Story Summary

Penn State Freeh Report

The independent report by Louis Freeh and his law firm, Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan, LLP, into the facts and circumstances of the actions of The Pennsylvania State University surrounding the child abuse committed by a former employee, Gerald A. Sandusky.

To read the report, click here.

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Lawyers for former Penn State President Graham Spanier and Louis Freeh were in court Wednesday for a hearing over the defamation lawsuit Spanier is filing in response to the Freeh report.

The report on the Sandusky scandal at Penn State was released in the summer of 2012.

The next summer, Spanier initiated his lawsuit against Freeh but argued the case should not move forward until the criminal case has been resolved. Spanier as well as Tim Curley and Gary Schultz face criminal charges for their role in allegedly covering up Jerry Sandusky’s crimes.

A Centre County judge agreed with Spanier earlier this year to keep the defamation case on hold. However, lawyers for Freeh appealed that decision to the Pa. Superior Court, saying that Spanier should have to file a complaint detailing his allegations against Freeh.

“We are all caught up in something that is fairly unprecedented. And, the judges are doing the very best they can to cope with it,” said Elizabeth Ainslie, attorney for Spanier. Though Spanier attended Wednesday’s hearing, he declined to comment.

Ainslie has argued moving forward with the defamation case could incriminate Dr. Spanier in his criminal case. A Dauphin County judge is weighing a motion to have the charges against Spanier, Curley and Schultz dismissed. It’s unclear when, or if, the three will be tried.

“Obviously, I am hoping that the entire matter will be dismissed, and that Dr. Spanier will be vindicated and can then go forward with his defamation case against Mr. Freeh,” said Ainslie.

During the hearing, Michael Kichline, attorney for Freeh, said, “Filing the complaint will not prejudice Dr. Spanier.” He went on to say he does not believe that will expose Spanier to liability, nor will it jeopardize witnesses.

Kichline also said the case could end up in federal court. Following the hearing he said, “I think what I’ll say at this point is our arguments speak for themselves. And, beyond that I’m not going to comment further.”

Penn State Trustee Anthony Lubrano attended the hearing. Afterward he called it “interesting.” When asked to elaborate, he said, “It’s rather ironic that Judge Freeh’s arguing that his reputation is being harmed as a result of a stay.”

The three judges on the Superior Court panel did not indicate when they would issue an opinion.

A Pennsylvania Appellate court will hear arguments related to the former Penn State President’s lawsuit against a former FBI director.  Graham Spanier is suing Louis Freeh for defamation.  In the latest court session surrounding the scandal, a Superior Court panal will listen to arguments between Spanier and Freeh.

Freeh is appealing to overturn a Centre County Court ruling that put on hold Spanier’s defamation lawsuit against Freeh, until the case involving criminal charges against Spanier is resolved.

Spanier and PSU administrators Tim Curley and Gary Schultz are charged with multiple counts, including perjury.  Freeh led Penn State’s investigation of the case.

Freeh concluded Spanier, Curly and Schultz were part of a conspiracy to conceal abuse allegations against Sandusky.

FOX 43 will be covering the hearing in Philadelphia.


Local News

Paterno family seeks truth from NCAA and PSU

A judge in Centre County listened to arguments about whether Penn State University can block a subpoena that Joe Paterno’s family wants to serve.  The Paterno estate is requesting millions of documents from the Louis Freeh Law Firm.

The estate wants to know how Penn State University handled the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal and the decision to fire Paterno.  Lawyers for the Paterno family want the records as part of their lawsuit to get the sanctions against Penn State overturned.  Lawyers for the NCAA say they caused no harm.  However Paterno estate attorneys argued back, saying the NCAA was in communication with the Freeh team before the report was released.

So Paterno estate attorneys say they have a right to challenge the consent decree.  They want to know the reasons for the accusations and decision they’ve made.

Paterno family spokesman, Dan McGinn says he will wait to hear the truth.  He says, “We respect the court , these things take time. Joe Paterno cautioned that, people want to rush and that’s what made this case unfortunate and why so many people are upset because we still don’t know the truth.”

