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. Pakistan Directory

    Checkout this Pakistan Directory

    July 24, 2012 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  2. f1fan61

    sick people.

    July 24, 2012 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
  3. jroll1

    sorry sir....we don't want to hear it now!

    July 24, 2012 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • gtr2011

      jroll1 – Why? Does it interfere with your rush to judgement?

      July 24, 2012 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  4. Jackie22

    Even if Spanier is not a liar and didn't know what was going on, it was his responsibility to find out (I understand that's a somewhat ifficult task given the size of the university). I've always thought that one of the reasons managers garner such high pay is the risk they assume by being responsible for so many people.

    July 24, 2012 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Brent

      According to his letter to The PSU Board of Trustees HE DID INVESTIGATE THIS and McQuery told him, Curley and Schultz that is was 'just horsing around and he didn't see what was happening because he was around the corner and couldn't see'.

      July 24, 2012 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  5. magnus

    Everyone is covering their tracks now. damage control and perceptions will be spewing out of Unhappy Valley.

    July 24, 2012 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  6. Joel

    I just don't see whe Penn State has to be punished so bad when there are all kinds of bad things going on in the world. Coach Paterno and Coach Sandusky have done a great deal to help the community. Think of all the lives they influenced in a positive manner. Just because our coach made a few mistakes, why should their entire careers be ruined? Why drag them through the mud and ruin their good names? We need to be celebrating their legacy of achievements and not dwell on a few transgressions.

    July 24, 2012 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Stupac


      July 24, 2012 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Michay

      I agree with you 100 percent Dave. Everyone is just wanting to dwell on the negative. Then they resort to name calling like that Stupac troll or Banasy.

      July 24, 2012 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
    • infonomics

      People are using Penn State to settle a score for their own personal grievances.

      July 24, 2012 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      'A few transgressions" would probably not feel that Sandusky's hideous behavior was "just a few transgressions" it you or your children had been victims of his horrible acts. Your coaches gave up their "good names" when they participated in child abuse by remaining silent to what they knew. The trouble with the punishment is that it is not enough. The entire football program should be shut down as an example to all other school related sports programs at all levels.

      July 24, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Isaac

      You don't quite get it, Joel. They no longer HAVE good names. Sandusky especially. The fact that you even attempt to defend him is disgusting beyond belief.

      July 24, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      You must be kidding. Jerry Sandusky did a lot of good things and he should be remembered for that. He is a monster and anything "good" he did, was to eventually get into some poor child's pants!

      July 24, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Elena

      Ask the victims. I don't think they're included in your glowing report of those people whose lives were affected for the good, are they? You think the victims shouldn't count because they did so much "good". Hardly. What an assinine thing to say.

      July 24, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • NC Mom

      Are you kidding? A few transgressions?! PLEASE. It was a corrupt culture and they led it. The highest level leadership is responsible for ethics and the culture – Paterno, Spanier and others are the ones responsible. They put their school's name and football ahead of ehtics and they are APPROPRIATELY paying the price.

      July 24, 2012 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Chadtastic

      Michay, you can't possibly see that what they did as a POSITIVE, do you???? Derp de derp.

      July 24, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  7. A. A.

    Why do people who don't accept responsibility accept positions such as President. Even his latest rant is contradictory when he states Baldwin is at fault. She reports to him and it is his resposibility to ask the questions and to demand answers. As Freeh stated he failed in his leadership. What other conclusion could you draw from the facts reported to date. Just what did Spanier think the issue was with Sandusky? Conclusion, Graham Spanier was never cut out to be a leader in my opinion.

    July 24, 2012 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Brent

      WRONG – The General Counsel DOES NOT report to The University President – they report to NO ONE. They are to be independant of the university and provide ONLY counsel on legal matters.

      July 24, 2012 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
    • A. A.

      Brent you are wrong I believe. As counsel they owe a Fiduciary Duty to their employer. In layman's terms The General Counsel was there to support the University Administration and provide as you stated timely advice and opinion. Correct me if I'm wrong but this is my understanding of a Client / Lawyer relationship.

      July 24, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  8. TomR

    He is telling the truth. Grew up in South Africa to an abusive father. Our families are close and he told this to us in confidence about 10 years ago. It was a very painful time and he never talked about it. Again, this is the truth.

    July 24, 2012 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      so what, what difference does it make? Am I supposed to feel sympathy – that makes his lies even worse. And he did lie.

      July 24, 2012 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Chadtastic

      What, his dad ra ped him? The term abuse should be clarified. molestation is a completely dif animal that hitting.

      July 24, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Captain Obvious

    This just sounds desperate. Like someone saying they have black friends after they're accused of racism. Even if it's true that he was abused, that doesn't make it any less likely that he covered up the Sandusky scandal.

    July 24, 2012 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  10. Paul

    Liar, liar, pants on fire. Spanier chose the millions in cash the university would have lost if sandusky was arrested back in 1998 or 2001, over the welfare of children who were being abused at that time. it's that simple, it's not complicated. Sometimes people as egotistical as Spanier deny that they lied, even in their own heads. In other words, they believe their own b.s.

    July 24, 2012 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
    • NC Mom


      July 24, 2012 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  11. msuwebmanager


    July 24, 2012 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  12. Michay

    Why don't you all just leave Penn State alone. It is none of your business.

    July 24, 2012 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  13. g

    I will never understand why these guys thought they would lose millions in 01 if the reported this crime, 1998 they did report it and it went to the DA's office, so it seems logical to do that again in 01, the story would be they did the Right thing, now just look like a bunch of criminals....makes no sense hope they all pay.

    July 24, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  14. thwack

    Even now, Spanier refuses to ackowledge any of this happened on his watch, denying any awareness despite a lengthy public record. His own writing implicated him in the matter when he chose to withhold reporting of alleged incidents to the dept of welfare back when this first began. Spanier now is trying to deflect by saying he never remembers receiving/writing such incriminating e-mails and that he himself was even an abuse victim once upon a time. How does Spanier recall being whipped as a child but he can't even remember his failure of responsibility to the victims, as he was writing numerous damage control e-mails amongst personal and legal counsel to try and deflect any attention whatsoever "the incident" and "the subject"? Selective memory loss? Spanier had written of the grave consequences of any recurrence, then failed to enforce the campus ban on Sandusky. Since he didn't report it, and he didn't act on it, and now he forgets it ever happened, that is a complete and utter failure of a president!

    July 24, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  15. Paul

    What I keep wondering is why Spanier and a few others haven't had any charges filed against them? It seems from the Freeh report that there is evidence that a coverup occurred, so why is nothing happening about that? I thought it was illegal to conceal a crime, and they certainly took steps to do so.

    July 24, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
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