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Federal Officials are Fining Penn State $2.4M for Disastrous Handling of Sexual Abuse Case

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After the arrest of Penn State's assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky for multiple counts of child sexual abuse in 2011, speculation quickly began on whether or not the school's administration knew about the complaints and had tried to cover up Sandusky's transgressions. After a five-year investigation, the federal government has settled on a record $2.4 million fine for the university, saying the school "violated campus crime reporting requirements, failed to warn people about potential threats and fostered a belief among athletes that rules didn't apply to them," according to the Associated Press.

The U.S. Department of Education said Penn State's handling of complaints against Sandusky violated the 1990 Clery Act, which requires colleges that use federal financial aid to disclose information about campus crime. Even though administrators knew about a complaint in 2001, the school remained mute, failing to warn students or faculty that a potential predator was on campus. The same behavior was going on 10 years later, in 2011, when Sandusky was still allowed into the football facilities despite his impending arrest. "In short, a man who was about to be charged with violent crimes against defenseless minors was free to roam the Penn State campus, as he pleased,'' the report said.

The 242 page report condemned the school, administration, athletic department and police force for largely ignoring the claims and threat they knew about on campus for the benefit of the football team. And Sandusky wasn't the only example of the school's issues. Most of the federal fine is due to Penn State's failure to properly report crimes in general from 2008-2011, rather than just Sandusky's case, according to The New York Times.

Penn State released a statement saying they were reviewing the report. "While regrettably we cannot change the past, today the University has been recognized for significantly strengthening our programs since 2011," the statement said. 

Sandusky, convicted in 2012 and sentenced to between 30 and 60 years in prison, is currently seeking to overturn his conviction. But in light of the recent report, his guilt seems clearer than ever.


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