CNN sends letter to Penn State to release Sandusky files
Former Penn State football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky is charged with sexually abusing boys.
November 21st, 2011
07:30 PM ET

CNN sends letter to Penn State to release Sandusky files

CNN on Monday, after prior public record requests, sent a letter to Penn State President Rodney Erickson appealing to his promise of transparency and the university’s ethical duty to release the records relating to the Jerry Sandusky investigation due to the overwhelming public interest in the case and public policy questions raised by the university’s and investigators’ handling of the allegations.

Below is the letter to Erickson:

I am writing on behalf of Cable News Network, Inc. (“CNN”) as the head of newsgathering operations for the entire northeastern United States, including Pennsylvania.

Soon after you were named interim president in the aftermath of the announcement of the sexual abuse charges against Jerry Sandusky and related perjury charges against other Penn State officials, you made this promise to the Penn State community: “Penn State is committed to transparency to the fullest extent possible given the ongoing investigations.” We implore you to fulfill your promise.

As you know, CNN and several other news organizations have filed Right to Know Requests with the university and University Police relating to the 1998 investigation of Sandusky. Those requests have been perfunctorily denied by the University’s General Counsel’s Office which has relied on the argument that the university is not a “commonwealth agency” as defined by the law and thus immune from public disclosure except as it relates to information contained on IRS 990 reports. It is our understanding that this exemption is unusual when compared with other, similar state universities. Given the gravity of the allegations and the public interest in this important matter, we would ask that you make the records relating to the Sandusky case available to the public to honor your commitment to transparency, instead of avoiding this obligation by invoking this atypical exception to open records laws.

The public interest in this case is overwhelming. The allegations have raised serious questions about how state employees and state officials – including those who are supposed to enforce the law – have responded to allegations of sexual abuse of minors and larger public policy questions about the adequacy of child protection laws, which should be debated in the public and in legislative chambers across the United States and around the world. The public needs complete and accurate information.

We believe Penn State, as a nationally known university and the flagship of Pennsylvania's university system, has an ethical duty to the public to release these records, rather than rely on this peculiar exception provided by the state legislature.

We await your response.


Darius Walker

Filed under: Crime • Sports • U.S.
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    "CNN needs to stay out" has an interesting concept.
    I am trying to reconcile the image of a university locker room with that of my bedroom.

    November 22, 2011 at 2:49 am | Report abuse |
    • SteverB

      Truly! I'm also considering what the original comment says about the author. This case is basically about raping children, isn't it?

      November 22, 2011 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
  2. larck

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    November 22, 2011 at 2:56 am | Report abuse |
  3. bigwilliestyles

    This thing stinks. Too bad they couldn't get old J. Edgar Hoooker to take care of this in his own crooked as cooked spaghetti way.

    November 22, 2011 at 5:35 am | Report abuse |
  4. banasy©

    @Jeff Frank:
    Is your wife's name Donna?
    What a fabulous name! 😉

    November 22, 2011 at 7:22 am | Report abuse |
  5. CNN's letter to Penn State (topic)

    It's none of the governments business what Sandusky likes to do in his bedroom with other males, so it's none of your business either. Now, if one of those males happens to be underaged, it's a simple case of statutory raype and easily prosecuted by the authorities. So there's no need for CNN to stick their noses in official police matters, unless the police or court's aren't doing their jobs

    November 22, 2011 at 8:05 am | Report abuse |
    • SteverB

      So much wrong in your comment, I don't even know where to start.

      November 22, 2011 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
  6. Dear Mr. Sandusky

    How come it's only males that you butt hump at school?

    November 22, 2011 at 8:19 am | Report abuse |
  7. banasy©

    I don't particulary care if Sandusky is charged with statuaory raape or child molestation or what ever phrase one wants to use; whatever gets him the longest sentence is the one he should be charged with.

    November 22, 2011 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  8. **cosmicvox *

    @"cnn's letter", Child Abuse is EVERYBODIES Business you little creep!!

    November 22, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  9. klownboy


    November 22, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  10. bobcat ( in a hat )

    Don't they have a different picture of this dued they could use ? Geez he creepy looking/

    November 22, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  11. CyVaquero

    Any lawyers on here that could chime in on what, if any, laws might govern the police (University Police are a municipal police department) in regard to releasing investigations records? What if charges were never brought? What if that investigation is part of an ongoing one in a State Grand Jury indictment? I'm genuine curious what the ramifications are and what right the public has to know.

    November 22, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • CyVaquero

      Ok some quick Googling gave me a partial answer. According to Criminal Investigation Records are exempt from PA's Open Records Law aside from the police blotter and traffic reports.

      The reason I asked is that it seems to me that release of such records could be deemed to be libelous (in the event of a suspect not being charged or prosecuted) or could be very damaging to either the prosecution or the defense case.

      November 22, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
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