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. cleareye1

    It is difficult to believe that he had knowledge of Sandusky's behavior. It just wouldn't make much sense to protect the football program at the expense of the university. More needs to be known so a fair judgement can be made.

    July 24, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Name*y

    Paterno walk around that campus as if he were some type of God,the student & falcuty gave him that respect so at anytime paterno wanted to change the landscape of the school he could have instead he chose to protect his legacy!!!(here's your legacy) I say the hell with Joe Paterno &his codefendants ,what about the confuse victims isn't this about them.

    July 24, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  3. a pennsylvanian

    since when is "horsing around" an adult male showering naked with a young boy alone on a friday night in an empty building? no one, mcquery, spanner, curley, schultz, or paterno, tried to identify who this young man was when this incident happened in 2001! no one cared about this child? get your heads out of the sand! and spanier is a phd in counseling? a victim of abuse would have been much more thorough in his own accountability or he has something to hide.

    July 24, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Philip

    Um, yeah. The victims have purty much all come forward after all these decades.
    Like the hundreds who fraudulently claimed to be 9/11 victims and were busted, no-doubt some of these raype "victims" kept it a secret and now want to cah-in.
    So sad for the true raype victims. Now, let's focus on those who kept it a secret. Hay! Let's focus on Dottie "Dot" Mrs. Sandusky and see if she too melts under the public spotlight.
    That, or just have the CIA waterboard her for info. You decide.

    July 24, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Philip

    Get a clue. Virtually the entire body of Penn State students for the past 20 years knew of Jerry Sanduskys bi-se xual activities.
    Send them ALL to reform school.

    July 24, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michelle

      That's weird since I just graduated from Penn State this spring and had never heard of Jerry Sandusky before all of this happened. But thanks, I'll turn myself in now that you've made it clear I knew all along.

      July 24, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Meredith

      I agree, Michelle. I've talked to many students who are not a part of the football program, and they knew nothing about JS OR his bedroom habits OR his abuse of young boys...somebody sounds like a paranoid and needs to get HIS mental state checked out...

      July 24, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • youreamoron

      If you believe that the majority, entirety, or even a 1 percent of the student body or residents of state college knew of the travesty occurring, then you are sadly mistaken. What may be more pathetic is that you are ignorant to the facts at hand. The freeh report nearly indisputably demonstrated that even the BOARD OF TRUSTEES did not know what was occurring and most assuredly not the extent of callous criminality. While this unto itself is ethically reprehensible, your attempted ukase, serving as an indictment of the penn state and state college community, indicates your ignorance blinds logical conclusions. Now, I may understand that you are an individual of low-intelligence, limited education or imbuing emotional rhetoric on the subject; however, your nescience is inexcusable in an intellectual debate. Please refrain from speaking further as your words simply embarrass yourself.

      Please read the report with a discerning eye, formulate your own opinions without robotically spewing media biases, and then spend the appropriate amount of time drafting a logically argument. If you can not do this, please stay off of the forums.

      July 24, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • WHAT???

      Silly. Silly. Silly. Silly. Did I mention silly?????

      July 24, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Kendal

    Somehow, everyone that is so critical at PennState for the HINDSIGHT we all can see, I believe that most would want a boss who is slow to fire you based on hearsay (unfortunately it was allegations were true in this case). Those who had the legal authority in state college to stop Sandusky did not. No matter how powerful a coach is, he is still a coach. Something was lacking with the drive in the law enforcement involved to seek the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. It very well could've been the fear of ruining the PennState name or culture, but my point is, is that the authorities KNEW of the allegations. Whether or not people were bought out, I have no idea.

    July 24, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Nancy

    In the end I feel sorry for Adam Taliaferro and other players from 1998, they are the ones that got punished.

    July 24, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • RetiredVet

      It is obvious that the only victims you feel sorry for Nancy are the 1998 Penn State football players and not the child victims of Sandusky and Joe Paterno and the enabling administration, get off of the Penn State Kool-Aid. Didn't you hear or read the Freeh report?

      July 24, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Meredith

      Retired Vet, there are a lot of victims here. Although the true victims are of course the boys who Sandusky defiled, there are a lot of collateral damage here, and I read the report. It was clear that the players knew NOTHING but are collateral damage anyway.in your vengeance, you paint an entire school with the same brush as the actual evildoers? Really?

      July 24, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • DocCutty

      RetiredVet, I think that's an idiotic interpretation of what Nancy wrote. She refers, of course, to the NCAA sanctions. Tell us which guilty parties, and of course there were many, were punished by these sanctions? It made as much sense as nuking State College. But I guess, in your mind, punishing somebody, anybody, is justified.

      July 24, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  8. jenny

    sorry, everyone knew of sandusky and everyone knoew of the cover up..you really want people to believe these grown men coach day in and day over 900 players, and not – one had "that creepy" feeling....yes, they did, or possibly they were in adult affairs with the coaches and wanted to be their special players....either way, everyone associated w/ football knew....

    July 24, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  9. jacque

    Oh Good Lord, supposed he was bullied too. Pathetic

    July 24, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  10. jacque

    boo hoo for him!!

    July 24, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  11. dc3gal

    I am just not buying this at all. he is either flat out lying or because of his past just didn't want to deal with it. I don't believe he didn't know when so many others knew.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Unfair Punishment

    I don't think the NCAA should take away all the seasons and bowl games since 1998. This solves nothing. The "mass punishment" treatment will not take away what happen to the victims. You can take money from the schools, but you can never take away facts and memories. What will the history books read now? Penn State won the Orange bowl in 2005. However, it never happen because one sick individual molested boys? I agree with the fines, but attempting to take away history is ridiculous.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  13. C

    "I was abused as kid, wouldn't ignore Sandusky allegations" And yet he did.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Andrew

    Where is the coverage of GOP Governor Tom Corbett, PA!!!???? He was in this up to his eyeballs!!!

    July 24, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • WHAT???

      Totally agree!!!! And he's the GOVERNER???? He knew all about it, and did nothing...pathetic!

      July 24, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  15. HIDE BEHIND

    Under NCAA guidelines they have no right or legall means to fine the school, or the athletic program.
    This case has no violations of athletic rules, not a single one.
    The athletic program is innocent, the players who played during those years are innocent,

    July 24, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
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