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. David from San Diego

    This isn't complicated. PSU intentionally looked the other way to maintain PR of Football program. They got caught. This is about values. PSU valued Paterno and Football $$ more than integrity. The Paterno Family and Spanier just look worse by pretending they didn't know about Sandusky and claiming it was someone else's fault. JoPa could have been a real leader, but he chose instead to be a pass the buck coward. The overall intention of PSU leadership is clear and sad.

    July 24, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  2. jorge washinsen

    It seems with all of the penalties they effect everyone who has played their best and did their best in the school.No one is going to be stupid enough to think all of these students in the past knew about this. It seems the NCAA is protecting its own rear end and the money generated in the sports program more than anything.

    July 24, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  3. HB

    He said no one informed him. Go to the police for what then? Drop off some donuts?

    July 24, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • yo mama

      Good one man !

      July 24, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Josh

    No one can be sure what the former Penn State president was told, and how "watered down" the report became by the time it reached him.

    From what we learned, no one was man-enough to actually say "Sandusky was seen f'ing a boy in the showers".

    July 24, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Chadtastic

    Lip service to cover his ___. I don't believe him for a bloody moment that he was systematically ra ped by anyone...bye bye Spanier!!

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

      People like this will continue to abuse the abused. This is why people are reluctant to admit they've been abused.

      July 24, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Tommy Tuttle

    I agree with most of the sanctions against 'Penn State', However vacating all the victories from 1998 thru 2011 is wrong. True, Joe Paterno was the coach but the (KIDS) won these games, not 'Paterno', so why penalize them.
    I believe 'Joe' knew more than he offically told but then again, when Coach Paterno brought this up to his superiors
    in Graham Spanier (University President) and Tim Curley (Athletic Director) and others, why did not one of them contact
    the police to report these allegations against 'Sandusk'. After Sandusky retired, why was he allowed on campus.I believe in due time (within 5 – 10 years) if not sooner, this
    University will closed its doors and what a shame ONE MAN can do to a great school.
    T.Tuttle / Pennsylvania resident

    July 24, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lazlo

      Sorry, but it's a two-way street. The university was willing for the players, students, and everyone else on campus (and some off) to benefit from the good decisions these men made. Money, fame, and fun, it was all good times, right?

      Now, it comes to light that they also made bad decisions which are going to cause the players, students, and others on campus (and off) to suffer. So be it.

      Somehow, along the way, this nation became a society that wants all the benefits, but none of the costs. Sure, go ahead, do risky and stupid things, someone will bail you out if you go too far. Well, it doesn't work that way.

      Everyone benefited from the upside of the university's decision to hire these men and their decisions to lead the culture in the way they did. Now everyone's going to suffer from the downside of hiring those men and their decisions to lead the culture in the way they did.

      That's how it works, and that's how it should work.

      And by the way, in response to the article, it is not "unfathomable" that Spanier would have aided a cover-up, and people do "illogical" things every day of the week.

      July 24, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  7. canoncritic

    Spanier sounds genuine and his comments make perfect sense. But if he's right about this, then Freeh's entire report is suspect, including its accusations of a Paterno coverup. At the very least, we should withhold judgment (too late for Penn State) until Paterno's family has a chance to show their evidence and tell their side of the story. Freeh's report is hardly exhaustive (despite how the pundits have characterized it). If our jurisprudence is truly democratic, then we should give all parties a chance to put their evidence on the table. Whilst this may not get Paterno/ off the hook, it may well provide a kind of tempered balance that the current discussion lacks.

    July 24, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  8. jorge washinsen

    No one notices how much power CNN or the government has over posts here until you go back and try to find one that mentions the failures of this present government.

    July 24, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      That may be because the Obama administration has absolutely nothing to do with Penn State; find the appropriate thread pertaining to it and post away.

      July 24, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  9. jorge washinsen

    Everyone that has gone to Penn State, that maybe played ball and earned degrees are not guilty of child molestation. it cost them to go there and this mess should not reflect on all of them just because of a few nuts with a screw loose. Their college is what they made of it ,not criminals who might have been protected by a few top brass.

    July 24, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  10. bettys

    I believe him. I dont believe the acusations were delivered that high up.

    July 24, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  11. jorge washinsen

    Does it seem strange when the rope tightens that more people say they were abused as a child?

    July 24, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  12. ~~~

    shake down the governor and their legal team.

    July 24, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  13. J-Sandusk

    where's all my baby boys at!? Huh!? WHAT!?

    July 24, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ann

    Does anybody else think it's waaayyy beyond time for Spanier to shut up?!

    July 24, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Todd

    What if McQuery was lying about telling the details to Curley and Schultz? That changes the whole complexion of the event. I need to re-read the Freeh report and see if there is direct evidence (not just McQuery's testimony) that Curley and Schultz knew the specific details of the abuse.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
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