Former Penn State president: I was abused as kid, wouldn't ignore Sandusky allegations
Graham Spanier was fired from his position as president of Penn State in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
July 24th, 2012
10:00 AM ET

Former Penn State president: I was abused as kid, wouldn't ignore Sandusky allegations

Former Penn State President Graham Spanier said he would never have ignored accusations of child sex abuse on campus because, among other things, he "personally experienced massive and persistent abuse as a child," according to a letter he sent to the school's board of trustees.

"It is unfathomable and illogical to think that a respected family sociologist and family therapist, someone who personally experienced massive and persistent abuse as a child, someone who devoted a significant portion of his career to the welfare of children and youth... would have knowingly turned a blind eye to any report of child abuse or predatory sexual acts directed at children," Spanier said in the letter - which was dated Sunday and obtained by CNN Tuesday.

While Spanier has not been criminally charged in the case, an investigation by ex-FBI chief Louis Freeh concluded that he helped university officials conceal allegations of sexual abuse against the former assistant football coach.

Spanier disputes these findings in his letter, saying "at no time during my presidency did anyone ever report to me that Jerry Sandusky was observed abusing a child or youth or engaged in a sexual act with a child or youth."

Sandusky was convicted in June of sexually abusing young boys over a 15-year period.

More on the Penn State scandal:

Paterno loyalists: Sanctions excessive

Ex-Penn State pres: I was abused

History books, Paterno's legacy altered?

Penalties won't be school's final payout

Opinion: Will players stick around?

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Filed under: Jerry Sandusky • Penn State
soundoff (220 Responses)
  1. Rfh

    If he was in fact a victim, those who choose to just dismiss that are showing the exact indifference they say is indefensible. Who are you to say that it did not happen? If he wants to go public now, so be it. I do think since this story broke Spanier has not exactly handled it well.

    July 24, 2012 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
  2. dirtyh

    what a load of dung.kind of late bringing this up. he just wants to make sure he gets his pension. oh he will. a nice hot place to roast.

    July 24, 2012 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Chet

      He is not just bringing this up now. This has been common knowledge for decades. You may be just learning about it now, but he has been outspoken about this for years.

      July 24, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  3. WS

    Ahh, the Victim Card. This guy has learned well from the liberals....

    July 24, 2012 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
    • pauleky

      Yeah, WS, because it's liberals that scream that your Bibles are being taken away, that we need to "take our country back" from the black man in the White House, that gays are taking over the country. Please – the GOP has made an art form of playing the victim and using it to their political advantage. I actually laughed out loud at your comment.

      July 24, 2012 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Shay

      Pauleky: The liberals were too busy running "Occupy" protests and crying about conservatives to pay attention to anything else.

      July 24, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Roto

    Sanctions justified. Sometimes you have to destroy something to rebuild it slowly over time. This set of transgressions almost warrants the death penalty itself to the perpetrator.

    July 24, 2012 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
    • ForGoodOfAll

      I agree Roto!

      July 24, 2012 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Shawnee

      100% agree with ROTO!

      July 24, 2012 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  5. Philip

    Mosy are well aware of our nationwide struggles with depression. (not economic depression...children and adults who suffer from chronic depression)
    Many mind-altering pharmaceuticals have been designed and prescribed to deal with this nationwide epidemic. In fact, anti-depressants are among the most widely prescribed drugs...ever.
    Chronic depression is a symptom of child negelct and abuse. Children who were se xually, mentally, physically and emotionally abused ALL suffer from and are diganosed with chronic depression.
    The fact that so many Doctors prescribe so many antidepressants shows just how many millions of US WERE ABUSED AS CHILDREN.
    Begging the question how many millions of US have been keeping our little family secret a secret from the police.

    July 24, 2012 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Chadtastic

      Have you confronted your abuser yet? That's part of the process, you know.

      July 24, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  6. barbara

    His statement that he was abused is not credible.... interesting that he is coming out with this now. The Freed report clearly implicated his complicity in not report Sandusky.

    July 24, 2012 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  7. ForGoodOfAll

    So sad that irresponsible & greedy people like these (Spanier, Curley, Paterno, etc.) were in charge at PSU. I doubt they would have had such powerful careers at other universities.

    July 24, 2012 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
  8. Bloom


    July 24, 2012 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
  9. James

    "illogical"? who cares whether it was illogical or not. that doesn't stop people from acting in all sorts of manner - logical and illogical. if determining if something was illogical did stop that action, the world would be a lot less sane. unfortunately, once you figure out that something is illogical, you have to ACT to correct it. something that you didn't do.

    July 24, 2012 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  10. Snope

    It is time for everyone to stop picking on Penn State. The poor coaches have had their lives ruined. The school is now considered a laughing stock. Why ruin and destroy so much for the transgression of just one? Is this the Salem With Trials? Look at all the people Coach Sandusky and Joe Pa helped. Look at all the good things they did. Please stop focusing on the negative.

    July 24, 2012 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
    • KME

      The coaches lives are ruined???? Give me a break. WHAT ABOUT THE VICTIMS LIVES?!

      July 24, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  11. James

    oops... *the world would be a lot MORE sane*

    July 24, 2012 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  12. James

    Snope... get a grip. They've ruined as many lives as they've helped. And in far worse ways.

    July 24, 2012 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  13. Fiona

    Oh, please. Not buying it. He's just trying to save himself, using any tactic no matter how offensive.

    July 24, 2012 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
  14. Nicole

    "The only downside for us is if the message isn't "heard" and acted upon, and we then become vulnerable for not having reported it." -Graham Spaniard, e-mail quoted in the Freeh Report.

    Gee, I wonder what he was talking about if he had no knowledge of these allegations.

    July 24, 2012 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
  15. Julie

    Anyone who works with adults who were abused as children knows that there is a dynamic that some people with past abuse "overlook" abuse occurring with others. Adults who were abused tend to minimize the issue and have all sorts of defense mechanisms built up over this. He is not credible when he comes out with this now.

    July 24, 2012 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
    • CNNIsIdiotic

      OMG that is ridiculous psychobabble.

      July 24, 2012 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Casey

      ...and you know this because it fits your personal view? or due to some research that statistically substantiates your theory?

      I have mixed feeling on the whole thing. These people who are being blamed have NO LEGAL AUTHORITY! While I feel for the victims, firing Sandusky would not have stopped the abuse. A criminal trial is what stops the abuse. The only solid witness to the allegations was McQuery and the abused kids.
      There were many authority figures who knew about it but did not feel that they had a case at the time to meet the criminal court standards of "beyond a reasonable doubt". Today, the victims can articulate the events which is probably more than they could have done 10 plus years ago.

      July 24, 2012 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
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