by Howard Janet
on July 12, 2012
HOWARD A. JANET, ATTORNEY FOR VICTIM 6, REGARDING THE REPORT OF THE SPECIAL INVESTIGATIVE COUNSEL
The report lays the blame squarely on the shoulders of Penn State University administrators who were more interested in protecting Penn State football than young victims.
But I’m astonished the report concludes there was no “interference by University administrators” when it came to the 1998 investigation into the abuse of Victim 6.
This is ludicrous. And, in any event, the issue is not simply whether Penn State administrators interfered with the investigation, but instead, whether their actions influenced the outcome.
There was a complete failure to ensure that an investigation into suspected child sexual abuse was being conducted objectively by police who were not affiliated with the University – a party exposed to significant financial liability if the investigation revealed its employee, Sandusky, had molested an 11-year-old on University premises. Could this be the reason why police investigators experienced in working with child victims of sexual abuse were not called upon to look into the incident? Is this why a counselor with past financial ties to the university – not a licensed psychologist – was called in to give a “second opinion” after a licensed clinical psychologist reported that Sandusky fit the profile of a pedophile? Is this the reason Sandusky was treated deferentially by police and intentionally not put “on the defensive” when questioned by police?
What the report leaves out altogether is the intimidating atmosphere that existed at times during follow-up interviews of Victim 6. Victim 6 was told by the investigators that what he said could get “Jerry” in a lot of trouble. This is beyond astonishing. It’s appalling.
The report notes that before the 1998 incident involving Victim 6, University employees, including coaches, observed Sandusky showering with a young boy in Penn State facilities on multiple occasions. Apparently, with regard to Sandusky, the University and its employees embraced a philosophy of hear no evil, see no evil, and speak no evil.
The failure to investigate earlier red flags about Sandusky no doubt influenced the outcome of the 1998 investigation, and more importantly allowed the 1998 incident to occur in the first place. As it is, the final reckoning took place 14 years too late to save other boys from being victimized.
Penn State influenced and even interfered with the 1998 investigation while it took place, and even way before it occurred. The University failed to take the protection of children on its campus seriously and made it clear that its top priority was protecting the University’s reputation at all cost.
Victim 6, like the other victims known by a number, was not only a victim of Jerry Sandusky, a pedophile, but a victim of Penn State, an enabler.
Howard Janet has been representing plaintiffs in complex civil litigation for more than 30 years in the areas of medical malpractice, birth injuries, “whistleblower” lawsuits, and environmental litigation. Best Lawyers in America® honored him as the 2012 Lawyer of the Year–Personal Injury, Baltimore, MD. READ FULL BIO