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. Portland tony

    Too much fodder in the Freeh report. Needs a second look.

    July 24, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Will

      yeah, because Freeh doesnt have experience investigating things as former head of the FBI. Give me a break .

      July 24, 2012 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  2. Earthquake Ethel I not believe him? I too was abused by my father and multiple stepfathers (thanks mom) and for him to NOW say something is just hollow and desperate. As a survivor of abuse, I take great offense to someone claiming abuse as a defense. If, for some far-fetched reason this is true, then this makes Graham Spanier even a BIGGER monster for he should of known better when the allegations were made and STOPPED Sandusky then. Spanier either needs to put on his big boy pants and own up to his massive lack of responsibility in protecting these young boys or shut up and let justice takes it course. I, for one, do not want to hear anything from him except a true confession of his role in the cover up.

    July 24, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
    • founders1791

      That's right ....attack the victim? Why should anyone believe 'your' story either? HYPOCRITE

      July 24, 2012 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Wasntmee


      July 24, 2012 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • john

      God bless.

      July 24, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kalamity Karen

      I have read the report issued by Louis Freeh. I have viewed the emails and handwritten notes back and forth between Spanier and others. His comments in this report directly controvert his own emails and notes. That...makes his statements now...lies.

      July 24, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  3. founders1791

    Earthquake Ethel,

    That's right ....attack the victim? Why should anyone believe 'your' story either? HYPOCRITE

    July 24, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Earthquake Ethel

      Hmm, when all one can do is resort to name calling, it negates one's argument. You are baseless and so is your argument.

      July 24, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Earthquake Ethel

      What – do you not know how to reply only once? Still learning the "internet" are you? You may very well be one of my "wonderful" stepfathers...sure sounds like it...

      July 24, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  4. Spongebob

    Hindsight is always 20:20.
    Nobody really knows for a fact if he would or not take action on allegations.

    July 24, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  5. Frank

    People of the United States of America,
    This man must think we are all morons out here,talk about trying to cover your tracks!

    July 24, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • NCAA hurt all the remaining innocents

      And you should listed to Frank becasue he has absolutely zero first hand knowledge about any of this -– what a pathetic joke

      July 24, 2012 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  6. A. A.

    Spanier was Captain of the ship. FACT!

    July 24, 2012 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
    • NCAA hurt all the remaining innocents

      So is President Obama and he has not taken responsibility for anything

      July 24, 2012 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  7. NCAA hurt all the remaining innocents

    It will sure be interesting to see how this all plays out

    Wouldnlt it be a shocker if the Freeh report is massively flawed - and the NCAA has tons of egg on face

    July 24, 2012 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Jb

      Not going to happen

      July 24, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • sja

      You need to explain to me, how Obama gets brought into this. What is he to take responsibility for. George Bush being the biggest loser, entering a war on lies, giving tax breaks to the wealthy or how about the oil companies. Stick to the subject, keep your one sided politics out of this

      July 24, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • yo mama

      That's about as likely as you becoming rich or important .

      July 24, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  8. SuperDave

    And the coverups and denials continue! I see at least he was smart enough to choose dead people, who as we know tell no tales.

    July 24, 2012 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • NCAA hurt all the remaining innocents

      Actually the NCAA chose a dead person too in Joe Paterno - so did Freeh - Now due process for dead people

      July 24, 2012 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  9. yup!

    Does anyone really believe this guy? He's lucky he's not in jail.

    July 24, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  10. peter

    What if a Penn State University professor from the engineering department committed the same acts as Sandusky and a cover up similar to what is alleged to have occurred with the Sandusky matter happened? Would the Penn State engineering program lose accreditation? How about vacating all degrees granted since 1998? Would the entire academic program be fined sixty million dollars? Just wondering.

    July 24, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • yup!

      You're elevating a sport to the level of an academic field? And if that was the case, the whole department may suffer a similar fate.

      July 24, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • peter


      Your point on the elevation of football is well taken. Still, I doubt the regulators in charge of overseeing the academics of the school would do much outside of punishing those responsible for the crimes and cover up. I think the publicity of the matter and the punishment meted out by the NCAA is precisely because this was a prominent football program.

      July 24, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Sarah

    His father made him eat his carrots when he didn't want to – "I too was abused"

    July 24, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ralph M

    He is a poor liar and needs to go to prison. He will know the meaning of abuse then and experience it first hand.

    July 24, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Bazoing

    Being abused as a child does not make you a better person. This article just shows one who stayed twisted. That is not a surprising outcome of abuse.

    July 24, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  14. gary gilchrist

    Now that Mr. Freeh's investigation has pinpointed more details of the people involved in the cover up, Mr. Spanier is feeling the heat and is looking for any kind of sympathy. It's the old clique, "It was somebody else's fault and not mine". Poor me!

    July 24, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Sammy

    Read the Report. Spanier was no innocent. The e-maild hang him.

    July 24, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
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