Local News

Lawsuit on Hold

A judge has granted former Penn State President Graham Spanier’s request to put on hold his defamation civil lawsuit against former FBI director, Louis Freeh.  The judge issued the stay, citing the criminal charges that Spanier faces for an alleged cover-up of complaints about Jerry Sandusky.  If Spanier were to testify in his civil case, his testimony could be used against him in the criminal case.  Freeh was in charge of a report on the Sandusky matter for Penn State that was highly critical of Spanier, former head coach Joe Paterno and former administrators Tim Curley and Gary Schultz.

Local News

NCAA tries to get Paterno lawsuit tossed out

Lawyers for the NCAA tried to get a judge in Centre County to toss out a lawsuit aimed at overturning the unprecedented sanctions against Penn State University and its football program.

Members of the late coach Joe Paterno’s family, some Penn State trustees, faculty, former players and coaches brought the lawsuit earlier this year.

Gov. Tom Corbett tried to fight the sanctions in federal court. A judge dismissed his case.

The sanctions include a $60 million fine, reduced scholarships and vacating more than 100 wins while Joe Paterno was head coach.

Attorneys for the NCAA argue the plaintiffs have no standing to bring the case, saying they can’t prove the sanctions harmed them. Further, they argue the plaintiffs are misinterpreting the association’s rules and bylaws.

Lawyers for the Paternos and other plaintiffs say the NCAA should not have relied on the Freeh report in making its decision about what sanctions to impose.

PSU President Rodney Erickson signed a consent decree with the NCAA in an effort to avoid the so-called “death penalty” for the school’s football program.

After more than three hours of oral arguments Tuesday, the judge did not make a decision about whether the case will move forward. He did not indicate when he would issue his opinion.

Local News

Paterno and NCAA Hearing Start

Local News

Penn State Freshmen at York’s campus feel a stronger sense of Nittany Lion spirit in light of the NCAA’s decision to reduce penalties against the University.

Freshman, John Frederick, Jr. says, “It’s definitely a pride booster, that they’re allowed to do that now, makes it better.”

Frederick, of Dallastown, says the sanction rollback is reassuring.

“Allowing them to increase their scholarships is a good thing for not only students, but also for the community in general because that means more kids that might not have the opportunity to go to college, can now go to college because they can receive a football scholarship.”

Freshman, Jason Schott, says “The NCAA realizes it did wrong.  I feel like they’re trying to recoup with what they did and make it right again.”

In addition to scholarship, Penn State York basketball player, Zach Harlem, says the athletic department’s $60 million fine should also be lifted.

In a press release, the NCAA says the team’s bowl ban could be reduced depending on the college’s continued progress.

We’re hearing from many people in the Penn State community who are relieved and the proudest they’ve been in the two years of scandal.

Penn State head football coach, Bill O’Brien says “It’s a fanastic conference, and it’s good to be getting back to a place where we’ll be on an even plaing field with the scholarship numbers.”

O’Brien won’t address specifics on how he plans to attack the new scholarship limits because he says he hasn’t had enough time to digest the news.

Governor Corbett says the news shows the NCAA is reacting to the important changes the University has undertaken.

But Penn State Trustee, Anthony Lubrano, says he’s a little disappointed because the decision is not enough.

Lubrano says, “I think for many of the Penn State community, the NCAA needs to go further.  They need to announce to the world that they overstepped their authoirty.  When they imposed their sanctions, it was clearly a criminal matter.”

Lubrano says he supports the ability for students to be a part of a school it once was.

“I’m pleased for the student athletes.  Pleased that other young men will get a world class education at a world class institution,” says Lubrano.

In addition, Lubrano filed a lawsuit along with the Paterno family, seeking to have the NCAA’s Sandusky related sanctions lifted.  He’s expected back in court in late October.

Penn State Board of Trustee Member Anthony Lubrano Talks About NCAA Punishment Reversal