Spanier was part of an effort to cover up Sandusky’s child sexual abuse. Spanier disputes that.

His attorneys said the reports contained “numerous inaccuracies and reached conclusions that are not supported by the data.” And, they said, Freeh “offered up Dr. Spanier and others to those insisting upon a finding of culpability at the highest level of the university.”

“Dr. Spanier looks forward to the opportunity in the future to set the record straight and as we have previously said, all of our thoughts and prayers remain with the young people who are at the center of this terrible ordeal,” the statement concludes.

In other related developments Monday:

— President Rodney Erickson sent a message to students, faculty and staff regarding the Freeh report.

“Although we cannot undo history, we can become agents for change and reaffirm our core values of honesty, integrity and justice,” Erickson said. “I promise you, we will learn from our past and take the steps that will allow us to emerge and grow into a stronger, better university.”

Erickson said there will be more decisions to come, including ones that “involve individuals and practices deeply woven into the fabric of our community.”

“The world is watching and they are anxious for expedient responses,” he said. “I would ask that your response to this public scrutiny be to continue your excellent work in the classroom, the lab, the office or wherever you are making your mark in this world and on behalf of Penn State. It is through your diligence and dedication that the world will again view Penn State as a force for advancement and good.”

— Sandusky no longer has the perks that were part of his retirement package. 

Details of his generous retirement deal were part of the Freeh report. His bonuses included a lifetime of four free football season tickets; two season tickets for men’s and women’s basketball; access to athletic facilities; and an office in the East Area locker room for at least 10 years.

University spokesman David La Torre said Penn State revoked those benefits in November, when Sandusky was charged.

— A Connecticut school district is painting over the picture of Joe Paterno that’s part of a mural on a middle school wall.

The Connecticut Post reported that the interim superintendent decided to paint over the Paterno mural at the Great Oak Middle School. The mural was part of the school’s “wall of heroes.”

“We decided to wait until all the facts were out and the report was complete before we made a decision,” Board of Education Chairwoman Paula Guillet told the Connecticut Post.

— The Boston Red Sox have asked adviser and pioneering baseball statistician Bill James to stop commenting on the Penn State case.

James has defended Paterno and said in a radio interview that men showering with young boys was “quite common in America 40 years ago.”

In a statement, the club said James’ views do not represent those of the Red Sox.

Anne Danahy can be reached at 231-4648. Follow her on Twitter @AnneDanahy